Author’s note: This was penned a few weeks back, so forgive the incorrect timeline. The Touratech Rally West has already come and gone, I was busy and didn’t get this posted in a timely fashion…
It is that time of year again, the Touratech Rally West looms on the calendar. Normally these five or six weeks before the rally are spend with me logging over 1,000 miles off-road pre-running on my KTM 950 Adventure. Every weekend from before Memorial Day weekend until the rally the last weekend in June I am camped out outside of Leavenworth, WA riding the mighty KTM 950 Adventure, finding new roads, making sure old roads are still there, and clearing any downed trees that might have come down since the year before. This year is different, my KTM is still out of service due to a chain failure at the Stumpjumper Desert 100 in April. A few weeks before scouting for the rally began I did the math and came to the a that I might be able to get the KTM road worthy if I penny pinched or I could ride my Husqvarna.
Last fall I picked up my 2009 Husqvarna TE450 from my boss. Buying a modern 450cc four-stoke opened me up to taking a lot of flak, in all honesty it was well deserved flak. When I was still riding a 250cc two-stoke I would boisterously proclaim the folly of four-strokes and modern convinces. “Electric starter, does your leg not work?” or “Are you not man enough to handle a 250cc two-stroke and need lazy, easy four-stoke power delivery?” I still have an ongoing love affair with two-strokes, but I have also grown to really love my Husky 450. Anyways I made the call to ride my Husky 450 this year in place of the perennial KTM 950. I have really enjoyed my time so far on the Husky TE450. I’m not sure if it is the new bike, or the fact I get to revisit what I have ridden for years on a new bike, but it is good.
Now we get to the title of this blog, robbing Peter to pay Paul. After two weekends of scouting / pre-running the Husky is starting to wear stuff out and need some love. Since I have bought the Husky I might have logged 300 miles on it. Four trail rides and a week of commuting doesn’t tally up to much. The soft terrain Michelin S12 XC tires that had one ride one them when I bought the bike were starting to show their wear heading into this. After two weekends and close to 400 miles of mostly fast forest service roads (and my heavy throttle hand) they are toast. The lower geared, single track basis, sprockets are begging to be swapped to back to the tall stock gears. The rear wheel bearings are now a pile of shrapnel in the rear hub. There are also some smaller issues that I am not going to get into, but it easy to see that the Husky needs some love (also read as money and time) poured into it to keep this up for another three weeks. An oil change, valve check, brake flush, new sprockets, new chain, and new wheel bearing replacement are all going to happen this week. The parts have been procured, one night this week things will get freshened up. When it came to the tires I kept looking at my KTM 950 sitting next to in the garage. The KTM is currently wearing a set of Pirelli Scorpion Rally tires with less than 500 miles on them, and in all honestly I know it will be fall before I get the KTM back running. The Husky is going to steal the tires off of the KTM. Almost new, already paid for rubber is better than buying new rubber. The healthy corporal is relieving the wounded sergeant of his rifle and radio, and taking charge.
I have no regrets about pushing the KTM back in the pecking order of money, or robbing parts from it. Whenever this has happened I always think back to being an armorer in the US Marines, and we were reminded we were not allowed to “cannibalize” guns to keep others in service. Rather we had a policy of “aggressive maintenance.” This was just a nice way of saying we took the collection of parts we had that worked and made as many complete guns work as we could. My KTM gave a few pounds of rubber to keep me with beer and steak for another few weeks. So it will sit half torn down wearing tired take-off tires. Mark my words I will rise her from the ashes like a phoenix when the time is right, but for now she will provide tires to her stablemate. This isn’t the first time I have done this, desperate times and all.
If you are like me and have more than a few bikes in the garage, look around if you are backed into a corner. The part you might need might just be on another bike. This isn’t the best practice by any means, but it works in a pinch. You’ll still pay, but probably just later. Good luck out there, have fun, and Godspeed.