Coleman Tatra 3 – the suitability for a motorbike adventure

Now, after three months, it would be a good idea to give a small feedback on the Coleman Tatra 3 tent that I chose during the winter. To be specific, in the biking context, given that there are two hikers and one motorbike. When traveling on one single ride, compactness and weight are considerably more important than travelling with two bikes. I’ll try to be as objective as possible.

Size packed. After some tests, we separated the tent and arches separately. The tent goes to the side case, arches in the back pocket of a soft suitcase. Very ok. The minus is the too good original bag. It is based on the principle of a pipe bag and is quite hermetic. And since it is hermetic, when closing, there is always one part where the air can not be removed. This, in turn, will take more space. The original bag is probably quite good if the tent is attached to the outside of the suitcases, but inside the suitcase there should be a somewhat simpler compression bag. Without a bag, you can not pack a tent compact enough.

Installation comfort / speed This is a great blessing that the whole tent stands up only with arches. Yesterday it was the first time in three months that I tightened some ropes and installed the pegs. That’s because there was heavy rain. Putting the tent up and packing is quick and comfortable. So fast that I would not have believed it. The fact that the arches have to be pushed into the channels is no problem at all (time will tell how long they hold up). The fact that the tents stands without pegs and cords is extremely necesseray. In Africa, the ground is usually hardened with burnt clay or soft sand. In some city camps also concrete. All of these surfaces are unfavorable for pegs. They do not stand inside the sand, and you can’t push them in the hard surfaces. Car hikers have a separate hammer with them. For easy installation, the ends of aluminum arches are designed with a “collar”. Once arranged in the ring, they stay there well and you don’t have to ask a companion to hold on to anything.

Size It’s suitable for two travellers. Luggage and riding clothes fit into the front room, and there’s enough room in the bedroom for sleeping and spreading out all the rest of the stuff.

Ease of use A small minus, a relatively low “exterior door”. The bigger the man needs to duck a bit more than he would like to. Because the front room is low, you can’t move around there. To enter the tent, you must open both the exterior and interior door, and then either climb in or out immediately with one stroke. The tent has two exterior doors, but in reality only one is used, since the inner door opens to one side. This is not a special minus, just another door we can not find use and is relatively meaningless. At the same time, the entry from one side leaves the front room entirely to luggage and riding gear and you don’t have to climb over them. Footprint could be added, but it has to be cleaned up and it adds weight / volume when packed.

Ventilation Ventilation is so and so. No condense has occurred, even in the overly humid climate by the sea. However there was lack of air. Especially in the hot and humid climate by the sea when there was no wind. There’s too little mesh surface on the inner tent and the existing mesh is so tight it limits the movement of the air substantially. The ceiling of the tent should also have more mesh. The fact that when the tent is installed only with arches and the cords and pegs have not been tightened and the shape of the tent is not really as it should be, could play the part of the bad ventilation (the air channels are shut). All in all, the ventilation was incomplete only in the aforementioned ultra-humid, and especially hot and windless conditions. At other times, it’s totally tolerable. However, I am considering tuning the inside door so that it is fully made of mesh.

Conclusion In the light of the aforementioned, I will give 4+ (on the scale of 5) to the Tatra 3 as a tent for motorbike travelling. Entering is a bit inconvenient and that can’t be changed. Internal door could be made of all mesh, that can be changed. At the moment it seems that everything was said. If I remember something else I will add it later.

 

About the brakes and ABS

About the rear brake cylinder.

It is now clear that the “window” of the rear brake cylinder is not a separate spare part. Also, the brake cylinder without the window is not an original spare part. The price of the new cylinder is 135 €. The good thing is that the price also includes a new piston with cuffs. But still, the price is high to repair the mistake of the manufacturer. So what, in fact, is a good solution? At the moment I can think of such variants:

1. Focus on the correct and good brake fluid in the future and hope that the new brake cylinder (or rather the window on its side) lasts at least as long as the first one, i.e. 64000km.

2. Remove the existing cylinder and weld the window should. Perharps it is possible? I would be happy to receive comments on this solution.

3. Try to find a suitable brake cylinder from other bike models and rebuild the system a little bit. There, of course, will be other things to consider, from fastenings, to the suitability of the levers to the hoses.

ABS on this particular model.

Already in the winter, when I was preparing the bike for the trio, I was advised to throw the ABS away. At that time, I could not do it. It spent a lot of time and money on redevelopment, new hoses, etc. Today I can say that I should have been listening and just thrown it away. If we ever get home with the bike then I’ll do it.

Gods, karma, paranoia etc

 

The climate by the sea is significantly different from that of the inland. The temperature is the same as it has been throughout the journey, 32-33 C but the humidity enhances heat. Although we shower few times a day, the continuous sticky state is quite uncomfortable. Clothes are also moist. The tent is like a sauna. We sleep without any sleeping bags, blankets or linen, not to mention clothes, but still everything is sticky and damp and really hot.  And, like out of spite, although by the sea, the air does not move at all at night. Absolute silence. The sea is like a mirror when waking up in the morning. And if there is no wind at all then the ventilation of the tent will not work well and in addition to the heat and moisture, there is lack of air.

Because of all that, we decide to change our lodging and move to a local guesthouse not far away. I found it quite casually a few days ago. Good room amenities, hot water, air conditioning and a refrigerator. The guest house is even closer to the city centre. And the price is more favourable than for two persons in a tent, a 15 $ room compared to 20 $ for camping. So, we packed our things and got on the road.

After a couple of kilometers happened something we should have gotten used to by now – we have a flat front tire.

Oh, how I do not want to deal with it again. Fortunately there’s a man about 10 meters away under a tree that repairs rubber things. So with the help of locals, we lifted the bike central fork and I took of the front wheel.

I took the tire completely off the rim to find out what’s the deal. The man under the tree cut patches from an old bicycle inner tube and glues them at the right spots. There are two holes. The pattern is the same. I found the same gash from the tire as previously. This time it’s a little longer.

I could no longer remember whether the whole tire was correctly checked over the last time, whether the gash could have been there the last time and just did not notice it or it was a new one. The whole thing with the front tire is like one big gray horror, I am no longer able to distinguish details. But life goes on. We also patch the gash and it should hold up at least until to the guesthouse. We’ve reached to the level that I don’t even have to tell Oksana what kind of tools are needed to pass or when to turn the compressor on. With the compressor doing its thing I put the tire back on the bike. We do not talk to each other this time. And this time I do not swear either. I do it wordlessly. Oksana, however, hears it. And she reprimands me, as always when my use of words is not proper. But she’s a smart girl and this time she does it without words. So, silently, we packed our tools rode on. The guest house should be only a few kilometres away. I did not remember exactly how far it was, but I remembered that it was on a street parallel to the main road leading to the city. And I remembered the place where I had to turn to the left.

 

We rode about 500 meters when the bike signalled that something was wrong. I checked the front tire, it was full. True, when installing it in a hurry a mistake was made, the direction of the rotation is wrong. But this is not a very big problem. Okay, I thought I just imagined everything. But after starting our journey again I realised that everything was not ok. We stopped again and this time the rear tire was empty. Really it was! We looked at each other and thought the same thing. Which god have we angered? We should light a candle. But to which one? All kinds of them are represented here … Hey Hey! It’s only a tire! Only a tire! A rubber tire! Rear tire! There aren’t any devils running around the bike!

I connected the compressor and hoped that I could get some kind of pressure to the tire so I could reach the guesthouse somehow. I would have time to deal with it there.

 

The sun was already low. But no, the gauge did not even move. There is no injury that can be seen from the outside. Ok. How bad could it can be. I tried to ride quietly, maybe we would find the guesthouse from right there on some side street. Oksana walked behind me. But I did not find the familiar place and the the side street turned out to be a dead end. I turned back from the houses to the main street. Fortunately, there was a smoother area where we could set up our own outdoor workshop. We needed to lighten the load so the entire load had to be removed from the bike.

I managed to get the inner tube out. It’s really damaged. There’s not just a hole. It’s shredded.

I wasn’t really worried since I had a spare. I slide my hand over the inside of the tire to check if there weren’t any nails in there but can’t feel anything. No, I did not trust myself. I could have been wrong. I took the tire completely of the rim and checked the insides.

And there it was. Diagonal, not very noticeable, big rusty nail. The nail has penetrated through the tire so that it could have been there for a long time before it made the hole.

Then, already empty, it moved on a rim and pulled out a large piece. Whatever, at least there was a specific reason. There was some messing around before I got the nail out. I couldn’t have done it without the clamps. New one on and just before dark we could get moving again.

Our new nest was about 5-6 kilometers away and we could not have managed it without further damage with a flat tire. So it was the right decision to try and fix it on the road. Fortunately, we have a warm shower, cold beer and a wide bed in the room waiting for us. We’ve arrived.

One of the longest 10 kilometers of this trip is finally over.

The mystery of Livingstonia, the road to Dar and a technical update

We left the resort of the bugs, traveled a couple of hundred kilometers upstream and stopped at the Hakuna Matata campsite. It’s a very chill place. Master Willie bought some land at the edge of the lake, with an area of about a hectar, that cost 4000 dollars and is now quietly spending his old age there. There’s beer in cupboard, Martha’s cooking some dinner, what more to want. The couple of evenings spent there went fast. We discussed world events and turned out that we were on the same wavelength on some topics.

I decided to make a small offroad trip so sitting by the lake wouldn’t get too boring. I removed the cases and wrapped everything necessary so that I took only my tank bag with me. Willie, who used to make day trips to Livingstonia with his old Defender thought that the rise of 15 km should take me about 1,5 hours. To be safe, I took some water and bottle of brake fluid with me just in case. I doubted a little if the trip is worth taking. Didn’t want to risk my life and possible injuries (of the bike I mean). Eventually the desire to ride in the mountains with a lighter bike won.

The rise was difficult but not impossible. It took about 20 minutes and I was up. Since I hadn’t done much preliminary work, I didn’t know what to expect. I mean about Livingstonia as a settlement. Regardless of the fancy name, I thought that it would be just another village in the mountains. I wast really wrong either. There were some unexpected things too. The church for example. A very nice one, well taken care of and totally un-African. I’m sorry for my robust way of expressing, but African churches (talking about the building) are the bad looking. But the church there was a nice cathedral. The village itself has also somewhat more decent houses. On the central square, I saw a few buildings with the sign that said “University of Livingstonia”. At first it seemed funny, but then I ended up in the middle of a college campus. Even the students walked around. Quite surreal. I later learned, that it was supposed to be the best Malawi university. Who knows. There’s nothing else to do there but study, so it might actually be true…

I didn’t want to go back using the same road, so I decided to explore the mountain villages. It was fun! Got to see the local life and ride some interesting roads. I ended up riding a little under 100 km. And this time without technical difficulties.

The crossing from Malawi to Tanzania was pretty much stress-free (except another flat front tire). The visa cost 50 $ per person and that was it. We had set our sights to an accommodation located about 40 kilometers from the border so I tried to extend the agony. I stopped and pumped the tire after every 5-10 km and tried to reach the campsite that way. Unfortunately it turned out we also needed refueling so we needed to find a gas station for that. For some reason I hoped that you can pay with a card for the fuel in Tanzania. Well, you can’t. So we needed cash to refuel. To get cash we needed to find an ATM. So we went back and fourth. Rode for some kilometers, took out the compressor and pumped the tire, rode some more and did it all over again.

Eventually we got both cash and a full tank and were heading for the campsite. About 15 km from the border we had another flat tire. This time directly next to a police checkpoint. I was trying to stop and find a smoother place on the side of the road but … the clutch was not separating. And there’s no rear brake again. It was almost twilight already. I had to unload everything in order to get the bike to the center rack, otherwise it’s too heavy. Fortunately the Mosko casings come off easily. The front tire has been fixed so many times that I can do it with my eyes closed. It took about 15 minutes and everything was fine again.

After the tire was fixed I took on the clutch. It had shown problems during the day, so I had plenty of time to think of all sorts of thing. The work cylinder had been exchanged for about 20 000 km ago … Sigutech … who knows. Hoped that it was ok, it’s a piston with three seals after all. If the piston were to have a break, then we would be in trouble. The same, if something should be wrong with the gaskets. Fortunately I had my Magura bottle. The only problem was that it was located in a place where it’s difficult to reach without loosening some screws and bolts. It’s not overly hard, just time consuming. It turned out, after screwing off the lid, that the liquid was still there. That meant that the technical part was over, just needed to exchange the liquid. The old one really was dirty. And really hot. Anyway, I got rid of the old fluid and the clutch started working again.

The rear break. The little window that is on the side of the brake pump, had decided to stay in Africa. Oh, well. I taped it up and we continue on, now in the dark. As mentioned previously, the rear brake is a comfort brake, it’s not absolutely necessary. You can’t stop the bike with it, it’s needed for maneuvering and stopping on a slope. Or for descending at a slow speed. So no worries.

I decided to take a closer look in the morning. Everything looked clean, no injuries, just the glass window is missing. Why is the window there at all??!! I know if there’s no brakes. I wonder if there are people who look through those windows every time they go riding just to make sure every necessary fluid is there? There shouldn’t be any problems, if there aren’t any leakage. I hope that there are pumps without windows, because this one will be retiring in any case. I have brought a selection of bolts-nuts-washers with me so I thought about fixing the hole with some of them. I thought I could put a bolt through the hole, a rubber gasket on the washers, tighten and everything would be fine. Unfortunately the window is at a stupid place so it didn’t work. Since the container is just for holding the liquid supply, that means there’s no pressure inside it, I went for the simpler way. A double rubber patch (this is where some bicycle inner tube brought from home comes in handy 🙂 ), a pair of washers and tie it together with some cable ties. Looks awful. But authentic African stuff. After couple of days on the road, still no leakage.

 

 

The internet access is bad in Tanzania. It’s worse than it has been in the countries visited. You can’t pay with a card at the gas stations. You can find some ATM-s and you can even use your Master card to get money from them.

For various reasons, we decide to go directly to Dar es Salaam. For this, it takes us exactly three days from the border. The first half of the road is mostly being repaired. As usual, the front of the front tire falls flat in the evening. After some repairs we can continue.

It’s ok during the day because the visibility is good. The round-ways of the sections in repair are really though in the dark. The temporary roads are sprayed with water to prevent huge amounts of dust. This means that the roads are covered with a layer of liquid clay that is extremely slippery. In addition, you can’t see the holes underneath. Obviously not too much is spent on temporary roads and quite often there are large holes or slippery rocks underneath the dirt. The worst thing is the extremely tight traffic of huge trucks on these dangerous sections. In addition, these sections are either on slopes or on declines. Riding in the muddy clay, with a fully loaded bike, with two passengers, between trucks, in the dark … really bad, honestly. There was nowhere to stop and stay for the night. The first place was 140 km away, starting from the sunset. We ignored the prohibiting signs everywhere possible and rode on the sections being repaired. Some were pretty ok, covered in compact crushed stone. Some were even paved. There was a section that was covered with fresh tar. We could’ve probably been able to ride on a fresh new asphalt a day later. There were people still on the road on the last section that was being repaired. We were stopped by a man with a gun and in a rather decisive way, ordered us to turn back. Since it was not a AK 47, I made it look like I was doing just that, after turning half way, I turn back in the direction ahead and turn the gas. Fortunately nobody started to shoot at us. We arrived at the campsite quite happily and after some time, stay in a room again (actually a hut).

As breakfast is not offered in the camping are, we went to the nearest town to grab something. With sleeping late, it takes some time to get on the move. We were half way on Dar es Salaam and wanted to get there that day. The GPS showed that it was 560 km away so it was highly unlikely. We had another flat tire that afternoon. There was still a couple of hours of light left so I decided to see what’s going on. It’s unreal. How can a front tire break so many times??!! I’ve just pulled the inner tube out from the side and patched it up every time before that, so I decided to take the tire off completely and find out what’s going on. I was really ma. At the same time, Victor from France came on his old African Twin, on his way to the Cape Town. Together we discovered a strange crack inside the tire.

 

Sharp and deep. Just at the place where the latest injuries have been. Even the shape and angle matches. The crack or split is not through and through. From the outside, the tire is fine. Since there were no better options at the moment, I put several layers of gray tape on the crack and hope that the inner tube will stay ok for at least as long as I can find a new one.

As the tire exchange took a couple of hours, we didn’t go into Dar just yet. We stayed at a local guest house at the side of the road. It was a nice place and a room for two cost only 6 $. It even had hot water.

There are all kinds of stories going around about Dar. The robbing of the tourists on the streets was supposed to be a normal event. So we put our more valuable stuff at the bottom of the trunk and leave a big lever out from a bags lock. Good to have on hand if someone should attack from somewhere. I even prepared myself mentally for any sharper moments so there wouldn’t be any hesitations, I will not give anything away without a fight.

The traffic jams started about 60 km before the city and there was quite a lot of zig-zagging between the cars. A local biker, on some kind of older Honda enduro bike, rode ahead, so racing with him, we traveled toward the capital. We had to cross a larger national park where giraffes and antelopes were walking alongside the road. About 40 km before reaching Dar we had another flat tire. Luckily we were right next to a workshop. It turned out that the tape had moved and the inner tube had the same shape hole again. This workshop had the necessary tools for vulcanization. It took some time because of the power outages. But on the positive side, even the crack in the tire gets a vulcanized patch this time.

The inner tube has no scatheless spot. And despite the fact that I had brought plenty of patches, they are now almost gone. There are only three left.

We reached Kepepeo beach, about 15 km from the capital, by the evening. Kepepeo means butterfly. That was our goal and we will be staying here for couple of days. It’s like any other southern city. The lever was not needed after all. It reminds me South-East Asian metropolises, although Dar doesn’t seem to be very big. In general there is a similarity between Asian/Arab cities. Street food, all kinds of services right on the roadside etc.

Finally, the Indian Ocean white sand and light blue water you can see through!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another overview of technical stuff

Firstly, the brake fluid started to boil in the mountains. I have had that happening before but not with this bike. I changed the liquid before the trip and still it somehow overheated too quickly. After descending for only about 100 m and before the harder part even begun. There is little need for the rear break in general. I hardly ever use it on the highways, it slightly balances things on gravel and sometimes I need it while maneuvering in the city. One of the reasons for overheating was fully-loaded bike. But on the other hand, loads at high speeds are sometimes even bigger …

DOT-4 was easy to find. The second place we went to the day after reaching asphalt had it. All it took was to add some oil and air it out. Fortunately, the cuffs of the pump are all intact and there’s no sign of leakage. I exchanged the pads to be on the safe side even though they are still in good condition. Kept the old ones as a spare.

About 200 km before Lusaka, after taking a small break, the engine kept acting up. Playing with accelerator made it possible to get the speed up, but it was hard work. There was a road repair on a long strip of road when entering Lusaka from the north. Dusty roads, deadlocks and with a protesting engine – the ride was almost as hard as the one in the mountains a couple of days ago. The engine had sounded weirdly a couple of times before that, the neutral has gone missing and the bike has tied. At first I thought that fuel was the problem but it turned out to be the filters.

So I took on the task of changing the filters:

I managed to bend to get the crashbars back into decent shape using the help of some stairs, not as complicated as it had seemed at the beginning.

The front tire has gotten quite a few punctures or nails or something like that. The rear one has had nothing at all. It’s usually the other way around.

The front left brake disc has started to clatter  https://www.youtube.com/watch? That makes me a little anxious. I haven’t been able to come up with a good solution so far. Trying to go over the rivets in the next couple of days, maybe it will work.

Besides the problems mentioned, everything else overall works. Oh, I side bag was slightly damaged during a fall in the mountains. Fortunately the bag itself is fine but it has a flap on the side which now has a hole in it. And I no longer have any air filter oil.

9000 km: some technical issues

There’s about 9000 km and two months since the start of our journey.

I’ve decided to replace the shabby rear tire with the Mitas E07 bought from Windhoek. The current one gave out after the first 3000 km but since the roads have been dry, I decided to ride with it for as far as it would go. The last couple of thousand kilometers were asphalt and I had a spare, so there was no fear of staying helplessly on the road.

While I was changing the tire I noticed that the plastic protective plate under the Rade tank had moved forward about 5 cm. At one point, when we were in Namibia, we were a bit careless and the rear wheel got some of the heat. Apparently it was bad enough to move the protective plate. Because both the protective plate and the tank itself have a so-called wheel dent, the displacement also brought the protective plate down. It’s a hassle. A part of the plate is also broken, the part near the place where the tank’s fastenings are. It’s not a life-or-death kind of issue, it’s just a distraction when you know that everything isn’t in order. In order to correct the matter properly, it would be necessary to disassemble the entire rear end. That would mean some broken or over-turned bolts, and it’s likely that the task would be stopped at that anyway. So I solved the matter in a simpler way, and hope it will work in the long run. The test ride was ok, how it will be when there’s two of us on the bike, remains to bee seen. I adjusted the rear shock suspension so it would be stiffer, maybe this helps too. By the way, the pre-load valve or lever or whatever it’s called, of the rear shock suspension is stuck again. It’s in the worst place. It’s not like I need to use it at the moment, but I couldn’t if I wanted to anyway.

Since the tank under the seat has not been used for fuel so far, I decided to use it for water. We’ve been able to get water everywhere on the road so far, but it has sometimes run out while camping at night. There’s no faucet and I closed the tube with a 6 mm bolt. Well there’s a faucet but it’s for gasoline and the opening is too fine and water runs through it too slowly. On the other hand, can’t say that it’s not working.

The brake pads are still about 30% on the back and 50% in front. According to memory, the same situation was at home. Backups are on hand, so no worries there.

There was a small problem with the Scottoiler and the chain got some more pain then I wanted to. The hose went through between the back tray and side leg (I changed the side legs position). I helped to push a tire of the rim of a fellow roadie and the hose of the chain lubrication system got pressed together. I used a tape as a temporary fix, but some air got caught in it and the oiling system didn’t work properly. I got a piece of pipe with the necessary diameter from the water tanks airing hose and put it over the oil hose. It wasn’t leaking anymore but the air bubble was still caught inside. So I had to dismantle it one more time and cut out a damaged piece. It’s finally working again as it should.

The fastening for the changing of the side legs location that I ordered from the United States turned out to be a surprisingly soft metal. For the reason described above, it bent so much that the bike was almost on the ground. I took it of at one of the campsites and managed to bend it with a slightly larger hammer. It bent with every hit. I assumed that it was made of proper steel but was disappointed. The small diagonal connection on the inner side was also disconnected from the welding. This is something ordered from CJ Design.

Complaints must be sent both to Rade’s about the tank guard plate and to CJ Design’s for the side-leg attachment. But, on a larger scale, there have been very small and third-rate problems.

By the way, while changing the oil (some time ago) I was really surprised. The oil was clean, didn’t even dirty the hands.I would have poured it back from just looking at it 🙂.

The tent has become a great friend to us and I no longer remember when was the last time we slept under a stationary roof somewhere. The debate about finding the best tent that took place in a forum on Biker.ee was very helpful. Fast installation, fast compression, very voluminous, good ventilation, suitable dimensions when packed … I dare to recommend it. It has not been tested in the rain yet, hopefully it wont be either 🙂

 

Technical stuff

We have covered 1650 kilometers on our trip. It’s time to give an overview about how the bike is handling this journey. Especially the parts that were changed before our departure. I should have made a few test runs at home, but these first 1600 kilometers can be counted as those. Only a few things have needed tweaking and everything has worked brilliantly so far.

Lights. A new set of lights, both headlights and extra lights work fantastic. Not sure whether due to my age or what, but seeing in dusk and in dark is not what it used to be. It’s absolutely true that there’s no such thing as too much light when driving at night (unless it’s blinding the people driving towards you). The only issue has been that the lights weren’t adjusted properly. Yesterday I adjusted the half-lights. They could use lowering some more, but are ok for now. Adjusting the front-lights is a bit more difficult. The new ones can be adjusted only by adding washers. Unfortunately the nut on the opposite side is at a place where you need to dismantle the whole front in order to gain access. I could try to turn it downwards a little but, as already mentioned, there is enough light. Moreover, it’s currently not blinding oncoming traffic, so it will stay as it is for now. To sum up, the money spent on the lights has been well spent.

Suspension. Some will remember, some won’t, but in addition to the maintenance of the suspension fork, I exchanged the springs for stronger, progressive ones. It has really paid off. I didn’t know to miss them when I was driving alone but did the work anyway on the strong recommendations of some smarter people. So what makes the current suspension better? To understand this, you should know something about traveling in Africa. The distances are long, to get to somewhere you have to drive fast. Riding in the dark is not ok here. All kinds of big antelopes move on the roads and they can just run you off. The other problem is the locals walking along the roads. If they aren’t walking towards you smiling, then there’s no hope of seeing them until it’s too late. So it’s necessary to reach your destination before dark. The roads in Namibia are a bit worse than those in ZAR. Especially the gravel ones. There are a many sections that are like stairs and also parts where you have to ride through mounds of thin loose gravel. And this is where the advantages of the new suspension come to play. You don’t have to do anything on those “stairs” but lower the gear, no resonance, no swimming. Just enjoy the ride, no matter what the road you are traveling is like. When riding in the famous “stair-sections” of Rae municipality back home, you had to really lower your speed, otherwise it was too painful. Another feature of the local roads is that, during the short rainy season, the dry riverbeds are filled with water. It’s not reasonable to build a bridge just for couple of weeks, so the roads above the riverbed have just big slopes. Sometimes they are marked, sometimes not. You will only notice them when there is no time to brake. That is no problem with the new springs. Just don’t break at the bottom of the slope and everything is chill. Money well spent yet again.

New rims and narrower rear wheel. Works well with the above mentioned gravel and soft sand. The tire exchange is also extremely easy. Fortunately I can’t give an opinion on durability just yet 🙂 . Not sure if it was absolutely necessary but still glad that the change was made.

Air filter replacement. Can’t comment on that at the moment. Installing the foam filter seems a bit of overdoing. Still can’t get over the misunderstandings that arose with oiling the filter. The new filter was purchased to make room for ABS and the reason seems even more pointless. I should have gotten rid of the ABS too. It’s just extra weight and not needed here. The need may still arise, so something to think about before putting in an order for the Rottweiler. Well, the problem with the original filter is where to get it here when you need it? It’s too big to carry with you. In the other hand, if you go over the filter element with a compressor for time to time, it will last some more. Anyway, the new filter is something that I would consider only when everything else is already done.

Additional tanks. At least one extra tank has already paid off. The distance between the last two gas stations was 300 km and it’s just the limit of the original tanks. Although I made it without opening the tap of the additional tank, I count the addition justifiable. Knowing that you could still travel an extra 150 km gives you some peace of mind. The tank under the saddle has still not been used for anything so it’s possible to use it for storing water if the need arises.

High front fender. Haven’t found mud so far so the need for it has not been determined. Still, nothing flew in my face, when riding while it was raining so the chosen fender works.

Storage. Both storage places have paid off. The one between back fork and mudguard (tools) and the one in front of the air filter (tire repair kit and compressor) have fulfilled their purpose perfectly.

Toolbox. Very good storage space. I’m really happy with that. Gaining access to it is a bit annoying, but since it needs to be opened relatively rarely, it’s ok.

Soft Cases. So far so good. They are more comfortable for riding in the sand than the aluminum ones, soft and don’t get in the way. Can’t compare the ease of use. They are waterproof and look good now that they are covered in dust 🙂 . You can change their size according to the contents. If you have less stuff you can pull the straps together. Then again, when making a stop at a shop, increase the volume etc.

Camping equipment. Haven’t needed it so far. We’ll see what happens next. It’s likely we will start using it in the future since it takes up so much space. The campsites so far have been pretty nice and staying at those places gives you an opportunity to socialize. I would recommend not taking the equipment unless you have a really small budget. There’s no need for it in ZAR and Namibia.

Folding mirrors. I managed to drop the bike once while maneuvering at a parking lot. I stepped in a hole and the bike just fell while almost standing still. The mirror folded itself and no injuries so another good choice.

Small cases. Those small bags or pockets on both sides of the crash bars. The snaps opened during the same fall and there are some holes in the bag. I’d say that the producer of these particular bags, has produced crap. But otherwise, they are necessary and comfortable to use. You shouldn’t carry anything that can be easily broken or is valuable in them but excellent for carrying work gloves, chain oil, cable ties, some tape, load belt etc. I will probably look at the same Touratech products as the opportunity arises. The price is double but Touratech’s things have so far been of decent quality.

Windscreen with adjustable height. There’s no whistling behind glass but there is some noise from the wind. It’s catching the insects nicely. I think we hit a swarm of bees at some point. In any case, it caught all the sticky mass. The difference is apparent when lifting your head above the glass, there’s significantly more noise then. The glass on the helmet has been perfectly clean all the way. Even the dust is flying somewhere else. Not sure if it was absolutely necessary but since it game with the lights then let it be. It certainly is no worse than the original or Touring windscreen.

There’s nothing more to review at the moment. Everything works. The trip continues.

Our Iron Steed

Some photos have already shown that we are using the KTM 990 Adventure to drive through the Black Continent. It’s year of birth is 2009. I got it from Luxembourg a couple of years ago. It was in perfect condition and had traveled 24 000 km. For the first two years I enjoyed driving it and just exchanged oil and tires. Last winter I took on a more comprehensive work. The result is that the bike is basically ready for a world tour. Who wants to see the project journal, this is available on the Biker.ee forum: https://biker.ee/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=100379&hilit=ktm+990#p759969  Unfortunately the page is in Estonian.

Here’s a list of the work, upgrades and installed accessories:

MaintenanceUpgrades and accessories
Oil change2 additional tanks. New refueling range 600-650 km (previously 300-350 km)
Replaced the water pump seals, bearings and shaftRebuilt exhaust system form two mufflers to one
New spark plugsAkrapovic muffler
Checked valve flaps (No regulation required)Crash bars
Changed the coolantChanged the ABS controller location
Changed the brake fluidInstalled the Rottweiler washable air cleaner with PRE-filter
Replaced the clutch main cylinderInstalled Glove box quick fastening kit for easier access to air cleaner
Changed the clutch's hydraulic oilRemoved SAS
Replaced the bearings for the rear wheel moduleInstalled RIGID additional lights, 6000 lumens
Replaced the bearings of the front wheelThe light switching scheme has been changed to more user-friendly (It is possible to turn off the lights completely, the small rear end to be completely blind, only half-lights and only full lights can be turned on, and the same can be done with the RIGID lights)
Shock absorber maintenanceInstalled an additional cigar lighter plug in the back
New chainsThe side leg attachment location has been changed
New shield protectionShock absorbers spring replaced with stronger and progressive, both front and rear

New Yuasa battery
Strong aluminum bottom protector with toolbox
Sigutech clutch work cylinder
Scottoiler chain lubrication system
A wider slab on the side sheet for better bearings on the soft soil
Britannica VooDoo adjustable windshield + headlights
Added a toolbox o the right, under the muffler, a special order
GPS Garmin Zumo 595
Lockable GPS holder Touratech
KOSO voltmeter/thermometer
Heated hand grips
New tires Heidenau K 60 Scout

Mirrors with hinges (not falling apart when dropping or shoveling)
Stronger front wheel rim
Stronger rear wheel rim
Higher first mudguard
Mosko Moto soft luggage set

 

 

 

Packed equipment

Here’s a list of things I packed that I might need on the road

Spare partsToolsOther Equipment
Oil filterPliers, originalBatteries AAA
Power regulatorPliers, with a sharp tipBatteries AA
Fuel pumpCartridges 6, 8, 10, 17Battery bank
Fuel filtersRing spanners 8, 10, 13Mosquito repellent
O-ring gaskets for the fuel pumpGear Wrench Torx 45Mosquito net
Spark plugsOpen ended spanners 13/14Tent
Air filter oilHexagon 3, 4, 5, 6 mmTentstakes
Tire repair kitWheel brace and elongationSwitchblade
Rubber glueScrewdriver +/-, orig.Tin mug
Scottoiler's oil, incompleteScrewdriver +/-
Scottoiler's oil 0.25 lTire nipple cap
Scottoiler's oil 0.5 lLevers 20, 30 cm
Magura 100 ml bottleCompressor
Magura with pipette, bottle
Threadlocker
Brake pads, complete set
M6, M8 nuts, bolts and washers
Back-up rear innertube
Starter cables
A pice of a bicycle tire, 28 cm
Back-up front inner tube
Work gloves
Mosco ratchet tie down straps
Cable ties 12, 16, 32 cm
Gray duct tape
Transparent water hose
Fuses 10, 15, 20 A