Klim knick knack back pack and what’s stuffed in it

I’ve not been dirt biking long, but I quickly realized that I needed to carry some amount of tools, and assorted items with me on each and every ride.

I first started with a simple smallish bag, that had a hydration bag, room for snacks, and some very rudimentary tools.
Once I actually got serious about dirt biking…read: not falling off every 10 feet, I started looking for a better bag to take dirt biking with me.

Since I’m cheap, a Klim bag came up on sale so I snagged it. I’ve owned it for three years or so. Zero issues with the zippers, stitching, and buckles. For the life of me, I have no idea what it’s called, but the below is likely the replacement.
https://www.klim.com/Nac-Pak-3319-005?quantity=1&color=303

It’s well put together, and well thought out.

It’s split into two zippered pockets (Top and bottom).
Original tool pouch was clipped between the top and bottom pocket.
I found that the weight of the tools that far away from my back, didn’t sit well. I moved the tool pouch to the top inside pocket meant for the water bladder.

Top pocket contains a large back pocket to hold a hydration bladder. This is where the tool bag now sits.
The front of the top pocket has quite a bit of room for other items. My 3L water bladder fits there nicely without moving around too much.
Top pocket also has a separate small zippered pocket for keys, insurance etc.
The bottom pocket is sizable enough for a basic 1st aid kit, comes with a nice goggle holder. This is where most of my snacks, spot connect, ends up.

The separate tool pouch holder has good compartments, and tool holders.
It comes with two zippered pockets on opposite ends, where small items can be kept.
It’s a well padded bag, with chest and gut clips to keep all your stuff close to your body. It ticks almost all of my boxes.
I have room for my tools, water, snacks, and emergency items.

So what do I have for tools? Basically I went over my dirt bike and figured out what tools I would need to repair it trail side. More importantly, think about the shit you might need that will get you out of the woods, preferably on your bike, and not having to push the bastard out.
I gathered up the items needed to remove the wheels, tank, and various fasteners that I would need to screw with, in case..you know I need to fix my carb for example.
Here’s a few other items to consider to go into the bag with you. Wood saw. I use a Silky saw. A great folding saw made in Japan. Great at cutting up to a 12″ piece of trail blockage.
A tracking/emergency device (see overpriced, and quite frankly a rip off at this point) Spot device..my yearly bill just came, it’s now over $300 Canadian tire dollars)

One really long term review, one short term, and a bunch of ramblings

Right,

I haven’t put anything on errrmmmm…paper lately.  I’ve been busy riding my dirt bike.  Moar on that later.

As the title points out, below is my long term review (75 000 KM) of my 2012 Yamaha Super Tenere, followed by my short term review of my 2015 FJ09 (Fudge9).

2012 Super Tenere Long term review.  I’ve written many many times on the subject of my ST.  It’s been a fantastic bike.  I’ve beaten it now for 75k with very little problems.  Outside of the shaft seals going (missing swing arm plug was the culprit) the bike has never let me down.

Above: Mount Robson, majestic as ever.  Below:  Crap footwear, and a pig

So we’re fast approaching five year, 75K, I figured a dodgy write up was in order.  I have used the bike for roughly 60/40% Road/gravel use.  It has not disappointed.  Yes, she’s a heavy old girl, but if you know what you’re doing, and you know your limitations the bike will get you through most things.  On a recent trip through interior BC, up to Jasper, and back down the forestry trunk road I thought about the times where the ST presented issues to do with weight.  Honestly, I got myself into trouble with the bike all of five times.  Most of them could have been avoided if I simply thought about the situation, or actually knew my own lack of skill.

Below are the ever necessary pluses and minuses of the ST.  Do remember, the below are my opinions and experiences.  Yours will vary widely

Pluses:

  • Motor (luggable down to 12km/h in 1st, yet can pull easily on the hwy all the way to 160km/h and stay there for days)
  • Ergos.  This thing is spacious.  If you don’t believe me, climb on a stock Vstrom 1000 or 650 and see how much room you have
  • Maintenance intervals.  Ginormous!  42k for valves, yes please.  Even though they are an absolute pig to do!  Check out my various post on that
  • Very capable off road (Read: fire roads and such.  No self respecting idiot would attempt single track on a 580 lb bike with Mitas
  • Reliable as the day is long.  The bike has not given me any concerns in 75k.  Has never stranded me.  For a trip, I check the oil, tires, load it up and go.
  • Shaft drive.  Yes it adds weight, but my god is it awesome.  No maintenance on trips.  Change the oil when you damn well please.  Best part?  Make fun of your buddies when they are lubing their chains daily, and adjusting every few days, all while you drink the beer

Minuses:

  • Weight.  Even though it carries it low, when things go wrong, you cannot somehow miss it.  Again, asses the situation, question your skills, and go from there
  • Valves.  Satan himself designed this procedure.  I’ve done mine once, and done a few others on friends bikes.  It does get easier after the first one, but man…is it a pain
  • Reliability.  I broke my bike in per motoman’s method.  But as of late the bike has been using roughly 500ml for every 2500-3000km.  I’ve been told that after a wheelie (read: ping the bike off the rev limiter in 1st gear-and don’t judge! Wheelies are fun, and quite frankly necessary in my book) she puffs a bit of blue.  Valve seals perhaps?  I’ll keep an eye on it.  Maybe the top end needs a freshening up.  The first gens were rumored to have dodgy rings (I read it on the net!).  I may just buy a 2014 and up new head, pistons, rings, valves, seals, and gaskets, and have an excuse for another crappy blog post.
  • Errrmmm…that’s the negatives

To sum up.  I’ll be keeping the ST for the foreseeable future.  Current offering don’t have me rushing to the dealers.  Yes the new AT looks tasty, but I never liked tubes.  Plus the slow trickle of bikes has not allowed a test ride.  I did ride a KTM 1190, and a 1190R.  Really liked the R.  I think it would be a good fit for me, but lack of funds, imminent layoff, a costly premium gas/premix for the off road 300, a want of a trials bike, and a perfectly functioning dual purpose will keep me out of the dealers for a while.  Maybe the new baby Tenere will convince me to spend some money.

2015 FJ09 Short term review.  I purchased the Fudge9 last August.  Walked into the Yammie dealer to buy an off road helmet, walked out with a new bike.  Job done.  I had a 2015 FZ07 that I was enjoying, but not really loving.  So that went on sale, and sold quickly, and the Fudge9 entered my commuter life.  In the short Canadian season, I ride my bikes to work daily.  Last year, between all the road bikes, I ran up roughly 26K.  They do get used.  The main objectives of the Fudge9 are: to serve commuter duties (excellent), fun bike (excellent), light sport tourer (see latest rubbish post).  So far the bike is getting better and better with time and mileage.   It has power everywhere.  It’s punchy down low, and revs for ever.  Motor sounds good too with the modded stock muffler.  Wheelies? Yes it does those just dandy. The comfort is excellent, especially after I turfed the stock seat in favor of a Seat concepts set.  Bars are very comfy, and the seat to peg is very good (not as roomy as the ST).  The bike is very light to move around (approx.  440 LB wet).  Decent on fuel, 5.4L/100km (43 MPG-USA, 52 MPG-UK).  I managed 300km in town, with 2L remaining in the tank.

Pluses:

  • Motor.  A triple, with great fueling (huge improvement over the donor FZ09 motor and ECU.  No remapping needed).  I leave it in STD mode, turn off TC, and save on front tire wear.  Need more snap, stick it in A mode.  Tired on a long and greasy day? Stick it in B mode, leave TC on, and you’re good to go.  Brakes are radial no name jobbies.  They work very well.
  • Fuel economy is very decent indeed.  Riding it as I ride all my bikes, I get 300km to a tank in the city.  More is possible with a lighter wrist.  Hwy may see the tank stretching to 350km or a bit more depending on user and use
  • Ergos and weight  Very decent bike to wheel around.  Next to the tenere, it’s very very light.  Easy handling (read more below).  Ergonomics are spot on for me (5’9″) The stock seat was ok.  Still trying to sort out the windshield buffeting though…
  • This is a fun and usable bike.  I’ve stuck GIVI racks on it, and it’s ready to tour
  • Electronic gizmolics.  ABS is a bonus.  TC is basic (on/off), and stays off most of the time (yes you have to prod at it every time.  I’m used to it by now).  Dash is simple to use, with more setting that I know what to do with.  All accessible from the handlebar
  • A center stand is a beautiful thing.  Who wouldn’t put a center stand on sport touring bike or an ADV bike with a chain..oh right, Honda and Kawasaki
  • Price.  $11 grand CDN out the door? That’s a good deal

Minuses:

  • For $11 grand you will need to cut a corner or ten.  First to suffer the blow…suspension.  It’s much much better than the FZ09.  But still far away from where I wanted it.  I ended up spending some dough on the rear shock, a Yacugar something or other, fully adjustable, with hydraulic preload (must have).  I also splurged on traxxion dynamics front end cartridges (pretty sure I blogged about that).  The bike as it sits is amazing with the suspension changes.
  • The fit and finish of the plastics could be better.  A few of them look a bit rushed, and slapped together.  Overall though, I like the look of the bike in matte gray, and the paint has held up well in the year of ownership.
  • Hand guards.  They are pointless.  Not only do they not offer any wind protection.  But they also manage to make the handlebars buzzier.  Off they went.  I’ll replace them with some actual aluminum hand guards c/w plastic hand shrouds (Edit! job done, with Enduro Engineering aluminum guards and spoilers)
  • Access to the fuses could be better.  I blew the 2A lighter adaptor and will need to dis assemble the entire bike (edit! The right hand side panel comes off with three quarter turn type screws.  Easy peasy, lemon squeeezy!!)
  • Maintenance.  Valves are every 42k, so that’s good.  Yamaha calls for a tb sync at first service…what the hell?  It’s not the easiest bike to get at (Edit! Sync’d the TB’s recently.  Bit of a faff, but doeable.  They were indeed out)
  • Windshield buffeting.  I’ve tried all the settings on the adjustable screen.  Installed spacers on the oem potato chip with little results.  I even have a large ermax screen, but the thing vibrates on the edges, and probably causes more turbulence.  The search for perfection continues (Edit! I’ve cut the OEM screen down by a few inches.  Seems to help, but it’s far from perfect)

To sum up.  The Fudge9 is doing a great job of it’s intended purpose.  Coming up is a short road trip into BC (see dodgy blog post), and possibly a long trip all the way to LA and back (pending time, funds, willingness, and life generally getting in the way)

And last but not least, a bunch of ramblings.

Not much to ramble about.  I’ve been busy crashing into trees, attempting to ride over slick logs, and generally having an absolute blast off road.  My buddy and I were daft enough to enter the local Red Bull Logs and Rocks.  After walking the water logged track, carefully reviewing our 16 month trail riding experience, we decided to sit out the 2016 edition.  We will be back, on trials bikes, and more experience.

With time and experience, I’m feeling better on the smoker, and quite frankly having a blast.  I cannot believe I didn’t pick up off road riding sooner.  No matter.  I’m knee deep in it, and sinking even faster.

I’m trying out some Flexx bars, so far so good.  Also giving the Kenda trail tires a go…so far so very good.  http://powersports.kendatire.com/en-us/find-a-tire/motorcyclescooter/mxoff-road/equilibrium/

Well.. that’s all for now

 

 

 

My new found love

I’ve been quiet as of late.  As you might have guessed, I’ve been busy working, and riding year round.  No I have not fallen on my head, studded the tires on one of the Yammies, and hit the streets, nope, I found Hesus…no wait, that’s not it, it’s off road bikes.

I’ve been riding since I was a young and stupid shit kicker (15).  Many bikes have come and gone (note to self:  make a list).  I’ve owned plenty of street bikes, dual purpose bikes, and a touring bike or two.  Never owned a cruiser (thank gad), or a dirt bike.  Not really sure why I never got into dirt bikes, but there you go.

At any rate, I finally pulled the trigger on a used 2008 KTM EXC 450.  Why the 450 you ask? well mostly because I had no clue about dirt bikes.  Zero.  I figured I needed a plated (street legal) DP bike.  Now, there’s nowt wrong with the 450.  Stupid amount of power, surprisingly reliable (after I adjusted the valves, and rebuilt the carb-it started and ran great), electric starter for those tricky situations, and a back up kicker.

I found the following out rather quickly:

  • Even though, I’m a competent road rider, I completely sucked off road.  The smallest obstacles, crossings, climbs presented problems for the first few rides.  My non existent off road technique shone.  No matter,  ride by ride, the skill grew, along with confidence.  Off road riding requires a lot of skill and practice
  • The 450 is huge for trail riding, and for a off road noob.  All gubbins that came on the bike (turn signals, mirror, rear tail light/fender) were broken in the first 4 hours on the bike.  What I also figured out that with all the power and zero skill, I never made it out of second gear.
2015-11-29 15.45.26

EXC 450 in winter wonder land

2015-11-29 15.45.08 (1)

Richard, his very capable YZ450, and the EXC

2015-12-16 21.04.16

What gives us traction.  Kold kutter screws, set with PL300 Glue (carpenters glue).  Tires are Dunlop geomax 51

I bought the exc in May 2015, put roughly 30-35 hours on it, and sold it on.  The ‘new to me’ bike is a 2011 KTM XC 300.  Yes a two stroke.  My first ever.  Reason for it? Everybody and their dachshund has one.  Dead easy to maintain.  Put premix in the fuel, change the tranny oil every 10 hrs, look at the top end every 100 hrs, and change if needed (which is easy to do, any semi competent muppet i.e. me, can do the job) at a cost of about $350 USD.   As the bike was used, I spent the next few months replacing/checking all the main components, and getting the bike to where I would like it to be.  Wheel, swing arm, heim bearings all replaced.  My first closed cartridge fork service, along with some tasty SKF seals.  The bike was also shod with tubliss system, as I hate tubes, and like the fact that you can run zero pressure and still have a great seal on the entire rim.

I’m not going to go into specifics about the bike.  Plenty of reviews and opinions out there.  For me, it has more power than I can ever use, suspension is great, and tough as nails.  The starter design is horrible.  No matter, I bought a second hand oem case, and deleted the starter.  This bike can by stared by a 90 pound weakling.  In the 30 or so hours of use, I have not missed the starter…much.

This has opened a whole new world of motorcycling for me.  Since we’re located at the door of the rocky mountains, any which way you point the car/trailer/bike (as long as it’s not east 🙂 ) you’re good to go

The really big plus of off road bikes?  You never really go any faster than 60km, save for the few open stretches where you’re flat out in 4th…Since you’re not balls to the wall all the time, you can ride in colder temperatures.  On my road bikes, if the road are relatively clean, and the morning hovers around zero Celcius, I ride.  I have a good assortment of all weather gear, and heated gear to keep the cold out.  When it comes to the dirt bike, some decent under garments that keep the warmth in, and you’re good to go to about -10C.

So what do you do in the dead of winter in Canada? You stud up your tires, man up and go riding in the woods.  Seriously, this is the best type of practice you can get when riding off road.  It’s loose (doh!) totally unpredictable (did I just run over a log, or a dead badger?!), and exhausting.  I’ve spent half the winter on the 450, and the other half on the 300.  Riding ranged from soft fluffy snow, anywhere from inches all the way to two feet of powder.  Johnny and his dad spent some time prepping a ice track behind their house, which was sooper fun.  As a bonus, the worn studs are still serving me today, to ride trails that are frozen over, slushy, for added grip.  Once they wear out, I’ll remove them, and finish off the tire, without studs.  The three of us are currently trying out various lenghts of kold kutter studs (1/2″ for front, 5/8″ for back).  I’ve had good success with these, at a relatively low price ($200 both tires studded).  Life depends on how hard you are on the throttle, and what the hell you ride over.  I’m loosing studs at an alarming pace now, since I’m riding a mix of ice, rocks, shale, mud, and hard pack.  I’ll do a proper write up on studding tires, once we figure out what the hell we need to do to make them last.

Some excellent folks below, doing great work for the sport

A big thanks to the guys from Cross training Enduro Skills from Ooooostralia.  Truly great videos showing how it’s done.  I’ve spent countless hours watching and re-watching their videos, then attempting to re-create said killer moves, with limited success.  Keep up the great work guys, much appreciated.

http://crosstrainingenduro.com/cross-training-enduro-techniques.htm

Slavens Racing.   Not only are the instructional video’s fantastic (anything from product demos, to top end rebuilds), the service is first rate, and they ship world wide.  Great selection of KTM, husky, Beta parts.  Thanks to Slavens I won’t even bother posting how to blogs, as the guy covers it extremely well, and in video format.  Awesome.  The above is not a plug for Slavens.   I’ve dealt with them, and I was very happy indeed.

http://slavensracing.com/

oh, my crap youtube channel here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzSJeqjKkwDjhSJlT5T4hfQ

2016-01-23 08.30.24

The german pickup 🙂

2016-02-27 12.20.34

Johnny’s Honder, and the 300, in Southern Alberta, in March!!

2016-02-20 13.04.57

2016-01-30 12.12.45

The occupational hazards of riding on ice…no Honda or man was harmed in this exercise

 

 

A Texas welcome

I have to say that I just had the most enjoyable afternoon/evening hanging out with a few guys from the forum.

I’m doing a two state stop for work purposes (Savannah GA, and Houston, TX)
I got in touch with Snakebitten a few days back, and said that I might drop in on him, put a name to a face etc..

I did just that, and the man offers me his keys to one of his bikes, in fact any bike I want to ride. Naturally being a weakling I went for his 950 super enduro.
Oh my word…this is the most fun you can have with your pants on. Epic bike, great motor, great suspension, I think i’m in love.

Snake led me, and his buddy Mark, over to Combo’s place, so I got to meet this fine gentleman, and his wife Sue…(crap, I’m horrible with names, sorry Combo, it was either Sue or Peg)

Then we rode all the way south, as far south as you can go in Texas, without drowning, and had an excellent meal.

So thanks again, for a most pleasant day. Bring your gear, and I’ll show you around my hood. There’s always a spare tenere somewhere in the world.

And remember, next time your wife asks you if this complete stranger that you have known on the world wide webs, could possibly be an ax wielding murderer, tell her with 100% accuracy that it’s simply not possible, as he owns and rides a Tenere.Two fine bikes Spot the tenere Whole lot of sausage dogs You couldn't wipe it off my face

Build it Yamaha, and we will buy it. A start of discussion for a smaller Tenere

Since there’s much talk about a possible new bike from Yamaha, I figured, being bored and all I would start the conversation here.

To start off, I in no way represent Yamaha, receive money or gifts from them. I simply spend my hard-earned money on their bikes (2011 Super Tenere, and a recently acquired 2014 FZ09).

Now I hope many people read this.  Yes I am biased.  I’m biased towards good motorcycles.  Bikes that put a smile on my face, first and foremost.  Bikes that  work.  Bikes that are able to take me to some amazing places without having to worry about a breakdown.  In the past, I have owned Japanese bikes, and nothing else.  Simply because the money was not there, and I needed something trustworthy.  I’m not here to cut anyone down.  To tell them that this brand is better than that one.

If you’re riding, you’re enjoying yourself.  That is what really matters.  Having fun.

As of late (mid 2013) there has been much talk and much action from Yamaha. The recently introduced MT-09/FZ09, the variant of the MT09, Street rally, and the recently introduced MT-07/FZ07. As well as a decent rework on the FJR line up (base model and Electronic Suspension model)
Let’s not forget the recently refreshed XT1200Z Super Tenere with available Electronic suspension and base model rework.

There’s much rumblings, theories, pictures, and hopes on a replacement tenere for the xt660 sold everywhere but North America.
I’m not in marketing, and I’m not pretending to know everything, in fact I know little.

Many folks have looked at this concept and said, yes…this would work. Yes I’m fully aware that it’s a picture some guy slapped together, complete with a KTM exhaust pipe, but the idea is there.tenere concept

Great motor, lighter than the current tenere, probably a bit cheaper. Come on build it.
Being an owner of the triple I noticed a few things that could or couldn’t work on a tenere platform, using the triple motor
-Conventional sump has the motor hanging low.
-Exhaust would need to clear the motor, and the said sump at the same height, to maximize ground clearance.  This would in turn make the bike higher
-Is the triple motor too wide for a real dual purpose bike? Once I get off my ass, I will go to the garage and measure the width of both bikes (results to follow)
-Would it be too close to price/capability of the 1200?

Adventure bikes are big sellers now. Yamaha has capitalized on this (albeit in a small way, compared to the competition-BMW, KTM, Triumph).  Why not build a second tenere to compliment the big brother? The single is too small of a motor for North America, and from a financial stand point not a good bet (having to go up against the KLR, DR650 which are basically 15 year old platforms, that can be bought cheap-and have been paid for an eternity) but the new MT-07/FZ07 would work a treat.
Why not build a simpler and smaller bike? Look at BMW and the amount of DP bikes they have on sale. Triumph followed suit with their own 800 and are doing well with it. I think this would be a good move.

Here’s some thoughts from one of your customers, and belive me when I say this, I’m not the only one:
-Keep it simple
-A decent quarter fairing with a small windscreen
-21/18 inch wheels, or if all else fails go with a 19/17 inch spoked combo. Do the same as you did on the 1200, tubeless tires please
-ABS as an option, or the ability to turn it off
-No need for TC. Since the FZ07 motor is a conventional throttle, there’s no need to complicate things
-Steal the 660 frame, and running gear, and stuff the FZ07 motor in.  Job done

Make it happen. The market is there, but seldom does anyone actally ask the current owners what they would want, or could see as an improvement to a current model. You have listened with the 1200. But some of us want more of a dirt friendly bike, a lighter bike. And some only really ride one up and don’t need the extra heft of the 1200.

The Yamaha dual purpose line up (In North America) is small.  Yes we have the XT, and the WR250R, but that’s it.  No the big wheeled thingie does not count, nor does the little XT250.  Bring the ST07, bring a plated WR450.  You will have buyers.

Looking at the entire world market, a smaller adventure bike would do well.  Look at the past greats that have had a loyal following: TDM’s, Tenere 750, the Tenere 660.  Truth be told we don’t need a  cbr900rr with 21/18 inch wheels (yes KTM, i’m talking to you).  Yes the racer boys, and braggers will say otherwise, after all, who wouldn’t want 150/100 hp on gravel…give your head a shake guys.  It’s about who’s got the most horses.  Odly enough, the movie Shrek comes to mind:

What we could use is an affordable, fun, reliable mid size bike.  Two cylinders will beat the rider up less on longer drives.  It will give the capability to put on luggage, and go two up without worries.

There’s a trend to come back to naked bikes, and sport tourers.  Nothing wrong with either.  Look at the market and notice how well the big dp bikes are selling.  Add to that the fact that honda has dropped the little transalp, Suzuki is doing a brisk trade on their vstrom 650, and the new 1000 should do well too. Kawasaki have notihing to offer.  I think they missed the boat on the 650 and 1000 versys.  17 inch wheels, under side exhaust which prevents you from even fitting a centerstand, way off the mark guys.

So with some decent suspension, wheels and brakes (again ABS not a must, but would be good) some plastic…could it be done for a good price?  I think it could.

So how about it?  Does it make sense?  How many people do you need to hear from to make this a reality?  Would I buy one?  Yes I would.  And I think many would as well.

One last thought…  Yamaha, if you read this, and you are on the fence..here’s a thought.  Bring it as a special order/pre delivery program.  You’ve done it before (FJR, Tenere-bought my XT on the special order).Both bikes have succeeded in NA.  I have no doubts the XT7 and a WR450 dual sport would do well.

Pass it on.