Saturday, December 29, 2012

Manawan Reserve ride

When I came back from a test ride to Parent in July, I met a retired logging truck driver in Mont St-Michel.  He suggested I take the Manawan fire road instead of the boring Highway 15. 

Waste of time.  Despite searching around for a while, I never found the road in question.  I promised myself that I’d give it another shot eventually.

So, in September, I planned a ride to the Manawan reserve taking the road bearing the same name.   I brought a ratchet and a socket along just in case.  The last time I rode on a fire road, the Parent road, it was more than the Versys suspension could handle.  Most of the vibrations caused by the washboard sections of the road were directly transmitted to the handle bar.  So the ratchet could come in handy for adjusting the suspension and hopefully making the ride enjoyable.

The ride plan below (


Note all the parks on the map, from the left: Papineau-Labelle, Mount Tremblant, Ouareau Forest, Taureau Lake, La Mauricie National Park and more.  It is amazing all the places I can explore just few hours away!  More to the east, there is the huge Laurentian Park.

To reach Manawan, I left early in the morning to have some spare time to take a few shots.  So at around 7:30 am I was off: 640 east, 25 north, 125 north, the 337 north.

9 a.m. The most beautiful site during this ride: the Dorwin falls in the Chute-Dorwin park along the 337 in Rawdon.

Quite a nice waterfall! I told myself: “How come I never heard of this place before?”  The picture does not really show how great it is: it is huge!

Accessing the park is not free, but when I got there, the gate was open and the booth was empty - I could access freely.

I went back with my family a few weeks later.  The ride is a little long with young kids from my place, but once there everyone enjoyed walking in the forest along the river.

To be continued.  See next part.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Metzeler introduces the new Karoo 3 at EICMA

Munich, 12 November 2012 – After the global preview of the newTourance Next at Intermot, Metzeler introduces another jewel from the 2013 range at EICMA: The Karoo 3, a knobby tire made for bikers who love adventure and want to use their motorcycles for long off-road trips.
The new Karoo 3 is the perfect tire for large and medium displacement enduro bikes which have to travel both on asphalt and off-road. Bikes like the latest BMW R 1200 GS, which can be equipped with the Karoo 3 in 120/70 R 19 on the front and the brand new 170/60 R 17 on the rear.
The Karoo 3 is capable of guaranteeing high mileage to all those bikers who love to take on long distance travel, provides excellent grip off-road and terrific stability and handling. These are all important elements, considering that riders must often travel for many miles over asphalt in order to reach their off-road destination.
These are the main characteristics of the new Karoo 3 with respect to its MCE Karoo and MCE Karoo T predecessors:
The compounds in the new Karoo 3 use high dispersibility components capable of obtaining a more uniform mix which provides mechanical resistance to lacerations, all to the benefit of mileage, while still maintaining high dampening capability.
The structure in polyester guarantees a sturdy, yet flexible product because the tire is able to perfectly follow the unevenness of the terrain when riding off road, to the advantage of handling and traction.
The trapezoid-shaped knobs have an innovative geometry which ensures progressive off-road traction at various lean angles. The “V” shape of the pattern provided by the knob arrangement optimizes power transmission and wear.  The center knobs are larger, which  reduces their mobility to enhance stability at high speed. The knob-spacing varies from the center to the shoulder: at the center the knobs are spaced farther apart to guarantee better penetration in soft terrain, offering better traction off road, while on the shoulder the knobs are closer together in order to guarantee more rubber on the road—and more grip—when leaning into a curve on asphalt.
The Karoo 3 will be on sale from spring 2013 and will replace the current MCE Karoo and MCE Karoo T. The new tire will be available in the following sizes:
110/80 – 19 M/C 59R TL M+S
120/70 R 19 M/C 60T TL M+S
90/90 – 21 M/C 54R TL M+S
150/70 – 17 M/C 69R TL M+S
170/60 R 17 M/C 72T TL M+S
130/80 – 17 M/C 65R M+S
140/80 – 17 M/C 69R M+S
140/80 – 18 M/C 70R M+S
150/70 – 18 M/C 70R M+S

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

JCR Honda Wins 45th Baja 1000

After fending off numerous challenges from other motorcycle teams during the 45th running of the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000, the Johnny Campbell Racing (JCR) Honda team and their Honda CRF450X pulled out a decisive lead and sailed into La Paz to win the race with a margin of more than an hour, and lock up the 2012 SCORE 1X championship. It was a fitting tribute to Honda’s 50th Baja anniversary, stretching back to the inaugural ride from Tijuana to La Paz undertaken by Dave Ekins and Bill Robertson to promote Honda’s CL72 Scrambler in 1962. 

After leading for more than 970 miles, the JCR team’s finishing time totaled 20:09:30 for an average speed of 55.64 mph. The success of JCR Honda team riders Colton Udall, Timmy Weigand and David Kamo extended the Honda win streak in the Baja 1000 to 16 consecutive victories and 23 overall motorcycle wins. Equally impressive, nine out of the top 10 finishing teams this year in the motorcycle division chose to ride a Honda CRF450X. 

The toughness of this year’s Baja 1000 was evident at the finish line: Of the 298 starters only 174 teams finished the race. The JCR Honda CRF450X—prepped for the race by JCR’s Eric Siraton—worked flawlessly while racing over the brutal 1121-mile course. 

“It was a very tough course,” said Udall. “The section through San Felipe was probably one of the gnarliest workouts I ever had in my life.” 

“My stretches went by really fast,” said Kamo. “There were lots of cows and lots of cars and lots of people. Donkeys, horses, everything. Some were on the trail and some just stood there because we were going by so fast that they didn’t move. It couldn’t have gone any better.” 

“We have three amazing teammates,” said Weigand, “and we have a great mentor in Johnny (Campbell) and a great bike in Honda. We’ve won this race before so we expected to do the same.” 

“I am overwhelmed by the effort my pit crews put together to make this race run smoothly,” said Johnny Campbell. “JCR brings a small army of some of the most extraordinary people together to make a race like the Baja 1000 possible. I can’t thank them enough for their service and support. I am proud to have each one of them in the JCR family and look forward to many more adventures together. Thank you to the racers for their commitment to upholding this Honda legacy and our 16th Baja 1000 win in a row.”

[SRC: Honda]

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Polaris Acquires KLIM Technical Riding Gear

MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 6, 2012-- Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII) today announced the acquisition of Teton Outfitters, LLC, a privately owned, Rigby, Idaho-based company which designs, develops and distributes KLIM Technical Riding Gear. Calendar year 2012 sales for KLIM are anticipated to approach $30 million. KLIM is an industry leader in technical riding gear. This acquisition adds KLIM to Polaris’ growing parts, garments and accessories (PG&A) business. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

KTM 350 EXC-F: A Conclusion


KTM’s “Ready-to-race” mantra sticks to the 350 EXC-F for sure - but this motorcycle is more than a race bike.

Every part of this motorcycle was designed to perform.  It sums up to a very agile, predictable and easy to drive off-road bike in all trail conditions.  Surprisingly, it also makes the 350 EXC-F an ideal motorcycle for off-road neophytes as it easily forgives mistakes.  However, there are fine prints: the bike does not fit everyone.  As an example, with my 5’9” frame, I had to adapt to the seat height.  But once you’re off, the experience is unique.

In 5 points, what I liked the most about this bike: