Posts Tagged With: gravel

Papa’s got a brand new bag!

I am in happy circumstances. I’ve got a new bike!

Papa's got a brand new bag: A KTM 690 Enduro R.

Papa’s got a brand new bag: A KTM 690 Enduro R.

Those who know me well knows that I’m a Guzzi-fan. I’ve had many of them, and still have a few in my garage. Unfortunately, Guzzi doesn’t have a contemporary offering in the gravel hooligan class. The Stelvio, which I used to have, is way too heavy and is by all measures a street bike. For some reason, Moto Guzzi has yet to respond to the plea of its die-hard followers to make a proper lightweight gravel adventurer based on their V7 model. Until that happens, those of us who love to do gravel touring are forced to look elsewhere. A couple of years ago, I bought the Yamaha WR250R, which is very capable, but a bit on the lean side power-wise for longer trips. Hence – enter the KTM 690 Enduro R! I’ve only had it for a very short while, but I must say it is a very capable ride. Except for the extremely uncomfortable saddle, it seems like it will be my prime choice for my upcoming gravel trip to the North Cape. I only need to do some smaller adjustments: A new seat, as mentioned, a larger tank, maybe a fairing of some sort, wider foot pegs, soft panniers and rack, a GPS – and that’s about it, I think.

If there is such a thing, I think the 690 Enduro is close to the ideal bike for riding in Norway. Then again – people are touring on all kinds of bikes over here, so maybe it’s true what they say: It’s the mindset, not the tool, that makes the adventure.

Let’s see how it goes.

There is something pristine and clean about an odo with all zeros on it.

There is something pristine and clean about an odo with all zeros on it.

IMG_6447

If there is such a thing, maybe the 690 Enduro is close to the ideal bike for riding in Norway?

If there is such a thing, maybe the 690 Enduro is close to the ideal bike for riding in Norway?

A quick how-to by the garage guy.

A quick how-to by the garage guy.

Yep. A happy chappy!

Yep. A happy chappy!

Categories: Misc | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time to lose weight

It’s still a couple of months until we depart for this summer’s great gravel road expedition, and I need to lose some weight. Off the gear. Here are 6 weight-shedding items.

Aiming at max comfort, I packed my WR250R way too heavy for gravel riding on my test trip. Now it's time to lose some weight!

Aiming at max camping comfort, I packed my WR250R way too heavy for gravel riding on my test trip. Now it’s time to lose some weight!

 

A couple of weekends ago, a buddy of mine and I went for a weekend gravel trip into the Forest of the Finns near the Swedish border. This was some sort of a shakedown trip, as I packed the bike as I thought I would for the upcoming gravel expedition from South to North of Norway, paying special attention to bring along stuff that would make the nightly stay-overs more comfortable. You know – a bed AND a mattress, a big roomy lavvo, fat sleeping bag, et cetera. Heavy, but comfortable and cozy.

Ingenious design on this table.

Ingenious design on this table.

The incredibly light and small-packed Helinox chair. And it actually works!

The incredibly light and small-packed Helinox chair. And it actually works!

Not particularly surprising, this focus on comfort also meant that the bike behaved like a pig on the loose surfaced and quite muddy gravel roads. It became far too heavy overall, and particularly in the rear. I could not imagine a ride like that for some 5000 kms return. So I need to lose some weight. Off the gear I’ll bring.

So here is parts of my weight shedding plan:

A down McKinley sleeping bag. Being stuffed with down (90%) and feather (10%), it is light (1 kg), packs really small, have a decent rating of 0C, and is – above all – on sale for half price at the local outdoor gear store.

McKinley Enduro Ultralight.

McKinley Enduro Ultralight.

McKinley Enduro Ultralight tent. Weighing in at 1.3 kgs, it’s very light and not very expensive. The downside is that it’s only a single sheet tent, so it’ll probably not be 100% dry in case of heavy rain, which is why I’ll also bring along a tarp.

Dovrefjell Tarp 4. This 3×4 m tarp is very light, packs very small, and provides extra shelter in case of foul weather.

Exped Downmat 9 sleeping mattress. It packs quite small, and provides all the sleeping comfort I’ll ever need.

McKinley sleeping bag

McKinley sleeping bag

Helinox chair and table. These collapsible camp furniture are extremely light and also packs unbelievably small. I’ve tried them in the field, and they really work! They’re a bit on the pricey side, though, but lightness costs.

I haven’t checked the total weight yet, but I’ll think it’ll be around 6 kgs, which seems quite good.

Now all I have to do in addition is to bring lightweight food, cooking gear and clothes. Oh, and let me know if you have any tips on lightweight gear!

Categories: Misc | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fun in the Forest of the Finns

It was way past due to grind those off-road tyres on proper gravel roads. Last weekend, Henning and I decided  to do just that. 

We spent the night in one of the cabins which are available for free or nearly free. Peaceful and nice!

I am quite a newbie to proper gravel riding, even though I´ve been facinated by it since many years. Not until I bought my light, nimble and powerful-enough Yamaha WR250R did I dare to venture into the loose stuff for real. 

Henning, on the other hand, is a former motorcross, road race and enduro rider and instructor. Thanks to him, my learning curve has been pretty steep – although this particular weekend I felt like it was my first time on gravel: My riding was stiff, my cornering awful, and things just didn´t feel right. 

However, the area in which we were riding, Finnskogen (eng. “Forest of the Finns”), is extremely inviting when it comes to gravel riding. There are miles and miles of gravel roads, very little (if at all) traffic, and free cabins all over the place, which you can borrow for the night. In other words: A Mecca for gravel riders.

The first leg was all but muddy: The track was thick of slippery mud, so we admittedly had to struggle a bit to get our bikes through – Henning on his Transalp, me on my Yamma. Or at least: It felt like we had to struggle. I think I was the only one who did it, as Henning effortlessly steered his Honda more or less sure-footed through the slippery stuff. 

It did become a lot better when we arrived to the forest roads themselves: Dry to the point of dusty, vacant and available.

We spent a night in a small cabin, had a meal and just relaxed before riding back home the day after. A short burst of season debut for me, but it was good to shake loose a bit. I´ll even try to do better next time.

If you´re a gravel rider too, make sure you visit Finnskogen when you visit Norway. It´s well worth spending a few days on this area. 

Stay on these roads!

 

Henning (right) and yours truly. We´re heading for Kirkenes in the north by gravel this summer.

Henning and his trusty Transalp in the back and my Yamma in the front 🙂

There was no firewood in the cabin, but Rolf, who lives nearby, provided us with a couple of bags to heat the evening.

Pretty nice view by the lake Fjørsjøen

You just have to love this…

Categories: Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: