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Old 07-18-2013, 02:06 PM   #31
RDT953
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Better and better

This is brilliant, I love the bit about the reading glasses, such a simple act of generosity that can mean so much. Keep it coming, I'm heading that way in September and lapping up every detail.
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Old 07-19-2013, 08:02 PM   #32
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Laugh inspirational

well done guys , truly one hell of journey , fab pics , just want do it myself one day ....... soooo impressed .
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:58 PM   #33
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Thanks Joel.

Sorry it wasn't your 640 forks that ended up on the bike mate. Jonathan found the EXC forks for me and this meant we only had to get the custom springs from Slavens in the US before sending them off to a suspension tuner in the UK.
monty that's cool. those are my spares and will leave them like they are.

i am enjoying your RR, reminds me of a lot of places i travelled. i grew up in metro manila and the rural areas get mucky after a typhoon.tic the weather and landscapes are pretty much identical.

as far as the people, the same, the locals are friendly and curious to see outsiders. most of those poor people have good hearts.

thanks for the slipping and sliding tour....

love to see more....
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:12 PM   #34
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I was blown away with the handling and how light the bike felt on the hard stuff. All of the testimonies about the fork conversion were correct. It really transformed the bike.
The Remus also seemed to give the bike a few more horses too. I was now itching to get the bike dirty over in Flores.
Mike was not so happy with his forks. He described them to be "wallowing through the stroke ". We decided we would try to sort them out once we were on the road.

I have to say, the refit that Monty did to the AT made a huge difference on weight. The braking was much more responsive, and the rally faring and cockpit displays awesome. Plus, it looked sharp! Started me thinking about similar upgrades to my bike, which is pretty much stock now. May happen yet (but don't tell my wife).

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Old 07-24-2013, 02:02 AM   #35
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Amazing adventure, and that bike looks mint.. how big was the weight drop compared to yours bike Mike?
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Old 07-24-2013, 05:02 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by RDT953 View Post
This is brilliant, I love the bit about the reading glasses, such a simple act of generosity that can mean so much. Keep it coming, I'm heading that way in September and lapping up every detail.
It was a great moment indeed. I think we'll be loaded down with reading glasses on our next ride as giveaways. We had a few other villagers ask for them but we couldn't help them out.

Where are you planning on riding in Indo ? Let me know if you need any help or info concerning your trip.

Cheers
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Old 07-24-2013, 05:10 PM   #37
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monty that's cool. those are my spares and will leave them like they are.

i am enjoying your RR, reminds me of a lot of places i travelled. i grew up in metro manila and the rural areas get mucky after a typhoon.tic the weather and landscapes are pretty much identical.

as far as the people, the same, the locals are friendly and curious to see outsiders. most of those poor people have good hearts.

thanks for the slipping and sliding tour....

love to see more....
The people in Flores really were amazing. The highlight of the trip for me.

I go over to Cebu for business sometimes and always think to myself I should rent a bike for a few days and go and explore. Never got around to it yet. One day.

More slipping and sliding on the way
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Old 07-24-2013, 05:36 PM   #38
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Amazing adventure, and that bike looks mint.. how big was the weight drop compared to yours bike Mike?
Cheers ! Unfortunatly my bike does not look quite so mint anymore

I estimate by removing all of the OEM front end my bike lost about 15 to 20 kg. Stormforce8 does that sound about right ? It was considerable what ever the exact figure and transforms the bike as we've said.

The original RD07 weighs 205 kg dry so I guess my starting weight was somewhere around 190kg. Mikes RD04 210 kg.

Both bikes take 23 litres of fuel , 3 litres of engine oil and 2 litres of coolant, so there's an additional 22 kg or so.

We then had about 45kg to 50 kg of gear, tools, water & food each, figure also dependent on how much red wine remained at anyone time.

The weigh in figures with a full fuel tank are therefore approximately

RD07 260 kg
RD04 280 kg
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:16 AM   #39
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The Flores Tiger

I wake to the sound of Mike chatting to a local and the throbbing of my toe.



Sunrise isn’t very spectacular as the skies are still fairly overcast unfortunately.








Packing up my gear this morning seems to take ages again especially as I’m limping around. Somehow it seems I’ve used everything I brought on the trip last night as its all over the place. Maybe I should blame the Moki.



Riding late yesterday my forks and steering didn’t seem to be 100%. I do a visible check and don’t see anything wrong but wind back on the compression and rebound 5 or 6 clicks to see how if the handling improves today. One of my rebound clickers doesn’t seem to be working properly either, so I’m going to have to look into this later if the fork woes continue.



After discussing routes with the villagers, apparently we seem to have 2 options today. One is to continue along my GPS track which is apparently difficult. The other is to back track 25km them head east which we are told is difficult also.

With nothing to choose from, we may as well stay on track then.

We are soon on a very slippery trail which has close to zero traction in places, as our nobbies quickly fill with sticky mud. We reduce the air pressure in our tyres but its still like riding on a skating rink.



We are forced to slow right down at every rut or area of mud, and then have to paddle through with our feet, trying not to drop the bikes. The white limestone that was used as a base for the track in places , is really treacherous after the rain. This is the last photo I take for another 2 hours of riding.



The trail become more narrow and overgrown and it looks like not many people come along here. It starts rising very steeply in places as we climb away from the ocean into the jungle along a ridge line. On both sides of the track the edge falls steeply off into thick lush valleys full of massive trees and thick jungle.

The views are really beautiful but as the riding becomes increasingly difficult I’m having to concentrate on keeping a balance between having the momentum to get up steep sections and also preventing wheel spin. Choosing the right lines through the rain ruts is essential and even then I’m struggling ,nearly dropping my bike on several occasions
.
Eventually I get to a section of the path where its flat enough to stop, park up and rest. I’m knackered and dripping with sweat, and start to worry what else is in store for us up the trail. This is by far the most difficult riding we’ve encountered so far and we're really in the middle of nowhere here.
I do carry a Spot but don’t really trust it (for reasons that will become apparent later in this tale). There doesn’t seem to be anybody out here at all and if things turn south we could be in trouble.

I walk up and down the ridge waiting for Mike to catch up. He seems to be taking a while. I really don’t want to have to ride back down and then have to come up again, but the longer I wait the more it seems that Mike must have come a cropper somewhere below and I’m going to have to go back.

I suddenly hear a loud roaring / snarling coming from down the side of the ridge where I’m parked. Its really close and pretty eerie. Actually its bloody scary !!

I nervously peer through the bushes but cannot see anything, but it sounds to me like a wild cat of some kind. Are there tigers in Flores ? No that’s impossible I tell myself – we’re east of the Wallace Line and there’s no wild cats here, but crikey it sounds like one ? What the hell is it ?

I start having visions of The “Last Tiger of Flores” pouncing on me and eating me for breakfast. The snarling continues unabated so I decide that I’ m not going to sit around here waiting to be eaten any longer , so jump on my bike and head up the trail to find an area where I can turn around before going back down the hill to go and find Mike.

I really did'nt get enough time to give the bike a proper field test before we left. I'm now finding that the AT has an impossibly narrow turning circle. Its like a container ship. I have a nightmare rolling backwards and forwards across the ridge in order to get the bike turned around. I nearly roll off backwards off the edge at one point, as I’m also discovering that due to the increased height of the bike from the new suspension , I’m having to maneuver on tip toes. Fortunately my broken toe encased in my boot seems to be doing ok through all of this.

Riding down the hill is more difficult than going up in places . After 5 minutes of struggle I come around a corner to see Mike down the hill with his bike across the trail. He’s collapsed on the ground beside it.

Did I mention how hot it was ?

I call down to him, get an OK and drop next to my bike. I’m exhausted too.

After 3 or 4 minutes in the shade drinking water and taking in some power gel, I stagger down the hill forgetting all about taking photos of the scene in front of me. Mike’s bike is sitting across a very steep section of trail with his wheels hovering over 2 rock filled rain ruts to the left and right.

Mike tells me that 10 metres further down the hill he had dropped his bike, and had somehow managed to lift the bike fully loaded by himself. This had used all his energy and when he started up the hill again he had promptly fallen off. He looks physically wrecked after all this.

The bike is sitting on the centre ridge of the trail and it looks to me that the bike can be swiveled around on the engine case, so its pointing downhill. Mike is worried that we might snap or damage the rear brake lever which we can't see under the bike, so there's only one thing for it. We’ll have to lift the bike from where it lays on its side with the right handlebar on the downhill side of the hill to an upright position.

It takes 4 or 5 attempts but finally after much grunting , slipping & sliding , his bike is up on 2 wheels again. Its taken a real effort to do it as the hill is so steep and its so damn hot.

Mike mutters that its been “Harsh, really harsh”. I’m inclined to agree.

After resting again, I climb up the hill then ride down to a flatter section of trail where Mike is turning around. Once again it’s a struggle to turn my bike in such a confined space and the whole ordeal saps my strength even more, but I get the bike pointing up the hill again.

The next 30 minutes are more of the same but we both manage to ride through it all. I’m not liking the conditions much though as my front end is not giving me any confidence. We stop to rest and Mike mentions hearing a roaring in the bushes on the trail up. What ? You heard it as well ??

On the way back along the ridgeline, my head was spinning so much from all the exertion of the past half hour, that I had ridden straight past the area, the “Flores Tiger” completely forgotten for the moment. So Mike heard it as well. Wow. What had it been ?

The trail gradually reverts back into a wider track and we drop down into a village. Civilisation !!

I stop to ask some villagers about trail conditions ahead and one of them points out that my Camebak is spraying water all over the ground. The valve is completely missing. It has to be somewhere on the trail in the last kilometer or so, so I walk back up the trail with a crowd of local kids.
Fortunately Camelbak in their wisdom must have known that it’s a dodgy design and made it bright yellow. I find it within 100 metres and am very relieved ! I would not fancy being out here with no water.

The villagers are very shy and are not sure what to make of us.



Not so much larking around like the places we passed yesterday, but I guess we're still in the middle of nowhere. I don’t think many people come through these parts.



On the other side of this village we come across a few farmers on step through mopeds struggling along in the mud. Its still really slippery so we don’t take many photos. We both want to get off this trail to be honest.



We pass one or two more villages before the trail slowly transforms itself into a gravel road. Its dry and I open the AT up. Now she comes into her own. The suspension eats up all that’s thrown at it as I blast down the trail. It’s a totally different beast to the unstable lump it was in the mud earlier.

I pull up in a crossroads in a small village. My GPS is directing me to go straight on to Ruteng the town we want to arrive in tonight, but the trail looks even worse than what we have already ridden through earlier. Single track with lots of mud and water by the looks of it.

The gravel continues to my left. I wait for Mike and when he pulls along side I don’t even bother telling him where the GPS trail leads and turn left.

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Old 07-25-2013, 07:21 PM   #40
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At the next village we stop to refill our camebaks , just as the local school gets out for the day. We are soon mobbed and asked all of the usual questions !



The population is mainy Christians away from the coast ..........





Dirt changes to ashphalt ..........



We're now pretty close to my original route on the GPS and at a crossroads I decide to turn south in an attempt to meet up with it. I think the original trail is supposed to ford quite a large river. The plan for crossing this was planned to be one one of those “Here's Hoping” moments.

Better to be safe than sorry, we decide its time for some local information. I ask several people on the roadside if we can get to Ruteng this way. Both tell me its no problem.

Experience riding in Indonesia has taught me never to rely on one persons opinion when asking directions
A litte further down the road I stop and ask someone else. This guy tells me that there's a massive river about 10 km or so down the road . There's no way across. This matches up with what I suspected all along, but hadn't wanted to hear. Damn. U turn it is then.

The road continues to drop as we descend off the side of a mountain on a really steep series of switchbacks. Halfway down I lose all pressure in my rear brake.
I take a few long draws on the Camelbak and spit 4 or 5 mouthfuls of water on the rear caliper. It explodes in a cloud of steam but seems to do the trick as within a minute brake pressure returns and I’m good to go again.

We ride leisurely through some woods and rice paddies for half an hour until we hit the coast.



We fill up with fuel, which involves undoing a strap on the Fandango tank bag. No too much hassle really.



We head into Reo, a dusty 2 street town of wooden and concrete houses built around a football field.

We find a Padang restaurant and have a late lunch.



We are both pretty shattered after the riding earlier this morning, but perk up after sending someone out to find a couple of Bintang’s.

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Old 07-25-2013, 07:44 PM   #41
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We want to get to Ruteng in the centre of the island tonight.

There's a fantastic twisty asphalt road in really good condition heading up from the coast. It's a beautiful ride......









I thought this was quite a cool way to make use of a landslide for a bit of farming. That's corn growing there









Mike is suffering as he starting to cramp up. It gets so bad that at one stage he can't continue riding the bike as he cannot sit or stand. I give him a mixed handful of various pills and supplements I carry and suggest he gets as much water down him as he can. That'll teach you to drink too much Bintang with your lunch

The road continues to be just as spectacular as it follows the side of a valley with rice paddies far far below us. The landscape reminds me a lot of Bhutan.















Just as the sun sets we pull into Ruteng and find ourselves in a pretty grotty hotel for the night.

Cold beers are on the agenda.
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:20 PM   #42
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you twat. hogging all the island fun.
.. just messing with 'ya .

your reports rock man.

IN for sure and sorry for the interruption
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:39 PM   #43
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We find a Padang restaurant and have a late lunch.



We are both pretty shattered after the riding earlier but perk up after sending someone out to find a couple of Bintang’s.





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wow, that must be their drinking water.


monty, have fun in cebu.
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:39 PM   #44
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Well done Monts! This is the 1st time I've had a chance to really read through this (had to run off to the States a week after we got back). Wow. Bringing back some muddy memories! But the best adventure ever. Keep it coming! Cheers!
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:45 PM   #45
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Amazing adventure, and that bike looks mint.. how big was the weight drop compared to yours bike Mike?
My bike, mostly stock, weighs 220kilo (without baggage). I'd say Monty was 190? You can really feel the difference. And weight is definitely an issue out there. Looking a doing what I can to reduce my weight as well. Big topic of discussion for us lately.
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