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ADV EventsKTM Adventure Rally 2015 Takes Over Crested Butte

KTM Adventure Rally 2015 Takes Over Crested Butte

 Incredible scenery, amazing rides and some interesting nightlife too!

Published on 10.02.2015
Troy Lee ktm adventure 2015
Troy Lee of TLD (Troy Lee Designs) leads a group of adventure riders on a guided tour.

The 12th edition of KTM’s Annual Adventure Rider Rally changed venues this year from Taos, New Mexico to Crested Butte, Colorado. Over three days, the event saw more than 400 attendees, up from 300 from the previous year.

A mix of riders participated in the event on all types of street-legal KTMs like the 500 EXC, 690 Enduro R, 990 and 1190 Adventures, and the new 1290 Super Adventure too. There were also a handful of non-KTM riders that joined the rally who were welcomed on equal terms. People came from all over the country and one gentleman even rode as far as Washington, D.C.

The KTM Adventure Rally 2015 got started Friday morning with a hearty breakfast provided by KTM and afterward there was a free off-road training seminar with legendary racer and riding coach, Jimmy Lewis. While some riders continued their training with Jimmy Lewis for the day, others had their attention focused on testing KTM’s range of dual sport bikes. KTM offered their 690 Enduro R, 1190 Adventure, 1190 Adventure R and 1290 Super Adventure to anyone interested in a test ride.

KTM Demo Rides 690 1190 1290
Take your pick of either a KTM 1290, 1190, or 690 for a demo ride.
jimmy lewis demonstration
Jimmy Lewis provided some excellent off-road riding tips in the free morning seminar.

But for most riders, the rally was all about the rides KTM put together. KTM provided ten different routes (five hard and five easy) to choose from. There were nearly 1,000 miles of routes to get you out into Colorado’s amazing back country. Each route was designed to be a short loop, allowing you to take off in the morning and return for lunch, then go out for another afternoon ride.

adventure riders ktm adv rally 2015
Riders get ready for the action at the 12th Annual KTM Adventure Rally.

The guys from REVER motorcycle trip planning and GPS app where there to help everyone load the routes onto a dedicated GPS or smart phone. The REVER app made it very easy for smart phone users with pre-configured maps and tracks, and using the premium version of their app, you can even access the motorcycle routes from Butler Maps.

Having ridden to the event on our KTM 1290 Super Adventure test bike with street-biased tires, I decided it would be a good idea to take one of the easy routes on day one and enjoy some of the amazing scenery Crested Butte has to offer.

ktm 1290 Super Adventuer at KTM adventure rally 2015
There were plenty of free bike washing opportunities to clean off all the bugs I accumulated on my 2-day journey to the rally from California.

Riders had the choice of taking off on their own self-guided tour or they could join one of the “Ride with the Pros” rides, guided by top-level KTM sponsored Supercross, Enduro, Rally and SuperBike racers. Some of the pro riders leading rides included MotoAmerica Superbike racer Chris Fillmore, Multi-time National Enduro Champ Mike Lafferty, Multi-time National Enduro Champ Russell Bobbitt, Mutli-time Baja 1000 Champ Quinn Cody, Supercross Racer Andrew Short and Dakar Rally competitor Scott Bright.

I rode with Superbike racer Chris Fillmore, who happens to be a talented off-road rider. Also on our ride, was Troy Lee of TLD (Troy Lee Designs). Our route took us deep into the back country on some amazing twisty asphalt roads with a mixture of scenic dirt roads. After soaking some incredible mountain vistas, we took a detour onto a technical jeep road where I got a chance to explore the off-road capabilities of the 1290 Super Adventure.

Back at the rally there were a total of 22 different adventure riding related vendors on site showing off their wares. It was great mingling with company reps checking out all of their new products and there was plenty of free swag on offer. In the evening, there was a delicious dinner hosted by KTM, and for nightlife, many got cleaned up and headed to the downtown bars on the free shuttles running every 15 minutes.

The next morning it was a repeat of the previous day with breakfast followed by a Jimmy Lewis seminar, demo rides and more riding with the pros. I met up with some friends from Rocky Mountain ATV/MC and Motion Pro to go out on our own self-guided group ride using the provided GPS tracks.

We headed out on one of the trails marked “Hard” for a 111 mile loop. The trails were very challenging for a big bike, but the 1290 Super Adventure was able to make it through unscathed. I was a little worried about the tires, but in off-road mode the rear tire was able to dig in and push through some pretty difficult sections.

woods riding ktm adventure rally 2015
The woods riding on the hard routes were no problem for KTM 690 Enduro R owners.

Saturday night was a big party hosted by KTM on top of the ski mountain with spectacular views of the valley below. We had a fantastic meal with drinks included and there was an awards banquet where riders got a chance to share some laughs and talk about the amazing tracks we enjoyed over the weekend.

For those night owls, there was more fun to be had in town after the dinner ceremony was over. The rally weekend just happened to coincide with the Vinotok Harvest Festival also taking place in Crested Butte that weekend. The Vinotok is a strange mixture of Burning Man and a Renaissance Fair that climaxes with a giant bonfire called “The Burning of the Grump.” This made for an curious mix of people at the bars and some interesting conversations.

Vinotok Festival Burning of the Grupm
The Burning of the Grump during the Vinotok Festival occurred on Saturday night nearby in downtown Crested Butte. (Courtesy Travel Crested Butte)

It was an interesting night, but there was still more to see on Sunday morning and it seemed everyone was out at the vendor booths on the final day. After making the final rounds to say goodbye to new friends and old, it was time to head out on my long solo ride through the Southwest back to Los Angeles.

Overall, the KTM Rally had amazing food, fantastic rides and perfect weather. KTM’s hotel group rates were affordable or you could enjoy the great outdoors in their designated camping area. This was definitely one of my favorite rallies of the year and I intend to make it back again next year. The event will return to Crested Butte in 2016, so start making plans now!

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Author: Rob Dabney

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