The Bikes

Choosing the perfect bike for a trip like this is a daunting task….that is because there is no “perfect” bike. Of course I read thousands of reviews and changed my mind more than once but ultimately settled on something that met 3 criteria:

1. Perform Offroad. This is, afterall, an adventure. Traveling into the unknown is the antithesis of predictability and THAT is what we are after.

2. Reliable. Prior to this trip I have owned a DRZ400SM for about 2 years and ran the snot out of it….never missed a beat. For a guy that has blown numerous engines this is quite a feat. I know the KLR and XR and DR are right there if not even more reliable but I am comfortable with the DRZ as being a reliable performer.

3. Road Side Maintenance. I needed something that I (or any average shop mechanic) could work on. Whether I am in the big city or on the side of a road, I wanted to be able to quickly make repairs/fixes. I have read some good things about EFI but I have struggled with my Husqvarna Supermoto and am still leary of advanced electronics on the bike.

I have a lot of other reasons for choosing a DRZ over other models and if you want more information don’t hesitate to ask…..I enjoy sharing the knowledge!

So withouth further adieu……I give you a pampered 2001 DRZ400S that I located on 9/15/12 with a whopping 600 miles.

Any bike that you take a trip like this on needs a couple of modifications. However, most people get carried away and dump far too much money into the bike and end up with something overdone, bulky, too nice to crash, overly concerned of getting stolen, farkels that need to be locked away every evening… get the idea. Well, I am part of this latter group…damn!

I started with “must have” accessory list and while I was purchasing I continued to add to the list. Thank goodness I had limited planning time for this trip or it could have really gotten out of hand.

 New Equipment: Tires, Brake Pads, Plastics, New ACCT (yes, I purposely did not get an MCCT), Chain & Sprockets, Wheel Bearings, Trailtech Vapor w/Dashboard, LED blinkers and DRC Edge tail cleanup, Thumpertalk case savers, stainless oil filter, Custom made seat by Don @ Ed’s Moto, Oversized IMS footpegs, Renthal Fat Bars, Highway Dirt Bikes handguards w/mirrors w/ADV top clamp and brake perch with new waterproof starter/kill switches, Safari 17L gas tank, JD jetting kit, Replaced forks with 2005 E model suspension, Eastern Beaver PC-8 fuse box with relay, Stainless brake lines, Voltage Meter, Burnsmoto USB charger, Powerlet outlet, Symtec Heated Grips, Tonne’s Fabrication Skid Plate, UNIBIKER Rad Guards, Yoshi RS-2 Full Exhaust, Oversize battery (Yuasa YTZ10S),

I have a new set of tires that I do not plan on installing until I get to San Diego…..Maxxis Desert IT up front with a Dunlop D606 in the rear. I ran this setup on my SM DRZ and seemed to work quite well.

Here are a few photos of the process:

Eastern Beaver PC8 Mounted in Pelican Box behind headlight

Rear rack and side pannier racks that I built….then had powdercoated black later on.

HDB handguard setup w/mirros and ADV top clamp, Trailtech holder, etc…


Seat Building at Ed’s Moto

So I’ve basically been writing this blog as if Alex and I on are on the same page and doing the same things. This is NOT the case. Alex has yet to get any vaccinations, he has yet to make copies of any paperwork, and he has certainly not prepped the bike….I guess I am lucky that he has a bike and passport at all. Hell, he just got his motorcycle endorsement about 2 weeks ago (just before X-mas)!

So Alex shows up at my place on Saturday (10 days before we depart) with a couple boxes of accessories and we go to work. Alex is funny to work with….he has an attitude that I find very difficult to embrace but am also jealous of at times. Nothing wrong with it, just different for me. Basically he doesn’t give a shit. There is no possible way to stress this guy out. This dude is totally prepared to do this ride the poncho and flip flop way.

So we get to working on the bike, if something doesn’t fit right you either hit it with a hammer or just say fuck it and toss back in the box. If a bolt is missing, grab some duct tape (or zip ties). Alex’s bike is a 2005 DRZ400S with about 5,000 miles on it. I believe the only aftermarket part on the bike was a plastic rear rack (which Alex managed to crack/break) and a Corbin seat (which Alex managed to tear) during our equipment install day. So we basically took a bone stock DRZ400, spent a few hundred bucks and 3 hours of work and now it’s ready for the trip of a lifetime.

This is me after pulling the carb and throwing in a JD jet kit:

Andrew with a Carb

Here is the basic list of mods for Al’s bike: Acerbis 4 gallon tank, Tonne’s Fabrication skid plate, JD jet kit (3×3 mod), Burn’s Moto USB charger, wind screen, new sprockets, chain, rear wheel bearings.
Luggage: Woflman Expedition Bags, Wolfman Racks, Wolfman Enduro tank bag, Wolfman medium duffel.

Al’s Hotrod

4 thoughts on “The Bikes

  1. Dudes. I wish you the best of times and I am jealous as heck. I can’t wait to read about your adventures… post often while remembering that reading about your adventures is about as close as some of us older guys are going to get to being able to do something like this.

    It’s funny what runs through peoples minds when looking at your website. Some are probably thinking “I want to go!” others are “Holy cow is South American safe?!?” Then there’s me…. I just looked at the picture of Andrew With a Carb and muttered WTF!!!!! Is that a F’n Duck sweatshirt?!?!!

    On closer look… I don’t think it is…. (don’t correct me if it is). It would break my heart to think of you as a Hole fan. haha.

    Have fun guys and God Bless.

    • One of them holds my tent stakes and the other has parachute cord, compass, matches, electrical tape, electrical connectors, and a few odds and ends that are rarely used but required for a trip like this. I built them from 3″ ABS from Home Depot. They have held up quite well!

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