Illyria Raid on a 950SE

Discussion in 'KTM 950/990' started by GezwindeSpoed, Apr 10, 2016.

  1. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Been here awhile

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    Last year I did the Tuareg rally on my Husaberg FE570. The days were not that long and a bit to easy for my linking, I was missing the physical exhaustion I have had after a good rally day in the past. That was one of the reasons to buy a 950SE.

    Now I am preparing my bike for the Illyria Raid (roadbook rally of 7 days in the balkans, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Greece).
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    I already fitted a smaller front rim with a Pirelli Scorpion Rally tire with a UHD tube. On the rear I will use a mousse and a Mitas C02 tire.

    I fitted my roadbook holder already a few weeks ago. Because of this I had to move my odo meter. Furthermore I wanted a lighter light (I rarely ride in the dark) and the original one weighs a ton which is mounted directly to the handlebar. So I bought a cheap Chinees light and made it fit. And finally, I moved my ignition slot. Some (crappy Chineese cellphone) pictures:
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    #1
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  2. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Been here awhile

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    I put it on a scale yesterday, ready to race (including a spare front tube, tools, mousse on the rear, and of course a roadbook/trip meter). It had about 2L of fuel in the tank:

    Front: 95kg
    Rear: 102kg

    The original head light weights 1.5kg:D, this one is only 0.5kg.

    A test ride showed everything is ready to go except the front tire. It is a used Pirelli Scoripion rally but it is too rounded and does not bite enough. I am gonna try a Mitas C-21.
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  3. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Been here awhile

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    After some test rides I decided to change to front tire to a Mitas C-21. More side grip and hard compound, we will see how it behaves on rocks/gravel.

    The bike will go on transport this Saturday, and I will follow by plane on Wednesday.

    Ready to Raid...?

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    #3
  4. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Been here awhile

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    On transport to Greece.....
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    #4
  5. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Been here awhile

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    It was a great event, bike and body did good. They expected 10-20 participants but end up with >100. That was the reason they had to change the routes to find suitable accommodation. The days became a lot longer (which I liked). The new route:
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    Day 1
    Igoumenitsa (Gr) - Vlora (Al); 295km, 8h

    First 40km of asphalt and some gravel to the border. At the border of Greece is the gate open so I continue slowly. There's a man in a suit who signals to slow down which I do. The man starts screaming louder. Apparently, the meaning of the signalling in Greece is different. I have to show my passport and papers and apologize. Entering Albania is very easy and quick. Later I hear that the people who arrived later had to wait here for over an hour, I was glad I was the first.
    Then more and more off-road on fairly easy paths. Occasionally a drop of rain and a lot of water on the trails. There are three off-road parts separated by pieces of the asphalt. At one point we pass communist memorials / construction that I can remember of Albania rally 2012. At lunch, there is no organization, so I decided to get a coffee in the eatery opposite. The lady of the house is very happy and is trying to communicate. The coffee was delicious and cost 100LEK (70 cents). Lunch afterwards gives enough energy to fast driving. We come into a canyon with many crossings that I remember from the rally, this time it's cloudy and the colors are not as nice, but it remains a fantastic landscape. In the middle-of-no-where stands a white Mercedes with blue flashing light, the driver waves friendly. At the end of the last piece I got overtaken the first time and it is not far to the hotel on the seafront. We are there before the service truck so we drink coffee drink until they arrive. My bib mousse has died so I replace the wheel, top off the coolant and maintanance is done.
    All in all a relaxingday to start (choice of music adapted: P)
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  6. tsiou

    tsiou Ninja

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    Wow! Great video, dude! You totally nailed the rivers :D
    Keep up and enjoy the ride!
    #6
  7. lb1

    lb1 Adventurer

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    Can you elaborate a bit? How many miles did you manage to get out from one rear mousse? Also, regarding Mitas C-02, how many miles can you manage with one rear?
    #7
  8. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Been here awhile

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    I prepared 2 rear wheels. One with a Linswood WinX mousse and Mitas C-02 tire and the other with a Michelin M-02 mousse in a Michelin M 12 XC tire. Both mousse were not new and I do not keep a record of their uses. I measure their the circumference: 31.5cm and 32cm for the WinX and Michelin respectively.
    The WinX mousse died the first day after about 250km while I used it for at least 200km for test rides in Holland. The Michelin mousse stayed alive the remaining 6 days (2000km). I put it into the Mitas tire after day 5. So the Mitas was used on day 1, 6 and 7, for about 750km and is halfway its life I would say. The Michelin was used on day 2, 3, 4 and 5 for about 1650km and is 70% gone. These days contained a lot of tarmac but I did not drive faster than 100km/h.

    The Mitas is a bit wobbly on tarmac due to it tall knobs. With the Michelin I had the feeling I could scrape the footpegs. Off-road both tires had descent grip and no knobs were torn off. On the front I used a Mitas C-21 which performed pretty good. Sharp enough to give grip in mud and hard enough to withstand cornering on gravel and rocks. I used a UHD tube with 1.6 to 1.8 bar.

    I hope this is some useful info.
    #8
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  9. lb1

    lb1 Adventurer

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    Very useful, thank you!!
    #9
  10. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Been here awhile

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    Day 2
    Vlora (Al) - Tirana (Al); 310km, 10u

    The day start with some easy gravel paths. We pass old communist bastions and a few old MiGs. During lunch it started to rain and it does not stop we found out later. We're going over an tarmac pass which is so slippery that I have to drive on eggshells (is that an English expression?). Shutting gas provides a rear wheel breaking out, I'm happy when we're over it. We pass an old mining area, then the tunnel ... I have a nice LED lamp as a headlight, gives a lot of light off to be seen but you see nothing with it. On walking pace through the tunnel because I have no idea whether there is a curve or height difference inside.
    Somewhere near a dam Alessio, the photographer, I stop to switch my camera battery. Then the mud begins. Alessio follows me and together we drive through the mud puddles. At the highest point of the route (about 1600m) I'm starting to get really cold. Fortunately, the descent begins to Tirana and hopefully it will become warmer. It appears to be rush hour, what a madhouse. We leave the highway at one point and the road book says still 10km to follow the parallel road, but the waypoint of the hotel is only 100m further. We decide to drive to the waypoint, but this is to be found in a residential area, not a hotel. We decide to look up the hotel (to Stella) into my GPS. Appears on the other side of Tirana. Again through rush hour trafic we arrive at a small hotel, this can not be good for >100 people. So we get back to the highway exit and from there follow the road book, which ends in an industrial zone?!?!. A hotel near wants to call the organization, they show us the right hotel which is 11km back about 100m from the waypoint. Completely numb from the cold and shaking we arrive and I get a cup of coffee from Antal. First a hot shower, then hang up all the wet stuff. Then let's see what I can do on my ICO, there is water under the glass. The Albaneese mechanic proposed to cut the sealant and lift the glass, it works, using some silicone it can be closed. Furthermore, no maintenance today except to man (food, drink, sleep).




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    #10
  11. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Been here awhile

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    Day 3:
    Tirana (Al) - Razem (Al): 385km, 11h

    Today begins with very slow cobbled paths. Endless hairpins ensure that the speed is very low (1st or 2nd gear). If this is going on I will not be home before midnight. The 2nd off-road part is a lot faster and I am able to give some more gas on the gravel paths. On a junction another participant avertakes me and a stone escapes to my attention and I fell down. Get up and notice theat the brake pedal is a bit crooked and my bar is a bit twisted, but then I see the right side of my clothes: cow flung. Fortunately, there is near some grass so wipe it off as much as possible, bend pedal ack and we can go again.
    The 3rd part is the piece with the most beautiful nature of Albania towards the Theth valley. Whole pieces I feel alone in the world and see 10s of kilometers no other participants. It's quite a long piece but every time breathtaking views but slow going over boulders. I thought the morning already heard an unfamiliar knocking sound , it was not related motor so I did not care to much. But it seems to be getting more. I stop a few times to find out what it is. Wheel bearings are good, swingarm looks normal. I suspect my steering bearings but I feel no play. Eventually I discover that my rear suspension knocks on compression and extension. Now I'm going to watch also seems that the damping is a lot less. I try to drive as smoothly as possible and even sit down because it seems less knocking. But I do not like to sit down. In my head different scenarios are playing, one of which is that I can not drive and must be picked up by the pickup. This seems to no good option in this environment, so I hope that the shock still holds a while. At one point, the gravel road is freshly leveled and a few corners later I get the excavator and a pick-up. I have to wait a bit to pass and on the other side a Romenian driver is waiting in shorts.
    After breathtaking views I end on a nice tarmac road and there reappear some houses. Yes, I made it to the tarmac. On the tarmac and thus higher speed I notice is how bad the rear damping, but are definitely going to make it to the bivouac. In the last village down the mountain I recognize the sharp turn you have to make to go up the mountain from the rally. Thirty hairpin turns later I reach the bivouac tired but staticfied.




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    #11
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  12. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Been here awhile

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    Day 4:
    Razem (Al) - Plav (MNE) - Prishtina (RKS): 342km, 8h

    First slow going over boulders, then a road in construction so pretty fast gravel. I'll find out that sliding and drifting with a broken shock absorber is difficult. Albania out goes fairly quickly, but entering Montenegro takes a long time. There are about 20 people in front of me and I think it takes an hour before I got the right stamps.
    Off road in Montenegro is very nice, much less stone than Albania and beautiful Alpine scenery. The one snowy mountain peak after another. We get several hill climbs and I get a bunch of Brabo's on 2-strokes in sight. At the foot of a hill they are waiting and I pass them quickly because standing still on a slope is not my favorite pastime with the beast. Followed by many climbs through forests, one of which I can open the throttle complete through pine trees: yeahhhh! Halfway between an endless slope sits a man with a cigarette, he asks me to give a light, but I did not. Later I hear that there Ejay has left his lighter at him.
    Then follows the border to Kosovo. I am one of the first so it is nice and smooth, we have to buy insurance in Kosovo (green card is not valid), so English speaking officer asks how much more bikers are to come: one hundred !!!!!! ????
    Across the border begins the descent and you can see Kososvo, what a flat country. A lot of asphalt and occasional gravel path to restore your feet wet in the puddles. Off road is not much in Kosovo (even less than in NL). We pass a Gypsy community where I really did not feel at home. It is noticeable that the people here are a lot less friendly than in Albania. I look if I can see any war damage, but all homes are plastered and painted. Eventually a nice piece off road of about 10km, but for me they were can skip Kosovo from this route.
    The hotel is quite large and luxurious, I decide to clean my bike at the gas pump. Top up some coolant and tighten some spokes.
    In the evening two weddings are going onin the hotel. Beautiful women dressed in long dresses are outside or walk through the dining room to the toilet. It provides a nice contrast with the biker people, and tired neck muscles are slowly becoming more flexible.


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    #12
  13. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Been here awhile

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    Day 5:
    Pristina (RKS) - Tetovo (MK) - Pogradec (Al): 410km, 12h

    Because of too much snow in the mountains of Macdonie, it is not possible to drive off road. In the morning we get the customized road books and that starts with 235km on asphalt through Macedonia to Albania. It's rush hour and the road is straight. It starts again to be nice near the border of Albania, the mountains loom up and traffic is calmer.
    There is a choice of hard off-road or easier. Of course I go for the hard variant a special of 60km of Albania rally. It starts as usual with stones, but as soon as mud through dense forest. Because of all the rain meaning there are a lot of worn tracks. A known shortcoming of the LC8 is the engine flooding on woops, even downhill on cobblestones it suffered from this problem. If it is an obstacle at the bottom of the decent sometimes the engine dies. This happens to me here several times a small stream smooth with small trees and I have to drag the front wheel in the right direction. Now you feel the weight of it! A little further looms a huge puddle, I drive cautiously with my front wheel in there and going for ¾ below. I decide to go and see how deep it is further on. Some pieces come to my knees, in terms of depth, it should be no problem, but the ground is muddy and I'm alone. Then I find an opportunity to come only halfway into the shallower portion using the edge, that's good. A further obstacle is a tree on the road. Past participants have left the path passed down through the grove and then the path. I'm going to see, but see two tree stumps which I have to pass, quit tricky. Another participant on a 2-stroke comes along and goes easily over the tree and off he goes. Very cautiously I ride my front wheel of the small berm without it comes on the wrong side of the tree stump, I succeed beyond the tree and the path with some gas, phew. The hardest part is over and descend again.
    During lunch it is proposed to cut across on tarmac, but I want to do the last stretch road book. I thought this was mostly asphalt ...... Eventually using my last energie and with only one liter of petrol I arrive at the bivouac. That last part was 80km off road and certainly not flat or easy. The GPS track of this piece is not right I know the orga, so some extra tension to drive correctly. Only a few participants rode the entire route today. My rear tire was pretty worn (the last piece of gravel I gave some throttle) and I expect for tomorrow more mud so switch my Michelin for Mitas which I have driven only the first day. The Michelin mousse is fortunately still pretty firm and can put it back with some extra grease. With the help of team Schimmel I'm ready in an hour.

    #13
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  14. alvincullumyork

    alvincullumyork Ol Two Flags Supporter

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    That looks like a blast!
    #14
  15. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Been here awhile

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    Indeed it was the toughest, longest but also the best day (except for the first part) of the raid. I did not expect to have these kind of days during a non-competitive raid.
    #15
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  16. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Been here awhile

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    Day 6:
    Pogradec (Al) - Konitsa (Gr): 220km, 7h

    Today, the first day of the shorter ones, but certainly in the morning it is pretty though. Again much mud and eroded hillsides with wash-outs. On one of them is a participant felt exactly on the ideal route to the top, I can steer around pretty easy. Just before lunch, another big water crossing. The shore is quite steep and just before I hit a stone and fall flat on the shore. pull up I do not like in spite of the help of the audience, so I try to back up the bike but a stone is right behind the front tire. Eventually, I'll go and I can be an easier bank a little further upstream face on. Phoe, I need some rest.
    I put in 25L fuel in the tank so should easily reach the bivouac, but 170km is my light on. The last Albaneese LEKS I buy a few gallons of fuel. Apparently there is splashing on the rocks a lot of fuel out of the float bowls by the overflow or into the engine.The bivouac is a pretty mountain village with a hotel including pool. The assistance is not yet there so time for a few beers in the shade. The view is fantastic. The engine lust for oil and some cooling liquid.



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    #16
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  17. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Been here awhile

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    Location:
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    Day 7:
    Konitsa (Gr) - Igoumenitsa (Gr): 215km, 7h

    Today it was promised that it would be an easy day trip. And indeed the paths reminded me of the Hellas rally, easy gravel paths through the mountains with little navigation. The pace could be increased from touristic to more racy-er. However, it is very cold, I drive through a village and see 9 ° C on the thermometer. The air is quite imminent. Fortunately it will remain dry. In a rivier crossing I hit a big rock with my front wheel and step off side ways from my bike. The left side of my clothes gets soaked, this does not get really warmer! I got pretty cold hands but the trails ask for it to good sliding and drifting (as far as that goes with that broken damper). At the end I come back to the group of Smitma, with a little effort I can follow them. If they drive the wrong they may overtake me again. One more deeper river crossing next to the photographer and the off-road part is over.
    At lunch I sit next to a German rider at the table and talk about future rally plans, he already did Africa Eco Race. The food takesa long time to come and the serve out order is mixed up, perhaps by the slightly cross-eyed gaze of the maid is the causer. After the Greek salad I leave the rest of what it is (had enough meat this week) .After that many hairpins and villages to the port. 10km before the finish I see a car wash and let wash my bike for € 5 . Soon I get together with other participants who thought it to be a good idea. The car wash had a top day.
    In the evening a big dinner on the harbor with Greek salad, tsasiki, mousaka and something like 500g meat.



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    Final conclusion:

    The days were longer than previously indicated this was caused by the number of participants that was much larger than expected and therefore other accommodation had to be found. I found this great but can imagine it is not when you did not expect it. I found it a lot heavier than the Tuareg rally 2015, also because you had a new camp every day. Albania was very nice again and the people are still the most friendliest in the area. Montenegro asks for more an Kosovo can be skipped (no off road, unkind people). Macedonia no off road becasue of the weather can drive (snow in the mountains) which was a pitty.
    Rally people are more social than Raid men, they are still racing to be the first in the bivouac. Do not wait / see if anyone can overcome any obstacle with ease. They ride in groups, first comes the hurdle and stops again at the next refuel / coffee.
    The engine needed little maintenance. Points of attention: loss of cooling liquid, where does it go (overflow hose, oil remains clear). Engine flooding on steep rocky descents is really an issue. It causes problems when it is very technical after the descent when the engine stalls. And it also gives a high consumption, on day 6 after 170km the fuel light went on while this is normally at 250km. I already decreased the float level to see if that helps. Air filter was almost clean but it was not dusty.
    #17
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  18. brian619pattersn

    brian619pattersn Been here awhile

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    Looks awesome they need some of these in the states
    #18
  19. TravisGill

    TravisGill Been here awhile

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    Thanks for posting. I’m signed up for the same raid this September (2019) and your videos really helped me determine if I would be ok doing it on my 650. It won’t be as fun as those riding 250s but I wanted to travel through the Alps on my way home to Germany from Croatia and feel my 650 is a much better touring bike. Thanks again for posting your Raid!
    #19
  20. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Been here awhile

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    Have fun, looks like a very interesting route. You will be fine on your Beamer. Take it easy on the muddy/snowy parts.
    #20
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