Sponsorship: Warp 9 Racing Spruces Up sanDRina

26 November 2013

My trip ended a while back but sponsors are still approaching me πŸ˜€ Is there a message there somewhere…?

Big thanks to Warp 9 Racing for sprucing up sanDRina with this beautifully-machined, adjustable front brake lever along with other levers, an oversized 320 mm brake disc, chain guide, handlebar riders and an improved design starter motor cap.

They’re out of Salt Lake City in Utah and make bespoke accessories for dirt bikes, specializing in rims, and have recently gotten into making parts for the Suzuki DR650. Thank you Warp 9 for showing the DR some love!

If you’re not a gearhead, it’s like sanDRina just got a pedicure πŸ˜‰


Pictures from Delhi Bikers Celebratory Ride for JamminGlobal

6 July 2013

On July 6th, 300 bikers from Delhi came out for a celebratory ride in my honor. Wow, I feel the love and felt so honored and welcomed! Thank you, guys!

Ride announcement by Joshua John, the organizer of Delhi Bikers Breakfast Run. He works hard at bringing all the different clubs together.

A similar picture was taken at the start of the trip and now this completes it. :norton

sanDRina and I riding… what we do best.

Riding with Delhi Bikers. 300 of them to the horizon and beyond!

New stickers

New stickers

Being presented with a ride t-shirt.

Answering lots of questions about the trip and all the features on sanDRina.

With the ride marshals of DBBR. They would ride ahead and stop traffic at intersections so that the long line of riders could continue without breaking up. Nicely done.

Crazy energy from all the bikers there!

Another group shot.

Thanks to everyone that came out!

Delhi Bikers Celebratory Ride for sanDRina and me

8 July 2013

Wow, I feel the love! 300 Enfields, Bajajs and everything in between to the horizon and beyond. Thank you Delhi Bikers for riding out in my honor! What a grand way to celebrate the end of my journey. I feel so welcomed by my new family of riders in Delhi πŸ˜€

Thanks to Joshua John for setting this up and all he does to unite the riders in Delhi!

More pictures here: http://bit.ly/dbbrjay

Video: About sanDRina, a 1998 Suzuki DR650 in Adventure Spec

28 April 2013

Here’s a video detailing why I chose the Suzuki DR650 as my bike of choice for my three-year motorcycle journey from Chicago to Delhi and then specifically, what are all the features on sanDRina that bring her up to Adventure Spec.

Details on Aqualine Safari Tank, Pivot Pegz, WER Steering Stabilizer, Fork Brace, Happy Trails Panniers, Vapor Dash Computer, Galfer Rotors, Answer Handlebar, Ricoh Intiminator, Touratech GPS Mount, Vision X LED Lights, Suzuki GSX-R1000 Titanium Exhaust, Scotts Stainless Steel Oil Filter and more…

Click here for more Videos

Update: Found the Culprit!

23 November 2012

Ha! Found the culprit: clogged fuel filter. Replaced it with a new spare and sanDRina runs like a champ! Went for a 60 km test ride and no issues. I think that was it πŸ™‚ Continuing south tomorrow.

Come on, motorcycle gods, what else you got? Let me have it.

I got jolted last night and told myself that ‘give up’ isn’t in my dictionary. I beat my demons back in their cave and listened to the advice from biker friends who directed me to inspect this part. If I don’t make it to the next town tomorrow, I’ll figure it out πŸ˜‰

Update: sanDRina is alive!

18 November 2012

sanDRina rides once again!

I made it back to Kibondo. Bus journeys were a bit rough but I passed the time by listening to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance on audiobook to get in the mood πŸ˜‰ Good tips in there, such as knowing that all bike issues can be traced to rational, objective causes and not voodoo magic, although electrical issues seems like that :p And then it goes deep into philosophy, with a long treatise on ‘quality.’

sanDRina was patiently waiting for me just like I left her, along with my other gear. I installed the new parts and she fired right up, sounding good. Went for some extensive test rides today and so far sounds like the issue has been solved, but I can’t say for sure until I cover at least a 100 kms and get to the next town.

The ride continues πŸ˜€ Heading south…

Kenya, Part 10: sanDRina Rebuild in Nairobi for RTW Part 2

April – August 2012

During my break in Kenya, I acquired some sponsors to replace gear and parts that had worn out during the first part of my trip from Chicago to Nairobi. I also got some sponsors for a few new jazzy parts, like Pivot Pegz. But the major items for this rebuild on sanDRina were to replace bearings and the braking system and fix my spark plug thread issue. Milan, an Indian-Kenyan biker and mechanic helped me out with the rebuild at his family’s workshop.

sanDRina’s last rebuild was in Sao Paulo (October 2010) and now these are the stats for when this second rebuild happened:
Trip Mileage: 74,954 kms (46,555 mi)
1998 Chassis Mileage: 116,814 kms (72,555 mi)
2003 Engine Mileage: 86,080 kms (53,466 mi)

I had a big list of tasks for refreshing sanDRina and this is everything that was done:

-Bearings replaced: Front and Rear Wheel, Steering Stem, Swing Arm, Shock Lower Mount (sponsored by All Balls)
-Brakes: installed new Front and Rear Wave Rotors with Pads and SS Lines (sponsored by Galfer)
-Brakes: installed almost-new Front and Rear Calipers and Master Cylinders (bought from a DR teardown, 2006 with 6000 miles)
-Front Forks: replaced oil (10w), replaced oil and dust seals, made new polyurethane spacers, installed new SealSavers (sponsored)
-Rear Shock: could not rebuild here so just did an eyeball check on the spring and dampening and all looks good
-Shock Lower Mount and Dog Bones: replaced with almost-new parts (from 2006 DR)
-Rear Wheel: Installed new RAD hub and spokes (sponsored)
-Mounted new Rear Kenda K270 Tire (been carrying it since Bolivia!)
-Axles: replaced front and rear with almost-new parts (from 2006 DR)
-Installed Pivot Pegs Mk3 (sponsored)
-Fenders and headlight cowl repainted (Olive color matched, but only in glossy, not matte)
-Fabricated new Swing Arm Chain Guide
-Welded crack in chassis near subframe mount
-Fixed leaks in tool tubes with silicone
-Made rubber gaskets for Safari tank brace
-Seat Re-upholstered (to cover hole caused by sliding boot buckles)
-Repaired Right Pannier dent and installed new gaskets and pucks (sponsored)
-Bolts replaced for Happy Trails pannier frame and greased with Copper Slip
-Installed new Mega Tool Tube (sponsored – thanks Devin!)
-New Highway Pegs installed

-Installed new Vapor (bought used on ADV)
-Installed new Touratech GPS mount (sponsored) (gave the old one to a Dutch DR rider)
-Installed new Shorai Lithium-Iron battery (sponsored) (sold the old one to a local KTM 640 rider)
-Installed replacement Air Horn (Stebel Nautilus compressor died)
-Reconnected Solar Panel wiring (got cut in the Top Box)
-Checked wiring harness for chaffing and any other irregularities (all good) and sprayed connector terminals with rust inhibitor (no dielectric grease available)
-Rebuilt VoltMinder (battery voltage monitor) (grime was causing erroneous readings)
-Checked SwitchBox connections (all good) and resealed for weather-proofing
-Aligned Auxillary LED lights (right side mount bent down from Turkana crash)

-Installed new NoToil Air Filter (sponsored)
-Replaced gasket for Air Box Cover and Oil Filler Plug
-Fixed exhaust mount to subframe (vibrating bolt chewed the mounting hole into an oval)
-Replaced header bolts with studs and copper nuts
-Fixed Spark Plug thread issue, brass inserts fitted
-New NGK CR-10E spark plugs
-Piston cleaned with wire brush, rings reseated
-Conrod to Crank bearings look good (adequate side-to-side play and no up-down play)
-Cylinder Lining looks good
-Oil change and cleaning of Scotts SS Oil Filter
-Carb rebuilt with new internals: slide, float pin, air screw, springs, etc.
-New fuel lines and fuel filter
-Lubed Throttle and Clutch Cables (including mounted spare clutch cable)

Two touring DR650s in Nairobi. I met Mike and his lovely DR here, who’ve traveled down the west side of Africa and were coming up the east. It was nice for the girls to have some company while we talked about the differences and similarities of our bikes.

Replacing the front rotor with parts from Galfer.

The clutch that I installed in Mendoza, Argentina, was finally starting to fade after lots of mud riding in Ethiopia. Nice shot of the clean internals in constrast with the dirty externals.

sanDRina stripped down in Milan’s shop in Nairobi for a three-week rebuild.

We checked the axles and noticed some wear, so I contacted a guy who was parting out a clean DR in Arizona with low miles and acquired a lot of chassis parts at a low price.

RAD rear hub installed with new spokes and Galfer Wave Rear Rotor installed. Thanks for the parts donation! Kenda K270 Rear Tire installed. I’ve been carrying this tire all the way from Santa Cruz, Bolivia! Not my smartest decision but hey, I have a new rear tire now. It only needs to last till South Africa where I’ll be picking up a new set of sponsored Heidenau K60 Scouts.

Brake calipers replaced with almost-new parts from a very clean 2006 DR that was being parted out.

New front and rear brake master cyclinders and SS lines from Galfer.

Milan pressing on the new steering stem bearings.

It was a good thing we were replacing the swingarm bearings because they were destroyed.

Uh oh, loose chain riding (in Brazil and Ethiopia) lead to the chain eating through the chain guide and a bit into the swingarm.

Fabricating a new chain guide from thick rubber sheets.

Milan cutting me some new polyurethane spacers for the springs in my front forks. The old ones were deformed.

We couldn’t rebuild the rear shock, but Milan’s experience allowed us to check the dampening ability of the shock and all looks good.

Lots of fun moments working with Milan. Here, we’ve just installed the almost-new shock lower mount and the dog bones are going in next.

My Stebel Nautilus Compact air horn stopped working a while back and with the help of Milan’s brother, Dhruv, we figured out that the compressor was dead. I was lucky to find this replacement, which seemed very similar to the Nautilus, except that it wasn’t packaged for a motorcycle. It got painted black.

The new air horn came with two huge trumpets that got mounted on the front fender. It changes the look of the bike a bit but I like it.

Bolt hole for the exhaust mount had become an oval with all the vibrations. A bigger hole and bigger bolt fixed that.

On the engine, I had Milan take a look at my spark plugs threads. In Switzerland, I discovered that the inner spark plug was cross-threaded and it broke when I tried to remove it. The quick fix then was to rethread the hole but it was too loose, so the threads were banged in and the spark plug held. That fix worked up to now but Milan recommended putting in brass inserts with new threads.

The cylinder head was removed and given to a specialist shop for fitting the brass inserts. Since we were in the engine now, might as well check up on the piston and all these deposits on the piston head revealed that sanDRina was not running properly for a long time. Milan wire-brushed all that off.

Milan heard a ticking noise and suspected play in the piston pin, so we removed the cylinder and did notice wear on the piston pin. He said thicker oil and more frequent oil changes should fix that. He checked the state of the conrod and all looks good with adequate side-to-side play and no up-down play in the bearings.

Cleaning out the threads for the cylinder head bolts.

We opened up the carb and noticed that the old slide had a crack in one corner. It was on the engine side, so it wasn’t affecting the bike that much but it was probably a sign that this part was ageing. New slide got installed along with other parts for the carb, such as float pin, air speed screw, etc. Milan reseated my float needle and now the carb doesn’t leak fuel if the petcock is left open for a bit.

The cylinder head installed on the engine with new brass inserts for the spark plug threads.

sanDRina got treated to some proper motorcycle engine oil. Milan did an excellent job on the engine rebuild. Previously engine compression was at 105 psi and now it’s at 130 psi!

The bike doctor listening to the engine with a stethoscope during the first fire up to make sure that there were no unusual noises coming from the camshaft or the camchain. All sounded good.

A crack in the frame was noticed near the subframe joint. The crack probably happened from riding fast over the corrugations on the Lake Turkana route with my big Top Box on there.

Benefits of good ol’ steel frames: just weld her back together.

A welding job nicely done.

Painting the fenders after lots of cracks and chips. The color was matched but only glossy was available, not matte.

Fixing a dent in my right pannier from a fall in the sand along the Lake Turkana route. I also replaced all the pannier gaskets and pucks and the bolts were regreased with copper slip.

New Pivot Pegz Mk3 were installed. Allan Smith, the CEO of Pivot Pegz contacted me and wanted to send me a set. I also installed some new highway pegs, which also act as frame sliders.

Touratech GPS mount being replaced. Thanks for the sponsored replacement, Touratech USA! I gave the old one to Mike, the Dutch DR rider.

New Shorai Lithium-Iron battery going in, weighing less than half of the old Yuasa lead-acid one.

Thanks to Milan for all the fantastic work he did on sanDRina. She’s feeling like a new bike and should be good to go till India.

Next: Kenya, Part 11: Hells Gate, Lamu Island and Elephant Orphanage

Previous: Kenya, Part 9: Back to Nairobi and Watamu Revisited

Snapshot: sanDRina Rebuilt in Nairobi

6 August 2012

Getting ready to hit the road again and big thanks to Milan Shah for helping me out with sanDRina’s rebuild. We’ve been working on her for the past three weeks and she feels like a new bike now! Lots of major and minor things were done, such as: fitting new spark plug thread inserts on the engine, reconditioning the piston and rings, rebuilding the carburetor, replacing most of the bearings, installing a new rear wheel hub and spokes, installing a new air horn, fitting a new braking system, rebuilding the suspension, welding a crack in the frame, painting the fenders, fixing a loose exhaust, replacing rusted bolts, installing new highway pegs, mounting a new rear tire and giving her a thorough washing πŸ˜€ Big thanks also to my friends in Nairobi who acted as human couriers and brought me back tonnes of parts and gear from the US and the UK πŸ™‚ Countdown to departure has started. Right now the plan is to leave Nairobi next week but that’s subject to change and pending my South African visa. Have to pack and close up my life in Nairobi this week…