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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Joe Motocross, Jan 3, 2011.
It's just starting to get good!!!
I love India and love this ride report. Looking forward to the remainder!
We get up and decide we should all go get a Hindu Blessing thinking this will maybe help our Enfield karma situation.
There's a brother/sister team working the crowd here at the temple. It breaks your heart to see these cute kids out begging.
We grab a little grub from the street merchants for the day. Some of our group are a little apprehensive still about the street vendors but I decide it's time to mix in just a little.
We saddle up and start toward Rohtang pass which is 4000m (13000') in elevation. We are getting used to the condition of the roads. Good thing because they wouldn't improve much. Sorry to say but this is not what the Enfields were designed for. Why the XT or DR is not the workhorse of this country I'll never understand. Those bikes would be a dream here.
The road over Rohtang follows a pretty intense route.
We are getting into the thick of the Himalaya's now it it is stunning!!
We climb for a bit and decide to pull over for some routine maintenance. The girls do some eye brow maintenance while I clean out METAL SHAVINGS from the rocker arms!! Looks like the oil change didn't take care of the issue. The valves are definitely ticking louder and I can no longer not acknowledge the deeper knocking noise. At this point, all we can do is baby it.
We're climbing past the mid way point and it's raining harder. The road is not good with deep mud and there are groups of bikers that are admitting defeat as they can't take it any more. It must've been a bit embarrassing as we charge by two up without thinking twice. Buuurrt and I have lot's of desert riding experience in really hairy conditions. With two up on the Enfields, I admit it is challenging riding.
We also have to admit defeat to a certain extent and Buurrrt has to drop his passenger for a stretch. It's raining and people are stuck.
It's getting hairy now!! I will also have to drop my passenger as we negotiate this mud trying to get passed numerous stuck cars and trucks. Again, I suspect this is not what's intended for these Enfields. We're nervous in this type of conditions on these bikes. Buurrrts bike starts acting up at this point with his clutch not wanting to disengage properly, not ideal when you really need it to release!!! My bike continues ticking and knocking and we're not really babying them at this point!!
We actually do pretty good at negotiating the cluster fu%! and the road improves a little. Note the bulldozer on the switchback in this photo. We'd learn that these beasts just live at different locations throughout these passes where they patrol the roads clearing rocks and fixing washouts.
We make the pass and start to descend the other side!! My bike is ecstatic now that it doesn't have to climb any more (we're a bit relieved as well). The rain lets up as we descend.
It's time for a reality break and take it down a few notches. The intensity of the first half of the day is almost overload!! The road conditions coupled with these piece of crap bikes that are barely doing the job along with this absolutely stunning terrain we are in is about too much. We decide we need a sip to ratchet it back a bit.
Even the passengers need a little something to help mellow out!!
A couple of Indians stop as their heading the other way. They can see that we've had an intense day and are not psyched to hear what's ahead of them on the other side of the pass. At least they'd be going down hill through the madness. On a side note, what the heck is all the stuff that people pack on their bikes? I see bikes, not only in India, where people have an unbelievable amount of stuff strapped on. You'd be amazed at what you DON'T need if you don't have it. Try it some time, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Things are really going well at this point.
This valley that we're dropping into is totally amazing!!
The road is not bad and we've got a nice cruise going as we work toward our goal, the town of Keylong for a place to stay.
We come to a confluence of the rivers and start up the next valley. We are so psyched to be traveling through this stuff!!
We make it to Keylong after a very intense day advancing only 117km!! My bike is going to need attention. I don't think it's wise to continue without addressing those metal shavings.
Keylong sits at about 3300 meters (10,000'). We find a great place to stay and settle in for what would be another VERY intense chapter in this adventure.
I really admire the Ladies of this story. This is a fantastic Read! Thanks for taking the time to post it.
You all are very brave!!! I did a Delhi to Manali trip 10 years ago in a Tata jeep and feared for my life most of the way. It is literally a miracle that you can eat the food on the streets. My fellow travelers and I were not so fortunate
Thanks for the report-brings back many great memories!
Just got back from doing a tuk-tuk rally race from Chennai to the Trivandrum in the South over Christmas. Was already planning for the next trip to be very similar to what you have just done, but maybe will need to think again. Love the people, the food, the challenge - but maybe the Enfield and the roads is a bit to much of a combo. We will see. Thanks again for a great report and pics!
The girls were amazing on this trip. They held it together better then Buurrt and I at some points. They definitely coached us through some very trying times when we were at our wits end with those bikes.
This was overall a difficult journey to do on your own, unsupported. Don't bring your girls unless they know fullwell that it's not a vacation. You're going to work at it. It's dirty and intense and you'll be pushed to the edge. That said, the reward of seeing the Himalaya's is the reason for doing it and it's worth it!! The hardest journeys are the one's that you always remember.
Great start, thank you for sharing!
An awesome adventure! Your stories had me
What a great trip to be taking with the girls. I don't think my wife would be that brave.
You guys are nuttier than squirell shit.
Your choice of bikes was.......
Then again if you put yourself through such stresses as struggling up a muddy mountain pass on a shed that's trying to lunch itself it makes the descent all the more sweet.
If this is 'live' then I fear for you guys
India is on my list of places to ride.... Loving your journey.....not for the wimpy traveler for sure!
Keep up the great ride report.
I was just thinking if the lower cc than R.E would be able to make journey to Himalaya as i am planning to ride 110cc bikes. Kindly advise me. Tq
Amazing guys, cant wait for the rest
Nice report guys but why do people going to India insist on riding used Bullets? They are rather weak even when new, but used, that too from a rental company, charging $17/day, what else can one expect? A decent rental costs $120+/day in US, Europe, etc. It may be possible to rent a new bike, maybe even Bullet, for more. Either that or take your own bike.
Yeah, the Enfields are a mediocre bike at best in my opinion, even when they're new. We went with them partly because of their long India heritage. You know, there's just something about riding an Enfield in India. We also went with them partly because they are about the only choice for riding 2 up that we were aware of. If I go again sometime, I will do everything so as not to be on an Enfield.
At this point in the journey, the trip is just getting good!! Things get intense in Keylong real soon.
This is what we wake up to out of our hotel. This is a beautiful place.
There was another group of bikers staying at our hotel. They were all on a variety of Enfields, a couple were rented and they had purchased a few as well. One of the guys knew the Enfields from a previous trip to India. He was not impressed with any of them either but he just accepted them as part of the journey. We would see half of them down at the local repair shop in a few hours.
Here's the local bike shop run by a Nepalese dude named Yogesh. He goes by Yogi. He's another mechanic that knows these Enfields intimately. He's also using the "Enfield mechanics triage technique", diagnosing and taking care of the low hanging fruit first. He's the only game in town so he's swamped. Everyone is waiting patiently.
We're up and I show Yogi the metal shavings jammed in the rocker arm covers. He starts to look for the root of them. We've got the timing gear and oil pump cover off and don't see anything that's obviously wrong.
Meanwhile, we're seeing brake pads being replaced on different bikes and decide to take a look at ours. They're metal on metal, both of our bikes.
This is low hanging fruit and Buurrt's bike jumps in head of mine determined by the "Enfield mechanic triage technique". Yogi's got a handful of young apprentices that take care of these common issues. His best man speaks ok english, Yogi has minimal english skills.
Back at my bike, we drain the oil and take a look at the various oil strainers. No explanation needed here. We determine the cylinder head has to come back off and we need to look at the piston.
We pull off the cylinder and the problem becomes immediately obvious. As I suspected a couple of days back from the deep knocking, the lower connecting rod bearing is loose as a goose!! The oil port to the connecting rod bearing in the crank is plugged not allowing oil to flow which is why the bearing went. I suspect that the bike was run out of oil at some point previous initially causing the metal shavings which would plug all the oil ports. This is totally depressing as the only fix is to pull the engine out and SPLIT THE CASE!!! We return to our hotel in the afternoon not happy at all about the state of my bike. We are getting deeper into the Himalayas and intended to go even deeper. We are now entertaining alternatives and adjusting to the fact that we might not be able to continue the direction we want to. We are weighing our options, not quite sure what to do about my bike that is total junk at this point.
This is useful. We are driving a tuktuk across India and Nepal next summer and expect the same kinds of trouble. Tuktuks are about a reliable as Enfileds, just not as fast.
Amen brother We didn't have nearly the issues you've had so far but damn if it doesn't make for good story tellin'
How are the guys at Smart Motors taking all of this with regard to the constant repairs you have to make on the trip. I am assuming that you have been in contact with them especially with this latest mechanical failure----rod bearing +.:eek1