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Thread: Why you should ride trails

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Kapolei, HI

    Default Why you should ride trails

    Some of you know me as a questionable sport bike rider with a questionable personality and questionable friends. I have evolved into a questionable trail rider and I'm here to tell you why my way is right and yours is wrong.

    4 years ago I purchased a new KTM 690 Enduro R that I tricked out in Supermoto trim while also keeping dirt wheels/ tires. I planned on using the bike for both dirt and street activities. You may remember the pictures, yes, it was a gorgeous machine. However, I grew bored very quickly riding on the street with few windy roads available and no track to enjoy. I decided to try out the bike on dirt and it did not take very long to find out that a 320lb bike was not meant for even the easiest trails Oahu had to offer. Despite having the wrong machine, I easily had 10 times the fun I did with that bike going 1/10th the speed. After a short few months of ownership, I shopped around for a dedicated trail bike to replace her with.

    Pure luck lead me to a 2005 YZ-250 that was kept in rather immaculate shape with tons of trail goodies already installed. I say pure luck because I could have easily (unwittingly) purchased another 4 stroke, which would've likely ruined trail riding for me or forced me to switch machines again. As anyone who rides tight, technical trails can attest; 2 strokes are indeed the way to go. They are lighter, rarely overheat, are much easier to work on, cheaper to maintain, easier (not harder) to start when hot, harder to stall and this all comes in handy in the tight stuff. 4 strokes are the opposite of all the above and I can count on one hand how many serious riders I see on the trails here riding a 4 stroke over the years.

    Hawaii is a unique place to trail ride and I will argue that it offers some of the most diverse terrain in a confined area. Most of the trails quickly change from dry, steep mountains to muddy rainforest valleys with the accompanying rocky and muddy river beds. My first few rides involved me getting lost, stuck and generally miserable. As I was starting out, my friends and I tried to avoid the tough stuff and hated the pain and suffering we would be put through when we ended up on a trail over our heads (which seemed to happen every ride). I remember wondering how anyone would enjoy such punishment and see this same thought run through all newer riders I take out (a good percentage don't continue riding past this stage).

    I am glad I pushed through it because out of nowhere I began to love the challenge of picking my way through a nasty trail I've never been on, getting lost and finding my way back or seeing how far up the Ko'Olau Mountain range I could get. I truly began to seek out those rocky riverbeds or intimidating hill climbs, and began to enjoy riding after heavy rains despite the mud here having similar characteristics to black ice or KY Lubricant.

    I have learned to embrace the pain and suffering of enduro riding and have created some very memorable moments in doing so. Like the time my friend and I had to leave our bikes 3 miles in the forest overnight because heavy rains meant not enough traction to get out of a massive gulch. Or the time my friend tried to do a pivot turn on a tight trail along a cliff and accidentally launched his bike into another rider then down previously mentioned cliff. Or the time I almost lost my bike to a fast flowing river. The countless times we had to tow each other out, craft some sketchy trailside repairs or drag each others bikes through impassible terrain just adds to the allure for me.

    If any of you want to try something new, I highly recommend giving trail riding a serious go. If I was on the mainland, I'd drive all over the Country to ride different trails and enter into different hare scrambles or enduro events. There are a few "OG's" riding the trails here that are in their 60's, many of the trails cut by them many decades ago. I plan on still riding trails at that age, likely with a lot less endurance but hopefully with a lot more technique.

    There is just something special about picking your way through a trail in the mountains with your buddies, with no idea where it leads.

    Wondering if we have enough gas to get back...

    Jim Wondering what the hell I got him into

    Covering ground
    Last edited by ccaarmerciill; 06-01-2018 at 09:49 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    beacon falls


    totally agree, and we don;t even have the variety or availability of trails that you have. i had lost the motorcycle bug last year. it just didn't do it for me anymore. Then i started riding a way-to-small dirtbike on trails with some friends who were AL learning what the hell we were doing. It was some of the most fun i've had on a bike ever.

    I did upgrade the bike and tried to hit it head on this year, but shit weather, late opening for our normal riding area, and now mechanical issues have had me kind of down on it. I need to force myself to get the bike to 100% and get back out there ASAP.

    I know it will come back to me, and i really do hope i get to go on Mancation this year if timing works out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Hebron, CT


    sport bikes -> motards -> dirt bikes -> mountain bikes

    That was my progression. Very little legal moto riding in a 2hr radius here though... there are mountain biking trails everywhere! Selling the KTM funded my first 2 seasons of mtb. Probably never look back unless I move somewhere easy to ride moto or CT changes (so never).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Southington, CT


    just try to keep the damn bike outta the river next time :P

    looks amazing, maybe one day!
    Matt V. 9/19/10

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Falmouth, ME


    Can confirm, trail riding changes your life.

    No fancy modern 2 stroke here, just an ancient, heavy, loud DR350 but I love it with all my heart.

    Has greatly improved my street riding/confidence and is a helluva workout too.
    '05 GSX-R 750 // '90 DR350 (street) // '90 DR350 (dirt) // '05 SV650

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