Nikon D850 DSLR

I have been a Nikon user for the last 15 years, always using professional-grade SLR/DSLR like the Nikon F100, Nikon D200, and Nikon D300s. The reason for this is that my working environment is always full of dust, mud, moisture, and rain. All my camera gear is inside tank bags and panniers bouncing around. So heavy duty construction and weather resistance are an absolute necessity. Endurance is my number one priority!

In 2017 I decided that is it was about time to upgrade my aging camera gear, but since I wanted to upgrade everything, lenses included, it was perfect timing to look at all possibilities. The only serious contenders, that would endure my usage and offer professional-grade performance are Nikon, Canon, and Sony. The last was quickly rejected when I watched some rain-resistance tests between the three brands and Sony fails miserably. I also disliked the feeling when I picked the Sony Alpha a7R III in my hands. it is a baby-sized body, not suitable for users with large hands.

Adventure photography in FX quality!

I also rejected the Nikon D5 and the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II because of their steep price tag. They both fulfill all possible technical requirements but are too expensive to throw around in a tail bag. This left me with three choices: The Nikon D500, the Nikon D810, and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. It was a tough call since I had to choose between the better sports camera that is lacking in landscape photography versus the full frame beasts with limited features as sports cameras. Thankfully this back and forth gave Nikon enough time to introduce the 45,7 million pixel FX Titan Nikon D850 (CMOS 35,9 mm x 23,9 mm) !!

Image quality without compromises

The Nikon D850 is a professional-grade full-frame digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR) produced by Nikon. The camera was officially announced on July 25, 2017 (the 100th anniversary of Nikon’s founding) and is the successor to the Nikon D810. This 45.4 MP sensor beast was awarded best Professional DSLR camera at the 2018 TIPA World Awards and is the first DSLR camera to achieve 100 points on the DxOMark sensor review. Last, the D850 won Camera Grand Prix Readers Award and Editors Award in 2018.

Image quality is beyond any criticism, so is file size if you need to print or crop. The D850 is so radical because it is the first large megapixel full frame camera that can be used as an action/sports camera at the same time!

7 fps are more than enough when you shot adventure motorcycles, but you can go all the way up to 9 fps if you add the Nikon MB-D18 grip and the special Nikon EN- EL18b battery (plus the regular battery in the body). That is D500 speed with more than twice the file size! That is ridiculously awesome and it is incredible how much can you crop and still get stunning image quality.

Original D850 8256×5504 frame

Incredible detail at such a huge crop

Image Quality


The D850’s crowning achievement is its images. Nikon has once again outdone themselves with an incredible sensor. They have designed both the sensor and the data processing software/firmware behind it. At ISO 64, the Back Side Illuminated sensor just about matches current medium format digital cameras, with crazy 45-megapixel files and insane dynamic range. At higher ISOs, the D850 offers slightly improved shadow recovery and slightly better overall dynamic range compared to the D810.

At ISO 2500 you can remove all signs of noise in Lightroom in 2 sec

Body Size & Handling


Picking up the D850, you started to realize that this camera feels “old school”. It is physically a beast, a heavy magnesium block and feels like a Pro camera should. You know that it will take everything you throw at it and survive. No worries at all. The only issue you might have is that it requires XL/2X glove-size hands to operate with ease since the buttons are widely spread across its huge back.

 

There is nothing that this beast will not do!

 

The Nikon D850 is the DSLR that I would trust at a Mongolian Expedition or in a cold winter mt Olympus Tour.

Visit Nikon for more

BMW F850GS Rally

Our personal relationship with BMW goes way back, but from 2019 we are working closer with BMW Motorrad Hellas. Both co-founders have been owners of many BMW motorcycles in the past like the R1200GS, the R1200GSA, the UnitGarage R120G/S, and the exotic HP2 Enduro. This year we will be riding something very special for BMW Motorrad, it’s first mid-sized adventure motorcycle powered by an in-house power plant. The brand new BMW F850GS Rally!

Deep-woods meditation

At first, we had mixed feeling about this motorcycle, but after a 1.500km adventure, we realized that it sits just in the middle between the BMW R1200GS/GSA and the KTM 950-990 ADV/SE we had been riding for the last years. It feels lighter, shorter and slimmer than all the GS/GSA models and it’s 21/17 size tubless wheels work excellent both on the tarmac and on gravel. It is softer and way more comfortable than any LC8 we have ever ridden, so it is basically better than the R1200GS/GSA off-road and better than the 990 ADV on long tarmac miles, with the addition of the BMW Comfort Seat.

It just hits that perfect place where everything is great. Not perfect, but good enough.

The F850GS engine is friendly and has a strong pull from 4000rpm all the way to the limiter. Kudos to BMW Motorrad for such a brilliant powerplant. We are using the optional BMW Akrapovic exhaust system, but engine and noise characteristics are identical. Nevertheless, it seems like the right choice since the weight reduction and the places it is removed from, work well on this beast.

The new F850GS Rally eats miles like cupcakes!

Arguably the most important part of an adventure motorcycle is the suspension. Let me start by addressing the elephant in the room. It is not a KTM, so it could never come close to the hardcore off-road performance. Period. On the other hand, the softish suspension is very capable and can carry the bike’s weight well on travel-enduro conditions. Your hands do not get tired and vibrations have a hard time reaching your torso and neck. It doesn’t like being rocketed full gas on an obstacle (your typical KTM riding style), but it will easily make 200+ off-road kilometers per day, plus 300+ tarmac. At the end of the day you will still be smiling and with a good night sleep, you will be totally ready for more action in the morning.

The F850GS is a real world traveler and since in nature circumstances often change, so should your motorcycle be able to adjust with ease.

We have opted for the ESA version for one main reason: ease of use. When you change from tarmac to gravel, or you just remove the panniers, you can change the suspension set-up with the press of a button, in comfort from your cockpit. This is not your hardcore KTM 950 Super Enduro that gets set-up once you are done.

BMW’s don’t like off-road. Yea, right…

So is it all perfect? Certainly not, they never are but with minor upgrades, it can be. The mirrors are not well designed, since looking better rarely means working better. They are small and the shape lacks field of view. That is one upgrade coming soon to our bikes. The F850GS is also lacking wind protection because of the short windscreen, that is fine for travel speeds up to 130-140km/h. After that, you are pulling hard with your biceps and the trip stops being enjoyable. On the bright side though there is no helmet wind-turbulence, so aerodynamically the shape works. Its size is also perfect for off-road riding, somewhere in the middle between a Super Enduro with the 690 screen and a 990 with short aftermarket screen.

It will take you to remote mesmerizing places, easier than you think.

The OEM footpegs are small and not suitable for standing up, so we upgraded with the optional BMW Rally pegs. Last, the OEM luggage system just doesn’t feel built for the Greek rough gravel soil. We are also not fond of hard luggage systems for reasons you can read in our Hard or Soft luggage article. This was easily solved with the addition of the Enduristan Monsoon 3 panniers, with 2×30lt of storage. We are adding to the rear the brilliant 15lt Enduristan pannier Topper and the 7lt Enduristan Sandstorm tank bag for a total of 82lt of 100% waterproof cargo space with the minimum weight added on the motorcycle. This is very effective and light, the best combo in my book.

Totally waterproof big cargo space with minimum weight. What more can you ask?

We are very excited to work with this fabulous motorcycle since it’s ride characteristics seem well suited for its future in the Greek mountains with us. Furthermore, it is a perfect platform to work on the development of future products with AltRider and Enduristan, so keep posted for future updates.

The F850GS is an exceptional world traveler, there is no doubt about it

We have been using KLiM Gear for the last 6 years now and one thing that we have come to realize is that the taste every motorcycle adventure leaves is directly related to whether you were in your “comfort temperature”. This is a dominant factor for well-being in all of our activities and rarely gets enough focus. As an Architect with specialization on Bioclimatic Architecture, I know it’s importance and try to educate as many users as possible. If you want to ride in comfort, you must understand Micro Climate.

Your Adventure is as comfortable as your gear is.

If you want to read about our current 2018-2019 riding gear, early this year we did a full review of the KLiM Badlands Pro and last year we did a full review of the radical KLiM Krios Helmet. More reviews about the KLiM Badlands Aero glove and the Sidi Adventure 2 boots coming soon.

KLiM Badlands Pro

I was planning for our next Mythical Routes tracking ride when the new 2018 KLIM Badlands Pro showed up in the office. What a great timing, I thought. This year’s first ride will be with brand new gear! Packed the old Super Enduro and headed to Mount Parnitha for a first ride in the new suit to see how it stands against our current 2017 KLIM Badlands suits.

As soon as I tried the pants, the fit improvements are obvious. It has a looser fit than the previous Badlands and the second top strap (above the knee) has been eliminated. That strap was something that was always bugging me with the old Badlands. That top strap, even fully loose, was pulling and squeezing my thigh every time I sat on the bike. Now that it’s gone, the pants are much more comfortable. Another nice improvement is the bigger size of the pants hem. My MX boots fit perfectly and the pant zipper closes without any effort. The jacket has an almost identical fit with the old one, with just a little more room at the belly area.

Ice and snow are ideal conditions for a great test ride

One thing that strikes you as soon as you use the new suit is the extra protection added with the all new KLIM® D3O® AERO PRO Armor. With 44% more coverage, these things are huge! You really feel the upgrade here. On top of that they ventilate 5 times better due to their innovative design.

One of the key components of the Badlands series was the enhanced protection provided by Superfabric® extreme abrasion panels placed on the highest abrasion zones. These panels were first used at the Adventure Rally and then inherited to the previous Badlands. The new upgraded panels feature variable density fabric that provides a combination of free movement and extreme resistance. The new panels are also larger in total area thus providing an upgraded abrasion protection.

Built and backed up by KLiM’s legendary name and warranty

KLIM has always used motorsports-exclusive GORE-TEX® 3-Layer Pro Shell technology for all previous Badlands incarnations, so waterproofness and breathability was never an issue. No change here for the new model. We feel 100% sure, as with all previous models, that it will withstand all weather conditions and we will always arrive safe and dry, wherever the trail brings us.

Ventilation was always one of Badlands strong points, better even than the legendary KLIM Adventure Rally that we have used extensively in the past. The positioning of the majority of vents have no variation from the previous model, which already worked just about perfect. The new jacket eliminates the lateral vents and replaces them with two front ones, just below the chest. This new configuration should work even better than the previous model, but given the cold we faced during the ride, we did not use the intake vents much. Maybe in the near future we will make a review of the venting system, once the weather becomes warmer once again.

Tan colorway blends perfectly with Greek National Forest colors

Ventilation is also enhanced, due to the use of the new dynamic D3O AERO PRO armor’s open structure. Airflow can now move completely through the best armor in the industry, protecting but also cooling the body by expelling heat at all speeds.
Furthermore the use of KLIM engineered KLIMATEK COOL base layer cooling fabric into the armor pockets, utilizes chemical-free moisture transfer and cool evaporation technology that does not wear out over time. The result is a fabric with hyper-wicking properties that is cooling your skin.

We focus only in the trail ahead and let our gear worry about the weather..

The only issue we had with the new Badlands Pro is the design of the rear cargo pocket. KLIM eliminated the top zipper and replaced it with two lateral zippers. In theory it should work better being easier to reach, but given the lower volume of the pocket, we had trouble storing the exact same items that we used to store in the previous model.

Updates are everywhere for the all-new 2018 Badlands Pro

Is this the perfect Adventure suit? If you had to find the one suit that does it all, from Adventure to Off-road to Touring and everything in-between, this would be it. We said the exact same thing for the previous Badlands model, but this is just the confirmation of how well engineered and executed the Badlands concept has always been. This 2018 new model is a true successor of the Badlands legacy and the key reasons are:

  1. it features the best protective armor produced to date, matching – or even surpassing – the Adventure Rally. That is a statement on it’s own.
  2. it is 100% weatherproof without sacrificing breath-ability. It will keep you dry and comfortable day after day.
  3. it features heavy-duty abrasion resisting fabrics without being too heavy. Weight feels almost identical to the previous model, even with the added weight of the larger protective pads.
  4. it is full of features and pockets and zippers and everything to make your life easier, without being too flashy.
  5. it features kidney belt and chest protector, as any real Adventure suit should feature. Being hit in the chest by a stone is no joke.
  6. it features increased low-light visibility without the need to use Hi-Vis colors, so “I don’t want to get dirty” is not an excuse anymore for those that opted for the Hi-Vis color.
  7. it has more venting ports than I can remember, better placed than the previous models and much more than any other waterproof adventure suit that we have ever used.
  8. it is backed up by KLiM’s legendary name and KLiM’s warranty system that works every time.

We really couldn’t be happier with this year’s Badlands Pro. Now, let’s get dirty !!

Husqvarna 701 Rally Replica

As most Adventure Riders out there, we are in the hunt for the perfect all-round and do-it-all Adventure Bike.

One of the key features is weight. A perfect adventure bike must be light enough to tackle some single-track use or hard obstacles. As we have mentioned in our article Adventure Bikes, always keep in mind that if you can not pick up your bike fully loaded in any situation, then it is not an adventure bike!

You will need to pick-up your bike many times in a day

Speaking of off-road use, another key feature is good suspension. A proper Adventure bike must have proper off-road suspension and everything that comes with it. If the bike can not handle dirt-road abuse, then your adventure will be rather sort.

One of the most important features in any adventure ride, is the absence of frequent gas stations, so our bikes must be able to carry a lot of fuel. The more we can carry, the best we are. With large tanks you always have the option to leave them half-empty in the event of a difficult single-track day.

Single-track is part of any Adventure Ride

Last required feature is good wind protection for those tarmac miles that you will need to travel. This protection will be also very useful while riding off-road, protecting your GPS and other devices from stones, branches and other things that keep coming your way.

Husqvarna 701 Rally Replica

A thought that instantly comes in our minds is that Rally bikes have almost all the required features of the perfect Adventure bike. We choose the 701 to begin this project for the same reason it’s progenitor, the KTM 690, has so many hardcore fans and so many companies are building hard parts for it, all around the world. The 701 took its place as the latest incarnation of an almost extinct breed, refined and perfected in all aspects and maybe this is the actual reason why KTM never fixed some of the serious problems of the 690.

Many (like us) are addicted to the look of Rally bikes and just recently we got acquainted with a native Greek company, AURORA Rally Equipment that specializes into doing exactly what we wanted. It produces a complete Rally Replica kit that converts a stock Husqvarna 701 to the ultimate Adventure and Rally weapon, with 3 tanks, 2 fuel pumps, a navigation tower and a big RR screen. it seamed obvious that this was the ultimate 701 and just the right bike for what we were looking for.

This 701RR is the absolute best Adventure bike ever built

The 701RR has the aggressive look and the light factor that today’s adventure bikes simply do not have any more, just because the companies are constantly adding street oriented features to their motorcycles making them heavier and with bigger boar engines, year after year.

The 701 as stock is ready to take you into some of the most wonderful back roads Greece has to offer, but it lacks is some areas especially fuel range. This kit doubles the range of the bike with two OEM rally tanks (total fuel carried is 28 liters).

As we started our first journey on this bike to test it’s capabilities, we found out it was a real pleasure to be able to choose which pump to use, front or rear tanks, in order to change the balance characteristics of the motorcycle at will. In Travel Enduro situations, the motorcycle has to constantly adapt to both the added weight-load from the equipment that is is caring and the ever-changing conditions of the road. In addition, having a dual fuel pump system gives you peace of mind since in the event of a malfunction, you still go the second pump to take you safely at your next base.

The actual added weight to the bike is not much. If you have an after-market can like we do and a Li-Po battery, then the added weight is 12.833kg. Adding the fuel (27lt) we are at 178kg total. Not bad at all !!

Another lacking characteristic of the 701 that gets addressed with the 701RR kit is rider comfort. Your butt now gets a royal ride with an ergonomically enhanced high-tech polymer seat that does not get in the way when standing on the pegs, but makes a comfy siting position for those tarmac-legs that you were dreading.

Night riding experience also gets a serious update with a dedicated high beam LED light, a 10.000 lumens Baja Squadron that literally turns they darkest night into a bright day. No more worries about those last off-road miles while getting dark.

AURORA Rally Equipment Roadbook and Nav-Tower are build as tanks

Another feature to get addressed is bash-plate protection. This kit features a full-carbon plate that integrates perfectly with the shape of the front tanks. Now this is a part that we were skeptical about, since Greece has a rocky soil, so close encounters with boulders is a very common thing. Added the fact that the bike is fully loaded with fuel and luggage, this seriously reduces ground clearance in deep ruts and small jumps, because the springs are working overtimes. In reality though, the carbon-fiber bash plate did not show any kind of stress marks or cracks. It stood perfect while tackling the harsh Greek mountain roads.

Last feature of the perfect Adventure bike is reliability. So, “plug & play” was the only option that we were looking for and this kit has it. The Aurora 701RR kit is the only one in the market today that uses OEM Rally Factory parts and does not modify the frame in any way. This way you do not loose the official Husqvarna warranty and this is something very important in our book.

Combine that with the confidence that this kit will survive everything you throw at it, with brackets that come with a limited life warranty, you got really nice deal here.

Luggage System

On our off-road / adventure motorcycles we are using exclusively Soft Luggage for a variety of reasons. You can give yourself a read about that in our Hard or Soft Luggage blog post.

We like to ride as compact as possible

In our Mythical 701 Rally Replica bikes we are using Enduristan Sandstorm 4H tankbag to safe keep our cameras and other electronics from water, dust or whatever we encounter. For all of our tools, spear air tubes and clothes we are using Enduristan Blizzard L Saddle Bags to keep everything safe and maintain a low center of gravity. For our saddle bags we are not using any kind of frame, so we can keep the added weight to a minimal. Last storage item used is the Enduristan Tail Pack, a fast-accessibly bag with a zipper design to safe keep some items that we would need to use frequently, like a second dry-fit shirt, a Gore Tex soft shell, or a power-bar.

AURORA 701 Rally Replica Highlights

Speaking with Dimitris, head-developer of the 701RR, is always cool since you always learn many things about the fascinating Rally world. This is his analysis of the 701RR kit:

Fuel System

A fully loaded Aurora 701RR will hold approximately 28 liters of fuel. We chose to use the KTM factory parts. The fuel pump is located on the right tank, while the left is waiting to be upgraded with a third pump should you travel to the ends of Earth! Tripe layered racing heat reflector is installed to protect the tanks from the heat generated.
The fuel piping uses billet non-return valves and OEM quick release couplings, but also adds two extra fuel filters in the system. A secondary fuel piping can be installed as a spare system on the bike, ready to be connected in case the primary one is damaged. Thermal protection is installed in all the critical areas of the fuelling lines to prevent over-heating.
Aurora 701RR comes with two fuel pumps manually selectable. We added the OEM Keihin, rally pump and its fuel warning light to ensure that the rider will get to the next resting point whatever the circumstances. It is known that the KTM690 fuel pumps were failing sooner or later, so the extra fuel pump is necessary. Due to the laws of hydraulics and the geometry of the bike, the tanks cannot be interconnected (and they are not, even on the rally bike) so the two fuel pumps are necessary for optimal performance.

Tank Brackets

This is the only kit in worldwide today that uses the OEM KTM factory tanks and does not modify the frame in any way. While other ‘garage’ built kits will force the builders to modify the frame of the bike, invalidating the warranty in most of the countries that the bike is sold, the Aurora 701 leaves the frame unharmed.
Pioneering in materials use and design, these tank brackets are the strongest in the market to date.  While sheet metal is cheap to make. It does not have neither the integrity nor the strength of billet parts. We, at Aurora Rally Equipment, made no compromise in designing and building something that will last the lifetime of the vehicle. Installation is a breeze, no need to remove the internals of the rear tank or other major parts of the bike to install them.
The CNC brackets, made from Aluminium or ST37, allow some flexibility in case of a crash, yet they are warrantied for the life of the vehicle.

Head Clamp

One of the most important parts on the bike. Holding the navigation tower and electrics. When collaborating with winning teams, we know that failure is not an option. Aurora Rally Equipment is active in the Rally scene since 2013 and our equipment has won multiple times in the mighty Africa Eco Race and Dakar. We have used data logging equipment to understand the forces involved during riding and crashing. Using temperature loggers and three axis accelerometers on Rally bikes, we designed a pioneering head clamp like no other. Machined out of a solid block of aluminium, using the stock mounting points on the bike, our innovative design uses a third anchor point to increase strength and stability. Once again, this clamp is warrantied for the life of the vehicle.

Navigation Tower

The navigation tower on the 701RR is like no other. Easy cable access, strong yet flexible to protect your valuable gear, this tower can be transformed either to a digital setup using HighwayDirtbikes unique ipad and iphone cases, or to a rally cockpit using the winning Aurora Rally Equipment products. This tower comes with special rivet nuts so there is no need to put nuts and washers in the critical, no easy to access places.

Lights

If you decide to take it the long way and wonder in the dark, you have the perfect combination of lights. OEM Hella light with a Baja Squadron Sport keep you both legal and safe. The option to replace the Sport with the Pro model, as well as add another two Squadrons can lit up the road with almost 10.000 lumens! The RGB position light allows you to create a unique setup according to your mood and the soon to be released thin sheet lights will give the bike an appearance like no other bike on the road.

 

* More information about the AURORA 701 RR kit can be found here

KTM 950 Super Enduro R

The KTM 950 Super Enduro R .. how can you describe that beast? The Super Enduro concept was prototyped in 2004-2005 and took it’s final form in 2006. The project was fueled by the ongoing war between KTM and BMW for the construction of the most extreme large cc enduro motorcycle ever created. In 2006 it dominated it’s main adversary, the mighty BMW HP2, and the rest of the competing motorcycles in the Prologue Race of the Erzberg Rodeo 2006. With only 3000 units ever produced and a 100hp twin cylinder engine, it was the Beast Supreme!

Having the KTM 950 Super Enduro R in the garage, you find it difficult to classify it as an “adventure motorcycle” as it looks like most KTM enduro bikes do. Only when you park it next to one, you realize the sky-hi saddle height, the extra long wheelbase and that LC8 beast V2 hiding, not particularly well, under the tank.

The only way it likes to be ridden ..

Having all the positives of it’s 950/990 Adventure brother (minus the wind protection) and with 40kg less weight, it has phenomenal off-road performance. The WP USD Ø 48mm forks and WP monoshock PDS, even in stock form, work much better than the Adventure – even though they are perfect for solo rides. You can not easily adjust the rear spring pre-load for pillion (the shock has to be removed), but it’s not something it is built for. With 265mm of suspension travel it will swallow any obstacle found in it’s way and it is perfect for high speed dirt riding with very quick handling.

The V2 engine is a real dynamite, capable of destroying a rear tire in just a ride and the aggressive riding position instantly puts you in race mode. At every opportunity you want to fully open the throttle and hold on for dear life. You instantly realize that KTM has created the toughest, baddest naked adventure bike of its generation.

It will literally take you anywhere

As we have said many times (Adventure Bikes | What’s Best for you?), “if you can not pick up your bike fully loaded, in any situation, then it is not an adventure bike“. With 180kg dry weight it can reach the 200-220kg territory loaded with everything you need. So, if you have been doing your dead-lifts, you can pick it up with relative ease. It is not featherweight, but it’s nowhere near as heavy as any twin adventure motorcycle out there. The single cylinder 690/701 are lighter, but they will never have THAT engine ..

Adventurizing the Super Enduro

Having a solid off-road platform, I only had to focus into fixing it’s mechanical issues and adjusting it to our travel-enduro needs. With a 950cc twin engine, road sections are covered with ease. I did not want to add a rally screen, since it would transform it into a 950 Adventure with almost the same weight. It would also loose it’s off-road strong point, the ability to enter single-track gnarly trails without having a visor blocking the view in front of you. The KTM 690 screen does the job perfectly. You have a buffet-free ride, without too much air in your chest and with no added weight. Stick to road limits and you can cover distances without much fatigue. It’s not a GS, but it doesn’t weight 350kg either.

Ergonomics are dealt with a set of Rox 2” Pivoting Bar Risers and Pivot Pegz WIDE MK3 Foot Pegs. These make a big difference in comfort. The Rox Risers can be adjusted to position you perfectly over the bars and the Pivot Pegz give you a much wider area to stand on. Another option was the KTM Rally pegs, but having used the pivot pegs in previous builds, I just loved the ease of the pivoting action they provide.

The center stand is a must for any Adventure motorcycle. It is way easier to use it than to search for a rock or a log in the event of a flat tire. It doen’t add too much weight (relative to the bike’s weight) and the KTM 990 S/R center stand fits without any modifications. A true bolt-on upgrade.

Free-riding is fun on the Super Enduro

The only actual poor design of the Super Enduro is the position of the oil tank under the radiator. It is tough and will survive a small hit, partially protected the oem bash plate, but a big crush will move it. Once it moves, it will break your radiator and that’s it, you are stuck! I really did not want to go the oil tank relocation mods way, so I opted for the next best thing: The Adv-Spec Bashplate is super sexy, built like a tank with a 5mm aircraft grade aluminum construction, it will keep weight down while providing plenty of protection. It ads a third fixing point just before the center stand (total 6 fixing bolts instead of the stock 4 bolts) that will prevent any movement from the oil tank. Another usual LC8 issue is the leaking secondary clutch cylinder. A great solution is the Oberon Clutch Slave Cylinder. Once added you forget that LC8s even had that problem.

Last issue is the heat. All you can do is remove the SAS crap and the catalytic converter of the stock mufflers. I fitted the delicious FMF Q4 Slip-On Exhaust, fixed the fueling and that’s it. Except for the sound upgrade, the only reason you install a slip-on exhaust is the weight and heat benefits. The Super Enduro does not lack power .. trust me on that.

Mileage is a bit low. The beast is thirsty and the stock 13 liters of fuel capacity (3.43 gal) don’t help. The first solution that comes in mind is to add a 30lt Safari Tank. If we were located in Africa or Australia this would be my first upgrade, even though the added weight upfront does not help the dynamic characteristics of the bike. If you can reach 230+km of fuel range, you can just make it in Greece. You will always be a bit worried about mileage, but you will eventually reach the next gas station. A great solution is Nenduro’s KTM 950SE Rally Fuel Tank that adds 2+ extra gallons, but requires that you convert to 2 into 1 exhaust to make room for the tank. I actually bought it, but didn’t ever use it, since I am in love with the look of the twin pipes. So, my only solution is the use of the RotopaX Gasoline Packs. They help the SE reach the 230+km of fuel range and look awesome! The Super Enduro does not feature a rack, but that was easy to fix. I installed the 6mm aluminum MWW Luggage Rack (fabricated by Most Wanted Warehouse in Greece).

Luggage System

On our off-road adventure tours we are using exclusively Soft Luggage for a variety of reasons. You can give yourself a read about that in our Hard or Soft Luggage  article.

Maximum volume, minimum weight and 100% weatherproof

With the Mythical 950 Super Enduro we are using Enduristan Sandstorm 4H tankbag to keep our cameras and other electronics safe from water & dust. All of our tools, tubes and heavy items we are using Enduristan Blizzard L Saddle Bags to keep everything safe and maintain a low center of gravity, very important wiyh any tall motorcycle. The saddlebags help much as a bumper when the bike falls and keep it higher, so easier to lift. For the saddle bags we are not using any kind of frame, in order to keep the added weight to a minimum. The LC8’s twin pipes tail is just perfect for this application. The pipes support all the weight and the only modification you will ever need to do is to ad the Enduristan Universal Exhaust Heat Shields.

Last storage item used with the Super Enduro is the Enduristan Tornado 2M Pack Sack, above the RotopaX, straped to the MWW Luggage Rack. We keep very light items here like camp shoes and layers, a Gore Tex soft shell, or a power-bar.

 

* More information about almost all items used to upgrade the KTM can be found here

Enduristan Tail Pack

We usually have our Tank bags and Saddle Bags stuffed with all the necessary clothes, electronics and tools. The one thing that we were missing was a fast-accessibly bag, with a zipper design to securely store some items that we would need to access fast and easily, like a second dry-fit shirt, a Gore Tex soft shell, or a power-bar.

Enduristan Tail Pack sits perfect on the 701RR

Enter the Enduristan Tail Pack. It sits on the rear rack, it is made by a fully waterproof 3-layer fabric making it 100% water and dust proof and features YKK waterproof zipper for fast accessibility. It has a capacity of 8 liters, more than enough for your gear.

Enduristan Tail Pack features a Red inner liner for high visibility

The Tail Pack is made from Enduristan’s new 3-layer fabric, a supreme high-tech material. The outer layer of extremely abrasion resistant polymer protects your belongings whilst the inner layer is made of high visibility red vinyl. In between a 1000D Nylon mesh is embedded. The mesh is densely woven yet flexible to allow the 1000D Nylon filaments to align in the direction of the stress for maximum tear resistance.

The added 8 liters of the Tail Pack are more than enough to keep your most used items close to you, but safe from the elements.

Enduristan Tail Pack Highlights

  • Red inner liner for high visibility
  • Outside heavy duty mesh pocket with Velcro lock
  • Elastic netting storage
  • Cargo loops to attach additional gear
  • Quick access via zipper
  • Fully waterproof
  • 4 hook straps for secure attachment to luggage rack
  • Large reflecting logo on backside for maximum visibility
  • Heavy duty zipper
  • 1 zipper pocket under cover
  • Mesh pockets under cover with Velcro lock
  • 22 elastic holding loops for small items
  • 2 D-rings on the outside to connect a shoulder strap (separately available)
  • Softgrip handle

* More information about Enduristan Tail Pack here

KLiM Quest Glove

Everyone has their personal taste when it comes to gloves. Let’s start with the fact that I hate thick winter gloves and rarely use them. So for me to choose thick winter fully insulated gloves was out of the question. I wear almost exclusively enduro gloves all year round, so I only needed a second waterproof and breathable glove as part of my arsenal for when I hit the tarmac in a cold winter ride, or when we get these winter rainy rides off-road.

When KLiM suggested that we give a try at their all new for 2017 collection, the Adventure and the Quest gloves, we were not sure how to choose one. The new Adventure glove was supposed to be replacing the original Adventure glove, but not really. The new Adventure glove is a much thicker, Gore-Tex glove that shines in cold weather, but hasn’t got a chance in replacing the original glove in Mediterranean climates. The glove that actually replaces the original KLiM Adventure glove is the KLiM Dakar Pro glove, but we’ll get into that in a future post.

If after 6 hours of continuous rain in 4-5 °C you are still smiling, then your gear is really waterproof !!

Then we read the specs and figured out that they are not actually insulated winter gloves, but the were designed for the touring & off-road rider that need waterproof gloves that do not loose the feedback from the bike. We finally opted for the Quest Long glove, since we would use them only in bad and very cold weather and mainly for on-road use. The Quest felt a bit comfier than the Adventure and the “long” version is the only way to go for full protection in wet conditions.

The Quest/Adventure gloves are not winter gloves like the KLiM Elite gloves (that actually feature 160 grams of insulation), but the advanced Gore-Tex® waterproof and breathable climate control systems ensure that they go the distance year after year. In the heart of the Greek winter your fingers are warm, but a set of heated grips wouldn’t hurt. The Autumn and Spring mountain-cold weather is were they really shine. You feel comfy and nice and even when it gets a bit hot, the breathable construction helps you to keep cool. When it comes to waterproofness, well I rest my case. There is absolutely no way that the water gets inside. Period!

The Quest glove goes the distance year after year

Overall we are very happy with our choice and I thank that it is an essential part of any Adventure Gear as a complimentary waterproof glove -or- as a main glove in really bad or snowy situations.

Quest glove Features

  • Gore-Tex® + Gore Grip technology
  • guaranteed to keep you Dry®
  • all leather construction
  • gauntlet design for over or under cuff use
  • Poron® XRD® protective foam under hard knuckle protector & under palm slide pad
  • accordion stretch on backhand
  • 3M™ Scotchlite™ reflective material
  • moisture-wicking liner material
  • entry assist loop
  • Velcro gauntlet closure

* More information about KLiM Quest Glove here

KLiM Badlands

Adventure Riding is one of the most demanding applications for motorcycle clothes. They have to perform in many different and often contradictory conditions. They need to be 100% waterproof without the ridiculous habit of requiring a vinyl overcoat, yet they need to be able to breath in warm weather. They have to be able to withstand impact with rocks, tarmac and whatever the road brings your way, yet they have to be in a relatively light so that you can wear them comfortably for 11+ hours per day – every day.

This year we have both switched from the KLiM Adventure Rally to the KLiM Badlands and our thoughts are very positive. The new Badlands feels very light, lighter than the old Badlands Pro and much lighter than the Adventure Rally. As a matter of fact you feel very impressed and puzzled with such a weight difference.

The D3O T5 EVO Pro XT protective pads are smaller in thickness that the Adventure Rally’s equivalent XERGO pads, but they remain thick enough to provide you with the necessary protection. After all they are bigger than anything else provided in the market today (except of the ones used at the Adventure Rally).

KLIM Badlands in its natural environment

In this new Badlands, KLiM added Superfabric (since only the Adventure Rally used to feature it). This stuff really works! I took a 80+km tarmac slide on my Adventure Rally and after I washed it, I could not see any scrape marks on it at all. Crazy stuff.

Ventilation is an area that the Badlands surpasses the Adventure Rally (and the previous Badlands Pro). It’s not just the number of vents, but the position that they are placed and the extra room you have inside the suit in comparison with a same size Adventure Rally. They just work fantastic. Even the side intake vents of the pant, though they look the same, bring much more air inside the pants. Yes, this is a Mediterranean-hot-summer Adventure Suit as well!

Hydration wise, like the old model’s there is an internal dedicated back-pocket to add a hydration bladder and works great, but if you have used the Adventure Rally’s external hydration pocket + internal harness for weigh distribution, you kind of miss it when you add more than 1,5lt (max is 3lt).

Fit is way better than the previous Badlands Pro and you could even describe it as “European Fit”. Feels comfortable even when you wear it all day long.

The Perfect Suit

If you had to find the perfect Adventure Suits, the one that is protective but not over-built, tough but also light, totally waterproof but breathable, this would be the one. If you could only have one suit for everything, from Adventure to Off-road to Touring riding and everything in-between, this would be it. And the reason is:

  1. it features big protective armor without being overkill
  2. it is 100% weatherproof without sacrificing breath-ability
  3. it features heavy-duty fabrics like the Superfabric without being heavy
  4. it is full of features without being too flashy
  5. it features kidney belt and chest protector for when you might need them
  6. it features increased low-light visibility without the need to use Hi-Vis colors
  7. it has more venting ports than you can remember
  8. it is backed up by KLiM’s legendary name and warranty

In order to be a real World Traveler, your gear must be ready for anything.

Updates are everywhere

Badlands features

  • improved comfort and fit
  • new Gore-Tex® 3-layer pro shell material on main body reduces weight without sacrificing durability/weatherproofness
  • Gore-Tex® 3-layer pro shell talisman superfabric® abrasion-resistant material on shoulders, elbows and forearm shrug off abrasion
  • easier hydration bladder access
  • jacket-to-pant zipper has been standardized (40cm) which enables users to zip different new pants and jackets together
  • new collar fit for greater coverage and comfort
  • collar can snap back to allow for more ventilation
  • custom tpu zipper pulls, pocket flap grips and zipper garages
  • hypalon headphone access port
  • shortened wrist gaiter for increased comfort
  • additional venting ports on outer chest—10 ports total
  • improved cuff material resists wear
  • arm vent storm flaps feature a more secure closure and opening system while providing higher levels of weatherproof construction
  • improved venting via easier-to-access side chest ports and lower body vents
  • refined armor placement and new exterior adjustment straps keep limb armor in place
  • guaranteed to keep you Dry®
  • Gore-Tex® 3-layer pro laminate technology
  • Gore-Tex® pro laminates—the most breathable, most durable motorsports shell construction available
  • high-mobility active fit patterning for unmatched comfort
  • Gore-Tex® 3-layer pro shell material on main body
  • Gore-Tex® 3-layer pro shell talisman superfabric® abrasion-resistant material on shoulders, elbows and forearm
  • Gore-Tex® 3-layer pro shell armacor™ material on back, chest and waist pockets
  • pre-curved arm and rider positioning construction
  • Gore-Tex® stretch back/shoulder panels minimize restriction of movement
  • 3M scotchlite™ industrial grade reflective materials on panels and trim for increased low-light visibility
  • Velcro® brand fasteners adjustable wrist closures
  • forearm and bicep sleeve adjustment straps
  • vt10 YKK® Vislon® aquagard water resistant zippers
  • D3O™ T5 Evo pro XT elbow and shoulder pieces included (exceed level 1 ce certification for pren1621-1:2011 testing)
  • D3O™ Viper pro back piece (exceeds level 2 ce certification for en1621-2 testing)
  • siliconized spacer mesh front chest armor
  • adjustable armor pockets for refined armor placement
  • 7 external pockets* [2 chest, 2 waist, spot pocket on left chest, id/licence pocket on left forearm one large storage pocket on exterior back]
  • four internal pockets + one hidden interior passport pocket [2 zippered, 2 mesh stash, 1 hidden)
  • waterproof internal pocket
  • hydration bladder compartment and internal hose route (bladder not included)
  • removable and adjustable kidney belt jacket-stabilizing support system
  • bottom hem adjustment
  • jacket-to-pant zipper integration system
  • 4 sleeve adjustment straps
  • lined comfort collar
  • moisture-wicking mesh comfort liner
  • velcro® wrist closures
  • key fob: yellow clip attached to shock cord in top of chest pockets
  • 2 chest, 2 side, 2 biceps and 2 forearm intake vents
  • 2 vertical back exhaust vents

* More information about KLiM Badlands here

 

Enduristan Sandstorm 4H tankbag

When ADV-traveling, it is necessary to find the best quality Bag for your gear. It must be 100% waterproof & very durable to usage wear. There is nothing more annoying than arriving to your destination and finding out that your gear is wet.

One of the first bags that you usually add to a motorcycle is the Tank Bag. Located above the tank, it is the most versatile place to store items that you use the most and want to reach often. This could be your camera, your Med-kit, your wallet or your phone. Using printed maps is also a must in Adventure travel situations, so the Tankbags’s conveniently placed map-holder on top makes it even more useful.

Red inner lining for high visibility and removable inner pouch

Our choice was the Enduristan Sandstorm 4H Tank Bag, made from Enduristan’s new 3-layer fabric, a supreme high-tech material. The outer layer of extremely abrasion resistant polymer protects your belongings whilst the inner layer is made of high visibility red vinyl. In between a 1000D Nylon mesh is embedded. The mesh is densely woven yet flexible to allow the 1000D Nylon filaments to align in the direction of the stress for maximum tear resistance.

It features a waterproof YKK zipper covered on the backside and an all welded design. The main compartment is 100% waterproof. You don’t need any rain cover and there is no inner bag you additionally need to open. Elastic ROKstraps ensure, that your tank bag stays in place also on the toughest tracks. Quick release buckles allow easy refueling and fastening. This tank bag is 100% water, mud, snow and dust proof and has a fix capacity of 7 liters.

You can willie all day long, without noticing he 4H

Many guys riding off-road in hard trails don’t like tankbags in general for one good reason: They are often too large and get in the way. Thus Sandstorm 4H is designed without stiff reinforcement, is flexible and has an optimized shape without the “nutter-effect”.

The added 7 liters of the Sandstorm are more than enough to keep your most used items close to you, but safe from the elements.

Sandstorm 4H tankbag Highlights

  • Soft, unreinforced design, no “nutter-effect”
  • Large waterproof map pocket (27.5 x 19 cm)
  • Red inner lining for high visibility
  • Waterproof cable ducts to main compartment and map pocket
  • 1 fold-away separators in the main compartment: Fold it in to divide your bag, fold it away to have one large compartment
  • Fold-away separator can be placed at any required position along the length of the tankbag
  • 1 zipper pocket on the separator
  • 1 zipper pocket in the main compartment
  • Various holding loops in the main compartment
  • Removable document pouch under the cover with pen holder, mesh pocket and key ring
  • Deluxe shoulder strap separately available
  • ROKstraps can be stored under the floor construction for comfortable carrying
  • Firm seat under even the most extreme off road riding
  • Easy fastening, quick removal
  • Quick access for refueling
  • No flapping straps
  • Washable and easy to clean
  • Built to last

* More information about Enduristan Sandstorm 4H tankbag here

Enduristan Blizzard Saddle Bags

When ADV-traveling, it is necessary to find the best quality Bag for your gear. It must be 100% waterproof & very durable to usage wear. There is nothing more annoying than arriving to your destination and finding out that your gear is wet.

In our article Hard or Soft Luggage, you can read our thoughts about why we choose to use only Soft Luggage for off-road riding. The brand that we have chosen to use is Enduristan, a Swiss company founded in 2008 by Christoph von Ow, Isabel Jenni and David Jenni. The company aims to design and produce innovative, high quality products for individualists for the touring markets. Their products are strong, intelligently engineered and long lasting. They are products produced by off-road users for off-road users.

Soft Saddlebags are the most efficient way of loading your bike

The best way to load your gear to the motorcycle, both for road and off-road use, is with a Saddle Bag. The weight is located low, so the dynamic performance of the motorcycle is changed as less as possible. There are many options available out there, but our focus was in a set of 100% weatherproof, tough to survive off-road abuse and as compact as possible – since if you carry too much the dynamics of the bike will change drastically. Another important factor is that the bags should not get in the way while riding aggressively.

Enduristan Blizzard L Saddle Bags are ready to take you anywhere

Our choice was Enduristan Blizzard L Saddle Bags, made by a fully waterproof 3-layer fabric, roll-top closure and an all welded construction. The bags are 100% water, mud, snow and dust proof and come in three sizes (S, M, L) and ranges all the way from 2×6 to 2×12 liters, depending on size. We went with the L size since they are the ideal compromise between storage capacity and small size.

The Blizzard Saddle Bags are made from Enduristan’s new 3-layer fabric, a supreme high-tech material. The outer layer of extremely abrasion resistant polymer protects your belongings whilst the inner layer is made of high visibility red vinyl. In between a 1000D Nylon mesh is embedded. The mesh is densely woven yet flexible to allow the 1000D Nylon filaments to align in the direction of the stress for maximum tear resistance.

Blizzard L Saddle Bags are perfect for any mid & large Adventure motorcycle

Riding off-road with the added 2×12 liters of the Blizzard, the dynamics of the bike do not change much and the bags do not get in your way while wrestling with the motorcycle. On steep descents you can really move all the way back to the rear of the seat, an important riding position off-road, a position that can’t be accomplished with the use of a Loop Bag design.

The two compression straps on the Blizzard Saddle Bags can easily be converted into an interface to attach a Bottle Holster or a Fender Bag (size M or L only). Like this you can add 2 x 1.5 liter additional volume, 2 x 1 liter fuel or a combination of both. On top of the Blizzard Saddle Bags, there is placement to attach two more Bottle Holsters to increase the range of your hard enduro. The rear of your bike remains free to attach a Pack Sack, a Rally Pack or any XS Base Pack, in order to add storage space, without limiting your freedom of movement.

Blizzard Saddle Bags Highlights

  • Does not require rack
  • Fits any enduro or adventure bike
  • Red inner lining for high visibility
  • 4 compression straps per bag
  • 2 rows of cargo loops to attach additional gear
  • 4 interfaces to attach Bottle Holsters
  • 2 interfaces to attach Fender Bags (size M and L only)
  • Ergonomic soft grip handles
  • Deluxe shoulder strap separately available
  • Firm seat under even the most extreme off road riding
  • Easy fastening, quick removal
  • Distance between bags adjustable
  • Fore-aft placement fully adjustable
  • No flapping straps
  • Washable and easy to clean
  • Built to last

* More information about Enduristan Blizzard Saddle Bags here