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Old 07-19-2012, 10:49 PM   #1
Miikka OP
Sir Fallalot
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Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Bellingham, WA / Finland
Oddometer: 126
Mongolian entree with a Russian side dish. (2 x F800GS, 15000km, 25 days)

Hello inmates!

This is a ride report of two family guys taking a month off from family and work to ride through Mongolia!
In order to reach Mongolia from Finland we had to cross half a Russia…twice.
We had to go home as well you know.

Trip had been on the table for years and finally in June 2012 there was an opening to do it!

So here's the storyline in short:
- 2 guys on 2 BMW F800GS's
- 4 weeks to spend
- 15000km's to ride.

No time to waste, so let's get the wheels rolling!

Meet MC Chicken Wings:
(Wings, because we fly for living. Chicken, cause our track record shows more U-turns than passed shortcuts)

- 37 years old
- wife and 2 kids
- big mortgage
- basic riding skills and itch to travel

Jani (you get to guess which one)
- 36 years old
- wife and 3 kids
- bigger mortgage
- similar riding skills but longer feet. Also willing to travel

And our backup crew / helicopter / support vehicle:

- able to organize a helicopter, Starbucks latte, new chain or swedish twi…I mean
meatballs in a record time if needed. (disclaimer: as long as FedEx delivers)
- valuable asset, expensive to hire, only accepts payments in Calvados
- was responsible for organizing someone to go and collect our belongings if our
Spot track got stuck for longer than 48 hours.

And our original plan:

Helsinki to Vladivostok...put the bikes on a ship and fly home.
(of course we didn't stick with the plan)
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:58 PM   #2
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Joined: Jul 2012
Location: Somewhere in Sweden
Oddometer: 29
Looking forward..


Waiting for the next episode..
/ Joeman
2004.5 KTM 950 ADV
Husqvarna MC 258 Army
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:59 PM   #3
Miikka OP
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Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Bellingham, WA / Finland
Oddometer: 126
Bike prepping

Getting ready to go!

We've been doing all the maintenance on the bikes ourselves in order to learn and gain
some hands on experience on stripping / building the bikes.
So we did the 10000km maintenance during winter and we noticed that both bikes have
weeping valve cover gaskets. :( Both bikes were past warranty but BMW stepped up and
covered the labour and parts on our bikes!

- changed all wheel bearings and brake pads just to be on the safe side.
- had the chain&sprocket recall job done (=fresh set of chain and sprockets for trip) at the dealer
- paid 30 euros to get the lower octane mod done.
- installed lithium batteries on both bikes (lots of controversy on that, I know) to diet few kilos and
make room for our own electricity mods.

Jani's bike was equipped with VIO pov camera shooting forward and mine has a Chasecam
setup shooting front and rear. (I said I like gadgets, didn't I?)
Both bikes have inverters and cig.outlets at the rear box for charging various gadgets.

We chose Heidenau K60 Scout tires.
Rear tire was 140 (instead of stock width 150).

Most of the other mods on the bikes had been installed over the past 2 years basically this trip
on our minds. To be brutally honest (to myself), many of (my!) mods are totally and utterly
unnecessary and too vulnerable for a trip like this…but I happen to like mods and
guilty as charged!

Öhlins front and rear suspension are great, but not necessary. Jani went with stock suspension
and had no issues.
Stock downpipes and muffler work just fine, but I wanted to lose extra kilos and went with
Akrapovic muffler and Arrow headers. Jani had stock and I think his bike napped way less
than mine during the trip. Conclusion: Lighter and more expensive pipes don't hold the bike
upright for you..?

Anyway, this is supposed to be a ride report, not a mod report.

If anyone's interested in any of the mods, just ask and I shall respond!

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Old 07-19-2012, 11:17 PM   #4
Miikka OP
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Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Bellingham, WA / Finland
Oddometer: 126
Chapter I: From Russia with love

Day 1, June 1st
Helsinki - E of Veliky Novgorod

Plan was to accelerate out of Helsinki at 8am and cross the border to Russia as fast as possible.
Naturally, that didn't happen. Our last piece of spare parts (chain master links) had to picked up
before departure and we ended up departing 9:40am.

We were on a tight timetable from day 1 so we planned to avoid big cities at all cost. Accommodation
plan was to camp out a couple of days in a row and then "treat" ourselves with a gastinitza
("a truckers stop/motel") with a shower.

About 200km ride to FIN-RUS border, normal minor mayhem to get across and we're in Russia.
We've been to Russia 2 times before on shorter (3-5 days) trips so we already knew the ropes
at the border. Crossing took less than an hour this time.

We had 1 year multiple entry Visas for Russia. Cost was only slightly higher than double entry and
we didn't want to be restricted by 30 day visa in case things went south. Our visas were of the
"humanitarian" category (not tourist nor business) and reason for applying was "cultural exchange".

Ride from border past St. Petersburg was normal russian traffic race without unusual incidents.
We hit traffic big time after passing St. Petersburg once we reached M10 highway. Took us nearly
2h to proceed 10km's even though we used every opportunity to split lanes and overtake via shoulder.
But you see, russians try to overtake each other left and right whenever possible. So instead of 3 official
lanes there were 5 lanes in use. Lanes were packed so tight that lane splitting was possible only at times.
And always with a really small margin.
After making contact with couple of trucks (with panniers) we decided to use the shoulder as much as possible..

Bikes felt good on the road albeit heavy to move around when stopped. I weighed all my stuff before the trip and my load was staggering 59kg's. (=130lbs)
Load was shared equally, so Jani was in the same boat with me.
That DOES include the weight of the panniers / rear box / tank bag (not just stuff inside) and also our emergency/reserve water and fuel.
We carried about 5 liters of water and 6 liters of fuel per bike. (when tanks full)
Also about 2 liters of cooking "fuel" per bike and Jani had 2 liters of oil. All that summed up close to 15kg's per bike when reserves were full..

We also had food enough to be self-sufficient for 10 days! All these reserves were a bit of an overkill, BUT it was all planned in the name of fast crossing to Mongolian border. No need to waste any time on searching for supplies…time is money!

Hesitated quite a bit with choosing our first campsite. Mosquitos everywhere…took a while to accept the fact that we are not going to find a campsite without those blood sucking insects. Finally at 11pm we called it a day and set our tents. Hours later than planned. But there's always a learning curve..?

Managed to ride 600km's despite the border crossing and M10 traffic jam.

Ritsikirja notes: (Inspector Sakari Koskinen always had a ritsikirja in his pocket. Author: Seppo Jokinen)

- first refuel break, Miikka's foot gets caught on Airhawk and breaks the front strap. No biggie, stays
put with rear strap. "Will repair that once we camp out at some idyllic waterfront spot." (Never

- Miikka's chase cam recording system doesn't work! Problem with rear box power button. M doesn't
take the blame for bad wiring, we blame the button!

- Turned clock forward 1h when entering Russia

Stay tuned..
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:21 AM   #5
In my castle
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Location: The Kingdom of Kent
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:57 AM   #6
Adv pro - Bike noob
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Joined: Jan 2012
Location: The Alps
Oddometer: 14
you have my attention...

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Old 07-20-2012, 02:08 AM   #7
Arek Kontrol
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Joined: Aug 2011
Location: Ex-pat Poles in Adelaide Hills, South Australia
Oddometer: 258
Great ride report so far!
Finally the BMW R/GSW ....... My Videos - YouTube

I live more in 5 minutes on my motorcycle than some people live in a lifetime...
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:48 AM   #8
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Zeijen (Assen), The Netherlands
Oddometer: 32
I'm in! Nice report
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Old 07-20-2012, 05:28 AM   #9
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Dec 2008
Oddometer: 452
I can't wait to read this one..
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Old 07-20-2012, 05:39 AM   #10
Blue Icebreaker
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Location: Croatia
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Sounds awesome, I'm in!
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Old 07-20-2012, 05:40 AM   #11
Tour Aegea
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Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Izmir/TURKEY
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Good luck guys Have a great trip and don't take too long for posting
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:48 AM   #12
Gale B.T.
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Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Pagosa Springs, CO.
Oddometer: 1,612
Looking forward to this ride, love the RR that cover this part of wonderful earth.

Lots of luck,

keep those smiles,
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:16 PM   #13
Joined: May 2010
Oddometer: 73
Moi Miika

Kiitos for pulling this report - I am eager to read it.
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:35 PM   #14
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Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Germany Cologne/Bonn Area
Oddometer: 18

Subscribed, waiting for more good stuff !

horsti screwed with this post 07-20-2012 at 02:35 PM Reason: 2 big fingers
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:19 PM   #15
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Arizona--Land of the free and heavly armed
Oddometer: 1,205
Understanding ?

OK, so let me get this straight, we're doing a Hi-speed low level bomb run across Russia just for the shits & giggles of it, right?

Sounds like fun I'm in

"Only A Peasant Puts Beans In Chili "

Arizona OHV Ambassador
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