|11-20-2010, 08:46 AM||#63|
Difficult but useful
Joined: Aug 2004
Location: Moneyapolis, MN
|11-20-2010, 09:26 AM||#64|
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Southeast Wisconsin
'09 Wee Strom
"Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Don’t teach a man to fish…and feed yourself. He’s a grown man. And fishing’s not that hard." - Ron Swanson
|11-21-2010, 05:51 AM||#65|
Joined: Dec 2008
Trip preparation - Bike
I was terribly busy at work throughout the winter and spring so bike preparation suffered. The “must” things were arranged late evenings (nights) and weekends. Finding any bike gear in Korea is impossible so I had to order lots of stuff over the internet and have it shipped to Korea. Many thanks also to my colleagues who often carried some gear for me in their luggage when coming from Europe over to Korea.
I am riding my 2008 BMW 1200 GS Adventure which so far never has let me down. At the start of the trip it had 13000 kms on the odometer (running-in almost completed). In general these bikes can be rolled out of the dealer and it is ready for the “big trip” without any modifications. Rock solid boxer engine with kardan drive. Engine control system with knocking sensor automatically adjusts the ignition and fuel injection to safely burn the worst fuels. Large 33 liter fuel tank giving a range in excess of 600 kms. Crash bars for engine and tank as standard. Heavy duty aluminium panniers and top box are available as factory options. I bought my bike used in September 2008 (4-months old / 4000 km). New, they look like this:
For my trip and my “needs” this is the ultimate bike. It is very comfortable for my 199.5 cm (it is actually the only bike that I feel that I feel really comfortable on) and it is great two-up as well. It was never my plan to go extreme offroading so the weight is not an issue. I like the GSA and “always” wanted to have one. I had the money to make it possible. I had neither a proper garage with tools nor time (not to talk about skills) to build myself travel bike. And anyway, there are no other dual sport bikes expect for the GS available on the Korean market!!!
I would however clearly like to state that a newish GS is by no means a pre-requisite or the one-and-only choice for a long trip. Any new bike stuffed with fancy electronics will be a difficult case if the LCD display says “error” in the middle of nowhere (e.g. there is no BMW service for the first 5000 kms from Vladivostok heading west, the first one is in Krasnoyarsk). Older bikes with carburators, conventional ignition and no CANBUS are “repairable” on the road.
A hardcore ADVrider could try it on a 1962 Harley panhead chopper…
… a well used XT 600 tried and tested in Morocco and Kaukasus….
… or an 800 GBP ebay bargain KLR.
The guys doing long trips on these bikes are the true ADVriders. No trip is complete without some roadside repairs. Hats off.
I have heard about guys doing longer tours on KTMs as well but I am not sure it is true. It is probably an urban legend.
Anyway, back to my bike. There is of course no perfect bike and I had a few issues that needed to be addressed. I did not feel comfortable with the standard BMW shock absorbers. The front end was very “bouncy” offroad (no other adjustment possibilities except for springload). The original shock absorber was exchanged under guarantee however there was no improvement. Furthermore I am neither an aggressive rider nor heavy but still I several times heavily bottomed out my shock absorbers (set on high spring preload) during “light” offroading. I therefore felt that the Russian road construction sites, the washboard, the pot holes, a heavily loaded bike and the standard shock absorbers would not be a good combination. I looked for options on the market and finally decided to go for ELKA shocks. ELKA offered a very competent and prompt response on my queries and put together a set of tailored shocks for me.
Rear shock with hydraulic spring preload adjustment:
As a consequence of bottoming out at a couple of unlucky locations the original skidplate and mounting bracket had been remodelled. I wanted a sturdier and a bigger skidplate (protection for the exhaust as well). I found exactly what I wanted from twinheadlighternie on ADVrider, the “high-lip” version of his bar napkin engineered skidplates, see http://twinheadlighternie.smugmug.co...ta-Motorsports
I had broke one of the BMW original pressed aluminium sheet cylinder cover protectors in a minor incident...
...so I decided to add the Hepco and Becker cylinder cover crash bars. I banged the original aluminium sheet covers straight and kept them inside the crash bars as additional protection. So now I have both belt and suspenders.
I want to have redundancy in lighting and I also do not find the original BMW lights especially good so I added a Xenon headlight and a foglight from Touratech (that really hurt my wallet). I also added the Touratech headlight protector for excellent protection of the original lights (and sexier looks).
Furthermore due to my “abnormal height” I had to make some modifications for more riding comfort. The 2-inch ROX handlebar risers http://www.roxspeedfx.com/cgi-bin/ca...?subcat_id=297 in forward position made the biggest difference. The riser forward position also makes tightening of the original forward clamp screws very easy (through the riser). Now also offroad standing on the footpegs feels natural.
PivotPegz footpegs http://www.pivotpegz.net/ fitted in their lower position are more than 10 mm lower than the standard BMW footpegs. Furthermore the pivoting motion lowers the footpeg front edge with some additional millimetres. The end result is a better knee angle making long days of riding more bearable.
The windshield was another challenge. The standard Adventure windshield is a disaster for me, I have the turbulence straight in the helmet. At the end of a day of riding I often had a terrible headache and an aching neck.
I did not want to buy those higher aftermarket replacement windshields that makes the bike look like a popemobile and are not optimal (dangerous!) for offroad. Hence I opted for the Touratech spoiler (height 85 mm only and also not the full width of the original windshield). It certainly improved the situation but not enough. So I went to one of the Busan scootershops and bought a cheap helmet visor for 4 USD, drilled two holes in it and fitted it to the spoiler. Unfortunately the rounded form of he visor makes it a little less effective but I have no turbulence now. I have the spoiler strapped down for safety. The entire assembly is easily removable for a session of offroad. Yes, it is ugly.
Due to the new higher and more forward position of the handlebar (because of the Rox risers) I have interference with the windshield unless I have it in the most upright position (with the small knobs removed!).
In case my right hand would get tired I installed the Kaoko throttle locker. It is also very handy when taking photos or drinking on the run…
I had some impact marks from contact between telelever and front fork from a previous incident so I installed the Wunderlich steering stops to avoid hard contact. These stops are bolted to the lower triple clamp (the standard screws are replaced with longer ones).
I did not know what kind of road conditions I was going to have so I did not want to take the risk and go with street tires. I liked my Heidenau K60 tires so the choice was easy. Previously I had a set of Continental TKC-80 but I found them too loud and moreover the lifetime on tarmac is limited. Unfortunately there was no new Heidenau 150/70 K60 rear tires available for various issues so I decided to hit the road with old set that I had ridden 3000 km km (I would in any case get a lot more mileage than the TKCs).
I also installed the usual Touratech / Wunderlich farkles, needed or not.
• Fuel injection and throttle potentiometer protection
• Rear inner fender
• Front fender extender
• Clutch and front brake fluid cup protectors
• Spare fuel can with holder
• Water / fuel bottle holders.
• Additional power outlet socket for the cockpit / tankbag
For maintenance and “emergencies” I brought the following:
• GS-911 electronics diagnostics tool (remember no BMW service for the 5000 first km!). See http://www.hexcode.co.za/products/gs-911/
• Adventure Designs tool set http://www.advdesigns.net/ulcobmwr1gsg.html I could have compiled my own set of tools but I would have had to order the special 1200 GS tools from abroad anyway. Yes, the set is quite heavy but complete...
• Adventure Designs micro pump kit http://www.advdesigns.net/mitipukitba.html
• Repair kit for tubeless tires
• Ratchet strap and short wooden plank for breaking the tire bead
• Shinko E705 rear tire
• 1 liter of oil
• Oil filter
• Final drive spares (inner and outer seals + bearing) - Bringing these parts was an insurance that nothing would happen!
• Plenty of cable ties
• Misc screws and nuts + some small bits and pieces
Last but not least I have added some 3M reflective tape to make the bike more visible during nighttime.
For all the camping gear I have a water tight(?) cheap tarpaulin bag and the PacSafe 140 liter (http://www.pacsafe.com/www/index.php...&activity_id=6) steel wire safety net. I bought the biggest sized net in order to be able to store my riding gear safely under the net when stopping. I loosened the front screws holding the rack for the pillion handles / top case and permanently fit the pacsafe net under it in the front (sent the pillion seat with the removal goods).
I have the large extendable Wunderlich tank bag. To be able to charge the mobile phone, camera batteries, MP3 player etc during riding I bought the Belkin 12 V / 220 V transformer (including UBS charger). No, I have neither air conditioning, refrigerator nor TV on the bike.
I have no GPS but great maps. People have been travelling for thousands of years without GPS or proper maps so why do we suddenly need a GPS for any small trip. In those days there also were no roads. I have a good instinct and did orienteering as a teenager. I decided to bring a small compass though I will probably not need it. I was thinking about buying a “SPOT” satellite tracker but eventually decided against it since did not want to worry anybody if I would not move for a day or two.
So now I have all the bells and whistles for the bike. The other stuff I had installed earlier except for the shock absorbers and lights which I needed to install before I left Busan. I also needed to get do regular service as oil exchange etc.
longwaybackhome screwed with this post 01-05-2011 at 06:20 AM
|11-21-2010, 09:52 AM||#66|
ADVrider junkie :)
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Patras, Greece
Wow ... thanks for taking me through your setup and prep of your bike. There are many ride reports that just start with day 1, but I like the "before I left for my trip" write up.
Looking forward to your next installment
'03 Aprilia ETV1000 Caponord
|11-21-2010, 12:36 PM||#67|
Joined: Dec 2008
Trip preparation - Other equipment
I decided to take my old thrustworthy Canon EOS Digital Rebel DSLR for the trip. The Rebel was the first DSLR aimed for “hobby photograpers” when released in 2003. I bought it in 2004 and have used it quite frequently without a single failure. I know it inside out and like the photo colours that it produces with standard settings (in my opinion much better than many modern DSLRs on standard settings). Yes it is slow in processing the photos, the display is small, it has "only" a 6.3 megapixel image sensor, it has no video but I really hate it when I buy a new camera and it is obsolete the next week when the next generation is on the market….
So far I had used only the standard zoom included in the 2004 set, the 18-55 mm (f3.5 - f5.6). I got the tip from a photographer friend of mine that the fixed 50 mm / f1.8 lens is a bargain (around 100 EUR) so I bought it for this trip. It is a great lens for portraits and other photos that benefit from a shallow depth of field. The 50 mm / f1.8 lens was in fact the only lens I used on my DSLR throughout the trip. Taking the 50 mm / f1.8 lens in use was “photography rediscovered” for me. Not having a zoom makes the picture composition process completely different, the photographer has to move back and forth for the photo composition and that way have to give it a lot more thought than with the zoom. Result: Less snapshots – More real photography. I brought circular polarizer filters and neutral grad square filters too (but I never used any of them).
As a “back-up” camera I bought the Canon S90 compact. This is a cigarette-pack sized compact that can be used in fully manual mode as well (basically the same functions as an SLR). It has a great 6-22 mm (f2 – f4.9) lens allowing for great photos in low light conditions. The image sensor is 10 megapixel (compare to the Rebel). It has video, unfortunately not HD. The display is huge, it is more than 3 times the size of my old DSLR! I like the conventional “focusing ring” (around the lens) that can be set to control any parameters very much. Also, the camera comes packed with special programs for in-camera photo processing.
And of course the recently released S95 has HD video damn it!
I also took my 15 year old pocket-sized Bogen table tripod (Bogen is the US brand name of Manfrotto). It is sturdy enough to be used with DSLRs with a moderate size lens.
Koreans are keen hikers and outdoor enthusiasts in general so there is plenty of outdoor shops in Korea. Most of them carry primarily Korean made stuff but also imported gear is available in selected shops.
I really liked the technical solutions in the Korean brand Kovea Alpine Soloist I tent. It is very light, only 1.5 kgs. Perfect for motorcycle touring.
Finding a long enough sleeping bag in Korea was not an option. I bought an extralarge Halti (Finnish brand) sleeping bag for summer use (I would just add more clothes if it would get cold). Quite priceworthy, 69 EUR only http://www.haltistore.com/products/s...ts/explorer-5/
First I intended to take a simple Korean made gas burner that I had bought from the local supermarket. However when I saw the Rolls-Royce of the expedition stoves, the swedish Primus Omnifuel, in one of the Seoul outdoor shops I could not resist byuing it. The Primus Omnifuel burns almost any fuels, see http://www.primuscamping.com/product.php?id=3
- Samsung netbook
- Iriver MP3 player
- Nokia mobile phone
This boring preparation work is wearing me out. Want to hit the road now…
|11-22-2010, 06:57 PM||#70|
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Huntington Beach CA
|11-22-2010, 10:49 PM||#71|
ADVrider junkie :)
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Patras, Greece
'03 Aprilia ETV1000 Caponord
|12-05-2010, 03:38 PM||#74|
Joined: Apr 2007
Location: Hurricane, WVa., USA
Haven't heard from you for awhile. Looking forward to the continuation of the report. Hope everthing is OK.
SO MANY ROADS, SO LITTLE TIME
04 Kodiak 450
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