Posts Tagged With: ktm

We’re thawing up

Norway is thawing up, and spring is near. If you haven’t already, it’s time to plan for the upcoming riding season. And to get your bike ready.

While others might find bird chirps and melting snow dripping from the rooftops to be the ultimate tell-tales of spring, I am looking for the first few bold riders who couldn’t wait any longer to bring their bikes onto the roads. Even though there are spots of ice and snow on the back roads, I know they are there. And sure enough: A couple of days ago, while commuting to work, I heard the magnificent sound of a bike while inside a tunnel. He roared past me and opened up the throttle going uphill towards the exit of the tunnel. THAT is the sound of spring!

Riders from parts of the world where you can ride all year round might not quite understand the agony Norwegian riders are going through these days. We are looking at the weather forecast, waiting, getting disappointed when it suddenly starts snowing again, hoping for higher temps, waiting, waiting…

But while we’re waiting, we can plan for the season. Myself, I am getting my KTM 690 Enduro ready for action. I bought this rally kit from Italian Alberto Dottori and have spent a few weekends in the garage with my buddy Tor to make it ready. I wanted more fuel capacity and range from my KTM, which originally has only a 12 l tank. With the Dottori set-up, I am looking at close to 30 l, which probably will make those hard-to-get-to places more inviting.

I am also planning for trips and tours, of course, and will try to make some videos from the more exciting ones. I have even invested in a Lily drone, which will be delivered in June, to get some cool aerial shots. Hopefully.

So, what are your plans?

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

On gravel from South to North

This year’s great escape was a gravel tour from Oslo in the south to Kirkenes way up north in Norway.

Stuck in the mud somewhere in Sweden.

Stuck in the mud. I was glad I had opted for the relatively light Yamaha WR250R…

I am from up north and had planned to go there this summer to do a few preparations for my mum’s 80th anniversary. I could of course go by plane, do my stuff, and return in a couple of days. But then again – why bother doing it the easy way when I had got hold of a GPS route that would take me and my bike by gravel through all kinds of “roads” in a week? Plus another week for the return trip?

I invited a couple of riders from the local Offroad Touring Club who knew about my plans and wanted to tag along. On a trip like this I thought it would be better to be at least a couple of riders to back each other up – just in case.

A spectacular crash on day 1, but no harm done to neither man nor machine.

A spectacular crash on day 1, but no harm done to neither man nor machine.

So Nikita, Arne and myself set out 20 July. None of us had done that trip before, so we guesstimated that it would take us some 5 to 7 days to complete the trip one way. We had already agreed that the official part of the trip would end at Kirkenes, and that every man was for himself for his chosen mode, route and speed of the return trip. We set off from just outside Oslo, heading for Os in Hedmark county, where we would spend the night at a friend who’s an accomplished enduro rider, and whom had done the trip a few years earlier. But drama set in on this first day of riding: Nikita, the freshman in the trio, misjudged a right bend, locked all wheels and went off the gravel road in quite a spectacular manner. We all thought this would be the end of his trip, but luck was on Nikita’s side: No harm done neither to man nor machine, except a few scratches on the side panel of his Africa Twin and a broken indicator. A very steep learning curve indeed for our man, who learnt a lesson or two with regard to paying close attention to the road especially when riding on gravel.

Entering Finland from Sweden.

Entering Finland from Sweden.

At our friend Inge’s place we were treated with a great meal and sauna, plus some advice on the route ahead of us. Arne, who was by far the more experienced gravel rider among the three of us, took care of the navigation. We had decided to go through Sweden and Finland in search of gravel, as it is shorter (but not necessarily faster) to go through our neighbouring countries. Besides, especially Sweden has a great selection of gravel roads in a variety of qualities.

Day 2 took us from Inge’s place to another friend of ours, Fredrik. His family has a summer house in Sweden, so we were to meet him there for a stay-over. We were again met with a full meal and an outdoor spa-like mini pool with amenities such as Jägermeister and beer. Needless to say, we had to have a slow start the morning after.

The trip through Sweden was fun, and at times rather exhausting – especially through a “jungle” with muddy tracks pretending to be roads. The heavy rain in the days prior to our trip had turned it all into a swamp, and – of course – the air was quite .packed with mosquitos and midges. At least they served as great motivation to get us as fast as possible out of the swamp.

A roadside fix. A few mozzies helped on the motivation to get going...

A roadside fix. A few mozzies helped on the motivation to get going…

The northern parts of Finland had plenty of gravel roads – but not so many that went all the way through. They tended to go in to a cabin or something, and just end there. So we were forced to do quite a few miles on asphalt. Not so much fun, but at least the area is pretty to look at.

After 7 days of riding we crossed the border from Finland back into Norway and finally arrived at Kirkenes. Even though many have done this trip before, we had a high sense of accomplishment. Before we split, we toasted in coffee and ice cream and decided it had been a great trip. Actually so much that at least a couple of us wanted to do it again sometime. But that will be another story.

Reaching Kirkenes after 7 days of gravel. We felt it like quite an accomplishment.

Reaching Kirkenes after 7 days of gravel. We felt it like quite an accomplishment.

Nikita stayed on in Kirkenes and did a trip to Nikel and Murmansk. He speaks Russian, so it was practically a must for him to go there. Arne and I went on to the Varanger peninsula to try out the gravel roads there, and made it for a fast return on asphalt down south after a couple of days. Whereas Arne aimed for a week at the Bukkerittet gravel bonanza, I headed home to have a few days off before starting work again.

What I can say, though, is that my Yamaha WR250R was a really good choice for a trip like this. I was especially glad for chosing that bike when I was stuck in the mud somewhere in Sweden, and could lift the bike out to get going. So if you want to do a trip like this: Choose your bike wisely!

 

Back home to wash off the mozzies...

Back home to wash off the mozzies…

 

Staying the night at a couple of good biker friends in Nord-Trøndelag county, Liv and Merete.

Staying the night at a couple of good biker friends in Nord-Trøndelag county, Liv and Merete.

 

Another ferry on my way southbound.

Another ferry on my way southbound.

 

Troms county had put on its finest colors to greet us.

Troms county had put on its finest colors to greet us.

 

Yours truly, Arne and my brother-in-law Fritjof awaiting for the sauna to get warm enough. Vadsø in Finnmark has the highest density of saunas in Norway - or so they claim.

Yours truly, Arne and my brother-in-law Fritjof awaiting for the sauna to get warm enough. Vadsø in Finnmark has the highest density of saunas in Norway – or so they claim.

 

Vardø in Finnmark county was the scene for quite a few brutal execution of people accused of witchcraft during the 16th century. They were all burnt, and this monument is raised to their memory.

Vardø in Finnmark county was the scene for quite a few brutal execution of people accused of witchcraft during the 16th century. They were all burnt, and this monument is raised to their memory.

 

End of the road. Hamningberg in Finnmark county.

End of the road. Hamningberg in Finnmark county.

 

Arne at a road crossing somewhere on the Varanger peninsula in Northern Norway.

Arne at a road crossing somewhere on the Varanger peninsula in Northern Norway.

 

Way to go! Finnmark county has plenty of nice gravel roads to offer!

Way to go! Finnmark county has plenty of nice gravel roads to offer!

 

Yours truly giving the end-of-the-trip speech in Kirkenes...

Yours truly giving the end-of-the-trip speech in Kirkenes…

 

Entering Finland from Sweden.

Entering Finland from Sweden.

 

We saw this beauty at a stay-over in Finland. A Guzzi California 1100.

We saw this beauty at a stay-over in Finland. A Guzzi California 1100.

 

A river we chose not to cross due to depth and rocks.

A river we chose not to cross due to depth and rocks.

 

Getting to know the local beer.

Getting to know the local beer.

 

A wee bit posh eating style...

A wee bit posh eating style…

 

Break by the lake.

Break by the lake.

 

A Road Warrior rests whenever he can...

A Road Warrior rests whenever he can…

 

Kebab lunch.

Kebab lunch.

 

Nice view over the waters.

Nice view over the waters.

 

Nikita at a break somewhere in Sweden.

Nikita at a break somewhere in Sweden.

 

Arne packs his new-to-him KTM 690 Enduro.

Arne packs his new-to-him KTM 690 Enduro.

 

Chillin' out after a day's riding at a camp cabin.

Chillin’ out after a day’s riding at a camp cabin.

 

A few scares on route: A close call to riding the front wheel into the hole in this broken pipe in the middle of the woods.

A few scares on route: A close call to riding the front wheel into the hole in this broken pipe in the middle of the woods.

 

Fredrik (left) watches as Nikita packs his Africa Twin.

Fredrik (left) watches as Nikita packs his Africa Twin.

 

Arne (left) and myself prior to departure

Arne (left) and myself prior to departure

 

My weapon of choice for this trip: A Yamaha WR250R. More than capable of a trip like this.

My weapon of choice for this trip: A Yamaha WR250R. More than capable of a trip like this.

Categories: Images of Norway, norway, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Norway Bike Weekend

Tomorrow, a band of Finns, a Dane and a couple of us Norwegians are joining force to do a Norway Bike Weekend. It will be a blast!

The Rondane Mountain Range

Actually, this is a trip that has been planned since last October, as one of the Finns is a colleague of mine. He has never ridden in Norway, and when I suggested to do a spring trip he was all in. He has invited some of his riding buddies from Helsinki and area, also bringing their wives riding pillion. From Denmark we are having one guy, whereas my wife and I are representing Norway. Some Swedes and Icelandics would have completed the Nordic set-up, but maybe next time.

We are doing the Tenderloin of South-Eastern and North-Western Norway, including the Venabygd Mountain Range, the Dovre Mountain Range, the Atlantic Road, Trollstigen and Geiranger. Quite an extensive route for a weekend, even for an oval one, but these guys are used to riding long and hard. They are Iron Butt Masters, so they know the drill.

I had to adjust the riding comfort of my KTM 690 Enduro with a comfy seat from Seat Concepts.

This evening, prior to our departure, I have prepared my KTM 690 Enduro with a more – shall we say – touring friendly seat from Seat Concepts. The standard one is not made for long hauls – not for my butt, anyway – so fortunately it arrived this afternoon, just in time for our departure. A while ago I bought a similar branded seat for my Yamaha WR250R, and I am so satisified I didn´t have to look further for a comfy seat. The pannier rack for my KTM didn´t arrive in due time, though, so I have to use some packing space on the Mothership.

     

The Mothership is my wife´s Moto Guzzi Breva 750, which also got its Krauser panniers mounted today. They fit very nicely, and is a breeze to install. It is one of those C-Bow thingies, and looks and feels pretty sturdy, even for being semi-rigid panniers. We will se how they fare in the debut this weekend. The only worry is the weather forecast. It has been the wettest, coldest and most snowy spring since 1946. It has become a tad warmer, though, so let´s hope the Weather Gods will treat us nicely.

 

Stay tuned for pics from the Norway Bike Weekend trip 2015!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

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