Along the familiar curves of Angeles Crest Highway, the CRF manages competence, but not necessarily breakneck speeds, extreme lean angles, or neck-bending acceleration. This is, after all, a dirt-focused motorcycle that happens to be street legal, not the other way around. But veering off the beaten path and exploring a fire trail opens up a whole new world, especially in the vastness of some 700,000 acres of wilderness. Suddenly the suspension, which seemed a bit soft on the road, is plush enough to soak up giant ruts and cracks in the earth. The engine, which felt somewhat anemic on pavement, now shreds the trail and shoots you forward as fast as you feel comfortable going—and sometimes, even faster. It’s dramatic, this shift from tarmac to trail, and exactly the kind of escape that shows you the transformative power motorcycling can hold.