Friday, 25 May 2018

I need your support!

The adventure is starting soon and it's time to give you some possibilites to take part in it!
You can support the trip by free donation or by buying a bundle :

- Donate 10 CHF and I will send you a 101% No limits sticker!*

- Donate 20 CHF and I will send send you a postcard during the trip!*

Every little penny or "Rappen" counts and any donations are kindly appreciated. I would love to have all your support in order to get to experience the trip of a lifetime!

IBAN: CH35 0900 0000 6522 1306 3

To: Norman Pedrini, Via Vignora 12, 6981 Bedigliora, Switzerland

Send your adress to: norman.pedrini@gmail.com

Thank you very much!



*Apply to swiss donors. For shipping outside Switzerland, please contact me!




Monday, 5 March 2018

Manual: The XRV 650 as adventure bike

First question to answer: is the XRV 650 the definitve bike for starting an adventure?
The answer is simple: No.
There is not a perfect adventure bike as the word adventure change from person to person. The best compromise are for sure the single cylinder by KTM (640 adventure, 690 enduro and the rally bikes, as show by Lyndon Poskitt), which are very light and can tackle everything.
But as money plays a big role for normal humans, it's all about compromises.
For example I paid less than 1000 € for my XRV 650, which came in a great shape and ready for easy adventures. 

Let's analyse the XRV and see what it should be done in order to make it ready for tackling almost everything.


Front wheel 


-Change the two wheel bearing anb buy two more as spares ( SKF 6202 2RSH  are suitable, for my Swiss friends: www.brw,ch) 

-Change the two Seals (buy them by cmsnl or similar). If you removed the mechanical speedometer, you can remove the gear on the wheel and use a 20x50x7 seal and a spacer (ID 15, OD 20, L 32 mm). You can machine the original housing of the gear away in order to have a spacer.
- If the rim is not corroded, keep it. It is very strong and it won't give you any problem. If there is corrosion, replace it in order to avoid problems in the middle of nowhere. I suggest to aks central wheel in the UK for this job.

Front Suspension and triple clamp


-Strip the suspension down by following the manual, check the bushings and replace them if necessary.

- Replace oil seals and dust seals (Pyramid one on ebay always worked fine for me).
- Replace the original springs with aftermarket ones. I have wilbers (bought on ebay) but any other manufacturer should be fine. Then use spasher washers for increasing the preload to the desired value (You find them at www.brw.ch) .
- Fork boots: you find on ebay the neoprene ones (Neoprene Fork Gaiters). The original ones are to expensive, replicas are shitty rubber that breaks immediately.
- Check the bearings of the trip clamp, if there is rust replace them, including the seals. (http://www.marksman-ind.co.uk/bearings/ , article is 32005/26 26x47x15 , I've bought the seals by cmsnl).

Brakes


- Replace the front hose with a braided one

- Replace the discs if necessary (HO05RID and HO05FI ) buy one by Breaking and use brembo blue pads (BRPADS-29748), all parts can be found at https://shop.biollamotors.it/
- Buy a front master cylinder repair kit and sealings of all calipers, keep them as spares in case of failure.

Cooling system


- Replace the coolant, best price in Europe is by https://shop.biollamotors.it/

- Replace the thermostat (Doesn't have to be original as it is very expensive).
- Use Rugged Roads radiators guard with a soft sponge in between the protection at the radiators (https://www.zachmanndo.ch/b2c_de/schaumstoff-ktm-zm-pp18-54835980000-19.html)

Fuel system


- Replace the pump with a Mikuni depression one: http://www.bellomokart.com/it/pompe-di-benzina-accessori/3187-pompa-di-benzina-mikuni-df52-82.html?search_query=mikuni&results=6

Watch out that you will need more parts (The fitting for the depression hose, an Y joint for avoind fuel to get into the pump and all the hoses). You can buy a pump kit also by Boano which has all the above mentioned items.
- If the fuel sensors are not working, repair them by looking at the various tutorial on the web.
- Swiss friends: replace your carburator pilot jets with original ones (38 in measure) and the pilot air screw buy buying the parts at cmsnl. You are not able to adjust the original Swiss pilot air screw and with the original Swiss 35 pilot jet, the motorbike is extremely lean.
- Swiss friends: the vacuum piston is also different, the small hole in it has to be drilled bigger (Diameter of the air passage has to be increased to 3.4 mm)
- Swiss friends: replace the rubber between carbs and cylinder's heads with the full power original one.

Rear Suspension


- Rebuild the rear shock absorber (Mototekna.it can check it and put a valve so that it will be easier in future), change the spring with a stiffer one, you can find the Ohlins ones by zachmanndo, I took the stiffest one)

- Check and grease the prolink and swing arm bearings, replace them if there is rust (Same website as for the head bearings, article 91079-KA3-831 REPLACEMENT BEARING 17.5x24.5x22mm)
- Add a soft protector on the bottom of the rear mudguard so that the shock absorber is exposed less to the mud/dust/trash thrown by the rear wheel.

Rear Wheel


- Check the rim, if corroded replace it. I suggest you to go for and 2.15x18  or 2.5x18 rim. Check with central wheel.

- Cheange the bearings, two 6203-2RSH and one 6204-2RSH. Sealings can be found at cmsnl. Spacers if really worn out.
- Change the sprocket damping rubbers.

Final drive


- Cheap DID 525 vx chain can be found at biollamotors

- Rear sprocket from JT are cheap and fines
- Front sprocket has to be original for avoind the wearing out of the shaft.

Engine


- oil filter from hiflo filtro, oil bardahl xrc c60 10w-40, all very cheap from biolla

- Clutch, after all the years it start slipping even if it is not worn, change it with: https://www.ebay.it/itm/EBC-Kupplung-Rep-Satz-Honda-XRV-650-Africa-Twin-RD03/330951498403?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649
(You will also need two exhaust gaskets)
- Check valves clearance and you are ready to go


Things that can be easily removed (after the above mentioned works):

- Forks side covers
- The plastic that holds the clutch cable on the triple calmp
- The plastic engine front guard
- The front sprocket cover
- Rear disc cover
- Chain guards on the swing arm
- The two small units for the pump and the headlamp, both situated in the front frame.
- The plastic cover of the ignition key





Tuesday, 13 February 2018

The new Beast!

The Beast is ready for action and it has already been employed!






After loosing around almost 20 kg the Beast is completely changed.

Before it had a 24 liters front tank with two quantity sensors (orange 8.4 liters, red 4.2 liter).
Keep in mind that, with the original tank, the last 8 liters are underneath the carburators, so the fuel pump is only necessary to pump these liter into the carburators (gravity works otherwise).

Now when the orange fuel sensor light up, the beast is still carrying more than 20 liters of fuel. This is a huge improvement as 20 kg of fuel are underneath the carburattors, which change drastically the center of mass of the Beast. I still have to figure out the best way to use the new tanks as they have a three positions a tap each (Off, On and reserve). Right now the reserve is around 0.6 liters each, which is very low.  I will most likely increase this and have around 3-4 liters of "last hope" before startint pushing.

Right now I have the original side stand orange light as quantity sensor. I will add a huge red one for the last ~8 liters.


Next step is changing the front rim (spokes are on their way) and to start the big maintenance and set up of the bike for the trip, I'll rebuild the clutch, many bearings, etc, etc.

The future is bright!

Friday, 9 February 2018

Camping gear

I have been evaluating what camping gear I should take on the 3 months trip of this Summer and I found out the best solution for my needs.

First of all, I camp only if it is necessary. Necessary means that there is no possibility of having a bed or this possibility is too expensive. Too expensive depends really on the situation, type of trip, etc.
I still have to set up what is too expensive for the next trip.
A big advantace of not camping is that you get more in touch with the local culture, staying in a guesthouse and having a typical breakfast is matchless.

But from what I've been told, in some part of the trip I will have to camp as there will be no other possibility.

Before I've always used a Robens Voyager 2 tent, this brand is really good and their products are really worth the money. If you plan to camp almost every night, then go for a tent like that. As it is not my plan, it is too big: it is very roomy and cosy, all in 2.8 kg packed up in 43 x 16 cm (16 is a diameter).  The tent alone was almost taking up one of my side bags (Amphibious Motobag II, 20 liter each) and in the other I was fitting in the sleeping matress, sleeping bag and other stuff.
This is taking up way too much place for my taste.

Let's make a simple calculation: In the trip to Georgia I was on the orad for 42 days, I've camped 2 days (The too expensive limit for a bed was 20 €, by heart I had an average of 17 € per night).
It means that I took my whole camping gear with me for 15000 km just for camping two days.
The Beast without side bags has a fuel consumption of around 5 liters per 100 km, with saddle bags this goes up to 5.7 liters. So, taking all the camping gear with me costed me the following amount of fuel: (5.7 - 5)*15000/100 liters = 105 liters.
With a very optimistic average fuel cost of 1.2 €, taking the camping gear with me costed 126 €.
I could have slept the two night in hotel and I would have still be in positive.

That's why, for the next trip I don't want to carry the Voyager 2 for all these kilometers.

So I looked for a fancy small tent, I found very good products but they where all very expensive (400 € or more). Then I evaluated  a single person tent, but all not to expensive products (such as Starlight 1 by Robens) weight aound 2 kg and are still quite big.

Then the Snugpak Stratosphere popped in front of me and I thought: this might be it.

I've talked with some people that camp regularly in different condition and they all told me the same: avoid this kind of stuff for simple reasons: I'm a big boy and these products are already claustrophobic for average people, then I won't have any cover for my motorcycle gear.

Then, just by being on the Snugpak website, I found out the Stasha, a 2.44 x 1.63 meters tarp, which weight 370 grams and is packed up very small. I got also a Snugpak bivvy bag for the sleeping bag (300 g) and a mosquito net (80 g, necessary in Siberia). So with  750 g I've got the "tent".

Of course, this is not going to be a very good solution but for the few times I will have to wild camp, it will work fine.
As it is right now, all this gear fits into one of the side bags, so this gives me 20 extra liters for all other stuff.



Tuesday, 9 January 2018

What is needed on a motorbike trip?

That's a very common questions between bikers and what a biker bring with him on the first trips is always wrong.
I'll just consider the practical part of the motorbike, all other aspects as gear, clothing and "survival" will not be taken into account.
It is not a simple question and before trying answering it, it is necessary to answer other questions:

- Where am I going to ride? What will I be able to find in these places for fixing my bike?

There is a big difference if you are planning to ride on the military roads of Val di Susa or riding the BAM. In the first case, you will find yourself in a road where few vehicles pass per day, there is mostlikely a network for the cell phone and  spare parts can easily be found, it will only be a matter of waiting/looking. Then there are many different insurances, some of them will also bring the rider and his broken motorbike home. Easy and good life.
In second case, riding somewhere in the middle of nowhere, the closest fuel station might be 200 km away and no simple spare parts are available at it, such as a light bulb or a inner tube. You are on your own.

- What am I able to fix on my bike?

Ask yourself this question give a true answer to it. A lie might cause problems to the trip later. There are many tutorials on YouTube, they help a lot but you have to get your hands dirty in order to be sure if you are able to do something.

Once these question have been ansewered , you will be able to set up everything you need.
In my case it is simple: I will be in the middle of nowhere so I will have to do everything by myself.
So here it comes the first real questions: What is everything?

I consider everything , all works that are included in the normal maintenance schedule of the veichle  plus all things that could break and be easily replaced on the road (Like a puncture in the tyre or a broken clutch cable).

Maintenance schedule of the XRV650 according to the manual.

The Maintenance schedule is very helpful as it allows to organize the maintenance in a long trip, so that it is possible to organize where the engine oil will be changed, etc. By doing this nowadays you can check online if the engine oil and oil filter are available where you plan to change it, etc.
So in my case I'm planning to do big maintenance in Oš, where a fully working workshop is available.
I still have to evaluate everything, for example I don't know yet if I will bring tyres down to Central Asia, if I will organize some or find anything down there.

After this small excursus, let's see which spare parts I will bring along with me:
- 2 front inner tubes
- 1 rear inner tube (In worst case the front inner tube can be fit into the rear wheel, but not viceversa)
- A tube repair kit
- 1 tension rectifier
- 1 ignition coil
- 1 CDI
- 4 spark plugs (For a big Maintenance in Magadan)
- 1 clutch lever, 1 brake lever, 1 gear lever
- 2 joints for the final drive chain
- Set of fuses of the bike
- 1 clutch cable, 1  carbs On/off cables
- 1 spare fuel pump (I'm looking if a repair kit is available)
-  All bearings of the wheels
- Smaller jetting for the carbs
- 4 rear spokes + nipples
- 4 front spokes + nipples


Then in Maybe following parts:
- Brake pads (I have to check availability)
- Oil filters (I have to check availability)
- Engine oil (For swamps on the BAM road in case water into the engine)


Also some consumables:
- Motorex offroad chain spray
- Cleaner and Oil for K&N air filter
- Radiator seal
- Iron wire
- Duct tape
- Various cable ties
- Electrical wire

All the mentionet spare parts are useless without the right tools:
- Air pump by KTM, with electric pressure gauge (it is also very practical for the pressure in the forks)
- 3 Levers for tyres (By Buzzetti)
- Right hand side stand, for dismounting tyres
- Swiss army knife
- The original tools of the bike (They are heavy duty) plus some add ons for ISO screws (Like a 13 mm wrench). With the original set plus a set screw, the original bike can be dismountled for reaching the vavles of the engine. I will check all tools late this year when I will do the maintenance.


It is very important to work on the motorbike with the same tools that will be on the road with you, otherwise you might find yourself in troubles (For example you won't be able to remove a wheel from the bike if it  had been tightened with a bigger tool).

A lot of stuff. It is very important to organize in advance for a trip like this!
Then by knowing the bike, screws can be replaced in order to make it even more easy for the maintenance: the less tools the better!

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Summer 2018

Sometimes it happens: I can't sleep.
It's very rare but it's normal when too many things go through your mind.



The best in these occasions is to start using the time and so I've started working on next Summer. Right now is Winter and thinking of next Summer and maybe riding through Turkey, a place I haven't seen yet pops up in my mind: Ölüdeniz. I had planned to go there 2 years ago on the way back from Georgia but I didn't. Why?
I can't exactly say why I skipped the whole part in South East Turkey, the Beast was ready for it but the Knight wasn't. Moreover he threw manure on itself so it was not the really right time for that trip. But flowers don't come from diamonds, they come from manure!
So here we go, I still have the tracks of the Georgia trip, which were based on the ones a Russian Rider shared with me. By looking a little bit at Wikiloc I've decided myself: I will reach Central Asia by riding through Turkey and Iran. So I've downloaded something like 40 tracks and the puzzle is starting.
Betwee Ölüdeniz and Iran there is already a lot and there is a lot more to discover, like Taşkale, just found it on the pictures of google map.
I haven't started planning the BAM and Central Asia part of the trip that the Turkey is already making it Epic!



Monday, 11 December 2017

The new Beast

I've had time to mount and almost finish the new Beast, here a recap of the things that have been removed or replaced:
Front fairings with high screen: -1940 g, replaced with Boano's rally fairing: 2360 g  (+420 g)
Original meters&co: ~1700 g, replaced with Koso Db-03r and two lights for fuel indicatiors ~300g (- 1400g)
I've had time to mount and almost finish the new Beast, here a recap of the things that have been removed or replaced:
Front frame plus light: 2720 g, replaced with Boano's front frame and light 1050 g   (-1670 g)
Motobatt: -5500 g, replaced with lithium battery BCB9-FP-WI 730 g   (-4770 g)
Blinkers: -900 g, replaced with One arrow blinkers 160 g (-740 g)
Handlebar: -1400 g, replaced with alluminium one with same measures by Boano 900 g, (-500 g)
Shortened seat: -500 g
Bashplate reinforced with fiberglass: 3060 g, boano kevlar carbon bashplate with pockets 2360 g (-700 g)
Muffler: -6400 g, replaced with original Arrow Paris Dakar 2180 g (-4220 g)
Top carrier: -1100 g, replaced with one made by GPMucci ~200 g (-900 g)
Rear Subframe (Complete with light): -2800 g, replaced with CRF450 mudguard plus plate holder 500 g (-2300 g)
Both rear side covers: -1600 g, replaced with tanks made by GPMucci ~5000 g (+3400 g)
Plastics on the swingarm: -350 g
Front forks plastics: -450 g
Side stand sensor: -200 g
Engine plastic grid: -150 g
Passenger steps: - 1200 g
Original fuel pump plus relay: 900 g, Mikuni fuel pump 250 g (-650 g)

A grand total of 16880 grams have been removed from the Beast, that's a great achievement!

A new Beast is born, completely different and more fun for off-pavement tracks. Right now it is near Bologna by GPMucci: he is building the new side tanks with support for the luggages and other small stuff.