Stripped down to the bones

The bike has undergone a good deal of disassembly…actually all bolt on parts have been removed and the frame is naked. Ready for paint. I am left with only pieces of motorcycle, all neatly sorted into boxes and some things have actually been bagged and labeled. It has gotten to cold to work comfortably in the outside shop so much of the project has been brought into the basement workspace for detailed work, painting and some assembly.frame Modifications to the frame have primarily focused on the subframe where unneeded attachment points have been removed and new mounting points have been welded in place for the saddle bag racks. The inner fender had been cut and modified to accept the new narrower Acerbis rear fender. A bar was welded across the lower rear of the subframe to attach the rear fender.

The main frame has had the stock skid plate mounts removed as I will be installing the old plate from my ’09. The upper subframe mount has been drilled through to install the upgraded single bolt. Since the stock fairing  and light assembly will not be used I have fabricated a new mounting bracket to hold the dual H4 light assembly as well as the modified fairing. In addition to the subframe bolt drilling I have drilled and tapped the foot peg mounting holes to accept 10mm bolts. The seat was cut down about 7 inches. I had the seat recovered in black vinyl. I am hoping that moving the luggage load forward 7 inches will help the handling. The rear of the subframe looks like it will make an excellent handle when wrestling the bike though deep mud or sand if I get stuck.

rackunpaintedMy welding skills are rudimentary at best. My equipment is bare bones wire feed no gas MIG. Of course I started the welding parts of this project on the most difficult item, the rear saddle bag rack. I used 1/2 square stock for the mounting supports , 5/16 round for the bag supports, and 1/8 round for the attachment loops. It does not look pretty but it seems strong and fits my Wolfman waterproof bags perfectly. I modified the mounting points on my Packrat luggage rack so I have the option of carrying my aluminum panniers for extended mostly on road trips.



Project TAT

What is a TAT? The Trans America Trail is a network of backroads, off pavement and off road route extending from Tennessee to Oregon. It is 4800 miles in length but I am planning on starting the ride in northern Arkansas. The plan is to leave in mid July after my oldest daughter’s wedding. I’m allowing a couple of months to ride out to Oregon and make my return. A July start may put me into some hot weather in the Midwest but should mean that the mountain passes of the West will be free of snow.

I have taken my trusty 2009 KLR 650 40,000 miles through lowlands and over mountains in 32 states in The USA and Mexico. I could take this bike on this trip but I have decided to rebuild a KLR 650 especially for this trip. I purchased a 1990 KLR 650 with 14,000 miles on it. The goal is to remove as much weight as possible and keep the total costs below $2500 including the purchase price of $450.00.

I will be posting updates on the rebuild as it proceeds this winter. I am planning a late spring shakedown trip of a 1000 miles or so likely including the the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail.


Final Post Mexico 2012

8,400+ miles over two months. What a trip! From peering into the deep chasm of Sótano de las Golondrinas or riding to over 14,000’ on Mexico’s tallest peak Pico de Orizaba. The heat of the dry forested Yucatan Peninsula was intense at times but over time I became used to it. The mountains of Chiapas and Oaxaca were beautiful and challenging to ride. I found the heat of the Yucatan Peninsula replaced by dangerously low temperatures in the mountains north of Oaxaca.

I climbed many ancient pyramids and explored cities only recently recovered from the surrounding forest and jungles. I scrambled up the steep steps of pyramids to watch the sun rise and traveled deep into the jungle to view the preserved frescoes that revealed vivid detail of the lives of the people who once inhabited the great cities of the Maya, Olmec, and Aztec cultures. Sometimes alone, sitting on the steps of a structure built thousands of years ago, surrounded by the sounds of the animals of the forested landscapes, the imagination could run free.

Primarily keeping off the main roadways exposed me to a side of Mexico that I would have missed if I just drove the main roads. I met some great people in remote locations. Farmers who I bothered for directions while lost in a maze of dirt roads were always approachable and friendly. The kids always wanted to see the bike. Fishermen shared their slice of coastal paradise with me and welcomed me into their daily lives where I learned a great deal. Road work crews served me hot coffee when I was cold and damp in the mountains. When no official restaurant was nearby I was offered food.

I slept on beaches, in forests and jungles and alongside fields. I stayed at hotels in small villages and in large cities. I stayed in small cell-like rooms and I stayed in the luxury of Cancun’s beach front resort hotels.

I saw dozens of birds species new to me. Howler monkeys howled and threw fruit at me. I saw sharks and even held a crocodile. Cute coatis and iguanas of all sizes entertained me.

I met expats from around the world. All with interesting stories, helpful hints, and even sharing interest in motorbiking.

I ate well while mostly avoiding restaurants. Preferring instead to eat from carts and stalls at the sides of the road or to eat form small private kitchens run as a way to make a little money. Tacos of all kinds. Hot sauces from simply flavorful to blazing hot added spice to my food. Moles in Oaxaca were varied but all superb. Fresh ceveche, fresh fruits and avocados rounded out my diet of tacos.

Never did I feel that I was in danger from the locals nor did I have any issues with the many military and police checkpoints that I was stopped at. No bribes were paid and no gas station attendants ripped me off. I never once felt taken advantage of. I had one disagreement with a business but in the end we shook hands both satisfied with the results.

My only regret was that I did not spend more time in Mexico. I will be back.

Thanks to all of you who followed along, encouraged me, helped me along the way and welcomed me home.!