Just HOW good is a Dakar bike. We know they’re good, but what are they really like? Are they hard to ride? Are they fast? Are they scary? These are the questions I wanted to answer.
The mystique of Dakar bikes is not new. From the dream of Africa Twin’s and Super Tenere’s to the perpetual tale of the 950/990 basically being a Dakar Bike, the dream of Dakar bikes being great ADV’s is ever lasting. It’s interesting idea and forms the basis for this comparison video. Over the last two months we’ve been working on our T7 project bike furiously; testing, riding, filming and fettling. The bike is done, the filming is done and it’s very good. We’ll let you in on the full story soon enough. It’ll be worth the wait.
Dakar bikes are mental. They’re very easy to ride and do so at Mach 247
Until then however, it seemed like the perfect comparison bike. A super well prepared ADV versus a genuine, purpose built, nearly €30,000 Dakar rally bike. This is a bike that’s won stages, nearly taken the race win and immensely different to a stock dirtbike. We did a review of this Yamaha model a few years ago if you want to see a bit more detail on the bike. It’s one of the few ‘factory’ bikes that starts life as a production machine, before renowned French race team Dragon Tek, pull it apart and start again. From more fuel and air, to different pistons, conrods, cams, a re-shaped subframe, re-welded frame, longer swingarm, custom triple clamps and new ECU as well as all of the Rallye requirements. It turns an €9,900 bike into a supremely expensive bike.
I think in the video we outlined most of what we wanted to say but there we a few bits left-unsaid. Keeping a video concise but informative is a tricky balance. The biggest section I omitted was on the reality of the WR 450F Rallye as an ADV. Would that work? Would we want to? The truth is a conflicting one. It ended as a 2-1 in favour of not using it. My biggest issue was probably something I imagine Lyndon Poskitt occasionally ran into. The Rallye bike is so capable it encouraged me to ride fast. It was so easy to ride at speed, it sucks you in. Nothing about it wants you to amble and in the wild world, I think a lot of us lack the self control to not get sucked into a speed of riding that isn’t great. Maybe that’s a bit like sports bike dude’s exclaiming that they ‘ride like a lunatic mate’ and they ‘had to sell it cos I was gonna kill myself’. Maybe it’s the reality.
Otherwise, the conclusion of our test was conclusive. Dakar bikes are mental. They’re very easy to ride and do so at Mach 247. Even in the last few years the upper ceiling seems to have moved a long way and they are astoundingly impressive. If you’re stoked on Si and his mellow ways you can through him a line of support on Social or through his website. If you wanna see the T7 project bikes series, you’ll wanna check back regularly or become and email subscriber up above.
As always, thanks for reading, supporting and generally being an awesome audience.
A full review of the bike from 2018
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