Quick Update - August 2002, Illinois
|I changed engines at Starved Rock Harley Davidson dealer in Illinois USA in July 2002. After 85,000 miles, a number of engine drownings in Siberia, countless sand storms and my own mechanical (in)ability, Rotax the Austrian producer donated a new engine. This means I can continue with my fundraising tour and lots more adventure!
Bike Report - March 2002 @ 105,000km, California
METZELER TYRES - now about 105,000km: 6 front, 9 rear. (One Russian rear lasted 7 km before disintegrating!)
[Additional, Washington DC, May. Metzeler came through with my tenth rear tire and seventh front, thanks to Gina's BMW in Iowa City.]
DRIVE CHAIN - fourth. TALON SPROCKETS - 5th ish front, third rear.
[Additional, Washington DC, May. I need a new drive chain again ...sand blasting across US finally killed this one.]
PLUGS - lost count, I change them every 10,000km - 20,000km.
OIL CHANGES - lost count, every 3,000km in theory, sometimes goes longer. Change oil filter every second oil change. Loadsa oil filters.
WORK RESULTING FROM CRASHES
Stop Press: New engine, July 2002. Small-end getting loose, about to head for Mexico and S. America, looking at lots of miles of rough terrain / remote travelling. Rather than patch it up.... Rotax Austria have donated a complete motor.
"...85,000 miles on a single [...] You know, that Rotax engine has been so good to me, I'd thoroughly recommend Rotax engines to anyone, ..." - Simon, diary report, 13th July
TALON WHEELS Front now in need of complete rebuild.
FORKS (Honda Dominator)
SHOCKING - I'm on my fourth set of shocks !
The bike was built with Showa gas shocks from a late 80s HD dresser. They were new I think. They had been leaking some air by Indonesia, and in Sumbawa island I put too much air in and blew the seals completely. So several Indonesian islands were done on a hardtail. In Darwin I couldn't get them rebuilt, and paid A$100 for a good second hand Sportster set, which by Sydney were shot. The third set were donated by Koni and their local dealer (just after they quit the bike business), but the bombed out Cambodian roads saw to them. Arrival in Thailand with a hardtail. We strutted the bike at a Cambodian roadside workshop.
In Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia a shop gave me two Yamaha mono shocks which have been working great apart from them being slighly short, the tyre rubs on big bumps when the bike is in the low position - its not too big a problem here in the US. But I like to ride it in the low position, even if the roads are only moderately good (likely to be a large part of Africa/South America). I've keeping my fingers crossed for the forthcoming meeting with Progressive Suspension in the Cali desert here. The present ones are the best out of the four sets so far. It's a bit weird for the shocks being that they are used in both the 45 deg position as well as about 20 deg to the vertical.
SCOTTOILER I wouldn't be without one. Knowing that the chain is fed with oil is great relief particularly in dusty, muddy and wet conditions. It saves the hassle of carting round cans of chain lube and makes the chains last alot longer.
Mine is mounted on a pannier box, keeping it out of the way in crashes and making it accessible.
TRACKER Pain in the a**e. Connections unrealible, not suited to bike travel, crashing, swamps and ditches. I guess it is just Simonised.
BATTERIES - Red Top 25
Great things. I'm on third one. Vibration killed one I think, I had not securely fastened it in box. Second killed by heat from exhaust - it blistered - now have silicon heat shield. Have had one battery only since Singapore third visit. Using electric start and battery can get me out of swamps and ditches - not bad for 640lbs.
[Additional, Washington DC, May. The Red Top solid state battery which was with me since Singapore has died....]
ACERBIS FUEL TANK Plastic, great, has withstood many bangs and crashes. Fuel lines replaced once.
ALUMINIUM BOXES Made new in Alaska by Scott Hamman - the best welder in the State.
Third front caliper. First was worn out in Melbourne. Second stolen in Singapore (of all places!) New steel brake line in Califoria on second visit, inside of old rubber one perished. Lost count of number of pad sets. I think the front master cylinder needs replacing now, still spongy.
Only second, had part used when built. Problematic in Siberia with big use of rear brake on rough roads. New (second hand) caliper in California second visit, old one seriously worn. Lost count of number of pad sets.
Remember that this bike is a one-off and there was little time for test-riding before departure. If I have not mentioned the part, it has been no problem! I'm very happy to have used this handmade John T Overlander. Nice one John.
Thank you all the parts sponsors and everyone who has helped me during the ride so far.
Simon, Fremont, 16 March 2002
Original - December 1999 - The Bike & Equipment
Diary 99/09/23: Millennium Motorcycle emerges as a Sponsor Monster - includes Bike Specifications.
I have settled on a rather non-conventional solution to the big question of which bike to use. But I do wish to thank Cagiva and Aprilia for their input here.
The bike is being built by John T of Newton Motorcycles in Devon UK. It was through John's family that I found the fun and freedom of motorcycling 17 years ago, so it 'feels right' that he is doing it. He is a highly-qualified and well-respected builder of special vehicles and approved by UK disabled bikers group NABD.
At time of writing (April 1999) we have an engine, heavy duty wheels, big trailie front forks and a carburettor. John will now build the frame and the rest of the bike around them.
The engine is air-cooled 600cc with single cylinder (sold by Rotax at a thankfully very special price). British bike producer CCM uses it in their Paris-Dakar racers. I expect to be taking a few engine spares with me just in case (you know the rule about taking waterproof overclothes when you go riding ...)
I'm hopeful that Acerbis will donate a 45 litre plastic fuel tank and DELLORTO has come through with the carb. Metzeler have been good enough to offer tyres for the complete trip (probably MCE Karoos for most of it), which I hope to have waiting for me at strategic points en route, or rather where I think they will be worn out!
I aim to run in and rigorously test-ride the machine in August 1999 in the Dartmoor (South West UK) area. John has scheduled a week of training for me in all matters of bike overhaul and will equip me with a complete tool set.
He is designing it well aware that I am, umm, not the world's best mechanic, but it will not be quite one-spanner-fits-all! And of course it must be very strong, for obvious reasons. He is also talking about some sort of unique suspension-related engineering features, I guess we had better wait and see what that is all about ... watch this space.
click pictures for full size:
John T of
John's Current Projects May2002
Many thanks to the Adventure Motorcycling Handbook for the info and inspiration