The weekend began with a plan to get to the bikes and start working on them about 9am. Roman had arranged for a bike mechanic to check the bikes out around 11am and we had a list of things to get done. We hadnt given the bikes any real loving since Mirny, and that was over 5000 km ago.
This is Roman, pictured a few days before our arrival in Khabarovsk with Moscow bikers Pate and Gelos. Pate and Gelos were on their way to do a comprehensive ride around Sakhalin Island. (Pate's thread is here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=539358)
. From L to R ... Pate on his 650 X-Challenge, Gelos on a 690 Enduro and Roman on his 1200 GSA.
I needed to change my oil from the temporary mineral oil solution I used in Mirny back to the full synthetic I preferred. My air filter had to be cleaned, new tyres and mousses had to be fitted, both of my rims needed a little bashing, and my front assembly needed straightening up. Also needed to find why one of my headlights hadnt been working since Yakutsk. Tony had a more comprehensive list, and Joon also now had a list of things that needed to be attended to after his fall.
We started on the lists while we waited for the mechanic. Terry put on the knobblies he had been carrying since Seoul. That was his list done. The mechanic, Sasha, arrived checked out what had to be done and said he will do the oil changes later as he is busy now. We continuted to work away on the lists ourselves.
I removed my front assembly, found a blown fuse on my headlight switch, so solved that problem. With a bit of heaving I had bent the front assembly straight. With a bit of Joon’s Korean shampoo I cleaned my air filter. My bike went up on a stand and both wheels were removed. The tyres were removed and I took the rims downstairs with a big mallet to sort them out. Later in the afternoon, Slava, the guy on the yellow Honda X11, ran me down to the Shinomontazh (tyre service centre) with my rims, new tyres and mousses.
I had a set of Michelin Deserts delivered to Roman’s address by Pate and Gelos (photo above), a pair of Russian off-road bikers from Moscow who had come out this way a week earlier. They were riding across Sakhalin, or rather Sakhalin top to bottom. It was another rendezvous I had hoped to make, and to join them for their 2 week adventure, but we were about a week behind the initially planned schedule, so they went ahead to Sakhalin without us, leaving the tyres with Roman.
Also with the tyres were a pair of Michelin bib-mousses. I was tempted to get another set of mousses sent out earlier to Irkutsk so I could have used them on the Irkutsk - Magadan leg, but concerns about fitting the mousses made me err on the side of conservatism. This time I would try the mousses - especially after all the flat tyres we (or rather Tony) had between Irkutsk and Magadan - 14 in all !!!
Down at the shino-montazh (Russian for tyre service centre), the big burly Russian lads had never even heard of mousse, let alone seen one, or fitted one. Luckily the mousse came with lubricant and diagram instructions for fitting. The boys took to it like kids with a new toy.
Slava lubed up the inside of the tyres while extra tyre levers were called for. They were going to tackle the mousses by hand! The front went first and only needed 3 guys straining and groaning with extra long tyre levers to get it on. The rear took longer … a good 10 minutes, with the tyre being levered onto the rim one inch at a time, this time it took 4 guys. But we got there. Puncture free off road motorcycling. These mousses will last me at least to Irkutsk and maybe beyond. I hadnt ridden with them before so it was a good chance for me to try them out.
Joon had been in the workshop with Slava for much of the day and came out punching the air and screaming how much he loves Russia. Slava had repaired his busted pannier with metal sheeting and no less than 50 rivets. Joon just needed his alloy clutch lever repaired and he was back on the road, good as new. The welding couldnt happen today as it was a weekend and the argon welder was back at work on Monday.
Like me, Tony had also been steadily working thru his list all day and Terry had been lending both of us a hand, in between snoozing on the floor.