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Geek 02-21-2011 03:13 PM

Back in Black

My KTM: Back in Black.
A photo essay.
by Geek

In the "black ktms" thread we were talking about the safari tanks & such and I offered to do a detailed review when mine arrived.

They just got here. :clap

Along the lines of the review I did last year for the HDB hand guards and mirrors ( I figured I'd start this thread with the review, and then maybe back track a bit to take a look at the other 23450823 modifications I've done to my bike. Perhaps present some ideas for others who enjoy modifying their Adventures and share some of the things I've learned while making my Adventure into the bike I want.

I'm by no means the master 950 mechanics that pyndon, cpmodem, etc. are... but I do like to fiddle in the garage and "make things mine" as I best see fit for the riding I do here in the mountain states. I'm hard on stuff and I work hard to improve/maintain/upgrade things to make them more reliable; especially considering some of the places I go and what failure would represent. Some of the stuff I buy just for no reason other than I like it or I think it is cool. Sometimes I make mistakes and regret purchases I've made (and I'll share those too). Like most of us here, I love motorcycles and I really love my 950 adventure. It is one of those rewards that makes having to go to work acceptable.

I'm just going to throw unrelated photos in once in a while because I know that most of you hosers just look at the pictures and ignore the words :flip

I definitely use my 950 for what it was intended for - Adventure riding - and am blessed to live in Colorado where we have an abundance of adventure available to us. A garage queen my bike is not. Of the 20,000 miles I put on my 950 last summer the ratio was probably 65-75% dirt ranging from fire roads to mountain passes to sand dunes to single track I had no business being on :ricky I try and get away from civilization as much as possible and the one common route-limiting factor is always fuel range.

Coming down Black Bear Pass above Telluride Colorado. Did I mention I'm afraid of heights?:

I've been wanting a larger fuel capacity for quite some time now. I ran into quite a few situations last summer where I needed more fuel. Exploring Dinosaur National Monument and riding the Great Divide Basin in Wyoming are two good examples. With more fuel on board, my routes would have been much more flexible instead of having to plan to be back to a gas station every 175 miles or so.

I'm hoping to change that...

If you visit the Dinosaur National Monument in north west Colorado make sure you ride the Yampa Bench Road. When you ride the Yampa Bench, make sure you stop at the Harding Hole Overlook:

Riding the Continental Divide Route. At one point you cross Wyoming's Great Divide Basin where no Fuel is available for over 200 miles.

Safari Tanks

This coming summer I really want the flexibility more fuel can provide (I can't wait to ride from my place in the Colordao Front Range to Moab, Utah without touching pavement :evil ).

I looked at the various fuel options and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. For me, my Adventure is my Adventure Touring bike and I want the ability to go as far as possible between fill ups when I need. An option quite a few of my buddies have gone with are the ADV tanks that Neduro has designed that replace one of the exhausts. As it is, I have some other plans for the back of this bike that the AdvTank will not be compatible with (though I'll probably use Ned's system when I add an SE to the stable).

I had considered the Aqualine tanks for quite a while but always hesitated on the purchase because of the unknowns - the main one being how much it changed the feel of the bike overall.

Last fall I spent some time riding CJRacer's Aqualine equipped 950 and was pleasantly surprised with how little impact they had on my riding.

CJRacer's 950.

Sure they are going to make the thing steer like a bus on those occasions when you need to put 10+ gallons in them, but for normal riding (i.e. putting stock levels of fuel in them) they were pretty much impact free on my riding. The only time I really noticed them was in the sand when I'd put a foot out (dirt bike style) into the apex of a corner, my calve would brush against the fuel tank (whereas it didn't touch the stock tank) which was not that distracting to me.

Combine that with the peace of mind I had when we were in the middle of nowhere, knowing that even though I was low on fuel Craig still had 5 gallons on board, and I was sold.

120 miles from anywhere...

Fast forward a few months and CJ Designs ( is now an Aqualine tank dealer, and since Craig is such a good guy I wanted to give him the business. I ordered my Safari tanks Wednesday of last week and I received them today. :thumb

Time to open them up and take a look...!

Geek 02-21-2011 03:17 PM

The Safari tanks aren't the only thing that showed up today :evil

The tanks come in three colors: white(clear), orange, and black. Since my bike already has a "blacked out" theme going, the choice was easy.

If you aren't familiar with the aqualine safari tank design, basically it replaces your fuel tank and your upper fairing with one piece: a giant fuel tank.

I wanted to get some photos of them together to compare... the difference in size isn't that much and I wonder if the safari tank empty doesn't actually weight less than the sock tank + fairing? :dunno

You can see the leading edge thicknesses are actually fairly similar...

Geek 02-21-2011 03:20 PM

One of the places the Safari varies quite a bit is on the inside of the tank. They take advantage of the pockets the frame & such provide to add a little more fuel capacity here and there.. unlike the stock tanks which are smooth on the inside.

The hole you see is for the 990's fuel pump. If you have a 950, the tanks come with a block off plate to fill that hole.

Because of the amount of packaging involved, be sure and go through the box in detail. I actually called Craig and said "Hey I'm missing some stuff!" only to do a second look through all the packaging material and find it indeed was all present and accounted for (ooops :D )

Geek 02-21-2011 03:25 PM

I'm in the middle of a valve check on my bike, but I had to take a break and hang the tank up just to see what it looks like.

...and what it is going to look like with the SGMoto windscreen :evil

...and with that said, I need to get back to work on the bike!

More later.

p.s.. if anyone has any specific requests I'd be happy to snap more photos before I mount them up. I think for the most part they are pretty much what you would expect... no real mystery. :freaky

I was going to do an actual weight comparison with a scale but my stock tanks are full of fuel.

Sapling 02-21-2011 03:44 PM

Looking forward to your review....:lurk

I am in need of more fuel!

cjracer 02-21-2011 04:32 PM

I think I can get a little over 12 gallons now. Only gets better w/ age. :evil

I put them on the scale years ago, but forgot to get pics. IIRC, they were only about a 1lb or so diff if you add in all the hardware.

If you get a chance to toss the Aqualines on the scale that would be good to know again.

A set of stock empty ADV tanks and cowlings/hardware weighed in at 28lbs. I have that recorded from the last bike work project.

Can't wait to see more.:freaky
Thanks for the support.

adiablolex 02-21-2011 05:05 PM

cool writeup (as always) Geek,

black on black is my favorite :clap

DeeGee 02-21-2011 05:42 PM

Good skills Ed :thumb

bikyto 02-21-2011 05:42 PM


me want....

awesome write up! looking forward to what's next.:clap

btw, the tank profiles are really close.... how much work is involved in making the crashbars fit (990)?:ear

FINNDIAN 02-21-2011 05:47 PM

Anxious to see the final pics Geek. My Black tanks are on their way right now.

bairesman 02-21-2011 05:52 PM

Saddle bags
Sorry to ask a totally unrelated question. How do you like the Wolfman saddle bags? Are those the expeditions? Did you crash test them? Last but not least what racks are you using?
Thanks much, Martin

chasbo 02-21-2011 06:08 PM

I am looking to put a set of these tanks on my 990 this year. I am really glad Craig became a dealer. :clap

ten_fiver 02-21-2011 06:33 PM

I didn't see the tanks on CJ's site. Maybe I missed it?

*edit....ok found it. Too busy looking pictures and not reading.

xianx 02-21-2011 06:33 PM

damn it!
just when i think im over my "wanting an Adventure" phase i see your bike and i've got to have one again.
i need a 12 step program or something.
you've got a beautiful ride brother

ten_fiver 02-21-2011 06:42 PM


Originally Posted by xianx (Post 15247488)
just when i think im over my "wanting an Adventure" phase i see your bike and i've got to have one again.
i need a 12 step program or something.
you've got a beautiful ride brother

Screw the 12 step program. Just buy one, it only takes 1 step. :D

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