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ADV RidesCan a Big ADV Bike Conquer the World’s Toughest Enduro Race?

Can a Big ADV Bike Conquer the World’s Toughest Enduro Race?

Chris Birch announces he'll race Romaniacs on a KTM 1090 Adventure R.

Published on 05.01.2017

If you’ve ever found yourself in a tough situation off-road on a big adventure bike and questioned your sanity for being there in the first place, you’ll appreciate what extreme enduro rider Chris Birch has gotten himself into. Birch has announced that he and desert racer Quinn Cody will be riding a 2017 KTM 1090 Adventure R in the Red Bull Romaniacs Hard Enduro in July.

Red Bull Romaniacs has a reputation of being slightly ‘nuts’ and is billed as the “world’s toughest hard enduro rally.” Entering with the Big-Bore 1090 Adventure R takes crazy to a whole new level. “A few people have asked me if I’m completely stupid,” Birch said when announcing his plans. “I don’t think I’m completely stupid.”


I snuck in a bit of Red Bull Romaniacs practice today during the Asia Pacific KTM Adventure launch. Shot with #mygopro

Posted by Chris Birch on Thursday, April 27, 2017

If anyone can pull this off, it’s Birch. He’s a world-class enduro coach, eight-time New Zealand enduro champion and Dakar Rally finisher. Most importantly, perhaps, he’s been on the podium at Romaniacs seven times, including winning it 2010. His American riding partner, Cody, is no slouch either. He’s won the Baja 1000 four times and was a top 10 finisher in the Dakar Rally (see Quinn break the news to ADV Pulse here).

Birch will run the 1090 R in the Hellas Rally in Greece in May as a warmup. Then, in classic run-what-you-brung fashion, he’ll begin the Romaniacs odyssey by riding the 1090 R from Mattighofen, Austria, to Sibiu, Romania, a distance of about 670 miles.

Red Bull Romaniacs on a big adv bike
The Red Bull Romaniacs has a reputation of being slightly “nuts” and a history of constantly raising the bar for Extreme Enduro.

Oddly enough, Birch and Cody won’t be the only riders on a “too-big” bike this year. Former factory BMW rider, highly accomplished rider and Romaniacs veteran Gerhard Forster will be competing on a Touratech-modified BMW R nineT prototype dubbed the R9X 7. It isn’t a KTM vs. BMW thing; they registered independently of one another.

They’ll ride the five-day hard enduro in the Iron class, the easiest of the race’s four classes. When asked why not the bronze class Birch says “Organizers said bronze won’t be possible.” Typically, Birch and Forster would ride in the most challenging Gold class, which race organizers characterize as “impossible” unless you are an extreme enduro god. Iron class notwithstanding, Romaniacs is a relentless assault of single track, hills, waterfalls, mud and rocks. This should be one not to miss!

The 14th edition of the Red Bull Romaniacs takes place in Sibiu, Romania from 25-29 July. Get a little taste of the carnage that awaits below:


Chris Birch has broken his hand right before the race and won’t be able to compete. But Quinn Cody is very much ready to go and show what he can do on his KTM 1090 R!


The KTM 1090 Adventure R crosses the finish line at Red Bull Romaniacs. Congratulations to Quinn Cody for the great accomplishment!

Red Bull Romaniacs – Day 4

Mission Completed! Final day for Quinn Cody at the Red Bull Romaniacs on his 1090 ADVENTURE R #Congratulations #Respect

Posted by KTM Official Fanpage on Monday, July 31, 2017

Author: Bob Whitby

Bob has been riding motorcycles since age 19 and working as a journalist since he was 24, which was a long time ago, let’s put it that way. He quit for the better part of a decade to raise a family, then rediscovered adventure, dual sport and enduro riding in the early 2000s. He lives in Arkansas, America’s best-kept secret when it comes to riding destinations, and travels far and wide in search of dirt roads and trails.

Author: Bob Whitby

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6 thoughts on “Can a Big ADV Bike Conquer the World’s Toughest Enduro Race?

  1. I’m sure it was just an oversight to this article but Touratech last year came in second place overall in the Hellas Rally with their Touratech Africa Twin. Surely its not the 94hp that excluded the Honda from the BMW vs KTM supremacy written about here. Please keep it honest ADVpulse……credit where credit is due.

    • Paulo, that is a great achievement but the Hellas Rally is a roadbook rally race that is better suited for big adventure bikes compared to an extreme enduro race like Romaniacs. Keeping it honest 😉

  2. Pingback: Chris Birch Just Showed Us Our Bikes Have a Built-In Winch - ADV Pulse

  3. Pingback: Touratech Racing a BMW R nineT in Red Bull Romaniacs - ADV Pulse

  4. Nice promo but they only drove the easy acces parts with some camera’s and after that they move away from the track eand drove on the road to the next camaera spot….. They did do some Climbing, but not the complete track.


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