They don’t make adventure bikes like they used to. This 1970 Suzuki TC-90 is an excellent example of low-budget no-frills light off-road capable adventure motorcycle. It’s small and rides on skinny knobbly tires. It had 11 horsepower when it was new, and as Ryan says in the video “Horses just don’t live that long.” It’s a two-stroke bike that can be a lot of fun, when it’s not breaking down. So can this $400 bike make it the 400 klicks of off-road trails to visit some volcanic pools in the desolate outer reaches? Hell yes it can.
Old enduro-style motorcycles can be incredibly capable machines if the rider can work with their shortcomings. In this video from FortNine, the protagonist gives us a spurious backstory for the trip’s necessity, but ultimately results in one of the better motorcycling videos I’ve seen in recent years, even if its sole purpose is to sell riding gear. The production value and scripting is at least television quality, and the story of the little bike that could is inspiring. It makes me want to get off my ass and take a bike for a long run in the dirt.
The old bike, just like many of my old cars, can’t exactly make the trip without a few minor repairs. A hole in the muffler and a leak in the oil tank cause minor delays in the ride, but that’s all part of the adventure, I think. On a modern rider kind of adventure rider bike, you know you’re going to make it to your destination, no matter how hard the terrain. If the bike is too capable, you’ll never really feel a sense of adventure. All of our lives could use a little more adventure.