2016 TAT, Solo, Ocean to Ocean, Plan vs. Actual, Lessons Learned

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by KenCM, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    Almost 3X - I shipped back an 85 pound box and I carried back tools and liquids I couldn't ship that weighed in at 27 pounds for a total load of 112 pounds.

    I could just barely pick that bike up when it was loaded.
    #81
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  2. Proud Highway

    Proud Highway one hand waving free

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    That is incredible. Great RR.
    #82
  3. B-Rod

    B-Rod RubberNecker

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    Great report. I'm going to guess ol' Tony doesn't have any experience with the brand. I would take a 450-500 on the TAT, runs the beans out of it, change the oil once and a while (certainly not every 200 miles!), and never check the valves unless it displayed symptoms. On three KTM 5xxs, I have only made one adjustment to two valves in 700 hrs of combined operation, and that was to everyone's fave, the RFS (I liked it the least).

    Carry on, it looks like an amazing ride!
    #83
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  4. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    The Most Amazing Tube Patch

    I lost more total time due to tire problems than anything else.
    The loss of time was half my fault as I wasn't properly prepared.

    I've already chronicled replacing my rear TuBliss with a tube.
    A few days after that, 25 miles out of Liberal, KS I picked up a long barb (from a barb wire fence) in my rear tire.
    I had been riding with a couple guys who had a patch kit but we split up that morning and I was on my own.

    I had no spare tube and no patch kit.
    So I improvised.
    I cut a 5" section from the high pressure Tubliss tube I had removed and slit it so I had a rectangle.
    I cleaned the tube and that "patch" using gasoline from the tank.
    I roughed them up using a piece of emory cloth.
    Then I smeared a copious amount of Silicone rubber on them and pressed the patch over the tube.
    I took the cover from my cell phone, the cover from a hard plastic case containing a KTM parts kit, and my chain breaker and made a clamp from those.
    I clamped the patch to the tire and let the Silcone set for an hour.
    I then inflated the tube to what I estimated would be its fully inflated size inside the tire and carefully wrapped the patch with duct tape.
    I reassembled everything and started down the road at 5 MPH hoping just to get to the next town.
    10 minutes later I was doing 10 MPH.
    10 minutes after that, I was doing 20 MPH.
    30 MPH
    40 MPH...

    By the time I got to Trinidad, CO I was doing 70 MPH.
    I stuck to the trail the entire distance.
    I'd ridden on that thing for 250 miles.
    After getting my shocks and wheels fixed in Gunnison, I shipped back a small box of things I didn't need like a big padlock for the rear of the U-Haul, a soldering iron for the installation of the 2nd GPS mount, a backpack I no longer needed as a result of buying a better one to replace the dromedary I destroyed, the packaging from the 2nd GPS, and my fender bag.
    I also shipped back that tube, which I intend to frame as the memento from my TAT ride.

    AmazingPatch.jpg

    Edit: Folks can sure be strange. During the 2 full hours I was stopped working on this problem, precisely 2 cars came by. The first stopped to confirm I had a flat tire then asked what had caused the flat. When I indicated it was a barb from a barb wire fence he asked if I was certain it wasn't a gun part. He then indicated he had a collection of antique gun parts that he had collected from that road. When I told him I was sure it was part of a barb wire fence he said "OK" and off he zoomed. I guess he was hoping to add to his collection?
    But they were always polite. The second guy to stop was a mailman and he simply stopped to tell me he couldn't help because he was on official business but didn't want me to think he just drove by without concern.
    #84
  5. analyze

    analyze n00b

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    Ken,

    Great RR. Lots of useful info.

    Did you bother to calculate distances between gas stations and record terrain on the longer sections?

    I'm debating doing the TAT on my DRZ, but it has an fcr41 carb as well as the rest of the performance mods. I'm concerned it won't have the range for this trip after all the mods.
    #85
  6. LudemJo

    LudemJo Iron Butt Dreamer

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    Very interesting read. Just finished page 2, I will be caught up by the end of the day. Keep it up!

    John
    #86
  7. zonth

    zonth Been here awhile

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    Only handful of riding years and can do a big tear-down on your bike! Impressive. Great RR
    #87
  8. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    I didn't do either, but I did keep track of the maximum amount of fuel I purchased and that was 3.5 gallons.
    There were 3 times I hit that 3.5 gallon mark. Once was a result of a long detour.

    I was initially very concerned about fuel, but one of the things I would do is when I thought I was likely a long way from any fuel I would use the "Go To" feature on my GPS to see how far I actually was.
    In the east, the answer was always less than 10 miles.
    In the west, I think the maximum distance was something like 34 miles but it was usually something on the order of 15.

    Those distances are as the crow flies, and those might not be the true maximums because I only checked perhaps 100 times total on the trip, but what I discovered is that I was rarely as far from things as it seemed - if I knew the correct direction to go.

    That Fuel Bag I took holds one gallon, weighs next to nothing when empty, and folds up to take almost no space.
    The only "trick" to its practical use is keeping it of the sun.
    #88
  9. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    Tearing it down is easy. It's the putting it back together that sometimes gets interesting :)

    For example, when I got to the actual wheel bearings I discovered that I didn't have the proper tools to complete the job and I had to take them to the dealer for that part.
    #89
  10. Pantah

    Pantah Jiggy Dog Fan Supporter

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    Dang! Most incredible RR I've ever read!
    #90
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  11. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    Tires (and Tubes)

    Humans make decisions largely based on their past experiences. That often leads to poor decisions, because the experiences of any single individual are simply not statistically significant.

    I made this mistake in spades with tires (and tubes).

    Prior to this ride I have never had a flat tire on a dirt bike. For a long time, I carried a spare front tube in a fender bag just in case. After a while I stopped doing that and never suffered any consequences.

    So when planning for this trip I somehow imagined that I didn't need to worry about flat tires beyond carrying a couple plugs to work in conjunction with my TuBliss system.

    This was a grievous blunder!

    I lost two full days due to leaking fork seals. I lost more time than that due to tire problems - most of of it mitigable had I simply not ignored the potential problems.

    I did recognize I would need a second set of tires and so I had a set of MotoZ Mountain Hybrid tires drop-shipped to LJ's Bunkhouse in west Oklahoma. I wanted the fresh tires on BEFORE I headed into the mountains.
    My plan was to spend the night regardless of what time I arrived, swap tires and do other maintenance according to available time.
    It was a great plan.
    The best laid schemes of mice and men...

    I left with fresh Kendas front and rear. I ended up having them changed in Gunnison, CO, but I'd only ridden them to Trinidad, CO. Here's what they looked like at the beginning and when they were retired: KendaRearStart.jpg
    KendaRearFinish.jpg
    KendaFrontStart.jpg
    KendaFrontFinish.jpg
    #91
  12. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    Tires (and Tubes) cont...

    I had to plug the rear Kenda twice. On both occasions they were punctures that occurred while riding on gravel roads - the "jumbo" size gravel.
    I suspect the punctures were caused by the gravel itself although I have no direct evidence of that other than there was nothing in the tire, it was damn big gravel, and I was riding at 50-60 MPH with occasional unexpected jumps (and landings).

    When the first puncture occurred I was running about 25 PSI in the rear. After that I dropped to 20 PSI - which is the pressure at which the second puncture occurred.

    The plugs held and there were no more issues with the Kenda tires themselves.

    I was bragging about how nice it was to be able to fix a flat by simply plugging it and being on my way in under 5 minutes to Matt, who in response asked what I planned to do if the inner high pressure tube failed. I sheepishly told him I hadn't planned for that contingency. He was running TuBliss as well, and had brought along a set of rim locks and regular tubes.

    The very next day, I pulled into a gas station and Matt asked "what's that hissing?" Damn! He'd cursed me!!

    Matt and Max very generously provided a tube and rim lock, as I've previously described, and we were on our way. This was especially considerate of them given that they only had one spare rear tube between the two of them and with that in my tire...
    Thank you again Matt and Max. Not only for the loaner tube, but the companionship and repeatedly helping pick my bike up.

    I had gone to Colorado the previous year to ride the terrain there and had been advised to use a trials tire in the rear, which I did. But because I was riding at high speeds on the street as well that tire lost a bunch of knobs. From my riding there last year I recognized the value of the trials tire (the necessity of crossing a bolder the size of a house that's part of the trail which is slick even when not wet and always angled such that if you slide you go off the side of the mountain), but wanted something that would hold up better at high speeds on pavement. I selected the MotoZ Mountain Hybrid... just because.

    This was another lesson learned: In the future, I won't "test" critical components for the first time when I actually require that they work.

    The MotoZ tires performed admirably with respect to traction both off-pavement and on-pavement. But I was plagued with punctures. By the time I retired the tire, it had 6 punctures - one of which was really better described as a gash, requiring two plugs.

    Also, all of the punctures were oddly only on the right half of the tire (as viewed from the rear).
    There's a third plug near the bottom in addition to the two I'm pointing at in this photo:

    20160902_115631.jpg

    Something I noticed that was different between the MotoZ and Kenda was the extent to which the rubber "cracked." I don't know enough about rubber to draw any inferences.
    I've reached out to MotoZ to discuss this but haven't heard back yet. If/when I do, I'll update here.
    WearAndTear.jpg

    By the time I replaced the MotoZ rear, it had expelled two doses of slime and was on its third.
    The green splotches are plugs.
    There were numerous small punctures that leaked sealant very slowly. I know this because on all the dusty roads, when I'd stop, I could see little damp spots on the tire where the sealant was coming through.
    So in addition to the punctures requiring plugs there were perhaps a dozen that didn't.
    The plugs also "consumed" sealant - and in larger volumes than the lesser punctures.
    Also, the plugs would come out or shift in such a way that they leaked air badly and this necessitated replacing several of them several times.
    On one occasion, after finding an offending plug that had led to a flat tire, and pulling it out and replacing it, I heard a second offender and upon replacing it, a third, and then, finally, a fourth.
    Slimed.jpg
    These leaks got bad enough that the plugs would only hold if I was on tarmac - presumably because of the extra flex off-pavement.
    This ultimately led to me riding tarmac hours into a town with a motorcycle shop, spending the night, and then riding hours back in the morning to where I'd left off.

    I think my policy in the future will be that if I get a puncture, I will immediately make plans for a new tire.

    I had no problems at all with either the Kenda or MotoZ front tires.

    I replaced the MotoZ rear in Bend, OR with the only tire they had, a Maxxis desert something or another and had no problems with that.

    I'm wondering if perhaps the MotoZ suffered as a result of my load or if perhaps it was defective since it's rather odd that that many punctures were all on one side.
    #92
  13. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    Nice Folks

    Here's an example of just HOW nice folks were in the rural west...

    I had spent the night in a town that was big enough to have a couple hotels and a hardware store.
    I'd arrived after the hardware store had closed, so I went in the morning to get more Slime and some razor blades to trim plugs.

    I explained my dilemma to the owner of the hardware store and he suggested I check with the tire store (Les Schwab) at the other end of town.
    I asked him where it was and he said it was about as far from my hotel in the other direction as the hardware store was - a mile or so.
    Then he said "Did you walk?" I said "Yep" and he reached into his pocket, took out his keys, extended his hand, and said "Here, take my pickup."
    I thanked him for the offer and told him I needed the exercise, but dang!

    The folks at the tire store couldn't help, but they took a lot of time considering possibilities with me.
    #93
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  14. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    There were a few communities along the way in which many residents were well aware of the TAT.
    Trenton, AR is perhaps the one in which they are most aware.
    The fellow that sits inside this building, waiting for riders to come along, actually has a network of relatives and friends that call him when they sight approaching riders!

    That's Max on the left and Matt on the right - before my tire woes, but after they'd help pick up my bike several times - in that <insert (numerous) expletive(s) here> Arkansas mud.
    Don't they look spiffy in matching gear? They started with matching bikes, but Max blew his up on the first(?) day and had to buy a new one and the dealer only had a 690.
    We went into town after this for fuel for the bikes, and ourselves, and were approached by three or four people who were ensuring that we'd stopped at this place.
    Trenton, AR.JPG
    Edit: the "place" is the "TAT STOP" and they have printed business cards (found one while sorting my gear). Percy Kale, Al Faust, and Glenn Kale are listed on the card.
    Forgot to mention that they print a book annually with pictures of folks who stopped.
    #94
  15. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    I arrived in Port Orford shortly before sunset. My original vision for my trip called for me to start with my rear wheel in the Atlantic and end with my front wheel in the Pacific - literally.
    At the start, my wife and I checked into a hotel on Jeckyll Island the evening before my departure and in the morning I rode to the spot where I thought I'd be able to get that back wheel in.
    Everything was perfect. The sun was just rising and there was no one yet at the little park I'd spotted on Google Earth that would afford beach access (despite the walkway clearly being for human traffic only) - except for the police officer sitting in his cruiser in the parking lot :(

    Port Orford is different. Any licensed vehicle is legal to drive across the beach and right into the ocean. But when I looked at the sand and then my bike it was obvious that if I went on to the beach I wasn't getting back out without help.
    I learned a lot on this trip; perhaps the most important being that discretion is indeed sometimes the better part of valor.
    This shot was taken in the parking lot overlooking the beach.
    TheEnd.JPG
    #95
  16. garrett3

    garrett3 Adventurer

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    Great write up as usual. Wish I could have been there to see the 50ft rock slide. Every person who rides with you comes away with a Ken story :yikes
    #96
  17. mwysuph

    mwysuph n00b

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    Thanks Ken. Appreciate the write-up. 8 punctures though....seems like bad luck!
    #97
  18. oldswimr

    oldswimr Flatlander

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    Priceless.
    #98
  19. analyze

    analyze n00b

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    What kind of mpg does your bike get when loaded with all that gear? How much does it vary over different terrains?

    I looked into the gas bag and couldn't find one for sale online. As of now my plan is to buy some fuel bottles (MSR or similar) and mount them to the subframe beneath the rear fender somewhere.
    #99
  20. zonth

    zonth Been here awhile

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    Look for MSR dromedary bags to use for fuel bags