Adventure Rider Magazine
The Big Hill Image Credit: Adventure Rider Magazine
The Big Hill Image Credit: Adventure Rider Magazine

The Big Hill

A steep downhill is nothing to laugh about, but Rod Taylor and a couple of mates could still smile after a tough descent.

Rod Taylor


It’s one of the least appreciated activities on a motorcycle but it’s one of my favourites. The recommended procedure usually ends with one or more feet on the ground holding the bike upright.

It’s a good theory, but by the time I realised I was in trouble it was too late to do much about it. A few minutes earlier we’d been tearing uphill, having a ball. We were getting a bit of air jumping over the erosion mounds which reminded me of my younger days riding enduro. They were fairly modest jumps by comparison, but a heavily laden Triumph Tiger XC800 is not really designed for that sort of work and the rear suspension was bottoming out, even with the heavy-duty aftermarket spring.

When Dave turned left at the top of the hill I wasn’t too fussed. It looked like a moderately tricky downhill. What we didn’t know was it was one of those nasty bastards that get progressively steeper the further you go.

Going bush

My rear tyre was somewhat shaggy and running too much pressure.

Normally if you can see a landing area you can let the bike run and pull it up at the bottom, but this hill went forever and I had no idea where it would end. The faster I went, the more out of control I got. I tried to pull it up on the slightly flatter ground before the erosion ruts, but it wasn’t enough. It became clear I was about to launch the bike into the shrubbery.

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