Here in Victoria we’re in the privileged position of having the option to legally ride on our national park’s trails. Trail riding continues to get bigger every year thanks, in no small part, to its accessibility to most riders and the unique challenges that it presents to us. To many, put simply, it’s much more fun than riding on the road, but without the competitive atmosphere that is such an important part of Motocross.
The State Of Victoria provides us with a huge choice of places to ride, from full bore Motocross tracks, to trail riding on four-wheel drive tracks, as well as the more exclusive two wheeled ones, in addition to the roads network in all the national parks. The world, or at least the track, is your oyster.
With all that choice, however, there are things to consider before riding out, including where to go, what to ride, the licensing requirements involved, and what we need to know before we even try to start riding trails.
There are a whole host of bikes to choose from for this sort of fun. Stuff like Suzuki’s V Strom 1000 and the new learner legal 650 will dismiss most of what a trail ride has to offer with ease. The DR 650 is an old favourite, with plenty of torque and an ease of riding that other bikes just hope for, but it can get a bit heavy and is more suited to the adventure tourer category. Our very favourite trail rider, however, is the beyond wonderful DRZ 400. For us, it delivers the best ‘bang for your buck’ bike on the market, but there are many other great off road bikes we could mention, such as the RMX450Z. For the more competition-spirited rider, it’s lighter, quicker and more nimble, and while it’s powerful, it delivers the power through the whole rev-range, making it very easy to ride quickly. It’s also now available with ADR compliance, so you can take it on to the roads.
There are two, the road biased ‘S’ or the one we’re talking about here, the DRZ 400 E. This is a bike that’s been around in pretty much an unchanged form since 2000. The engine is more powerful now and the frame is lighter, but the bike still has what made it so brilliant back then. Long travel suspension allows it to perform, as we’d like it to on the rough stuff, while the single cylinder four-stroke motor is the definition of low maintenance.
The seat is a long bench style unit as per any other off roader and the wheels are spoked metal units. The bike features lights, indicators, and a full set of clocks, in addition to a reg plate mount. So while it has the capability to do a lot more than just ride a trail, it also has the potential to handle the daily commute through Melbourne.
Buy yourself an extra set of wheels, make yourself a supermotard (Suzuki make a DRZ 450SM motard) and get to know all of the local constabulary so well that you may even get yourself invited to their Christmas party! (True story – a friend of ours did actually get stopped so many times by the regional traffic corps that he was asked to attend their do)
Meanwhile, back on the trails, dressing yourself appropriately is essential. Things do, occasionally, go wrong. It’s so much better to stand back up and consider how you’re going to get your bike back to a street rather than to hope a mate has what it takes to organise a ‘medivac’. There is a lot of great, comfortable gear available. Composite armour that covers our backs, chest, elbows, shoulders and kidneys are available as one lightweight jacket. Enduro boots, goggles, helmets, gloves and knee armour are all a good idea. Remember, it’s not just an ‘off’ that hurts, what comes flying at you from the rear wheel of a leading bike can do its own damage!
The state has its own website with lists of where you can ride, as well as a whole host of sensible tips. Take a look, and see what others have to say, but an even better tip is to contact your local dealership to be introduced to riders who already enjoy the trails. See Raceway motorcycles for more…
If this has got you itching to get out there on the track, download our great pre-ride POWDER checklist so you can make sure your machine is as ready to go as you are!
To find out more about raceway motorcycles and services please contact us directly on 03) 9351 0055