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Old 11-17-2012, 09:45 AM   #16
wet coaster
yamalama's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2008
Location: left coast
Oddometer: 1,292
Thanks. Great photos. Great adventure.
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:20 PM   #17
macrae85 OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: New Zealand,Scotland,Arizona USA.
Oddometer: 391

With 'Adventure' biking being the current trend,with everyone getting in on the act no matter what their product,
thought i'd give you a run down on all the kit/equipment.


Suzuki XF650 Freewind.
Great bike for the job at hand.Was bought with 10.000mls,and at various ones starting around 600GBP($1000US),
i just dont see the point of buying something over flash.I'd rather buy a bike like that,get it in the workshop and strip
it and spend the cash on the right bits!Just looking at the new 2013 KTM 1190 today,i was thinking how much more than
the retail price of 13.095GBP for the 'R',by time it's "Africa ready",i'll bet it's a couple of thousand more,more than my
TOTAL outlay!As the overland German touring company boss i was speaking to on the ferry leaving,where one of his
clients had to be airlifted out after crashing,said,"Anyone can go out and buy a BMW GS1150/1200,but can they ride it?".
Yes,a twin(or triple,if light enough),would be best for the long haul to such places,personally i'd like to see KTM or preferably a Yamaha 800cc Tenere,the 1200 just being too big!
You've got the BMW GS800,with it's 'faulty' engine,which is probably OK as a 'western World' bike,but in low octane 3rd
World fuels,it just cannot be trusted.Then there's your Triumph Tiger 800cc with it's accountant designed chassis,which i've taken plenty abuse on here over,but even my local dealer is telling me what i said about 'writing off' frames on even a 'stand fall'!
Back to the weapon at hand.100% reliable,perfect handling(i jacked up the standard rear suspension using German 'dog bones' to sharpen the steering),with only 1 real moment up in the Rif Mountains,where i got caught out on a wet right hander
and couldn't get it laid over quick enough........luckily nothing was coming the other way,and i just let it cross the centre line
once i knew it was clear!
With a 18.5 litre tank capacity,150 miles is safely obtainable,so that's an average 40+mpg.With the main jet cycle starting @
5000RPM,into the 60's could easily be obtained by keeping the revs down.As i tend to take mountain back roads,there's a lot
of shifting/braking,squirt and go!
Screen height (MRA screen),was spot on,while on the motorway at average 70mph,the Garmin Nuvi 1240 from my car didnt
get wet in torrential rain,a great investment!
The only niggle i had,was not extending the side stand to match the 'jacked' suspension,but on saying that,due to the soft ground,most of the time it would have been useless-pissed off ferry workers though,they like sides stands.A must fit for my American DR650,a centre stand!
What else? Scottoiler.Once sorted with a piece of wire up the sprocket end,it worked great until it was empty,only to find out i didnt get the refill nozzle with the new carton of oil,so the last 500 mile was manual oiling.Another must fit for the Argentinian bike,though the 'touring tank' maybe better!
Loud,open exhaust is a must for Morocco,by the time you think to look for the horn,you've been hit.Give a Moroccan an inch,he'll take it,a quick rev,loud noise,is enough to warn most!
Better brakes was my biggest want,i never did get my 320mm convertion finished and only a brained steel line was the only upgrade.
Tyres! No such thing as the perfect tyre for such a need around 3 sets,roads for the twisties,the ones fitted,Continentals,and a set of knobblies.19" perfect front,maybe in the future,i'll fit a wider rear rim,a 4.25",and fit GS1150
Suspension.OK i suppose.I'm only around 80kg,with 15kg of luggage,so nothing's getting over worked........not like Ewan & Charlies overloaded horses!
Handguard(which came on the bike) were a must,about zero degrees C leaving Eangland.......kept gloves dry too!
Fuel guage........a great feature on a Freewind.
Speed switch........also good feature,for switches from MPH to KPH!'s getting modded in the future,from stepped to flat,the step was causing a sore tailbone after 2 hrs!
Overall.......the perfect bike for such a trip.So if you're from overseas,planning things around Europe/Scandinavia or Nth Africa and on a budget,you wont go wrong,old technology,will run on anything(note how KTM has realised this,by dropping their compression ratios.........maybe BMW will do similar with their GS800,hmmnnn!).
Would go as far as to say,owning both,it's a better bike than it's sister the Suzuki DR650SET!
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:57 PM   #18
macrae85 OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: New Zealand,Scotland,Arizona USA.
Oddometer: 391
Conclusion 2


Starting at the top......

Arai Tour X 3........Simply the best,light and complaints!

Weise thermal hood.........took it off after 20 miles,was giving me a headache,the stitching on the temple was 'pressing' into my forehead too much.........maybe wearable after my new Arai settles in.......will see
MSA sunglasses.......mine safety glasses,with sortened legs to slide in and out helmet.These cost around $20NZD,perfect vision,and could probably withstand a .22 bullet.I've run over a pair with my car and were still wearable!Available in all colour of lenses,Artic Gold are my ones.......haven't found better to date!

Halvarrsons base layer........get itchy when hot,other than that,cant complain!

Caterpiller longsleeved t'shirt and under the same........light,layered to keep more heat!

Belstaff 'Adventure' jacket........great for hot places,only keeps light rain out,tends to let in around the mid rif,water off fuel tank!Plenty deep pockets,fitted with Camelbak type water tank that i've never used.Lots of vents for the heat,not much armour though!

Gloves!.....2 pair,1 leather,Biko,1 unknown........both crap.My usual Triumph ones are in the USA,was wanting their Adventure glove,but left before i got a pair!

Hein Gericke trousers.........ideal for summer,too vented for this trip,Central American ideal,but not cold damp high mountains!

Skins base lycra ladies tights.......only made the trousers wearable,be too cold otherwise.........a good investment!

Cat socks..........em,socks!

Falco Adventure boots.........excellent value(100GBP),dry feet all the way,even in 500km stints.I noted in the Long Way Down the boys got wet feet due to poor planning.Had rubber overboots with me,never needed to use them!

Triumph Waterproof longer available new,took me 6 months bidding on eBay to replace my original one which got i've ever owned,why i replaced it with the same!

Wish list.........a heated vest,and knee covers(if anything exists).Starting to get knee trouble,especially when cold.A black visor,more for looks than anything else.......privacy,ha ha!
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Old 12-24-2012, 01:06 PM   #19
macrae85 OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: New Zealand,Scotland,Arizona USA.
Oddometer: 391

I couldn't write this earlier due to security reasons concerning my bike.
I left it outside T2 at Barcelona Airport for 5 weeks,perfectly safe and untouched,
though i would recommended T1 if were for a few months or more,there must be
over 200 bikes there,nobody would notice if it were under a cover!
Spain is far nicer this month than last.Xmas eve and it's 23C,just nice for biking,
i may go up the backwoods of Denia(on the east coast) before flying home on the
Well,that brings this to a close,and the year for that.By leaving the Suzuki here,it'll
give me the option to go back and 'finish' Morocco,or get it on a ferry to Italy/Greece/
Turkey,wherever......not unless someone wants to make me an offer for it,ha ha,a
12.000ml XF650! :)
Have a great festive time folks,and all the best for 2013.........happy planning/travels!
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