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ADV RidesRiding SeasonAutumn/Fall RideTaking on Tahoe’s Rubicon Trail on KTM 990 Adventure Bikes

Taking on Tahoe’s Rubicon Trail on KTM 990 Adventure Bikes

Riding the infamous 12 mile rockfest on 500 pound Adventure Bikes

Published on 10.17.2013

The Rubicon Trail near Lake Tahoe, California is one of the most well known rock crawling jeep trails in America.  Jeep’s toughest model “The Rubicon” was named after the trail.  The Rubicon is a testing ground for motorcycles and cars alike.

The trail consists of slick granite boulders that range from bowling ball to dumpster sized.  The trail is only a mere 12 miles, but each mile takes a toll on your body wearing you down, getting you closer to throwing in the towel.  Either bike or body usually give in before a rider makes it to the end.

Completing this trail on a small dirt bike is a major accomplishment.  Attempting the trail on a full-sized Adventure Bike is just lunacy.   We have heard stories of one person or another attempting the Rubicon on a Big Adventure Bike, but we know of only one rider that has completed it (See the ride report here) .


Recently, A group of three KTM 990 Adventure riders attempted the Rubicon Trail, just to see if they could do it.  Radek (2010 KTM 990 Adventure R), Matt “BigWan” (2007 KTM 990 Adventure S) and Lica (2007 KTM 990 Adventure S) are regulars on the forum (a.k.a inmates) and are famous for their riding skill on the big 990’s.  So who better to take on the Rubicon than this group of guys.

The guys had a lot to overcome during their torturous ride on the Rubicon.  Once the dust cleared, the list of catastrophes included running out of drinking water, a cracked case, bent lever and tweaked cockpit subframe.  All  three riders overcame their trail difficulties through persistence and true grit to successfully complete the Rubicon Trail.   And if that was not impressive enough, the guys began this trip a day after just completing a 3,300 mile, 13 day journey through Nevada, Utah and Colorado.

We take our hats off to the Osos Locos!  If you would like to read more about their Rubicon Trail trip, check out the ride report on

Author: Rob Dabney

Rob Dabney started a lifelong obsession with motorcycles at the age of 15 when he purchased his first bike – a 1982 Honda MB5. Through his 20’s and 30’s he competed in off-road desert races, including the Baja 250, 500 and 1000. Eventually, his proclivity for exploration led him to dual sport and adventure riding. Rob’s never-ending quest to discover what’s around the next bend has taken him on Adventures in Mexico, North Africa, Europe, and throughout the American West. As a moto journalist, he enjoys inspiring others to seek adventure across horizons both near and far.

Author: Rob Dabney

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3 thoughts on “Taking on Tahoe’s Rubicon Trail on KTM 990 Adventure Bikes

  1. That’s just too much for a big bike like this… it will brake a rider or the bike…. but than again… all up to the riders comfort level!

  2. I’ve done the Rubicon Trail a couple of times on ATVs. It’s pretty easy on one of those (properly equipped). I’m not sure I would want to try it on a motorcycle.

  3. I have ridden with these guys and they are amazing riders. Took me Too Up on A trails on the 990’s when I couldn’t make it on my 1190R.

    Awesome gents.


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