and  the


2 Brothers
 2 Motorcycles
  7 Months
   4 Continents
    30 Countries

a travel tail




Trip Stats...

he List.


Hello all.  

We’ve been 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.

The game 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.

It’s a 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’  

The game 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.

We did this mostly to kill the boredom, but also to distract ourselves from the days racing ahead.

Anyone who 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… 

The other 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 immediately.

For example; 


Q. What is the only animal able to survive a nuclear blast? 

A. A cockroach. (Every body knows this) 

So this is how it would usually go… 

Me. What is the only animal able to survive a nuclear blast? 

Dean. A cockroach? 

Me. No. 

Dean. Bullshit, it’s a cockroach, everybody knows that! 

Me. No it’s not, It’s not even an insect… you’re way off the mark… 

Dean. Not an insect, hey? Is it a bird? 

Me. Shit, close. It has wings, that’s for sure… 

Dean. So it’s a bird? Bullshit, it’s a cockroach, nice try! 

You get the picture any way? 

Some of 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.. 

Does it start with an A 


Does it start with a B 


Does it start with a C 


Is the second letter an A 


Is the second letter a B 

No, and so on… 

Sounds a 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… 

The Little Facts… (current as at 28/06/2010) 

Little Numbers:


22 today! 

4 sets each 


50 litres 

2 sets rear, 2 sets front 




FUEL FILTERS            

0 (Very surprisingly) 

FORK SEALS            

20, that we can remember… 


108, that we can remember… 

7: Botswana, Zambia, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan. 

670 litres 

approx 3700 litres 

205km (this includes about45 down days)                      

BRIBES PAID  17 each, $870 total. 

More than we wanted 

SLIGHTLY SOILED UNDERPANTS                             
A Daily Event 

4, Mostly Dean...

nil :-(



Little Bike Related Issues 


·        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 fuel. 

·        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 lever. Twice. 

·        Broken front brake pipe. 

·        Seized chain adjuster bolts. 

·        Dashboard Failure. 

·        Voltage Regulator.  Failed at 38000km. 

·        Side Stand Safety Switch Failure. 

·        Starter Solenoid Failure. 

·        Clutch Slave Cylinder Failure.

·        Clutch Master Cylinder Failure.  

·        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 Great. 

·        The KTM 950SE.   

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 J 

·        Safari Long Range Tanks.   

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 Pelican.  

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 Touratech.  

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 though. 

·        Cardo Scala Helmet Intercom.  

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 water-proof. 

·        CyclePump’ miniature 12V compressor.   

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 tyres.  It was the only thing that got the Africans to move back a step when were in a village!  

·        Rear Luggage Nets, by Oxford.  

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 Cams.  

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 Suits.  

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 years.) 

·        Alpinestars Boots and Gloves.  

o   Top notch, ‘nuff said. 

·        HP Netbook. 

o    This little laptop has endured far more than it was ever designed to, and by some miracle, still works perfectly. (touch wood) 

·        Panasonic Lumix FT1. 

o   Waterproof, dustproof, shockproof and take great pictures. 

·        Garmin Zumo 660 GPS.   

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 Packs.   

o   They don’t leak yet, and make good pillows when you’re trying to sleep in a gravel customs area on the train line. 

·        Arai XD3 Helmets. 

o   Still comfortable albeit a little manky.  A quick detach visor would be nice but it’s no biggie.  

·        Washable Pre-Filters and Air Filters.   

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 filters locally. 

·        Scott Oilers.   

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 in.  We 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 sprocket.   

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 Plates.   

o   Tough As Nails. 

·        Pirelli’s New “Scorpion Rally Pro”.   

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 Great 

·        HID headlight conversion.  

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. 

·        Alarm Systems. 

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 Grips. 

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 warm. 




Little List of Service History 

First Service,  L’ Hippocampe’,    
Congo Brazzaville 16/04/10    
8,500 km 

·        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 inspection 


Second Service,    
Tunis, Tunisia      
17,000 km   

·        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 


Third and Major Service    
Istanbul, Turkey    

  • Inspected and adjusted valve clearances (in a gravel car park) 
  • 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 


Fourth Service   
Toshkent, Uzbekistan 
26,000 km 

  • Replaced engine oil and filter 
  • Replaced front and rear tyres 
  • Replace three fork seals (ATF used again J) 
  • Fitted replacement Scottoilers, with fabricated heat shield 
  • Fitted replacement mirrors 
  • Fitted replacement HID globe to bike 36 
  • Fitted KTM warranty parts  


Little Lists of The Things We Bought With Us That We No Longer Have. 

Items Left at the Warehouse in Capetown, ‘gifted’ to locals who helped us unpack. 

  • Bike Crates 
  • Suitcases 
  • Various Pelican Micro Cases 
  • 1 Pair Birkenstock Sandals 
  • Assorted Rock Straps 
  • Electric Drill 
  • 12 Soft Bags used to pack suits and helmets 
  • 30 Tie Down Straps 


Posted Home 

  • Dress Jeans (what were we thinking?) 
  • 2 x IceBreaker T-Shirts 
  • IceBreaker Thermal Pants 
  • 1/4 Drive Ratchet 
  • 3/8 Drive Ratchet 
  • KTM Casual Jacket 
  • 2 Pairs of Yamaha Riding Socks 
  • 1 Alien MultiTool 
  • 1 Electronic Disc Lock 
  • 2 Pairs of Boxer Shorts 
  • Electric Shaver 
  • Icebreaker hooded jersey 
  • 2 x Icebreaker Long Sleeved Tops 
  • KTM Hat 
  • VHoldr Digital Camera 
  • Various Wall or 12V Chargers 


·        Mobile Phone (2 stolen, one retrieved) 

·        Gloves 

·        1 shoe 

·        Wallet 

·        Hydration pack, (later retrieved from a guy on the side of the road)