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  #1  
Old 19 Aug 2011
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G'day , just want to introduce myself.

Hi all,
I have been looking around this forum for the last couple of days and have already found some fantastic info that will be a great help to me and my future bike travels.

I have just acquired a 2011 Dr650se and I am looking forward to getting it set up for touring around North Queensland firstly and then venturing further. I am waiting on some parts to arrive from Procycle, most of the gear was chosen after reading threads on this forum recommending it

I have the FMF powercore muffler & powerbomb header on its way as well as K&N air filter and a few other tools and accessories. I may have made an error in not purchasing the insert for the muffler as i have been told it is a bit on the loud side. Something to remember when I next place an order !

I am looking at heading up to the Cape next dry season ( Charters Towers to the tip of Cape York Peninsula) anyone done this ride and have advice/tips regarding this as my first "adventure" ? ( almost all of my riding history has been on in-line 4 road bikes )

Better leave it at that for now, I have plenty of questions to ask but I'll see who's out there before rambling on too much,
Looking forward to getting to know some like minded people and learning along the way. Cheers, Alex
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  #2  
Old 19 Aug 2011
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Welcome home!

Dont forget to put some pictures on here if you going on a trip.
Saludos.
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  #3  
Old 19 Aug 2011
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Howdy

Welcome,

Do check out the communities section to contact other folks that are in your area.

Enjoy
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  #4  
Old 22 Aug 2011
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Thanks for the welcome. I have been doing some research and have found a number of national parks within a few hours of home that will make good day rides to get used the bike. It is a beautiful time of year for riding in North Queensland, Australia. It is still the "dry season" which means there are plenty of places that are accessable. Will post some pics of my travels.
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  #5  
Old 22 Aug 2011
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Hi Alex,

Welcome. I did the Cape back in 2003 on a Tenere 660 in the dry. It too was my first big offroad adventure, Great trip.

My advise on what I learnt would be as follows.
  • Pack light. I had soft panniers & top bag and a swag. Which was all too much. Although I had plenty of clean clothes and the swag was very comfy, I think I could have dropped about half of the stuff.
  • I found the Tenere a bit top heavy but that could have been all the gear.
  • Loctite - use it and love it on everything you don't want to fall off. I had a number of casualties due to the vibration.
  • Check the carb breather tube lengths - had a few engine stoppages in water due to these being under water.
  • If you haven't already learnt to ride standing up, see if you can get some hours under your belt. It helped me a lot.
  • Clean and lube your chain daily.
  • Clean your air filter.
  • Carry spares. Cables, tubes, chain links.
I am sure there is more that I am forgetting but it was a blast, you will love it.

Last edited by gixxer.rob; 2 Sep 2011 at 03:21.
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  #6  
Old 22 Aug 2011
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Welcoem on board Alex. I've just come back from the tip 2 weeks ago and can pass on my thoughts.

First, don't worry about heavily modding the bike it really isn't necessary. I rode 9,000kms there and back from Melbourne on my Burgman - and didn't have any major issues. If a Burgman can do it, then any bike can.

Biggest challenge was the corrugations on the PDR, Telegraph Track and any other gravel roads. It is a very bonejarring ride - for both you and the bike - and can be tricky to ride on if you don't have decent off-road tyres - my road tyres only just cut it and I ended up having to have a couple of frame welds done at the top before I could commence my return journey.

2nd biggest challenge was the sand on the old telegraph track. You need to keep the speed up and the weight back - relatively easy on a offroader like the DR but impossible on the Burgman.

3rd challenge was the river crossings, there is at least one (Nolans) sufficiently deep for you to need to float/carry the bike across, or take the bypass track (which I did). The other crossings are fine but the entry/exits can be very steep, bumpy and tricky so get a bit of experience in at home first.

Final challenge was to stop having fun. Even though I was solo and went "dry" for the whole period I was up there, the amount of camaraderie and fun you have with fellow travellers you meet on the road is tremendous.

You'll have a great time.
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  #7  
Old 1 Sep 2011
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Thanks for the words of wisdom guys !

A Burgman, Farquar that is awesome ! How did you go with ground clearance ?
obviously not to bad ... you made it back to tell the tale ! I am hoping to do the trip with a couple of my brothers ( also on DR650's ), I have the easy part as I don't have to ride from Toowoomba first.


Thanks Gixxer for the tips, I always tend to pack crap that I don't need and forget something that I really should have !
How slow is the pace up there, I really have no idea how many days to allow for the 3000k round trip from Charters Towers. All I know so far is that I'd head for Cairns on the first day, not sure about the rest !

I did a short loop out to a place called Spring lake on Saturday 50/50 bitumen and dirt. Must admit I scared myself a couple of times in soft sand with the tyres that come with the bike, they are a good allrounder but If I was doing more offroad work would definately have to put some knobbies on.

I'll be doing plenty of short trips over the coming months and will work on some creek crossings just out of town.

Cheers fellas
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  #8  
Old 2 Sep 2011
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Welcome Alex

My GF and I just did the Cape from Charters Towers on a KTM640 and BMW658. We're home about 3 weeks.

The other guys have already given some good suggestions but let me add some and re-inforce some.

  • Bike mods on a DR are probably not required, the riding is pretty straight forward with the exception of the OTT. My GF had never ridden off-road before and she managed 4 creek crossing on the first day and did the trip fine. We only had a few putdowns although I'd probably not take the 658 up there again if I could (suspension not suitable for dirt tracks, clearance too low).
  • Knobbly tyres are the way to go. We had good results from Dunlop606s and a Mitas front on the BM. Don't even think about road tyres. The 606s were fine for the blacktop from the Towers.
  • To get comfort and handling we dropped the pressures down to 20psi and road the back brake (to bring the weight back)
  • Corrugations are much worse for a car. We didn't find too much issue on our big bikes but would definately not take a road bike up there.
  • The OTT is hard on a heavy bike. We only did about 50km but found the slow 1st gear going v.hard work. Applying the rear brake slightly was a wonderful technique for keeping the weight back but its still hard work.
  • The other things about the OTT is that its narrow. We went unsupported so carried all our stuff in panniers and on the back. The track was too narrow in places to avoid hitting trees with the luggage. Then there is the 4WDers, many who don't know how to deal with bikes in the bush. Generally the biker needs to go bush to allow the 4WD to pass but many of them won't stop in time for you to move into a cleared area. Even if you can get from sand up the bank into the bush and back again before the next 4WD comes along. I got knocked off by a 4WD with a trailer as he slipped into the sandy wheel ruts on the track. (offending driver made amends withfree )
  • River crossings: There are a couple of doozies for bikers. Nolans is one. Most bikers we heard crossed Nolans by either carrying the bikes (if in a group), de-packing and hot dogging it over the log bridge, or riding the bridge if there were on small bikes. The otehr thing about the crossings on the track is that the entry and exit tracks tend to be heavily rutted from 4WD which means some clearance is needed. (NB: you can tell the 4WD that have done the track - they're the ones that have dented/bent running boards)
The bottom line is that you can have a great time without bike issues if you don't push your bike too much. As an example we met a French couple, 2-up with luggage on an XR400 who had just done the tip without issues. (having owned an XR400 I know it has a weight limit of only 110kg)

So, enjoy

Mark

PS: Photos here if you're interested http://www.markphillips.biz/capeyork11
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  #9  
Old 2 Sep 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by get me outa here View Post
Must admit I scared myself a couple of times in soft sand with the tyres that come with the bike, they are a good allrounder but If I was doing more offroad work would definately have to put some knobbies on.
Even with knobbies deep sand can be unnerving. All my offs where due to it, maybe I just need more practice but that was what caused all of my "moments"

Time ? I had 4 weeks to go from Melbs to the tip and back not really pushing it anywhere. I think I spent about 2 weeks in Queensland.

I am jealous. you have me thinking about another trip.
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  #10  
Old 2 Sep 2011
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Awesome pictures Mark ! Makes me want to hit the road right now
I had some fun today fitting new bars to my bike, I'm not doing any performance mods other than the FMF muffler and header and a K&N air filter. Everything else that I will be doing will be for comfort and gear carrying. I'll be fitting an aftermarket tank to give me greater range and I'm on the lookout for some reasonably priced soft panniers/saddlebags.

I'm looking at fitting a 12v lighter socket for charging camera,phone, torch batteries etc while on the move. Anyone fitted one of these?

Thanks to all so far for the info !!

Alex
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  #11  
Old 3 Sep 2011
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Soft Sand

Quote:
Originally Posted by gixxer.rob View Post
Even with knobbies deep sand can be unnerving. All my offs where due to it, maybe I just need more practice but that was what caused all of my "moments"

Time ? I had 4 weeks to go from Melbs to the tip and back not really pushing it anywhere. I think I spent about 2 weeks in Queensland.

I am jealous. you have me thinking about another trip.
It's not the flying I have trouble with, it's the landings - when learning on my new bike managed 5 in about 100m! Now, with change of tyres, and suspension adjustment, none for 4000km - touch wood - will probably fall off tomorrow now.
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Old 5 Sep 2011
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rides in the north !

I will be keen to do a ride with you as I am just down here in Mackay, get home this weekend. Past 4mths Sth. Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and now some R&R here in Bangkok on the way home.
Will be in touch.
Paul
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  #13  
Old 7 Sep 2011
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Rides in the North

Hi Paul, man you've done some distance ! I can only get away for short periods at this stage of my life with a wife and 3 young kids but I plan to do plenty of short rides and one day head further, much further from home.

I am waiting on parts from Procycle as the new pipe I have fitted is way too loud and I'll need to sort the jetting out as well, backfiring on decelleration and surging on the highway. I am still running it in so taking it pretty easy at the moment. Looking forward to changing sprockets and tyres for some off-tarmac work soon !
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  #14  
Old 8 Sep 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozhank View Post
It's not the flying I have trouble with, it's the landings - when learning on my new bike managed 5 in about 100m! Now, with change of tyres, and suspension adjustment, none for 4000km - touch wood - will probably fall off tomorrow now.
Its all good, apart from one rather terrifying quick diversion off the track when my front wheel tucked in and I shot off through the trees at about 80k all my "offs" where more embarrassing than painful, slow sand fall overs really.
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  #15  
Old 8 Sep 2011
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Its all good, apart from one rather terrifying quick diversion off the track when my front wheel tucked in and I shot off through the trees at about 80k all my "offs" where more embarrassing than painful, slow sand fall overs really.
Actually, I was probably doing about 80k when I came across a 40k corner, I went wide and the scary bit was crossing the soft sand piled up in the middle of the road. Even better tyres can't make up for my lack of experience, I need to learn to take it a bit easier at times, in particular when I am on a ride by myself. More time on dirt roads and bush tracks and I'll get the feel of the bike and know my limits a lot better I'm sure.
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