Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by flyingdutchman177, Jun 20, 2012.
But I did get to play in the mud
The highlight of the hot springs was I got to meet some nice flight attendants from Holland. They had a 5 day layover in Panama.
Awesome job if you ask me.
I hope to see them again some where else in the world along my way.
After nearly 30,000 miles, here are my thoughts on my motorcycle.......
First off, let me say, I was never a "BMW guy"
I love their cars.
But I never cared for their motorcycles with the cylinders sticking out in to the wind.
And with that said, their is not another bike that I would rather be on for this trip.
I came close to getting a KTM 990.
I like a lot of things about that bike.
I like the strong V twin engine and its layout.
But I was not convinced about its reliability for the long haul.
There are three things that set apart the BMW from all other bikes out there:
It's shaft drive.
And that is so nice......I never have to lube, adjust and/or replace the chain and sprockets.
Second, it has tubeless spoked wheels. I am very surprised that the other bikes don't have this option.
And Third, it has a 8.7 gas tank. Again, none of the other bikes are nearly as big. I don't have to fill the tank up all the way if weight is an issue thru a techinical section if I don't want to.
I considered the new Triumph Tiger. I really wanted to pick that bike but it was unproven and it didn't have the aftermarket support yet. But I LOVE my 1996 Tiger.
Plus it doesn't have the dealer network around the world.
My first pick would have been a Honda. But Honda doesn't make anything even close (wake up Honda!)
I see Honda shops all over the world here. Plus I think they make some of the best bikes in the world.
The engine layout on my BMW has really grown on me. The engine is as wide as my rear luggage so it doesn't matter that it is so wide in the front. It gives me great wind protection and protection in case of a fall. I don't like the amount of heat the engine throws off riding down here in the tropics, but it will come in handy riding thru the Andes.
My biggest complaint is the transmission...............REALLY BMW??? On a $20,000 motorcycle????
It is like the transmission was designed in the 1950's......and it probably was. It clunks and doesn't snick like most modern transmissions. I really hate it. But with earplugs in, I try to ignore it. As long as it lasts, I guess that is what matter.
I know BMW is coming out with a new water cooled GS. And I am sure it will be a big improvement over my bike. But it being aircooled is one of the reasons that I chose the GS. I know it lacks the power for a 1200. I know it is old school and doesn't have the latest technology. But it also doesn't have a waterpump to go out. It doesn't have radiators that could get crushed in an accident. And it doesn't have coolent that needs to be changed and monitored. It is kind of like the old XR 400 and 600's that Honda made. They are so bullet proof!!!. The CRF450's are a better bike in every way but they are more fragile.
The BMW attracts a lot of attention down here because it is a BMW and it is expensive. And that is not a good thing unless you like all that attention.
I will think of some other things about the bike to say but let's take a look at the way I outfitted my bike:
I am going to sound like a spokeman for Jesse Luggage but they make awesome bags!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
First they are big and compact. Just look at them.....they are pieces of art! The curves soften their look. The BMW bags look so bulky and don't carry any more stuff. The Jesse Safari bags are deeper than the others because the tapper at the bottom. This maintains the lean angle of the bike. They are sronger with thicker aluminum. The latches are nice. At first I thought it would be a weak point since there is only a small peg keeping them shut, but it has held up well.
Unlike, every other bike I have ever seen, I chose to mount my hard top case directly behind me instead of hung off the back. It did this because I wanted to keep my weight more centered and I plain like the looks of it better. Plus I have the top case mounted to their "solo plate'. This means it can removed with the motorcycle key in 2 seconds just like the passenger seat coulld. That way, when my GF (or my new GF, I should say) wants to ride with me, I can pop off the case, pop in the passenger saddle and off we go.
I am very happy I got the Jesse Luggage. In fact, I don't think their stuff costs any more either.
I got this map from touratech. I am keeping track of my route on this map mounted on my top case. That way, if someone doesn't understand me, I can just point to the map when they ask me where I am coming from and where I am going
Touratech windshield extender is working great. I have the windshield mounted in the second lowest setting so it cuts thru the wind better (and looks better). With the extender, the wind is directed over my helmet. It is sooooooo nice for cruising down the highway. And it cuts the wind noise too.
Also in this picture, you can see my Garmen 660 Zumo GPS. I don't know how people did a trip like this without a GPS. I have only the "World Map" downloaded in it but it does a great job with the cities and roads.
Often, it is "off" by quite a bit. And sometimes cities are not in the database. But where it comes in handy is when I am trying to get thru a big city and the street signs are none existant (which is just about everywhere down here). It gives me an idea which direction I am going and that I am heading the right way. Without it, I would still be trying to get thru Mexico City........Ha!
But it failed to warn me of my pending doom yesterday as I headed up in to the mountains to El Valle. The GPS said the road was paved and it looked like the road was on the map......so how bad could the road be? BAD!!!!
It was the recommended shortest route
In reality, with the GPS, a map in my tank bag and asking for directions, I assemble all that information together and make my OWN decision which is the correct route because one or more of the input sources are generally wrong. It is up to the Capitan to steer the ship and make the best decision of which course to steer.
I bought these stubby levers off of ebay. They were shipped from China. I really bought them to carry as back ups for the stock ones. But in Belize, I put them on for two reasons.......
One, on one of my tip overs, I bent a stock lever slightly. The long levers will bend easier because they hit the ground first. These are shorter so they stay better protected. I am carrying the stock levers as my back up now.
Second, they look bitchen! They add some "bling" to my bike (like it really needs more)
The one thing I don't like about them is they go out of adjustment on their own sometimes.....especially off road with the vibration. It is not a good feeling when you go to hit the front brake and the lever is not where it used to be.
I bought these adapter plates and mounts from Touratech to hold my water bottles and camp stove bottles.
These snap on and off quickly in case I need to put a passenger on.
Some times they get in the way. I am not really sure I would do it again. But I can always get rid of them if I ever decide that I don't like them there.
As a side note, I tell the kids that they hold NOS for extra power
My Wolfman soft bag is holding up well. I carry all my camping gear in it. And it took me a few trys but I have everything organised so it compacts well. Everything has its place. Plus it is yellow so it matches my bike and you all know how important that is. Looking good is feeling good!
Plus I have a Packsafe wire mesh lock around it. To steal my stuff inside would involve much more than cutting open the soft bag. With some wire cutters, you could get my stuff, but it would slow someone down. In reality, I am just trying to keep the honest people honest. A professional is going to get your stuff regardless. I just want to slow them down a bit
My Arc'teryx Backpack is waterproof and carry my boots and some dried food. I use it for day hikes and contains a water bladder for drinking. If you know this company, everything they make is top notch and really expensive. I bought this used on ebay and it matches my bike too
From the Touratech catalog. Here are some protector bits to protect the fragile fuel injection pieces.
I have seen some other bike with every part in Touratech's catalog on them. These bikes look stupid and are over kill. I got just what I though I needed. And everything Touratech does it the best. Their engineering is amazing. The GPS mount is a work of art.
But they are expensive like jewelry
I added the lower crash bars around the engine. The stock ones just don't cut it in case of a tip over or worse. These do a great job protecting the engine as they wrap all the way around the cylinders. The bike should come stock like this. I forget the name of the company. It is either Alt Rider or AS Cycle
The skid plate is from Touratech. And since I can hear it every time the bike bottoms out, I am glad I beefed up the protection on the bottom. And this skid plate is much bigger and protects the pipes, the cat and the center stand.
Also I put on the O2 sensor protectors from Touratech. I am not sure they are needed but if a rock gets kicked up in the Sahara desert and takes out a senser, I would be crying that I didn't step up and spend the money to buy them
Here you can see the Alt Rider head light protector. A clear lexan protector would have been a better option, but this laser cut aluminum piece just looks so bitchen! It is a work of art too. But the fasteners are a weak point. I almost lost it a few times. Now I have put some zip ties over the fasteners to keep it in place, but it is a pain in the ass to clean the headlight now as it is time consuming to remove.
You can also see the Touratech oil cooler screen which matches the look of the headlight like protector (remember what I said about matching.......LOL)
And check out my Contour video camera. My mount broke a couple of months ago during a tip over. But I found a spot and fastened it with some zip ties. I hope it doesn't get stolen there. But I get a lot of comments about it. Plus know I can take some video shots while riding with a flip of a switch. A much better option than the Go Pro
My Toutatech tank bag is waterproof and awesome. I had a hard time swallowing the price at nearly $400. But it is about the same price as a Coach purse, so I stepped up and bought it.....no regreats
I go to it all the time so I am getting my money's worth out of it. I am glad I didn't cheap out. It is molded specifically for my bike too
The Heidenau K60 Scout tires have been great. I will get about 10,000 to 12,000 miles out of them. But if you go more than 10,000, the profile gets square and the bike doesn't want to turn. But even with 12,000 miles, there is still tread so if you need to continue your journey, you can without risk of going thru to the cords.
These tires shown here have about 9000 miles on them. They are getting close to being replaced.
Also check out the fancy silver wheel stripe. They really set off my black wheels are are holding up well. I got the stickers from e bay for about 6 bucks
I never like the stock saddle.
I have alway had good luck with Corbin seats for most of my other bikes.
But this time I got the Sargent seat with the silver piping. I got a deal on it on ebay. It is a big improvement over the stock seat but I wonder if I would like the Corbin better. All I know is I like the looks of the Sargent better.
This was a last minute thought
I call my bike THe Flying Dutchman.....named after the ghost ship in the opera by Richard Wagner.
If you know the story, it is only fitting
Lots of people have commented on the name
Everything cost money here. To see this waterfall, it cost me $3 to hike to it. It seems that everything is privately owned and you have to pay to go on to the owner's land. And even the national parks are expensive. Just bring your wallet to see the star attractions here. This was not worth the $3. I wish I would have tried to sneak in........but that would have not been good karma I guess
I can help with your route here but let me know what your time frame would be.
Still follow you along.........
Thanks for the great report on the GS, safe travel and keep the RR coming.