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My last two bikes were a KLR 650 with upgraded Cogent Dynamics suspension and the 688 Arias piston upgrade and a 2014 VStrom DL 1000

During the last month, I test rode most of the competition in the middle weight ADV class. The Tiger 800 XCX, the BMW F850 GS, the Ktm 790, 1090 adventure R, and an 1190 adventure R.

I loved the Tiger but was swayed by reviews that said the low end grunt would be missed off road

The GS was amazing but a bit too expensive by the time I paid set up, freight license and doc fee and 10% sales tax, almost $19k.

The 790 blew me away with a strong motor, low CofG and lots of tech goodies came stock. If money were no object, it was my first choice. The only downsides were less wind protection and very rough and jerky in 1st gear. Probably would get better after break-in, fiddle with the settings? Also more money than I really wanted to spend

The 1190 was just too much motor for me. I'm a mellow rider and having recently gone down on pavement for the first time in 20 years of riding, I'm a little more sensitive. Luckily I was on my KLR so a broken mirror and a broken rib was all the damage I got. But it still had an effect on my confidence in wet corners.

The 1090 was the goldilocks, just right version of the KTMs. Great power all over the rev range, amazing suspension, not too much technology, and great stock ergonomics for me. I've been dreaming of the KTM since the first 950s came out. But was on a KLR budget in my 20s, and a leftover Vstrom budget in my 30s so this is the first time I've shopped for a bike where a KTM was in play. I found a used Touratech demo 1090 for $12,750 but the Touratech shock made it a bit too tall even at 6'1". I was still about to pull the trigger on the 1090 when I saw a used 2018 ATAS DCT for 3k less! Knowing that my daughter needed a new dirt bike, I decided to at least give the cheaper bike a try, knowing that I could afford her dirt bike if I liked it.

After riding the ATAS, I was blown away by the DTC and really liked the motor and ergonomics. Plus it came with crash bars, skid plate and heated grips on the AS version. I felt like it was still my 2nd choice after the 1090, but the dealership had a used Crf 125 with a bent foot peg that they offered me a great deal on. I was going to get 2 bikes for less than the price of the used 1090. Plus it was from my favorite dealership in the area (Ride Motorsports in Woodinville. I couldn't pass it up.

1st ride was at night in the rain on back roads. Not having ridden other than test rides since my crash, I was nervous in every corner. I was a bit frustrated by the DTC shifting into 6th at 30 mph and felt like it was lugging to the point of causing engine damage. I kept hitting the downshift paddle but it kept creeping back into 6th. Then I discovered sport shift mode and was much happier.

Then I took it on my first real ride and decided to try it off road. That's when I realized that I stumbled into my dream machine and I am now so glad I bought this bike!

I was about 2 months too early in the year to be on the Umtanum Ridge portion of the WABDR going from Ellensburg to Yakima. I had done this portion a few times on my KLR and even tried it on my V strom but after smacking the skid plate on every rock I had to turn around. I encountered tons of slick mud, frozen puddles and lots of ice. The ATAS was more than up to the task. Even with the stock tires, this thing pulled me through all of the obstacles with ease and comfort. In the faster rocky section, this thing floated over everything compared to my KLR or Vstrom. There were 3-4 times I was sure I would go down but somehow rescued it with a few toe taps. I think with some half-way decent tires this thing will be unstoppable for the kind of riding I'm looking for. The setting I liked most for off road was Gravel, Sport 2 for shifting, and increased tire spin to 2. When it got really slick I increased traction control to 4 to make sure I didn't dig myself a hole.

After 10,000 miles on a 2014 Vstrom, the AT doesn't inspire the same confidence in the twisties, but it's plenty good for me. I would say the freeway power is actually smoother than the V and cruising at 85 seemed effortless. Not that the V struggled at those speeds, but it had more vibes. It's smoother over the bumps, faster acceleration and better stock wind protection than the V. The only weaknesses that occured to me VS the Vstom were the brakes aren't as good, more fork dive and the lighting isn't as good. I suppose the low end torque is slightly less, but the AT pulls further into the revs, which is more fun :)

The DTC, something I thought would be a liability off-road, was brilliant in 95% of the situations. Every once in a while it was in too tall of a gear and really lugged going up a hill. Or it seemed to stick in 1st gear longer than it should have. There was also one time that I was going down a steep sheet of ice when a bump made me accidentally hit the throttle launching me way too fast with 0 traction to brake. But I didn't crash :)

The biggest benefits of the DCT off-road: No killing the motor, left hand has full grip all the time, more concentration on the terrain and picking my line without thinking about what gear to be in, and it would sometimes upshift to get more traction when I couldn't have done it as I was dabbing feet through the slime.

I think I would have been happy with the 1090, or probably any of the bikes I shopped. The 1090 is likely better for aggressive riding at higher speeds both on and off road. But I'm not an aggressive rider, I just want to get to the destination in one piece and enjoy the beautiful scenery Washington has to offer. The fact that the AT is way more exciting than reviewers give it credit is an added bonus for my adrenaline junky side. Straight line, WOT acceleration is crazy fast, even compared to the lighter, more powerful 1090. Roll on power at freeway speeds is less than the V or the 1090, but two clicks to downshift into 4th and it pulls like a tractor to redline.

Other things I love about the ATAS:

IMO the best looking adventure bike, especially the front end
It has less cam whine than the V and the exhaust note is tough and throaty sounding
Great online Community and Forums :)

Here are some pictures of my new baby

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Hello Carve,

Welcome to AT bliss! I enjoyed your write up on the DCT and engine power characteristics; I find it to be spot on for me as well.

I got a "good deal" on a NOS 2017 with a DCT. I did not really expect to like the DCT, especiallywith the weight that it adds. However, it was essentially a free upgrade for me on one of two AT's that I was comparision shopping, so I went with it.

Now, I think I would actively seek it out. I never minded shifting, and still find myself doing phantom shifts into2nd from a stop light, until I remember there's no shift lever, but I am starting to like it in the dirt. My off-road skills are old and rusty, so it is nice not having to concentrate on gears when things get interesting.

I still find myself putting it in manual mode and shifting with the paddles from time to time on hills, but those occaisions are becoming fewer and fewer as I get more confident in S1's gearing choices.
 

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If you haven't done it already, when going offroad (and also when running on very twisty tarmac roads) try to use the "G mode" (button on the right of the cockpit). It will keep you longer in current gear and clutch will be more "direct".
 

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Just a suggestion, I was like you, except I would say I hated “D” mode and it’s short shifts. “D” mode takes a lot of getting used to, it’s ALL about gas mileage and will short shift and have you in 6th @ 30mph. The secret to using it is the RPM’s, keep them above 3k and she’ll shift just fine and you will also get better gas mileage (if that is even a concern). Now that said that’s not something you can easily do all the time, like heavy traffic lots of short stop-n-go, lower speed limit area’s for that I usually use ”S” mode. But try it in D and keeping the R’s above 3k and I’m sure you like the way it shifts, lol you still will end up in 6th and be doing 35mph, but at close to 40mph it’s smooth. Not that I’m telling you to speed, it’s just a fact ....
 
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