The Coffs KTM Cameron Corner Caper kicks off this Thursday and we have over 20 starters.
Whether we end up with more or less won’t be known until the day, but experience tells me it won’t be the number we’re expecting. In case anyone’s unsure of the meeting place, we’re going to attend the ANZAC dawn service at CEX, due to kick off at 5.20am. Let’s leave our bikes in the motorcycle parking area on the ground floor at the Big W car park. That’s straight across the road from the cenotaph, so it’ll be ideal. Try and be there a little early. We’re there to show respect, not have howling bikes thrashing about the place and knuckleheads yelling at each other while the service is in progress.
There’s been plenty of discussion about bike set-up and what everyone should and shouldn’t be carrying. Being as this is probably about as late as everyone could be in preparation, I thought it may help if I gave a rundown of my own rig. It won’t suit everyone, but it might give some ideas or maybe remind someone of something obvious.
First up the bike was recently serviced, so new, high-quality oil, everything measured and reset if necessary, and anything suspect or worn was replaced. I’ve also fitted a couple of Doubletake mirrors purchased from Adventure Moto. I’ve always taken the mirrors and chucked ’em, but with dualsporting I find I actually use them all the time. Mostly it’s to keep an eye on my riding buddy or any other riders behind me, but having them for the road sections is really convenient, too. The only problem is, I break the buggers on every second ride. And the after-market ones are generally crap. The Doubletake mirrors cost a ridiculous $137 a pair – I nearly shat as I wrote that – but they should do the job and go the distance, and product that will do that is worth paying for.
I have a half-used Sahara on the front and one-quarter-used Mitas knobby on the rear. Normally I’d put new dualsport tyres like the Saharas or maybe Heidenau K60s on both ends, but the budget wouldn’t allow it. The Mitas is good for thousands of kilometres, so that’s no problem. The Sahara on the front is okay, but we have a leisurely trip planned, so I’m figuring it’ll do the bizzo. I hope so.
I’ll have a SPOT tracker on board, and a GPS fitted to the ‘bars. The route is dead easy and I know most of it well, but I’m checking some of Marty Hardcore’s tech work on the route he’s given me for the Garmin, so that’s why it’s there.
That’s the bike.
As luggage I have a Giant Loop Mojave, and in that is mostly tools. I have a litre of engine oil, the gear I need for an air-filter service, some duct tape, a Second Wind pump and some gas bottles, a 21″ tube, a 19″ tube and a puncture repair kit. There’s a chain breaker, the tools I need to get a tyre on and off, and the few spanners, pliers and screwdrivers I need for general maintenance and repair on the bike. The ace up my sleeve is the Dominator still having its standard tool kit, and it’s a great set. It’s a shame OEM tool kits these days are either junk, or they’re an optional extra. In the mid-1990s Honda’s kits were excellent, the Dominator kit is in a great location in front of the engine, keeping the weight low and very close to the centre of the bike.
So any tool I may have neglected will be covered there.
On top of the Mojave I’ve strapped the empty, five-litre Liquid Containment fuel bladder. Again, it was expensive, but see my comment on the mirrors. The Liquid Containment gear has proven itself 100 times over.
On top of the Mojave as a separate strapped-on item will go an Andy Strapz Dry bag with a ground sheet, sleeping bag and inflatable Sea To Summit Thermo mattress. In there will also be an Andy Strapz A Bagz with socks, jocks, T-shirts, toiletries etc. I keep them all in the roll-top Dry bag because it makes a very compact load, and because the bag is first class. It keeps everything dry and dust-free.
I’ll wear a Geigerrig Rig 1600 backpack. It has a three-litre bladder which I’ll probably half fill considering the easy pace, and the side pockets will have my treasured Leatherman Blast and Motion Pro Multi Purpose Tool Metric. I’ll stick some insulation tape and zip ties in there somewhere, along with a spare plug. Short of a flat tyre or a major mechanical failure, that’ll mean I can deal with almost any repair without cracking open the Mojave. There’ll probably be a few clothing items, and there’ll be room to chuck my thermals in once the day warms up. Other pockets have things like sunscreen and lip balm, a couple of sachets of coffee and sugar (just in case things get desperate) and my phone in a Pelican case. I may chuck a UHF radio in, but I haven’t decided yet.
I wear a ridiculously large bumbag with camera and video gear, but that won’t apply to anyone else.
My riding apparel will start with thermals top and bottom, knee guards, and probably a pair of BMW socks. Over that will be a Klim Traverse suit with D30 armour in the shoulders and elbows. Gloves will be one of several pairs I have here that will provide reasonable protection. I’ll have a pair of light motocross gloves tucked in somewhere as spares. Boots are Gaerne Adventures. They’re comfortable for walking out to lookouts and for general sightseeing, are waterproof, and offer reasonable protection for dualsporting.
I’m a huge fan of the Buff neck protectors for this type of riding, so that’ll be around the neck, and the helmet is an R-jays Dakar. About the best that can be said of the helmet is that it was inexpensive. I wouldn’t buy another one.
I’ll treat the visor with Cat Crap before we leave.
So that’s pretty much how I’ll be setting up for The Caper. It’s the way I’ve been setting up for this kind of riding for many years, and it mostly works fairly well.
I won’t have chain lube on board because I don’t use it out there in the dust and sand. The chain is well-lubed here and won’t be lubed again until Bourke on the return – if I can bludge some off someone. Otherwise I’ll lube it when I get home again.
Make sure you know which unique tools your specific bike needs. If you’re on a European bike – especially the BMWs and new Huskys – make sure you have the Torx drivers and extension bars you need. If you’ve fitted any after-market fittings or accessories, make sure you know how they work and what’s likely to break or malfunction. I’ll never forget a very competent workshop manager saying to me that whenever someone bought a bike back for a warranty claim, the first thing he looked for was any work they’d done themselves. I saw him proved right over and over again.
See you all on Thursday morning.