Don’t Be Late! 2 Singles and a Twin KTM Ride the TWAT Day 4

Day 4 (Wednesday) – Day Lake to Gays Mills, WI
Day 4 for me, would be a day of hunker down and get cozy on that there KTM saddle.  I’ll explain later, so let’s start at the beginning.
Morning found me putting my fancy Wal-Mart coffee mug to the test:
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From here, we discussed the days plans.  I was confident I had the location of my SPOT sorted, so I decided I’d packup quickly, find the SPOT, and meet at the local gas station.  If I didn’t find it, I didn’t find it.  If I did….rad.  According to Google Maps, the unit was in a small clearing on this side trail we were on.  Sure enough, that silly thing was exactly where the internets told me it would be.
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Welcome back old friend…
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Later on, I figured out why my Garmin gave me an odd reading.  There was a discrepancy in how I input the GPS coordinates.  Once input correctly, sure enough, it showed the correct location of m SPOT.  I hopped on the 350, giddy as could be and blasted my way back to meetup Jameson & Caleb, who hadn’t even made it to the gas station yet.  We thought about things, and contemplated a mad dash to at least get back to the Black River Falls area.  We wanted to hit some sections on the way South that we skipped (fuel\time\light) on the way up.  Rustic Road 111, we officially meet again:
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I can’t recall if it was after or during this RR 111 section that we got to ride some more ATV Trails.  Wherever it was, Caleb informed us that that was the section that they had rode……..at night……with the trail completely flooded.  When we rode the ATV sections, there were some soft spots, but absolutely nothing worrying.  Ride the side, and you’re through.  Caleb explained that when they rode the year prior, there were football field length sections under water, where they hoped they wouldn’t sink.  Now that’s adventure. :lol3.  Just before we were to hop on the road, in a quick turn-around, Jameson found himself in the dirt.
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Nothing to see here….
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We’re going how far on the road from here????
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We blasted straight South on 70.  Yes, we blasted about 130 miles straight highway.  Now that isn’t that far or that long.  It just slightly more a PITA when you’re riding a bike that feels like its top cruising speed is 65mph.  Yes, 70 started feeling more comfortable as I wanted to get done with it sooner, but 65 was where we needed to be.  We stopped about half way in Cornell, WI.  Grabbed some fuel & some snacks.  At this point Jameson realized that the glass jar of jelly he had in his side pannier decided to open itself.  Yes, a pannier full of strawberry jelly :lol3  Go figure that where we stopped, also happened to be home to a handful of wasps.  I took pity and didn’t snap any pictures of Jameson during this scuffle.
I did snap one picture of myself at this stop to send to the Mrs. back home.  Classy selfies:
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From Cornell, we decided to stop just outside of Black River Falls, at the Mocha Mouse.  A small little coffee\whatever place.  It was early afternoon and we had to decide what we were going to do for the rest of the day.  We knew ride, but back to the cabin?  Off-Road in BRF?  We didn’t know.  For me, it was becoming apparent enough as to what I needed to do.  At this point, I knew I wanted to be home some time Thursday.  I also knew that I was within striking distance of my parents cabin near Soldiers Grove.  I could tell Jameson was itching for some more off-road riding.  Caleb, seemed to be erring on the side of getting back to the cabin, to trailer home the next day.  With a healthy dose of Caffeinated Mocha drink (and maybe a jumbo chocolate chip cookie), Caleb and I would say Farewell to Jameson.  His plan however was to meet up with some friends…..in Minneapolis.  Yes.  He ran from BRF back up to Minneapolis to visit some friends (and then back to BRF the next day to ride some more trails).
We’ll see you later Jameson!
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We gotta ride how far now???
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Caleb and I hopped on our trusty KTM’s, and worked our way down through Sparta and onto the Ontario area.  Now this is where things got a bit…..interesting.  I’ll tell the story as best I recall, but I could be off in my recollection, and for all I know, it didn’t even actually happen.  We went to stop for fuel outside of Ontario, but I missed a turn.  I figured we’d be fine on fuel, and saw that Ontario had a gas station of its own just outside of Wildcat Mountain (which we had ridden on the way North…and I wanted to ride again heading South).  We roll up to this small gas station, and I see a younger guy on a street bike.  Caleb stops at the pump across from the street bike guy.  I pull up next to Caleb, since there were only like 3 pumps here.  Caleb hops off his bike, and tells me….Hey, I gotta pull all this crap off my bike to fill up.  For those that don’t know, a KTM 690 has underseat gas tank, with the fill spout kinda above the rear fender.  In Calebs case, it requires him to remove all of his gear to get to.
So, I roll up and fill up my gas tank.  When I’m done, I roll my bike back and let Caleb in spot to fillup with fuel.  I am checking some stuff on my GPS when sportbike guy rolls up.  We start chatting, with him explaining he’s from around the Madison area, and loves the roads around here.  We talked Wildcat Mountain a bit, and I explained where we were headed.  He started to fill me in on some of his favorite roads in the vicinity, when all of a sudden some older gentleman gets up out of his car all worked up.  Caleb at this point had literally just finished topping up with fuel and was beginning to strap his luggage back on his bike.
This old guy starts coming at us, screaming to GTFO of the way of the premium pump.  Caleb, sportbike guy, and myself all look at eachother like…what are you going on about?  Old man starts yelling at Caleb to move his bike, and quit sitting around talking.  I try to reason with the guy that he literally just finished fueling up, and we had no idea that this was the only premium fuel pump at the station.  Trying to reason with a crazy person in and of itself is crazy, so I just tried to get the guy to calm down.  Sir, we’ll move the bike, we didn’t mean to inconvenience you here.  Now at this point, sportbike guy get a bit lippy with the man.  On one hand, I can’t blame him.  The old man could have been cool about it, but he came out a blazing hot-head.
So here I am, standing next to my bike.  Caleb is standing at about my 1 o’clock, a few steps away.  Old man is to my 3 o’clock about a step away, and Sportbike guy is at my 9 o’clock.  Sportbike guy begins making a few comments about the old mans car, at which point he pushes me out of the way to get at sportbike guy.  These two kinda lock eyes, looking like I’m about to witness a brawl.  Old man gives sportbike guy a big shove.  I try to step in a bit and try to get the guy to calm down.  Sir, Sir……Sir, just go back to your car.  There is no need for this.  We will move our bikes, we had no idea we were inconveniencing you today.  Sportbike guy looks like he’s about to exchange fisticuffs with the man.  After a few more of my reassuring pep talks, the old man slowly walked back to his car.  Caleb and I roll our bikes away, and begin getting our gear on.
As we’re gearing up, sportbike guy comes up to Caleb and I, and makes mention he’s gonna retaliate.  Caleb and I look at each other, toss our gear on, and get out of dodge.  We stop a bit up the road, and kinda run over to ourselves what just all went down.  We both agree this was crazy.  Where we stopped was close enough to still kind of see the gas station.  At which point we kinda see the sportbike guy circle around old mans car, and then zoom off in the opposite direction.  Caleb and I look at each other.  I tell him if he sees a Mercedes in his mirrors, to just stay on the gas.  We fire up our bikes and make our way through Wildcat Mountain……thankfully with no Crazed Old Man behind us.
Not far after the Wildcat Mountain, we came upon another Rustic Road.  I couldn’t resist:
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We moseyed on down the way, taking one of the roads suggested to us by sportbike guy.  It was a great road, and had my bike of been faster…..even more fun.  We stopped for a quick restroom break and enjoyed the peaceful area, away from anyone else.
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Fun Bridges….and portapotties :lol3
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From here, we followed whatever way we felt like.  I have to say, it was an incredible portion of the trip.  We meandered through farm land, on winding paved roads, darting in and around spotted gravel sections.  The 350 was in its element here.  You could really ride the bike fast, without going illegal speeds.  I carved like I was on a supermoto, and was able to still take in the scenery.  Sooner or later, we were getting close to some locations I had ridden, and knew I needed to snap a quick pic where I had forgotten to when my wife and I had been riding nearby earlier this year.
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With that, we finished our ride back to my parents cabin.  It was a long day, with a LOT of riding.  A LOT of varied riding as well.  It beat the prior days for excitement, that’s for sure.  Very good, fun day.  Caleb and I grabbed a frozen pizza and cooked it up, enjoying a few leftover beers from Sunday night.
Day 4 Map –
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Andrew
Day 5 to follow –

Don’t Be Late! 2 Singles and a Twin KTM Ride the TWAT Day 3

Pre Day 3 Notes

I had sent my Ride Report thus far to my brother who after a quick discussion sparked a bit of introspection on this ride. Looking back on what I wrote about Day 2, I felt like what I wrote was rushed. Recalling back however, this is pretty well inline with how Day 2 was for me. Day 2 was filled with what was the core of the best riding areas of the TWAT. At that point, we were out of the flat open corn fields of Illinois, and were winding our way up and around the Driftless area of Wisconsin. Not only that, but we were bang on track for riding the trickier terrain of the Black River Falls area. By the time we got to the Black River Falls area, Caleb was zonked, I was feeling the affects of riding a KTM 350 for quite a few hours straight, and I was getting sick of Dust. Not only that, but as the day wore on, we were all relatively indecisive about where and when to stop. The day was just a rushed one, but that is more or less the story of this trip. A lot of distance covered in not a lot of time. That was OK though, because tomorrow would be a new day.

Day 3 (Tuesday) – Hawkins, WI to The End of the TWAT……and Back :huh

We woke up relatively chipper in the morning. Our camp site was more or less a staging area for some ATV Trails. As I noted before, I was a bit concerned about us riding on the ATV Trails, as at this point with our non-existent internet access, we were unable to do some online reading through the evening. We went with our gut, and figured that if the publicized TWAT had us navigating on some of these trails, we would be OK. Looking at my GPS, I hadn’t realized how close we were to the end of the TWAT. We did some rough math, and figured that we’d be at the end by noon.

For me, it was a nice refreshing way to wakeup. I’m plenty comfortable on my bike in just about any condition (aside from ice, unless I’ve got studded tires), so despite having a street oriented dual sport tire setup on my bike, and the somewhat slick ground conditions, I was really enjoying myself. The sky was slightly overcast, the trails were winding, with the right amount of dirt\sand mix, and I found myself able to ride a brisk yet comfortable pace.

After the ATV Trails, we wound up at Rustic Road 111
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Now at this point, we were I dunno, 50-100 miles into our available fuel. I hadn’t been worried on my 350, as I’d been get 55-60mpg, and had 4 gallons of fuel. Jameson’s 950 was holding plenty of gas, but Caleb was beginning to worry about his situation. He had done the TWAT the year before and was concerned about a section which was muddy, and which he rode…..at night. It was early morning for us, so I wasn’t concerned about the trail conditions, however, I don’t like having to tow bikes due to running out of fuel. At this point, we pulled a bit of an audible and took a straight shot North on Cr-GG to refuel in Clam Lake.

Cr-GG for me, embodied the essence of the trip. The morning air was calm. The road was lined with beaufitul trees as far as you can see. A feeling of “being out there” began to fall over me. With my 350 humming along at 60mph, I had felt what I’d been looking for with this trip. I knew we weren’t far from the end, but this section just felt right. On top of this, we were graced by the quick sight of a wolf running across the road. I had to rethink this over, as my mind kept thinking, was that a coyote….no, much too large for that to be a coyote. A wolf, a desolate road, with calm cool air. This was where I wanted to be.

Like all good things, this road soon came to an end. We refueled in Clam Lake, and set off North once again. Unbeknownst to me, I would soon lose my SPOT Tracker shortly after this fuel stop. From Clam lake, we worked our way up to the Delta Diner. Yes, the silver restaurant near the end of the TWAT.

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You can likely tell from the picture that we were the only ones there. Lesson learned was that they are closed on Tuesdays. That’s ok, cause we weren’t really hungry at this point. In my mind however, we were only a few miles from the end of the TWAT. As it turns out, this isn’t quite true. We still had a few miles to go. After the Delta Diner, there were some awesome fun sand roads. I know, a lot of folks hate riding sand. You gotta embrace it. There is nothing quite like riding full throttle, railing turns, just locked in like you’re Bob Hannah. I love personally love it, but I suppose years of riding the sugar sand of Michigans UP will do that for you. A bit further down the trail, and we had our first glimpse of Superior

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Around 12:30, our projected time, we reached….The End. Holy anti-climactic Batman. I kid you not. We thought we got to the wrong spot. We were at some sandy dead end road. Jameson took the lead, and found there was a short maybe not so legit trail to climb down to the shore. Sure enough, we found ourselves on a beautiful set of large rocks, crystal clear Lake Superior water, and some vintage graffiti to enjoy a snack.

Hey look….a selfie:

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A stolen picture of Jameson from his instagram:
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It’s just after noon. The sun was baking on us. And so the talk began. Were we or weren’t we going to jump into the water. I know I needed a shower, but dipping my hand in the water….yup frigid. What the heck, let’s make this trip official. Off came the riding gear and with a run on some slipper rocks….off we jumped into the water. Hells horses was that cold and refreshing. Sure, I was only about 10′ from the rock itself, but sweet word, that water sucked the breath out of me and I felt I was a mile away. We spent the next 20 minutes or so making random leaps into the water. Each time claiming it was getting colder and colder trying to find a more convenient way of climbing the rocks to get out, without looking like a beached shamu whale.

After enough shinanigans, we felt it was time to move on and work our way sadly South. We knew we had skipped some sections of the trail, so figured that we’d snag these on our way South. We had the time, so why not? Our first order of business was to get gas in Redcliff, and zip South through Bayfield and on into Ashland, WI. We stopped in at the local Wal-Mart. I stocked up on some ramen\water\etc (also grabbed myself a fancy new coffee mug). I wanted something to eat, so talked the group into going to the local Culvers. This was a good choice, as my subconscious had reminded me that Culvers are pretty good about keeping their restrooms clean…..ideal for someone who isn’t overly fond of pit toilets and what have you (hey…..I got attacked by a bat in an outhouse….that’ll scar anyone :lol3).

Jameson, in his infinite wisdom snapped a picture of us as we were to set off from Culvers. We left culvers according to my phone at 4pm.
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I’m not sure if it was at this point, or when, but we began heading south. It’d been a good day of riding thus far. We were heading South, and figured we had plenty of time. It was when we went to refill with fuel at Clam Lake (again) that I realized that I had lost my SPOT Tracker.

Jameson gave me the stink-eye making me feel like a fool for losing my tracker :lol3
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I did some critical thinking. According to my phone, my SPOT was just up the road. It was roughly 5:15pm, and I wasn’t communicating very well with Caleb & Jameson. I (in my mind) explained to them that the SPOT was thankfully a couple miles up the road. I said I’d go zip up the road, and look for it. I thought Caleb was fixing something on his bike, so felt I had plenty of time to go up the road, find the device, and get back to the gas station, where we’d rendezvous to then find camp.

I get to where the SPOT is supposed to be, and yeah….I’m not seeing it. I got a bit worked up with myself, because, it shoulda been there, and how did I lose it, and I’m tired, and insert long list of reasons here. I went up and down the road & trail looking for it. I decided to put the GPS coordinates into my Garmin, and see if maybe I was looking at things wrong. At this point, my Garmin tells me the SPOT is like 20 miles straight line away, at what looks like a persons house. I kept thinking, how the crap could the SPOT’s reported location be so far off from what my Garmin showed. Meanwhile, my phone was bouncing in and out of reception, and I’m getting text messages from Jameson\Caleb that they don’t know where I am. Then I get one that they’re going to look for a place to camp, and what have you. It’s getting mildly darker, I realize I’m becoming impatient about my situation, so decide…..who cares about the SPOT, let’s go meetup with the guys, and enjoy camp.

I zip my way back down the road and stock up on adult beverages at the Clam lake gas station, and end up meeting Jameson & Caleb at Day Lake Campground. Go figure, we manage to pick a spot where the past campers decided to dump their gray water. Thanks wankers. They did leave us a nice empty bottle of Smirnoff with some flowers in it.

Only about 800ish miles in:
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Caleb posing while posting at Day Lake:
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The lake was calm, and very relaxing:
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We setup camp, got a fire going, and retired relatively early. The wind had picked up pretty good. Caleb told us to hop into his hammock to see what it was like. It was an awesome view of the clear sky and bright stars. That said, with how much the trees were swaying in the wind, I’m not sure I coulda slept in that all night. On the ground, in my tent for me.

Day 3 Map
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Andrew

Day 4 to Follow –

Don’t Be Late! 2 Singles and a Twin KTM Ride the TWAT Day 2

Day 2 (Monday) – Soldiers Grove to Hawkins area, WI?
We woke up around 7am, and realized we had made a terrible mistake.  Our first night on the trip, was us living lives of luxury.  We had beds, fridge with food, running water, and yes, a shower.  Caleb was found sleeping in his car outside.  I think he slept for an hour after whatever wedding he was at, and drove his way out.  He arrived bearing gifts of breakfast sausage, and other tasty foods.
A quick look outside showed that we’d be riding in some beautiful weather.  Sun was out, and found us getting out on the road quite late around 9am.  The portion of the TWAT from Soldiers Grove area on up to Black River Falls area is mostly road, and maybe some minor backroad stuff.  OK, I think it also takes you through Wildcat mountain area (though we may have bypassed this?).  Yes, now looking back I recall what happened.  We wound our way through many random fields and Amish areas.  We did some math, and felt if we wanted to get to the sandier and more off-roady areas, we’d create some bypasses of our own and get up to Black River Falls area.  At which point, we made our first stop along the way
A side road on a sandy section of the TWAT –
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I think at this point I finished the last of the peanut butter bars my wife made me.  They were supposed to last the trip, but hey……I can’t fight the hunger feeling.  As I’ve mentioned before, I am not the best at taking pictures.  The next I have along the way are some additional Rustic Road pics.  This was just on the outskirts of the BRF area.
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We zipped along, at which point realizing that there were some open gravel areas.  I don’t mind going as fast as possible on these roads, but Lord help me if that KTM 950 doesn’t kick up some killer dust.  Jameson was rocking some Terraflex rear tire that was like a 3 mile long smoke screen of dust.  The 690 wasn’t as bad, but sweet word.  So as we scooted along, my eye spied another Rustic Road sign.  I let Jameson and Caleb zip away as I snagged a quick picture.
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You’ll notice in the above pic how my luggage locations changed.  This changed probably each day as I found a new configuration to put things.  Yes, I managed to burn some straps, and lose an item or two.  Such is life.
Along we went, with us needing to take a quick break.  Again, I don’t remember where, or exactly when.  I do remember though that Caleb had found that his rotopax gas tank he had on his bikes rear rack had broken the rear rack.  We found a stellar spot along the way to stop and fix things.  We had a lake, a parking lot, shade, pit toilets.  What more could you ask for?
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An hour and a half later, my gatorade had decided to work its way through me, requiring a quick pit stop.  I waved Jameson & caleb past and hung tight for a bit to let some of their dust settle.  We were mildly confused on the Wisconsin ATV Trail markings.  When you see a motorcycle, with a line through it, you tend to think….motorcycles shouldn’t be there.  That’s not always the case as we’d later learn.  Street legal motorcycles are acceptable.  This relieved me a bit, as I don’t like riding where I don’t belong, or am not allowed.  We have too few of trail systems as it is, I don’t want to be the one to screw that up. :deal
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Jameson scratches away some dust:
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Caleb ready to keep groovin and a moovin:
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After the more off-roady aspect of the area North of Black River Falls, things basically turn into farm lands.  Wide.  Open.  Farm.  We scooted pretty quickly at this point, with each of us keeping decent distance to keep the dust as tolerable as possible.  Around 6pm, we figured we better figure out what we were going to do for camp.  We stopped at a gas station I really wish I knew where (mapping shows Hawkins, WI) to get some quick food stuffs.  At which point I sent my wife a stellar high fashion photo of myself.
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We figured at this point, we’d continue to follow the trail, and see where we ended up.  Around 630, Jameson figured we better really buckle down on location.
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We found ourselves on an ATV Trail.  I was in front (350’s are the fastest of course), with Jameson following Caleb.  Caleb ended up washing out his front tire, so we decided we really must buckle down. and find camp.  After a few minor detours, we found an appropriate locale for sleeping.
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We realized in our spot we had no cell signal.  I sent my Check-In\OK signal on my SPOT, but figured I’d walk to the entrance of our camp spot to see if I could get any reception.  I hopped on my bike without my gear\helmet\etc.  Go figure, I get a danged mosquito in my eye.
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Yah…that one on your right.  The one that’s making your eyes water right now :lol3
We relaxed through the evening.  Cooked some foods, and around 9 or 10, Jameson decided he needed a cup of coffee.  I odn’t understand how he did it, but he did.  Caleb and I retired to our separate chambers.  His a hammock nestled between a couple trees.  Mine, my trusty Kelty tent.  Not 2 minutes after getting into my tent, Caleb begins snoring like a bear.  Thankfully, I was tired and zonked out quickly.
End of day, I think we did 275-300ish miles?  I sadly don’t remember.  It was a great day of riding, and I was ready for what the next day would bring us.
Day 2 Map
Day 3 (Tuesday) to follow.
Andrew

Acerbis 4.1 Gallon Gas Tank – For KTM 250/350/450/500

I wanted an oversized tank for my KTM 350EXC-F for some dual-sport rides.  I did not want to be the Exxon Valdez super tanker.  Enter the Acerbis 4.1 Gallon Gas Tank.  This tank replaces the OEM radiator guards without adding too much width over the OEM Tank.  This Acerbis unit is identical to the KTM Hard Parts 13L tank, but with the Acerbis screw on gas cap.  I opted for the Acerbis unit purely because it saved me about 80-100$ depending on where you purchase from.

Installing the unit is straight forward.  Remove your OEM Tank, Remove the fuel pump from your OEM Tank (not needed if you have a second fuel pump setup), slide fuel pump into Acerbis tank, and finally reinstall the tank onto the bike.  The Acerbis unit included all the required hardware for installing the tank.  The tanks wall thickness is thinner than the OEM tank, so this requires some alternate hardware.  The supplied hardware did the job and is on par or above OEM quality.  No faults to be had here.

Between your knees, you end up with about 1/2″ of fuel tank extra on either side.  In the center, you end up with the standard Acerbis look of a slightly too tall fuel filler.  This is due to Acerbis needing to be able to fit their dry break fuel filler system.  Not the end of the world, but if you’re used to sliding up on your tank all the way up to the bars, you’re going to have a nut buster of a problem.

When on the bike you don’t really notice the tank all too much.  Yes it’s there, and yes there is a bit more fuel sloshing around, but there is no avoiding that with adding fuel.  So far I’m happy with it.  My only gripe at this point being that the gas cap breather hose nipple broke off before I even touched the tank.  Mildly frustrating, though luckily the tank is still usable without that.

– UPDATE –

I contacted Acerbis regarding the broken cap.  They’re sending me a replacement cap.  Excellent Service & Response.

Acerbis Part #:2367750147

Fox Valley Off Road Open B Year End Results

The results are in…..

Saturdays GP: B Class, 3rd Overall
GP Results

Sundays HS: Open B, 1st – Overall, 9th/49
Class Results     Overall Results

Fox Valley Off Road Overall (Open B):
1st/25
FVOR Overall Points

Suffice to say, I’m quite thrilled.  It feels good to have finally won some form of overall series since my Advanced Trials class in 2009.  I rode far less than normal this year, but seemed to grow more and more confident in my riding.  Thanks to my wife, family, and friends for all the support.

Andrew