Saturday, November 17, 2012

KTM 350 EXC-F 2013: Papineau Labelle Wildlife Reserve Ride Part 4

See part 3

The teenager’s father that I had met earlier was right: Lake Croche road was great to ride.  It was a little more technical than Scotch road I had taken before getting there.  The 350 EXC-F, however, made this road pretty easy for the rider – the KTM off-road capabilities are far beyond everything I had ridden so far;  its stratospheric ground clearance freed my attention from anything on the road including large rocks on upward slopes – which makes off-road riding an even more satisfying experience.

KTM 350 EXC-F with Lake Croche in the background

2:04 p.m.  A stop near Lake Croche
While I was riding in the area, I saw a small opening in the forest leading to the lake. 

It was a small access to the lake with an area of about 200 square feet – enough place for a couple of tents.  I also saw traces of a camp fire.

Camping and moto adventuring is probably something I’ll try in the future.

A nice section on Lake Croche road.

2:09 p.m. A little more rugged section.  As I was saying earlier, this is no challenge for the KTM – with its large wheels and long travel suspensions, the 350 EXC-F took only one bite of this road.


Forest trail near Lake Croche

2:20 p.m.  Forest trail. 
At the end of the Lake Croche road there is a forest trail.  The contact with nature here was awesome.  I had the impression of being a little lost, but that is exactly what I like about moto adventuring: breaking the routine and filling my head with nice memories.

I would have continued further on this trail, but there was a muddy section and I had had my dose for the day… (see part 2). 


2:27 p.m. Another trail.  Turning around was the right thing to do -giving me the opportunity to follow a trail I had seen earlier from the road (on the picture).

Once again, with the right bike, this section was a piece of cake!



2:33 p.m. On the bridge.  I should have brought along a patio chair and a couple of beers.  I would have stayed here for a while just looking around and appreciating the moment.

2:44 p.m. That’s it?!  I wish that trail had been 10 times longer!  On the picture on the left, you can see the signs on the main road.

What a surprise: I had no clue I could reach Lac des Plages from the park – that’s what the signs read.  25 miles (40 km) of off-road riding.  It’s a date.


Another view of the area.  You can see the KTM further on the right side.

Then is there a challenge for the 350 EXC-F?

All the roads I tried so far were quite easy with the KTM.  The real challenge, especially for the driver…its the monotony of highways.  After I rode out of the park, I had to drive back on regional roads and highways for 90 miles (140km) non-stop to go back home.

The suspension of the bike was too softly adjusted to ride at more than 60 mph (100km/h) for a long period of time.  I would have needed a tool to temporarily adjust the front suspension for the occasion, which would have prevented the front wheel from occasionally jiggling - it was annoying.

There is no wind protection: going faster than 65 mph for hours is a prowess on a dual purpose bike in general – the KTM is no exception.

Comfort wise, it is ok as long as your brain is doped with adrenaline – that is, riding trails.  But on paved roads, the longer the trip, the harder the seat feels, and this is exponential… which probably explains why the 5 –6 hours I rode the bike off road seemed much shorter (and fun!) than the hour and a half I spent on the highway…

To be continued…the conclusion.



  1. Though there is a long list of rare animals being preserved in various parks and wildlife sanctuaries of India.