KTM 640 Adventure

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A few words about my newly-acquired KTM 640 Adventure....

(The R1150GS has gone to a new and no doubt better home in the Emerald Isle!)

This 640 single is a stolen-recovered, written-off 2004 machine which I rashly bought at auction, sight unseen, a couple of months ago. On the face of it, it was remarkably unscathed as such bikes go, with the missing seat the most obvious part lacking. Closer inspection revealed a complete absence of ignition switch, steering lock, and rack plus a flat battery, broken rear light lens and sundry missing nuts and bolts. A visit to Motorite at Hook got me the required rear light lens and bolts and a visit to Bracken in Bermondsey got me the wrong seat which was nevertheless usable, and a very useful screwdriver-operated old ignition switch. However, this latter visit also brought the revelation that the boys at Bracken were familiar with the bike when it was first recovered and that it had been run very low on oil....which accounted for it being written off. With the battery re-charged and ignition switched on the electronic instruments came to life, revealing that the bike had 12,000 miles on the clock. A squirt of juice down the plughole, a drop more in the tank and the beast fired up and was soon purring like a kitten. Result! I freed off the sticking pads, oiled the chain, bungeed the old Duke seat on and resolved to try the machine out at the Sussex TRF fun day at Langrish on July 15th. The last thing required was a replacement for the bald rear tyre. Fortunately I had a brand new Michelin T63 that had been gathering dust in the garage for years. It was a 130 section instead of a 140, but what the hell. I thought about fitting it myself for about 30 seconds before deciding to take the bike down to Guildford tyres. This was definitely a good decision since it turned out that the existing rear tube had been Finilec-ed. I got the boys at GTs to fit a new heavy duty tube and rim-lock while they were at it. While I was waiting I fitted my brand new rear number plate (very efficiently supplied by Rushden Graphics - www.rushdengraphics.co.uk). The original plate had gone missing when the bike was nicked, but the auctioneers told me the registration; as an unexpected bonus they sent me the original registration document and keys two weeks after I bought the bike. Didnšt have much use for the keys, mind. The filler cap had naturally been mullered and worked with the same screwdriver with which I now turned the ignition on... Late at Langrish Anyway, Elspeth and I finally got to Langrish at about 5pm when the Fun Day was due to finish, but we were still able to do some riding there. Išm never much cop on motocross circuits but I managed a few laps without crashing and bottomed the rear suspension out a few times leaping over the jumps rather than just rolling over them like a complete wuss. I also managed to get the 640 around the mini-enduro circuit, which was a good challenge, especially with 30psi in the rear tyre and the limited lock on the KTM. (Išve since backed off the lock-stop bolts a bit). At one point I stalled the bike and found to my dismay that it no longer started on the button, so I resorted to the kick-starter. Soon after, the magic button came back to life. This has become a recurring theme.

Išm not at all convinced that onešs road bike insurance would cover you at a motocross track, although Sussex TRF seem to believe that it would. I think it would make much more sense to get ACU Insurance for a practice/training session. That way youngsters could also use the tracks rather than being confined to the paddock on their schoolboy motocrossers and irritating the feck out of everyone as they rip around. (Quite apart from the danger element!. In case youšre wondering, the Langrish motocross track in question was not the well-known and spectacular place where they hold British championship events, but a much smaller practice track down the road).

Anyway, we were able to leave the van at the venue while we explored some of the backroads and local lanes in the evening. We found our way to the top of the famous and spectacular Butser Hill via a nearby green lane and I rode down the easy way and back up the hard way while Elspeth had a rest and took a pic of me riding up the newly-widened steep bit at the end. The KTM stormed up it with no problem at all. I must say I actually find the 640 more relaxing to ride on the trail than the 450EXC (currently in dry dock due to a distinct lack of compression)

We rode back up to the very top of Butser and down the nice easy section of the South Downs Way to the west, before continuing on the back roads to the A32 and from there to the famous ŒPub With No Nameš at Froxfield. (aka The White Horse). It was a lovely evening and a much shorter ride from there back to the van at Langrish after a drink and an excellent spot of nosh. Just three days later I got the Adventure out again for the Southern Softy Summer evening ride out, but Išll save that tale for later. Išve rambled on for long enough for now. PNB