Here’s a preview look at the new KTM 450 Rally that will race at the 2011 Dakar rally with a line-up of impressive riders. While KTM got its nose a little out of joint over the new rules for the Dakar rally, it got to it building a new bike and has on-board for this year riders Cyril Despres, Marc Coma, Juan Pedero and Ruben Faria.
While we imagine KTM might dominate the 2011 Dakar all the same, if not because of its new technical development then because of its long experience, we can expect a more balanced rally that might challenge the KTM status quo in this sector. Aprilia put in a good performance last year and is back again this year with its RXV twin-cylinder, and there is some mixed competition turning up that might put a spanner in the KTM decade-long dominance.
The 2011 Dakar rally has a list of the usual suspects for its motorcycle categories, but with a few changes in the number of participants. Making its presence felt is the new 450cc capacity rules, meaning that KTM has a lot less bikes in the rally this year than previously. There will be a reduction from 126 to 62 KTM bikes, but the flipside is that other manufacturers are increasing their competition, with Yamaha, Honda, Aprilia and BMW all entering extra bikes.
This is not to say that KTM won’t take home the prize in the 2011 Dakar anyway with its new 450 Rally bike; it’s been on a winning run since 2000 after all. Last year, though, it had to share the podium with the new Aprilia RXV 4.5. Meanwhile, news has broken that before Harley-Davidson killed off the Buell brand, there was an Erik Buell 450cc off-road model in the works.
According to an interview between Buell and motorcycle journalist Alan Cathcart, that offroad project is back in the development books. The 450cc Buell offroader uses a single-cylinder Rotax motor and has an aluminium frame, although it may not be the lightest bike in this segment. While Erik Buell Racing is clearly born of track roots and will probably stay that way, it plans on investing specifically in the reliability of its offroad model.
After rumours that the legendary Dakar race would go back to African soil, the 2011 Dakar will take place again in Argentina and Chile. Registrations for the race opened on May 15th and a Dakar world publicity tour has just been completed. The race will take place from January 2nd to 15th with a rest day on the 8th.
The 2011 Dakar promises to be the same enduring spectacle it always is, and the route for the third edition is being described as:
After two editions in South America, the Dakar continues its exploration in 2011 of a continent which has impressive potential for new discovery. Heading towards the north of Argentina and Chile, the route skims the frontiers of neighbouring countries and takes competitors through ever more varied country. It’s a cascade of colour.
For more details on the 2011 Dakar, see the Dakar website.
Source | Motorbiker.org