I shall name it “Godzilla”

If you follow my Instagram account, you’ll notice a lot of the color orange lately. That’s because I’ve added a new KTM motorcycle to the garage. And not just any KTM. It’s their flagship adventure bike, which they so aptly named, Adventure-R.

1190 cc’s… 1.2 liter engine… wtf

Continue reading I shall name it “Godzilla”

Gearing up to go the extra mile

My ride along the Great Continental Divide has been plotted and stored in my newly acquired & installed (used) GPS. Now then, let’s talk about distances. The GPS route was plotted by a few people who have made this trek several times. It’s broken into bite sized pieces with waypoints — fuel destinations. The average distance between waypoints is just over 100 miles, which the stock DRZ can almost manage. One distance between waypoints, however, concerns me.

267 miles.

As I mentioned, the route has been planned by aficionados, so I’m not inclined to change it. Attempting 267 miles non-stop on a motorcycle designed from factory to have a fuel range of ~90 miles does sound like fun. But, I’ll need to be more cautious and add some safety measures into the equation. Continue reading Gearing up to go the extra mile

Fresh rubber

Let’s talk tires for a moment.

The used 2008 DRZ-400-S I bought several months ago came fitted with brand new front and back Pirelli MT21 Rallycross tires. They’re a terrific tire for off-road riding. They’re also a very soft tire. Rule of thumb, soft means better performance, but shorter longevity. While they’ve been a perfect off-road training tire (likely overkill for my skill level), they’re going to fall short for my ride along the Great Continental Divide. Continue reading Fresh rubber

Today’s wheelie brought to you by, derp

Nothing says awesome like a 5 inch wheelie 🙈 #DRZ #NextAdventure

A post shared by Dean Royal (@deanroyal) on

I crashed yesterday, but have nothing to show for it. Though it was a hard fall at slow speed on a very steep (almost vertical) hillside in rocky terrain, nothing was broken. Barely a few scratches. This is exactly the crash and results I’d been hoping for. Continue reading Today’s wheelie brought to you by, derp

One less pucker factor moment

Countless videos on YouTube document a piece of factory technology on most makes and models of motorcycles that is the source of some real sphincter-clinching moments for motorcyclists when riding off-road or when encountering a series of potholes in asphalt or concrete. It’s called the kickstand kill switch. Its purpose is to prevent riders from forgetting the put the kickstand up before riding. A logical idea (that’s probably backed up by some statistics?), but with some real practical limitations in its design and implementation.

The kill switch a button that is linked to the electrical circuitry of the motorcycle. When depressed by the kickstand the circuit has no faults and the motorcycle is functional. However, if a rider hits a pretty good bump the kickstand can bounce away from the button, which then creates an electrical fault in the circuit and abruptly turns off the motorcycle. Pucker factor moment… engage. I need as few of these moments as possible in my Great Divide Trail ride, especially since I’ll be off-road most of the time and carrying additional weight. I’m going to remove it now rather than take my chances later.

Here’s a rider from GlobalRiders.com conveying his frustrations with the kill switch on his BMW motorcycle (at the 4:08 mark).

“This is a very funky, stupid system that BMW made.”

If you watch the series called, Long Way Down, which I highly recommend (Netflix), with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, you’ll find Ewan runs into the same problem whilst riding on his BMW through Africa.

Let’s parlay this over to my 2008 Suzuki DRZ 400S. It’s almost the exact same system. There’s a connection under the seat of the DRZ that looks like this when disconnected.

KKS_connector_web

The bottom connector plugs into the top connector with two tongues, one for each wire. The bottom connector is attached to an 30-inch-long 2-wire lead that snakes its way down the bike frame to the kickstand kill switch. I cut the wires about 3 inches below the bottom connector in the image above. I then slapped one of these onto the ends of the wires of the connector.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 10.32.06 AM

These wire tap splice connectors can be bought at Radio Shack (if they’re still around) or Walmart. I inserted the two wires, and with pair of pliers, pressed down on the metal tab which electrically connected the two leads. Lastly, I folded over the plastic lock to complete a very clean and stable modification. This will now forever fool the circuit into always thinking the kickstand is up regardless of its actual physical setting. Doing the work under the seat should provide a bit more shelter from climate and other riding effects.

The last step is to unbolt the kill switch from the frame and pull it and the 30 inches or so of wire off the bike.

kks_web

If all you do is street riding it’s not imperative you do this. The spring tension holding the kickstand in the upright position should be strong enough for most street riding situations. But if you plan on riding your motorcycle off-road, I suggest you perform this modification. Pure dirt bikes don’t even come with a kickstand.