Of course, the decision was a last minute one, leaving me with some real obstacles to deal with. First, the opportunity came when I was away traveling, and my scheduled return was one week before the bike would have to ship from Oakland. The bike in question was a KTM 505XCF that I had bought with loose ideas to turn into a rallybike, but I hadnít started that process yet. So, I needed to build the bike and get it to San Francisco in just a few days.
Here it is before we started, in trailbike formÖ
Enter my savior C.Vestal, who can build a rally bike in his sleep by now. We dug into the 505 late one night, and a day later, I had one of the prettiest rides out there. I donít know how I am so lucky to have friends like Chris, but Iím sure glad I do. We used all the spare pieces I brought to Dakar and didnít use- I bought a tank and thatís about it.
Chris, smiling as ever, working his magic:
Complete! Donít ask me about my expression, heck if I knowÖ
Then, cRaSH and AnnieGS stepped forward and offered to drive the bike to Oakland in one shot- I think they had vacation in mind, but the weather had other ideas. They wound up in a hellish white knuckle cannonball run, and didnít let it stop them. Thanks, Ray and Annie.
In order, that's my 505, Charlie's XR, Dirk's 690, Mike Krynock's 525, Jean-Luc's 690, and Wildman's 525-ish Meca bike. I'm hoping they'll chime in.
I had the luxury of using exactly the gear I wanted for this race, and hereís what I chose:
- Rally Moto Kit rally conversion- nothing needs to be said.
- MX1West- 6 gallon Acerbis tank, Ariete goggles and Mousses
- BRP Triple Clamp, threaded bar end mounts (these are awesome!) and chain guide
- Renazco Racing- the absolute Bomb-Diggity seat. Yes, it is that awesome.
- Trailtech- Stator and heavy flywheel- very nice for avoiding stalling and having lights.
- Touratech- GPS mount and a slick crossbar setup
- Wolfman- fairing bags- impossible to overstate how nice it is to have a place to stash gloves, emergency stuff, tape, etcÖ
- Cycra Handguards- Iíve tried them all, I think theirs are the best.
- FMF exhaust- crazy light and the motor runs amazing.
- 7602 racing vent line filter. This stuff matters in the silt.
- Scotts Performance- Steering damper- lifesaver in rally!
- Klim Riding gear- I used their soon-to-be released Rally Jacket combined with Dakar pants, both of which are fantastic.
- Bell Helmets- For me, the fit is perfect, and the Moto9 is both feature heavy and weight light.
- Motonation/ Sidi Boots- I got a set of Crossfire 2s and they are everything you might hope.
Right as we finished the bike, it snowed for the first time. Of course, that was a fine reason to take the TTR out and do powder 8ís. Call it training if youíd like, I call it the most fun you can have on two wheels. Big crazy drifts and no real risk because there isnít ice underneath yet:
My neighbor helped me make a promo photo for facebook sharing, which I still find amusing: