KE100 - Slow ride Chicago to Pacific Northwest

Discussion in 'Americas' started by ihatemybike, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. ihatemybike

    ihatemybike Been here awhile

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    My wife primarily works as a school photographer, as such she's laid off for a couple months each summer. In 2012 and 2013 she's taken this time to fly to Alaska and volunteer at some farms in exchange for room and board. I was fortunate enough in 2013 to drive one of my vans up with my Husky chilling on the floor next to me, pick her up in Homer, cruise Alaska for a week and drive back, van-camping the whole time.

    In 2014 she's made plans to volunteer at a Chestnut tree farm in Oregon and an artisan lumber farm in Washington this time driving her expedition prepped Jeep Liberty to the farms. Originally we talked about me flying out and driving back together, but then my own adventure bug bit me. Why don't I ride my motorcycle out? My wife can take the motorcycle hitch carrier with her, allowing us to return together. Brilliant!!

    The trip West is planned to start after work on July 11th and hopefully not take over a week. I've never ridden a motorcycle that far, my longest being a one day trek just over 200 miles. The KE has a top speed of roughly 55 mph and seems to cruise happily at 50 mph, has roughly 1.75 useable gallons in the tank and has averaged 42 mpg for me thus far. That means without carrying extra fuel it has a range of roughly 70 miles. The KE is a self metering 2 stroke, so I'll need a ready supply of 2 stroke oil as well. I really should start keeping track of it's oil usage as well. Knowing the miles per quart will definitely be helpful in the planning.

    Last night using DeLorme Street Atlas and Google maps I started planning my route. Eliminating interstate usage, both agreed with primarily routing me along US-2, giving me a route of roughly 2200 miles. This route will have me pass through Glacier National Park on the Going to the Sun road. I truly enjoy the Glacier area and this will be my third time through, and knowing my wife, my forth time through will be on our way back.

    Since fuel will be a big issue for me, I'm taking a close look to see the distance between towns and searching for fuel stops in those towns. Based on the overview, North Dakota and Montana will be the states that will give me the most trouble, so they are the states I'm starting my research with, Montana first. East to West I've researched about halfway across the state so far. I've found sections of road labelled "Old US Hwy 2" that I may just have to take and so far no distances between stations that I shouldn't be able to make without fuel to spare. I'm also taking into consideration that fuel stations actually close outside of metropolitan areas. Not sure if that will affect Sunday travel plans.

    For sleeping, I'm torn between bringing lite camping gear or couch surfing. Camping will let me not have a set daily destination, which is how I've primarily traveled the past several years. Couch surfing will mean less to carry and most likely shorten the daily miles covered to ensure making the destination, but will increase interaction with locals. My KE currently has no provisions for carrying gear.

    So, there's the plan so far. Feel free to make suggestion of things to see and do, planning and gear tips, offer me places to stay, etc.....
    #1
  2. FTL900

    FTL900 White and nerdy

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    Oh, Aaron.. you're a braver man than I.

    See your screen name up there, IHateMyBike? You're likely to like it much less about 400 miles into this excursion.

    Then on the other hand, people do it with scooters... more power to ya... I'm IN! :clap
    #2
  3. ihatemybike

    ihatemybike Been here awhile

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    This is just another odd-ball trip for me. I've done Route 66 in a well used Astro with over 300k miles that I bought for $250, stopping to play in Moab, UT on my way to Santa Monica. It's an AWD van, close enough to 4x4 for me. I've done several beatermobile road rallies from New York to New Orleans.

    ihatemybike, has roots in my BMX freestyle riding as I've been told it appears that I hate my bike the way I ride it. Not sure how I'll feel about my little ZomBessy during or after this trip, but I enjoy the heck out of it currently.
    #3
  4. FTL900

    FTL900 White and nerdy

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    It certainly is an interesting challenge. Please take pictures, I am subscribed!!

    If you drift as far south as Las Vegas, I have a couch with your name on it!!
    #4
  5. ihatemybike

    ihatemybike Been here awhile

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    I'll definitely have a camera with me, might even step up to a smart phone for the trip.

    Thanks for the couch offer, hopefully I don't get that far off course though.:freaky
    #5
  6. bykpimp

    bykpimp Live and let ride

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    Love me sum crazy bastard ride reports!!!! I'm a first gen' BMX'er so feel free to post up some flatland pics!!! Didn't Peter Eagan do some distance work on KE 100?
    #6
  7. ihatemybike

    ihatemybike Been here awhile

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    Finished mapping across Montana yesterday. Only found one span between available fuel stops that comes close to emptying the tank. Clocks in at 77 miles, most I've ever pulled out of a tank so far is 80 miles. It's a leg that I really don't need to do, but it's a dirt road through Glacier National to Polebridge, MT, a little town that I really dig.

    Doing research into carrying more fuel, I started to really notice the difference between early and later KE100 tanks. The newer ones appear to have larger tanks and based on the fill ups of others' online fuel logs they are at least a half gallon bigger. If I can fit one of the newer tanks my range increases to roughly 90 miles.

    Another thing I've seen that looks interesting is the Acerbis handlebar mounted auxiliary fuel tank. Holds an additional .6 gallons and is designed to siphon to the main tank causing the aux fuel to be used first. This would add roughly 20 miles to my range. These don't seem very popular as my net searches haven't found many forum discussions about them.

    I'm also hoping the recent cylinder and piston repair increases my mileage, but the roads have been too snowy/icy/wet lately for me to ride much and finish breaking it in.


    bykpimp, what do you consider first gen BMX? I bought my first serious BMX in '88, raced a few years then switched to mainly street / skatepark riding in '92 and have been doing that ever since. Spent 5 hours riding at the Asylum Skatepark last Sunday. My flatland moves are pretty weak.
    #7
  8. this is a RV

    this is a RV Been here awhile

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    don't forget to pack the oil too.
    #8
  9. Dranrab Luap

    Dranrab Luap E-Tarded Super Moderator

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    This sounds like a cool trip in the making. As much as I hate the idea of carrying extra fuel, I'd pack an extra gallon in a good quality container. You'll stress much less and enjoy the trip much more. Do you know what kind of economy you get going uphill loaded? Use our tent space thread to find places to crash each night.
    #9
  10. ihatemybike

    ihatemybike Been here awhile

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    Since the KE is such a little bike and I'm not exactly small at 6'2" / 205 lbs, I'm trying to carry as little extra as possible. Currently I'm hoping to find one of the newer KE tanks soon so I can see how they help my range well before I embark on this adventure. If I have fuel worries as the trip gets close I'll most likely add the Acerbis tank too.

    I've also just started taking a welding class, maybe after I get some practice in I'll try modifying / building a custom tank. Heh, just had a cool idea. If I build a bigger tank, I could incorporate a auxiliary tank for the 2 stroke oil and have it siphon into the stock oil tank.

    I've only ridden the bike around northern Illinois so far. Riding to work has me climbing out of the Fox River Valley, but I know that's nothing compared to riding in the Rockies. Discussions have started about taking a long weekend and riding to the Appalachians as a primer for this trip.

    Another thing to consider, the KE is a 6v bike. I'd like to figure out a way to charge my phone and maybe my tablet, both use the standard USB 5v.
    #10
  11. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

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    You've been there so, you already know what altitude does to the power output of an internal combustion motor. Small motor + altitude = way less power.
    Doesn't sound like my idea of fun.
    Are you married to the idea of the KL100 or is the room in the plan to find something more powerful?

    Sincerely, a powerhog.
    #11
  12. ihatemybike

    ihatemybike Been here awhile

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    Yeah, I'm familiar with the altitude power loss. According to charts, I'm looking at about 22-25% power loss. Quick look the highest elevation I see thus far is 6600 feet.

    (Elevation feet x .03 x sea level hp) / 1000 = hp loss at elevation
    (728 k .03 / 11) /1000 = .24 (Home)
    (6600 x .03 x 11) / 1000 = 2.178

    Thus I'll be going from 10.75 hp down to 8.82 hp. I'm sure I'll notice the difference.

    Married to the idea of taking the KE? It's what I already have and my current license doesn't allow me to ride much bigger. I'm the first to admit that this whole trip is a silly / stupid idea, but doing such things amuse me and it will be quite the adventure.
    #12
  13. Mr. Carts

    Mr. Carts Been here awhile

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    I say go for it. Nathan has ridden Dot a lot farther........
    #13
  14. gregkzoo

    gregkzoo Adventurer

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    If it was me I would sell the KE, and if youre license allows it buy a cb250,350 or even a Suzuki 175 or something. You should be able to get enough for the KE to afford those. Otherwise at 50mph and 7 days to do it youre gonna be riding from dawn till dusk. Once you hit the mountains you will be doing 30mph forever.

    It is fun to slow it down and enjoy the ride, but I would do it in two weeks if slow was the goal.
    #14
  15. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

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    Illinois has tiered lisencing ? Didn't know that. In Kentucky a MC lisence covers any bike , trike or sidecar.
    #15
  16. ihatemybike

    ihatemybike Been here awhile

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    Just finished gas station mapping across North Dakota. No range problems found with the longest stretch between stations being 57 miles.

    Scanned over Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota many bigger towns well within range, so I'm not going to bother with any research in these states.

    I should have Idaho and Washington figured out by the end of the week.
    #16
  17. 8gv

    8gv Long timer

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    Bring along a set of piston rings and a top end gasket set. That should ensure that you won't need them. Anyone with some metric tools along the way can help you do the work.

    Two extra spark plugs.

    Inspect the air filter for leakage and keep it clean. These HATE dirt.

    Experiment with front sprocket size to get the right gearing roads you plan to take.

    I had your bike's predecessor, a G4TR, when I was a teen.
    The most adventure I had with it was being chased by the cops.

    I salute your apparent insanity!
    #17
  18. ihatemybike

    ihatemybike Been here awhile

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    I didn't even think about bringing rings and gaskets. Good call!

    An Appalachian pre-run is looking to be an even better idea, plus it gives me an excuse to go ride The Tail of the Dragon. See how the stock gearing does there and make changes as needed.
    #18
  19. Chillis

    Chillis Land Barge Pilot

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    Extra gas is still a good idea. Gas stations being closed, out of gas, etc..

    Thought KE100's got better fuel economy?!
    #19
  20. ihatemybike

    ihatemybike Been here awhile

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    I thought they did too, I see the logs of others getting better mileage. I do live in a river valley, maybe that's causing me to burn more. I managed to get 46 mpg when I rode it to my parents old house near Pontiac, IL. Lots of long 50 mph runs on that trip.
    #20