My first adventure ride - the TAT

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by PittsDriver, Jul 4, 2015.

  1. blakemuhhfukn

    blakemuhhfukn n00b

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    She's a beaut!! I shot a quick message to my local dealer who I bike shop with frequently... probably a little too frequently if I'm honest. Hopefully I can get the ball rolling and get some plans and set-ups going for late fall. Here in Texas the summer is just too warm to go out for stuff like this but come October-November, while most of you up north are closing up shop for late Fall early Winter, it'll be a high in the 70's and a low in the 60's. Can't wait!
    I saw the GS, which I am a big fan of! I test rode one with BMW not too long ago and while I'd definitely own one, it wouldn't be anytime soon. While I'm still young I have more interest in the s1000rr than the GS. I have convinced my lower back that it is totally possible to sports tour on the 1krr!
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  2. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    https://www.s1000rrforum.com/forum/bmw-s1000rr-general-discussion/77234-rr-rr-ride-report.html
  3. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    I've commented here that if I did the TAT again, I'd probably do it on my 1200GS. I don't think I'd feel that way had I not gone to the two day off-road school at the BMW facility in Greer SC and then put that training to some use since. That training was very confidence inspiring while using their bike and no worries about dropping it (which might have happened a few times during the class). Each kind/size of bike offers a slightly different experience on the TAT but as I've mentioned before, 95% of the ride can be easily done on a bike ADV bike. Smaller bikes really rip in the harder sections but then again, when you're thousands of miles from home and thousands of miles from the end of the ride; and hundreds of miles from a medical recovery - are you really going to go ripping though the gnarly bits anyway?
  4. scout68

    scout68 Been here awhile

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    Pitts....
    I bought a ‘15 KLr almost brand new. My thinking was that,although I’d been away from riding for several years, the KLr would be a bike I could have reasonable mechanical skill with, plenty of torque/power for my riding ability, and basically I could ride it on any bdr or tat and make it.....provided I didint go all stunt rider wheelie man crazy on it.
    It’s easy to get all caught up in the “if you don’t have at least 70 horsepower then you’re SOOOo underpowered....” business.

    So to prepare for the trips, I’ve spent the last two years practicing, fixing, servicing, re-tiring, and generally doing every skill session I can find on the KLr. Yes, I would much rather have an r1200gsa. Yes I now get bored sometimes with the agricultural nature of the KLr. But I still have a hard time selling the tractor. And it’s been paid for from day one.

    Hard to beat. Until I have about 15k to spend on the gsa.

    Ride safe. Loved your RR.
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  5. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    I think my KLR was really the perfect bike for the trip. The GS better on the long stretches of unpaved road cruising; the WRR better on the difficult sections; the KLR for all of it.

    Thanks again for the kind words on the RR.
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  6. Buckee

    Buckee Scott

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    Holy crap, that’s brilliant. Do the TAT on a tractor. I’m retiring soon, this needs some thought...

    @scout68, sounds like you have it figured out. Have a good adventure.
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  7. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Adventurer

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    Thanks A LOT for this RR!!!! I just spent a rainy, crappy Sunday reading the whole thing. And as someone who recently turned the big 5-Oh, and who also has had some friends not make it this far, we all need to do what we can, when we can do it. I really like the quote "Enjoy Yourself, Its Later Than You Think".

    As someone who can fall into analysis-paralysis, I am finding it difficult determining what's the perfect bike. It's good to know that you think that lots of bikes would have no problem with 95% of the TAT. I guess like many, I'm trying to find that "unicorn" bike that will do it all. Coming from a mostly dirt background, I feel like almost all non-dirt bikes are pigs. That said, should I buy a street legal bike, I do know that about 350 days a year will be short trips around the house...post work decompression rides for mental health...looking for excuses to run errands. Due to work, I might be able to squeeze in some long weekend type trips, and maybe even one day a partial TAT. So what's the do all bike for that?

    I've considered many.....

    Honda Africa Twin (auto tranny intrigues me, but sort of a heavy pig to me)
    Honda NC750X (again, auto tranny, great commuter bike, prob way over it's head with anything more then a gravel road, also sort of a pig)
    Ducati Desert Sled
    KTM 790 Adventure R (might be the unicorn)
    KTM 690 Enduro (prob not too comfortable for longer street rides)

    If all your current bikes were stolen tonight, and you could only get one bike, what would it be?
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  8. Addapost

    Addapost Been here awhile

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    I just did the TAT solo on a Honda crf250L and feel that size (wr250r too) is perfect. I wouldn’t want to have done that trip alone on a bigger bike. Having said that, my next bike is going to be that 790 Adventure R.
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  9. WalterMitty2

    WalterMitty2 Adventurer

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    Do you have a RR?

    If I was smaller I might consider the 250's (CRF or WRR) but at 6'1" and 250+ (without riding gear on) I think I'd be too big.
  10. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

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    DR650 might be a compromise. Not too heavy, plenty of power, lots of aftermarket stuff. Easy to find used ones. New one isn't that expensive. Simple. I agree with the previous post. A 250 might be the best choice for a TAT ride. I own an NC700, WAY to big and fat. How heavy of a bike do you want to pick up....loaded.
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  11. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Thanks for the kind words WM! Asking about the perfect bike is like asking about the perfect woman - it depends on what makes a long term relationship work for you. A KLR is a perfect bike for this ride - big gas tank, fair stator power for your electrical stuff, comfortable for all day in the saddle, will do 80 mph for long paved stretches and climb like a torquey billy goat over rocky climbs - but it doesn't do any of the extremely well and if a lot of kick off the throttle is really important to you the KLR will disappoint. A 14/47 drive will help a lot but it'll still leave you wanting for more power if you are a adrenalin junkie. I did the TAT on a KLR and it was fine but not what I'd call exciting but then, it's the ride that's exciting regardless of what you ride - which is why most people over think this.

    I just finished the COBDR with a KTM 690 Enduro R. Hot snot what a great bike for that ride. Twice the HP of a KLR, 100 lbs lighter, will carry everything you need and romp anywhere on the TAT. It's got a light output stator and smallish (3g) gas tank so won't go the max distance you need between gas stops on that TAT but did fine on the COBDR where the most I needed was about 140 miles. It's twice as expensive as KLR and won't do anything you can't do on a KLR with enough skill but it's hoot to ride, uh, energetically. And, even with the Seat Concepts seat on it it felt like I was sitting on a torture device making for much more frequent stops.

    I now own a WR250R which would be a challenge for the TAT because of the longer road stretches but is a great lightweight ADV bike. Really big stator for your heated clothes and electrical stuff, bullet proof bike in every respect, carries my stuff well and will tackle terrain like an enduro bike. It comes with a 2g tank but up to a 4.7g is readily available making it good for nearly 300 miles.

    I think an Africa Twin would be a great bike for the TAT as would a BMW 800/850GS or even a 1200GS. I just rode the passes in Colorado again on the COBDR and they are easier now then when I rode them in 2015 on this TAT ride. Cinnamon was a breeze. California and Hurricane were a little harder and coming down Corkscrew Gulch was an attention getter but very rideable on anything with real off-road cred. I personally wouldn't have much fun on those sections on a Versys, Vstrom, NC750X or such but anything with a bit more adv credibility would be OK if you can ride it with some skill.

    Contact me by PM and I'd be happy to talk about my experiences with you.
    scout68 likes this.
  12. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    A DR650 is a legendary choice for the TAT. But here's the thing - if anything the TAT has gotten a bit easier over the last several years as northern Nevada and the most gnarly high Colorado Passes have been bypassed. Sam Corerro is trying to accommodate the folks that want to take these rides on ADV bikes vs the original intent to ride it all on a dirt bike. He dropped Tomichi and Hancock passes off the ride several years ago and goes through Marshall Pass. He dropped off all the deep sand in northern Nevada and Black Dragon Wash in Utah because people were struggling too much there. The punch line is that you really don't need a read enduro bike to ride the TAT and enjoy all of it. And my point in previous posts is that enjoying 90+% of the TAT on a big ADV bike is entirely possible and really, isn't the most sensible thing to do is look for the bike that'll do 90% of it well and maybe struggle with the other 10%?

    But to now contradict myself, being less than sensible can be fun too and people have done the TAT on a side car hack, CT90s, Groms, and just about anything else on two wheels and enjoyed the challenge of that.

    The best advice anyone can get is to just get a decent ADV bike and go ride it. The experience on anything you choose will way outweigh anything related to the bike you picked as long as it's any of the worthy choices and you have some skill in riding it and repairing it.
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  13. scout68

    scout68 Been here awhile

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    And the link to your COBDR RR is where?????
    You’re holding out.

    After you TAT RR was so enjoyable, I would love to have your thoughts and musings from the COBDR.

    Thanks again.

    ...and I’m currently hunting a DR.
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  14. MotoPet

    MotoPet Been here awhile

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    Hi Scout68,
    I you want to know how a DR 650 is doing on the TAT you can take a look at my RR from 2018.

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/tat-old-and-new-mixed.1361161/

    Did the TAT from East to West and used a mix of the Old and New TAT route.
    The new route as far as I have been using it is big bike friendly.
    Although I enjoyed it as well, I preferred the Old route and can only recommend to do that one with a bike which is not too big.
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  15. scout68

    scout68 Been here awhile

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    Motopet,
    I have already read and re-read your TaT RR. Your pics and your reporting were great, and I’m sure I’ll go back to it again as I tend to reread these reports quite a bit.

    Thank you for the link and the info. You did an outstanding job.

    Curious, if you have to pick a good bike for the Old TAT with its sand and higher level of technical terrain, what would it be ?
  16. MotoPet

    MotoPet Been here awhile

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    Scout 68,
    thanks for the kind words on the RR.

    It is as the other guys say, for most parts even big bikes are good, just some sections you will maybe have trouble with.
    Of course based on the skill level. I have seen people doing incredible things on GS 1200.
    When you look on the old route from Sam and gpsKevin, they are often the same. Although gps kevins classifications leave sometimes questioning if he really ever has done that stretch, it is a fairly good indicator (with some exemptions) for what to come.

    As long as I stayed away from the red marked sections it was ok.
    The one time it definitely got too much was on the Alpine trail in CO (not the Alpine Loop) which was red.
    On the other hand these sections (single trail) are interesting.
    There have been a many times where I thought that I'm glad that I'm not on a bigger bike and only a few times wanted to have a smaller bike.
    Never felt the need for the high speeds and the short stretches I have been using the HWY it was ok to go a bit slower.

    For my understanding the DR 650 was a good compromise. Still heavy but not as bad as a KLR, but the carburetor was a downside.
    Up side compared to the KTM 690 is that the DR is more comfortable and not to forget much cheaper to get and to repair if anything goes wrong.
    So if you throw it in the ditch it doesn't hurt so much from the financial point.
    If seating comfortable is not such a high priority and money is also not the problem than the KTM 690 is possible the best bike right now. (Fueling needs to be sorted as going through Nevada has long stretches.)

    The unicorn is not there and due to all these pollution rules it will never be.

    I'm planning to do the CDR and kind of the PCT the coming year and will use again the DR650.

    If you want to know anything particular just shoot me a pm.
    scout68 likes this.
  17. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Jeez man, I just got back on Saturday, LOL. Give me a few days and I'll have something up. I took a lot of photos and did the week in an unconventional manner and it worked out well. Glad to hear you like the reports.
  18. scout68

    scout68 Been here awhile

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    No pressure my good man. Just giving you a hard time.

    Love your RR's and pics.

    Will be glad to enjoy once you've got it up...I always learn alot from RR's like yours.

    Ride safe
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  19. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Fuse lit.... Supporter

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    Heck, I took my S1000RR out on a two day romp through West Virginia where I did a 350 mile and a 400 mile day on it. Not exactly a touring ride but nice to know I could still do that like I did back in my 20's. I just turned 61. You can find my ride report on the S100RR on that forum. I think I called it my "RR RR" or some such.
    scout68 likes this.