Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Today in motorcycle history, October 7, 1976




  Six-time Cross-Country Rallies World Champion Marc Coma is born in AviĆ , Barcelona, Spain.

  Marc Coma is also a five-time winner of the Dakar Rally, having won it in 2006, 2009, 2011, 2014, and 2015 riding an Austrian built KTM 450. KTM has been the winners bike of choice, being the victorious machine in the Rally 13 times in a row.

  "So, all I need to do is buy a KTM and I'll win the next Dakar Rally?" you ask while laying on your couch accompanied by empty beer cans, a half-eaten frozen pizza and your Persian cat, 'Snuckles'. Yes, that's all it takes, a KTM 450. And some balls.

  The new KTM 450 Rally Replica (based on Coma's 450) is the bastard son of KTM's EXC 450 Enduro, however, the Replica is well rehearsed for the role. Few features from the EXC have actually been carried on. The chrome-moly steel trellis frame has been modified to withstand the rigors of the Rally. KTM designed the new frame in such a way as to create a comfortable riding posture that allows the bike to be ridden hard with as minimum personal fatigue as possible.

  The frame was conceived around the concept of two separate fuel tanks, a narrower one in front for better rider comfort, plus a rear one positioned to make it easy for the rider to bias the weight distribution for the given riding conditions. Also to that end, a special fuel pump allows the rider to select which tank will be drained first. Total fuel capacity is 8.7 gallons.
  The Replica's engine is a specially tuned version of KTM’s 449cc, a sohc four-valve motor that uses a 44mm throttle body and Keihin EMS electronic fuel injection. 

  The wheelbase is still 58.3 inches, but for suspension, a 48-millimeter fork and a link-actuated shock (both from WP) are used. Other equipment to help keep you alive on your latest endeavor include a rack of sophisticated electronic instrumentation, arranged on a carbon-fiber tower that is narrower than the previous version’s to give the rider a better view of the front wheel. Race ready, KTM’s 309-lb. 450 Rally Replica costs 24,000 euros (approx. $27,000 US). Before you drain your bank account, there's bad news for American customers: KTM says the 450 Rally Replica cannot be ordered through US dealers. So go ahead and crack open another can, finish that pizza, rub Snuckles belly and grab the remote. It's gotta be on TV somewhere.

  Today in motorcycle history proudly supports the National Association for Bikers with a Disability (NABD).