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.