Without a doubt, the lions share of the preparation for this trip was devoted to preping the bike. And by lions share, I mean 99%. Hardly gave any time to consider where the f'ck I'm going, how to get there once I figure out the where and how, much less what to see along the way, that's basically the theme of this trip: no plans, no reservations, just follow the inspiration of the day...
Having spent soooo much time prepping the bike, I feel it is only fair that the first entry of this blog thing should be about introducing Big-O (short for big orange, as the bike dwarfs most other bike's, in height anyway).
When I first decided to do this trip, I was thinking of taking my then current bike, BMW F800GS, as it was a great all around bike, had proven itself cable in nasty trails, if a bit of a real pig in mud:
But was hesitant to take such a complicated machine in third world countries where the locals know all about carburetors and next to nothing about fuel injection trouble shooting. So a long and confusing search was begun. One week I'd say Sertao 650, the next 800GS, then klr, then Sertao again, then try to figure a way to get my hands on a 660 tenere that Canada does not import, and on and on and on.
That is, until one day I heard of this mythical beast from Austria: 640 adventure! It's was love at first sight!
But this bike poses quite a few problems. Not the least of which is KTM stopped production of this model in 2007! God f'cking damn it!! Plus the horrible maintenance reputation of LC4 engines: you don't see to many with over 100k km on the clock. Search AdvRider forum, I was seeing quite a few low mileage one's with blown engines. But, love is love and I had to get me one of them sexy beasts! And to be fair, the lc4 is such a simple engine that it's a breeze to diagnose and when something brakes, it's fairly simple the fix.
So off I went on a hunt to track down one of these bikes and man, are they rare in this part of the world! In a whole summer only saw 3 for sale within 6hr driving distance. Finally found one in La Tuque. Seller assured me that the bike was top notch, ready to ride the world, blah blah blah. I'll come back to that later.
So, without further ado, here is Big-O's Personal's:
- Make: KTM
- Model: 640 Adventure
- Year: 2006
- KM at purchase: approximately 28,000
- KM at start of strip: 39,000
- Price of purchase: 4500$
- $ spent prepping it: 4000$, maybe 5k. Stopped counting a while back.
Here she is in Nova-Scotia last year, looking out over the Atlantic, dreaming of far away Africa.
All I can say is: thank god I took it for a test run in Nova-Scotia! Initaily, I was planning on leaving last fall. But after the N.-S. run, there was no way I was leaving with the bike in it's current state...
From memory, here are the things that where done to it since. Some where preventive maintenance, others where because the parts had just failed:
- new piston and rings,
- New cam shaft,
- New top-end bearings,
- Counter sprocket seal,
- Starter clutch,
- Electric starter motor rebuilt,
- Rebuilt the carburetor,
- Clutch master cylinder rebuild,
- Clutch slave cylinder seal replacement,
- Water pump rebuild,
- Wheel bearings,
- Rebuilt rear suspension,
- Rebuilt forks,
- Welded radiator tabs to frame,
- Unbent rear sub-frame,
- Installed a side stand,
- Fabb'd an extension to the tourateck rack,
- Replaced the brakes cable, clutch cable, decompression cable,
- Added HID lights,
- Added two new horns,
- Added a fuse block up front,
- Added a USB plug,
- Fabb'd a cockpit plate for buttons and gps,
- Re covered the seat,
- Fixed tail light,
- Rebuilt all 3 break clippers,
- Replaced all break pads,
- And a whole bunch of shit I don't remember.
I now have about 1000km on the bike since the rebuild, it's running like a dream and dose 550km on one tank!!! It's ready! And I'm as ready as I'll ever be so: enough spending on prep and time to ride into the sun set...
ps: first destination, British Columbia via the TCAT.