The ride that almost did not happen.

Christian P.

Expedition Leader
Staff member
Sometimes you spend days planning something...and then some unexpected events change everything.
I guess it's called adventure...


The plan was simple. Take my friend Thomas newish Audi Q7 that has a reported towing capacity of 6600 pounds, which should be plenty enough.
And he was so proud of it...

Tow a trailer and our 3 bikes (KTM950 x2 + BMW 650) and drive up to Alturas to explore the Modoc national forest areas using the Discovery trail.

Everything started smoothly and as you would expect - stuck in the SF traffic...

But we eventually made it to highway 5 and were cruising nicely for hours when all of sudden, with no apparent reason, the check engine and EPC lights came on.
No worries, a quick search on the Internet 3G shows that it could pretty much anything, from a loose gas cap to a faulty engine
We also opened the hood and look under there, but you may be as well looking at a space shuttle.
There is nothing you can do without the VAG/Audi we kept going.

Nothing would stop us from having fun.

About 20 miles later, just as we are pulling in Redding, the transmission started slipping so bad that we could barely move.

We couldn't go any further so we decided to check in a hotel in Redding and start our motorcycle trip from there instead.
The Audi would be sent to the nearest Sacramento.
And we would be stuck in Redding with a trailer and 3 bikes...

We opted for the lower portion of the Discovery trail that goes around Mount Lassen national park.
It was mostly gravel roads, which is where the KTMs are brilliant. They are so much fun it's should be illegal. Drifting every corner.


Christian P.

Expedition Leader
Staff member
We eventually crossed highway 89 and decided to join a local firemen fundraising BBQ for an afternoon lunch. It was hot.

After about 120 miles it was time to reach a village to refuel my thirsty KTM.
And that's exactly where we had our second failure - my clutch slave cylinder broke, letting all the oil go and rending my bike useless.
Apparently a very common issue on these bikes which I should have addressed earlier. Note to KTM owners here. $175 fix.

So that was it for the day...I had to ride 75 miles back to the hotel as a passenger on my friend's KTM in the 105F heat. So much fun.

The next Sunday, my friends rode back from Redding to San Francisco through the Mendocino forest.

I had to wait by the pool until the afternoon as a friend drove my trustworthy 4Runner back to Redding. Good cure for a hangover.

When he finally arrived, I hooked the trailer and went to get my KTM, safely stored in an old gas station.
This station belongs to a very friendly older gentleman...who has a few treasures hidden in his garages.

He let us take a look at his most valuable asset - an original/never restored/never modified Chevy Belair 55.
Apparently a true barn find story, he found it about 12 years ago in a barn on a East Coast.
He told us that the DMV records let him to believe that he had been stored there for over 30 years.
The car interior/paint/engine/etc is entirely original. I almost cried.

It was then time to drive back the 300+ miles that separated me from my home...


I come in Peace
Sounds like you guys turned lemons into lemonade!

Nice report. Sorry I could not join you. The bikes look great! I think my old KLR would have been out of place.

Scott Brady

Great report Christian. Did you like the tires?

I had the same failure on my 950 clutch in the Oregon woods. Had to ride 30+ miles without a clutch, starting in gear (scary with this bike).

Christian P.

Expedition Leader
Staff member
Any idea what wrong with Audi Q7?
The code says Camshaft output sensor or something like that. My friend got it back last night from the dealer, they said they cleared it and could not replicate the problem.

KTM is fixed, ready for the next ride!


Likes to Drive and Ride
I thought for sure you were going to say that the transmission cooked itself towing well below its 'rated' capacity... glad that wasn't the case.

The code says Camshaft output sensor or something like that. My friend got it back last night from the dealer, they said they cleared it and could not replicate the problem.

KTM is fixed, ready for the next ride!