Random Roads and Desert Dust

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Cro59, May 8, 2018.

  1. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    There is a top end kit available, but I'm not sure I want to do that to a travel bike. Engine reliability is one of the appeals for the CBX and I'm reluctant to mess with that.

    Trim weight and pack light.
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  2. LateToTheGame

    LateToTheGame Been here awhile Supporter

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    Good point. If you valued horsepower more than the reliability you'd probably be riding a KTM.. The question is: how much can you trim from your overall load?

    In a way this is the same dynamic I've lived with as a climber and backpacker for my entire adult life. Do I pack for a comfortable carry, or for a comfortable camp? What's more important - the riding or the camping? I'll be interested to read how you approach this dynamic...

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  3. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    Same dynamic with different factors. I was a backpacker first and just got into the ADV riding scene a few years ago; both are an exercise in minimalism and simplicity. Where is the balance between too much and not enough? Each of us will have a different answer. I love the wilderness and remote corners of the world, and the bike is a way to get to more of them. If you've read my ride reports then you'll know that I'm trending to smaller and simpler bikes, so, no, I'm definitely not chasing horsepower. I'll swap out the battery and remove the luggage racks. That'll save me 10 lbs, plus or minus. Beyond that, I might be able to save a pound or two, but the best approach is to avoid overpacking gear and luggage. I've purchased Wolfman 303 Rollies and the E-Base harness to replace my Mosko Moto panniers. That saves another 10 pounds, and, being smaller bags, they will force me to pack smarter.

    The only way to cut substantial weight is to change bikes, which I'm considering. I may pick up a 250 dual sport and run it against the CBX for a while to see which suits me best.
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  4. LateToTheGame

    LateToTheGame Been here awhile Supporter

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    So which Mosko Moto bags were you running?


  5. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    The original Backcountry panniers, a 35 L and 25 L, off of my VStrom. About 10 lbs each with mounting hardware. It is great gear, but heavy.

    The other issue on the CBX is that the Rally Raid racks stick out pretty far and put the bags in the wind stream. I'm hoping the Wolfman rackless system will reduce wind drag.

    I'm planning to run the Rollies (17 L each) and a 30 or 40 L duffel on the tail for 60-70 L total luggage.
  6. LateToTheGame

    LateToTheGame Been here awhile Supporter

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    60 - 70 L ought to be sufficient volume for several days away from resupply. By then you'll need fuel anyway. I like the idea of a reckless system. Why Wolfman instead of Giant Loop or Mosko Moto?

  7. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    The test is whether or not 60-70 L will work for me during a multi-week or multi-month trip.

    Why the Wolfman? Good question. First and foremost, I want to see if I can eliminate the side racks entirely. And, I just want to try their gear. I don't care for the design of the Coyote style bag that sits on the seat and IIRC GL's other offerings will need a rack. I thought long and hard about the R80 and a couple of things held me back. It's a bit more expensive and heavier, plus it just seems overly complex. Some folks complain that there are too many straps and adjustments to make. Finally, when I do the math, I'm not convinced it holds anywhere near 80L. For instance, the side dry bag is listed as a 25 L bag, but the unrolled dimensions are 8 x 5 x 29, which equals 19L. That's unrolled! At 22" rolled, the bag is only 14L. Those dimension come from the MM website. So it's really a 60L system. I'm not bagging on MM because all manufacturers are a bit creative and fluid when it comes to volume measurements. I love MM's gear, I'm just not sold on their rackless solution. The other option I considered is the Kriega OS-base, but they don't make a base for wide seats yet. They say they are working on it, but have no timeline.

    I tried running the MM Backcountry panniers from my V-Strom. It works, but with the Rally Raid racks the bags and weight are spread wide. At 10+ lbs each for the bags, plus the racks themselves, that's at least 25 lbs added to the bike. I'll measure when I get home, but I'm estimating the Wolfman Rollies and B-Base at no more than 10 lbs. 15 lbs (about 3%) is a non-trivial weight loss for a 47 hp bike, and with the bags closer to the bike there should be less wind drag.

    That's a longwinded and somewhat redundant answer, but there it is.
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  8. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    Well, the VStrom is sold and gone. The money went to buy one of RTWPaul’s WR250Rs. No pictures, believe it or not. I really thought I’d end up with a CFR250L, but the WRR is well sorted and suits my purpose. I may just kill this ride report and start a new one that’s not bike specific.
  9. Duanob

    Duanob Been here awhile

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    Looking back on it, you probably could've bought a fairly new low mile dual sport 250 for the price of the RR kit! Then you have a touring bike and another one for off road. It's cool to hear the CB500X is a great all around bike but I believe that the do-it-all type stuff just doesn't do everything great. So one bike for off road, one bike for on is probably still the best bet? Just a thought.

    I was looking at the CB500X last year, my local Honda shop was blowing out the previous year models for $4999. Instead I came across a Breva 750 with 3500 miles for a price I couldn't refuse. Kind of a similar category: about 50hp, light weight, touring configuration. If the motoguzzi starts acting up and falling a part then i can always trade it in for the X!
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  10. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    Indeed. The thing is that we don't know what we don't know. One of the reasons I do these ride reports is to help others make more educated decisions. I didn't realize that I wanted a 250 DS until I spent a few days on the CRF in Thailand. If I knew what I know now, I would never have bought the VStrom, but probably still would have done the CBX Rally Raid because it is a great 60/40 to 50/50 touring bike.

    I did my first dirt ride on the WRR today and it was just amazing. The weight is so much more manageable. No surprise, right? It is almost 200 lbs lighter than the DL650 and 140 lbs lighter than the CBX RR. I just floated over sections that scared me on the Suzuki and challenged me on the Honda. I know it's just one day with the bike, but I think the WRR is underrated as a long distance or RTW ADV bike.
  11. Duanob

    Duanob Been here awhile

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    "Indeed. The thing is that we don't know what we don't know. "

    I hear that. I was in LA for a week last month and decided to rent a bike for a couple of days. The place only had a BMW G310R in shop. I thought it would be way under-powered and not fun in LA but I was pretty wrong! I had a lot of fun on that little thing, even two up. I was surprised at the power and nimbleness and stopping power of it. In traffic or on the highway, even Mulholland Drive and the PH1. I'm pretty small at 5'6" and 160 but the bike worked for me. I even found a stretch of highway next to LAX without traffic I was able to open her up. It gets up to 90 in a pretty decent hurry. So yes, you don't something until you try something.
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  12. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    Okay, folks, for those of you who haven't seen the update on the first post, I've changed the title of this report and decided to include my exploits with the WR20R as well. More than anything, this report and Wandering the Desert document my introduction to and education on adventure riding, and I think it will be more helpful to the other new fucks out there to keep it consolidated to these two reports. There may be rides longer than a week, which technically don't belong in Day Trippin', but screw it. The mods can move it or not.

    I'm heading out tomorrow for a week on the WRR, so here's a teaser shot of the new beast.

    [​IMG]
  13. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    So why the WRR? After all, I just spent ten grand on a brand new CBX and Rally Raid conversion. Why buy a new bike when I haven't really put the old one through the paces? The answer is one simple word. Weight. If you want to go off road, then weight is arguably the most important factor. The WRR clocks in about 140 pounds less than the CBX, and that change makes a huge difference in my willingness, confidence, and capability to tackle more technical terrain.

    I've always discounted the 250 cc dual sport class as underpowered, marginally capable, adventure machines. That is until I actually rode one. I spent half of my Thailand trip on a CRF250L and it was a revelation. I really enjoyed that beat up, stock thumper, and started to think that maybe guys like John Downs were onto something. So I started doing my research, kept an eye on the flea market and craig's list, and wondered if a 250 might be the dual sport, touring bike that I was looking for after all. RTWPaul had two WRRs up for sale that he had prepped for his RTW ventures, so I reached out to him back in February. I almost bought half a dozen other bikes in the meantime, but his was decked out and ready to go, so I promised myself that I would test ride his bike before buying anything. If it sold, then I'd move on, but he built the bike for himself so it was worth the wait. In the end, I sold the VStrom the day after I got back in the US and handed the money to Paul the next day. For me it was a good trade and the culmination of a long, expensive learning process.

    So, now I'm sitting on a brand new CB500X Adventure and a perfectly kitted WR250R. Life is good. I'm 12 to 18 months out from finishing up my job overseas and the plan is to learn how to ride dirt on the WRR, decide which platform best suits my riding ambitions, and get a few progressively longer trips under my belt before setting out on my own RTW adventure. I'll be back here in September, in Thailand in January, and Mongolia next Spring. After that it get's fuzzy. A lot can change in a year.

    Okay, I'll do a post on some of the gear I've been playing with and follow that up with my upcoming ride around Arizona. For you Joe Motocross fans, I do have my adjustafork, but I must warn you that I also have an REI camp chair, so curse me, harass me, and tune out now if you must. I don't care, because tomorrow I'm riding off into the desert.
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  14. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    A few days ago, I spent the morning going over the bike figuring out how to take everything apart and putting together a tool kit. Weighing in at seven pounds, the kit gives me almost everything I need to completely disassemble the bike. Still need a few things like a multimeter and will look for some combo tools (like the RRR Motorcycle Took Kit) to trim weight, but it's a start. I'll post up a picture later.

    Unfortunately, while I was messing around trying to remove the fuel tank, I knocked the bike off of the side stand and busted the clutch perch. Better in the garage/storage unit then out in the desert, I suppose, but nobody stocks this $7 part so I had to order one. While I waited, I figured I might as well experiment. JB Weld didn't hold and short of bending a piece of aluminum stock, this is the only quick fix I could come up with.

    [​IMG]
    It would hold for a while, but as my buddy said it's more of a field fix to get home rather than a "leave home for the field" fix. Might be worth throwing a hose clamp or two into the spares kit.

    So, now I wait for the UPS truck to kick off my trip. In the meantime, let's talk about boots (again). The Forma Hyper Shoes I bought for Thailand were a complete bust. Marginal protection and crappy grip on anything wet. I've been looking for a moto boot that is suitable for fly and ride trips, something comfortable for hiking and walking while still giving reasonable protection. My Forma Adventures are comfortable enough but they are huge. For the most part, riding and hiking are incompatible activities for boot design, and there is an inevitable compromise between comfort and protection, but I just can't see carrying both motocross and hiking boots.

    [​IMG]
    The Klim Outlander (left) and Revit Pioneer (right) looked like the best options and after trying both I settled on the Revit Pioneer.

    At $450, the Pioneer is pricey, but I've been wearing them daily for the past two weeks and I'm pretty satisfied. The loosen up a bit but are still stiff enough to provide crush and twist protection. Revit also makes a taller version if you want more shin protection. Overall, I like these boots. I wouldn't hike the Arizona Trail with them, but I could do a moderate ten miler in the mountains. I'll reserve final judgement until I see how long they last. At that price, I had better get many years out of them. If they fail in the first season or two, then I'll probably just take my chances with a heavy duty work boot.

    Damn, where is the UPS truck?
  15. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    Got the part and blasted out about 2:30 on Friday. Been off the grid mostly so I’ll catch up later.

    Here’s a teaser photo from the Mogollon Rim.
    [​IMG]
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  16. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    So, the UPS truck showed up just after 1:00, guaranteeing a late start. On the positive side, the mailman brought my Cyclops headlight bulb while I was waiting. I highly recommend the Cyclops as a plug and play upgrade. Simple to install and man is that thing bright!

    Anyway, I got the clutch perch bracket installed and got the bike loaded while waiting for Rob, my riding partner.

    I’m using a combination of Wolfman and Kriega luggage. I’ll do more in-depth gear reviews later, but I’m happy with this setup after five days of riding over all kinds of terrain. There are a ton of straps to deal with but it’s not too bad once you figure out the packing system.

    [​IMG]

    I’m running the Wolfman B-base with two large Rolles and a Kriega US20 with two US5 bags attached, for a total of 64 liters of space.

    [​IMG]

    I intentionally loaded up on this trip to test the bike handling. Total load was about 60 pounds to include a 7 pound toolkit and 4 liters of water. I can definitely feel the weight but the bike handled it like a champ and still ran smoothly even at highway speeds.

    Day 1 was mostly fast graded dirt and slab as we made our way through Willow Creek and up to our camp at Apache Lake. Nothing notable except for the fact that we were on the road. Speaking of which, I’m done with my coffee and I have riding to do. Enjoy your couches and offices. I’m out of here.

    [​IMG]
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  17. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    Day 2 of the ride started here.

    [​IMG]
    I’ve woken up in worse places.

    [​IMG]
    My gratuitous hero shot near Roosevelt Lake

    This was a heavy dirt day. Most of it was graded and two track, but it gave us a chance to feel out the bikes and get comfortable with their capabilities. I normally ride solo and discovered that riding with a buddy (we’re both relatively new at this ADV shit) let us push the envelope a more than I would have done alone. I dropped the bike once coming out of Apache Lake, but that was entirely rider error. I took a climbing turn too slow and was zoning out a bit. The Wolfman panniers took some minor damage and my shoulder was sore for a few days, but no major damage.

    We rode up to Young on some fast dirt, climbed onto the Mogollon Rim for some more challenging two track, and rode some more smaller trails to our camp twenty miles east of Sedona.

    [​IMG]
    It’s hard to complain about life on days like this.

    I’m sure I have a bunch of lessons learned to share, but my alcohol addled mind can’t seem to remember them. I’ll just leave you with a picture of the mighty WRR instead.


    [​IMG]
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  18. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    I find it impossible to do a daily ride report from the road. Doesn’t help when most of the riding and camping are off the grid. Anyway, I’m back now but catching a plane Saturday morning, so I’ll post up when I can. Put something like 1,300 miles on the bike with half of that, plus or minus, on dirt, everything from fast, graded, forest service roads to rock gardens and sketchy two-track that would destroy a stock Jeep. Great trip with lots of lessons and gear testing.

    [​IMG]
  19. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    OK, I'm going to do my best to get an entry in before the vodka martinis smother my brain.

    Day 3 was possibly the hardest riding day of my life. Most of that was due to the ten miles on the Rock Garden, but I'll get to that. By now we were settling into the rhythm of the road. I was getting my packing routine down, and both of us were coming to understand the compromise that comes with riding with a partner. I usually travel alone and like it that way. I can set my schedule, pace, and itinerary based on whatever whims strike my fancy that day. Riding in a group demands a measure of compromise. Fortunately, Rob and I are flexible enough that the compromises came easy. The big issues were that Rob had to start later than he preferred, and I had to ride faster and longer than I preferred. On the plus side, the security blanket of riding with someone else meant that we could challenge ourselves more than we normally would and we could share techniques and lessons learned at the end of the day. I still think I prefer solo travel, but I definitely learned more on this trip because I was riding with Rob.

    The Mogollon Rim offers a diverse selection of roads, some easy and some hard as fuck, all of it surrounded by the most amazing scenery.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    From camp, we headed north to Flagstaff to hit REI and to plan our route over a proper breakfast involving gallons of coffee and thousands of calories. Rob was the primary navigator for the trip. He mentioned that there were some sketchy areas on his route, but he thought we could get through. That was good enough for me. Little did we know how sketchy it would be. Let's just say that I wouldn't have taken my Tacoma down FS 132D. The road is pure evil and tons of fun. We called it the Rock Garden. Rocks, potholes, washouts, ruts. You name it and the Rock Garden had it. At one point, I thought I'd be smart and get off the road, but the rocks were still there, just hidden in the grass. We learned a lot along this ten mile stretch of road. We learned the value of, "When in doubt, throttle out!". We learned that our suspensions and tires could handle much more than we realized. We learned about picking lines, trusting your buddy if you broke yourself, power management, balance, ground clearance, and so many other things that experienced guys already know. There are no pictures of the hard stuff, of course, because I was too busy not crashing to think of stopping for photos. More than anything, this day taught us that there is no substitute for experience. You just have to do it. I'm a better rider for it.

    [​IMG]
    Forest Service Road 132D. Don't let her fool you. She's a bitch.

    I've got to hand it to Rob. He did everything I did, often better and faster, on his 650 Dakar. I was so thankful for my little 250 bike, which weighed in an easy 150 pounds less than the BMW. At any rate, we made it through the Rock Garden without dropping the bikes and ended up back on the Mogollon Rim for the night.

    The big lesson for the day is that if you want to be a better rider on dirt then get a lighter bike. I don't have anything against the big KTM and BMW adventure bikes. They're good for what they are, but, at my skill level, I wouldn't have taken them through the Rock Garden. Having done it once, I might try it now because I know the road and I'm a little wiser, but given the choice, I'd still choose a small bike any day. In a sense, the WRR makes me a better rider. It's so much lighter and maneuverable, even than my CBX, that I have a willingness to try things that I'd never consider on a bigger bike.

    Okay, the vodka is winning, so it's time to wrap up. I've got to say that I enjoyed the view from my office this week.
    [​IMG]
  20. Cro59

    Cro59 Been here awhile

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    Day 4 started with us blasting along FS300 and slabbing to the town of Heber. It's amazing how much faster and more comfortable I had become after the past few days. Over breakfast, I planned a dirt route to Show Low on my phone. I was using OSMand Maps and this was to be my first attempt at navigating with the app. Let's just say that I have a lot to learn. The route was fine with a few challenging sections, but OSMand wouldn't snap to the dirt roads or capture the waypoints. Guess I need to join the 21st Century and learn how all this new fangled, GPS navigation works. From Show Low, we raced the the storms and the setting sun to Alpine. Cold, wind, and rain dominated the ride. I had to stop and layer up, but there wasn't much I could do for my hands except wish for heated grips. Add that to the mod list.

    So the WRR does surprisingly well at highway speeds, but the combination of wind, altitude, and hills found me in 5th gear at WOT and topping out at 65-70. I suspect my air filter wasn't helping matters. It was dirty before I left and having spent most of the trip sucking down Rob's dust, my poor baby was no doubt struggling to breathe. Add a spare filter to the packing list.

    [​IMG]

    We had planned for a hotel night, and with the temperatures forecast to drop into the 30s, the thought of a hot shower and soft bed were welcoming indeed.

    Had a couple of maintenance scares today. During our race to Alpine, my check engine light came on. I called Rob to stop, giving me the chance to layer up my clothes and to check out the bike. The oil level was low but in range and nothing seemed amiss, so I started her up and the light was gone, never to reappear on the trip. Some transient condition resulting from the combination of WOT, dirty air filter, and conditions, I suppose. Wonder if I can get an error code reader for the bike? The second scare was hardly surprising considering the the roads we'd been traveling. After checking into the hotel, I looked down at my boots to find oil splatters on my left foot. There is a slight leak from the crankshaft end cover o-ring, so I checked that first. No change there and the oil level was still good. Then I saw my left fork. Oh, yeah, that's the culprit. Well, guess I get to use that toolkit after all. The next morning would be maintenance time for the bikes. Fortunately, there was nothing that a couple of wrenches, a rag, and a seal mate couldn't resolve.

    [​IMG]

    Tomorrow, Rob and I were heading in different directions, so we spent the night shooting the shit about bike mods, future rides, and what we'd learned over the past few days. Both of us were clearly falling in love with our bikes. Kinda brings a tear to the eye, doesn't it?

    [​IMG]