Getting back on the bike(s)!

By Rowan Page | Published on 2020-05-31

Getting back on the bike(s)!

What is the best way to get to know your new bike? Luckily for me, buying new bikes isn’t really a thing so the whole break-in debacle isn't an issue. The best thing to do is just get on and ride the thing the way it was made to be ridden.

My plan was to ride into the Overberg Friday after work, get a full morning of enduro riding on the dirt bike and then be back in time for family Zoom quiz at 4pm. A tight schedule, but exactly the sort of challenge I like, and my new-to-me GS was just the bike for the job.

The new wheels
The new wheels
A Friday afternoon blast through Franschhoek, some dirt highways on either side of Greyton, and finally a blast down the N2 to make it to my hideout before dark. This GS was something else. It eats up the road miles and when you get to the dirt it is an absolute blast. Lots more to learn about the bike, many modifications to come, but first impressions are excellent.

The next morning we were up before sunrise; flat out excitement to finally ride again. The KTM fired up first kick and quickly reminded me what was what. I definitely could sense some jealously of the new bike; she might have half the horsepower but she is definitely twice as feisty.

After a quick warmup lap around the houses, we dived into the enduro loop. It felt like Christmas morning; Jaco had spent some serious time cutting what he described as a combination of gold and in-rideable sections. The first of which was a short but tricky hill. The run-up was quite slick and off-camber, then it was into a sharp right with some loose roots just before a little rocky step-up, just tall enough to knock the front wheel into the air. If you let off, you would loose traction and you just wouldn’t be able to get going again. This was where the trouble began. I clicked into 2nd and went for it. Tip-toed towards the right-hander, weighted the rear and opened it up. The front wheel skimmed over the rocks and I was up. Not long after Jaco had also conquered the first of the ‘un-rideables’, so of course we had to try the others.

We stopped the bikes and Jaco walked ahead, bushing bushes aside to reveal what can only be described as a rock wall. It must have been at least two stories tall and almost vertical. Closer inspection revealed a small ledge about half-way up. If you got there, you could pivot left then crawl your way up. Brimming with in-warranted confidence I lined up and tested the traction as the run in to the hill. In the rainy season this would be a river, but it was dry and the jagged rocks meant there was plenty of grip. I went for it. I clearly have commitment issues because I was left stranded half-way up, bike vertical and nowhere to stand. 1-0 to what would now be know as Suunto hill, since my watch was the sole casualty.

After another two and a half hours of riding and we had to call it a day for me to make my tight schedule. A quick shower, coffee and I was on my way again. No time for the scenic route, straight back along the N2. Other than realizing I need a helmet with better noise insulation, the trip home was uneventful. As I came over Sir Lowries pass the aches and pains from my fall started to set in. Comfort mode and heated grips engaged, for once my bike was nursing me home.

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