Getting a feel for the 950 Super Enduro
After reading countless reviews and ride reports from other 950 SE owners, it was finally time to try out the Super Beast on a real ride. It had been a while since I sold my 950 Adventure, and for the past year-and-a-half my off-road riding has been limited to true dirt bikes like the Yamaha YZ450F. So I wasn't exactly sure how quickly I would take to riding a big, 400-pound machine in the dirt again. All of the reports I had read indicated that the 950 SE was outstanding off-road, but there was still a hint of uncertainty in the back of my mind.
I had recently met a fellow rider who wanted to do some exploring on his new KLR650, so we decided to take advantage of the 80-degree weather we're finally enjoying in Arizona. The plan was to meet up at 8:00am and immediately hit the trails. I had just received the SE back from the dealer the night before (making sure all the regular maintenance had been done), and still hadn't had a chance to get in some good seat time. So I snuck out of the house at 7:15 and got in some preliminary dirt on the way to our meet point. The trail had a lot of hard-pack whoops, and I was instantly amazed at how well the big SE soaked them up with ease. Within 10 minutes in the saddle, any uncertainty was completely gone. This thing really feels like a dirt bike. (And that's a good thing in my book.) I thought my old 950 Adventure did well off-road, but the combination of less weight and better suspension makes the SE feel like a 250 four stroke in comparison.
After meeting up with Rob and commenting on each other's bike setup, we headed out to tackle the ever-popular Table Mesa trail. I heard that they graded the road a few months back and was curious to see if they had taken all the fun out of it.
On the way up Seven Springs Road, we stopped off at a large airline radio beacon perched atop of one of the larger hills in the area. Outstanding views from the top and a semi-paved road up the hill allowed for some grin-inducing wheelies on the 950. (It's so damn easy on that bike, you just can't help yourself...)
After the tower, we made our way over to the trailhead for Table Mesa. I was glad to see that the road hadn't been transformed into a super-highway, and still provided plenty of fun spots along the way.
One disappointment was seeing the familiar cabin along the trail leveled completely to the ground. This had always been one of my favorite places to stop and take a break. Otherwise, it was a lot of fun to be on dirt again.
For the most part, the road was pretty smooth dirt. But every once in a while, a rocky section would get thrown in for good measure. The SE took it all in perfect stride. Rob also made it look easy on the KLR.
This was a great opportunity to re-familiarize myself with the unique characteristics of riding a big twin in the dirt. And the cool, overcast weather made it an absolute perfect day for riding.
On the way back to Phoenix, we stopped at The Roadrunner -- a bar & grill popular with the Harley crowd. In typical fashion, it had mediocre food and horrible service. But the highlight of lunch was when we walked back out to the parking lot. There were about 15 custom Harleys sitting out front, but only one set of bikes had a small crowd of onlookers. You guessed it... the dual sports. Just goes to show you that you don't need to spend $30k on a bike to turn some heads.
Can't wait to try the 950 SE out on some additional trails.