Heavy Speed ​​Kings / Big-Bore Gone Racing ADV Bikes

In April of last year, when I was riding the newly unveiled and untested Harley-Davidson Pan America at the RawHyde Ranch factory for our review, we put the new machines through their paces: sand sections, technical training and open- road blasts.

But the most fun happened when we raced the bikes over a small MX course that included several jumps. Could we send the 540-pound PanAm like a 450 motocross machine? While some of the runners (ahem) were able to get a Pee some air under the bike (and it lands with appreciable control), other riders with much more experience in motocross, rallying and off-road competition were able to coax a surprising amount of hang time – and of speed – on the technical track. Which, of course, begs the question: stripped of panniers, farkles and anything else that adds extra ounces, how would an adventure bike do in a real race?

We’re finding out now, as racing moves to include big bikes and riders are pushing not just the Pan America, but several big-bore adventure machines not really designed for racing to their limits in real-world competition. Here’s how some have behaved recently:

Motorbike: Harley-Davidson Pan America: 1,250cc, 540lb stock Race: Baja España Aragón (Spain) Rider: Juan Pedrero Garcia

Results from the Aragon event were not released at the time of publication, but the water-cooled water cooler news indicates that Garcia did indeed finish the race on a bone stock PanAm (mirrors and all), and led the inaugural “Maxi-Trail” and “Trail” fat bike category at some point before four the punctures made him drop in the standings. It’s still not entirely clear where it finally ended up, but the fact that the bike finished despite punctures, over 100 temperatures, sweltering dust and the rigors of racing says a lot about the abuse. it will take – and to rally the madcap skills of vet Garcia. Here is coverage and photos from the Spanish site Super7Moto.

Bike: Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro, 888cc, 443lb stock Race: Baja España Aragón Rider: Ivan Cervantes

And we have a winner! The Triumph team took first place in their class at Aragon with five-time enduro world champion Ivan Cervantes on the bike. The 900 had some pre-race tweaks (also: no mirrors) and actually finished 11th overall against all the bikes entered – an impressive result no matter who counts. This marks the first year of production for the “Rally Pro” Tiger 900, which will also happily ferry you and your gear across continents if need be. The team also won the ladies at the Bassella race earlier this year. Check out their video of the bike in action:

Bike: Yamaha Ténéré 700, 689cc P-Twin, 452lb stock Race: Erzberg Rodeo Rider: Pol Tarres

You could say the madman Pol Tarres kind of kickstarted this whole adventure bike racing thing with his series of race entries aboard a heavily tuned T7. But taking on the insane Erzberg Rodeo is perhaps the toughest race we’ve seen attempted. Tarres was able to make it to 17th of 27 checkpoints before the four-hour time limit of Erzberg’s course, finishing (perhaps appropriately enough) in 77th place. Only eight than 500 runners completed the course within the allotted time. Here’s a short clip (below) of Tarres in Erzberg, and you can ride with him via his helmet cam. Tarres also rode the T7 in the Red Bull Romaniacs hard enduro, but finished near the bottom of the standings.

Bike: KTM 690 Adventure R, 692cc, 326 lbs in stock Race: Trefle Lozerien Enduro Rider: Xavier de Soultrait

Xavier de Soultrait’s KTM 690 Adventure R is perhaps the most race bike of recent adventure bike entries, and it performed well, finishing 43rd out of some 600 bikes at the event. Lozerian. Of course, it helps to have extensive Dakar rally experience in the saddle with de Soultrait, and of note, this was his personal Katoom which he bought just two weeks before the race. The prep included a fork swap, skid plate, and Akky exhaust upgrade, along with a complete removal of ABS. Other than that – pretty much in stock. De Soultrait says the bike will race again – and take him day to day. Here he makes it work:

Good time! And there’s more to come, as there are also reports of riders entering Ducati 1260 Enduros in events and Triumph’s triple 1200 Tiger has also scared off the competition. And while some may even scoff at entering these bikes in races that typically feature racks that are much more suitable for competition, it’s clear that in many cases the bike manufacturers are all in on it, because information valuable can be gleaned from success or failure. – of these bikes in a racing environment. This ultimately benefits all adventure riders, as OEMs change the design and technology of future production bikes for a wider envelope of riding performance – something anyone who cranks an adventure bike over tough terrain should expect. be delighted.

Want to race your adventure bike? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Earnest L. Veasey