Todd Simmler has suffered from an acute case of wanderlust for many years. Originally hailing from the east coast, he migrated to the Pacific Northwest in the 90s to pursue his love of the great outdoors. For the past several years he has divided his time between Oakridge and Hood River, Oregon in the spring, summer, and fall and Baja, Mexico in the winter where he works as a curator and guide to over 40 miles of mountain bike trails at a windsurfing resort. A highly adept mountain bike enthusiast for decades, Todd recently succumbed to the allure of the dark side and purchased his first motorcycle – a 2001 KTM 640 Enduro.
First of all, I never thought I’d see such a devout cyclist riding a bike with an engine. What brought you over to the dark side?
I wanted to go farther. For me it’s all about exploring, I wanted to get farther into the woods.
What made you purchase a 2001 KTM 640 Enduro?
I was looking for a Kawasaki KLR 650 but a bunch of people told me that they’re pigs and that I’d have more fun on a higher quality bike. I thought a KTM was completely out of my price range but a buddy of mine had this for sale within my budget. He was the third owner of the bike and I knew the first owner as well. I didn’t know the second owner but he’s an airline pilot so I thought it was safe to assume he was responsible and took good care of it. I knew the other two owners are anal retentive so I felt pretty good about buying it way down the line. It seemed to fit the bill – I want to go far, not ride motocross; this just seemed in tune with what I was looking for.
What kind of upgrades have you done to it?
All I’ve done so far as an upgrade is design and fabricate a mountain bike rack, so I can carry my mountain bike on it. It’s fairly unique and works pretty slick. The front wheel comes off and the mountain bike piggybacks close and low rather than sitting up high and sticking out behind. I’ve done a few trips with it already and its worked out really well.
What don’t you like about it?
I don’t really like the seat too much; I don’t like the angle of it and the foam is mushy. I’d like to upgrade to something that’s shaped a bit different with firmer foam. I think I’ll be getting that done this season. I know a lot of people who own these complain about the vibration. Honestly since this is my first bike I don’t really know any better, so it doesn’t bother me. (Editor’s Note: Todd was kind enough to let me take the 640 for a spin and I was surprised at how well-balanced it was and how firmly planted it felt in loose conditions – but it did vibrate like a hardware store paint shaker) I’ll also admit I was disappointed with the color – I actually WANTED an orange-colored motorcycle, as ridiculous as that sounds.
Favorite dual sport ride?
I don’t know, I don’t choose favorites very well. I guess it depends on where I am. There’s a great ride I like to do when I’m in Oakridge up by Timpanogas Lake in the Diamond Peak Wilderness Area, but in Hood River…I don’t know, there’s some really good stuff over there too. In Baja this past winter I actually bought a Honda XR250R for getting out to do trail maintenance, but I’ve also been out to just moto – that’s been fun in the soft sand, but I haven’t really done any exploring on it yet.