On arriving here in Ubud I was fortunate enough to be invited on a day of offroad riding with a friend I made four years ago, his name is Kadex, and he and his father run a little moto workshop just outside the center of Ubud.
When we first met, Kadex was riding an old cr200, and he and another 2 friends – Reza and Uput took me out for a day riding up and down the volcanoes here in Bali on my KTM 950. I thought back then that we’d ridden on some pretty crazy trails, little did I know…
I messaged Kadex on the evening we arrived saying “hey mate, I’m in Ubud again, are you in the workshop?”, and he replied with, “no I’m in Jakarta at the opening of KTM Indonesia, but tomorrow we go riding, I have a bike for you, come tomorrow at 8”
OK if you insist!
So the next morning at 8 I arrived to find Kadex dressed in full Husaberg team colours, complete with his name printed on the back of his riding jersy! I also notice a wall of the workshop covered in new Trophies, he points to the four most recent ones and says “last time racing I entered 4 different classes all on the same day. Crazy day, drop one bike, grab next one, make race, grab another bike…” There’s one 1st Place trophy, and three for 2nd Place. Not bad!
He points to a little Kawasaki klx 250 parked in the garage telling me that’s my bike, and passes me some knee pads, boots, a jersey and some pants.
Then he wheels out his new Husaberg 350 and ten minutes later we’re on our way to another friends house, where one by one, 7 other guys arrive, all riding Husabergs and all dressed in pretty serious kit. Neck braces, chest and back armour, Knee braces etc. One of the guys asks me if I’ve ridden in Bali before? “Yes, once on my 950 with Kadex” “So you know how it is here then?” “Um… i think so”
Kadex reassures me it wont be anything too crazy today, “technical single track, first and second gear for most of the day, nice and slow…” This coming from a man with a wall covered in trophies doesn’t really make me feel much better.
I’ve always wondered how one of these Thai made KLX’s would compare to a real enduro bike, this was my big chance to find out! I was actually a bit scared… We snaked our way into the mountains, and eventually pulled up outside a tiny house where a 12 year old boy was working on a 100cc scooter that had been cut to bits, all unnecessary bodywork removed or broken off, and had nobby tyres fitted to it.
He was to be our guide for the day, complete with rubber boots and no helmet – a Marc Coma Junior for sure!! It wound up being an amazing day, riding trails that had been used the previous week for an enduro competition, where somehow ‘Junior could magically lead us to one point, have all of us pass him, then disappear and reappear in front of all of us again at the next difficult climb of the track, standing ready on the trails edge to stop a bike from tumbling back down the hill when someone fell.
Not the safest place to ride a bike, especially in the areas being used to source bamboo poles, where a slight mistake would send bike and rider tumbling down a vertical cliff face into bamboo trees that had all been cut off about half a metre off the ground, perfectly sliced off at an angle to impale you!
On some of the hill climbs most of the group of riders needed more than one shot to get to the top, so I didn’t feel so bad when I had to try a couple of times too, and there was only one climb that the little KLX just wasn’t going to get up, as concurred by Kadex “too heavy, not enough power, you go around”
Late in the afternoon we stopped for a break (after one of the harder climbs where ‘Junior and his whole family had to tie a rope to the bikes and physically drag us up a near vertical angle!) From somewhere a box full of food and water appeared, fish with rice wrapped in banana leaf – too good!
On returning to ‘Junior’s house, we all paid the grand sum of 5 dollars for he and his families time, lunch and his fuel. A pretty good deal if you ask me.
Fortunately the day passed without incident, I returned an unscratched KLX to Kadex and went home to the villa with all my limbs functioning, and passed out.
The next day … “EVERYTHING hurts!!”