Northern eXposure - gold roads, wilderness trails, and bacon.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JMo (& piglet), May 23, 2017.

  1. BCBackRoads

    BCBackRoads Travels with Gumby

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    580
    Location:
    Kelowna, BC
    Great Report! I enjoyed it immensely. Thanks for posting.
  2. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    11,684
    Location:
    New Melbourne, Newfoundland
    Super!:happay
  3. JoToPe

    JoToPe JoToPe

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Oddometer:
    233
    Location:
    Burleson, Texas
    Smashing! An amazing and wonderful RR!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  4. Arne61

    Arne61 Traveler

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2014
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Great report, great pics!
  5. Patobez

    Patobez Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    AWESOME! Thanks Jenny for taking us on the journey!
  6. wrussell61

    wrussell61 Card Carrying Cult Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2014
    Oddometer:
    128
    Location:
    Texas (or Tejas)
    Awesome ride report!
  7. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    940
    Location:
    Idaho
    Great ride report Jenny. Thanks for taking the time to post it all.
  8. Drumbrakes

    Drumbrakes Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2015
    Oddometer:
    790
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    I've only just caught the last few days of this RR and am about to start from the beginning. I'm sure I will enjoy reading it. Between this and the 12 day TAT boys, it's the closest I'm going to get to a lengthy ride this year.
    However I hope you enjoyed riding it far more that any reader. It was a shame to read that you hadn't actually got the highest road in the US, but that leaves something for the next trip doesn't it?

    I miss Motel Waffles. (If I ever quit my day job and open a motel, that's what I'll call it!)
    However CharlieManx has bought a home waffle machine and is gradually perfecting her recipe and technique.

    Cheers,
    DB & CM
    JMo (& piglet) and juno like this.
  9. juno

    juno Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2014
    Oddometer:
    2,085
    Location:
    Jupiter
    The word brilliant just doesn't seem to cut it anymore when describing your epic rides Jenny. I will have to resort to wicked awesome, words I haven't used from my boston roots in ages.
    I am glad you have resolved your photobucket issues and I appreciate the effort involved.
    How many miles are on your CB now? It is certainly one of the most battle tested X out there for sure.
    Can you sum up what maintenance and any issues you have done to the bike up to this point and any future mods you have in mind?
  10. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,438
    Location:
    California

    Hi Juno - and everyone, thank you for your kind words!

    I realise I'm in a privileged position to be able to take these extended trips from time to time, and certainly part of the pleasure is in assembling my thoughts and photos into some sort of coherent [and hopefully entertaining] story that others can enjoy...

    My bike has covered just under 25,000 miles now - and it was converted almost immediately to LEVEL 3 after the initial 1500 miles (when I went to visit Harold in Oregon to pick up my engine guard ;o)

    I don't want to jinks it, but so far the bike has been utterly reliable in every regard - not even suffering the blown turn-signal running light filaments that affected the Trans-Am 500 bike - albeit the only 'mechanical' of that particular trip, and I only mention it as I had to come up with something at the time!


    General maintenance

    With regard to maintenance - the oil change intervals prior to this trip have been at 600 miles, 6000* miles, and again at 12,000 miles - when I also elected to get the valves checked at a dealer just incase any were going out of spec (turns out they were all fine) - as I knew I'd be well over 20,000 miles by the time I got back home again this summer.

    I also changed the air-filter for the first time at 12,000 miles (the recommended interval) as part of that pre-trip service in May this year, not least as it was pretty dirty by then, and will need to change my current filter again now I'm back home.

    *note. although the handbook suggests 8000 mile oil changes, my first 6000 miles of ownership included the multi-day CBXpo ride which was pretty arduous, so I felt it prudent to change the oil and filter prior to my next multi-day trip - which encompassed 3000+ miles through the Nevada, Utah and Arizona desert in September, swiftly followed by the infamous Rubicon Ride of course, which required a fair bit of revving and heavy clutch work as you might imagine!

    During this trip itself, I changed the oil & filter again at around the 9000 mile mark, and also fitted new front brake pads in Colorado Springs (the originals weren't dead, but were pretty worn by then - around 21,000 miles as I recall). I also changed the original rear pads in Las Vegas another 2000 miles later, as those really were pretty shot by now (see the photo on the previous page - Day 37) - for info. I do tend to trail-brake the rear into corners quite often [especially on the dirt] as that is my preferred riding style.


    Tyres

    Tyres wise, I have exclusively used Continental TKC80s on this bike since the Rally Raid conversion - it's what we used for development originally and continue to recommend, not least as personally speaking I find they work very well indeed on this bike in the role it was re-designed for... Yes they might wear a little more quickly than some other 'all-terrain' brands, but I find the soft compound very reassuring on paved roads (especially in the wet) and at the same time they offer great grip and predicability on the dirt almost everywhere, other than really muddy [clay] conditions perhaps.

    I've typically changed my tyres around the 5000 mile rear and 7000 mile front mark - although I got as little as 3500 miles from a rear TKC80 on the Trans-Am bike during the first half of the TAT ride from the east coast to Colorado Springs; but conversely during this most recent trip, I actually managed to eek out over 9000 miles from the rear TKC80 - and once again, Apex Motorsports could comfortably pay their rent again after my visit recently...


    Future requirements...

    With regard to any future maintenance and modifications - the bike is pretty much dialled in perfectly for the way I like to ride now, so there is nothing much I need or would want to change... I will need to get the valves checked again at some point, but it still seems to be running perfectly fine at the moment.

    My Rally Raid engine guard is now comprehensively trashed - although still perfectly serviceable I might add, it's just a bit bent and chipped after the Rubicon and one or two more fruity encounters this trip - so I'd like to replace that sooner rather than later. I'm also going to continue with the development of the high front-fender conversion (for non-ABS bikes you understand, a high fender simply won't fit with the rigid hose on the ABS models unfortunately) - although personally speaking I actually prefer the styling of our current low fender.

    I'd also like to develop an upgraded headlight option (certainly for the earlier 2013-15 models) - I kicked a few ideas around with Chris at MotoMinded when I was in Colorado Springs over the summer, and we've got something on the back-burner that will certainly be a massive improvement - we just want/need it to work [visually] with the existing headlight surround too ideally, to keep the factory look and turn signals etc.

    Otherwise, as an ADV bike, I think as it stands it is pretty much damn near perfect already - it has all the on-road ability you realistically would ever need for long-distance and multi-day touring, and is a hoot a scratch on twisty back-roads too; while in LEVEL 3 guise, is far more manageable (and ultimately capable) off-road than any other 'Adventure' twin I can think of...

    I love it!

    Jenny x
    crashkorolyk, garzan, ross and 3 others like this.
  11. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    11,684
    Location:
    New Melbourne, Newfoundland
    Just out of curiosity have you ever spent any time on a 640 Adventure?
  12. juno

    juno Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2014
    Oddometer:
    2,085
    Location:
    Jupiter
    Thanks for the response Jenny!

    I have followed all your trips on the X and the info you provided was as I expected but it is good to see it all in one place. I purchased mine and converted it to the level 3 kit at 600 miles because of your experience of rock steady reliability. I just completed a 5000 mile cross country trip and though I didn't do as much of the official TAT as I would have liked the one thing I never had to worry about was the reliability of the bike. I finished the conversion the day before I left so there were a few adjustments to make on the road concerning the shorty levers, bark busters, etc. I also never got the rear suspension quite dialed in correctly, it was more of a case of learning about the bike while riding.
    I was very impressed by the smoothness, fueling and gearing of the little twin. I know you have gone on about it but it was nice to experience it in person. I don't know how Honda did it and if it was intentional or not but I find it just about perfect. 1st gear may be a bit snatchy on the road but is just about right off road.
    I did go with a shinko 805 rear as I found the TKC 80 rears on my 690 were good for only 3-4k and I still have a few K to go on the shinko. I shipped the bike back to FL as I left for england as soon as I got back. I am waiting until I return to write something up so I can go over the bike more closely to see how it made out.
    I did get quite a few questions about 'What is that? Is it an africa twin? Is it a BMW?" Most folks that do not follow your trips have no idea Honda even makes the bike.

    Now that I have the TAT out of my system I am looking forward to doing the CDT/BDR's and some of the tracks on your excursions.

    Thanks again for sharing!

    ross likes this.
  13. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,438
    Location:
    California
    Hi Skibum - I've ridden a 625 Enduro in Morocco (for a day, until it something in the top end shit itself...), but not the Adventure version no...

    I must admit I was actually tempted to buy one of the last 640A models back in early 2008, but ended up getting the new Yamaha XT660Z instead - which ultimately led on to, well, you know where... and eventually to here pretty much!

    Jx
  14. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    11,684
    Location:
    New Melbourne, Newfoundland
    I get you, for me the 640A has been pretty much perfect machine for on or off-road and tends to be my go to out of 4 machines I own. Now that it is 11 years old I occasionally contemplate a replacement but have yet to land on anything. I rode a 625 Enduro in the Rally Mongolia which was nice as it was the same motor and frame as mine even though the single front rotor dumped me a few times from tipping in. Your time on the 500 gives me new ideas.
    Ready to roll
    [​IMG]
    JMo (& piglet) likes this.
  15. docwyte

    docwyte Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,569
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    I had a 640A for awhile and loved it. Really only the true mid weight dual sport out there, at least in the USA. Wasn't the greatest on the slab tho and my riding time meant I was spending more time on the slab. So I sold it and got a 990A instead. I still miss the lighter weight of the 640A tho, I'm hoping the new KTM 790A gets closer to the weight of the old 640A....
  16. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    11,684
    Location:
    New Melbourne, Newfoundland
    I don't mind mine on the slab at all, it spends too much time on there anyhow
  17. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,438
    Location:
    California
    Well, I've just spent the last week shortlisting and assembling all my photos and videos into an AV presentation based on the above ride report, and I have to say, I'm pretty pleased with the result!

    [​IMG]

    It is essentially a 'highlights reel' from the detailed daily report above, using animated slides and video clips - and I'll be debuting it this coming weekend at the Overland Event in Oxford UK...

    blurb.

    presentation date: Saturday 2nd September 2017
    presentation time: 12.30 - 2.00pm
    presentation title: Northern eXposure

    presentation description: The debut of Jenny Morgan’s brand new audio-visual travel presentation - which highlights her recent solo overland trip through Canada and the bordering United States onboard her Rally Raid LEVEL 3 CB500X Adventure bike.

    Riding almost non-stop over 11,000 miles in 39 days - Jenny chooses to navigate the road less travelled, and explores the wilderness either side of of the US border.

    During this five and a half week journey, she battles though extreme weather and long days in the saddle - exploring scenic paved highways and gnarly mountain trails, and can now count moose, bears and mosquitoes amongst her first-hand encounters with mother nature.

    Join Jenny as she recounts her latest epic journey complete with a feature-length video/slideshow, with hints & tips and recommendations, tailored towards fellow motorcycle travellers.


    I'll then be heading back to the USA later in September, and will be presenting at the Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting in Mariposa California over the weekend of 21-24th Sept.

    It is also my intention to be at the Giant Loop Volcano Camp the following weekend, for a more informal presentation about this trip and the Rally Raid CB500X in general.

    I hope to see some of you along the way!

    Jenny x
  18. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

    Joined:
    May 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    11,684
    Location:
    New Melbourne, Newfoundland
    Mofrid and JMo (& piglet) like this.
  19. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,438
    Location:
    California
    A nice summary of my original Trans-Am 500 trip here on the Bennetts BikeSocial online magazine, together with some photos of the Colorado sections of the TAT that I was finally able to ride this summer during the return leg of my Northern Exposure ride!

    Plus do check out their related features profiling Rally Raid Products, and a dedicated test of the CB500X Adventure conversion.

    Jx
    crashkorolyk and Hi-De-Ho like this.
  20. Thaihaggis

    Thaihaggis n00b

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2018
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    Thailand
    Brilliant report and outstanding photo's...........