Belgium to Nordkapp, along the TET - Or, how I learned to start worrying and hate the chainslider.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by arnoldus, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. arnoldus

    arnoldus Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    152
    Location:
    Belgium, Europe
    Belgium to Nordkapp, along the Trans Europe Trail Sweden - June 2017.
    Or, how I learned to start worrying and hate the chainslider.


    Since I had 2.5 weeks to spare in June and need to work all of July & August, I decided that it was time for a new bike adventure.
    Somehow I had gotten the urge to do offroading. I had read something about the TET - Trans Europe Trail shortly before.
    My idea was to combine this with a trip to Nordkapp. I got in touch with the guy from Sweden, and got the preliminary trail, to give feedback on it.
    [​IMG]

    My plan was to take the quickest road from Belgium to Malmö, and then only take backroads through Sweden & Finland to Norway.
    Taking the highway for 2 * 3000km is beyond boring. Taking back-country and unpaved roads is orgasmic!

    (I should have taken more pictures, in retrospect. But driving is more fun than stopping for pictures!)

    Now, the only bike I had which could do this was my Yamaha WR250X (supermoto indeed). A bit underpowered for the motorway, but very light & cheap enough that I don't care too much about it.
    So, time for some knobby tires. I got Continental TKC 80.
    Size 120/70-17 for the front and 140/80-17 for the back. (Front fits, back as well but there is a little bit of chain bite into the tire.)

    Time to fit them:
    [​IMG]

    This was also the first time that I used my Enduro Star Trail Stand which I had bought years ago.
    Unfortunately, somehow it broke/bent while putting the front tire back on. Bike fell over and the rear left blinker broke!
    [​IMG]

    Adding extra wiring for 12V handlebar socket, and added the rear rack.
    [​IMG]

    Added 8mm betonplex (plywood used for concrete pourings), to prevent sagging luggage from touching exhaust, as I had already burnt a hole in the right saddlebag.
    Zip-ties on purpose, so that they would be the point of failure in case of a nasty tipover.
    [​IMG]

    Packing checklist
    [​IMG]
    (I lost a couple of pictures with all my packed items neatly spread out, due to SD card corruption. I'm trying to recover them, and add them here later. Thank you automatic backup to Google Photo for not losing everything!)

    Ready, away I go!
    [​IMG]

    I need to refuel every 100km. OEM gas tank.
    Shortly before Lucasgat (Lucas' hole), I felt some weird staccato vibrations while driving uphill.
    [​IMG]

    I decide to check the bike, as I feel something is off.
    Damn, I spot the problem already, the kickstand is loose. How is that possible?
    One of the bolts fell out!
    [​IMG]

    Damn. I spend some time on my phone locating the nearest Yamaha dealer. I decide to proceed to one around Osnabrück, Germany.

    At that moment I spot something else!
    [​IMG]

    Now I know where the vibrations were coming from! My bag had touched the wheel...
    Not only had the bag been damaged, but my spare rear tube as well!

    I can see my wheel from inside my bag!
    [​IMG]

    Call it quits and return home? What could I do?
    I had some string, and an awl in my Victorinox multitool. Let's try to sew a reinforcement that will pull the bag away from the wheel. Let's stiffen the hole with the broken rear tube.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Right, this should hold for a while. (It did hold for the whole trip.)

    Now, to the Yamaha dealer!
    Arrived there just before closing time, but they were very helpful and got a longer bolt in place.
    Meanwhile I had a nice view.
    [​IMG]

    Oh, what do I see in the back? Let's go over there.
    HUSKY'S!!
    [​IMG]
    Drooling over them, trying to decide whether the sumo or the enduro is the next bike to buy? Until the helpful guy came back telling me the bike was ready. Done and done, ready for more miles. Drove to Hamburg that evening.

    Next day, decided to go to a Louis store and do some last minute shopping. Got a backpack, extra straps, winter gloves. Though, it seemed all the adventure bikers were at the Polo store, Louis customers mostly had scooters and choppers.

    Traffic jam all the way to the Puttgarden ferry. Good that I had a Sena bluetooth and could take some work related phone calls in the meantime.
    Jumped through Denmark, delighted to take the bridge to Sweden. It was already late in the afternoon, so let's do some sight-seeing.

    Jakriborg: a fake medieval city, not 20 years old!
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jakriborg

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Next day, finally time for some offroad!
    First gravel of the trip!
    [​IMG]
    Yay! This would already be illegal in Belgium. So much fun!

    First of many lakes
    [​IMG]

    It's like a mini-Eau Rouge! Race-track like bends in many places.
    [​IMG]

    More forest-fun!
    [​IMG]

    Most roads in South-Sweden were gravel, but bendy and fun!
    [​IMG]

    Official, legal road! In Belgium I would have my bike confiscated in such a scenery.
    [​IMG]

    Oh, lots of branches ahead. I've got no experience with this. What should I do? Let's take a running start and use speed to get me over it!
    [​IMG]
    Oops. Stuck. Worse than that, the road stops ahead! It's on the GPX-file, but there's only an earth-wall in front of me.
    [​IMG]
    After a lot of effort, I was able to turn the bike around and off the branches.

    Only to be stuck for more than an hour on a mossy hill. Falling. Getting up. Falling more. Getting up more. Heartbeat at 160 for an hour straight.
    [​IMG]
    After I'd spent all my energy, and after a long rest, I backtracked and GTFO of there!
    Would suggest to alter the TET. Can't imagine a 1200GS doing this.

    Very long, straight gravel road. What's the speed limit here? 70 or 90. Plenty of fun.
    [​IMG]

    In the evening, while doing my daily chain greasing, I noticed part of it was shiny. Weird.
    [​IMG]

    Knowing the reputation of the WR, I put a new chainslider on the day before I left. Let's check how it's doing.
    [​IMG]
    Hmm, can't see too well, but looks worn. Let's take the cover off.
    (This chain slider has done 1500km in 3 days).
    [​IMG]

    Oh shit! This won't hold until Nordkapp and back. Let's try to find a Yamaha dealer and order a spare one. Did so at Umeå.
    Because tomorrow is the Swedish national holiday, the chain slider will only arrive in 4 days, at the earliest! And it costs double the continental price up here!
    And why is the sprocket so shiny?

    No more dirtroads at this point, only motorway. Gotta stay functional.
    While driving to another Yamaha dealer, in Luleå, it wore through!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    It's national holiday, most things are closed.


    I try to do an emergency fix myself.
    First, need to find the cause of this wear.
    I see that the chain is not very fluid. Weird, it was OK 6 days ago.
    [​IMG]
    The spring preload is at max.
    [​IMG]
    Chain tension was according to spec.

    I was in luck that the Biltema store was open (one of the few) on the national holiday, and they also sold (cheap) 520 chains!
    Great!
    It took me 7 hours to not being able to remove the old chain, nor get the new one on. Can't do everything with a Victorinox apparently.
    [​IMG]

    I did put epoxy putty on the worn chain slider, hoping it could last a couple of days.

    I was in luck, through some Facebook messages I got contacted by a very helpful guy from the area who came to pick me and the bike up, and we changed the chain! Wow, thanks so much John!

    Next day, after the epoxy had hardened, I did some test rides.
    Also asked the Yamaha dealer in Lulea if they had the part in stock, or could help make an emergency piece. They were less than interested. Wouldn't even take look at my problem.

    After 2km, it was still holding up:
    [​IMG]
    After 10km, it was gone.
    [​IMG]

    Back to the drawing board. I put in a rubber piece with a screw.
    [​IMG]

    It wears fast, but still functional after 30km.
    [​IMG]

    It was gone at 50km...

    Luckily I had found a farmstay nearby, with lovely cottages.
    I was hoping I could use some of their tools to make something out of the cutting board I had.
    (This is taken around midnight by the way, the sun doesn't go down on me!)
    [​IMG]

    I was in a lot of luck! The neighbour, Geirmund, was a former machinist, and had a very complete garage workshop.
    He made me a piece in delrin.
    (This piece held for 1800km, before it was worn up to the screw and thus fell off!)
    [​IMG]

    As this was an emergency repair, I didn't want to risk being stuck, so I waited the 4 days to get the OEM slider as a backup!

    Wow, finally I could hit some backroads again!
    By this time, I had lost precious days. So I couldn't do all of TET anymore. But with the "Kurviger" app I found plenty of other backroads which were slightly quicker to destination.
    [​IMG]

    Intermezzo: Swedish gas stations are extremely well equipped. Bolts, nuts, rods, spark plugs, Loctite, epoxy. They got it all.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Finland
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Norway
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Nordkapp
    I knew it wasn't that special, and that it wasn't even the most northern point (Knivskjellodden).
    But I hadn't imagined having to stand in line for 10 minutes to get on the parking, let alone see HUNDREDS of campervans. Many Germans and Dutch.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Some interesting bikes:
    Italian on 2-stroke supermoto:
    [​IMG]

    Guy on a Vespa, Luxembourg IIRC
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    From Finland to Norway and back, watch out for reindeer!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    I was checking on my chain slider every 100km, while fueling.
    At 1600km, it looked like there wasn't much left before it would wear to the screw.
    [​IMG]

    Not unexpected, at 1800km, it was gone! No problem, let's put the new OEM one in.
    [​IMG]

    Looked good at 30km, and some wear marks at 80km. Hmm, better order an extra one ahead, just to be sure I can reach home again.
    [​IMG]

    At 220km it looks just like at 80km. Perhaps I will reach Belgium after all!!
    Alas, at 300km, it was all gone! (Almost no wear between 80 and 220km, but entirely gone between 220-300km...) I got some deep grooves in the swingarm instead.
    (On this pic I had already started to put back the old slider, with the screw, so I could fix something to it).
    [​IMG]

    I didn't have time nor patience for this anymore. What could I do? I needed to be back in 5 days at the latest.
    Additionally, shortly before I had started to experience more and stronger vibration from the back. And my right blinkers (LED) suddenly didn't work anymore.
    Call it quits.
    I got some quotes to have it shipped to Belgium by truck. 2200€! That's more than I paid for it!
    How about I leave with someone, and pick it up on a trailer another time...
    But then I found out that there was the option of taking it from Piteå harbor to Terneuzen harbor, which is close to me, for around 200€!
    Let's do that!
    But, then they would need it before 16h00, or it wouldn't happen for 2 weeks. And that's in 50 minutes!
    Full speed ahead, supermoto cornering, I wore through some more metal getting to the harbor, just as the people were leaving. They were very helpful though and did a lot to help me!

    Ship loaded with tons of paper and wood pulp for export, and 1 broken motorcycle!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I'm taking the plane home. Stockholm looks nice. (The Arlanda airport sucks though. As Stockholm likes to prides itself to be the capital of Scandinavia, they better start making their airport more like Copenhagen's).
    (Snuck my helmet on board 2 flights, even though it was quite larger than carry-on permitted).
    [​IMG]

    Updates when I pick up the bike, and if I can get the packing list pictures back.
    #1
    NSFW, KLRalph, Rhode trip and 5 others like this.
  2. Swinefahrt

    Swinefahrt RooteR

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,005
    Location:
    Trou Du Cul, Tick's Ass
    Oh man, what a trip. Is that normal chain guide wear? So there isn't any off-road riding allowed in Belgium?
    #2
  3. arnoldus

    arnoldus Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    152
    Location:
    Belgium, Europe
    It wore through a brand new slider in less than 300km, that is certainly not normal. I'm unsure of why yet.
    I'm quite sure the sprockets are stock size. The chain was changed during the trip and was new. The chain tension was on the loose side, as recommended. The spring preload was on max.
    My luggage was around 20-25kg, and I was around 75kg.

    In Flanders, offroad riding is illegal, even on your own property.
    In Wallonia it is slightly more relaxed, but still off limits in most places.

    BTW, it wasn't all fun & dandy. I now have tinnitus.
    OEM exhaust. 36db SNR earplugs. Even bought a Nolan N104 along the way, which fit better than my old helmet. Still got ringing ears...
    #3
  4. Swinefahrt

    Swinefahrt RooteR

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,005
    Location:
    Trou Du Cul, Tick's Ass
    Is Belgium unique in Europe in this regard?
    #4
  5. arnoldus

    arnoldus Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    152
    Location:
    Belgium, Europe
    I think it's similar in Germany.
    #5
    spokester and cyclopathic like this.
  6. Guillaume M

    Guillaume M Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Oddometer:
    34
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    I think you dont understand what the TET is.

    The TET is based on the trans America trail. It is purposed to be a ride on dirt and off road trails for dual sport bikes or bigger bikes for those with the skills. The mission is to encourage people to travel light, off the beaten path.

    It would be nice if we could keep this road a challenge and not have it altered to suit people who got too big of a bike for their skills.

    Please dont ask for this amazing adventure to be dumbed down for the slowest kid in the class.
    #6
  7. arnoldus

    arnoldus Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    152
    Location:
    Belgium, Europe
    99,9999% of the parts I drove, as a matter of speech, could be done on a GS.
    You're welcome to go and try to do that 200m of trail yourself though. I wonder how you would tackle a dirt wall.
    #7
    squadraquota likes this.
  8. Project Mayhem

    Project Mayhem Moto Aficionado Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
    Oddometer:
    558
    Location:
    Coal Creek Canyon, CO, USA
    Loved your first installment & the title! Hope you can get the WR sorted and that your ears clear up...and great pictures!
    My wife (@Mrs Mayhem) wants to do a ride around the Baltic at some point, and we LOVE Belgian beer, so maybe we'll get to see some of this ourselves in the not too distant future.
    :beer
    (not sure how to say 'cheers' in Flemish...so Cheers/Sköl/Prost/Salúd/Sto lat!)
    #8
  9. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,909
    Great trip! Nice report! Sorry to hear about the slider problem. This seems to be a problem some WR250x bikes suffer more than others. The inmate moto mavericks has a thread over in the Thumpers section about this issue that he experienced on a very long, offroad trip, and how it eventually was solved. He was carrying much more luggage than you did, so perhaps the cause of your problem does not align well with his eventual diagnosis of what caused his problem, but it is still a good thread to read for ideas on what could cause this. Note: there is a section of the thread that goes off-topic into a debate over bike brands. Ignore that and keep reading and it comes back on topic! I hope you will post a follow-up item here in your thread and maybe in the Thumpers section when you have determined why your bike ate it's sliders so fast and how to keep it from happening again. This could be help to many WR250 owners. Thanks again for posting your story!
    #9
  10. RedBallRun

    RedBallRun Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    North Yorkshire, UK
    #10
  11. RedBallRun

    RedBallRun Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    North Yorkshire, UK

    @Guillaume M - you're right on the money there. The TET is not aimed at the "maxi-trail" with panniers and kitchen sink but at the lightweight (WR250R - KTM690) crowd with those skilled enough on a bigger bike welcome to take it on. A lot is great for a GS but we haven't made any attempt to grade the trails in difficulty so what's round the corner or over the hill may be an issue for the inexperienced.
    #11
    Guillaume M likes this.
  12. Kayakgk

    Kayakgk Long timer

    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,743
    Nice informative report. Seems like you met some really helpful people ( especially the guy with machine shop ). The views look gorgeous too. Thanks
    #12
  13. arnoldus

    arnoldus Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Oddometer:
    152
    Location:
    Belgium, Europe
    #13
  14. Tom VT86

    Tom VT86 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2016
    Oddometer:
    156
    Location:
    Antwerp, Belgium
    Nice ride report; it's nice to see you allways meet the right people right when you need them!

    Ps: Offroad is not illegal in Belgium. We still have some really nice offroad tours possible, it's only more difficult to find them since you are right more and more is getting illegal.
    #14
  15. OldManJoris

    OldManJoris Rider

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2014
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Belgium
    More on offroading in Belgium:
    It's illegal to ride offroad, period. That doesn't mean it's illegal to ride off-tarmac. Any road that is a registered road (so with a name) can be driven, as long as there's no sign denying access (private, agricultural, nature park, ...). There are a whole lot of gravel/sand roads that can be accessed. If there's no road name and other sign explicitly allowing access, you cannot enter with a motorized vehicle.
    #15
  16. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,333
    If it helps TAT (at least Kevin's GPX) has easy option and hard option alternatives. That way people with different skills on different bikes can still enjoy it.

    Visited provinces:
    [​IMG]
    Visited states:
    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. C_H_R

    C_H_R Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    35
    Location:
    Northern Germany - where the land is flat.
    Nice ride report! I love riding the swedish forrest roads - and it seems that I have to try the TET tracks there!

    Sorry about the problems with the chain slider. Some info on that:
    I have the WR250R - but it should be the same there. It is known to eat up the chain slider if chain tension is not adjusted correctly - having the chain on the loose side is a guarantee for rapid chain slider wear (as you encounterd).
    Be aware that Yamaha changed the adjustment procedure in the past. So your manaul may not contain the correct procedure.

    This is the latest known to me:
    [​IMG]

    With chain tension adjusted according to this procedure the chain slider reaches an acceptable lifetime: This is in use since 25.000km and about half worn now:
    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. Tocov

    Tocov Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    21
    Location:
    Belgium
    Referring to the offroad in Belgium, I'm riding every Sunday offroad in Flanders (region Zottegem - Wetteren), on tracks with or without a name.. if you show respect for the other users, like guys on horses, and you slow down or even kill the engine to let them pass by, you will never have a problem.. i'm doing it for 2 years now (on my own or max with 2) never had an issue.. the guys in groups (10-15) who don't respect hikers, bikers, etc, those are the ones who are f*cking it up for the others.. it has always been like that and it will always be, a big shame but what can we do about it if those guys don't wanna see that.. imo its very simple: respect one other and they will respect you! And thats what you can read on the TET website also..
    #18
  19. LittleEagle

    LittleEagle On&Off Road since '63

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Oddometer:
    130
    Location:
    NE wsCONsn
    Just a hunch on the slider problem, for what it's worth: if you replaced the chain and not the sprockets, it is quite probable that the two don't mate correctly, causing the chain to follow and arch up behind the the front sprocket, so the slider is virtually prying every chain link from the sprocket under certain load conditions. You didn't have the problem with the old chain, because it and the sprockets had worn-in together.
    Another possibility: If sprocket was removed during chain replacement, it may not have been replaced with the correct sequence of shims or spacers? This mis-alignment would also cause the chain not to come free of the sprocket as it should.
    #19
  20. LittleEagle

    LittleEagle On&Off Road since '63

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Oddometer:
    130
    Location:
    NE wsCONsn
    One more thing: early on, you say when you fit the new rear tire, "there was a little bit of chain bite into the tire". If this was not remedied, it would have caused the chain to run VERY hot, which is probably what wrecked the old chain, and possibly even destroyed the slider.
    #20