I had a great time yesterday, despite my minimal sand riding skills.
Lessons learned, but not fully absorbed include…keep your head up and maintain momentum, let the bike front end do what it will and counter with peg weight and throttle. The hard part for me was preventing the landing gear from going down every time I saw a patch of deep sand ahead. I know this is counterproductive, but couldn’t help myself knowing the difficulty righting the KTM ship once it goes horizontal. I’m afraid the only way to ingrain this habit would be to buy a smaller bike that I can pick up singlehandedly and put in more seat time. I have a trailer, so perhaps the ticket is to swap my 950Adv on something small and light…250 to 350 cc range…and shoot up to St Helen more often.
On the equipment side, I will be ordering pannier racks for the KTM and some soft luggage. Might consider upper crash bars as well, although adding more weight up high on the bike has obvious disadvantages. Picking the 1090 up out of the sand from perfectly flat on the ground was not fun for two people and would have been impossible for me to do alone. I would have been waiting a long time for friendly ATVers to stop and have mercy on me.
The Karoo 3 was great on the road and hard pack, but not so useful in the deep sand. Not being a traditional big block design, the rear end had a tendency to move side to side more than I would expect with a TKC80 or other such design. So, great for the kind of riding I do 95% of the time.
Bottom line is, I’m glad I went, but would’ve had more fun and held the group back less if I’d been better equipped with skills and equipment. Live and learn!