First week of the TAT 2019. Not so much a ride report but some observations.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Copracer288, Oct 14, 2019.

  1. Copracer288

    Copracer288 How hard can it be?

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2015
    Oddometer:
    682
    Location:
    Bethlehem, PA
    Last week I completed the first week of the TAT. The "new" TAT starts in Ripley, WV. This starting point adds a lot of mileage to the Eastern part of the route. It will take 3 days to get through WV and VA at the recommended 200 miles/day. I finished the week in Tellico Plains, TN

    For the whole week in general but especially the first couple days you spend A LOT of time on pavement. The pavement is awesome as it is just one great twisty road after another. The main reason I mention it however is that this must be taken into consideration when selecting which tires to use.

    I had a Mitas E0-9 on the rear that had about 500 miles on it and a Pirelli MT-21 that had about 3500 miles on it. The Pirelli was looking a little rough but I figured it could make it a week in the gravel. Stupid mistake on my part. After 3 days the Pirelli was wiped out to the point it was dangerous. We were just outside of Boone, NC and I found a shop that had a Dunlop D605 in stock (and no other 21" DOT tires). Beggars can't be choosers. Although I'm not the biggest fan of the 605, it turned out to be an excellent choice for the rest of the trip. There is hardly any mud anywhere on the route. Even when it rained there really wasn't any mud. The dirt roads are very hard pack with some loose gravel. By the end of the week and 1262 miles later the 605 shows no signs of wear and the E0-9 is smoked. Roughly 1700 miles is all I got out of the E0-9. It worked well but wore out very fast. My point here is, at least for the eastern part of the TAT, DO NOT use knobbies. A good 50/50 tire is really all you need. My bike was a nicely set up '17 DR650 I pushed it a bit in the gravel and road it like a sport bike on the pavement.

    My final observation worth mentioning is that although I only went for a week this year (I'm picking back up next year and will do another 2 weeks), I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing. I think if I were to do the TAT end to end in one shot, it would take away from the experience really. I think it's too easy to just start munching miles and take the beautiful scenery for granted. It started happening by the end of week 1 so I can see how that could be the case when completing the whole trip at once. Granted the scenery will differ as you move more west but I like the idea of breaking up the trip into chunks. It gives me something to look forward to as well. I'm glad for this perspective as I don't have a choice anyway!
    #1
    Thinwater, Davidprej, GAS GUY and 6 others like this.
  2. Critic

    Critic More or less!

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,105
    Location:
    West of the Illinois, heart of the state!
    Your review is right on! Tires too! I did it in 3 parts mostly with MT-21's. One other point I have noticed about TAT RR's, they are more Trans American Tracks and not one Trail. (either Sam's or Kevin's) Each person's or group's ride are making their own track across the USA, so now it is your turn.
    #2
  3. SloSolo2

    SloSolo2 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,021
    Location:
    Fort Mill, SC
    @Copracer288
    What kind of fuel mileage did you get? What is your carb setup?
    Plans to ride an additional segment this year? Will they survive covid19?
    #3
  4. Copracer288

    Copracer288 How hard can it be?

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2015
    Oddometer:
    682
    Location:
    Bethlehem, PA
    I got a pretty consistent 42-45 mpg.

    I’m running the stock carb with JD jet kit, “summer” needle, clip in the 4th slot, 150 main jet (Also FMF header and Leo Vince muffler). I think this setup is a little to the lean side which is what I wanted.

    I am still planning to pick it back up in late September for two more weeks. Hopefully the virus doesn’t screw that up. This year I’m planning on taking my 790 Adventure R. The DR did fine but I’d like a bit more comfort and wind protection this time.
    #4
    boulet_boulet and SloSolo2 like this.
  5. SloSolo2

    SloSolo2 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,021
    Location:
    Fort Mill, SC
    Was 200 miles a day on this section pretty easy? We generally ride 120 -150 on a Saturday without putting much effort into it but that's on mostly flat paved straight (relative to WV) roads.
    #5
  6. Copracer288

    Copracer288 How hard can it be?

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2015
    Oddometer:
    682
    Location:
    Bethlehem, PA
    Yeah, it wasn't much trouble at all. There is a lot of pavement in that first week. We'd usually get on the road by around 0900 and we were always done before dark. We did ride at a brisk pace and didn't really stop much. If you're more of a "stop and smell the roses" type ride you could just get an earlier start. The 200 miles per day is only important if you want a convenient hotel at the end of the day. My buddy didn't want to camp so we did hotels every night. For the next leg I convinced him to do some camping. Probably not every night but we'll mix it up.
    #6
    SloSolo2 likes this.
  7. SloSolo2

    SloSolo2 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,021
    Location:
    Fort Mill, SC
    I should probably try to be less focused on getting to the end of the route. I figure 300 wouldn't be out of the question for an 11hr day. You would only need to average 35mph.
    Thanks for ther info. Hope your ride doesn't get the rona.
    #7
    Copracer288 likes this.
  8. Copracer288

    Copracer288 How hard can it be?

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2015
    Oddometer:
    682
    Location:
    Bethlehem, PA
    300 certainly isn't out of the question but you would have to really hustle. A lot of the gravel is roads cut along the side of the mountains with pretty tight switchbacks and some of those get a surprising amount of traffic so you're average speed will drop considerably.
    #8
    SloSolo2 likes this.