cool hand fluke
Joined: May 2009
Location: between my last drink and my next one
Preparation, beer drinking, fuckups and other boring shit.
So, in the interests of sharing the wealth, I thought I would give you a quick rundown of what we did to get ready for this trip, mostly so if you are planning on doing a similar trip, you can build a (surprisingly lengthy) tick list of what not to do.
Bear in mind, I am a complete noob at all this, and am naturally wary of preparation, mostly due to its close resemblance in appearance to prostration but also because it cuts into beer drinking time.
Also keep in mind if you are looking for a detailed review of everything from oil we bought to the daks we are sporting you are going to be fresh outta luck. I couldn’t even tell you what brand of reg grundies that are keeping the boys from getting out there and advertising themselves. I think they do have holes in them however.
Research for most of these items was also minimal, flying by the seat of aforementioned holy jocks being the preferred method.
Given we are on the younger end (mid 20’s) of the riding contingent on here our ability to pillage and plunder the corporate world has been limited so far – as a result, so is our budget. This doesn’t bother us a great deal, our limited experience on this planet has told us that a lot of the things that cost money can frequently dilute the experience you can gain from it.
Nonetheless I “splurged” on 2 08+ KLR’s as I was informed that they are substantially better than the older models, and following my logic that the newer the bike was, the less time the previous owner would have had to ruin it. Not having ridden an older KLR, if these are “substantially better” I can only assume that previous models used 2 4”nails for your seat, brakes consisted of using the soles of your boots to stop, and that the engine was a single wind-up rubber band that moonlighted as a pleasure toy in The Castro. Based on the apparent popularity of the old school KLR here and my speculation that not all of you enjoy riding a gutless, brakeless dildo… the claim of “substantially better” is a misnomer, and that we could have happily purchased a cheaper and older KLR and it would have sufficed.
Further splurging was done on farkles/mods of various descriptions. Initial impressions are bucketed into a few categories:
In no specific order
Awesome - Barkbusters, AndyStrapz bags, Heindau K60’s*, Happy Trail bash plate, 22c carb mod, emissions removal, sealed Yuasa battery, Walmart seat cushion, LED blinkers, throttle lock, Pelican cases, Eagle Mike raising links (1”) and Grade 10 subframe bolts
Good - 685 kit, Thermo-Bob. Would be in the awesome category, but given we will probably have to sell both bikes at the end, in hindsight probably not worth it. Although not having to stop at gas stations to fill up on oil and check the fuel level will be appreciated. Wyman from klr650.net comes highly recommended if you are in the So-Cal area and want your pile to be slightly less of a vibrating gut-less shit box.
Questionable – eBay 68 LED H7 light (low beam), handy for dropping your current draw and light output. Happy Trails Dakar nerf bars, I don’t know the dimensions of the jig that these were built on was, but it certainly wasn’t close to the 2 KLR’s that sit in my garage, they were a biatch to fit with lots of misaligned bolts/holes and swearing involved. Also my limited experience with using a piece of strap to support compression loads has shown it not to be successful, but I will reserve judgment there and see how well they hold up with fully loaded bikes when they get thrown on the ground at ludicrous speed.
Bad – wiring. The black pile has had most of its perfectly good wiring loom replaced by a random collection of solder, crimp connectors, circuits and fuses by an oaf. Me.
These reviews may change subject to mood swings, alcohol consumption, and if any of them cause us to be stuck on the Bolivian Altiplano. Further updates in all those regards to come.
*130/70 R17’s seemed hard to come by, I jumped out on a limb and ordered the 140’s without checking to see if they fit. Here it seems that the old adage of "better to be lucky than good" again being proven. They fit.
Other random things recommended or to be considered stupid.
- Buying bikes and other parts with significant time before hand and working on them, screwing things up, swearing, spending too much money on them, and kinda learning how they don’t go back together
- Shakedown trip/s where you discover what you screwed up on the above point
- Buying cheap stuff. It may break, but so might the expensive stuff, you feel less like a nong-head if you didn’t spend your life savings on it.
- Further to the above – buying used bikes. Hopefully with farkles pre-installed. Mucho coin saved.
- Shakedown trips where you strap your bikes into the back of your truck, straps break, backup straps break, bikes join together in back of truck in a repeated fashion, doing wonders to their aesthetics and the structural integrity of all the plastics and switches and stuff
- Buying new tubes, and not checking if the mongrel getting them out of the box sliced it with his packing knife before you have left the store and ridden 200 miles away from civilization and suddenly have a flat only to discover your brand new tube has a 12" gash in it
- Spending money on expensive GPS’s and other gadgets that could be more appropriately spent on rum in Nicaragua
- Putting front wheel on bike with a fragrant disregard to the angle of the speedo cable
- Removing the exhaust header while you have grease and stuff all over your hands. Next time you run the bike it smells like chicken, if chicken smelt like burning putrid plastics.
- Not checking bolt torques with a somewhat reasonable degree of frequency after working on them. These things vibrate like an anvil in a cheap washing machine, and as a result I have been admitted to the loyalty program of my local hardware store just based on fasteners that I have purchased.
- Trying to repair the rear tire on a KLR by yourself. While we might have to do it on the road it just made me discover how many pinch flats I can cause in an afternoon (3 if you are wondering). I also simultaneously discovered the depths of my single syllable vocab as well.
And after all that drivel, to keep you remotely interested, here are the bikes. Sadly the K1200 isn't coming with
Flys Lo screwed with this post 08-10-2011 at 07:25 PM