05-11-2009, 01:43 PM
Ride it like you stole it
Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Tanzania, East Africa
Early next morning we decided to gun it on a breakfast run to the nearest town / establishment with food. A quick air filter check revealed the importance of running a filter screen in the bush...
With biltong strips down our necks, we headed west towards the town of Balama on some fast dirt. The main roads here are straight, but full of surprises and great fun on a 690. This bike was definitely designed with one thing in mind – full throttle racing!
Discovering yet another road that only exists on the map, we arrived in the town of Montepuez instead. On empty stomachs, we headed straight for the pub to have our first decent meal in 36 hours, whilst drying out in the sun.
The local town folks are very relaxed and even though they might appear to be displeased by our presence, just crack a joke and watch them smile..
Finishing off a great meal with a cold beer, it was time to inspect Babu’s sprocket. It didn't look good; the oil leak has worsened on the fast morning ride and teeth had 100km left...
The final theory we concurred up to explain this phenomena is as follows:
the spring washer that holds the sprocket firmly against the shaft seal ring was wearing out and loosing its 'elasticity', hence not pressing hard enough against the o-ring at the back, causing a more severe leak. (Shaft seal ring and O-ring were new).
On the upside we did manage to find a new 520 chain in town – too short, so we bought 2 and rivet them together (still half the price of 1 DID original…)
With our used XR sprocket we had to find a way to cut out the core of both sprockets and then press the XR teeth over the KTM core. Luckily we were in the middle of nowhere, so we just popped into the local machine shop… No really…
Found it in the local university and they had all the tools we need.
Our entire plan of reaching Lake Malawi came down to this, cutting out the sprocket core…
Well, it turned out that the cutting bit they had was made from a softer steel than the one on the sprocket; hence it was only making a mark before it burned away. We were not going to see Lake Malawi on this trip... Needless to say we were not too exited about this and decided to pull in for a siesta while Babu went to work on riveting his new chain.
Just like the good old times - nodding off at the back of the class...
Bike breakdowns can happen to anyone and our 690's do not have kick-starts or carburetors - they run on computers, which if they go - its end of the ride with no quick fixes or bush-mechanics to get them going. We have blown a CDI on a WR before, it is possible...
A very "not-pleased Babu" fixing his chain.
We decided to return to Pemba and look for a better machine shop, since it's a harbor town we knew we'd be sorted. Heading back down the main road was a bit nerve racking, with 5 feet grass on either side and kids appearing out of no where, surprising the crp out of you while the gas is wide open... At least with the Leo pipes, they are always looking in your direction, as opposed to the stock ones with which we picked up a couple of pedestrians (and 2 bicycles) over the handle bars...
Finding out why those chains were so cheap….