toying with the idea of putting together a list of interesting (to us anyway) trip related statistics, or
‘little facts’ as we like to call them.
of ‘little fact’ was born some years ago, on those long runs out to Mallala Motorsport Park, when Dean and I
were racing and testing regularly.
game we play with the lids of Spring Valley juices, under which you’ll sometimes find an interesting fact.
Usually something like ‘what is the circumference of the globe’ or ‘which is the only animal capable of
surviving a nuclear blast’
would consist of the ‘little fact’ being asked in question form by one of us, and the other would then have
no more than 1000 attempts to guess the answer.
this mostly to kill the boredom, but also to distract ourselves from the days racing
has spent some time with me at the track, will know how close I am to vomiting in the helmet almost
permanently. ‘Nerves of Steel’ we would joke…
interesting thing about this game, and the way it was often played, is that if the answer to the question was
a little too obvious from the outset, the plethora of ‘bump steers’ would begin almost
Q. What is
the only animal able to survive a nuclear blast?
cockroach. (Every body knows this)
So this is
how it would usually go…
is the only animal able to survive a nuclear blast?
Bullshit, it’s a cockroach, everybody knows that!
it’s not, It’s not even an insect… you’re way off the mark…
an insect, hey? Is it a bird?
close. It has wings, that’s for sure…
it’s a bird? Bullshit, it’s a cockroach, nice try!
the picture any way?
the ‘little facts’ would be almost impossible to solve because of the fake set of clues administered at
regular intervals, that we’d end up resorting to..
start with an A
start with a B
start with a C
second letter an A
second letter a B
No, and so
bit lame I’m sure; effective nonetheless. The set of little facts to follow have absolutely nothing to with
aforementioned and juvenile game. I’m not even sure why I mentioned it actually. The only real similarity
that exists; is that if you did a ‘windows search’ in my brain with the key words ‘little’ and ‘fact’, you
would probably get results for Mallala Motorsport Park and Donkey and the Mule...
How do get
I onto these tangents and random points of digression? No idea…
Facts… (current as at 28/06/2010)
2 sets rear, 2 sets front
BRAKE AND CLUTCH LEVERS
20, that we can remember…
108, that we can remember…
FALL FREE COUNTRIES
Botswana, Zambia, Italy, Croatia,
Slovenia, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan.
approx 3700 litres
AVERAGE DAILY MILEAGE
205km (this includes
about45 down days)
BRIBES PAID 17 each, $870
AVOCADOES AND BANNANAS CONSUMED
More than we wanted
SLIGHTLY SOILED UNDERPANTS
A Daily Event
BADLY SOILED UNDERPANTS
Little Bike Related
· Broken bolt at gear
selector lever whilst uncrating at Cape Town.
· Blocked fuel
strainer (several times) on bike 38, due to a contaminated batch of
· Persistent fuel tank
leaks. This was mainly due to crashes and the subsequent deformation of the sealing surface on the
fuel level sender unit.
Fork Seals. Three
out of four had failed by the time we exited the Congo. Not surprising, at all. When the mud on the
staunchion dries hard, the next time the seal runs over it, its surface is cut and a leak begins.
Unfortunately, Stoopid PM chose to bring cheaper non genuine replacement seals, and unfortunately they all
failed soon after being put into service. That’s a classic case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’. Lesson learnt,
genuine seals are in transit.
· Rear Spring.
Paul’s sagged on
the run into Kano, Nigeria, and Dean’s to a lesser extent by the time we reached Tunisia. Not surprising
really, given the enormous payload we’re carrying. Anyone who chooses to use the
term ‘Fat Bastard’ at this point should do so at their own risk.
· Panniers. These
have needed regular ‘maintenance’ due to falls.
· Mirrors. Three out
of four have been damaged for obvious reasons.
KTM tank bags.
Stitching and zip failure, again, because of heavy falls.
· Bent rear brake
· Broken front brake
· Seized chain adjuster
Regulator. Failed at 38000km.
· Side Stand Safety Switch
· Starter Solenoid
· Clutch Slave Cylinder
· Clutch Master Cylinder
· In some ways the previous four
items, although covered by KTM under factory warranty, were almost certainly exacerbated by the persistent
flogging these bike received. We didn’t go out of our way to make this happen; we were just caught in bad
terrain frequently. Again, thanks to KTM for their assistance with these issues. I’m certain some of the
Japanese manufactures may not have been so forthcoming… ooops.
Little List of Components That Have Been
· The KTM
o To all the non believers, these
things have taken abuse beyond anything we imagined when we set out. They start first time every
morning, don’t leak anything at all, and never complain (except about the riders). Good Job to the boffins in
Austria, but maybe next time make the seat a little softer
Safari Long Range
o While we have had some issues with
them leaking due to crash damage, they have outlasted our expectations and are surprising durable, (100
crashes and they’re still fine).
· Top case, by
o We made the mounting hardware
and custom fitted these cases to our bikes, as they almost indestructible and rated to IP 67 on the
Ingress Protection scale. This means that they are virtually submersible; great for storing all the camping
gear and also our travel documents and passports etc.
· Luggage by
o A typically high quality German
product. Really durable luggage system that is waterproof and secure. The bags are pretty easily panel beaten
when necessary too. The only negative on these is that they’re not a Quick Release system; minor
· Cardo Scala Helmet
o When we finally got to understand
exactly how to ‘pair’ and operate these things they have been great. It’s amazing how disabled we feel when
one of the batteries on the units goes flat. The importance of being able to communicate cannot be
understated. They take a lot of stress out of negotiating busy cities, requesting assistance when necessary
and of course, incredibly handy in hostage situations.
J Also, the manufacturer
stipulates that they are only ‘water resistant’; however we’ve found that in practice they are pretty much
· ‘CyclePump’ miniature 12V
o This thing has done lots of work,
sometimes in extreme heat and frequently gets too hot to touch, but it’s still rattling away inflating our
was the only thing that got the Africans to move back a step when were in a village!
· Rear Luggage Nets, by
o It’s amazing how such a little and
simple thing can be so handy, for so many reasons. From clipping your jacket under on hot days to storing
excess luggage. Life would have been considerably more difficult without them.
· POV Helmet
o Again, great when we worked out
their peculiarities. Unfortunately this didn’t happen until after the Congo, so we missed a lot of good
footage. They are a little fussy with the SD cards that you use, but once that’s sorted, they work fine and
will record at a quality that’s close to HD. Good product.
· BMW Riding
o Outstanding, unfortunately the wrong
brand and colour. It would’ve been great if KTM stocked some stuff that we could try, without committing to
purchase. Anyways, great product, and we’ve worked out the use they’ve received on this trip is the
equivalent of 10 years of usual use; (i.e. 5 hours every weekend for ten
· Alpinestars Boots and
o Top notch, ‘nuff
o This little laptop has
endured far more than it was ever designed to, and by some miracle, still works perfectly. (touch
· Panasonic Lumix
o Waterproof, dustproof, shockproof
and take great pictures.
· Garmin Zumo 660
o When we have had map data it has
been great, and it has taken a real beating from vibration, dust and rain.
· Ogio Hydration
o They don’t leak yet, and make good
pillows when you’re trying to sleep in a gravel customs area on the train
· Arai XD3
o Still comfortable albeit a little
quick detach visor would be nice but it’s no biggie.
· Washable Pre-Filters and Air
o The washable prefilter saves the
main filter from most of the junk, and being able to wash them saves the hassle of carrying or sourcing
o Some people love them, others hate
them… We’re big fans. You can’t argue with getting 23,000km out of a chain in the shit we are riding
located these a little too close to the headers so on a particularly hot day in the Congo they got too hot
and deformed. It was only after this that we realized how much easier they had made life up to that
point. They still work a little but we’re looking forward to getting a new set (to be located
further from any source of heat this time!).
· SuperSprox Composite rear
o These are lighter than standard so
carrying a spare is no problem, and have lasted at least as well as OEM.
· B&B Bash
o Tough As
· Pirelli’s New “Scorpion
o We have now tried a few different
brands/models and while they have all been ok, these remain our favourites. Great off road, and somehow
even pretty good on the tar, (best mileage too).
· Camping Gear
o Too much to mention, but buying
quality has certainly paid off.
(see the Gear Section of the web site for the full
list, it has all been great).
Little List of Components That Have NOT Been So
· HID headlight
o Dean’s globe failed shortly after
‘take off’ and mine nearly caught fire, hence it was decommissioned in favour of an OEM H4 globe. These
systems would probably work really well on a road bike; unfortunately they were not up the regular ‘pelting’
that they received.
o On paper these things are fantastic
and have a lot of great features. In practice they are rubbish and work so irregularly that it renders them
useless. Ask us personally for specifics.
· KTM Heated
o While they are still working, and on
many occasions are a life saver, the thermal control is not great, low is too cool, and high is too
Little List of Service
Service, L’ Hippocampe’,
· Replaced engine oil and filter
· Replaced front and rear brake pads
· Replaced front sprockets
· Replaced 3 fork seals
· Serviced pre cleaner and air filter
· Repaired damaged panniers and mounting hardware
· Basic safety inspection and nut and bolt torque
· Replaced engine oil and filter
· Fitted new Michelin Desert tyres front and rear
· Fitted new headlight globe
· Carried out pannier repairs
· Carried out rear preload adjustments
· Repaired seized chain adjusters
- Inspected and adjusted valve clearances (in a gravel car
- Carried out repairs to fuel tank
- Serviced pre filter and air cleaner
- Replace complete final drive
- Replaced battery, bike 38
- Carried out repairs to panniers and mounting hardware
- Replaced engine oil and filter
- Replaced front and rear tyres
- Replace three fork seals (ATF
replacement Scottoilers, with fabricated heat shield
replacement HID globe to bike 36
KTM warranty parts
Little Lists of The Things We Bought With Us That We No Longer
Items Left at the Warehouse in Capetown, ‘gifted’ to locals who
helped us unpack.
- Bike Crates
- Various Pelican Micro Cases
- 1 Pair Birkenstock Sandals
- Assorted Rock Straps
- Electric Drill
- 12 Soft Bags used to pack suits and
- 30 Tie Down Straps
- Dress Jeans (what were we
- 2 x IceBreaker T-Shirts
- IceBreaker Thermal Pants
- 1/4 Drive Ratchet
- 3/8 Drive Ratchet
- KTM Casual Jacket
- 2 Pairs of Yamaha Riding
- 1 Alien MultiTool
- 1 Electronic Disc Lock
- 2 Pairs of Boxer Shorts
- Electric Shaver
- Icebreaker hooded jersey
- 2 x Icebreaker Long Sleeved
- KTM Hat
- VHoldr Digital Camera
- Various Wall or 12V Chargers
LOST or STOLEN
· Mobile Phone (2 stolen, one
· Hydration pack, (later retrieved
from a guy on the side of the road)