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Author Topic: Racing Panda's AWESOME AMAGEZA 2014: START TO about halfway.  (Read 50471 times)

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Offline Dwerg

Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #80 on: March 27, 2014, 10:45:00 am »
Lekker thread  :thumleft:
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Offline Scooterbike

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Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #81 on: March 27, 2014, 09:26:56 pm »
Now its knee braces on the shopping list also!!!

Then again I have already been through this. In 2008 I had an off road crash at 120km/h involving 2 quads. Amongst other injuries, got the ligaments at the back of my knee torn off the bone because the leg over extended....

case made, I need to borough money somewhere...  :deal:
« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 09:32:59 pm by Scooterbike »
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Offline weskus

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Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #82 on: March 28, 2014, 08:50:57 am »
Now its knee braces on the shopping list also!!!

Then again I have already been through this. In 2008 I had an off road crash at 120km/h involving 2 quads. Amongst other injuries, got the ligaments at the back of my knee torn off the bone because the leg over extended....

case made, I need to borough money somewhere...  :deal:
Einaaa...
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Offline Offroad2

Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #83 on: April 03, 2014, 09:00:59 am »
I sat on the start line with the din of howling racing engines battering my ears, and a fog of two-stroke smoke hanging in the air, thinking: "What the hell have I done? I don't belong here! I am a soulful adventure rider who casts off from society and rides long and far to escape, to cut loose, in search of open vistas and starry skies. What am I doing with this bunch of mad petrol heads???"

But I looked down and I was wrapped in protective plastic, sitting on a tiny angry wasp of a plastic motorcycle - and I was actually adding to the cacophony.  Am I one of them?

There wasn't much time to think about what I was doing, or what was going to happen, because we were off. My game plan was simple - stay out of everyone's way, drift to the back of the field and coast around checking out this crazy scene.

I sort of did that, but then we got to this first really steep hill, and I was cruising up it serenely and then some fool (haha) crashed half way up and fell right in front of me and knocked me over. And it was so loose there was no getting going again on the hill, and by the time I was back on track I was bringing up the rear or just about. So, the next fifteen kays or so passed in relative solitude, which suited me - I was getting the hang of the bike, which I'd only ridden briefly once, and finding out how to deal with a two-stroke power band and the almost complete absence of torque.

Eventually I came across this huge hill (it had a name, but I can't for the life of me remember it), and saw about twenty bikes littered across its slopes. It looked like a mini-Erzberg scene, and I joined the two guys waiting at the bottom for the carnage to clear so we could have a run at it. Eventually one of them said he's going, and somehow he found a line through the chaos and made it up. The other guy had already had a crack and failed, so it was my turn and I took a deep breath.

That little KDX - vintage off road race bike though she may be - is a mountain goat. We blasted up the hill no problem, and got a bunch of places back into the bargain. The rest of the lap passed without incident (apart from a tiny sideways somersault in the riverbed ravine) - Lap 1: done!

This is quite easy, I thought. I can do this. So I passed my pits - well, actually I hadn't managed to find them before the race - ate a quick energy bar and cruised on. Oh, I forgot to mention - I somewhat shamefully got lapped before the end of lap 1!

Lap 2 passed pretty much without incident. Cruised easily up the steep hills, and had picked up a bit of pace over the first lap, but then had a wipeout from a pure lack of concentration going down the steep hill to the ravine section. Scooterbike/Dirk from this forum was marshalling and he was behind me at this point. I was battling a bit at the beginning of the ravine section and he yelled at me that I needed to put my kickstand up. I kicked. It fell down. I kicked. It fell down. Damn spring had disappeared - probably in my last off. I yelled for cable ties (note to self for next race) but he had none - ever the helpful marshall, however, he returned with some red and white barrier tape and threw it down to me in the gorge. I tied up and finished lap 2, luckily bumping into my pit as I did. I ran to the car for petrol and cable ties, and gave my ride a bit of TLC.

Somewhat ominously, as I started Lap 3 I felt the twinges of cramp setting in. I was a bit surprised, as I wasn't feeling that tired. But apparently my body felt differently. About five kays in I stopped to re-attach a strap on my chest protector - a lovely bit of fancy new Leatt kit that makes you feel invincible - and got lapped by a few more bikes. Cruising on it became clear I was about to start a cramp fest of note. I started riding like a granny, mostly because just about every muscle in my body that was needed to control the bike was going into revolt. But I was having fun anyway, in a slow motion kind of way.

A newbie should always get a bit of a slap when having the cheek to do something they are completely unqualified for. At the bottom of the riverbed ravine was a huge bundle of old barbed wire that I'd passed twice already. This time, I somehow managed to pick it up with my fat knobblies, and wrap the entire thing around my wheel, chain and swingarm. I lent the bike down against the sand and pondered my predicament. I was going nowhere! Like an uneducated idiot I'd brought no tools of any description. But luckily some kind samaritan stopped and gave me a leatherman. I took about twenty minutes to cut the damn stuff off - alternately jumping out of the track and getting roosted by the fast guys coming past, but eventually my bike was free. Honestly, I'd probably been glad for the break.

I got back on and limped to the finish, delighted to see the chequered flag, as there was no way I'd have made another lap. I'd discovered that one can cramp in one's shoulder, under one's ribs, and even in one's appendix. And I don't have an appendix. I've just had a recovery nap at home, and I'm still cramping!

So, summary of the day? It's a strange world out there in the off-road motorsports fraternity. But I'm going to be an imposter for a little while. I'm coming back for sure - I'm guessing in two or three days I'll already be scheming about the next one. And this is definitely going to get my fitness and riding up to scratch for the Amageza - which was the master plan anyway. Three laps done - not too bad for a first attempt, but I'm going faster next time! The little bike was brilliant, but the suspension needs some serious attention. It's six years old - an oil change and re-gas is a good start, and maybe some new front springs because I was bottoming out a lot. It's a strong little goat - I definitely have enough power, for now anyway!

Clearly I have work to do on the old body!! I do quite a bit of long distance cycling, and unfortunately I suffer a lot from cramps in endurance events, but this was one of the worst ever. I probably need to work out some kind of proper rehydrate/electrolyte system, and I may not have drunk enough. Bailey/Richard from the forum was kind enough to swing over this shot - a helmet cam for sure next time! Bring it!


Hey Max nice write up , very WELL DONE - sorry i only got to read it now lol
Reading your comments, it inspires Ocket & myself to continue setting tracks, to find the right balance for social & competitive riders makes things interesting.
We decided to put Snake bite hill in knowing that there would be several who would have a couple of runs at it but we also knew it would not become a bottle neck
The problem is to find venues as good as Bot River & Koue Bokkeveld (My Favourite)

Riding a plastic in off-roads has to be good training for dual purpose riding and encourage anyone who has access to dirt bikes to try it . You dont need a fancy 2014 model to go and have fun at Off-Roads.

Look forward to seeing you at the next one
Cheers
Clive
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Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #84 on: April 03, 2014, 12:10:57 pm »
Cheers Clive!

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #85 on: April 03, 2014, 12:45:51 pm »
It's been a very interesting experience picking up my first plastic. Honestly, I don't have much interest in riding the big bike at the moment! Yeah, it pulls like a freight train and eats up miles and all that, but it is nowhere near as much fun!

The plastic is a schlep - I've borrowed a trailer, which I'm storing at a friend's garage half way across town - such are the sacrifices of living in a city apartment - but when you're on it and riding in the dirt, then biking has a whole new meaning. It's just so light and responsive - it jumps and twists and turns, and you can do all kinds of things you'd really think twice about on the big bike and then pass on for fear of damaging the thing. If the plastic falls over, well just pick it up, dust it off and carry on. Really, really good fun!

But it's damn slow on the open road, and no two-stroke is going to do the job on the Amageza, so.... I be having a lot of bike prep to be doing.

I currently own this:



It's a 690 with a fairing and a 5litre rear tank. Riding reasonably hard it will do maybe 300km on dirt, but that goes down to 200-220km in deep sand... and that's not enough! And the fairing is the Omega tubular mount, which has been known to give issues on the Amageza.

So modding it will need:

  • Rally Raid Evo2 front tanks for an extra 10 litres
  • Home made steerer-tube frame mount (weld on) and HDPE fairing mount or possibly Highway Dirtbikes rally-lite setup
  • Fairing panels
  • Proper bashplate with built in water tank - at the moment I'm thinking of buying the Rally Raid water container and making my own carbon/kevlar bashplate
  • Improvement to the lighting - which currently sux - possibly local LEDs
  • Obviously the roadbook/ICO/GPS setup
  • It doesn't have the world's best suspension - I'd love some Rally Raid 300mm Tractive rally suspension, but that's just out of the question right now

or.... flog it and buy one of these:



and do this to it:



Well ok - probably the budget Safari-tanks version, but you know...

Rough sums probably point to the CRF version being about R30k cheaper in the end, but that is offset by higher engine maintenance and I'll definitely lose a bunch of that when selling it on, so it's a bit of a zero sum game in the end.

The 450-class bike (Honda, Yammie, KTM) is probably going to be quicker, lighter and less tiring on the specials, but the 690 will definitely be a much nicer mount on the liaisons. And, ironically, probably 20% lighter on juice when pushing on than the carb-fed bikes, which is around 5kg less fuel to lug around. And then there's the thought that this isn't purely a race bike - also a weekend trip bike, so it needs to be up to that to.

Common sense is pushing me towards keeping the 690, and to be honest I really can't be arsed with the schlep of buying and selling bikes. But the aftermarket 690 stuff is so bloody expensive! A pair of RR front-side tanks (10 litres) is about the same price as a pair of Safari front & rear tanks for the CRF450X (30 litres) and if one went Acerbis on the front you could save another R5k. And the 450s have better suspension, and are much less complex.

Decisions, decisions, decisions....

Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #86 on: April 03, 2014, 03:55:06 pm »
You have hit the nail on the head when it comes to explaining the dilemma. Here are my thoughts (for what they may be worth): Rally bikes these days are smaller:

1) The Dakar dis-allowed the use of anything over 450 since 2012

2) The lighter bikes are a lot easier to manage than the big bore bikes in technical terrain, but unless you have a new factory bike, they are slower.

The ease of use is counterbalanced by an increase in the number of mechanical DNF's in rallies like the Dakar. We have to compare to the Dakar because Alexander's vision is to create a Dakar length rally in Africa again, with stages that are twice as long as the those of most other rallies. So even though the Dakar is nearly 4 times longer, the days are the same.

Now look at the stages of the Amageza themselves: Yes it was technically difficult, but not in very sustained way. Last years Amageza had a lot of two track and some riverbed riding. Very little single track and off-piste relative to the overall length of the thing to date. I don't know what the route looks like, but expect there to be bit more of it this year. So what bike is best?

You have highlighted the benefits of both bikes, and at the end of the day both bikes have certain advantages and disadvantages. Both would be capable of finishing the Amageza as well, so I don't really know if there is a wrong decision here either way.

Some final comments that may help you (Or not!) with your decision:

-I think the resale value of the 450 will be higher than you think - rally bling tends to hold its value.
-The 690 bike was specifically built for this type of rally. It won the Dakar for a decade.
-A fast and comfortable bike is a huge advantage on long stages. The downside is that speed can really hurt you too!

The question is will you be comfortable riding the beast ? I think the answer is yes - given the training you have been doing already. Perhaps what you need to do is take the 690 on an off road (not an enduro) and decide if you still like it. If not then the decision is easy, but you may find that with your new skills you ride that bike better than you ever have before.

I went for a 450 in 2010 because I realized my skills were not that hot and I wanted to be sure of a finish. I also had to consider buying a 690,, so the decision was easier to make. But you have a bike that can finish it so maybe that decision is not as easy.

Ah, but what great choice to be having to make! All the best with it. :thumleft:
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 03:56:40 pm by BlueBull2007 »
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Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #87 on: April 03, 2014, 09:48:17 pm »
Nice thoughts, thanks Neil :)

To be honest, I've done a lot of off-piste riding on the 690 already, and it handles very well in deep sand, even loaded with panniers. I mean, look at the design of the new KTM rally bike - same trellis frame as my bike, and far away from a simple enduro bike even in underpinnings. Also, the underseat tank on the 690 centralises the weight really well - my old BMW X-Challenge with the Touratech big tank and rally tower was a complete pig when full. On my 690 with extra rear tank (and admittedly 9liters less than the X) I don't even notice full tanks. It's also quite economical, has a very strong engine that won't even need oil changes on the Amageza. There's a lot of reasons to keep it.

On the other hand, I reckon I've got to spend another R30-40k on it to get it ready. That's on top of the entry fees, and thanks to Bloody Beserker (how we love him) I had an unexpected extra expense in buying the KDX so money is extremely tight. Of course I could sell the little toy before the race to free up some funds, but I'm unfortunately becoming quite attached to it. In fact I've only used the 690 around town since I got the little bike.

The bonus of the 450 is a fairly substantial saving up front on cost, and then the fact that the kind of riding I do has been gravitating more and more towards very rough touring - 4x4 tracks, up and down mountains etc. - and I'm constantly craving a smaller touring bike. This is my kind of picnic:



But looking beyond the Amageza, my 690 with more fuel and a water tank in the bash plate will make it pretty much the holy grail of long distance rough touring bikes, and we have been talking about a Western Zambia trip. It does this so well:



(and that was loaded with an extra 15litres of fuel in soft bags plus food and camping equipment for a remote trip of a week.)

If I was rich enough, or serious enough about rallying, I'd have a dedicated race bike. But that is very far from ever happening, and I'm already stretching the limits of reason having two bikes, so I've got to keep an eye on practical realities for multi purpose use. But then a 450 with good range and nav gear could also make a great rough touring bike.


Offline BlueBull2007

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Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #88 on: April 03, 2014, 10:01:08 pm »
sounds like you are

            over to             




:thumleft:

Why does rally always have to be so damn painful!? :ricky:  :'(  :'( :ricky:
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Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #89 on: April 03, 2014, 10:15:36 pm »
Haha. I speak picture.

Noticed pretty much all the bikes on the Tuareg - with few exceptions - were 450-class rally-lite setups. But their days were half the Amageza distance and the routes looked almost enduro-technical in places. That does look like a really fun event, by the way.

Offline Rynet

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Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #90 on: April 04, 2014, 06:15:41 am »
Excellent . :thumleft: :thumleft:
 

Offline tour

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Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #91 on: April 04, 2014, 07:28:47 am »
Max
2 950's finished last year. 2 x more big bikes (950 and @) would of finished if they did not both get flat rears. very hard to change the eo9 tyres. so imo the 690 is the best balanced bike for the amageza, don't get swept up in the 450 class vibes. also this big rally fairing is a waste of money. the lite version is perfect.
personally i ride an SE and will again this year. 30 lt safari tank. and handle bar mounted roadbook holder and no ico. you have and odo. that is enough. Too many people want to build bikes that the top runners in the Dakar or other factory riders in big rallyes have. for the last 20 years most riders went with nothing and had a great time and even did well. so think before you spend.
also safari makes a tank that fits the 690 perfectly. when not in use remove it when in use it take 15 mins to mount.
you really do not have o go overboard pimping your bike. KISS. the amageza is only expensive if you want to build a super pimped out rallye bike. most of us that have done more than 1 Amageza have come back saying go lite. all the arm chair jockeys will tell you that the only way to do it is to do a full on build costing thousands and that is why they cant do it...

good luck with your decision
be fit, be prepared, take loads of pills for cramps and go lite. use it or don't use it.
 

Offline Dwerg

Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #92 on: April 04, 2014, 07:46:38 am »
Check out Bender's post on the 450X. You can pick one up for a very good price if you are patient. I probably paid less for that one than you did for the KDX

http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=146498.msg2810564#msg2810564
« Last Edit: April 04, 2014, 07:47:54 am by Dwerg »
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Offline weskus

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Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #93 on: April 04, 2014, 07:51:58 am »
Max
2 950's finished last year. 2 x more big bikes (950 and @) would of finished if they did not both get flat rears. very hard to change the eo9 tyres. so imo the 690 is the best balanced bike for the amageza, don't get swept up in the 450 class vibes. also this big rally fairing is a waste of money. the lite version is perfect.
personally i ride an SE and will again this year. 30 lt safari tank. and handle bar mounted roadbook holder and no ico. you have and odo. that is enough. Too many people want to build bikes that the top runners in the Dakar or other factory riders in big rallyes have. for the last 20 years most riders went with nothing and had a great time and even did well. so think before you spend.
also safari makes a tank that fits the 690 perfectly. when not in use remove it when in use it take 15 mins to mount.
you really do not have o go overboard pimping your bike. KISS. the amageza is only expensive if you want to build a super pimped out rallye bike. most of us that have done more than 1 Amageza have come back saying go lite. all the arm chair jockeys will tell you that the only way to do it is to do a full on build costing thousands and that is why they cant do it...

good luck with your decision
be fit, be prepared, take loads of pills for cramps and go lite. use it or don't use it.
Ditto..
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Offline Bram

Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #94 on: April 04, 2014, 08:03:02 am »
Just out of interest sake. What were the issues they had in the Amageza with the omega tubular fairing mounts?
 

Offline Scrat

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Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #95 on: April 04, 2014, 08:12:27 am »
Max
2 950's finished last year. 2 x more big bikes (950 and @) would of finished if they did not both get flat rears. very hard to change the eo9 tyres. so imo the 690 is the best balanced bike for the amageza, don't get swept up in the 450 class vibes. also this big rally fairing is a waste of money. the lite version is perfect.
personally i ride an SE and will again this year. 30 lt safari tank. and handle bar mounted roadbook holder and no ico. you have and odo. that is enough. Too many people want to build bikes that the top runners in the Dakar or other factory riders in big rallyes have. for the last 20 years most riders went with nothing and had a great time and even did well. so think before you spend.
also safari makes a tank that fits the 690 perfectly. when not in use remove it when in use it take 15 mins to mount.
you really do not have o go overboard pimping your bike. KISS. the amageza is only expensive if you want to build a super pimped out rallye bike. most of us that have done more than 1 Amageza have come back saying go lite. all the arm chair jockeys will tell you that the only way to do it is to do a full on build costing thousands and that is why they cant do it...

good luck with your decision
be fit, be prepared, take loads of pills for cramps and go lite. use it or don't use it.
Ditto..

Hoor hoor!! Spot on Tour!  :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #96 on: April 04, 2014, 08:27:00 am »
Max
2 950's finished last year. 2 x more big bikes (950 and @) would of finished if they did not both get flat rears. very hard to change the eo9 tyres. so imo the 690 is the best balanced bike for the amageza, don't get swept up in the 450 class vibes. also this big rally fairing is a waste of money. the lite version is perfect.
personally i ride an SE and will again this year. 30 lt safari tank. and handle bar mounted roadbook holder and no ico. you have and odo. that is enough. Too many people want to build bikes that the top runners in the Dakar or other factory riders in big rallyes have. for the last 20 years most riders went with nothing and had a great time and even did well. so think before you spend.
also safari makes a tank that fits the 690 perfectly. when not in use remove it when in use it take 15 mins to mount.
you really do not have o go overboard pimping your bike. KISS. the amageza is only expensive if you want to build a super pimped out rallye bike. most of us that have done more than 1 Amageza have come back saying go lite. all the arm chair jockeys will tell you that the only way to do it is to do a full on build costing thousands and that is why they cant do it...

good luck with your decision
be fit, be prepared, take loads of pills for cramps and go lite. use it or don't use it.

Yeah, these are valid points. At the moment, no matter which way I go on the bike, it is likely that I'll go with one of these Highway Dirt Bikes setups:



The are apparently really rock solid, reasonably priced if you don't go for the Baja Designs Lights. That Safari tank on the 690 is really great - indestructible, holds lots of fuel, easy on - but WHY did they have to go and make them so goddamn ugly!??!!! I'm an artist for f$%^& sake! :)

And yes, cramp blocks! I have major issues with cramps in all endurance sports. Wish I could find something that works... nothing I've tried makes any difference on me.

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #97 on: April 04, 2014, 08:29:57 am »
Check out Bender's post on the 450X.

Yeah - there are excellent deals on CRFs and by all reports they are rock solid if you sort the valves out.

I probably paid less for that one than you did for the KDX


REALLY? Like less than R19k?  ::)

Offline MaxThePanda

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Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #98 on: April 04, 2014, 08:34:12 am »
Just out of interest sake. What were the issues they had in the Amageza with the omega tubular fairing mounts?

As I understand it a couple of them have broken on the Amageza. It's not the tubular frame itself, but the way it is mounted, with a lot of the weight carried on the side bolts on the bike frame. Apparently the bolts shear. Some of the other designs put all the weight on the head-tube clamp. The best option is probably a weld-on tab on the front of the steerer tube.

Don't take my word for it - I'm only going on what I was told. The Alfie Cox frame I've got on my bike - which I believe is the same design or manufacturer as the earlier Omega ones - has been solid so far... but then I haven't rallied it.

Offline Dwerg

Re: Racing Panda's Road to Amageza!
« Reply #99 on: April 04, 2014, 08:35:26 am »
Check out Bender's post on the 450X.

Yeah - there are excellent deals on CRFs and by all reports they are rock solid if you sort the valves out.

I probably paid less for that one than you did for the KDX


REALLY? Like less than R19k?  ::)

Not bad. I thought one in that condition would go for slightly more. Ok so let me rephrase, I paid the same for the X  ;D
Current: KTM 690R
Previous: KTM 790ADV, 640ADV, 950ADV, 250XCW BMW F650GS Single, F650GS Twin, F800GS, G450X, R50/2 Honda CRF450X, CRF230 x 2, VFR400 NC30, Z50 Mini Trail Yamaha BWS100 x 2, LB80 Chappy