Current Musing: Murray and Darling River Systems (On hold - COVID-19)
Motorcycles lined up along the street

Our bikes

These weren't necessarily our first choices, but price and availability were the primary considerations!

After a lot of searching around and testing bikes in almost every bike shop in Brisbane we finally decided on the following bikes. A KLR650 and a XT250. After finding a good deal on another 250 duel sport (KLX250) and a promise to be able to lower it so that Chris could flat foot, we went for that.

This also involved a lot of reading on Adventure Rider to get firsthand accounts of the good and the bad characteristics of each bike.

Kawasaki KLR 600

Mostly positives about the bike, but it is lacking the suspension for the trip at hand....

Modifications

  • Bark busters
  • 15 May - Happy trail panniers installed. Bloody expensive - around the $800 USD for these and the mounts.
  • 24 June - New rear tire $180 USD
  • 15 July - Installed a tool tube in the carpark of Home Depot. About $25 USD
  • at least 3 or 4 more sets of tires over the trip

Repairs & servicing

  • 800 miles store service
  • 825 miles lost a manifold bolt
  • 10 - 7500 miles fell over multiple times as the standard suspension could not handle the load
  • 7300 miles - quick service & oil change before heading into Mexico
  • 8500 miles - lost speedo cable. 1 mile and 4 countries later, a replacement was found.
  • Stock suspension gave up and custom suspension added in Mexico.
  • Custom suspension repair blew out in Colombia. A contributing factor in a later accident.
  • Custom suspension blew out third time in Boliva.

Neither a repair nor service, but this old girl drank litres of oil. I would always take an extra litre spare for emergencies.

Crashes & spills

  • Dropped 4 times while parking in the US - dropped being falling over while parked. Damn cheap arse factory suspension, the bike tilts away from the stand with the full load!
  • Road edge cave in sends me off the side in the middle of nowhere Baja with a full load pinning my leg. Damn lucky that nothing was broken.
  • Wet / oil slick in the wet in Palenque triggered a sideways slide into a tope that sent both me and the bike packing into the tarmac. Three front wheel spokes popped and some bruising.
  • Hard fall avoiding a cyclist in Ecuador. Read about this here.
Factory shot of bike
Rough looking bike

Kawasaki KLX 250S

Mostly positives about the bike, minimal issues other than wear and tear

Modifications

  • Lowered
  • Bark busters
  • Fuel adjustment for high altitude - wire in the carb

Repairs & servicing

  • 700 miles - first service
  • 5900 miles - full service including value adjustments
  • 20,000 - Honda replacement sprockets custom fitted

Crashes & spills

  • Couple low speed drops.
Factory shot of bike
Very dirty bike

Additional gear for the bikes

Complete first aid kit, tire repair kit and tool kit.

We need to have every tool needed to fix a broken chain, punctured tire, or to tighten loose bolts. While it is usually easy and cheap to get a puncture repaired in a shop, we had many instances where is was simply easier to do ourselves and potentially dangerous if stranded

Pack an extra length of fuel line, an extra spark plug, some rags, zip ties or bailing wire, a flashlight, electrical tape and some duct tape.