The Bike

Should I take a thumper or a big twin? As I pour over the round-the-world (RTW) reports I can’t help but notice the abundance of F650s making the trek. It makes sense, a bulletproof engine, chain drive, not too big, and it’s a BMW. I went so far as to go to the dealer and sit on a number of F650s including the new twin and X-Challenge. I’ve been on the KTM 950 for 5 years now, 20K miles on the Adventure and 10K miles on the Superenduro, most of the miles offroad. In the end I chose to go with what I know. I feel confident tearing the 950 down in the field, the engine is bullet proof, and the ergos are perfect imo. While I realize there will be times where a smaller bike is ideal the SE handles very well in tight places so I’m willing to accept its shortcoming in this instance.

The SE only had 1200 miles on it when I bought it and aside from trying to get its over-sprung suspension right for my riding style I’ve had no issues with the bike that weren’t self inflicted. Since the bike is set up for high-speed desert riding it’ll need some modifications for the trip and of course I’ll need to renew all the wear items. KTMSER (Spencer) was key in helping me (ie he did most of it :lol3) take care of all the maintenance and upgrades.

Anyone who owns a SE knows the pains of the bike’s limited fuel range. So first up on the list of mods is a Safari tank. The 7.9 gallon capacity will come in handy in remote areas especially since I have a knack for getting lost.

(Spencer’s mumbling something about the poor lighting in my garage.)

Mulie giving a hand as always.

Next up chain, sprockets, brake pads/fluid, clutch fluid, and radiator flush.

I carry tools as a practice for trail riding so I’ll expand my kit and remove redundancy to include items that will allow me to maintain the bike short of a major break down. I ended up with this (more or less) for the final pack up. No, I didn’t take the big roll of duct tape. 🙂

I decided to go with PIAA aux lighting at the last minute. They are brighter than any lighting I’ve had and after getting caught riding at night in Kashmir on an old Enfield with poor lighting I’ll be happy to have them. Hopefully they won’t fail on me this trip. Also pictured is a new TT and Enduro Engineering GPS mount. I could never get the Ram mount to sit still with the Zumo when offroading so I’m happy to have this set up.

I prefer soft luggage as it holds up better for me offroad. I’m good for the occasional biff and soft bags just give more imo. The racks for the rear panniers stuck out too much for my tastes so we had our welder bring them in and he added a cross brace for reinforcement, much improved. There will be times where I’ll miss not having lockable bags but I’ll just have to deal. The waterproofing will be key and I’m anxious to document how these bags hold up to the rigors of a long trip.

The bike is wired for the usual USB powered stuff and I’ll have my Macbook so I’ll be able to stay connected for the most part. That’s about it sans some incidentals and a final oil/tire renewal so here’s the bike packed down. I’m starting with too much shit, camping gear makes it tough to stay light, but I’d rather have too much with the option of lightening my load than not having something I need.


  • Steve Bridge January 11, 2014 Reply

    Mark! Very cool! Looking forward to seeing you off on your next trip so I can follow the updates!

    Very interesting bike as well. Just a little bit more and it will be ‘zombified’ as well!

    Best of luck!

    Steve at NCU

    • miserygoat January 11, 2014 Reply

      Hey Steve! Thanks for the well wishes! mark.

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