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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by LoneStar, Sep 7, 2017.
I think so because that's how it affects me
Sitting here in Lima listening to the sound of cabs out the open window and reflecting back on the issues and equipment failures of this trip. Why? Because I've had plenty, and plenty of time to think about things and the impact they've had on my experience and wallet.
It's not a snivel session, just sharing realities of a trip longer than a run to Starbucks.
1. Firstgear Kilimanjaro 37.5 Jacket. Turned out to be just another disposable $400 jacket. It worked well just after purchase in Alaska and was waterproof there, however by the time I reached Mexico and the rainy season it leaked like a sieve. Not abused and only washed once per instructions. They said "sorry, try some waterproof wash." Being in Central America and trying to do any form of warranty shipping is beyond stupid. Finding anything in XXL is an impossibility. The answer was my Olympia Rain Shell which I brought for backup. (And btw Klim Fanboys, I don't buy that shit based on the people I've met wearing them for extended lengths of time. People I won't name have had to return theirs to the factory for replacement shortly after receiving them due to leaks. Others I've met have had to wear rain gear over their Klim gear due to leaks, and the worst I've witnessed was a couple in Alaska The Iron Butterfly and I met at a coffee shop. We'd all ridden in rain for 3 hours, but when they opened their jackets water literally poured out on the floor and they were soaked. Their Klim gear had failed miserably in their trip up from South America and they'd spent a ton of money on the gear, only to suffer for much of the trip. They're in Rev-it gear now.)
2. Forma Adventure Boots. Purchased for the Alaska portion of the trip and leaked in the first rain. Solution? Bought BMW Gravel boots in Alaska and they've been great.
3. Motoz Tractionator GPS tire. Replaced my punctured Heidenau K60 in Panama City with this "premium" tire from Australia, as it was the only Scout type tire available in Panama City. The option was a TKC-70 which I'd had previously, just another fast wearing glorified street tire masquerading as a serious dual sport, slicker than snot in soft dirt or mud. The Motoz Tractionator GPS seemed like a good solution based on the three reviews I found on the net. False. By the time it had 1500 miles on it, splits were developing along the tread edges, despite proper inflation and constant checking. Today I told TT Peru to put on a Heidenau and they agreed due to the split concerns. Motoz never responded to my emails. Obviously a substandard tire and a company who cares little about customers.
4. BMW R1200GSA. I purchased this bike specifically for my Pole to Pole trip to replace my 1100GS which had 100,000 miles on it. The decision to R&R the 1100 or go with newer bike wasn't hard when I ran the numbers. I found the pristine 1200 with an owner who babied it and maintained the hell out of it. Textbook bike you want to buy used. Absolutely no problems and a superb bike. Until 60,000 when I prepped it for the South America portion. The addition of TouraTech suspension instead of Ohlins, addition of Clearwater lights, and subsequent discovery that the driveshaft was about to fail and replacement. At 68,000 the rear main seal failed and you know the story.
5. Clearwater lights. A wonderful improvement and a lifesaver for some of the bad night sections I've had to do. Unfortunately, the housing on one side has water ingress and the lens is about 20% full of water. So far it hasn't failed... also the dimmer switch is having issues and the lights flicker and won't dim properly. Not too sure these guys will survive the trip...
6. Touratech Suspension. In February I pulled the stock BMW ESA suspension off and bought the TouraTech Expedition shocks for the South American portion since I knew it was going to be a long and hard trip. Dropped close to $3000 which is a monster investment but I figured it would be worth it. 6000 miles in Mexico and then another 8000 to Peru equals 14k, most of it on slab. As you know, the rear failed a few days ago and I noticed the front was diving heavily coming into Lima traffic. I took the bike to TT Peru and Ivan, the manager tested the suspension, realizing it had indeed failed. I then received the lecture about buying off-the-shelf shocks being a no-no. I explained that they'd been ordered by Motohank based on my weight, gear weight, passenger and extra measure for safety. Then I was told they could fail early from extreme conditions like.. dirt. I got the feeling a non-warranty resolution was in the works. Luckily the shop is very nice and well supplied. They had the ability and parts to rebuild it which I was thankful of. Today I was told the shock main seal had failed due to dirt and the oil was severely contaminated, thus it wasn't covered under warranty. I've had a MudSling guard on it since the day the TT shocks were put on for that very reason.
So, a set of "serious" "world class" TouraTech shocks, touted as the best in the world for extreme conditions, failed at 15,000 miles, 90% of which has been on pavement this trip, not overburdened, undersprung or mistreated. Interesting that TouraTech advertises big adventure bikes in extreme places then says dirt voids the warranty. Food for thought. One of the reasons I went with TT was because I was told they had shops in South America that could handle the rebuild. I'm glad they can and glad it failed outside Lima. Yet another overpriced pile of advertising bullshit. Ohlins, which would be considered subpar in comparison, lasted almost 30,000 miles before leaking on my R1100GS, which received much more punishment and severe dirt road use than my TT equipped 1200. Having to pay for a rebuild is something I'll do to avoid having to keep bleeding money on food and hotels but it's damn bullshit.
My point on all this is, that almost no products are made for serious travel. Gear is made for weekend warriors and marketed as world class adventure gear, when in reality it isn't. The amount of money you spend has no real bearing on real quality or durability. Count the number of guys wearing $1000+ jackets using a $10 rain jacket over it to stay dry on the road. Count the guys wearing trash bags over their boots for the same reason.
On the upside, it certainly makes for a more interesting ride report eh?
maybe more interesting for us, but I'm sure you would have settled for a few flat tires instead.
LoneStar, I think your RR has been plenty interesting without including the equipment failures. I hope you are at the end of those challenges and can finish up your trip the way you originally planned. While my gear doesn’t get the workout you give yours, I have been less than impressed with how durable some of my, pricey enough, gear has been also.
Yes. That is a lot of shit right there. I read every word carefully and appreciate you posting it.
Not to diminish anything you've said or what's happened, but you did start out with a bike having 60 k miles. I think the percentage of travelers from the US willing to take that risk would be pretty small. At least from what I've seen. I could be wrong about that. Anyway, glad you're getting sorted and hopefully Touratech will ultimately reimburse you for what is clearly a defective (or inferior) product.
Thank you for being honest and sharing your thoughts. As we've all read through your report, these big trips are (like life) full of highs and lows. It's good for those following this RR to read/feel these frustrations. Especially anyone really looking to take a trip like this. This info is certainly useful from a "trip planning" perspective. But also important to help prepare mentally.
I sense in reading this post that you are feeling a little worn out, and these issues are staring to weigh heavily.
You've had some trials on this trip to be sure. But you have also had some incredible experiences I'm sure you will take with you the rest of your life. Once you return home, these frustrations will fade and you'll focus on the highs. I apologize if I misread the inference of your post.
Been Adv stalking you (following your RRs) since the Alaska trip. Aways appreciate your words and your photos.
LoneStar, with you all the way on the marketing and application of real world gear fit for purpose. I would be far less able to withold my frustrations if I were in your Formas.
However, it's probably more testament to your true adventure spirit and grit than any hyped up gore-tex and killer advertised hardware that has brought you this far and will continue to do so.
Let's hope you're in for a smoother running spell to come. I'll be following all the way as I have from the get-go to Alaska. The entire story is compelling and addictive, I love it! And I've bookmarked the gigglefits video of Ward's blow-up rain suit, it's an absolute tonic to listen to your infectious laughter!
All great information. I'm most interested in riding jackets (and pants). Really good info. on Klim as it seems so popular and I was seriously considering. Do you have any recommendations on what jacket (and pants) you'd buy based on what other RTW riders are having success with?
Ah, c'mon MAN, This comment is gonna spear the posers right in the heart!!!!
Love the candor. Totally agree. We live in a world of hype and cheap manufacturing to the most profits as consumers in general. My wife gets tied of hearing my soapbox "only options are good chinese crap versus bad chinese crap and finding the former difficult" complaints. Get any rubber o-ring, grommet or washer from "any" hardware store and watch it turn to brittle crumbs in 3 months. Not just advent bikes and gear but most of what we buy fails to meet expectations or ad hype. Mostly if seems to relate to component details and sourcing issues. Look at the details behind most warranty recalls. The best billet alloy, atomic ceramic coated, vatican blessed holy fluid shocks in the world are crap if you don't source the right rubber seals with the right chemical compounds. Maybe the Firstgear Denali version 38.72 will leak "less". Thanks for the great test review and ride reports.
That's quite the list you've got so far. It's good to put stuff like that out there so others can read about real world experiences from people who had to shell out their hard earned money for gear that doesn't hold up.
Quick note on Goretex waterproofing from any manufacturer, If it leaks and for example Klim won't fix it, take the issue to W.L. Gore, there is a reason the Gore Tex tags say "guaranteed to keep you dry" It's worth a shot.
Hey my friends - sorry for the venting but I needed to I guess. I'm actually thankful that TouraTech is here and able to rebuild the shock so I can get on the way again.
Yes I agree. The problems I've seen and heard from others have been the seams, zippers and basic design issues. I'm curious how Gore handles that since their fabric typically doesn't leak. I can see a possible "our fabric is fine, the manufacturer's zippers aren't covered"?? Would like to hear from folks who've had their gear sent to Gore.
Another couple I met had been using a well known waterproof soft luggage and were happy with it except that it leaked. The leaks were from the areas where the manufacturer sewed the straps on and punctured the waterproof fabric. As the rider said "Why the hell wouldn't they sonic weld something instead of create a fail point? Do they really test their stuff more than a weekend?"
David, you're just as likely to have luck with Klim as any, as it seems to be a crap shoot. The one brand I keep bumping into on this trip and hearing rave reviews such as "I've had this jacket for 7 years and it's been fantastic" etc has been the Rev-It line. One of the couples mentioned previously switched to Rev-It for their Africa, Russia, Mongolia trip and have been really happy with the gear, last I heard. Similar has been the BMW riding gear albeit with an exterior rain shell.
The bottom line for jackets and pants is to have a rain shell no matter what brand you buy as backup.
LS Thank you for sharing the equipment pros and cons, it is very informative and you bet alot of buying decisions are goin to be made by gear buyers based on your thoughts and not on the marketing hype.
For some of us that´s a big money saverthat you can spend on other things
I never leave home without a Hefty Lawn and Garden sized trash bag, and a roll of toilet paper.
All the crap in my Subaru might make me appear homeless ........... but a Coloradan will look in there and think "damn, he's well prepared"!
(BTW, my next million dollar idea .......... is to produce "Adventure" trash bags that have graphics .......... to make it look like a KLIM jacket!)
Brilliant, isn't it!
@LoneStar I'm surprised to hear your comments about Rev-It gear. I've personally not had much luck with that brand.
But no matter what brand I wear for wet riding I always put on a water proof shell. On my last day of my European ride in June I had to haul it back to base and rode 700 kilometres of autobahn in torrential rain. Stayed dry. Goretex is wonderful stuff but it will fail at seams if those seams are stitched.
I have one as well and tp I offered to sell it to Ward when he was freezing and wet the other day but he wouldn't go for the price
I can't speak from personal experience, only from the people wearing them, so who knows??? I always bring a rain suit anyway and have decided to just forget trying to find real waterproof jackets and pants.
I'm waiting by the fireside for some eye-popping, professional photos of all this @$#%@ defective gear!
(such are the expectations when you set the bar so high with your fotografía)
LoneStar sorry to hear about your problems and I feel for you and you have every right to be pissed off!!
Reading this has steered up what I've been aggravated about for a while now so I got throw my 2c in.
I've built/farkeld so many bikes over the years I lost count and I never had as many problems with all of them as I've had with last years build. Pretty much everything I had done or bought had to be redone or sent back for something. Majority of everything I've bought in the 90's and up to mid 2000's lasted for years and stayed waterproof for years and was decent quality and got my moneys worth...Not so much now!
It seems recently no one gives a F**k about quality at all and have no worries about the ramifications from it primarily because there's is none.
I see a real bad shift in human behavior in last several years (particularly in last few), reflected in service and product quality. Greed, economy based on consumerism, no accountability and total lack of moral values are all contributions to this.
Any way safe riding and hope your brake-downs are done with so you can finish your trip in less worry and frustration...