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Old 12-23-2012, 02:37 AM   #1
Khmerized OP
n00b
 
Joined: Nov 2012
Oddometer: 2
Bandit 1250 Solo in Cambodia

Hi all,

This is my first ride report, so bear with me! Also, sorry for the instagramed pictures, I realize it might not be everyone's cup of tea. I use my iPhone during trips and that's just how I share the memories with my friends.

Background
I live in Cambodia, where I went to high-school. I am half French, half English, born in Austria, and raised on the road. I decided to come back to Cambodia to work, and sure enough, I bought a motorcycle.
My very first bike here was a 1996 Honda XR250L Baja. Rusty, loud, slow, but indestructible. I then bought something more serious, a 1999 Yamaha TDM 850. I really loved this bike. Unfortunately, I had an accident and crashed it into a truck that turned without putting signals nor looking in the mirror. Stuff like that happens in Cambodia! Here's all that was left from the bike:


I would have loved to fix it, but parts are impossible to find here and importing them would have been just too expensive. So I sold it for scrap, and got myself a 2007 Bandit 1250S, freshly imported from the USA, with 16,000 km on the clock. I fell in love with this bike.

Here it is, just after I picked it up from the container, getting its first wash (which costs 75 cents here in Cambodia!):


I had a minor crash on it a few months ago. Some idiot did not stop at a red light and I locked the front wheel in the wet trying to stop. That was a good opportunity to add some farkles, so I added a Yoshimura TRS, a Sargent seat, and Daytona handlebars.


The Trip
I just landed a job at a cool company, so I thought it would be a good idea to get out of town for a few days before work starts again. Plus, it's almost christmas, so going on a holiday seems like a good idea.
I decided to head to Sihanoukville, Cambodia's beach town.


The plan was to avoid boring and dangerous Highway 4 - the most direct route. Instead, I would take Highway 3 to Kampot, have lunch there, and then ride to Sihanoukville along Bokor National park. Total should be around 250 km.


Bags packed, chain lubed, tires checked, GPS programmed... Off I go!

The first leg was quite easy. Highway 3 is butter-smooth all the way to Kampot, it has just been re-plastered. The 2 hours I needed to get to Kampot were quite uneventful, except for a few psycho SUV drivers (very common in Cambodia, as most high-class Khmers in the government and army are never stopped / arrested by the Police) and a cop checkpoint. They pulled me over because my headlights were on. Go figure, in Cambodia it's illegal to use your headlights during the day, but OK to drive at night without them.
I arrived in Kampot and decided to take a quick lunch-break. If anyone's in the area, I strongly recommend The Rusty Keyhole. Best ribs in Southeast Asia, hands down!


Belly filled, legs stretched, time to get going again.


Highway 3. Yes, that's what Khmers call a highway!


Bokor mountain in the background


Finally a decent road!


Back to civilization: junction of highway 3 and highway 4. 50 km to go!


Sunset. Looks like I won't make it before dark.


Tank is almost empty, night is falling, and I'm on Cambodia's deadly Highway 4. Better be careful.


Arrived at night while people were shooting fireworks on the beach!


Notes
- The Sargent seat is slightly better, but not hundreds of dollars better. Not sure I'd buy it again.
- The Daytona bars are nice and wide, with a good finish. I did however get some wrist pain after three hours or so.
- The bandit can handle gravel and dirt roads just fine.
- Dunlop Qualifier 2: Sticky as hell, seems to be wearing well.

... More to come!
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:33 AM   #2
Rutabaga
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Joined: Aug 2012
Location: Southeast Lower Carolina
Oddometer: 726
Congratulations on the new job and the first ride report. Wonderful pics. Thanks for taking us on the trip, just don't expect us to go to work with you!
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