‘Yee-hah’ came the cry as the big orange beast hit the bank of the dried-out riverbed. A cloud of dust flew from the undercarriage as it launched across the ravine before landing nose first on the other side. It was a phenomenal leap, especially for such a large machine…
God, I loved ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’. As a child, nothing short of a tornado could prise me away from the telly when the familiar country ‘n’ western theme music rang out and Daisy Duke’s denims wiggled into view. But as a car-crazy kid, what really captured the imagination was that big orange ‘69 Charger powersliding down the dirt roads of Hazzard County, allowing the Dukes to evade the clutches of the bumbling Sheriff Rosco P Coltrane.
KTM’s new 950 Super Enduro R could be the dirtbike equivalent of the Duke boys’ General Lee - big, powerful and very orange! But rather than launch their new bike in Hicksville, USA, KTM instead chose somewhere with far more off-road provenance - Erzberg in Austria, home of the Erzberg Rodeo dirtbike festival.
Rubbing shoulders with lush green mountainsides, Erzberg (meaning Ore Mountain) has given up its slopes to open-cast mining and every year tens of thousands of tonnes of rock disappear from its core while tens of thousands of bikers descend on the site for the famous four day event. Towering over the small town of Eisenerz, the tiered side of the mountain sees racers charge up the climb along wide and winding dirt roads in the qualifying ‘Prologue’, before the altogether more extreme Hare Scramble traverses the more rocky bits in between. And all in a country where off-road riding is, for the most part, prohibited! Riding there felt as illicit as running moonshine in Hazzard County…
The Super Enduro is the fourth bike to use KTM’s LC8 V-twin engine. First came the Adventure, then the Super Duke and the 950SM. Both the Super Duke and now the Adventure, use a 999cc fuel injected version of the 75-degree motor, though the Super Enduro runs the original 942cc carburetted mill as this lump is ‘off-road proven’ and gives more control low down, with better throttle response than the injected engine. At least you can’t fault the Austrians’ honesty!
[Interestingly the dry-sumped engine is lubricated from a specially reshaped oil tank sitting at the front of the motor (protected by an alloy bashplate) and the large single radiator wears a plastic guard to prevent damage to the fins and lessen the build up of mud.]