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Old 11-05-2012, 10:28 AM   #376
achesley
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Terry, do you not have a camera that works to take pictures of those lovely long legs and short skirts?
Glad to hear things finally going your way on the shock delivery.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:36 AM   #377
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I did try achesley, but the lens kept fogging up.
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:09 AM   #378
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caught up and subscribed!!!!!

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Old 11-05-2012, 01:36 PM   #379
Colebatch OP
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Volgograd - Day 18

Jump forward a week:

I flew into Volgograd on an early morning flight and found Terry working on his bike, having fitted his shock and done a few other bits n pieces:



He was at BikeCity34 where I had dropped my bike off 5-6 days earlier, with instructions to change my oil n filter. There we were looked after by Elena (with amazing eyes), a friend of Maggie the blonde dutch girl who passed through here a year earlier. (see Maggie's post http://www.advrider.com/forums/showp...&postcount=106)





By lunchtime all our gear was packed up on the bikes and we were ready to go. It was good to be on the road again with Terry. I had missed riding with him over the last week.

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Old 11-05-2012, 03:10 PM   #380
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awesome! i remember Elena from Maggie's report she's even prettier now!

more!
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:39 PM   #381
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Wow

Just found this RR last weekend and spent a few hours catching up, now that was time well wasted.
WOW that is one absofuckinglutely brillant report.
A+++++

Cheers,

Kiwi Canuck
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Old 11-05-2012, 11:12 PM   #382
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Loving the report as always. All signed up!
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:45 AM   #383
svestenik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colebatch View Post
Jump forward a week:


It looks to me like Terry's bike is lower in the rear than Walter's bike ? Longer dog-bones or what ?
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:00 AM   #384
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Walter, let me know if you want to head down to Prokhorovka next year, I was there in 2011 as part of my annual border run to renew my temporary import. Here is a link: http://www.motoreiter.com/2011_05_01_archive.html

Would be happy to head back down that way, Belgorod is actually a very nice town.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:37 AM   #385
duibhceK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svestenik View Post
It looks to me like Terry's bike is lower in the rear than Walter's bike ? Longer dog-bones or what ?
X-Country vs X-Challenge?
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:25 AM   #386
Colebatch OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svestenik View Post
It looks to me like Terry's bike is lower in the rear than Walter's bike ? Longer dog-bones or what ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by duibhceK View Post
X-Country vs X-Challenge?

Yes, The X-Challenge is naturally higher at the back than the X-Country ... but neither bike has anything near stock suspension. My bike is set up high at the back, even by normal XC standards. Terry's is an X-country, but his shock is also longer than stock X-Country and his rear suspension travel is also longer than stock - but not as long as my travel.

Also Terry was running a 17 inch rear wheel, which doesnt sound like a big difference, but it is.

I am a bit taller than Terry and I assume longer in the leg. Both bikes fit the respective riders very well :) We have each set the bikes up separately, and the bikes do have quite a different feel. The geometry was a little different, because both bikes had 300mm travel forks up the front ... so both bikes were a near identical height up front (Terrys maybe 10mm lower than mine due to pushing the forks thru the triple clamps more) ... it meant Terry's bike was not just lower at the back, but rode at a slightly different angle.

All just personal preference. Terry liked his set up and I liked mine.

About the only thing that Terry liked more on mine and would change as soon as he got back, was the front fork springs. I have a big preference for soft progressive front springs on this kind of travel (but stiffer than stock at the back to deal with the extra luggage and fuel load). Softer fork springs are not only much more comfortable when you are riding 8-10 hours a day all day every day, they dont just protect your hands, wrists and body, but softer springs also protect the bike from the vibrations of the track. Not only that but softer springs give you more sag, which means the fork has a better ability to ride over indentations (not just bumps pushing up into the fork, it should also have enough extension to push down into holes and let the bike fly over them rather than fall into them). A good example is the KTM 950-990 adventure bikes which have a soft 4.8 Kg/mm spring in them for adventure travel, whereas the lighter 950 super Enduro had 5.8 Kg/mm springs. The strength of the springs in the 950-990 Adventure is about the same strength as many 250cc Motocross bikes weighing half as much .... so its relatively soft. But anyone who has ridden a 950-990 Adventure will tell you how nice it is to have that plush feel up front, soaking up all the bumps - and transferring almost none of the bumps to the bikes chassis.

Having progressive springs means you still have protection from big hits, via a stiffer spring as the stroke gets deeper, against the forks bottoming out.

My front springs were progressive springs starting at 3.9 kg/mm at the start of the stroke, moving up to 5.0 kg/mm deeper into the stroke - all sorted out by the gurus at Hyperpro in the Netherlands who really specialise in infinitely progressive springs.
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:40 AM   #387
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Route to Volgograd

The map so far:

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Old 11-06-2012, 04:51 AM   #388
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The start of the steppe - Day 18 afternoon

Now that we were about to cross the Volga River, things really began to get interesting. We were about to enter the steppe country - flat, treeless grasslands that go on for thousands and thousands of kilometres. This was really my favourite riding of all. Fast, rally style blasting across steppe trails and around the edges of farmlands. Terry liked the technical riding a bit more than me (except sand) but for me, the steppes are where I like to play.

Our route from here was going to be parallel to the Kazakh border, from Volgograd around to Chelyabinsk, a few thousand kilometres away. The first few thousand kms were steppes, follow by a few challenging days in the Ural Mountains.

First we had to get out of Volgograd and cross the river to the steppe country. On the way, we passed the Rodina Mat monument, sometimes loosely translated as the Mother Russia monument to the Soviet army and peoples resistance to the German Wehrmacht advance, which ended here, in late 1942. As mentioned in an earlier ride report, its a seriously big mother of a statue. There are some reports its beginning to topple. I dont know if the Russians are doing anything to stabilise it. It would be a huge shame if it were ever to fall. Its a stunning sight, particularly at night or in winter ... or a foggy winters night. Naturally most of the pics of it are in summer, and in daylight ... which dont do it justice. So here she is:



Soon after crossing the river, it was game on ... Terry and I were back doing what we loved, and what we came here to do. Ride bikes offroad, with no fences, and no issues. The trails were good and predictable, and the speed was cranked up to levels not seen on the trip so far.

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Old 11-06-2012, 05:05 AM   #389
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The speed goes up

For the first hour or so, Terry complained to me that he felt the riding was a bit boring, compared to the narrower forests and the like that we had in the Ukraine.

Boring? I asked him.

Ok, then we will have to go faster yet .... until we reach a speed that is not boring.

It was a lesson I had learned from Graham Jarvis, the top man in world Hard Enduro for the last few years. A year or two back I had been in the Adventure-Spec offices when fellow Adventure-Spec sponsoree Graham Jarvis popped in for a chat with Dave Lomax. Jarvis joked he would like to do the Dakar one day. Lomax asked him, dont you think for a man of your skill levels, it would be a bit boring? Jarvis smiled and replied that if any riding was boring, then you simply werent doing it fast enough. Jarvis insisted he would definitely not be bored at 160 km/h on dirt. I would now apply Jarvis' wisdom to Terry.

Terry seemed to get the message, and never complained of the steppes being boring again. We just cranked it up to 130 km/h (80mph) on the GPS. There's enough concentration going on at that speed for us not to be bored.

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Old 11-06-2012, 05:27 AM   #390
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Day 18 - the evening

But it wasnt all fast and furious



In any case, Terry was certainly having fun:



Eventually, as the sun sank, we headed off to a village for a hotel and a few beers to celebrate being back on the road:

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