Tag Archives: workshop

Day 323 – Lucky peeps

Moment of truth...radiator all fixed up to be welded

Moment of truth…radiator all fixed up to be welded

Overnight, it got cool and our tent was wet in the morning. Either it had rained in the night or much condensation happened. Packing a wet tent isn’t ideal but we didn’t have time to wait around: We had an appointment at 8 am deciding our fate.

We didn’t buy food last night so we didn’t have anything for breakfast. Hoping to find an open bakery, we drove to the mechanic’s place and were half an hour early. Enough time to look around the small town and find something to eat.

Success! This hole has been fixed

Success! This hole has been fixed

The mechanic opened up at 7.50 am and saw us right away. With a long prelude about the risks of welding aluminium, he began to work. The motorbike radiator has small and thin fins so the chance of melting metal accidentally and creating a new hole while closing up the old one is substantial. However, the mechanic managed to close up the visible hole without creating a new one. So much relief. It is hard to tell you just how much relief we felt. To be completely certain that it is closed up now, the radiator was dunked into water and air was blasted through. We all watched out for tiny air bubbles but it was closed. Instead, air bubbles were released from a different location…we had a second hole.

This one was smaller and at the place where it’s fastened to the bike. It might have been created when taking out the radiator but it was still a problem now. Again, he fixed it and the next water bath test didn’t show any bubbles anymore. We could continue! *happy dance*

Happy dance! All packed up and ready to go!

Happy dance! All packed up and ready to go!

The workshop where the rest of Rocinante had spent the night opened at 9am so it was already open when we arrived. Needing help attaching the radiator back to the bike, staff promised us to make it happen between 11am and noon. Thus, we had a couple of hours to spend in Passau and started with a coffee and baked goods in another bakery. We passed some time at the river Danube but returned at 11 am to see how things were going. Rocinante was good to be clad in her plastic parts already! It took us another hour to fix up the bike, pack all our luggage back onto it and return the rental car. But at noon we were off!

Arrived at the restaurant from Flo's dad and Silvia. Achievement unlocked

Arrived at the restaurant from Flo’s dad and Silvia. Achievement unlocked

From here, we had another 300km to go to Würzburg and we did it in one go. No more stopping, no more messing around, just riding. Well, we kept an eye on the engine temperature just to be safe. The bike behaved all the way to Würzburg, or rather Sommerach, and both Flo’s dad and Silvia were over the moon to see us. We had a quick shower, a snack at the restaurant (so good! With fresh chanterelles!) and then watched the football game at their place.

Returning to the restaurant “Beim Zöpfleswirt” after the game, we had dinner together. Flo proved how much he had missed Silvia’s cooking by not only finishing his giant plate but his father’s as well. So lovely to see family again and be spoilt. 🙂


Day 178 – No power left

It all started so well, with us having a chilled breakfast at our cheap and clean hotel. With free coffee and tea, and with me even having remembered to buy fresh milk last night. All was well. A brief loop round the inner city, maybe lunch and then a light 200km to get to a hotel near the Thai-Cambodian border. Easy, right?

Brain freezzzzee incomming!

Brain freezzzzee incomming!

Not quite as it would turn out. The city was nice, but nothing to linger too much. We thought of maybe hanging around for a coffee or so at the riverfront. However, we did not find the place recommended by the Lonely Planet. Instead, we settled into a pretty restaurant / juice bar, as the only patrons for now. Their shtick is a strawberry slushy – so I naturally went with that while Nina opted for the orange version.

Well cooled down and with high spirits, we saddled up once more to get on the road … and failed! Rocinante would not start, the battery was drained. Oh, well. We did a bunch of short rides since yesterday and I was not sure if I had pulled the plug for the GPS. So not a big reason to worry. Continue reading

Day 157 – Cool head(s)

Back on Lombok we got a tip from Oliver about a particular bike shop in Kuala Lumpur that was supposed to be extremely friendly to overlanders. Since it has been more than 8000 km since Rocinante’s last service in Darwin, I was intend to find out for myself. I have not been disappointed!

bless you, you are amazing!

bless you, you are amazing!

I showed up and hesitantly asked if I could work on my bike in their workshop and maybe have some help with the more difficult bits later on. Within 15 minutes, I got a work space cleared for me by lead mechanic Jing Sheng and his two fellows. Everyone was extremely helpful and I got started at stripping down Rocinante according to the manual on my phone.

The entire shop is just amazing. They have all the cool imported parts that an adventure rider could ever want and the workshop is just something else. All day, riders were coming and going. Some to get their bike worked on, some just for a chat. People are allowed in the workshop and you constantly meet interesting people. The shop was filled to equal parts with adventure bikes (mostly shiny 1200GSs) and performance bikes. Plus, everyone really knows what they are talking about.

My mission for the day was to prepare the bike to get the clearance of the valves checked and, if need be, adjusted. Last time I payed 400 € for the procedure, so I was determined to do as much as possible myself this time around. The issue here for my bike is not the actual procedure, that is really straight forward, but getting to the things in the first place. To reach the eight valves to check, the cylinder head cover needs to come off. Which, for my bike means digging through 4 1/2 layers of stuff. That is what I paid for last time, but it is also relatively easy to do, just laborious. It is also a good opportunity to check all the parts removed for wear or damage.

Almost there ... faring, tank, air box and throttle body are off ...

Almost there … faring, tank, air box and throttle body are off …

It took me 5 hours to get to the point where the cylinder head covers were ready to come off and another hour of cussing, wiggling and loosening extra parts to get this done. It may be because the collective consensus was not to follow the workshop manual and take the whole exhaust off as well to get a heat shield out of the way (not before I broke one of the rusted exhaust shells, though). Still the rear cylinder head cover was so tightly wedged in under the frame that we had to rotate the crank manually half way through to get the rocker arms out of the way. Jing Sheng told me that it was worse on the older V-twins and you had to tilt the entire engine slightly for a routine maintenance job.

There they are. They were only off by .025 mm, and only the intake valves.

There they are. They were only off by .025 mm, and only the intake valves.

In the end I even got to do the adjustment myself, with confidence inducing guidance from Jing Sheng. The guys are just amazing. I learned more about my bike in one day than ever before in Germany.

Even though it was late and I should come home for dinner, I got encouraged to re-assemble and test the same night. I did manage to put enough of it back together to get Rocinante started smoothly and get back to Mont Kiara before everyone everyone else had to starve. I even got a quick shower to get most of the grease off me 🙂 In the mean time, Nina gave me an update on her progress regarding our list, which included finally getting her boots to a cobbler for re-soling.

That night we went to a wonderful northern Indian restaurant. I must say, the food is one thing for sure I am looking forward to going to India.

Day 34 – pushing it (into overtime)

Today was a long day, quite literally. 24.5 hours. But we did not realise this until it was almost over …

That was quite the run for 12 seconds ...

That was quite the run for 12 seconds …

We knew that today would have to be a bit of a push to make it in time to Adelaide. Have I mentioned this before? We have an appointment with Moto Adelaide, or better Rocinante has. Both seals on the front fork are leaking, something that should have been fixed by the workshop in Wellington just before we left for our trip. Unfortunately, they only replaced the old broken seals and fork oil, but not the root cause: Tiny specs of rust on the chrome cutting the seals with every suspension. So this time, new seals, a polish and neoprene protectors. Hopefully that will last me more than 4500km …

Some serious inclines on the way. Dunes as mentioned in the back.

Some serious inclines on the way. Dunes as mentioned in the back.

The day started with a short walk up the massive sand dunes separating the area with the camp ground (Swan Lake) from the sea. You have to believe me or google it, though: we brought our camera, but not one of our 5 SD cards.

Once again I have successfully avoided face planting us on the sandy dirt road back to the highway. I love the K60 scout on the back, can’t wait to have the matching set once the Shinko front one is dead (although that set got us around fine for 9k km in NZ). And it handles great on the road as well, way better than I would expect from such a rough tire.

First stop was Mount Gambier for provisions and the Obligatory 50m sinkhole in the middle of the town. We even managed to find the fuse for the battery charger I needed to replace since we started the trip.

You can see the rain rolling in, we were good :)

You can see the rain rolling in, we were good 🙂

The idea was to push the 85km to Beachport and have lunch there. About 20km before that though, through what turned out to be a stroke of genius we stoped “in” a roadside shelter / picnic spot. During lunch the heavens opened and Australia showed us that it can rain properly after all. Even better, that was the only spell of hard rain for the entire day, and we sat it out under a roof with a nice cuppatea!

We made it to Beachport after all and the sun came out for the first time. For now, it was only over Beachport that the blue sky gave a shy peep show through the clouds.

Straight straight lines ...

Straight straight lines …

After a super brief peek into Robe, the rest of the day was pretty much exclusively filled by riding. Today, for the first time we got a notion of the new sense of distance in Australia. I think for almost an hour straight we did not drop under 100 km/h. In the end, we will have done 420 km today (1111km in AUS in total). Our approach worked out beautifully though: Audio book on via the intercom, drop into the zone and just eat those kms!

About 50 km before our planned camp for the night at Lake Albert, we decided on one last detour for the day. The Prince Highway we were on for most of the day marks the border of the Coorong National Park, a 150 km long strip of marsh and flood lands between the road and the sea. The vistas from the road are somewhat limited, so we decided to take a 13 km loop road that runs mostly parallel to the highway, but give a much better impression of the national park.

What an impression that was! We almost turned around because the surface was again the upper end of what I am comfortable riding on fully loaded. The wetter spots had patches of soapy mud, up to 5cm deep. So glad we did not. There was one slightly hairy wobble, but no fall. But the views … I had goose bumps. I think sublime is a fitting description.

And so we end with the reason the day was particularly long. At some point during the day I have noticed that the clocks on the bike and the GPS were 30 minutes out, although I have set the bike’s one just the other day. We did not think much of it at the time and were good in time to make it to camp before 6 for Nina to skype with her family back home when I noticed something odd. The sun was quite low. Yesterday it set at 18:10, so we should have plenty of light left, but now at 17:30, it was almost gone.

At that moment it stuck me: We had crossed the border to South Australia early this morning and my diligent GPS adjusted the time to local time. Which, at the moment is 30 min before Melbourne time …