No record broken, no stage won, no laurels gained. Just fun remote paved roads.
Desire for lugged tyre riding
I am into tarmac, I didn´t have a clue of Offroad or Enduro. A few years back, the last time I rode a bike with lugged tyres I went head over heels at a harmless hill, because I had been to slow. The week after I suffered from headache, but now the desire for offroad riding was back. Probably, I´ve recently seen too many Rally videos. I can´t get several superb pictures out of my head. I wanted to ride Enduro, just somewhere into the country, just to enjoy, not with ambition.
I got a KTM FREERIDE 350 from the marketing workshop. The offroad bike is nice to look at and light, just 105 kg fully fueled. The single cylinder engine is carried by a frame made of steel and aluminum. The bike looks slim and friendly, what is important if you want to easily ride through the landscape without thinking about competition.
The greatest problem?
The place where you live. In the city it´s more about offraod dreaming. Fortunately, I live out-of-town and surrounded by fruit- and wine-growing. However, prohibitive signs can be found everywhere, in particular on agricultural roads. But of course there are possibilities to ride without restrictions, where you can ride on unpaved ways.
Easy to use engine
The engine is conveniently started at the touch of a button. There is no kickstarter. Anyway, the 350cc single cylinder is hot stuff and deserves the rating “your best friend”. Enjoyable speed with lots of power. The transmission is relatively short, one need to shift. The gearbox is top, every shifting fits. The clutch is smooth-running and easy to dose.
Good-natured, but precise and easy to handle. The FREERIDE 350 can be ridden astonishingly easy and comfortable, when you are just cruising around the countryside. Gravel, meadows, puddles, muddy or loamy soil. Riding pleasure and control are more important than pure speed.
I didn´t even think about the wild things like big jumps, steep climbs and difficult approaches. Later on, I can still fall flat on my face. For now I just want to keep calm, enjoy and get used to it. The bike is even better than I am, there are no two ways about it. It would be great to ride like Coma and company, but it´s probably safer to watch the videos instead of trying it myself.
The FREERIDE 350 features a nice double exhaust pipe. The sound isn´t too loud, but powerful. As far as I am concerned the bike could even be more quiet. I´d like to fly through nature, soundless like a butterfly. I´m sure the vintners and fruit famers in the surrounding would support this. The more you can maintain a low profile, the better it is.
At the petrol station
I didn´t calculate the consumption, but after one or two hours of riding one should approach the next petrol station. The tank holds 5,5 litres. One just has to tip up the seat along with the front covering and pour in some litres. With the FREERIDE 350 tank accounts are meant to be a joke. I left my wallet at home and just put a ten euro note in my pocket.
The FREERIDE 350 isn´t equipped with an ignition lock. To start the bike one just have to push the start button. How to stop the engine? Very simple, one just have to push a button in the back at the light switch unit. The seat height is pretty high – 91,5 cm, but the sitting position is perfect, even while standing. Jagged footrests provide perfect stability, the brake lever rubbers and adjustable levers are the best.
Enduro riding is great fun, even without sporting ambitions just for a short ride in the afternoon. Just to get some fresh air while riding the FREERIDE 350 on dirt roads. If there area mud and puddles just right through the middle. Or one rides like the trial riders that are tackling single stages, but only if they are not too tricky.
There is a motocross and right next door a trial track which are only one hour away. I know where I´ll go next …
FREERIDE action in the following video …
Photos: Buenos Dias