Thank you all for great advice and insights. Bike selection and preparation is a big part of Dakar but I am constantly reminded that it is only 1/3 of the challenge. Physical and mental capacities will determine if I can ride this amazing machine for 10,000 km. These posts focus right now on the machine but the next ones will explore my preparation and training on the physical and mental realms. I love the journey as it pushes me to become the best I can be on all levels!
I have learned a lot and narrowed my selection to 4 options with 2 manufacturers:
Love their bikes and know them very well.
Ideal training bike: newer 450 XC-W with an easy to install and remove rally kit. I’m not very familiar with rally kits so please share your thoughts.
There are 3 systems out there: the French Meca’system, the Spanish JVO Racing or the Italian Dottori.
Since I will train and race this bike during 2015 the system should be easy to install and remove because I plan to train on the bike most of the time without the rally kit and install it only for races and long desert rides.
I will probably be able to transfer the kit to a new bike in the event I’ll race a 450 XC-W in Dakar.
Ideal Dakar rally bike: no doubt here. If budget allows it will be the purpose built and proven 450 Rally Replica.
Training bike with rally kit: newer WR450F. Similar use and requirements as above.
Dakar Rally bike: WR450F Rally by Rebel X Sports. This bike has been developed over the past 2 years and is tested in Dakar this year. I don’t know much about it but know 2 guys who have been part of the development team in Italy. This bike costs almost half of the KTM Replica and has everything a rider needs to race the Dakar.
Once again your insights and ideas are valuable - please share them