RTW with Noah on a KTM 690

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by RoninMoto, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. tar356

    tar356 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Hey Noah...

    Great adventure! Quick question...if you were to start over, would you choose the same bike??

    Thanks and good luck!
  2. RoninMoto

    RoninMoto Wanderer

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
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    In the mountains?
    December 31. New Years Eve. Istanbul.
    Tolga and I had signed up for the "couchsurfing.org Istanbul NYE party". He warned me that most of the people there would be Turkish guys. We took our chances and the party turned out to be pretty good. There were about 1000 people from all around the world. Only about %25 were Turkish guys. We met a brother and sister from Atlanta, Claibourne and Prentiss. They were great fun and we celebrated the new year until very late. I'm glad I Tolga was Turkish when we were trying to get taxi cab because we talked to about 5 or 6 taxis before we found one that wasn't trying to screw us. The first few wanted $50 for a $10 taxi ride. Make sure you agree on the price before they start driving.

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    Dressed to kill on NYE.

    January 1. 2013. Exploring Istanbul.
    We slept in and rode motos around the city. Tolga showed me some of the sights. Later we met up with Prentiss and her brother for some dinner. I had a traditional Turkish dish that was dumplings filled with meat and covered in a sauce made from yogurt with red peppers. I really enjoyed it.

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    Turkish style fishing off the bridge.

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    Bait fish? Nope.. this is what they are catching.

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    Time to leave...

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    Can we park here?

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    So good.

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    Americans.

    January 2.
    Tolgo had to go back to work so I worked on the bike. I borrowed Tolga's sweet Honda scooter and found tools I needed. I needed a extendable magnet for the valve shims, a digital mutimeter, and a digital caliper. I found my valves were out of specifications so I was going to have to re-shim. After spending some time on ADVrider, We decided it would be better to replace the rocker arms. I was worried I would not be able to find any. I have heard horror stories of people in the US waiting for months to get rocker arms when the bearings go bad. The next day we would find out.

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    Getting rid of the KTM "fog"

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    Had to fix a pin. The reason part of my speedo wasn't working.

    January 3.
    On the way back from work Tolga stopped at the KTM dealer in Istanbul. It turns out they had the Exhaust and Intake rockers I needed. They also let me borrow a shim kit so I could get the bike shimmed correctly. I finished the bike in the evening and Tolga and I ate some sandwiches with kofte. Kofte is like meatballs. It also can be raw meat so be careful when ordering. Again we met up with our American friends that we met on NYE. It turned out to be a late night somehow.

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    Nice garage to work in.

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    Replacing the exhaust rocker.

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    Hills. Lots of them in Istanbul.

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    Prentiss and Tolga.

    January 4.
    My plan was to leave to start across Turkey toward Georgia. But when Tolga and I woke up, we both had a bad stomach bug. We blame the Kofte from the night before. We did not do much that day. I was either in bed or on the toilet.

    January 5. Istanbul to Zonguldak 385 km
    I finally left Istanbul and started across turkey. When I started it was cloudy and cold but not raining. By the evening I had rain and snow. I screwed up and made a 90km loop acidently. I thought I was on one road and I went back on my own track. After this I was frustrated and cold so I stopped for the night.

    January 6. Zonguldak to Osmancik 393 km
    When I woke up in the morning there was sun shining on the bay down below. I felt a wave of relief run over my whole body. By the time I finished breakfast, it had started raining again. Gotta keep moving. The first mountain pass gave me snow with some slush on the ground. By the time I got inland, it was dryer snow and less dense. For much of the afternoon it was cold and cloudy but not wet. At dark I stopped in Osmancik for the night.

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    Sun! Not for long.

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    Clearing up?

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    The hill slid and pushed the road up. I've never seen something like this before.

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    January 7. Osmancik to Fatsa 304 km
    Dry cold roads to start the day. Snow on the side of the road but the lanes were clear. It was cold enough where any water would turn to ice on the road. Gotta keep your guard up. In the town of Fatsa the snow was falling hard. Big wet heavy flakes. Fatsa is next to the Black Sea and going west, the road climbs over a small pass. I went about 3 km before I could not see any lines on the road. There was so much snow falling I felt like I needed windshield wipers. After I saw one car in the ditch I decided to turn around. Luckily there was an underpass to get on the other side of the divided highway. A short ride later and I was back in Fatso. Withing 15 minutes I was out of my cold wet cloths and eating some nice hot Turkish bean soup. Warm and salty. Just what I needed.

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    January 8. Fatsa to Arsin. 235 km
    Got a late start because I had to wait for the snow on the roads to thaw. Wet pavement and rain all day. You really have to watch out for the truck drivers in Turkey. On wet pavement I slow down on the moto tires. Especially when there is traffic around. The last thing I need to do is slide into a guard rail or under a truck. A delivery type van came up on me fast and was about 5 feet off my rear tire. I motioned with my hand for him to go around. The left lane was clear. He went around the swerved back into my lane fast almost like he was purposely trying to run me off the road. I had to use breaks and go into the shoulder to avoid getting hit. I'm not sure what it was about, but this acually happened 2 times to me in Turkey. Tolga said its because not many people ride motorcycles in Turkey and the truck drivers are just "country hicks". I told Tolga in most places the truck drivers at least have a little respect for the people on moto. If not respect, at least they don't try to run them off the road. My recommendations for Turkey would be stay on the small roads/ offroad. In summer time that's where I would have been. Leaving a stoplight I couldn't find my shifter. The spring in the peddle part had broken. I pulled over and spotted what would work nicely... a discarded teaspoon. I pushed it into the peddle and it worked nicely. I found a hotel at the next exit and got a room. It was a "nice" hotel compared to the previous nights and about 2x more expensive. Dinner was pan fried chicken fillets and salad.

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    They gave me hot tea.

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    Its ugly but it worked.

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    The "nice" hotel had a shitty wall mounted heater. I had to use my avalanche probe to get my boots by the heater to dry out.

    January 9. Arsin Turkey to Batumi Georgia. 181 km
    It was raining in the morning so I took my time with coffee and internet. At about 11 I bit the bullet and started riding. It rained pretty much the whole day. In the afternoon I hit the Georgian border. About 15 minutes with customs explaining that KTM is the brand name of the moto and I was on my way. The first major town that I hit was Batumi. In the summer I am told this is quite the nice beach town. When I was there it was raining. The hotel I stayed in had a storage room where my moto could sleep the night. It also had a club that was blasting euro-club-techno-boom-boom music until about 2 in the morning. The ear plugs came in handy.

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    My first Georgian friends.



    January 10. Batumi to Surami. 242 km
    In the morning there was snow on the ground but the roads were clear. I rode north along the coast and in the afternoon I even had some sunlight. Later I was traveling east on the main road toward Tbilsi. It starts to wind through some small mountains and of course that's when the snow started. Looking in my mirror I spotted a car coming up on me fast so I pulled over and waved them by. As they pulled along side me they honked and waved with thumbs up. In the rear window was a KTM sticker. They pulled over a bit further and we talked. Then the snow started to get bad. My new friends help me get a hotel. The room was great. 1 room, 1 bed, 1 table, 2 chairs and a wood stove. Just what I was looking for after riding in the snow for a while. That night the snow kept falling. I got my first taste of Georgian Cha Cha with the owner of the hotel.

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    More safe wiring.

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    Nice warm wood stove.

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    Nice parking spot.

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    Still dumping.

    January 11. Surami to Rustavi. 163 km
    Coffee and breakfast with the hotel owners. The daughter was learning English in school and was asking me simple questions.. "what is your age".. "where are you from".. she would then talk to her dad and brother in Georgian. I got on the road once the snow cleared. This was the first actual sunny days I had been lucky enough to have in about a week. It was very cold but dry. I rode through Tbilisi and on to Rustavi where KTM Georgia has a garage. This is where I parted ways with the 690. It will be in storage till spring.

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    Teaching dad some english:deal

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    January 12. Rustavi to Gudauri. By pickup truck
    Up early in the morning. We loaded a snowbike in the back of a diesel Ford Ranger and headed up toward Gudauri. Its about a 2 hour drive and after the first hour we started to get into snow. The Caucasus mountains are quite spectacular. I would snowboard that day and almost every day since then.

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    Passing on a corner? Why not...

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    This is how you sand the roads.

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    The view from almost on top.

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  3. RoninMoto

    RoninMoto Wanderer

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    Location:
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    I'm can't decide if I'm in Europe, Asia, or the Middle east. But yes. the pow is great. :rofl

    This depends. I really like the 690. Its a great bike. I would like something smaller displacement. It would have to have the same or better maintenance interval. If I was starting to plan right now with what I've learned? Maybe a KTM duke 390 motor in a 690 frame or a 525 frame...? KTM, Yamaha, Honda, BMW, and Triumph are all missing the small displacement adventure market.

    So yeah, I would choose the 690 again.. for the 3rd time.
  4. Comrade Art

    Comrade Art Working stiff

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
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    667
    Location:
    Oregon
    Did you buy a season snow pass or pay as you go?
    Great pics!
  5. RoninMoto

    RoninMoto Wanderer

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    Season pass. It was 500 GEL. About $300. Equipment to 3 days skiing in Colorado :huh

    So far I've ridden 15 days. So it is already cheaper then paying as I go.
  6. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
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    743
    Location:
    Birmingham,UK
    That snow bike looks a blast. Think Georgia just sneaks in as part of europe....especailly for the hot eastern euro women
  7. mtbdemon

    mtbdemon Long timer

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    Beaverton Oregon
    Geez!! I just cant get enough of this thread!! I think I live my life through this thang!!:lol3
  8. RoninMoto

    RoninMoto Wanderer

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    In the mountains?
    Thanks man. Glad you like it. I know if I leave it for a while people will rag on me. You all keep me honest to keep writing down my experiences and take more pictures. Right now I have 12,000 pictures at over 35 gigs. There's a new 500 GB SSHD on the way so I can replace my 160 GB SSHD. This should make enough room for way more pics and videos. I had to delete about 10 Gigs of music to make room for pictures. That hurt.
  9. RhinoVonHawkrider

    RhinoVonHawkrider Long timer

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    Eastern Pa

    That Sucks.

    But thanks for update - Georgia looks great. Stay Safe
  10. pdx503

    pdx503 n00b

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2013
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    1
    I just finished this RR after almost a week of reading on and off at work. The first time I have ever read a 84 page post on any forum ever from beginning to end! Enjoy your snowboarding, and I can't wait to follow along when you take off for the next leg of your trip.

    Cheers!
  11. RoninMoto

    RoninMoto Wanderer

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    In the mountains?
    Not so bad. I still have about 10 gigs of Punk, Metal, Rock and other stuff to ride to. Currently listening to some Zeppelin and sewing on some stuff. So glad my mom taught me how to sew.

    I love how many people catch up on ADV at work. Some people catch up on the weekends.. their employers must have blocked ADV:deal
    Cough *proxy server* Cough
  12. Mudfrog

    Mudfrog Adventurer

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    Yo, keep on rockin, Tolga here...
  13. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

    Joined:
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    No kidding. I ride in Vail every other year or so. Fortunately, the inlaws live there, so it doesn't cost us much, but the lift tickets are a killer. I can't imagine what a family of four spends there for a week:eek1:eek1:eek1

    Still waiting for the Georgian Snow Bunny RR:lol3
  14. Honkey Cat

    Honkey Cat Tailights Fade!

    Joined:
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    SW Florida
    just got caught up, Ive been reading and following since day 1, man time flies. Thanks again.
  15. Low594

    Low594 Adventuring Creep

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    +1
  16. gregMo

    gregMo Adventurer

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    16
    enjoy the mountains man, who knows how hot is gonna get next year? Yeah, powder is the best, but only initiated know that. Great RR & thanks for taking us along . Keep it safe Noah
    Cheers
  17. Sutherngintelmen

    Sutherngintelmen around the bend

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    ATL or AVL
    Yeah Noah, what the heck are you doing for international relations!? She camera shy? :lol3

    Been following along, sounds like the pow gods have been very good to you. Flying to SLC on thursday for 3 days UT ski area, hoping for a good storm while there :thumb

    Bummer about the 10gigs music, keep the tales and picks coming :clap
  18. Low594

    Low594 Adventuring Creep

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    You should look into storing your music in an online facility, that way you won't loose it for very long, even if someone steals your equip! Also, backup you photos there! You might be able to allow "donations" of music from some of us! I've got a ton of obscure punk and metal, that I love to share and warp people with!:evil
  19. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

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    Providence, RI
    Interested! Pm sent
  20. Blue Icebreaker

    Blue Icebreaker Been here awhile

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    130
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    Croatia
    Hey Noah, I've seen that you have travelled right along the border of South Ossetia (on the way to Gudauri), which is de facto independent from Georgia. Did you see any remains from the 2008 war? Any checkpoints with armed guards? How is the safety around that region?