Friday, May 30, 2014


As you can see our COBDR turned out never to touch Colorado at all.

The plan to ride Colorado was less important to the group than the time we would eventually have together out on an adventure. Our planned time of year was more a part of each individuals time off of work needed to  complete an adventure of this length, so postponing to a time of year that the Colorado back country would be open, just did not seem reasonable.

The adventure we had as a group was excellent, the scenery we experienced brought proportion to just how small we are when compaired to our suroundings, and we all returned with a new apparition of Utah and parts of Arazona.

Riding through Monument Valley, I was un-impressed but the ride through the Valley of the Gods was absolutely amazing, a planned camp there would be a great idea.

Camping on the edge of the Grand Cayon, I'm speechless just trying to describe the amazing beauty of it, (find a way to do this once in your life) as it seemed we were the only soles in a 100 miles, left to enjoy such an amazing spot all on our own!.... Wow

The one photo I feel sets the tone of the trip is this.

Our tents are tethered to the motorcycles to keep them and us from blowing off in to the depths below, (some vary strong winds) helps you understand a shaird dependency between man and machine, our friends and our motorcycles all made this trip a grand adventure, for all to remember.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Post trip tire test (results)

HIn the end we got to test three adventure tires, rated by most as the best in class tires for adventure rides consisting of more that 30% dirt.

So before I begin, I must say that most people will select a more aggressive tire than recommended, and this is not a bad thing. Let's say you trip is 1,000 miles and you will ride 100 miles off road 10% right! So do you go with a street bias tire? Not if thouse 100 miles are sand, rock and loose gravel!
Than again if you wrer riding 500 of thouse miles on nice dirt roads made for car travelers well the
An yes you would want a more street bias tire. 
Our trip was more of the San, loose gravel and sharp rocks you want/ need a more agresive tire, so pick you tire by the type of trails and roads, not just by the % of on and off road.

Ok with that said, we do have some clear winners in this test.

Best performing tire is the TKC 80TL
This tire takes a little time to break in, when it is new it tends to ride high in the center and gives you a feeling of falling in to turns, it's not a major consern but worth mention! Overall on road performance, including cornering is much bertter than expected, in fact I can dragg pegs with this tire and the bike still feels planted, you just have to pinch your self afterword, it sure dose not look like it should grip like that. Off road the tire does excelent great traction and good maners drifting in to and out of corners. In the sand the tire does as well as I could expect and great if you are on the gass, it diggs in and lofts the front end out of the sand!
I also found that this tire douses not wonder like the other two in this test (over the tar lines put in to cover cracks in the road way) this was a scary time for the bikes with the other tires.
The big down side is tread life, this photo was taken at 2,200 miles at 3,000 miles it's done.  

The longest lasting tire is the Heidenau  K60
This tire seems to last forever! Randy had 8,000 miles on the front tire and it looks like it going to go another 3 or 4,000 from that point. Impressive 
What it has in longevity it lacks a bit in stability in the sand and gravel, this tire also suffered a bit on the tar strips along the road and seem to *wander a bit
The solid patch helps keep the tire quite on pavement but really seems to hold the tire back when it searches for traction in the sand and gravel.

Third place is the Metzelor Karoo3
A closer look

Note: this tire is coming apart after only 2,200 miles, many more miles and it is likely this tire would not be safe to ride on ( looking closer at this photo you will notice the tread cracking at each lug.

As far as tread design this tire performed vary well on road, giving a high level of confidence on smooth pavement, the tire did suffer from the same wondering on tar strips. Off road performance was impressive as for its handling caricturistics and would be a close match to TKC it's just hard to look past the lug separation from a tire that is only about a week old.

* wondering on tar stips= road crews aply tar to the serface of the road to fill the small cracks in the pavement this helps keep watter from entering the layers of pavement and increasing the life of the roadway, the result on a hot day is a loose salery of tar that becomes quite dangerous to riders, some tires are affected more than others by the effect of the tar strips, only the rider with the TKC 80 was un affected by the effect of the tar strips.

A final word on tires: the TKC 80TL is the tire of choice, of the three but! And this is a BIG but, there has got to be a better choice, I need far more than 3,000 miles from a tire, in many cases this will not last an I tire trip and I would need to find a replacment along the way. I will replace the TKC 80 with the  Michelin Anakee III (Dual/Enduro) and I eagerly await the new tire from Michelin for my next tire test.

Hear is a look at the front tires please note: the Heidenau (second down) has over 10,000 miles on it at the time of this photo, that's impressive 
A note on the Karoo3 front: their is no separation of the tread on this tire, it may be the rear tire is just not up the the power output of the adventure bike?!?

Photos and reflections

Getting to this stage of the trip with six riders was an amazing time, around most every corner I would hear someone say, how are we going to top this view or this campsite. And how can you top an epic ride like this..... My kids say epic all the time and at first I thought, don't over use such a meaningful term/ word "epic"
well... Just maybe we should get used to using it more and more... The sites are epic and this time is epic, and if my kids are living an epic life than I am thrilled to be part of it! Yes it is an epic time.

Looking over the photos of newspaper rock I wonder are these people trying to record history, or is this  a way to show all, who care to look, that indeed they were having an epic time.
(Top photo center) I'd say he is shooting that deer in the butt?

As we ride throught valley after valley of amazing sights I keep looking back at the bike that got me hear, the bike 505lbs the rider 185lbs and the gear 111lbs wow! 796lbs, hopping up and down these roads and trails is quite a massive load, and generally speaking this sum was more than any of us would manage on our own if on its side, it's good to have friends! And I would recommend bring a cuple if you do this ride on an adventure bike !

Some final shots were taken as we crossed back in to California and before we would part ways and bring to a close such an excelent trip. We all talked again about what would make for a good next trip..... I thnk we all agreed that we need to explore more of our own backyard and set a rout of exploration in the California back country.. It's easy access and amazing sites still make for an epic ride.

So what's next, well for a big ride I'm looking at Mexico, but for the summer I'm looking at some Dualsport adventure in the back country of California (the new bike is almost compleat, and I'm eager to get out for a ride on it) I am also giving a little thought to the original Colorado rout... Just much later in the summer.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Beautiful sites and challenging rides

The group really got a chance to see how well the adventure bikes can do off road

As we moved up in elevation the trails quickly added a bit more of a challenge.

Coming up on this tree was an indication the trail could get challenging, we decided to unload the bikes of the heavy gear before attempting crossing over it, some stacked branches made quick work of the obstacle and we were on our way, a bit more impressed with our bikes.

Snow was next, and crossing this, took a light hand on the throttle, as one jab of the throttle would burry  the bike in the snow.

With a little help from friends the bike was on to the next drift

We found that you could actually ease the bike across the top of the snow if you picked the right line and stayed off the gas, the rest of the group made it across this and every other snow crossing we came across with out insidant 
This is one area where the heads of the BMW can slow your progress, or send you off balance a bit if your not cautious, while slipping my way butween two snow banks my left cylinder hit the snow/ice and nearly pushed me over to the right, it did not take me a second time to be a bit more aware of my path and clearance!

We all had a great time working our way through this section, and found a new respect fit the big heavy adventure bikes!

Day Five

Mexican Hat to Monicello

Riding I'm the heat of the past few days we were all hoping to gain some altitude and find some cooler weather. Two prices of equipment really paid off these last few days, the cooling vest I picked up for $40 (dip it in water and the evaporation action acts like a swap cooler) really did the trick in keeping me cool on these log hot rides. Also last minute I stopped by Cycle gear and picked up a pair of cool out long Jon's (I was skeptical that this would actually keep me cooler but it actually works well at controlling your temperature the combination of the two I managed to keep cool riding in over 100 degree weather, a vary nice change.

Camp for the night, with time to set up and enjoy my hammock.
 Tomorrow will bring on some challenging riding for the group!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Day Two

Today we road throught the heat of the deserts from Tahatchapi, through Vegas and on to Zion. We crossed through the borders of California, Arizona and Utah as they seemed to just flash by like score cards one after another.

With original intent of capturing each crossing with a photo of the group it was soon obvious a group of six made it dificult to coordinate the effort and the importance seems low compaired to the distraction it clauses other drivers as the groupcongregates on the side of the road way.

The day was uneventful with the exception of two things, Looking for a permanent repair for Jeff's tire ( he plugged it on day one due to a flat) the dealers in Vagas apparently are not allowed to fix flats and instead insist on you purchasing a new tire!
Seeing that this is a new tire for Jeff and a better one than they had to sale him we all opted (at least added our opinion) to add a bit of tier gue to his plugged tire and be on our way.

Next we discovered the fuel range on Joanna's bmw 650, after hitting reserve, she can make 100 miles and stretching it she could reach 120 on pavement, she will need to reach 150 on dirt before the end of the trip! With two 1 liter backup fuel cells and a bit extra from our bikes we are sure to make the distance.

The Zion Watchman camp ground, is a great place to camp, with gravel camping areas, this keeps you and your great clean, they have clean bathrooms and some spectacular views

We hade a great time camping with friends!

Tomorrow we head to the Navaho Nation and I am looking forward to the many sights along the way, I think the photo opertunitys will become a much more prevalent pice of my updates

Day Three

Zion to grand cayon.

The ride out of Zion is absolutely amazing, though much like an amusement park their are shuttles and lots of tourist from all over the world. We made just two stops to take photos and just realed the rest in.

 as we find for the rest of the day, much of this part of the world needs to be experienced to understand its full glory, and I struggle to get a shot that can sow you how amazing the views are.

We take our first two off road sections today, and break our first rule of business, by picking up bikes before picking up the camera, and miss some good drop the bike shots, four members of the group drop their bikes today in the deep sand of a sort denture for a lunch stop, and one spill that break a mear off the bmw 650, no one got hurt and a few lessons were learnd in the process.

Getting out to the Grand Canyon was an excellent adventure on its own, a zig zag maze of trails roads cross this part of the contry with no signs or any indication of where they might lead, we pick the right ones and end up in an amazing place.
Hear are some shots along the trail and more of our amazing site along the rim, oh what a site!

We all like to take pictures !

Ok now for the money shots, I still can't bulive we had the extreme privilege to camp hear for the night

Yes the trail was worth it!

The stars were amazing too!