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Old 06-30-2014, 12:02 PM   #1
ChrisP11 OP
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Break downs?

I'm bet I already know the answer to this before I ask, but I'd be curious to get everyone's opinion on dealing with break downs, or the potential for break downs.

I ride a DRZ 400, tend to ride solo, and like to explore areas off the beaten path. Usually I'm pretty far from home and cell phone service is spotty at best.

My concern is always the inevitable breakdown, miles from civilization. I know there is no way to avoid it, I guess it happens to everyone eventually, but just the thought of being stranded and having to rely on someone hundreds of miles away to come pick me and the bike up, dampens my sense of exploration.

Just wondering if anyone has any advice for dealing with breakdowns. I'm thinking the best advice is to be prepared. Know how to change a flat, know as much as possible about the bike, etc.

Maybe my concerns are overblown?
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Old 06-30-2014, 12:31 PM   #2
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If it's really that remote then perhaps a Spot locator beacon or a real PLB? Also think about filing your plans with a close friend or family and an estimated return time. Have a way of attracting attention of rescuers, such as a mirror / flashlight.

And …
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:33 PM   #3
Walterxr650l
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Carry a complete tool kit. Know how to fix a flat, Carry spare tube/s and a patch kit. Carry a couple spare master links and a short chunk of chain. Have some emergency repair items like gorilla or duct tape, electrical tape, and JB weld stick. If your bike has an item like a CDI that is prone to failure carry a spare. Don't go out into the big empty With worn out chain, sprockets or tires. Don't go out into the big empty with a bike that is running poorly. In other-words keep the bike in good shape and tune. Carry the supplies and tools to do simple field repairs. If the bike still strands you, replace the P.O.S.

Wouldn't hurt to have a little extra food and water just in case either.

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Old 06-30-2014, 10:51 PM   #4
Capri142
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maintain the Bike

Before I go off on my own and I do a lot of touring by myself...I always make sure that the bike is in tip top shape before leaving. I carry a pertty extensive tool kit but I am not a mechanic and if the engine decides to go out on me, other than basic maintenance type stuff there is not a lot that I could do. IOW I could not rebuild the engine or track down an electrical problem. So I have a competent mechanic go over the bike before leaving and the only problems I have had have been flat tires which is something I can fix, I've run out of gas a couple of times so I carry a spare gallon with me when going to remote areas now. I am very careful on the bike. I can pick it up if it goes down on the flat but goes down on an incline so that the wheels are higher than the rest of the bike, I need help getting it back upright. This means I don't go remote places where the bike is likely to go down. I carry a phone, credit card and AMA roadside assistance if needed...I don't worry about it.

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Old 06-30-2014, 10:59 PM   #5
Motopsychoman
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Eek

Don't forget to carry a small assortment of nuts and bolts, spare levers, a couple of feet of wire and some crimps/splices. I carry a small multimeter as well.

I'm one of those fools who carries tools and things to repair pretty much everything I would be capable of fixing by the side of the road.

I carry tape, tire valve cores, tire valve fish tool, JBquick, Yamabond, Loctite, spare throttle and clutch cables (usually taped alongside the working ones), plugs, a water pump rebuild kit, and will probably carry a foot of radiator hose when I take off for my planned multi-thousand mile treks.

I carry a quart of oil and coolant also. Sounds like a lot? Actually weighs <10 lbs including front and rear tubes, tire patches etc. Fills up about 1/4 of one of my bags.

Good news is that so far I've fixed a lot of other peoples' bikes but my bikes have come through without problems.

Be prepared.

Traveling with someone is always a good idea in case it is you that is broken, not the bike. Taking a wilderness first-aid course is a good idea also.
And a SPOT is a great idea. I'm looking at one soon.

One more thing: spare keys.
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Old 07-01-2014, 08:24 PM   #6
oldmanb777
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Spot
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:35 PM   #7
RVDan
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Get-home-bag

Fixing everything minor is a given, you'll figure it out when the pressure is on, but catastrophic failure could mean you have to walk out for two days.

Most importantly is know which way to go to get back to civilization, then be sure you have enough water to get there.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:22 PM   #8
Little Bike
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Yes, learn how to do as much trail repair as possible. Make sure you leave travel plans with someone who is willing to come and get you if needed and has the vehicle to do so. Have a SPOT so they know where you are. Carry overnight gear and a first aid kit. You could end up fending for yourself for awhile. A SPOT doesn't mean you're going to get immediate help if you're injured. Based on where you are and other factors, search and rescue could take hours to get to you.

Sleeping bag, bivy sack or tube tent, water, food, signaling device, any medications you take regularly, extra batteries for the SPOT, shoes you can hike in, warm clothes, headlamp and batteries, daypack big enough so you can hike out with this gear. Add other items depending on the environment.

No, this is not overblown. If you're 100 -200 miles off road and nobody can locate you, you're hurt and/or nobody knows you're missing you are now in a survival situation.

I hike and have backpacked solo, but I never ride backcountry solo (unless I'm in an area where I'm absolutely sure I'll come across other people)

However, I get where you're coming from and if you're willing to take the risk...
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:32 PM   #9
flei
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tools (and some mechanical ability) are needed for sure.

if you can't fix what broke (or you are injured) and must be rescued, this: http://www.thegpsstore.com/ACR-2881-...FWQQ7AodGBAAvA

and I always carry this cheap and effective "life insurance": http://www.buylifestraw.com/products/lifestraw-personal
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:41 PM   #10
slammer218
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Spot tracker is a great tool. I broke down on the Alaska Highway for 10.5 hrs. less then 30 car passed me and no one stopped to see if I needed help. So you can't count on someone to help. Had to call my son to come and get me for a 3 dollar part. You can't think of everything but next time I will bring a few extra master links and a chain breaker. Sometime the simple things will leave you stranded, if not for the spot he could not of found me...
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Old 07-16-2014, 11:04 AM   #11
Pantah
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My son and I both use a Spot tracker anytime we will be remote. We have a couple pre-planned messages we can send on it. 1. "All is well and done for the day". 2. "Am OK but need to be extracted". The latter we expect to be extracted within 48 hours. Of course we also have the emergency extraction, which is an SOS and we pay for insurance to cover it.

We use the Spot mostly out west, north, and in Baja. Plus carry lots of tools and spares. The best solution is to have a riding buddy plus the Spot.
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:55 PM   #12
BC Brian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slammer218 View Post
Spot tracker is a great tool. I broke down on the Alaska Highway for 10.5 hrs. less then 30 car passed me and no one stopped to see if I needed help. So you can't count on someone to help. Had to call my son to come and get me for a 3 dollar part. You can't think of everything but next time I will bring a few extra master links and a chain breaker. Sometime the simple things will leave you stranded, if not for the spot he could not of found me...
Having lived in Northern BC most of my life I am surprised no one stopped when you were broke down on the Alaska Highway, but I believe it could happen. Could be that people didn't know you needed help......

I broke down on the Stewart Cassiar hwy (the other road to the yukon) with a bad battery on my buell. I stood on the side of the road holding my jumper cables (loaned to me at mesiadian junction) in the air at each passing vehicle. Third car stopped.

But, yes, being prepared is waaay better than counting on getting help from someone

And ....I too carry a spot. Best thing ever!
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Old 07-21-2014, 06:46 PM   #13
TxTiger
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DRZ are pretty dependable. Built well with heavier frames than many of the bikes of this size. Have you done all the loc-tite fixes. If not you need to do those. Also case protectors. These will help prevent a breakdown or punctured case.
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Old 07-31-2014, 02:58 PM   #14
nick949eldo
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In northern Canada it's hard to stop for a pee without someone querying you as to whether you need help. As the others have said; know your bike, carry spares, be prepared within reason - you don't want to be a travelling hardware store - but most of all, prepare yourself.

I always have a shelter and sleeping bag with me whenever I go on a long trip. If worst comes to worst, you can just hunker down and wait. The bears won't get you. You won't starve, and in eastern Canada at least, water is never an issue.

I expect breakdowns (I choose to ride 40 year old bikes and surprising, from time to time s$%#t happens) but there's usually some way to get yourself moving again. Worrying about it and agonizing over preparation ("are these the right tires - perhaps I need Heidenau K60s", "is my ADV sticker in the right place...") eats the heart out of a simple pleasure. Just do it - and if something goes wrong, its all part of the adventure.

Nick
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Old 07-31-2014, 03:21 PM   #15
riverflow
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On the side of potential breakdowns, I haven't seen tires mentioned yet.

optional story nobody will read anyway:
I was riding solo in the middle of nowhere in Appalachia on top of a reclaimed coal mine turned into an ATV park. There were mud holes, and a lot of them. The first several I crossed were fine, so I stopped walking through them. One of the last ones I got to had my rear wheel entirely underwater and half covered in mud. The T63 I just mounted before the trip slogged right through it with a steady throttle, some dabbling, and a lot of wheelspin.

The moral of the story is that a fresh(ish) knobby(ish) tire is essential to an offroad expedition going as planned.
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