Pan American Highway: September 2019 - May 2020

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Matthew.chizz, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. Matthew.chizz

    Matthew.chizz Adventurer

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    As of the end of September 2019 I will begin my 9 month ride from Saskatchewan, Canada to Ushuaia, Argentina on my 2005 Kawasaki KLR 650. This trip has been on my bucket list since my older brother, Mark had done this ride in 2016. His thread is know as “Prairies to Patagonia” if any of you followed that along. I actually ended up flying to Peru and renting a Honda Tornado 250 for three weeks and put well over 2,000km on it with Mark while he was down there. Anyways, I will create a thread for my bike progress, ride plans and a ride report.

    I picked up a second hand KLR in the spring of 2018. The bike was basically new with only 5,000km on it. Since then I put about 4,000km on this past summer. The previous owner had already done the famous "doohickey" every KLR owner should be aware of. The previous owner had also put in a Dynojet Stage 1 kit in that came with the Stage 2 kit as well, that I still have yet to do. The bike also had brand new front and back Kenda K761's that I really don't mind and have been holding up really well but I will be looking for a new set of knobbies before I leave in the fall. Any suggestions? Previous owner also added a K&N air filter that has just been cleaned and oiled for the upcoming spring and a Supertrapp IDS2 slip on exhaust that I just repacked. Since then, I have added a few must haves but still have a few things the KLR needs before I take off on my trip. This past winter I ordered a new AGV AX-8 DS EVO Wild Frontier helmet to upgrade from my Icon Alliance helmet. As well, I transferred my Sena20s EVO to my new AGV helmet. While I ordered the new helmet I also ordered a new Klim Apex jacket and Oxford Heaterz Premium Adventure grips that I already installed this winter. To keep busy during the winter months going to school and not being able to ride, I also installed a Givi top case that Mark had passed down to me. Since I mounted this on the rear rack, I had to relocate the stock tool kit that comes with the KLRs. Mark gave me a really good idea to mount a "welding rod case" in front of the skid plate. So I went down to my local Princess Auto and picked up a "welding wire spool case". It is water proof, made of some sort of durable rubber plastic material, and it mounted very easily. In here, I now have the stock tool kit (that will have to be replaced with better quality tools before I leave), a spare spark plug and 30ft of 5050 paracord. I also did the Eagle Mike drill-through subframe kit which replaced the upper and lower subframe bolts (also another replacement kit that every KLR owner should be aware of) and last but not least some cheap knock off "CNC foot pegs" and although they were cheap I think they will be a big upgrade from the stock rubber foot pegs. Have a Joe Rocket tank bag and a Garmin GPS on the KLR as well.
    Some things I still need, but am open to suggestions are:
    - Crash bars (Dirtracks full body engine crash bars, just ordered)
    - Rear panniers (Dirtracks heavy duty rear panniers, just ordered)
    - New seat (Seat Concepts "Comfort" kit)
    - Skid plate (Aluminum to replace the stock plastic one if necessary?)
    - Center stand (Don't have one, is it necessary?)
    - Side bags (Hard or soft bags, brands?) Edit: I just ordered a set of Giant Loop Mototrekk soft panniers.
    - RAM phone mount
    I'm sure I am missing more but that's all that comes to mind right now.
    I will attach a few photos of the KLR from last fall before I parked it, and a current photo waiting for everything to be reassembled for spring!

    As of right now the plan is to meet Mark (He lives in the Vancouver, B.C area) on September 16th, 2019. From there, Mark will be joining me for roughly a month to ride the Continental Divide Trail all the way from southern Canada to Baja, Mexico. The rest of the trip as of right now is just a rough outline.
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    #1
  2. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer Supporter

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    I am very intrigued by your trip. I would love to do a ride like this but am completely ignorant of the nessasary procedures for traveling to and through foreign countries beyond just having a passport. My 06 Bmw F650 Dakar is setup for a trip like this and last year performed flawlessly on a 10,000 mile+ Alaska trip.

    Please elaborate more on what is needed for the countries you need to enter and how you will address the Darien Gap region.
    #2
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  3. Matthew.chizz

    Matthew.chizz Adventurer

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    I have Saskatchewan Government Insurance so I will have my bike plated as continuous until I enter Mexico and I will then cancel it since i will no longer be covered, but I will have the registration paper that says my plates are “continuous” until the following year. From there, most countries you only need import and export papers so you need to be sure to go through boarder crossing points. Some countries don’t require insurance but it’s a good idea to buy every countries insurance/liability incase you get stopped and/or get yourself into an accident. I will be bringing many copies of my passport, registration and other important pieces of documentation.

    To cross the Darién Gap, there are many sailboat company’s that sail from Panama to Columbia and will take both you and the bike. For instance, “Sailing Panama Columbia with Stahlratte” on Facebook is my plan if they are sailing during that time of the year (December-January).
    #3
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  4. Matthew.chizz

    Matthew.chizz Adventurer

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    So... finally got the bike back together yesterday only to start it to a dead battery, again. I had to put the first ride of the year on hold while I went and picked up a new Interstate AGM Cycle-Tron ii. Turns out the battery I took out was the original from 2006. That battery did more then its job to say the least. Here’s the KLR waiting for the new battery to go in today, fingers crossed. IMG_0387.jpg IMG_0390.jpg
    #4
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  5. Sparky.marky

    Sparky.marky Been here awhile

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    Subscribed, brotha!

    Guys,

    I’m Chizz’s brother and will be tagging along with him for 4-6 weeks during the Continental Divide part of his trip, from Canada to Mexico... sometime around sept / October. When I start to run out of holiday time and need to return to work, I’ll part ways with Chizz and head back to LA where I will leave my bike until November (plan to race/ride the LA Barstow to Vegas event at the end of the month).

    Some of you may remember me from Prairies to Patagonia if you’ve been around the Epic Rides forum for a couple years. Like Chizz mentioned, he joined me for a month or so while i was in Peru. I’ll have to throw some photos up in a bit to jog some memories .

    Cheers
    #5
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  6. oneway

    oneway Tehachapi CA

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    The KLR is well suited for the trip. Have fun.
    #6
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  7. Matthew.chizz

    Matthew.chizz Adventurer

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    Well the @Dirtracks full engine body crash bars and the heavy duty side racks have arrived, and I finally installed them on the KLR. Now I’m just waiting for the @Giantloop MotoTrekk Panniers to arrive in May that are on backorder. I must say, I love the looks of these crash bars. If anyone is looking for a set of crash bars for their KLR or any other bike @Dirtracks makes a wide variety of crash bars! IMG_0483.jpg
    #7
  8. oneway

    oneway Tehachapi CA

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    1. Mike944, Today at 11:52 AM

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      Mike944Adventurer
      Free (+ shipping) KLR highway bars and original plastic engine guard. Came off an 06. I’m not a highway guy and I have a nice aluminum engine guard. PM me
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    2. Goomicoo, Today at 11:56 AM

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      GoomicooRubber Cow
    #8
  9. oneway

    oneway Tehachapi CA

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    You might check out those free highway bars for the trip. You can always will them on afterwords.
    #9
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  10. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Nice new KLR you have there.
    One small additional item you ought to consider is to fabricate and install a rear -wheel mudflap extension in front of the wheel so that the road spray and abrasive dirt does not get onto the shock absorber . Such flap would aid in greatly preserving the shock function . My own 2000 KLR has 236000 km on the original shock which still works fine . (Note : km figure was mistyped in first attempt;it is crrected to 236000)
    There are two small holes already at the lower edge of the existing fender where you can bolt it . It is quite simple to cut a piece of rubber or heavy plastic tarp material to a shape which will rest the bottom edge on the top of the swing arm so that it slides back and forth as the shock moves . Leave a notch for the vent hoses to pass through freely .

    Re: "highway bars " as mentioned by oneway -is this the same as "highway pegs " ?

    If so I would advise against installing" highway pegs " which are useless and dangerous ( my opinion and riding a KLR )
    With your feet spread wide apart and way out up front, you have no use of the foot controls. Should a situation arise where instant braking is required your reaction time will be greatly slowed . The pegs add more width which will be a limiting nuisance in narrow places like hotel doorways and parking garages and they could snag on cars as you filter through stand-still city traffic and on trailside brush and throw you down .

    The KLR as standard provides an ergonomic riding posture for most persons and there is enough room to move around a bit on the seat.
    If a KLR rider is getting sore it may be a sign that that rider is due for an of -bike break . Nobody should need to be sitting and riding constantly for 10 hours .
    Taking a sensible approach it is a very comfortable bike .
    #10
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  11. Matthew.chizz

    Matthew.chizz Adventurer

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    Great idea, will have to look into that. Thanks!
    #11
  12. Matthew.chizz

    Matthew.chizz Adventurer

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    Thanks for the link! I will pass on the highway bars though. Trying to keep the weight to a minimum.
    #12
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  13. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Another item on this model of KLR could be a shorter and more ridgid licence plate holder . I know that my KLR original licence plate holder would get very flexible in warm weather over rough roads when in warm country in Mexico . Imagine what it would do in offroad jumps which I do NOT do .
    It got so bad that one day the lower edge flapped forward and snagged on the rear tire and chewed up the plate.and crapped the plastic holder .

    I wound up relocating the license plate to the actual coloured fender above and running the wires for the licence plate light to a small lamp bracket sourced from the bike breaker yard ( think it is a Yamaha item )
    The remains of the original bracket were trimmed back The original tail light / brake light remain in place now just above the license plate. . If you do it before the trip you have no worry underway .

    I also see on your bike's photo that it has no centerstand . I would advise that you buy or fabricate a centerstand . You will be sooooooo happy to have it when it comes time to change tires replace fork seals, drive chain , oil changes and in the numerous other tasks of maintenance . Laying the bike down on its side is so crude and dirty as the fluids leak out.
    The minor weight penalty is worth it . I made my own centerstand with materials found around my garage and it is a pleasure to have .
    #13
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  14. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    SB beat me to the punch on the CS question. I'd buy it on ebay or ADV FM or thread given that MC's so common. It is a no brainer as you must be prepared to deal with tire change/repair and possibly need to sit the bike up right not leaning as with a side stand.
    Have you put together a bike specific tool kit? tire repair kit? air pump? chain lube?
    I would buy the Mexican insurance online once you know the border crossing date but all else Mexican to import self and MC in person.
    I do hope you have the time to see some of where you'll be passing through not just after an A to B notch in ones belt.
    Maps?
    #14
  15. Matthew.chizz

    Matthew.chizz Adventurer

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    Thanks for all the feedback! I have already raised the licence plate as high as it will go on the stock licence plate mount since the rear tire originally caught the plate after a few jumps. I’ve jumped it since and it’s hasn’t caught since I mounted it higher. So we will see what this summer brings before I take off. About the Center stand though, In all the bikes I’ve owned I’ve never actually had a center stand. I’ve always been jealous of guys who’ve had them, and with all the maintenance I will have to do I’m pretty much set on putting one on.
    #15
  16. Matthew.chizz

    Matthew.chizz Adventurer

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    I have not put together a bike specific tool kit yet but it is on the to do list. I have 9 month to get to Argentina so I will be taking my time as much as I can. I will post maps up once I get a better idea of the route I will be taking.
    #16
  17. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    image.jpeg image.jpeg
    Pics of my license plate location and my centerstand .
    Like the aftermarket centerstands mine uses the FOOTPEG mount bolts for their location . This will require slightly longer 8mm capscrews . I also recommend that you install a thin steel plate below the capscrews and peen the plate corners over the heads of the well torqued capscrews to try locking them down .
    Even without the centerstand I found that the footpegs bolts could come loose .
    With the added forces of the centerstand it becomes important to do a daily check to see that they remain tight .

    Re: tool kit - you don't need a very extensive or expensive tool kit , it is only for the purpose of doing minor roadside fixes and regular adjustments . There are prepared tool kits on the market ,suposedly for particular bikes especially. They may be fine quality but basically you are paying for a fancy pouch and somebody putting some tools in it .
    Leave MOST of the stock KLR kit at home, it is going to get your hands dirty just from picking up a wrench as the plating turns to dust . DO KEEP the big KLR wrenches for removing the axles and add a similar wrench of the size for tightening the steering head nuts below the handlebars ( bar removal is required first )
    Raid your own tool boxes for duplicates of the sizes needed to do all the minor adjustments and maintenance.
    Add a whole set of 3/8 drive metric sockets 10mm to 19mm and the Spark Plug socket . I put them one -inside -an -other as they will fit and run a cord with a bulky knot through the bunch , then a plastic keeper springy thingy on the other end . Bring a short extension too.
    Get a ratchet handle which has BOTH the 3/8 drive and the 1/4 drive , because ...
    You MUST ALSO carry at least one 8mm 1/4 drive socket and a longer 1/4 drive extension in order to quickly adjust the "doohicky tensioner spring" at regular
    5000km intervals .You do do that, don't you ?:augie
    The 8mm socket is also for the oil filter cover and all case cap screws .

    Fill out the tool kit with a self locking plier, a needle nose and whatever you need to do the normal upkeep and tightenings , screw diver tips could be the size driven by the 1/4 ratchet . Be prepared but dont get paranoid; you need not plan for a total engine overhaul at the roadside .

    Re: chain - my KLR stock chain was with a spring -clip-masterlink .This proved to be annoying because it repeatedly kept loosing the spring clip . Solution is to install a new rivet -style -masterlink ,sold separately, for specific chain sizes . When replacing the chain I now always buy the chain with the RIVET link INCLUDED IN THE BOX.
    Bring a rivetting tool to install the rivet link . But most shops that sell the chain could lend /rent the tool or do it for you. Chain removal is nothing fancier than a hand held grinder , borrow/rent .

    MY KLR regularly seems to overheat the standard value main fuse which holder is beneath the bolted down seat= time consuming ,bothersome if you have a topbox.
    I took that fuse holder and moved it into the space in behind the side cover .Now fuse check/replacement is fairly quick after removing that side cover. I wound up getting new individual fuse holders for each circuit.

    PS if the bike weight is getting out of hand I could suggest a weight saving move-
    That big crashbar tube setup must add a few kg and it looks like a rig Iv'e seen mounted on learner bikes in Europe where they want to save the bikes from dings as the beginners do their first wobbling rides and drops .
    It might be handy if you get stuck down in a mud bog as a place to hitch up to a crane .
    Doesn't that pipework get in the way of your knees as you sit on the bike ? It definitely will make it difficult to quickly remove the side panels and the tank .
    Are you planning to enter a rough country rock bashing ride or are you staying on existing roads ? Are you that prone to crashing down ?
    In all my KLR riding I have dropped it a few times low speed , and have never made a dent in the tank , which is what your big bar protects .
    If I do fall over then the side cases are the shock absorbers . I bet your futeure luggage will also help do that . I'd ditch the crash bar.

    Do also recommend the higher aftermarket bug/wind screen ( brand unknown) which is on my and many othe r KLR
    #17
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  18. Matthew.chizz

    Matthew.chizz Adventurer

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    Thanks for all the information, especially regarding the tool kit. I will definitely have to refer back to your post when I get around to putting together a tool kit. About the crash bars, no they do not get in the way of my legs or the passengers legs. It makes no difference in removing the side panels or the tank as they are held together with next to nothing besides a few bolts and both the tank and the panels have ample amount of room to be removed without the crash bars interfering. Whether I’m entering rough country (which is why I’m taking a klr) or if I’m riding existing roads, accidents are still prone to happen whether it’s on or off road and whether it’s slow or fast speeds. The big bar is to protect my front signals, plastics, everything underneath the plastics (rad, fan, coolant reservoir) all of which I don’t want to replace on the road and the tank. As well, I can also mount smaller soft bags / pouches off the bars if I need additional luggage. After seeing Mark (my brothers) Vstrom by the time he was in Peru, not a chance I will be doing 9 months down to Argentina without any crash bars. He had more of your “standard” small crash bars. Nothing was left of his hard cases, pannier racks, plastics, signal lights etc. Even from small lay downs, shit still gets wrecked.
    #18
  19. knight

    knight Been here awhile

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    You should probably install Bark Busters or prepare to pack along a good supply of replacement leavers
    #19
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  20. Matthew.chizz

    Matthew.chizz Adventurer

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    Picking up a pair this weekend. Stock ones are almost good for nothing
    #20