Reno NV to... about Colombia, June-Aug 2018. many questions

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Yura_Y2K, Sep 23, 2017.

  1. Yura_Y2K

    Yura_Y2K Adventurer

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    Howdy Guys and Girls.

    This is my first post here and first time for this sort of adventure. I've done several week-long trips usually around the USA and some in Ukraine. But nothing this epic.

    Little background: The bike i will be using is an 81 yamaha xv920RH (chain drive) it will receive dual sport tires and some improvement in the suspension department. Also, custom skid plates around the engine and the enclosed chain case. I will be carrying components that commonly fail with me. And maintenance doesn't scare me. But i still have plenty of fabrication to do before my baby is ready.

    As for time frame, I’m a full time mechanical engineering student, so I can only do this during early June and should be back to Reno NV by mid-August. Which also brings up the subject... What kind of budget should i have if I’m trying to do this on the cheaper end of things? AirBNB and Hostels being my main source for lodging.

    Furthermore, Darien Gap seems to be a major problem to go around. Since the fairy is dead and it doesn’t appear like they will be brining anything like that back. What are my options that won’t brake my bank and doesn’t take 10 days? I’ve read some horror stories from other riders. The 920 doesn’t float all that well, and I don’t have 10 days to be stuck on a boat each way.

    While a good chunk of my riding will be done through heat and rain of north and central Americas, I have no idea what to expect when I get to Colombia and possibly further south? Would you recommend brining heat liners for my gear? What kind of equipment would you guys recommend? Brand and models? What should I stay away from?

    This also brings up another question. Personal protection. I know guns are not allowed. But what about things like pepper-spray, or knifes? I’m not planning on getting into trouble, but I glow in the dark, so blending in is not an option for me. Also, my Spanish is very limited... so will be working on that a little.

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    #1
  2. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Your bike is a totally street/ highway bike and if you can resolve any reliability problems it should easily handle the trip. The only " mechanicking " you ought to be expecting to do is oil change, tire repair , brake pads and maybe a lightbulb . If it blows or burns out the electrics regularly it is time to trade for a KLR.
    If you stiffen the suspension and ride with eyes open for speed bumps ( topes) you really have no need for all sorts of crash guards. A skid plate might be advisable but installing it will also reduce your ground clearance .
    You can ride all the way to the end of the road in Darien province of Panama on PAVED highways , of course construction zones and water damage can occur anywhere . In summer it will be the wet season so rain is guaranteed. That could make your travel progress slower , if you wait out some rain each day .
    If your intention is to ride south and back again between early June and mid August it makes little ( time and money !) sense to ship the bike forth and back to Colombia. On your student budget yet! The shipping one way would more than cost double of what the bike is worth
    If you make it to Panama you might be better off financially to put the bike in a secure parking for a while and simply fly to one of the Colombian cities for a short visit, just to say you were there . Take some bus line to an attraction that interests you .
    After that fly back to Panama and ride back to the States again at a relaxed pace by different routes.
    #2
  3. Stahlratte

    Stahlratte Been here awhile

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    We start our 2018 Panama/Colombia Darien Gap season June 1st but have no schedule after that first trip so far.
    If you are looking for a cheaper option I think container sharing is the way to go.
    Check the advantages and disadvantages of both options compared to the price difference though ;)
    Have a great trip!
    #3
    Yura_Y2K and HeidiHo like this.
  4. Yura_Y2K

    Yura_Y2K Adventurer

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    thank you Sjoerd Bakker. After i brought it back from the dead (head gaskets + rebuilt heads, carbs set with crap in them for 10 years, saved the gas tank from KREEM liner, and a long list of stuff) this bike has been extremely reliable but i would like to cover my bases. I can't imagine having easy access to parts in central america. And thank you for reminding me about the brakes, probably a good idea to carry a spare set of pads.
    as for topes..... mexico loves those stupid things... ask me how i know :-S. the bike has air adjustable front forks and air adjustable with 4 position stiffnes switch fro the rear monoshock. I usually run 10w fork oil. you think going to 15w might be an improvement for this? And depends on the load for the rear...
    so you think i don't really need Dual/Sport tires? as for skid plates, the most i would lose is 1.5" but i would rather protect my engine case.
    I figured rain gear is a must, but it doesn't look like i should need freeze out type gear?

    Stahlratte, i will be PMing you soon. I've heard wonderful things about you guys and would love to have you as part of this experience, but unfortunetly $$$ is an issue. unless you offer veteran/student discount ;-)))

    where would i find shared container info?
    #4
  5. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    What is " freeze out type gear" ? I'm not familiar with the term .
    A -- clothing which keeps freezing temperatures out in cold weather
    B-- clothing which refrigerates your body in hot weather
    #5
  6. Yura_Y2K

    Yura_Y2K Adventurer

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    sorry, version A =)
    #6
  7. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Dual sport tires come in many variations. You won't need big- block knobbies , but you don't want semi slicks either for the occasional construction zone , mud slide or heavy rain .
    I can recommend SHINKO 705 tires, sort of 80% for pavement 20% for unpaved ROADS .
    They work excellently on pavement and have enough bite to feel right on gravel . They last well , on my V Strom , got 18000km out of the rear tire and 37000km with the front when switched them together a few weeks ago , both worn out.:D ( I don't ride dirt with spinning rear tire)
    On top of that they are a decent low price .
    Probably you could get them in sizes for your xv920

    And no , in summer you have no worry about clothing to keep you warm , although at high elevations it can get rather chilly if it is rainy and cloudy, so do have a two piece rain suit to keep you dry , a sweater underneath , or layers for every occasion .
    #7
  8. Yura_Y2K

    Yura_Y2K Adventurer

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    funny you mention Shinko 705, that's one of the tires i've been looking at and discussing as possibility with other XV920 riders. Another option that was suggested was the Heidenau K60, any experience with those? But if you are getting 18000km out of Shinko, holy mother, count me in. I can make it to albuquerque NM to finish up my Pirelli's (awesome grip, don't last worth a dang) and throw on the Shinkos and carry another spare set for the trip.
    Cool, thank you! That's what i was looking for, no need to haul my cold gear with me:) just normal late spring stuff:))
    how do people usually find shared containers?
    #8
  9. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Never done it but judging from stories read on this site and HU container sharing is very dependant on luck for finding somebody who is moving a car or load of stuff and has space leftover in the container at the SAME TIME that you are needing such space .
    Or you could contact and ask shipping companies and load consolidators who fill containers with odds and ends for many people who then share cost according to the mass each gets moved . For instance Kühne and Nagel might be one such operation.
    Guess the best way is to read posts on a variety of Internet travel sites and put out your request date range .
    Could involve some waiting , wasting your scarce travel time .
    Or Are you planning on leaving the bike in Colombia and planning on soon going back later to carry on with the trip ? Shipping back would double that wasted waiting time.
    Air shipping from Panama seams the fastest , cost might be worth it for the speed .
    #9
  10. Yura_Y2K

    Yura_Y2K Adventurer

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    Looks like i can cross the D.G one way in about 3-4 days(getting in touch with the Trophy Girl), which is fine with me. My plan is to go there and back with the bike. I'm kinda leaning towards bolting down south and taking my time coming back up. In USA i can do about 600+ miles a day. I'm thinking about 400-500 in mexico, and maybe 250 a day past that... the last part i think i might be optimistic.
    #10
  11. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    No way José is that any wéé to be riding through Mexico at 400 to 500 MILES per déé!!!!!!
    Yet again strikes the transfer of USA FREE WÉÉ riding megamileironbutter practice to a plan for travel in Mexico.
    LISSEN UP , are you going on this trip just to torture yourself by riding constantly all the available daylight hours, while seeing nothing of the country ?
    Even 250 MILES in a day in Central America is going at a ridiculous rate..impossible actually because most of the countries are shorter than that and you will spend so much time at a border crossing or two .

    You are definitely being ridiculously optimistic for THE ENTIRE TRIP.

    Cut back all the optimism and get realistic .NO riding the highways after dark . If you manage 300km in a day you should consider yourself doing well, 400km in a day is doing extremely well .
    Yes I am talking KILOMETERS PER DAY. A 500 km day in Mexico is possible only if you stick to fast toll roads or on a flat desert highway up north , but is that any way to see a country .? Your 400 and 500 MILE days equate to 600 km and 800 km days and you should know that at your age .
    Check out the ride report going on right now about the two guys trying to race down to Honduras http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/raleigh-north-carolina-to-la-ceiba-honduras.1192667/

    They are taking in some sites but are finding it a very hard and exhausting slog to keep a fast pace as you want to do for a whole two months.And riding tired and fast is deadly .
    My opinion , I think you need to totally rethink this, forget about shipping back and forth to Colombia . Either do that as a short flying visit or restrict all your travel to a pleasant survivable rate of moving around on your xv920 and SEEING Mexico and Central America.
    Later when yo can afford more time think about making a South America trip.
    #11
  12. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    400+ miles a day in Mexico, no way.
    It's going to be hot an sweltering that time of year too.
    #12
  13. Yura_Y2K

    Yura_Y2K Adventurer

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    my stops in mexico are guadalajara, just outside mexico city and Oaxaca, i have places to stay in the first two. As for exploring Mexico, not my first visit there, i think i can make 3 month of doing just that, which that will be some other trip. and you guys are probably right, i've done 300 miles in a day there, but that was somewhat of a relaxed setting and weather was chill.
    Ill have to sit down with a map and reevaluate my timing on this route...
    #13
  14. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Most definitely you must "reevaluate..."
    When you write ""my stops in mexico are guadalajara, just outside mexico city and Oaxaca,"" you make it appear that you are running to beat the clock like some UPS or FED EX delivery guy . Screw the scenery , you've a SCHEDULE to stick to !!!
    That is no way to do a ride ! Surely you will stop for nature's calls and stop signs ????
    And to then say you have travelled Mexico in the past ... and not broken your bad habit. , tsk , tsk , tsk :dirtdog
    #14
  15. Yura_Y2K

    Yura_Y2K Adventurer

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    to each is their own ;-) mexico is cool, but it's not my goal on this trip. my goal is to cross the Equator on my bike and explore at least Colombia and possibly further south. Guadalajara and Toluca are cities where i will be spending a day or two as i have a place to crash. Oaxaca, im actually going to visit Monte Alban as old ruins like that are just awesome! Past that, it's some sight seining on the way, but mostly just getting down south. And Crossing the DG
    Each rider has their own goals on their trips, and does them for their own reasons that may not be clear to others. And yes, i could spend years traveling south america, but at the moment, it's not a possibility because of financial and time restrains. And unfortunetly, i dont know when the next time this type of opportune will present itself.
    Speaking of D.G. what experience have people had with WildCard?
    #15
  16. oneway

    oneway Long timer

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    Grasshopper......
    You'll find out quickly that shipping your bike to, and back from Columbia is cost prohibitive just for the sake of saying you've been.
    #16
  17. Yura_Y2K

    Yura_Y2K Adventurer

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    already there, at 1100 +/- 200 each way, is a bit $$$$
    #17
  18. Yura_Y2K

    Yura_Y2K Adventurer

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    also considering this option. at least one way...

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    #18
  19. oneway

    oneway Long timer

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    #19
  20. Yura_Y2K

    Yura_Y2K Adventurer

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    i actually have not... hmmmm...... thank you, will read about it after im done with my proposal b.s. THank you:))
    #20