Alan on a Christini AWD 450DS across Australia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by waterlogged, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. Gone_Ridin

    Gone_Ridin Been here awhile Supporter

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    Maybe you should have considered the military spec model.....
    #41
  2. DesertSurfer

    DesertSurfer Tail sprayin

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    Sounds like a tough trip mate, sorry it didn't go more smoothly.

    A trip like you're doing is one of a lifetime for many of us.

    I liked your idea of going with a new bike and that the Christini seemed a worthy choice... But who knew it couldn't hold up to the task.

    My take away would be stick to a tried and true bike... Maybe the Suzuli DR 650 or DRZ400 ( future options) if they have parts availability.

    On long trips I anticipate bolts backing out by use pletty of loctite. Too bad the dealer didn't do some of that for you.

    Always go a size larger on a bike when it's a packmule. A larger frame of a bigger bike takes some stress off the suspension and can also reduce vibration.

    Speeding time dialing in a bike before a long journey can be a trip saver. Getting to know how the electrical and fuel systems are working are vital.

    I like your ability to trouble shoot and reach out when needed.
    #42
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  3. JHpowderhound

    JHpowderhound Been here awhile Supporter

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    Maybe leave the suitcase at home next time.
    #43
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  4. waterlogged

    waterlogged Adventurer

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    Mate, I'm happy to stand corrected but I think the Military spec is essentially the same as the DS. Also, the DS was all that was available here in Australia.
    #44
  5. waterlogged

    waterlogged Adventurer

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    Haha, Mate, that cost me 35 bucks off Gumtree and was purchased for the sole purpose of getting my gear to Queensland on the plane. I had intended to dump it but upon seeing the rack and with the saddle bags I had, I knew I couldn't fit all the electronic gear in without it. Mind you, it got 'gifted' to old mate in Gundy when I sent the drone, gopro's and other crap home due to not being able to charge them all and desperately needing to dispose of unused weight.
    #45
  6. waterlogged

    waterlogged Adventurer

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    Mate, I'm losing battery, it's a real hassle and a big disappointment. Will reply in full once home, hopefully make it in 2 days. Cheers.
    #46
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  7. 51%

    51% ReadyToRide

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    Thanks for sharing, sorry to read of all the bike issues, but then most good stories involve some degree of "unplanned" excitement do they not?

    And mechanical repairs beats bodily injury any day. You've got a great set of experiences to remember and share from that.
    #47
  8. waterlogged

    waterlogged Adventurer

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    IMG_20170422_181150.JPG IMG_20170423_151751.JPG IMG_20170424_072649.JPG

    When you think you're not doing so well, someone who is worse off always seems to pop up!

    IMG_20170424_103443.JPG
    #48
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  9. waterlogged

    waterlogged Adventurer

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    IMG_20170424_133138.JPG PANO_20170424_144125.jpg

    Home.......

    IMG_20170425_163610.JPG

    The top figure is the total distance covered. The middle figure is from the last oil change. The bottom figure is my distance for today.

    Screenshot_20170425-165922.png
    #49
  10. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way...

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    wow.
    glad you got it all home safely, and I'm sure you had helluva adventure, but maybe not quite what you had imagined. I do hope you'll give us a good final wrap up of your thoughts on the bike and the gear.
    #50
  11. waterlogged

    waterlogged Adventurer

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    #51
  12. waterlogged

    waterlogged Adventurer

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    Sounds like a tough trip mate, sorry it didn't go more smoothly.

    A trip like you're doing is one of a lifetime for many of us.

    I liked your idea of going with a new bike and that the Christini seemed a worthy choice... But who knew it couldn't hold up to the task.

    What let it down were two things; 1. the lack of a steel sub frame and 2; the charging system, however, that may be as simple as a knackered battery. I will check this today and report back.

    My take away would be stick to a tried and true bike... Maybe the Suzuli DR 650 or DRZ400 ( future options) if they have parts availability.

    Both those bike would do the job but the lure of the AWD in the sand and on the outback roads was too much for me to go past.

    On long trips I anticipate bolts backing out by use plenty of loctite. Too bad the dealer didn't do some of that for you.

    Mate, in my tool kit that I put together, I included a small bottle of Loctite, invaluble IMHO :) It got used as well. One of the major issues for me was the fact that the bike wasn't ready for pickup on my stated day and this then put me under pressure to cover more K's per day.

    Always go a size larger on a bike when it's a packmule. A larger frame of a bigger bike takes some stress off the suspension and can also reduce vibration.

    Truth of it is, the AWD 450 DS is as big as one can go. It's Alloy versus steel that's the issue in this case. A fact that is well known, and being worked on, by Christini

    Speeding time dialing in a bike before a long journey can be a trip saver. Getting to know how the electrical and fuel systems are working are vital.

    Mate, suspension should have been dialed in prior to the bike leaving the dealers, they knew the magnitude of the trip I was undertaking. In their defense, they did offer an upgraded suspension, but, in all honesty, the standard sus would do the job if set up correctly. Fuel, due to a carby system, is very simple. Electrics wouldn't have been so much of a hassle had I not been so pressed for time.

    I like your ability to trouble shoot and reach out when needed.
    #52
  13. DesertSurfer

    DesertSurfer Tail sprayin

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    I was seriously considering a Christini last year for reason of your choice... Ease in Sand. There were several demos available at good prices. And I know a rider who has used various Christinis with no problems... But I changed my mind several times, mainly on the recommendation of a friend who used to race the Honda CRF 450 R original version of that motor. He said he could tell the bike just looked a little soft on manufacturing. And he just couldn't trust it out in the brush. Plus he said that AWD system really taxes an already mild hp engine.

    I'm checking out the Husky FE450 as an option for a smaller dual sport. But good on ya mate for charging on that bike and going for the moon with it. You did well managing the ruffles and bottom line you returned.

    Cheers.
    #53
  14. waterlogged

    waterlogged Adventurer

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    I spoke to Christini this morning in regards to some of the issues. They agreed with most of what I said and gave me some news about a future development for true ADV riders in about a years time, which I'm not too sure I'm at liberty to talk about, however, I will say I think a lot of people will be quite pleased and it'll be over 2x the current cc capacity. Knowing that I'll toddle around on this 450DS until then and upgrade if I feel the urge. Downside will be the price, it'll be mainstream and not cheap.

    In regards to taxing an already mild HP engine, putting on a 52 T rear spocket made it get up and go down low. OK, one loses top end but that didn't bother me.

    Al.
    #54
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  15. waterlogged

    waterlogged Adventurer

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    OK, so here’s a bit of a wrap up of the Pro’s and Cons.

    Firstly I was really disappointed not to have been able to do the Simpson, but Hey, it’s been there a while and I suspect it’ll be around for a while! [ I'll let you in on a secret, it wouldn't have been my first time over it ] I guess the most important thing is the bike ended up getting me home in one piece and under it’s own steam.

    If you’ve read the whole thread you’ll know I’ve had a bit of trouble en-route and prior to starting off.

    Con’s;

    1. Radiators are too small for any work involving ambient over 30 degrees C and slow going. This is because the motor seems to run very hot naturally. Christini know this and recommended oversized radiators.

    2. Noise, now this is a personal preference, but I had wanted the bike to be whisper quiet, so that I could move along in the bush without alarming animals or birds, and to be able to hear the wildlife at low speeds. Even though I spent an extra $350 getting the muffler silenced enough, it still wasn’t quiet enough. Engine noise became an issue and I’m led to believe there is nothing that can be done about that due to the lack o cooling fins which evidently absorb noise.

    3. The lights went out, turned out to be a very simple fix….the connector fell off, but after the third time I was getting pissed off with it. Will take it to bits and see if I can sort it out now I’m home.

    4. Fuel supply, man this drove me insane! It turned out the breather hole in the CNC fuel cap was too small, after drilling it out to 3mm, fuel never gave me an issue again….thank god!!

    5. The rear rack, this is a known issue by Christini, when I mentioned it, they knew exactly where it had broken. The sub frame should really be steel and they know it requires addressing!

    6. The chain, I honestly suspect this was the bike shops ballsup. It gave me no trouble whatsoever once I put the new joiner in, although I did ‘trim’ the knobs down on the tyre. I asked for a 140/80 to be fitted and asked if there was enough space, sure there was, whilst the chain was brand new but after a few K’s and a bit of stretch….there wasn’t. Hence I would say a 130/ ?? [could be 70, 80, 90 providing it’s only 130 wide] is the widest one could go on this bike.

    7. The motor must have a blow past issue as it pushes oil out at a fairly rapid rate, about 500mL every 1300 K’s, after the initial couple of run in oil changes I feel it would be quite safe to push them out to every 3000 K’s as one would be pouring in new oil at a constant rate. This, however, is not ideal for long distance rides.

    8. I kept finding screws missing, some that should have been picked up on the pre-delivery, and in the dealers defense, he had a shit apprentice whom he sacked, but there were others that very obviously just up and fell out or simply snapped off due to sloppy production practises and inferior material composition. I’ll need to go over the whole thing and sort that issue out.

    9. Due to a production weld fouling with the AWD chain there was a lot of wear of both the weld and the chain. I don’t know if Christini know about this but I shall send them pics. The AWD chain tensioner is also a dodgy piece of crap, it should be a roller arrangement that eliminates chain slap, or at the very least, the tensioner spring should have either a divot or some form of locator for it.

    10. The fuel hose to the carby from the fuel cock fouls with the AWD chain, it’s only by a bee’s dick but could have catastrophic issues if left unchecked.

    11. The charging circuit is a real issue, I’m in the process of fault finding on it know. I have, through discussions this morning with Christini, determined that I have the standard stator which I believe is 45W. This is determined very simply, if the bike has a silver regulator on it, it’s 45 W, if the reg is black, it’s 90 W. My battery is sooo flat, when I hit the electric start, the voltage drops off to 4.2V, now man, that is seriously flat. The worry is, when I kick start the bike there is only 11.4 V at the battery. Doesn’t auger well for the reg but I’ll charge the battery to full voltage and take it from there. The other issue is the capacity of the battery, it’s a 3AH unit, that’s a bloody joke, and I suspect it’s of questionable linerage even though it might be the finest China has to offer!!

    12. The fuel tank size is an absolute nightmare, in Christini's defense, word on the street is they approached Safari, the Aussie after market tank mob and they wanted between 30 and 50 K just to make the mold!! I don't think Steve sells enough of these to justify that sort of coin.

    13. My right hand side pannier very nearly went up in flames, well more specifically, my workshop manual, when it and the plastic ‘looky nice’ panel came into contact with the exhaust pipe. I’m not citing this as a fault as the bike simply isn’t designed to carry the size of panniers I had on it, but be careful of pannier choice! Oh, and maybe build a frame off the foot pegs. Don’t use RHS or round section, it’s shit, use good ol’ 40mm x 6mm flat bar, you’ll never look back, I've got some in my shed, spotted it as soon as I got home last night!!! If you can, bronze it together with high tensile bronze, that way you wont wind up with crystalline cracking issues.

    14. I broke two of the stauntions of the front rack, CroMo hollow tube, due to the stress’s applied when I dumped 12 L in a fuel bladder agsainst it. I sort of expected it to happen and so kept an eye on it and therefore didn’t get caught out. I strapped it with a spare rachet strap and it gave no issues in the remaining 3000 K’s.



    Pro’s;

    1. The ‘you beaut Alan Melville water temp gauge’ worked an absolute charm. As for its accuracy, I can’t vouch for it, however, as an indication, it was fab, and really easy to keep an eye on.

    2. The welding job and gussets made by the Father and Son team at Higgins in Cunnamulla kept everything together over the dirt and the rest of the trip home. Thanks to Sparrow for putting me in touch with them.

    3. The tyre I picked up in Broken Hill, a Bridgestone Trail Wing 41, did superbly, hardly looks worn and got me around all corners I came to. Not sure of it’s wet weather ability as it didn’t rain after I put it on.

    4. The Motoz Tractionator Adventure also did superbly, got me all the way home and no bullshit, has enough tread to get me all the way back again. It felt very planted on both the dirt and tar. I also had some rain whilst on the tar and I didn’t give it a thought, The only caveat is that I only really travel at up to 100 KPH on tar and 80 KPH on the dirt.

    5. The bladders by Liquid Containment performed exceptionally well, although the 5.5 L could do with a pouring spout the same as the 10 L has.

    I guess, in reality, the 3 major letdowns were the Alloy subframe, the charging circuit and the AWD chain tensioner. These, in my opinion are issues that should be addressed by Christini. If they were to do so, they would be moving in the right direction to ensuring their product is reliable.

    I was disappointed that I wasn't able to simply jump on and ride home, irrespective of the distance, what is effectively a 13500 AU $ bike. I know they are building them to a price point, but IMHO, clients would rather spent an extra K in order to be able to undertake hassle free trips with the huge added advantage of AWD.

    Right, gotta go I'm gearing up to for a 5500 Km hike down the Great Dividing Range on the East Coast of Australia and want to start in 10 days or so, here's a link for those that may be interested. There is no BNT content yet....but there will be soon!!!!

    EDIT; Thursday the 27/4. Content now added.

    http://hikingbnt.techcloudent.com.au/

    Happy trails and remember, rubber side up!!

    PS. If I remember any pertinent points, I'll drop them in at a later date.
    #55
    uintamts likes this.
  16. SOLOKLR

    SOLOKLR Back to work

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    Nice job. Persistence pays off. I would have put a bullet in the bike and hitch hiked home. My hats off to you.
    #56
    everready likes this.
  17. waterlogged

    waterlogged Adventurer

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    Trust me mate, the 'Burn and hitch' technique entered my head a few times.....
    #57
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  18. Honkey Cat

    Honkey Cat Tailights Fade!

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    I'd get one if it was hydraulic front wheel drive and not Chinese built .
    #58
  19. waterlogged

    waterlogged Adventurer

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    I wrote to Steve Christini outlining the issues I had and received a very prompt and positive reply. He told me that since my model a lot of upgrades addressing the issues had been made. He offered to send me the required parts. I've asked him for his consent to post his reply here and should I receive it, I'l do so.

    Al.
    #59
  20. DukeMButu

    DukeMButu Minister of Culture

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    Now this was a ripping yarn if ever there was one.

    Well done!

    As a North American, I certainly enjoyed your writing in the Mate's Strine Vernacular. You've got a touch of talent there. It had me humming Banjo Patterson tunes as I read.

    In addition to all of the machine-specific "doddles" I was waiting for the Wombat attacks, Roo near-misses and assorted Dingo encounters. The photos of the dog-proof fence put things in a bit of context.

    So glad Steve Christini is bent on improvement. I'll certainly await the R&D changes you've advised him of, I think he may be on to something with this machine.

    Rot's o Ruck on the hike, trek or walkabout or whatever you'uns call a long-ass walk. I look forward to following!
    #60