another perfectly good motorcycle ruined.......

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Dual Sport [aka down and dirty]

 Yes, it’s a honda. this possibly comes as a suprise being that my last post was all about the virtues of ktm’s and as everyone knows the austrian marque is synonymous with off-road machinery. so why did I buy a honda over the finest kraftfahzeug trunkenpolz mattighofen? well folks, I’m no lyndon poskitt or toby price, my knowledge of off-road riding is very limited, I put my toe in the water last year when I booked for a full day novice enduro taster and loved it, granted, I spent more time on my arse or picking the bike up but I really enjoyed it and decided to look around for a bike. the ktm 250/350 four strokes exc-f and 250 exc two-stroke were first on my list, but after doing a little more research I realised that a combination of my lack of skill, high price and maintenance in hours rather than miles would probably result in either serious injury, divorce and bankruptcy and more probably a combination of all three.
   a chat with a couple of the more experienced local lads confirmed my thoughts and the suggestion to have a look at the honda crf 250l, a very popular dual sport beginner bike and perfect for green laning. 24bhp might not sound too exciting but for me it’s more than enough as I continue to learn the dark art of off-road motorcycling, the bike is, as it says on the tin, dual sport, that’s tarmac and dirt so the bike is always going to be a compromise, but saying that,i’ve been amazed at what a brilliant little bike it is, it will top out at 80mph with me on it in full winter kit and mx boots, rucksack, tank bag etc which is pretty impressive. you can really hustle it along on the B roads, just make sure you remember that the tyres are knobblies and a very thin section otherwise you may find yourself taking a short cut through a hedge to get to the dirt!
   off road? well, like I said, I’m no mx or enduro rider but this thing has given me the confidence to go from the semi tarmac, unclassified roads and onto some of the more technical trails, greenlanes are great fun and i realise you don’t need a fire breathing large capacity bike to have a good time. the previous owner had fitted the acerbis hand guards, renthal aluminium bars and ali sump guard, im leaving the standard exhaust on, apparently it’s very, very heavy but it’s also very quiet and I really don’t want to upset the ramblers, horse riders or mountain bikers who share the trails so that’s staying on, the service intervals are ridiculous, this is no highly strung mx machine that requires a new piston every 30 hours, oil changes are a staggering 8000 miles. I’ll say that again. 8000 miles! that’s what honda recommend but there’s no way I’m going to run a bike for that amount of time without changing the  oil and filter. valves need adjusting at 16000 miles, apart from that i’m going to invest in a washable k+n air filter and some decent tyres, there’s nothing wrong with the stockers but they are probably a little too road biased and are wearing a little thin. the bike is a tough little thing, I’ve been off it a few times and it’s also blown over while I was opening a gate on a gated road, the hand guards have taken the brunt of the damage and the plastics are scuffed as well as one rear indicator, apart from that it’s just a matter of washing it down and cleaning and lubing the chain and checking the tyre pressures.
   So, there you have it, the little honda has been a revelation, it’s opened up a whole new world to me  and proves you don’t need a big adventure bike to have big adventures and more capacity doesn’t necessarily mean more fun, it’s definitely improved my riding skills and its keeping me ‘bike fit’ apart from that, it’s become my go-to ride, any excuse and I’m out there on it......