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

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

  1. FamilyRider

    FamilyRider Been here awhile

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    Nice report, and thanks for sharing your lessons learned.

    I just completed a four day ride in Idaho. Each time I go I pack slightly differently, and I often make changes mid trip. With experience you figure out what to put where so you can get at it when you need it. I also had some bags over stuffed, so I couldn't find things I knew I had - somewhere. When I unpacked at home I found them all ;-)

    On my first major trip a few years ago I experienced a high pressure Tubliss tube failure. I was 'sure' I wouldn't have tire issues like those with tubes. I ended up buying a tube off one of my riding buddies and had to run high pressure because I didn't have a rim lock. That was an eye opener. I now carry spare high pressure tubes - as inusrance.
  2. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    For the remainder of the trip I carried spare high pressure tubes; but, not with the intent of changing one on the trail.
    I also carried regular tubes and rim locks because correctly installing TuBliss is challenging under good conditions - I can't imagine the probability of success is very high under windy, dusty, and/or hot conditions.
    I figured that if I had another high pressure tube failure that I'd put a regular tube in on the trail and then stay at a hotel that night and do the TuBliss Install in the hotel room.

    By the way, TuBliss said they are releasing their own tire later this year.
  3. juno

    juno Long timer

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    I am from SFL. All my gear is mesh. My two TAT legs so far (SFL to AR and back, All of CO to Moab) occured with some cold temperatures.
    I bring two sets of breathable base layers, a down jacket that packs smaller then a coke can, a fleece hat and my Frog Toggs. All of this compresses to the size of a twelve pack and enables me to ride comfortable down to the mid 40's. I wear the rain pants over my pants and the top under my riding jacket/over my armor/down jacket. It is amazing how warm you can be with a true rain suit on that blocks all air.
    Zubb likes this.
  4. docgonzo

    docgonzo Old Gadfly

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    Good guess, huh?

    Huh? You ride to have a miserable time? That doesn't make sense. Also, riding a motorcycle is dangerous in the best of circumstances. To overload a bike is crazy. To negotiate difficult terrain, it takes skill and equipment that is light and balanced. Your bike looks like a merchant in cambodia going to market! :-)

    [​IMG]

    You admitted that you motel'd most of the nights. So all that camping equipment was just to weigh the bike down so you could be more unstable?

    Lean and mean when you are off-road for the next time. I bet you could have left 3/4 of the stuff home.
  5. barko1

    barko1 barko1 Supporter

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    Last trip I brought along some Starbuks finely ground coffee. Jet boil and you get decent Java in a hurry. in

    I almost always take, especially in the West, a heated vest, works as a layer or pillow but keeps me warm when the summer sleet thing hits you at 10,000'.
    cal08 likes this.
  6. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    Being miserable was simply the side-effect of pursuing a specific difficult objective. I didn't take this trip to enjoy the trip. I took this trip to see how quickly I could complete it solo and unsupported.

    But I must admit that more than once I thought of this kindred spirit I snapped a photo of in Bejing:
    IMG_0025.JPG
    ccrider72 and KLRalph like this.
  7. thor63

    thor63 Adventurer

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    Congrats on laying down some awesome tracks under some challenging conditions. Thanks for the unique and informative RR. No, you didn't pack the way some of us would have or ride the bike some think would be best for the job, but you got your ass out from in front of the computer and did it! All of us putting in our 2 cents are just reading in envy. GWT or T1 next?
    Dan Man and cal08 like this.
  8. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thanks for the kind words.
    I believe that same route can be done in 14 days and I'm making plans with a friend to try next year.
    The major things I'm planning to do differently are take a bigger bike (hence the friend to help pick it up), roll the dice on part failures and not carry as many spare parts and tools, and camp more.
  9. MrAndMrsZINC

    MrAndMrsZINC Snappin' necks and cashin' checks

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    That was a great read. Looking forward to a journey of my own soon so good to hear a detailed perspective to help with the do's and dont's....

    Great pick up line...:-)
  10. B-Rod

    B-Rod RubberNecker

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    Tub
    That certainly sounds like something an engineer would say :lol2 By brother-in-law in an engineer, and because of the way he is wired, some technical discussions lead me to the point where I really just want to strangle him. He is a great guy and I love him though, so following through is out.
  11. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    With respect to the material on the magnet when I changed the oil, a picture of which is on page 2, and the follow-up conversation...

    I spent some time today with my KTM mechanic discussing this and some other things.

    He believes that most of that material is indeed from the transmission and not the engine. He also indicated that since the strainer did not contain anything of significance that he would not consider that excessive wear for 1,500 miles of use (roughly 45 hours of engine run time).

    I also asked about something else I don't think I mentioned above - oil pooling in the air box.

    When I checked the air filter, I noticed a lot of oil in the air box and it was clearly engine oil.
    Since I'd oiled the air filter with engine oil, I thought that was perhaps the source but the more I considered this, the more I realized there was just too much oil pooling to have been excess from the filter.
    He informed me that when the bike is dropped with the engine running that oil gets pumped into the air box.
    Given the frequency at which I dropped that bike, I'm surprised there was any left in the engine!
  12. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    I mentioned I would post more on my tire problems once I spoke with the manufacturer...

    I've had a good dialog with Rick at Motoz and I'm grateful that he was willing to spend so much time discussing my issue when I had so little for him to work with.
    Like my TuBliss high pressure tube, I disposed of the Mountain Hybrid tire that suffered the multiple punctures. Unlike my TuBliss tube, I paid a dealer to dispose of it properly.

    I considered sending it home so I could send it back to Motoz, but that would have been a lot of effort, time, and cost; and I had no idea that they would be as willing to engage on this as they have been.
    Opportunity missed :(

    At any rate, after providing what pictures I have and discussing possibilities, here's what I believe is the most likely scenario:

    The first puncture occurred on a road of large gravel where the bike and I were sometimes leaving the ground.
    Undoubtedly, the rear came down on a sharp piece large enough to puncture the tire.
    The first puncture was large - perhaps more accurately described as a gash - requiring two plugs.
    In hindsight, I should have obtained a new tire as soon as possible and my new policy is if I have to plug a tire I will get a new one ASAP. The potential headaches are simply far more costly than a tire.

    One of the things I like about the TuBliss system is that it allows me to ride on a flat until I get to a convenient/safe location to deal with it.
    Each time I experienced a puncture, I would take advantage of this capability.
    The punctures came more and more frequently.

    Riding on a flat - or even at very low pressures - places substantial stresses on the tire for which they are typically neither designed nor tested, and which can compromise their integrity.
    I believe that the first puncture (gash) was just one of those things but that the subsequent punctures resulted from damage likely done by my riding on the tire flat.

    Rick has told me that they have had complaints about punctures on their Mountain Hybrid tire ONLY from folks who run them without tubes.
    I pressed him on this and he stated he is convinced that had I been using a good tube in that tire, at a reasonable pressure, I would not have had the same experience.
    He even offered to provide me a set of tires and tubes free of charge to ride over the same terrain to prove it.

    So here's the summary of my experience with Motoz's Mountain Hybrid:
    * The tire performed as I had hoped it would with respect to traction. I had ridden a straight-up trials tire in Colorado's mountains for 3 weeks the previous year so I have something to compare it to and this tire did great.
    * The first puncture I experienced was just one of those things. The subsequent punctures very likely resulted from running the tire flat.
    * Motoz was highly responsive to my inquiries in a meaningful way and i will use more of their stuff in the future as a result.
    juno and Hog1450 like this.
  13. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    Folks deserve to know about Wolfman's superb customer service...

    As can be seen in many of the photos, I used a lot of Wolfman luggage: Fender Bag, Number Plate Bag, Tail Bag, Tank Bag, Duffel, Tool Roll, and Saddle Bags.
    The Saddle Bags and Tail Bag took a real beating as the Saddle Bags bore the weight of the gear I carried and the tail bag kept everything from sliding off the back.

    The only wear and tear noticeable on bags resulted from excessive heat (a melted strap and deformed hard insert). Despite carefully examining things and thinking a lot about this I am still unsure how it occurred. The Wolfman Tail Bag was near the end of the muffler, but suffered no damage for thousands of miles and it also was never able to be any closer. Perhaps some flame shot out at some point or something. At any rate...

    The Wolfman Tail Bag suffered a burnt-off strap near the muffler exhaust plus the hard insert that keeps it rigid was substantially deformed - obviously from being crushed while hot. I sent the bag back to Wolfman expecting it would either be a total loss or that they would charge something like $70 plus shipping to repair it.
    I was pleasantly surprised today when they informed me that they are repairing it free of charge! I just pay for is shipping.

    So in addition to their bags working superbly the entire trip, I burnt the strap off of one of one of them and deformed the insert and Wolfman is repairing the damage I did at no charge.
    Wow.
  14. AdvFan

    AdvFan Adventurer

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    I would like to add to the tire discussion..I too just finished a solo and unsupported 6500 mile ride from Houston to NC to Oregon TAT(idaho route) ride. I used the Tubliss system chewing thru three rears, (2) TKC80 and one D606. Ran 24 lbs highway and off road with no flats. I have had two tires with gashes from sharp rocks and deduced that it was from low air pressure. THe sharp rock flexes the tire all of the way to the kevlar core, which is hard as steel, and cuts the tire.

    Congrats on your accomplishment...I rode from NC to Port Oreford in 18 days..finished September 20th..not the best way to do this trip in my opinion. Traveling with another rider and camping in beautiful surroundings more and seeing more is the way to do it.
  15. rcfitch

    rcfitch Been here awhile

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    I am curious about your tire choices. Did you ever consider the Mitas or Heidenau Adv tire options ? My understanding is their carcass is extra-tough and durable. Will you stick with Motoz when you make another trip ?
  16. KenCM

    KenCM Been here awhile Supporter

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    The best answer I can give you is this list of points:
    I didn't give tires anywhere near an appropriate level of consideration before undertaking this trip.
    I learned my lesson and am spending a lot more time on tires - including the procurement of literally dozens of tires for the bikes I ride off-road.
    I'm working my way through those tires to gain a better personal perspective on their relative merits but realize that I will undoubtedly tire of riding before exhausting even the highly relevant combinations of front/rear, tube vs. tubeless vs. Tubliss, etc...

    I just ran through a set of Tractionators on my 1190 Adv R and was pleased with their performance.
    I have a set of Tractionators on my 300 XC-W and am pleased with their performance thus far.
    I have both Mitas and Heidenau tires for the larger bikes, but haven't gotten to them yet (about to put a set of Anakee Wilds on the R1200 GSA and just switched the 1190 Adv R to a TKC-80 front with Tractionator rear).
    I am changing so many tires that I am procuring a tire changing stand and if that doesn't substantially ease my pain will move very likely procure a commercial pneumatic tire changing machine.

    Having said all of that, I highly doubt I would ever again take a similar trip on a bike that size.
    There are many reasons, but one relevant to your question is that I believe the tires on the bigger bikes will hold up better.
    I have lowered my 1190 Adv R and plan to use that bike to do the same route next summer (sans detours).
    I am convinced I could have done that route on the 450 in 18 days had I known then what I know now.
    I am planning on doing it in 15 days on the 1190.
  17. wayno

    wayno Long timer

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    Good info and good read! Thanks
  18. i4bikes

    i4bikes Been here awhile

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    Good luck on your endeavors. IMO never oil a foam air with engine oil. It's not as sticky and will migrate out of the filter.
  19. rcfitch

    rcfitch Been here awhile

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    If it is any help, I have a number of friends who ride big KTMs (950s, 990s, 1190s) and they get good results from the Heidenau K60. We do extremely tough trail riding and they continually perform.

    Also, I'm not sure if you have heard of Russell Day Long (RDL) seats but it would be worth some study. I can only imagine that your backside was equally challenged on that 450 seat. The RDL is one of those modifications riders never regret.
  20. usedtobefast

    usedtobefast Been here awhile

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    Just came across this, awesome write up and ride!

    One question, when you were on the hard trail and it was getting dark, why didn't you pull out the camping stuff and sleep for the night? Vs. taking a hike and sorting out a ride and then sorting out a ride back the next day?

    But sounds like a very interesting experience on the bike recovery ride with the local guys!