Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Dooral Dooral, Eastern Oz
Cape York & into Asia via Timor-Leste, Indonesia, etc
I’d been getting ready to go to Cape York in early August when K0diak, who was also planning on coming on that trip as well as doing the Ho Chi Minh Trail with me early next year, said “why don’t we ride our bikes to Asia”?
Sounds like a plan, said I, except that it was already July and I’d just booked my mid-January flight to Thailand for the HCM Trail trip. The plan ended up being to ride the bikes up into Asia, then flit home to the family for Christmas and get back for the rest of the trip in mid January. I had to be home by December 5th, as my wife is getting a hip replacement then… and it wouldn’t be good form to not be there to make the occasional cuppa for her, eh?
Anyhow… that was it, I was in and things got hectic. I’d been working on a few modifications for the KTM 950 SER, but spinning this August two- week trip into something that was going to go over many months meant some frantic work. I’d been working on a carbon fibre dual headlight setup for a while.....
There was a bit of wiring to do too
I added the Highway Dirt Bikes setup, which has proven to be brilliant. Their switchgear is so much better than the KTM crap. At least now I have a kill switch and horn button that I can actually use.
The main issue at this stage was what to do about carrying camping gear and spares for a longer trip. My big worry was the SE’s rear sub-frame. They break if loaded up on rough roads. My eldest boy is a mechanical engineer and he convinced me that welding it wasn’t the way to go. We couldn’t find out what the 7 series alloy it is made out of was tempered to… which meant that if we welded it, we ran the risk of significantly weakening it – making it worse, with little chance of getting anything re-welded in Asia.
I decided to build a carbon fibre/kevlar rack to transfer the loading to the stronger section of the sub-frame. That and getting things like passport, carnet, medical gear, parts and the like organised meant a hectic 3 weeks. I “finished” the rack at 9pm the night before I left… then I had to pack.
Here’s the rack under construction.
Looks simple eh? To get to that stage, I had to take a mould off the original fender, make a piece out of that mould, modify the piece to this shape (sounds easy), make another mould, then make this… with the odd failure or two scattered into the mix.
At the same time, I was making a carbon/Kevlar sump guard
I almost got it finished… just had to glass in the rear mount, but it hasn’t made it onto the bike yet. It can wait until the bike gets home somewhere towards the middle of 2012.
I gave the bike a pretty decent once over… set the valve clearances (with assistance from my son Pete), did all the fluids and filters and threw on some new tyres.
I left Sydney on July 29th and hot-tailed it to Cairns, towing my bike and one other – a CT90 scrapper that I was giving to fellow forumite, Sibbo to play with (he wants to try some fairings to improve fuel economy). I picked up another forumite, Gordo (Gordonmichaellee), from near Tweed Heads and we headed north with the KTM and his DRZ400 in tow.
We left Cairns on Aug 1st – with myself and Bernadette (soul adventurer), who I’d sailed down the Great Barrier Reef with a few years back, on her DRZ400, Peter (dkadvrider), a 23 yo Danish guy who rode his Tenere to Oz via Russia, Mongolia and Japan and Brett (dzl) from Adelaide on his ex-Army XT600.
We stopped at the bike shop in Cairns to pick up Peter, who was getting some tyres fitted and chomped into some sangers that Bern’s Mum had made for us. It turned out to be our only food the whole day until well after dark. A life-saver. Thanks Mrs H.
Here’s our first river crossing – the Daintree River…. the start of the CREB Track – one of the toughest 4WD tracks in the country. Most of us made it across without incident.
.... to be continued (yep.. some of these early shots have been shown in a Cape York thread, but we'll move into virgin territory pretty quickly)
A man should only do the work that is required of him. To do more is a form of greed.