Melbourne to Mungo on two DR650's

I love motorcycle touring, over the years I’ve loaded up my trusty road bearing steeds and followed the twisties and backcountry roads to many a small country town where at the local watering hole if you buy a beer and stay for a meal they’ll let you camp for free.
But Australia is a big country and unfortunately, you can only go so far on the tar.

As the years went by I slowly started to explore the road less travelled and took my ZX9R to places it just wasn’t quite built for. Until finally on my last camping trip over Christmas, I blew my fork seals while venturing off-road.

Sadly, It was time to assign my jack-of-all-trades ZX9R to commuting duties and track days and look for something a bit more off-road orientated.
After a bit of research, I bit the bullet and got myself a brand new bush pig, the fabled DR650. I fitted it with knobbies, a 30L safari tank and started planning my first proper off-road trip.
Melbourne to Mungo and back.

Day 1. Melbourne to Balranald It was 7am …

First Ride: Aprilia Dorsoduro 900

Aprilia's updated Supermotard-Esq hooligan bike enters the modern age with a suite of electronics brought over from the Tuono and RSV4, a revised power-plant and confidence inspiring chassis to please inner hooligan.

I  had two days to test Aprilia's Supermotard-Esq Dorsoduro, and what better road than the B500. 308kms of undulating, tight, twisting, double apex-ing turns, winding through valleys, mountains and forests, along rivers and past vineyards.
The blokes who forged the Great Alpine Road must have been motorcyclists.
The fun began after the town of  Bairnsdale where the GAR starts off with some easy-to-settle-into sweepers, allowing me the time to get used to the Dorsoduro's upright riding position, a far cry from my ZX9 that I'm used to.
As the road tightened and sweepers flowed into hairpins, It didn't take much saddle time to realise how well designed the chassis is, Aprilia's development team nailed it. No matter how tight the corner was, if it caught me off guard, all I had to do was crank it over a little more, apply a bit of trail braking and find my line again. 
The flat torque curve is made for roads like this, with very few long straights and just one corner after another there was no lag in the throttle response, no hunting for more top-end, just pure grin-factor acceleration on exits slingshotting you from one corner to the next.
Just point, shoot, lean and hammer down on the throttle and enjoy the flashing light display the colour TFT dash puts on, as the tacho climbs to the redline, revel in the swell of torque and then short-shift up a gear and do it all over again.
It turns the average rider into an apex-chasing lunatic.
On paper, you might think it lacks a bit of kick in the power/torque figures, but you have to realise, unlike say a 160hp naked supersport, the Dorsoduro's power and torque delivery is all useable, and with its sublime, agile handling it's a four-banger hunter through and through.
The Dorsoduro is a fun-filled bike that provokes outlandish behaviour in a controllable manner. It’s the type of bike that might suit someone coming over from a dirt bike background, or the sportbike rider who’s after the same thrills but with a more comfortable riding position. Either way, you’re guaranteed to step off the Dorsoduro with a grin like a Chesire cat.


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