On The Rock, simple and reliable trumps horsepower and fancy bits every time. Looking at my GPS, we averaged about 30 mph including running slab, and were often much slower on rough terrain. There are few places to obtain even basic parts outside of St. Johns and Corner Brook , although there are many quad dealers where things such as spark plugs can be bought. We were blessed with few mechanical difficulties. Rich (I'll use first names here; as it's easier) flooded his DR650's cylinder one day by forgetting to turn off his petcock in the evening. Anton properly diagnosed the situation, and pulled the plug. A few cranks on the magic button had the cylinder clear and everyone drenched with atomized gas. It cut down the urge to smoke.
Adam rode a late model KLR650, properly outfitted with the best that Princess Auto could afford. We never hit Princess Auto, but it's on my list for the next time through. Adam's KLR is pretty much bog-standard, although he's played with the jetting so he can pop a wheelie in fourth. In the dew and the fog of the early morning, we'd often see him spraying lubricant and speaking soothing words to his steed. For tires, he ran Dunlop 606s, which chunked off on the slab on the way up. Missing knobs aside, he was fine. It's not the bike, it's the rider.
Rich rode a new-to-him DR650, with a Michelin T63 front and a "Golden Boy" on the rear. Rich formerly rode a KLR250, and was just getting used to the larger displacement. Sorry for the rock chips on the paintwork, mate.
For Anton, more is more. His DRZ400 was equipped with a 5.10 Dunlop 606 rear, and a matching tire up front. He went through some trouble fitting the Tubliss system to the bike. It paid off. The sole flat we had was on Red Indian Lake road. Pulling and patching a tube would have sucked heartily. Anton holed his front. Counting the time stripping gear and searching through bags, we were down seven minutes. The actual repair took thirty seconds with a gummy plug, and a quick shot of CO2 brought the tire back up to operating pressure. Although there are some downsides to the Tubliss system, I'm convinced of its worth. We'll get to the shattered windscreen and the bungee cord later.
I cheated and equipped my DRZ400E with trials tires. I came to bikes relatively late, and need to cheat wherever I can. In these conditions, the Pirelli MT43 and DOT IRC Trials front were perfect, although the trials tires chuck rocks like no tomorrow.
A big thanks to the Wolfman for his luggage. The expedition dry bags and the Rolie bags as tank bags kept things dry and safe. That old REI bag on the back is still holding strong after nearly 30 years and tens of thousands of miles on several continents.