Russia, Mongolia, Stans & Beyond - On a GSXR

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by 7days1shower, May 21, 2019.

  1. MJS

    MJS Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,689
    Location:
    Off the grid in San Felipe, Baja
    300 km a day was about our pace across Russia also. If you just wanted to do big mileage days you could've come to the States and blasted across the interstates. Sounds like your trip is going okay. Best advice I can give is to relax and go with the flow.

    I'm enjoying your reports.
    #41
    edgeoftheworld likes this.
  2. steingar

    steingar higher life form

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    965
    Location:
    Midgard
    So nice to see someone doing a big ride without some mutant dirt/touring bike hybrid. Could do violence though, knobbies on a GSXR? In for a penny, in for a pound says me.

    Steingar, who rode everything seen in this report and worse on an unmodified Honda Hawk 400 with worn street tires.

    Still, utterly epic ride. Good luck to the OP.
    #42
  3. willibauer

    willibauer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    Germany, wild western woods
    great report, thanks for taking the time and posting this.
    Quite a trip with that bike..with any bike. Maybe if you can do this, i can too...someday...
    #43
  4. 7days1shower

    7days1shower Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    142
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Leaving Mogocha following morning was a slow start but was back on the road, tagging along with Alexei and Ulya for a bit whilst the 2 Ukranian bikers took off towards Vladivostok.

    [​IMG]

    From the left; me, Sasha from Iron Angels Mogocha, Alexei, his girlfriend Ulya, the 2 Ukranian riders

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Another fairly uneventful ride to the small town of Chernyshevsk which was my halfway stop before Chita the next day. I did meet another Russian biker, Denis, on the way who was also headed to Chita

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I had been working towards Chita for 2 reasons. Firstly, since Vladivostok, the road signs had the furthest distance listed as Chita so I had been seeing the numbers slowly tick downwards from over 2000km. Secondly, the NZ biker I had met on the ferry, had a tailshaft failure 3 days into his ride and was now waiting out the parts arrival at a bike post in Chita.

    [​IMG]

    So when I finally arrived at the bike post I was very happy to find not only Mehmet there but also Alexei from the Mogocha bike post and Denis who I had met on the road!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Getting to the bike post was an absolute headache though! It was good in a way that I didn’t hve to cut through the traffic of Chita city in order to get to the bike post as it was on the outskirts of town. However, it was 2km down a dirt road.

    As my luck would have it, Chita had gotten some extremely heavy rain the day before so that dirt track now had some huge puddles.

    I did try to go around some but at one point nearly dropped the bike as the sides were still muddy and slippery but also on an angle.

    And for the biggest one that couldn’t be avoided, I just went for it. Although I did realise later that I made the mistake of putting my foot down right into the puddle when I lost some balance. That foot could’ve gone straight down into the mud and things could have ended very poorly.

    A photo of the trail the following morning, the puddles were much worse but you get the idea

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The bike had been in past the swingarm into the mud now and was a mess I’d try to clean up in Ulan Bator where; simply couldn’t be bothered now.

    [​IMG]

    The bike post was a lot bigger than the last one but also in a much worse state. But again, if you needed a place to rest or work on your bike; this was it.

    Denis’ regulator had burnt out so they rigged up a new one in a location with more airflow…under the footpeg!

    [​IMG]

    The other point worth mentioning about Chita is that since Vladivostok everyone (mainly Russians) had been saying to be careful in this area because of ‘bandits’. This included a local female biker I met in a café while having a meal. The only response I had was that I have to believe people are good
    I suspect a lot of weight is given to this point due to the death of the Japanese motorcyclist who was murdered in this region in recent years; an occurrence pretty much everyone seems to know about

    The girl in this pic rode a 300 Ninja and told me to watch out for bandits...

    [​IMG]

    Thinking that this would be a quiet night, I turned into bed at 1030pm. How wrong I was
    At around 11pm, I heard my name being yelled out from behind singing and music. I chose to ignore it…at first. Figuring I could always sleep once I’m back home, I ventured out to find 2 new additions to the bike post; A Russian girl and Argentinian guy couple whose van had its frame snap 200km out of Chita. So now, here they were.

    Again, out came the vodka and before I knew it, it was 3am!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Biker generosity

    [​IMG]

    Unsurprisingly, I didn’t leave till 1pm the following day. Whilst most people did the 600km to Ulan Ude, I again did a 300km stretch to a halfway town of Khilok

    [​IMG]

    As I rode in, yet again, a biker flagged me down and helped guide me to my gastinitsa simply because he felt it was his duty to help out another biker

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This is in addition to the numerous times I’ve been stopped or approached by people in cars who come to tell me that they are bikers too and show me photos of their sportbikes….maybe it’s a sportbike thing and the Gixxer gets their attention?

    During dinner in Khilok, 2 guys staying in the same gastinitsa started up a conversation with me (one an engineer and the other a soldier both travelling for work) and it turns out it was in Khilok that the Japanese biker was murdered!

    [​IMG]

    Onwards to Ulan Ude! The last city before the border crossing into Mongolia. The original plan was to visit Lake Baikal from here but to be very honest, I’m just too tired to be bothered. Plus, I’m also about 3 days behind on my rough schedule although that’s not such a big deal

    I even thought about staying along the highway instead of coming into Ulan Ude so I could just carry onto the border the next day.

    However, after battling traffic and crazy roads to get in, I was very happy with the room and a chance to get clean and rest. Plus I wanted to see the big Lenin head!
    #44
  5. 7days1shower

    7days1shower Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    142
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    I’m now in Mongolia!

    [​IMG]

    I was supposed to get here yesterday but I woke up in the morning and every part of my body just hurt too much so a rest day it is! I also figured I’d been riding every day for 8 days so it was about time

    Crossing into Mongolia was much easier than expected too. I had been told to expect a 4 hour crossing so I woke up at 430am with the intent to leave by 530am…which turned to 630am but I was still done with all border formalities within an hour!

    An extra hour was added to that by the insurance lady being off for lunch so had to wait for her return
    I had planned to stay in the town right after the border but decided to push on another 100km to the next city where I “accidentally” booked a far too fancy hotel.

    Ulan Bataar tomorrow! Finally going to take a couple of days off and get the bike looked at. I’m told theres about 15km of roadworks on the way so hoping its not too bad a ride…

    I met Vasily when I stopped at a bus stop for some water. He had gold teeth and was very friendly

    We had a great conversation in Russian and I gave him kangaroo keyrings of which I’m carrying like 100 to hand out to people

    [​IMG]

    A Chinese biker with whom I had briefly ridden in the morning so when I saw him pulled over we had a chat

    It was so strange to meet someone that didn’t use the regular borders since he could enter and exit China !

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Passing through small towns with houses in the Buryat style

    [​IMG]

    Around Ulan Ude

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    On the road to the Mongol border. Much more peaceful than the Trans-Siberian

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    First photo in Mongolia!

    People had been telling me about crazy times needed for the crossing but I got it done in less than an hour. Just had to wait an extra hour because the insurance lady had gone home for lunch...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #45
  6. 7days1shower

    7days1shower Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    142
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    230km to the capital city of Ulan Bataar via the main road from the biggest border crossing; how hard could it be right?

    What I’d been told about the roadworks was most definitely true.

    Right out of Darkhan the main road had been closed and a diversion was in place; about 10km of gravel and rocks. Slow and rough going but not the worst. As it finished, my first thought was, “What had all these people been complaining and warning me about to watch out for the sand? There was barely a few traces of sand along the edges”

    [​IMG]

    So, back on the main asphalt road for about 10km before…another closure. Again I diverted off but this time, before I even realised what was happening, my front went into a deep patch of soft sand and the bike whipped side to side 3 times. I thought that surely this is going to be where I drop the bike. I had gotten lucky in the mud in Russia but this was it. I hope it wasn’t going to smash up the fairings too badly.

    Somehow, the bike stayed upright. Each time the rear stepped out, it would grab traction again and keep on going. I strongly believe that this is attributable to my tyre choice. With a road front and rear the rear would have spun out and the front would have washed out. Subconsciously my throttle hand kept it steady without rolling on or off so the tyres were able to keep grabbing.

    What came for the next 10 km was the nastiest sand I’ve ever seen. There were patches of gravel which I attempted to stay on but the cars blowing by me on either side through the sand ensured that every inch of me got covered in the powdery stuff.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Taking a selfie while being aware of an approaching car that’d bathe me in sand

    [​IMG]

    Back on the road again but I use the term road very loosely. With the amount of potholes and cracked surfaces it was near impossible to go more than 40kmh so I decided to treat myself to lunch with one of the only things I could read in the Mongolian script and translate; goulash.

    After lunch, I spotted a rider coming towards me from a distance and as usual gave a wave…until I realised it was Luigi from Queensland, Australia!

    I had first met Luigi at a Horizons Unlimited meet in 2013. When most other had not been interested in socialising with the young guy on a sport bike, Luigi and I had struck up a conversation and remained in touch ever since

    Luigi actually started his trip a few weeks before me but had been resting up in Ulan Bataar for a few weeks which allowed me to catch up. We had planned to meet in UB at the Relax Guesthouse but the day I was arriving he would be leaving…by train. So there was no way we would meet unfortunately.
    I had been looking forward to meeting him and his partner Suzanne but everyone has their own trip.
    So I was extremely surprised to see him. Turns out, due to the national holiday for Nadaam the trains were carrying passengers only so he was riding back to the border!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We had a great catch up for 10 minutes and as a parting gift, he told me about ANOTHER 10km patch of roadworks, although, no sand on this one.
    So I continued on towards the city and as a final test, about 10 km of road before the guesthouse was also rocks and gravel.

    Families camping and having picnics along the way due to the national holidays for Nadaam

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    *play Old Town Road*

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I was relieved to get to the Relax Guesthouse which is run by a Japanese former Dakar mechanic but also thought, the main road into the capital was so rubbish so what was the way across the country going to be like….

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Sunset over UB

    [​IMG]
    #46
  7. 7days1shower

    7days1shower Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    142
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    First rest day in Ulan Bator turned into more of a work day. But still easier than being on the bike!

    Given it was still a public holiday due to Nadaam, the mechanic wouldn’t be available till tomorrow so I decided to start on the bike myself

    [​IMG]

    First up though, I had to decide if I wash the bike! It looked so adventure-y and I know many people are against washing their hard earned stripes off but I was so glad I decided to give it a good power wash

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Underneath all the mud I found my swingarm had a big gouge in it. The culprit, the rear of my bottle holders which being made of steel, ate into the aluminium swingarm every time I hit a large hole and the swingarm travelled up

    [​IMG]

    I have to admit, I had heard a sound but had assumed it was my loose chain slapping the swingarm. The damage didn’t look so bad though, maybe 2mm deep and no cracking as far as I could see. I’ve now spaced out the bottle holder and paint the damage on the swingarm so if there is any further fouling, I’ll be able to see it

    [​IMG]

    Next up, the chain was thoroughly cleaned and lubed and seems like the tight spot is not so tight any more. There is a very slight variation in tension at one point but it is tolerable. Just going to keep it very well lubed going forward. I have a tyre change coming up in Barnaul, Russia so that’ll be another opportunity to assess further

    [​IMG]

    I must have bottomed out somewhere too as a lower fairing is broken with a bracket bolt missing, no big deal, its still holding together and at least I didn’t bottom out the sump

    Thinking I was all done, I was about to wrap up till the owner of the guesthouse/mechanic Koji asked about my coolant

    I said, yeah I’m sure its fine, but he insisted on at least checking the overflow tank. It was empty….hmm. Opening the rad cap revealed a lot of brown. Ok, time to flush

    When I drained the coolant it was much more brown than green. This ones totally laziness on my part as I had no done a flush before leaving which I probably should have from the bike sitting there for 2 years.

    [​IMG]

    A 2nd flush with water and it came out looking a lot better.

    I think I’ve been lucky it hasn’t overheated in traffic or the slow offroad stuff with that ruined coolant in there.

    All set to get on the road again!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A hard earned dinner with Yosuke from Japan who is doing the same trip on a Honda Monkey! I shared my research with him and he is now following the same route although we are both doing our own thing

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #47
    Saso and Amphib like this.
  8. 7days1shower

    7days1shower Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    142
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    This update was typed sitting in a tent while it rained…

    Although I gave myself one more day in UB, news of VERY bad roads leading to the big Gengis statue along with thunderstorms meant that I just spent an evening into the city and back again with a view to rest up to leave the next morning.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With rain forecast in Ulan-Batar for 11am, I wanted to get out by 930am but as always, slowly getting through breakfast and packing turned that into 1030am.

    I had hoped that I would miss peak hour traffic by leaving a little late however some traffic light failures meant the main road out of UB was bumper to bumper with 15km taking almost an hour!

    [​IMG]

    Once out, I decided to stop for lunch however the problem I’m facing in Mongolia is even though I can read most things, I don’t know what they are!

    Thankfully, some guys in the café helped me order a dish of grilled meat and veg topped with egg; delicious!

    [​IMG]

    Luckily, a passing thunderstorm also rolled through while I was eating. Unfortunately I didn’t brush the seat off before getting on so enjoyed a good hour or so with damp jeans after that

    The plan for the day was to do 370km to Kharkorin, the site of Gengis Khans capital, however I decided not to push it and find a place to stay about 100km before. This would also mean that my following day would be an even 200km instead of a shorter 100km to Tsterleg.

    Whilst the road is paved, it doesn’t really allow for much more than 70-80kmh due to the quality of the road and a LOT of potholes to be dodged.
    This slow pace meant I was able to take in some of the scenery as well as see the wildlife; sheep, horses and bactrian camels!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    When I got to my intended place to stay for the night; a “tourist camp”, I was a little shocked to hear they wanted $165 for a night!!! The manager came down and offered to knock it down to $115… yeah nah

    A quick check on iOverlander showed a great place to camp 2km back. So, camping it was.

    In front of the tourist camp there was a 24 hour café and toilet. So, a delicious dinner for less than $5 and a place for breakfast as well as a toilet in the morning! Perfect!

    The campsite wasn’t hard to find but it was only after setting up that I realised that I probably should have gone in a little further from the road (about 100m at the moment) .. will do that better next time

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Ever since I packed my bags in Sydney I was wondering what was the point of carrying all this camping and cooking gear… I think that question got answered today

    Now just to hope this rain is another passing sprinkle and tomorrow is a bright and sunny day to head on to see the Erdene Zu Monastery at Kharkorin and onwards to Tseterleg!
    #48
  9. Canadatriumphrider

    Canadatriumphrider Old guy on a young bike

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2014
    Oddometer:
    36
    Location:
    Alberta Canada
    Just found your report and catching up. Awesome so far.

    I love reading reports from people who take non "adventure" bikes and use them for adventure riding. A favorite from a few years ago was a guy who went from Alaska to Ushuaia on a Harley Road King.

    And bizarrely the spell check on this sight somehow doesn't recognize Ushuaia.
    #49