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The KTM 690. Too big for the trails or the perfect bike for getting there and riding over them? North Yorkshire and Teesside new member Stephen Porthouse took his out for his first TRF event at this summers Magical Moors weekend in Yorkshire. Either Stephen is a very accomplished rider or the 690 is just the ticket.

TRF:

Hi Stephen. You must have made quite an impression at the Teesside & North Yorkshire TRF Magical Moors weekend, Dick Brew was quick off the mark to ask me to chat to you! I understand you are new to the TRF. Perhaps you could fill us in a little on your background?

Stephen:

Hopefully an impression for the right reasons! I’ve dabbled with off-road bikes since I was 16 and used to take my first bike (Gilera Trials 50) up into the local woods near where I grew up in Pickering. I owned a couple of other off-road bikes when I was young (KMX 125, DT175MX) but generally been a road bike guy. Although I always felt that the feeling of riding off-road distilled the pleasure of motorbiking more than any road, track etc.

I’ve recently moved back home to York after 15 years in living in London where amongst other motorbikes, I bought a KTM 640 supermoto + trail rims a few years ago with every intention of getting off road but sadly this never really materialised. I did a few off road experiences such as Geraint Jones’ off school in Wales during this time and was resolved to get a bike and find a way to ride off-road if I ever lived in more rural parts again.

I was aware of the TRF and what the organisation does and stands for. I wanted to ride in a legal and responsible way so naturally was my first place to start once I’d bought my bike.

TRF:

How long have you had the 690? How did you find it on the trails?

Stephen:

I bought the 690 in February. It was the nearest thing to the LC4 that I’d owned previously and I also thought I’d be riding a bit of distance to the trails so needed something that could manage a few miles. I found it great on the trails from the off but have modded it gradually throughout the year from stock. Knobblies of course, bash plate, lithium battery, Wings exhaust, proper hand guards, and I’ve geared it down significantly.

It’s kind of all I know so a bit hard to compare, but I tend to get up all the routes that others do, although when you do get stuck it sometimes requires a bit of help! In many ways I’m quite glad it’s a bike that impresses people more when you get up the really gnarley stuff!

TRF:

So what's the format of the Magical Moors weekend? Was it as magic as the name suggests?

Stephen:

The Magical Moors did indeed live up to its name. The event went very well from what I could tell and the weather was glorious on both days. You struggle to beat the Moors and Yorkshire coast combination when it’s like that. I was TEC for the first time and both groups I rode with were very easy days as the riding standards were very good. I mostly just felt bad for not being able to open many gates by virtue of being at the back! On the Sunday I was very pleased to ride with Mark from the Isle of White on another 690 who was very adept on his bike and we swapped a few notes on our mods etc.

The incidents were few and far between - a couple of minor offs (one during a river crossing that the rider got away with thankfully!) Mark and I making it up Reasty Bank on our 690s was a personal highlight. Also just helping in a small way to run the event was a source of personal pride.

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TRF:

The TRF host events all over the country. What do you think are the ingredients to a memorable experience? Any advice for others thinking of signing up and taking part?

Stephen:

Having done the Dales and Moors event organised by the Teesside & North Yorks TRF I’d say matching their great background organisation of those events and making the basic things like campsite, food, directions etc easy for those taking part allowed everyone to get on with the enjoyment of the 2 days. Ideally each route will have some challenges but also let you get a flavour of scenery you may not have seen before. For those taking part obviously a well sorted bike will help prevent any breakdowns for you and your group. Also get signed up early and the dates in your diary so you can stack up the necessary brownie points at home!

TRF:

Thanks Stephen hopefully see you out on the trails.

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