KTM 790 ADV-R vs BMW F850GS

We have been switching between KTM and BMW for the last 15 years and have owned most of their motorcycle milestones. Even though most of these motorcycles are great for all-round purpose, one always stood out for pure adventure riding, so the bet was to find a genuine replacement for the KTM 990 Adventure R, the best twin-cylinder adventure motorcycle ever created.

Join our Central Greece Adventure for an epic trip, testing in real-life adventure conditions the brand new KTM Adventure 790 R head to head against it’s best rival today, the BMW F850GS Rally and KTMs most hardcore incarnation yet, the KTM 950 Super Enduro R.

BMW F850GS Rally


Last year we switched back to BMW and it’s brand new F850GS Rally, the best-suited model for our needs. Its 21″ front wheel, relatively lightweight and use of chain instead of shaft drive made it ideal for off-road adventure. We wanted something easy to ride, comfortable enough and able to carry our luggage. Also, since we ain’t getting any younger, cruise control, heated grips and electronic assistance were welcome. We also installed the optional BMW rally pegs since the OEM are not suited for riding in a standing position and AltRider 1” bar risers to help handle the many kilometers in standing position.

The twin BMW inline engine of the F850GS operates flawlessly and performs exactly how an adventure motorcycle engine should. It delivers enough torque to wheelie when it is required and produces minimal vibration, contrary to BMWs boxer engines. Brakes are fairly good with strong initial bite and can handle very well the excess heat generated in adventure riding conditions. The rear brake has an excellent feeling and in the “Enduro Pro” mode helps ride the motorcycle with controlled slides while keeping the ABS on for the front system.

The F850GS is a fantastic motorcycle to ride on the tarmac and feels like a proper street bike making you feel very safe. It is stable in all speeds, has moderate wind protection but zero helmet buffeting and is one of the most comfortable bikes we have ever ridden, with the optional comfort seat. It also features a nice quick shifter system, with a not so nice feeling of the gear lever, and a full off-road electrics package called “Enduro Pro” that helps you ride fast and safe.

When riding the middleweight beemer off-road in a seated position, or with slow sub 45km/h speeds, it performs flawlessly. Once you get excited and start asking for more the GS starts showing its various construction limitations with the lack of a proper suspension being the most notable. The front suspension keeps bottoming out as soon as you hit something hard, making the need for engine protection a true necessity since it keeps hitting every extruding rock. We addressed that with the built-as-a-tank construction of an AltRider skid plate.

A second side effect of the same problem is that even though it feels comfortable at low speeds, as soon as speed rises above 50-60 km/h every generated force is poorly damped and directed to the entire front system and your wrists. Another suspension problem emerger when the terrain became hard with planted rocks and the ESA equipped GS makes it impossible to find traction because of its very slow, non-adjustable, rebound setting.

In our opinion, if BMW had raised the bar on the F850GS suspension system we would be talking about a completely different motorcycle, very suited for all purposes and possible best adventure middleweight contender. It kind of reminds us of the HP2 Enduro that had the geometry characteristics to be a Super Enduro rival but is stock form was seriously lacking in suspension.

KTM 790 Adventure R


After owning almost everything in the legendary LC8 range, from the touring-oriented 950/990 Adventure to the radical 950 Super Enduro we were eager to find out if the 790 would win where the 1090/1290 failed: to become a true successor of the 990, the benchmark in twin-cylinder adventure motorcycles. For 2019-2020 we have ordered a couple of KTM 790 Adventure R since we were pretty confident that the ingredients for success were there. The brand new 790R is behaving completely different from what it looks and it is the first time an adventure bike ever looked that weird!

Our 790R is fitted with almost every available from the KTM Power Parts and we added the AltRider 1″ bar raisers and swapped the pegs for a set of 3″ wide PivotPegs for added rider comfort. We also turned the upper handlebar clamps 180 degrees to move our shoulders in a more relaxed angle for standing up position. An issue we had with the KTM right out the box is with the fuel level indicator not working properly, hopefully, fixable with some future software update.

Also if you are using the S model taller screen as we did, the bike gets higher overall wind protection, but helmet buffeting is very annoying, so we ended using the stock smaller R screen. Nevertheless, the F850GS has a cleaner helmet airflow.

The ergonomic characteristics of the 790R are great since you fell “on” the motorcycle and not trapped “in” the motorcycle as per all GS designs. Only weird thing is that the position of the footpegs is a bit back from its ideal position, so you keep adjusting your foot every time you place it on the pegs. A possible reason for this is that your toes keep touching the lower part of the tank, especially if you are an 11+ US size boot.

Another issue with the 790 design is that the rear side fenders that hold the tools are some made from some sort of thermoplastic and when riding with the added weight of soft saddlebags rested on them, they become loose. As a matter of fact, in our 3 days tour, one side came apart from the bike while riding.

Riding the 790R KTM on road, the front high fender produces some tremble on the bars and the motorcycle wobbles after 150km/h with the std Metzeler Karoo 3. From the first few kilometers, the KTM feels super stiff and stopped to check the std suspension setting that the bike was delivered with. Our goal is to find the perfect long-distance adventure motorcycle and not some rally replica. The std setting was adjusted to comfort setting and immediately the 790R felt more friendly both on and off the road.

The geometry of the 790R is super crisp and you could say that it is a 950 Super Enduro with some specs from 950-990 Adventure. Typically KTM, power and throttle response was there to help you pass anything on your way. You simply open the gas and orange magic makes all obstacles disappear! Even though this is the first parallel-twin adventure motorcycle for KTM, and even though it lacks its ancestor’s engine displacement, it will be hard for any V-Twin like the 1090R and 1190R to escape it when ridden hard on gravel roads. Of course, when talking brute power, the Super Enduro will easily outrun it on a drag race.

The suspension is typical KTM. Perfect and precise transforming any gravel road to smooth tarmac. It’s better than the old std 950/990, but not as precise as the 990R was. Travel isn’t much, for KTM standards, but it’s enough. KTM electronics work and in the 790R work very well. As per engine management, there are many settings to choose from, but when chaced by two Super Enduros, maybe you should stick to “Rally Mode”. Even though electronically aided riding is the only way forward, many KTM purists insist that it takes all the fun away.

Talking to a Belgian friend about the 790R Rally mode and the 9 levels of engine management, he replied that his beloved Super Enduro has only two modes: full gas or no gas! He did order whatsoever one of the first European limited production 790R Rally models, so we will be making a future test of the updated suspension kit. Regarding electronics, even Chris Birch told us when we met him at the KTM Adventure Rally Bosnia that he keeps his bike electronics “on”. The minimum setting, but “on”. And this says a lot about the future of adventure motorcycles.

Conclusions


Riding both bikes on the tarmac has a similar feeling since both bikes feel light and agile. Both feel too small for your average north European rider (I am 1.88m tall) and for tarmac-only riding we would rather choose their bigger equivalents.
Comfort-wise there is no doubt that the F850GS wins any day and this is simply because it is excessively soft. You will get diving under heavy braking on both motorcycles, but except for the R1200/1250GS, there no other way to get soft suspension settings and avoid diving under braking or heavy acceleration. KTMs electronically assisted try on this with the anti-dive system on the 1290T simply never worked well.

On the other hand, when road conditions deteriorate or when you start asking for more than mere transportation, then the orange beast leaps away howling at the mountains. Then you get reminded that the “ready to race” motto is more than a catchword.

The last thing to consider is history if anyone is interested in that in an age where we keep swapping motorcycles faster than helmets. If the KTM 790, rumored to become an 890 next year, make such a long-lasting impact as the 950/990 did remains to be seen. The miderange BMW, on the other hand, will not last in time, since it is always growing under the heavy shadow of a bigger brother. BMW is aware of this and maybe this is the reason for their sudden change of motorcycle choice for the GS Trophy 2020. Maybe this is an effort to make the midrange parallel-twin a true protagonist in BMWs future.

We will be sticking with both brands for the near future, using them more according to their design. Time to go back for another Mythical Routes adventure.

Featured Gear


All BMW and KTM motorcycles featured in this article are the property of Mythical Routes, so there is no sponsoring involved in our review.
All Klim, Enduristan, and AltRider equipment featured in this article is provided by Most Wanted Warehouse, sales agents of all the above brands in Greece.

Tour Packages

Our carefully planned Adventure Tours connect the most important archeological sites with each-other, giving emphasis on the adventure experience while riding through the breathtaking scenery of long mountain ridges, remote dragon lakes, and isolated mountain hi-planes.

Our carefully planned tour packages can be modulated to fit any touring need. You can ride with your own motorcycle accompanied by one of our experienced guides, or you can participate in one of our all-inclusive packages that provide everything but your airplane tickets.

We are partners with BMW Motorrad Vagianelis and KTM Mimikos Motorcore, so all of our motorcycles are carefully serviced with the highest standards and certifications available. For On-Road Tours we can provide almost any motorcycle from the GS range, and for  our Off-Road Tours we can provide selected options from the LC4 and LC8 range.

Motorcycle Tour Packages


Provided

Services

All

Inclusive

Economy

Tour

Budget

Tour

Guide

Only

Tour Guide
Motorcycle Rental
Allianz Insurance*
24/7 Road Assistance*
Motorcycle Fuel
Road Tool
Hotel with breakfast
 All Meals
Archeological Site
(ATH) Airport pickup
Klim Discount
Enduristan Discount
Price/Day** (incl. VAT) €360 €300 €240 €70
*Not valid for off-road tracks **Price is based on a 6 Riders Group with BMW F850GS Rental (panniers included & full casco insurance)

Live a Mythical Adventure with us!

All of our Adventure Tours come with a leading Tour Guide rider and the possibility of a support vehicle if required. The BMW GS range motorcycles we can provide are perfect for Greece’s terrain featuring a high loading capacity, ease of use and top of the line rider comfort. A complete list of the available GS motorcycles, provided services, motorcycle gear discounts and Enduro Training can be found in the links below:

Rent A Ride

Greece is a motorcycle paradise, blessed with majestic scenery and rich ancient history. Our climate is mild and there is almost no probation for riding off-road in amazing routes. Our carefully planned Adventures connect the most important archeological sites with each-other, giving emphasis on the adventure experience while riding through the breathtaking scenery of long mountain ridges, remote dragon lakes and resting under a million stars in isolated hi-planes.

Only when you ride with a local you can see the true face of this country.

While some say that nothing is better than exploring these lands on your trusted motorcycle, this is not always possible. For the biggest part of riders shipping their own motorcycle in Greece for a week or two just doesn’t worth the effort. Should this stop you? Certainly not since you can rent one from us!

We are partners with BMW Motorrad Vagianelis and KTM Mimikos Motorcore, so all of our motorcycles are carefully serviced with the highest standards and certifications available. For On-Road Tours we can provide almost any motorcycle from the GS range, and for Off-Road Tours, we can provide selected options from the LC4 and LC8 range.

ON-ROAD TOURS

BMW R1200GS

BMW F850GS

ON-ROAD / OFF-ROAD TOURS

KTM 790 ADV-R

KTM 690 ENDURO-R

All of our Adventure Tours come with a leading Tour Guide rider and the possibility of a Support Vehicle if required.

Motorcycle Rental Pricelist


MOTORCYCLE

MODEL

1-3

days

4-7

days

Damage

Deposit*

R1200GSA

(APR-MAY)

€160/day €150/day €1000
R1200GSA

(JUN-SEP)

€180/day €170/day €1000
R1200GS

(APR-MAY)

€140/day €135/day €1000
R1200GS

(JUN-SEP)

€160/day €150/day €1000
F850GS

(APR-MAY)

€125/day €120/day €800
F850GS

(JUN-SEP)

€140/day €130/day €800
790R

(APR-MAY)

€140/day €135/day €2500
790R

(JUN-SEP)

€160/day €150/day €2500
690R

(APR-MAY)

€125/day €120/day €1500
690R

(JUN-SEP)

€140/day €130/day €1500
 *Motorcycles used on off-road tracks are not covered by any insurance

Rental Price Includes


All above rental prices include VAT and the following services:

  • 24/7 Road Assistance (valid for BMW motorcycles only)*
  • Unlimited mileage
  • BMW Alarm (valid for BMW motorcycles only)
  • GPS tracking system (valid for BMW motorcycles only)
  • BMW Brake disc lock (valid for BMW motorcycles only)
  • Third-party liability cover by Allianz (valid for BMW motorcycles only)*
  • Full Casco Coverage by Allianz (valid for BMW motorcycles only)*
  • DOT-approved Off-road tires: add €40/day (valid for KTM 690 only)*
  • 15% Discount on any Klim pre-ordered item
  • 10% Discount on any Enduristan pre-ordered item

Extras (Not Included)


There are many additional options that we can provide on-demand in any tour package:

  • DOT-approved Off-road tires: add €40/day
  • Basic Off-road training (1 day): add €200
  • Advanced Off-road training (2 days): add €450
  • Rental of Klim waterproof Gore-Tex Jacket & Pant with D3O protection: add €30/day (Requires €650 refundable damage deposit)
  • Rental of Klim ECE Helmet: add €20/day (Requires €250 refundable damage deposit)
  • Rental of Enduristan 2×30lt saddlebags**: add €30/day (Requires €160 refundable damage deposit)
  • Rental of BMW Vario side panniers***: add €20/day (No damage deposit required)
  • Enduro/MX riding Boots. For any arrangements please contact us.
  • Land Cruiser 4×4 Support Vehicle (for luggage and non-riders): add €400/day dividable to group riders.
 *Not valid for off-road tracks **Enduristan saddlebags can be installed only on motorcycles with pannier frames ***BMW panniers can be installed only on motorcycles without pannier frames

Booking


  1. All BMW GS motorcycle rentals that will be used for on-road only use require a refundable €1000 warranty damage Deposit prior to departure.
  2. All KTM LC8/LC4 motorcycle rentals that are used in mixed or off-road tracks are not covered by any insurance and require a refundable €2500 warranty damage Deposit prior to departure.
  3. For valid insurance coverage, you will require to be over 25 years old and holder of an Internation Drivers license for over 2 years.
  4. For all necessary booking arrangements for our Mythical Routes Tours (hotels, tickets, etc) we will require a non-refundable €1500 Down Payment. If for any reason the tour is canceled by Mythical Routes, this payment is fully refunded.

Get 10-15% off Gear Discount


We are partners with the best adventure gear brands in the world, so with every participant in our tours, we give our clients the option to get the best with our Mythical discounts.

Win an awesome 15% discount on any Klim Pre-Ordered item and 10% discount on any Enduristan Pre-Ordered item

An exclusivity that we offer to our clients, is the option to rent KLiM riding gear from us, or the possibility to buy brand new KLiM riding gear with special discounts. We take riding experience and protection very seriously and with our Discount you can return home with a real bargain! To check all available KLiM models valid for this great offer, please visit KLiM in Greece.

All motorcycles can be equipped upon request with the OEM hard luggage system, or with the best possible luggage solution from Swiss-company Enduristan, like the Monsoon saddlebags and the Pannier Toppers that give a 100% weatherproof space for everything you might need. For a complete list of all available luggage options for purchase or rent, please visit Enduristan in Greece.

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.

Enduristan Catalogue

As adventure riders, we have to travel with all kinds of weather and carry a lot of gear. We always needed a luggage system that is light, 100% weatherproof and rugged. We use a lot of electronics like cameras, laptops, and drones, so our luggage system must provide all the protection electronics require. You can read more about our opinion on the old subject at our Hard of Soft Luggage article.

In 2017 Enduristan GmbH, a Swiss premium motorcycle luggage manufacturer that specializes in Adventure Luggage Systems offered to support our project with many different luggage solutions like saddlebags, tank-bags, tail-bags, and backpacks. In our routes gear gets seriously tested, so we could provide constant feedback back to Enduristan headquarters. In 2018 both Mythical Routes founders and riders became official Enduristan Ambassadors.

Our collaboration with Enduristan GmbH and Most Wanted Warehouse | Enduristan Greece produced a limited edition “Mythical Routes” version of Enduristan’s 2018-2019 product catalogue, that features all of Enduristan products as viewed from our perspective, rich of the Hellenic Landscape.

Mythical Routes Enduristan Catalogue 2018-2019 | EN

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

Mythical Partners

The Mythical Routes project has been welcomed and promoted by many established brands in the worldwide adventure community like KLIM, Enduristan, and AltRider.

Overland Journal – Winter 2017

Nikon Greece – Media 2018

Our adventures have been highlighted by overland magazines like the Overland Journal and by Nikon the most iconic brand in the photography industry.


KLIM (Teton Outfitters, LLC) is the global leader in designing, developing and manufacturing the most advanced motor sports apparel for the snowmobile and motorcycle rider. Utilizing the world’s highest technologies in waterproof, breathable, durable and comfortable materials, KLIM builds gear for the most demanding riders. Riders like us that want to focus on our ride, our photography, our adventure. Worrying about the elements is just another distraction. We want a riding experience without compromise.

KLIM has been one of our first supporters, right from the beginning when Mythical Routes was nothing more than an idea, a concept. KLIM is one of those brands that thrive in the challenge and eager to help when something this big comes up. In the last four years, we have extensively used all of the Badlands / Badlands Pro series and enjoyed each and every one of them. We have been putting KLIM gear to the test constantly over these last few years and crash tested them a couple of times. We have also used their legendary Adventure Rally suit and have been blown away be the protection and technology it incorporates. Our thoughts about all of these models are freely expressed in our Gear Reviews and new gear will be tested in the future, as we keep getting impressed by how much this gear can take.


Enduristan GmbH was 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. As they say:

Enduristan can’t be found on any map, but when the daily grind is left behind, and the adventure begins, that’s when you realize that you are there. When we travel through Enduristan, the horizon is clear, the colours are more intense, life feels good and we are free.

As you can read in our article hard or soft luggage, we are not particularly fond of hard luggage when we ride mostly off-road and for good reasons. When we first talked to Christoph and David about our project, they were sure that it was a perfect match both for their passion and for their products. We have been abusing the Blizzard saddlebags for quite some time now and they have remained 100% weatherproof no matter what we do to them.


AltRider is a Seattle-based company manufacturing 100% American-made accessories and gear for adventure touring motorcycles. Being riders themselves, the AltRider team expects performance and value from the products they use. Each AltRider protection part functions well, looks good on your bike, and can truly stand up to brutal riding conditions. Adventure riding isn’t just a hobby for them, it’s a lifestyle. Their goal is to give us the freedom of adventure, by designing and manufacturing superior protection parts and soft luggage that are actually built for the ride.

We like testing every new upgrade before we use it in an expedition. Maybe with the R1200GS bash plate, we tried a bit harder. We use proper adventure bikes in our expeditions, so weight is usually above average. The heavier the motorcycle, the harder the impact, so we need our protections built tough. AltRider bash plates and crash bars have always withstood every abuse we might have given them. We are currently working with them on testing some serious protection on BMW’s brand new F850GS model, so you should be expecting some serious test-riding.


BMW Motorrad Vagianelis SA is the biggest BMW Motorrad dealer in Greece. Our relationship goes way back but starting January 2019 he is officially supporting our project. Both co-founders have been owners of many BMW motorcycles in the past (F850GS, R1200GS, R1200GSA, HP2 Enduro, R120G/A Unit Garage) and for this year we will be riding something more inclined to our needs.

You can rent from us a GS motorcycle and ride along our epic routes, always accompanied by one of our guides. Read more about your GS motorcycle renting options here:

Rent a Ride

Join the Spirit of GS with us!


Aurora Rally Equipment is a Greek-based company with a broad background in design and engineering, with a dedicated laboratory to test their equipment with specially designed rigs where they can create models out of different materials to simulate the real parts before we start manufacturing. Their aim is to develop and fabricate high-quality parts with the highest standards in rally racing. They will always use innovative technologies, materials, and solutions and match it with unparalleled design and quality.

When we explained to Dimitris Lasithiotakis, co-founder of Aurora Rally, about our project and the application of rally solutions in adventure traveling conditions, he was eager to give it a try. So we ended up building two rally motorcycles based on the famous for its off-road capabilities Husqvarna 701 enduro. The Mythical 701 RR proved to be up to the task and then some. We were happy to discover that the theory was correct. Any rally motorcycle, without a competition motor, can be a great adventure bike! It is light, tough and has superior fuel range. If you like traveling light, this is definitely the solution for you!


Nikon is the most iconic brand in the photography industry today. It is the brand most used by the landscape, wildlife and action photographers and our personal choice for the last 10-15 year. As you can read in our Nikon D850 post, we are currently working exclusively on Nikon cameras (D850, D750, D300S, D200) and Nikon FX Gold Ring lenses, both zoom, and prime.

In late 2018 we were truly honored to be featured by Nikon Greece and from 2019 we are planning on working closely together in many sub-projects, always under the Mythical Routes concept. In addition to that, we have started a new photographic collaboration, with Angelo having a dedicated Adventure Travel category in the Greek photography magazine iFocus.

Get ready for more!

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

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

Hard or Soft Luggage?

Adventure Riding is all about mountains, trails, forests. So we have to be rather sufficient out there. First questions that comes in mind is “what do I carry with me?”. Soon enough the next important question arrives: “where do I pack my things?”.

There are loads of things to carry … clothes, tent, mattress, food, extra fuel and basically almost every item in our Packing List.

Hard Aluminum Panniers

The first answer that pops up is Hard Aluminum Panniers, that are very much advertised and quite expensive. Everywhere around us we see motorcycles “ready for adventure” equipped with two side aluminum panniers and a top box. A key advantage of Hard Aluminum Panniers is that it is possible to lock and insure our things if we want to move away from the motorcycle. Also, if we have been equipped with inner bags, we can transfer our existing, without being obliged to remove the bags from the motorcycle. Finally our belongings are protected from the weather, particularly rain. But these are the only advantages that they have and since in Adventure Riding sooner or later the bike will get dropped, there start their problems!

Aluminum panniers are a common choice for many riders

Usually after the first “good” fall, aluminum will get dented and twisted, with the result that the cap no longer fits perfectly with the body of the pannier. Even a few millimeters of deviation is enough to not let them seal properly and start letting the rain and dust go inside, with all that this implies … Certainly with a hammer and enough perseverance they can be restored relatively close to their original shape, but waterproofness is over for ever!

Second main issue we have with Aluminum Panniers is weight! They are very heave to begin with (even without anything inside them) and add to that the weight of all the necessary metal racks on which they have to mount, it results in an overweight adventure motorcycle that is extremely difficult to maneuver in Off-road conditions. It is difficult even to pick up!

Last problem with Aluminum Panniers is the injury possibility! There are a few cases of riders being injured in their legs when, during a fall, their boot got trapped beneath the aluminum pannier.

Hard Plastic Panniers

In an effort to reduce the high cost and weight of the aluminum panniers, one can resort to the solution of plastic panniers/saddlebags.When riding on-road this is a good option indeed. But Adventure riding is all about gravel road exploration and when we put plastic panniers in this situation, thing can and will got horribly bad very soon.

Hard Panniers taking a beating

The plastic side cases (regardless of manufacturer) are not designed to take the stress of a hard dirt road, nor to survive after collision with stones and other immovable elements of mother nature. On a recent trip, the three motorcycles equipped with plastic panniers had many problems. The first broke the locking-base of the suitcase at the first drop and the second broke the mounting-base only by driving the route and without falling!

Soft Luggage

When it comes to off-road adventures, weight and capability to keep your gear safe from water, dust, mud and snow become a priority. With soft luggage you do not need frames to attach them, resulting in a significant weight reduction. They are flexible so they can absorb impacts without compromising their construction integrity or loosing their waterproof characteristics. In the event of a tear, some of them can be repaired on the spot using repair kits. They can also protect both your motorcycle and your legs working as pillows for when you eventually hit the forest floor

Enduristan Blizzard Saddle Bags are light, tough and 100% waterproof – ideal for our adventures!

Our experience has shown us that when you are about to venture for an off-road adventure, the only way to go is Soft Luggage, whose only downside is the lack of lock feature, both of their content and the bags themselves on the motorcycle. Beyond that, they have only advantages:

  • Purchase cost is significantly lower than any metal solution.
  • They are unbelievably light weight. There is usually the possibility to attach them directly on our motorcycle without metal frames, so the behavior of our motorcycle is closer to the behavior without luggage. Always remember that weight is the main problem in Off-road riding!
  • They are 100% waterproof since they usually have a roll-top design.
  • The eventual drop of the bike will not end in tears, since the variable of their shape allows them to adapt to the soil and not get damaged by the fall.
  • In the process they protect the motorcycle as well, acting like a soft pillow.
  • Their materials are durable and designed to withstand extensive and harsh use.
  • In the event of a hole or tear after rubbing on asphalt or bumping into a blunt object, they can get repaired on the trail, simply and with permanent results. Most companies sell repair kits for their products.
  • There are size and shape combinations for all tastes and all kinds of motorcycle.
  • Finally they adapt to all kinds of motorcycles, so they easily switch between different motorcycles that we may have.

Enduristan Tornado 2 Pack Sack

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.

Tornado 2L Pack Sack, strapped on top of a Rotopax gas tank, caring safely our DJI P4P drone

One of the first items you will look for is a proper rugged and waterproof Travel Bag. We have found all that we were looking for – and much more – at the Enduristan Tornado 2 Pack Sack, made by a fully waterproof 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.

Tornado 2M Pack Sack has just the right size to keep your camera gear close and safe

It also features on the inside 1 zipper pocket and 3 mesh pockets, an ergonomic soft grip handle to carry around, 4 compression straps to keep everything compact, 2 rows of cargo loops to attach additional gear, safe roll-top closure and an all welded construction.

Finally the inner lining uses Enduristan’s Red trademark color for high visibility. This pack sack is 100% water, mud, snow and dust proof. It comes in four sizes (S, M, L, XL) and ranges all the way from 20 to 82 liters, depending on size.

Enduristan Tornado 2 Pack Sack features

  • 1 inside zipper pocket
  • 3 inside mesh pockets
  • Red inner lining for high visibility
  • 2 rows of cargo loops to attach additional gear
  • Ergonomic soft grip handle
  • Deluxe shoulder strap separately available
  • Card holder
  • 4 compression straps
  • Washable and easy to clean
  • Built to last

* More information about Enduristan Tornado 2 Pack Sack here