Sunday, September 30, 2012

KTM 350 EXC-F 2013: Papineau Labelle Wildlife Reserve Ride Part 1

Sunday, September 16 2012 - Patience paid off. For 3 days I could only admire the snazzy KTM 350 EXC-F in my garage.  Other priorities prevented me to go for an adventure ride with the “Ferrari” of dual sport bikes.  But finally, the perfect day presented itself: no rain on the horizon, sunny and 64 F (18 C) degrees as a maximum - perfect conditions.

But before leaving, I made ​​some adjustments that were beneficial:

  1. I removed the visor on my hybrid helmet - it has the effect of a parachute on the highway with a dual-sport motorcycle.  So much for the look;
  2. I adjusted the mirrors - returning from St-Bruno, Qc where I picked up the bike a few days earlier, I realized on the highway that the mirrors were very, very well secured, which is a good thing, unfortunately in a position that did not suit me well;
  3. As the bike is pretty high, I got used to removing the kickstand before sitting  - a lot easier!

With the 350 EXC-F, I had to use my imagination and all the pockets of my jacket and my pants since there is obviously no suitcase or anything to carry some goods in.  This way, I could carry my usual equipment: camera, iPhone, 2 cans of energy drink, cereal bars etc etc..

And finally, a precaution: the fuel tank on the KTM is 10 liters with the reserve, so I planned for refuelling along the way... I will get back to this.

8:45 a.m., departure, heading to Lac des Plages village, through:

  • 344 along the Ottawa river, then
  • head to Staynerville road,
  • Montee Hall,
  • Dumoulin road,
  • Rawcliffe,
  • 6e concession,
  • Scotch road,
  • Huntington road,
  • Maskinongé road,
  • and a stop at Namur village for refuelling.  So I thought…
     The planned ride, about 140 km from (A) St-Eustache to (C) Lac des Plages with a gas stop at Namur (B)



West Staynerville Road

09:53 a.m.
A gravel road… woot woot!  After 40 miles (60 km), I finally reached West Staynerville road.  I could probably have done this faster, but the ride alongside the Ottawa river (344) is always nice.

At last! I could try the bike on a path that sticks a little more to what it was designed for. I opened the throttle and some adrenaline  flowed through my veins.

Finally! - This is the reason I worked so hard planning all the steps to get there - you can’t imagine – riding a KTM in the conditions where it excels, what a great start!


10:02 a.m.  On the Hydro road near Montée Hall. This road, I had looked at it often in the past: access is obstructed by concrete blocks, but the KTM is so narrow that it can sneak in everywhere. This is a major advantage! +2

I often wondered what was at the end of that road - I thought that somehow I would be able to join the Scotch road from here, but no...

Crap!  The road is blocked a mile further with a padlocked fence. No way around it. WWHHHYYYY?! Hydro roads are interesting for motorcycle adventuring!  Those lands are supposed to be public!  Frustrating!


Chemin Hydro, près de Montée Hall

Anyway, continuing southbound on the Montée Hall, I joined another gravel road (Dumoulin road) along highway 50 and the path that leads to Rawcliffe road. One thing lead to another, I borrowed my usual trails in the area through the 6th concession.

I appreciated the lightness of the bike and its handling on hotter trails. Everything became so easy, it was night and day with my usual bike that weighs almost twice as much. Normally, I drive with caution in rocky trails, but with the high ground clearance of the KTM, its large diameter wheels (21 and 18 inches) and long travel suspensions, the same routes seemed to be made of pavers - fantastic!

This was a total bliss until I reached the next section of this awesome road:


To be continued…See part 2

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