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ADV NewsWatch: Chris Birch Shows Us Once Again What’s Possible on Big Bikes

Watch: Chris Birch Shows Us Once Again What’s Possible on Big Bikes

When Birch looks for a challenge, you know it’s going to be worth a watch!

Published on 04.15.2022

Friday is finally here and many of us are looking for a midday distraction or evening entertainment to enjoy with a cold one. Right on cue, our favorite Big Bike Whisperer — Chris Birch — has delivered the goods with a new action-packed short film. And when the 8-time New Zealand Enduro Champ, Romaniacs and Roof of Africa Hard Enduro winner, Dakar Rally finisher, and famed off-road coach states the premise for this adventure was “I needed a challenge,” you can expect something epic.

Chris Birch takes on New Zealand South Island on the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

The video finds Chris and his mate Charlie Brown, at the start of their adventure, on the rugged coast of New Zealand’s South Island. The goal is to follow a river through the valley, up into the high country, to reach a rustic hut. With permission from the landowner, they head into a surreal landscape, as you’d expect from Middle Earth, with the trail indiscernible most of the time. It looks more like a hiking destination than a place you’d think of riding a motorcycle, let alone the twin-cylinder adventure bikes Chris and Charlie are piloting. 

With Charlie on a KTM 790 Adventure R and Chris on the 1290 Adventure R, they make their way through fast-moving water crossings, bouldery shores, across mud bogs, into the grass-covered hills. Since there’s not always a trail to ride, sometimes they just fly, jumping what looks like insurmountable chasms for a big bike. One gap they leap across looked particularly sketchy —  a side-hill, shale-covered single track with a cliff off to the side.

Chris Birch takes on New Zealand South Island on the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

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Keeping your jaw closed tight while watching this film does take some willpower, especially when you realize the mighty 1290 SAR weighs somewhere in the 530 pound range. But that’s what Chris has made a career out of, almost single handedly redefining what’s possible on a big adventure bike off-road. What he also does in this video, is show that it’s ok to fail. This video isn’t just a handful of ‘perfectly executed’ passes stitched together, but more of a real-world look at the slips, slides, and falls that occur on a challenging adventure ride.

Chris Birch takes on New Zealand South Island on the KTM 1290 Super Adventure R

The film reminds us that the real fun is in the challenge, not knowing if you are going to make it, that gut fear you get when you think about the consequences. That feeling of frustration when you reach an impassable point on the trail. But we continue on… We fall, we pick the bike up just to fall again, and somehow we will our way through. Those are the moments that make for an incredible adventure.

Beyond the inspiring riding, the camera work of this video was also exceptional. Filmed by one rider, John Colthorpe, on a KTM 350 EXC with all his camera gear in a backpack. Chris admits they did “help him out on the ugly bits,” which you could imagine was still quite a challenge even on the lightweight and capable 350 EXC. So if you are looking for some Friday inspiration, make this one your first stop on YouTube!

Author: ADV Pulse Staff
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