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Planning for a Motorcycle Trip

 

Riding or driving to Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia on the Pan American Highway and Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, the Trans Canada to Happy Valley Goose Bay Newfoundland Labrador, Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, Tail of the Dragon, Key West, Florida or Just Around the Country

 Motorcycle Equipment 

Before you load anything onto your moto the following items are number 1 on the list.

Maintenance Book, quality tools (wrenches and sockets) likely to be needed including a feeler gauge and a small torque wrench, spare tire/tube/patch kit, air pump, oil filters/O-ring (enough for the destination and return, one complete change of oil including one extra container of oil (engine, transmission, final drive), lube for cables, one set of cables (throttle, break, clutch), one set of light bulbs, one set of fuses (at least), a spare fluid drain plug (engine, transmission, final drive), fuel line, 2 fuel filters, ignition set (plugs, wires, ignition control i.e. points, control box etc.) 

Clothing

Riding Gear:  I won’t be able to suggest a brand name for these items but suggest that you spend time looking over the product especially where it is sewn together

Full Piece (Jump) Suit vs. 2 Piece Suit (Pants and Jacket)

What I’ve found is that a 2 piece riding suit is better overall.  The most important factor is that the jacket portion lays farther down upon my lap creating an apron effect.  If the jacket bunches up in the lap area, the waist of my riding pants are higher upon my body seated in the saddle.  This means that it is more difficult for water to find its way into the clothing beneath.

A jumpsuit tends to bunch up over my lap when seated thereby providing a reservoir for water to collect.  Eventually the water leaks through the most determined zippers.

Furthermore the single piece jumpsuit style is difficult to get in and out of especially when you stop for a restaurant break.  I’ve noticed that the only thing my riding partners have to do during breaks is simply remove the jacket to remain comfortable.

Gloves

I use standard water resistant gloves but you may have noticed I use Hippo Hands or ATV handle bar covers in order to keep my hands warm.  This has worked out pretty well because I can also stow items inside the covers while I’m riding such as snacks and small photo equipment.  I even keep a hand held infra-red heat sensor within for easy access.

          Boots

I carry two sets of boots, one pair of leather boots and one pair of water resistant.

Helmet

Because I am riding a motorcycle with a sidecar I prefer a helmet without a chin guard.  Helmets with chin guards provide the greatest protection but they can be hot in the summer months.

Normal Clothing

Because space is a problem I do not change clothing everyday.  It all depends upon how dirty I am.

Pants/Shirts/Underwear/T-shirts/ (3) Pair: I wear the same pair for up to 4 days.  I’m not really doing that much socializing on the road.  If I smell…well, I’ll probably never see the same people again so it doesn’t matter.  Of the 3 pair of each I carry one clean pair is left for laundry day or unforeseen experiences.  Socks are another issue.  I change them everyday and they don’t take up very much space.  Of course this all depends upon the climate you’ll be riding through.

When traveling will take me through diverse climates, this means carrying 2 long and 2 short-sleeve shirts.

         Laundry

In Latin America my experience was to just take my dirty clothing to a laundry cleaning service and not try to find a coin operated self laundry service.  They seemed to be few and far between.  Plus this gave me a chance to see the town I was in.

In the USA and Canada coin operated laundries are easy to come by and most private campgrounds have facilities.

Camping Equipment 

Sleeping Bag: Light-weight.  If it gets cold I’ll supplement my warmth by sleeping in my riding gear.

Sleeping Pad: Thin self inflating type

Tent 

I prefer a two man tent that erects by use of a clip for the poles instead of trying to slide the poles through a sheath.  It goes up a lot faster.  Also I don’t worry about getting the tent dry or clean each morning.  It’s either going to dry out when you set it back up or not, depending upon the weather. I don’t carry a tarp to up under the tent, but I do carry a light weight tarp for unknown circumstances.

The two man tent allows me to store gear out of the rain.

When I set up the tent I always place it on the round with a slight incline to allow the rain water to run down hill from the tent.  I sleep it my head on the highest portion of the incline

Camp Stove

Forget the fancy light-weight stuff.  Just get a Coleman style single gas burner with the steel fuel reservoir.  There will be no need to carry extra fuel, just drain some out of the pit-cock on the moto when it needs replenishing.  Even the older Coleman type single burners work fine with automotive fuel.

It can be time consuming looking for butane tanks or other fuels.  Don’t waist your time.  If you carry matches put them in a plastic zip-lock bag

Mess Kit

1 inexpensive metal mess kit but, get a small plastic cup.  Use your riding gloves for a mitten to hold the metal.

Food

Breakfast; I start the day with a cup of coffee and don’t carry any creamer, I use only instant coffee stored in small container.  In addition I try to buy a cup of yogurt before retiring in the evening so I’ll at least have something to eat the next morning incase I don’t find a restaurant later down the road after departing.

Supper; One can of some kind of meal incase I don’t find a restaurant in the evening.

All food is kept in a plastic zip-lock type bag.  In bear country all my food, toiletries and tobacco is moved far away from camp.

Toiletries

Rechargeable Electric Razor, soap, shampoo, towel, toothbrush, and any medication needed including an emergency kit.

          Tarp

I carry a light weight tarp for unknown circumstances such as working on the moto in the rain.

         Securing the load

I use the ratchet type binding straps.

         Bears

We shipped a GREAT BIG Handgun up to Tok, AK because of course you can't have one in Canada.  Plus I slept with a hand held air-horn.  Pepper Spray...well I thought that would just add some spices to the bears meal.  We were never bothered by bears.

 

Temporary Import Permit Information for Latin America

 

Model Vehiculo                      (Vehicle information)

Marca                                      (Make)                                    

Modelo                                    (Year of manufacture)

Ano                                          (Year of manufacture)

Tipo                                         (Type of vehicle) a motorcycle is called “Moto”

Placa No./Pais                          (License plate number followed by Estados Unidos de Norte America plus state in which vehicle is licensed)

Fecha Permiso              ( Todays date)

No. Motor                               (Engine serial number)

No. Chasis                               (Frame serial number)

No. Puertas/Color                    (Color of the vehicle)

 

Datos del Conductor              (Driver information)

Nombre                                   (Name…last name first followed by first and middle initial)

Nacionalidad                            (Nationality…ie Estados Unidos de Norte America)

Pasaporte/Cedula                     (Passport number)

 

Datos del Propietario             (Owner information)

Nombre / Empresa                   (Name…last name first followed by first and middle initial)

Nacionalidad                            (Nationality…ie Estados Unidos de Norte America)

 

Datos del Viaje                      (Travel information)

Fecha Entrada                          (Date of entry)

Fecha Estimada Salida  (Estimated departure from country date)

Aduana Entrada                        (Customs border crossing name where entered)

Aduana Esti. Salida                   (Estimated Customs border crossing name where you will exit)

 

Photocopies You Will Need

Four copies per country

Copy as much as you can onto one piece of paper…front and if possible.

 

Title, International Drivers License (page with your picture on it and page with official

stamp and number), State Drivers License, Passport (page with your picture and opposite

page).  Also put your vehicle frame & motor serial number plus license plate number on

it.

Insurance

Mexican insurance can be purchased before you leave by joining Vagabundos del Mar

(707) 374-5511.

Insurance through Central & South America can be purchased at the borders.

 

Health/Medicines

“International Certificates of Vaccination”

This form is provided by Travel Clinics where

shots for Hepatitis A and Tetanus are received.

 

Malaria:  I use Doxycycline because it also

provides an antibiotic element.  Other Malaria

medications such as Larium (Mefloquine) can

have serious side-effects.

Diarrhea: Pepto-Bismol tablets, Imodium

Headaches / pain: Ibuprofen/Aspirin/Tylenol

Prescribed medications: In the original container.

Anti Itch cream

Anti fungal cream

Mosquito Repellant

Antibiotic ointment for cuts: Neosporin

First-Aid kit (some countries require)

 

Food / Water

Fried foods are generally safe.  Fresh vegetable

should be rinsed with purified water prior to

cutting through the skin.  Purified water available

throughout Latin America.  Gator-Aide

 

Tooth brush should only be rinsed in purified

water.  Never rinse your mouth with local water

even in the shower.

 

Other Items

Sleeping Sheet (sewn around the edges like a

sleeping bag, it keeps bugs off/light weight)

Gas stove (Coleman type will burn gasoline)

Toilet paper

Dirty clothes bag

Flashlight

Bungee cords

 

Maintenance

Oil, filters (oil/gas), Electrical: Fuses, Multi-Meter

bulbs, complete ignition set.  Tools:  Every kind

you will need to do almost everything including a

torque wrench.  Tire repair kit/tools.  Triangle

reflectors & fire extinguisher (some countries

require them in Central America), plastic ties, duct

tape, light tarp, shop towels.

 

Finding a Hotel

If two or more are traveling together and someone is

tired…just let one of you look for a place to stay

while the other(s) rest in the shady location enjoying

a beverage.

 

Bank Card Information

Acct #

Phone number to call if it is lost or stolen.

Bank telephone password.

 

How I Drive a Ural Motorcycle and Review

How I drive it;  When shifting from 3rd to 4th gear I always run up to 50 MPH before shifting into 4th gear.  On the down shift I always shift to 3rd gear at or around 48 MPH and there after do not run 3rd gear above 45 MPH until ready to shift to 4th gear after accelerating to 50MPH.  I never go beyond 3/4 throttle.

On inclines I may roll on just a fraction of my available throttle to see if the engine will accelerate.  If it does I don't roll on anymore throttle.  If the engine does not accelerate I hold my level cruise setting and let the speed bleed off.  In this way I help to prevent the possibility of detonation.  Detonation is extremely hard to hear with ear plugs in. (I pulled my left head and Cylinder at 15,000 KM and the valves looked great after using this procedure however there were a few minor scores on one side wall of the piston just above the top ring.)

I know the engine sounds great if you lug it along but don't do it.  This engine doesn't like it and it will let you know by having a complete head, cylinder, rings, piston and wrist pin replacement required.

"My Ural 2005 Engine/Frame Operating Experiences"

Please note; these may not be according to the manufacturers guidelines & please don't get this 2005 model confused with a 2007 or newer.

Technical and Parts

Raceway Motors (Salem, OR 503-588-7227)

ScootGo.com (Calgary, AB 403-228-6080)

Old Vintage Crank (Hillsburgh, ON 519-856-2822)

VT Cycles (Poland, Maine 207-998-5616)

Type; Ural, Troyka 2005 (street version not off road version) that has been modified with a factory designed engage-able sidecar drive, while still retaining the street forks.  This required a new (off road version) frame for the sidecar.

How I drive it;  When shifting from 3rd to 4th gear I always run up to 50 MPH before shifting into 4th gear.  On the down shift I always shift to 3rd gear at or around 48 MPH and there after do not run 3rd gear above 45 MPH until ready to shift to 4th gear after accelerating to 50MPH.  I never go beyond 3/4 throttle.

On inclines I may roll on just a fraction of my available throttle to see if the engine will accelerate.  If it does I don't roll on anymore throttle.  If the engine does not accelerate I hold the my level cruise setting and let the speed bleed off.  In this way I help to prevent the possibility of detonation.  Detonation is extremely hard to hear with ear plugs in. (I pulled my left head and Cylinder at 15,000 KM and the valves looked great after using this procedure however there were a few minor scores on one side wall of the piston just above the top ring.)

I know the engine sounds great if you lug it along but don't do it.  This engine doesn't like it and it will let you know by having a complete head, cylinder, rings, piston and wrist pin replacement required.

Engine;  750 cc (stock, does not have the 2007 model Austrian Timing Gears or German Transmission)

Carburetors;  Keihin (stock)

Ignition;  Ducati (upgraded from stock ignition)

Air Filter;  2007 (upgraded from stock 2005 air filter)

Electrical; 35 amp alternator (stock) & Odyssey Battery (Sealed Rechargeable Drycell)

Fuel; 90 + Octane  I run high octane when I can get it, otherwise I use what is available and do  add an octane booster.  My mileage per gallon increased after 10,000 KM.  On level ground near sea level at 50 MPH I can get 32 MPG, at 55 MPH I get 30 MPG, at 60 MPH I get 27 MPG and at 65 MPH I get 24 MPG.  On a "full" tank of fuel I can go 265 KM @ 50 MPH/90 KPH.

Tires; 4.00-19 I initially put a Heidenau brand tire on drive wheel because of it is  made of harder rubber and got 4800 miles out of it.  The next drive tire was a stock Ypan Ural brand on the drive wheel and I got 3200 miles out of it.  The last drive tire was a Duro brand that lasted for  5000 miles.  Currently I a running an Avon 4.50-19.  It is not sidecar rated but a previous Avon I ran to Tierra del Fuego and was installed in Managua Nicaragua achieving the greatest mileage.  I removed the steering tire at 13000 km even though it had at least 1/4 inch of rubber on it and will use it as a spare.  Sidecar tire at 13000 km still had nearly new rubber and is still operating at 36000 km even though it is ready to replace.

Lubrication; Pennzoil 20W50 Engine and Transmission   I have changed the engine oil and filter every 3000KM.  I have thought about using a synthetic motor oil but since my travels take me to various parts of the world it is not always available.  If 20W50 isn't available I use what ever I can find.  I always carry 3 qts. of extra oil for changing en-route.  The transmission oil is being changed every 6000KM.  The drive is being changed every 10,000KM with Pennzoil 80W90.  I have repacked all wheel bearings, greased both drive shaft splines, all break linkage wear points and lubricated all cables (clutch, brake, speedo and throttle) at 13,000 KM.

Halogen Headlight lasts for 21,000 KM.

Problems and Positives

 

1.  13,000 KM Left cylinder bottom front head stud is working loose and have re-set it deeper into crankcase.  At 14,000 KM it was still working loose.  I noticed the stud threads were rolled a little but I have heli-coiled the block for this stud and will replace the entire stud if it works loose again.  So far the stud has stayed put.

2.  On the haul road (it is rough) to Prudhoe Bay the Left and Right front fork had blown out their fluid.  But remember I am running street forks and not the leading link forks.  At 14,000 KM and 26,000 KM, I replenished the fluid.

3.  2 years old I had rust in fuel tank when I bought the bike with only 40 miles on it.  Apparently the original owner did not keep fuel in the tank which caused the initial rusting to take place.  At 13,000 I again had to drain and clean fuel tank screens to remove rust.  Also the tank has a fuel seep near the left rear of the tank on the bottom.

4.  Chrome on left forward push-rod tube peeling and the right rear push rod tube is rusting at only 2 years old.

5.  Chrome on sidecar windscreen handle peeling at only 2 years old.

6.  Paint on fuel tank bubbling at 2 years old.  This is a possibly due to not having any fuel in it for 2 years.  Now with 13,000 KM on the bike, wind abrasion is actually taking place peeling paint from the fuel tanks top left front corner.

7.  Air filter compartment works better than the old style but put up against the KLR 650 that I rode with to Prudhoe Bay, AK that bike never had to clean the air filter on the dusty roads.  I eventually had to change/clean on my way back down.

8.  I have an Odyssey battery which is great because it never need filling but the motorcycle's side cover forward upper snap digs into the battery.  I have broken the ends off of the snaps while still leaving that snap available to attach.

9.  The Ural isn't geared to run Interstate highway speeds above 65 MPH but above 55 MPH the engine and fuel consumption complain.

10.  Speedometer jumps around over 60 MPH.  I have lubed it and changed cable positions and rotated up the clutch cable bracket near the rubber boot that attaches to the transmission.  The repositioning of the cable bracket seems to have corrected the problem.

11. Fuel consumption (32 MPG)

12. Piloting a motorcycle sidecar requires more strength in a cross wind.

13. Re-seated the left rear turn signal light holder.  The rivets that hold the holder in had worked loose.  I removed it from the housing and vise gripped them down tight.

14. Replaced drive wheel tail light bulb and right front parking light bulb@ 26,000 KM.

15. On the ride from Florida through Mexico in 2009, at 36000 KM the rear side car strut (attaches from motorcycle frame to sidecar) weld broke and had to be re-welded.  I found that both from and rear strut attachment bolts were loose.  This likely lead to the weld breaking.

Positive Points

1.  I can mount a tire on a rim in about 5 minutes... most newer bikes including the KLR required a bead breaker and can take about 35 minutes (2 people) using the kick stand as a bead breaker to remove and mount.  Also my wheels interchange so changing to the spare is also quick.  My friend Tom was amazed how fast I could change or mount a tire/wheel.

On my Troyka because it has a disk brake on front, I can use the spare tire mounted an a drummed wheel by using a spacer I've fabricated.  But...I don't have a brake on the front now and will only use this procedure when absolutely necessary.

2.  On gravel/dirt the Ural/sidecar out performs 2 wheeled  bikes.  I could run at 50 MPH on The Haul Road to Prudhoe Bay, AK with little worry.  That is not possible on 2 wheels.

3.  Repairs when needed are easily made by anyone with a little wrenching experience.  Almost everything can be reached without disassembling other items.

4.  The Ural is not intimidating to people you may come in contact with.  You are always making friends.

5.  A sidecar is better for me than a trailer.  I can reach things while underway, I can carry more supplies than a trailer...usually, I have great left turn cornering/traction off road, if I have a passenger I can visually communicate with them and they with me.

6.  A moto with a sidecar is easier for other vehicles to see.

7. I have a reverse gear.

8. The Ural is inexpensive considering its capabilities/equipment/sidecar/maintenance.

9.  Besides an electric starter the Ural has a kick starter.  I don't have to worry about being stuck should the electric starter fail.

10. The Ural is FUN, no doubt about it.  I ENJOY it immensely.

11.  If you are considering a motorcycle with a trailer consider this;  It is harder to find a spot to park with a trailer attached, such is in normal parking places due to the length of the motorcycle and trailer.  You can get as much and more in a sidecar than you can with a trailer.

Issues I have Heard May Develop

1.  The alternator mounting housing bearing that connects the alternator gear to the timing gear may fail beginning around 15,000 KM.  I have not experienced it and have traveled over 50,000 KM so far.  The bearing still sounds good.  It is possible  to keep tabs on the bearing by listening to it utilizing a stethoscope or screwdriver.  I am experimenting by using my cell phone's recorder as well to document changes in this bearings sound.  It is important to know the sound of a good bearing in order to detect the possibility of this bearings possible failure.  If this bearing goes bad it can cause damage to the timing gears which could cause damage to the crankcase.  If you hear a screeching noise...shut the engine down immediately.

 

Adventure Travel by Motorcycle Movies on DVD & Book

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