The Bikes

After much consideration and input from fellow riders, we decided that the right motorcycle choice for us, for this ride, is a KTM 990 Adventure Dakar. We started with a list of the KTM, a BMW F800GS, the Yamaha Tenere and the Triumph Tiger 800 xc. Both of us like a little umph when passing and don't intend to get off into many single tracks during this ride but we do want the flexibility of not having to stay on pavement. Ultimately, the lighter weight in this category, the horsepower and a little bit more focus on off road, led us to decide on the big KTM. Our bikes have been on order now for a week and we expect delivery the first part of October. This will give us some time to get them set up before we leave next year and do some shorter test rides. I will try to post up some pictures when they arrive.

Well they are here and as promised here are some pictures from the dealer:

Covered ...

Uncovered ...

Assembled (pretty, pretty) ...
Fueled, oiled and ready to ride ... the bikes! If you look carefully you may be able to pick out Edward Crump our contact at Wild West Honda, (hint: he is the one in the blue jeans and shades).

The Farkling Begins
After ordering the bikes we concluded that there were a few things that it made sense to order as accessories from KTM.  The luggage, we went with the plastic KTM bags since it seemed to us they were a little more durable and less worrisome in tip overs.  We bought and had installed the KTM grip heaters, because sometimes that can just be a pain to install.  Finally, we ordered the alarm system.  This just seemed like a no brainer, the system is designed for the 990 Adventure.

Now, having ridden them a little bit (the bikes!) we have settled on a few basic upgrades and farkles.  The handle bars are too short so we have ordered 1 7/8ths Low Profile Rox Risers.  These will raise the handle bars almost a couple inches, but based on experiences with my KLR, I may still want a little more rise.  If so, I will order some ProTaper High Bend ATV handlebars.  It will be interesting to see just how much  the handlebar cables have to give.

Next are mounts for the GPS.  I have ordered various balls, arms and electrical connectors from a small company with a very complete inventory in Austin, Texas called Mounting Innovations.  Lots of inventory and good prices too.  And I have almost decided to go with the handlebar mount from PowerLet.  Yes it is a little expensive but it seems like it has everything I need to mount the GPS without have to design connectors, brackets and wiring myself.

First Update (February 2012)
So, we have added most all of the things on the list of things above.  I still haven't decided on whether the height is right or not, so I have held off on new handlebars.  I do have the Powerlet installed for my GPS, plus a fuse bus and a battery tender.

We have both now installed an automotive type cruise control.  This allows you to set the speed and forget it.  Chuck and I took different approaches.  We both started with the Rostra CCS100 electronic cruise control as the basis, which is a much bigger and more clunky device than it appears in the photographs.  Chuck installed his by cutting the inner panel of the right faring and mounting the bracket to the headlight frame.  I on the other hand, decided to cut the cruise control in half, place the servo inside the right faring and the circuitry in the light housing.  If I had known what it was going to take to get this to work I would have probably gone with what Chuck did.  By the way, the connectors for the KTM 990 are mostly Sumitomo SM and can be found here, there are a few Molex as well.

The KTM stock headlight is atrocious.  So, I have also installed an HID headlight (low and high beams).  This involved buying a European headlight case from and the lights and ballasts from  WOW :-O!  I am now a little concerned I will get pulled over for the amount of light these things put out.  I have adjusted my beams so as to not blind oncoming drivers, but, no kidding, the difference is literally night and day!

We have purchased extra 2 each 2 gallon gas cans from Rotopax.  These things are huge.  Chuck is working on building a rack to hold them.  It remains to be seen just how these will fit with everything else we will have on the bikes.  Finally, we have decided to go back to CB's instead of the Scala Riders G4 we have.  Technology is great but not when it complicates and requires batteries, recharging, and really doesn't have the range of the old CB radios.  So we are going with the J&M radio, but we have yet to mount these as well.

More to come ...

Second Update (May 2012)
The modifications continue to come along.  So far I have added an Rostra (Audiovox) automotive cruise control, Powerlet and Ram mount for the GPS, HID Headlights with a European headlight reflector, a rack (thank you very much Chuck) for additional 4 gallons of fuel, a fuse box and the J&M CB with intercom and auxiliary input.  Here are some pictures of the Dakar stripped down for the final installation of the CB.  It is a pretty awesome looking bike stripped down, I must say.

The most difficult install was the cruise control.  I ended up splitting the Rostra control box in two, putting the circuit board in a box I made behind the headlight and the servo box in the right side panel.

Building the boxes, getting all the wires run and the control cable connected to the throttle body took way longer than I thought it would have.  I would not recommend doing what I did if you are thinking about adding an automotive cruise control.

All that is needed now is to add a Powerlet outlet on the left side for heat and to get the seat back from Renazco and I am practically done.  Chuck and I received notification yesterday that our seats are being shipped.  So we should see them sometime next week.

At the left is a picture of the control panel.  CB, cruise control and heated grips controller on the left and the Ram mount with a powerlet for the GPS in the middle.  I have also installed Rox risers to add a little lift to the handle bars.

Half the fun of a major trip (at least for me) is getting the bike ready.  Although there have been moments when I wish the trip would start and the working on the bike would end.

I have finally run the factory installed Pirelli Scorpions off at around 5,000 miles. There has been an awful wobble due to what I believe was a front tire that wasn't true and didn't align properly.  I will see if the wobble is still there with these new Hidenau K60's I have installed.

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