03-09-2011, 06:58 PM
Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Kamloops, BC
I put about 4800 kms on the bike before getting ready for Baja with few problems. I had to get a warrantied replacement for the lower tank bushings (a known weakness of the subframe engineering) at about 1500 kms and a custom seat early in the bike’s life. KTM’s are NOT known for comfortable seats…my first effort at improving the seat was to replace it with a 2X4 wrapped with barbed wire, but that didn’t create the comfort my tush was expecting so I had a local guy (Rudy) craft a seat resembling the design favoured by many (Renazco)….it was a vast improvement although it raised the seat height a bit. The 690 is a tall bike and, with my 29.5“ inseam, I find myself doing some nifty yoga poses getting on and off this beast.
My mods to the bike have been:
Trail Tech Eclipse HID headlight;
Scott steering damper;
Suspension tuning (forks revalved; shock got a heavier spring);
Removal of charcoal canister and SAS system;
Safari fuel tank;
Twin Air foam air filter;
Rally Raid upper tank bolts and countershaft sprocket guard;
Motoz Tractionator desert tires;
Bridgestone Ultra-Heavy duty tubes;
True Goo tire sealant;
And a Canadian flag sticker for the front fender …
I use a Giant Loop Coyote bag for lugging most of my crap as well as a back-pack. I carried two UHD tubes, patches, full tool kit w/extra bolts, JB weld, and the usual tubes of goop as well as enough No Toil stuff for one or two filter cleanings as needed. As usual, I carried way more crap than I needed…but was prepared for the “Just in case situations”. I was also packing a spare set of levers, shifter pedal, and rear brake lever.
I copied pages from the Baja Almanac for paper info and had a Mexico topo map for my Garmin 60 CSX ….just so I had some sense of where I was when I got lost…
The trip was a relatively last-minute decision as I have been feeling a need to be close to the phone as my 94 year old father is in failing health and I am constantly awaiting the call to go to Winnipeg to attend to whatever crisis is around the corner. My siblings encouraged me to feel okay about being out of the country for a few weeks….so that was the plan.
The gang I was going with are the folks I tend to ride single-track with and they are all hard-core riders. Several of them have been on Baja 1000 race teams and have been to Baja numerous times. As such, they know what to expect. I rode with them last year in Baja and figured I would use the bus as my way down to ride a different route than what they were planning for this trip.
The general plan was to drive the bus to San Ignacio and park the bus for 10 days of riding. They were planning to ride off-road from there and go down to Los Cabos the Hard Way. My plan was to ride with them the first day or two and then do a less arduous ride to areas I wanted to explore more: south from Mulege to San Isidro/La Purisima, Comondu, Agua Verde, and back to San Ignacio from San Juanico.
I have ridden most of those areas before, but was looking for a chance to ride without having to keep up with their pace…and take my time and enjoy the terrain in a different way.
I am a frequenter of Baja Nomads, a forum devoted to sharing great info about Baja, the usual gossip, and the normal politics of such internet entertainment….
at Rice and Beans in San Ignacio as he would be at his place on the East Cape around the time we would be down.
A poster on BN wrote to me as he got wind of my upcoming ride and asked if he could join our ride. He claimed to be an experienced rider and had a new 690 that he was enjoying. Trusting that he was willing to follow my ride plan, I welcomed him aboard and he planned to meet us
But first....we needed to get loaded......
The bus left Kamloops about noon on Feb. 10th and we snacked
our way to Vancouver (thanks for the picnic basket, Kim) where we picked up two more riders.
Ross was the fellow who concocted the ride route by scouring Google Earth and the Baja Almanac...maintaining consistently in the face of common sense and good judgement that "If you can see it on Google Earth, you can ride it!".
Here he seems to be referring to Google Earth rather than the highway in front of him....such is the life of Rossco...
We drove straight through to San Diego for about a 30-hour jaunt, arriving at the Tijuana crossing at midnight Friday….This gave us ample time to eat , drink beer, share ride memories, and do the usual male bonding rituals (insulting each other and farting).
Murray, a Baja veteran (AKA El Mur) is the guy responsible for a successful effort to raise money for Coco a few year's back on ADV Rider. He raised about $6000 and those funds were directed to Coco through Kiki in San Felipe (Kiki's Motel and RV Resort)