The first time I was overtook by the Honda XR600, was during the "Six Days" of San Pellegrino Terme in 1986. Soon after, the Dall'Ara dealer in Bergamo started distributing it (before then it distributed the 500 and 550 displacements with drum brakes, while the 600 cc adopted the front disc and was completely renewed aesthetically) and through the Guidi dealer of San Marino who organized a test-presentation day for central Italy, we had the possibility of ……… admiring it only, since we didn’t have our rider’s license yet!
At the time, despite not being exactly cheap, it soon became one of the most sought-after enduro bikes: besides being beautiful aesthetically and a cut above the competition technologically, it was very competitive and practically never broke down. These characteristics soon led it to be appreciated by African rally racers who were beginning their period of greatest splendor in those years. Privateers knew that with a stock bike equipped with the larger Acerbis tank, they could complete the hard desert races without mechanical troubles. Let’s not forget that Fabrizio Meoni used it in 2 Dakar races both times ranking in the top 5.
So, enduro, rally and then dual sport. Yes, because the longevity of this bike also passed through a long period in which adventurers used it as a travelling mean to discover new horizons. The era during which you left home on the XR, with a girlfriend behind you sitting on the long and comfortable saddle, and a tent and sleeping bag fixed on the rear fender, to explore Sardinia - the favorite destination - wandering around the island looking for the perfect beach to park the bike where the waves broke.
Indomitable nostalgic of the times that were that I am, with the new CRF 450 XR I wanted to venture solo for 4 days, with only GPS and a backpack containing photographic material, a pair of slippers, shorts and t-shirts, to discover the Italy’s central Apennines. Times have changed, I replaced a tent and sleeping bag with humble rooms in agritourisms, while I “gave-up” on bringing my girlfriend since the bike is approved for one person only! But the charm of the adventure remains intact, so let's enjoy this carefree holiday.