Baja equipment review

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Baldy, Dec 23, 2001.

  1. Baldy

    Baldy Founder of ADV Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2001
    Oddometer:
    11,063
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Stuff that rocked:

    1. Scottoiler. Nice to fill up a reservoir of oil once and watch the chain stay lubed the whole trip with no hassle.

    2. Triumph riding suit. Can you say warm and dry? It has a thick, zip-in liner that kept me warm with just a cotton shirt underneath into the 30s. Yet I was cool enough when temps rose in Baja. Comfortable. Good-looking. Nice pockets. Great reflecting strips on the shoulders. Good hard pads for back, shoulders, elbows.

    3. Shoei XII helmet. Quiet. Comfortable. Lightning-fast changing of shields. Dry. The only proviso is when the going got rough, it rattled around on my head and made my ears ring. It has a snug fit but with a stiff Corbin saddle and spine-jarring back shocks, I couldn't stop it from banging around on my head.

    4. BMW Kalahari boots. Tough, waterproof, comfortable, stylin'. The metal on the toes rusts in seawater and they're not too good for hiking and especially not climbing. My toes got a little bit cold.

    5. Corbin no-dip saddle. Nice to be able to move to many riding positions.

    6. Braided stainless brake lines and large aftermarket front disk for the KLR.

    Stuff that was pretty good:

    1. KLR650. Could cruise all day at 75 and do pretty good work in the dirt. 250+ mile fuel range on the highway. Gotta loctite everything or it falls off on washboard roads.

    2. Widder vest, arm chaps and glove combo. The Triumph suit was so warm that the vest and arm chaps really lit up the place. Before I got a suit that warm I thought Widders were anemic. The gloves still are, so I'd be toasty in the body but have cold fingertips. To turn the knob up high enough to get warm hands, I'd have to cook in the chest. And the gloves aren't waterproof. Those arm chaps are a hassle; wish they just made a thin jacket liner like Gerbing. But my arms were toasty.

    3. Avon Gripsters.

    4. Jeep Wrangler. Not very aerodynamic on the highway but a lot of fun in the dirt.

    Stuff that sucked:

    1. Aerostich 3-finger glove covers. Designed to fit over your gloves and add a waterproof layer. Good idea. The only issues are they don't fit over any of my three pairs of gloves and they leak.

    2. Howard Leight Max ear plugs. Maybe the plugs are great and I suck, but I sure had trouble getting them to seat right so that I didn't go to bed with ringing ears. If they're slightly off, for reasons I could never fully understand, it seemed worse than having no plugs at all. And they only seem to seat well when they're new. The only way I could get them to work a reasonable percentage of the time was to roll new ones up carefully into a nice, round, narrow cylinder, put them in my mouth to coat them with saliva and turn them into "wet willies" (gross), and slide them all the way to the end of the ear canal and let them expand into place. Am I missing something? After a day of riding the end of your ear canal feels like it has a blister from rubbing. :ear
    #1
  2. ChrisNYC

    ChrisNYC Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2001
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    N'Yawk, N'Yawk
    You're not alone in your disappointment. Those MAXs are supposed to be one of the most-attenuating plugs out there, but I could never consistently get them to seal either. I gave away the remaining 195 pairs I had, and now I just go with the soft l'il yellow guys. Comfy and quiet, every time.
    #2
  3. Marc

    Marc Just sayin...

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2001
    Oddometer:
    8,967
    Location:
    AZ
    Sometimes it takes me 3-4 trys to get the Howard Leight ear plugs to seal correctly. However, once they're in and sealed, they work perfectly for me, so I keep 'em and just screw with 'em enough to get them in and sealed correctly. If you're having pain from a full day's riding, perhaps you're inserting 'em too far. Sometimes, when the moon and stars align perfectly, they'll go in too far - you gotta back 'em off just a bit so they're a bit more comfortable (sorta like John Holmes putting it to Traci Lords in the old days)... :evil

    So, what works better for you?

    Marc
    #3
  4. ChrisNYC

    ChrisNYC Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2001
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    N'Yawk, N'Yawk
    That was my experience also, too frustrating for me.

    I've been happy with these little guys , they come in a PLUS size (slightly larger) and they are comfy and seal with no hassles or fussing. Perfect waffles every time.
    #4
  5. davidhpark

    davidhpark Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2001
    Oddometer:
    214
    Location:
    California (silicon valley area)
    1. Scottoiler

    I thought about this long and hard when putting together my bike. The final verdict, something that's easy to break when dual sporting, too much oil on the chain attracting sand/dirt, and modern O/X ring chains do a good enough job with the proper occasional maintenance.

    2. Helmet - for me in the Baja it has to be true off-road helmet with Goggles and quick release straps. Sheilds scratch, goggles lens can be changed and an extra pair ready with different colors (one clear one tinted) to allow for riding all of the time (i.e. into the sun, at dusk, at night, etc.). In the baja it's simplicity and flexibility.

    3. BMW Kalahari boots. - No way, Jose. I bought a new pair and used them down south. Cactuses tore them to pieces. In retrospect I should have worn my AlpineStar 6s because off-road the Kalaharis are as effective in serious situations as rubber glue trying to hold a bridge together. Now I wear Tech 8s and won't wear anything else. The removable liner is nice at the end of the day and vented for the hot desert makes them more bearable for long days.

    Regards,

    David H. Park
    www.dhpmoto.com
    #5
  6. jcolombo

    jcolombo Lurking Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2001
    Oddometer:
    1,255
    Location:
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Sounds like a good shakedown run, Baldy. Have my eye on a nice used 1999 KLR, and was wondering what the "must have" mods are. Near as I can tell from yours and other experience:

    1) Better front brake (did you use the MAP kit from Arrowhead or something else?)

    2) Better seat if going more than 400 miles.

    3) Luggage? (anyone try the new Jesses?)

    Seems like this might be a better way to experience off road than the $9K Dakar.

    Welcome back.

    -JC
    #6
  7. Baldy

    Baldy Founder of ADV Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2001
    Oddometer:
    11,063
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Geez, fish. Can't I count on you for anything? You tell me to buy Kalahari boots and now I find out they're completely gay. :arg
    #7
  8. fish

    fish Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Oddometer:
    47,727
    Location:
    Gold Country
    What I want to know is how he "shredded" his Kalahari boots, but didn't have tire problems :huh
    #8
  9. Baldy

    Baldy Founder of ADV Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2001
    Oddometer:
    11,063
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Hey John,

    The front brake is absolutely, positively required imho. The stock brake is more lame than you can believe. Yes, we did the MAP kit from Arrowhead with bigger disk, better pads, and stainless lines. It rulz.

    The KLR seat feels good when you first sit on it, but riding it for 400 miles is tough. The Corbin worked for me for 500+ mile days. The upright seating posture and major wind exposure was a bigger problem, but if you specify the "no dip" option with the Corbin, you can scoot your butt back and last longer before rigamortis
    [​IMG] sets in.

    We put a big GIVI topcase on the back and it worked great but looks kinda gay. Oh well, the KLR isn't exactly the fashion queen.

    We also added gel grips (pretty good) and a Scottoiler, which I thought was great. It seemed to clean off the grit and dirt, not attract it, whereas when you use chain wax I found you have to wipe the chain off. With all due respect to David Park's comments, I don't see how you could bust it based on where we mounted it.

    Progressive front springs are nice, I understand, and I coulda used 'em.

    Hey John, why don't you come borrow ours for a few days and see if you like it? And ooooooo, I'd love to swap for a ride or two on your Dakar. I'm not totally sold on the KLR, but we don't seem to have found anything better in the 650 class for beating around in places like Baja.
    #9
  10. stevenknapp

    stevenknapp Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2001
    Oddometer:
    1,224
    Location:
    Grayslake, IL, USA
    I use the max earplugs..well used to. Started using "reusable" earplugs for the commute. Still use the max's for shooting.

    They are a bitch to get in. Roll up, use one hand over your head to pull your oppsite ear up shove in, hold in place, give time to expand.

    I had good luck with the tri-digit rain covers except for the junction between their gauntlet and my sleeve.
    #10