May 4, 2018
Hi there and welcome to the third edition of our Moto Intel report. As the first weekend of May approaches, hopefully you are all set to churn out some miles on your motorcycle. I’m Tom, the third of the three Dutch amigos in Mexico. With rainy season approaching fast here Jasper, Guido and myself are trying to make the most out of these sunny and dry days.
While Guido was setting up shop north of Mexico City, I took the chance to travel all the way up to the very north of the country to the land of mountains and Mennonites. More on that below, in this weeks ride report.
Last August I decided on a KTM 1090 Adventure R. While the bike is a tad tall for my 5’ 10’’ (1,79) frame, its acceleration, agility and handling are a dream. My girlfriend thinks it’s a transformer and struggles to hop on. I also had been warned that a heavy adventure bike might not be the right choice for a crowded city, but it was a logical step after selling my BMW F650 GS twin, which I have not regretted at all. The call of adventure is strong down here and while I ride every day (I don’t own a car), I try to take the KTM out for a longer ride every other weekend.
In this Moto Intel Report, next to the Sierra Madre ride report, we discuss Motorcycle Com System, we revisit Chain Lubrication, we try to look cool in Motorcycle Jeans, talk about mid capacity Adventure Bikes and Guido gives a Sneak Peak at Scenic’s big update.
Now, without further ado, let’s get rolling…
Motorcycle Com Systems
If you’re a low tech, old school rider and only like to hear raw engine and exhaust noises, hypnotising you into a zen-like state while you’re smoothly cutting through corners without distractions, then this is not for you. However, if you’re more of a high tech rider and want to talk to your passenger or buddies in the group, or simply would like some musical distraction during boring straight highway stretches, keep reading as we talk about sound and communication in your motorcycle helmet.
As you can see in the graph above there are quite some options available. And with options come choices… hard choices! Because the range of products, prices and functionalities is HUGE.
Therefore, I’ve written a blog article to help in your search for the communication system that suites you (and your wallet) best. It guides you through the most important things you should consider while choosing the system that’s right for you. Hope you find it useful.
Mid Capacity Adventure Bikes
Which bike is ideal for your daily commute, but also for your weekends away riding through mountains and rugged terrain? Something agile enough to move between cars in the city but powerful enough for the highway. A mid-capacity adventure bike is probably your best option, but which one?
The 2018 Triumph Tiger comes in two versions: the more road oriented XR and the XC which is more of an off-road vehicle. Both have 94 horsepower on tap and max torque of 58 ft.-lb. What is totally new though is the exhaust; most manufacturers overlook this but Triumph created a more free-flowing, better sounding, and visually smaller system that sounds incredible right off the showroom floor. AdventureMotorcycle.com wrote extensively about many of the 200 modifications the Triumph received, including the suspension, braking and handling.
An important contender among mid-capacity adventure bikes is the 2018 BMW F850GS. Don’t be tempted to think this is the poor man’s R1200GS, instead it is the lightweight GS that is simply more useful in the city and off-road, with an equal amount of technology. Just like the new Tiger the F850GS is sporting 94 horsepower but with slightly more torque at 68lb.ft I prefer the Beemer over the Tiger. Jon Urry over at Bennetts tested the 2018 BMW F850GS and wrote an informative report about his adventure.
Chain maintenance revisited – Advanced tip
In our last issue we talked about chain and sprocket maintenance, a topic that received a surprisingly intense debate amongst our readers. Some suggested a somewhat different approach to the one put forward on these pages, others recommended a shorter or longer lube interval, etc. There is one piece of feedback in particular I’d like to share with you, as it provided me with some fresh insight and I will definitely be using it myself in the future.
A member of MSTR (the Michigan Sport Touring Riders) club, who also happens to be an excellent motorcycle mechanic, offered the following advice: “After you clean the chain, lube it lightly, then take it for a ride to heat up the chain. When you return, re-apply chain lube on the warm chain. Capillary action will draw the lubricant into the warm and expanded “O” rings, providing a longer lasting lube and chain life.”
So, here you go, not only an excellent advanced chain lubing technique, but also another excuse to go for a ride ☺.
Looking Cool in Motorcycle Jeans
We can have lengthy discussions on how safe motorcycle jeans are compared to leather or other textiles, but that is a discussion for another time. Now, we’re talking about looking cool and being practical on your bike. And, let’s be honest, sometimes it’s just not practical or even impossible to change your outfit before an appointment. Sometimes you just want to get off your bike and go to your appointment, without looking like an astronaut.
Well, TheCoolist has got you covered. Here’s their list of the 16 Coolest Motorcycle Jeans to Save Your Ass & Look Great
ROUTES / RIDE REPORTS
Where the long prairie roads end, the Sierra begins.
Some 300 miles south of El Paso is where the adventure starts. In between a thousand apple orchards lies the city of Cuauhtémoc. Being one of the final stations of the CHEPE train lineand a center of Mennonite culture, this is a great place to start an epic ride.
The first stop on the trip is Creel, portal to the Sierra Madre Occidental. The Tarahumara or Rarámuri are the indigenous inhabitants of this part of the Sierra and are very welcoming, adaptive and athletic people that survive in the extreme climate of the copper canyon. Make sure to fill up your tank in Creel as gas stations are in short supply in this region (gas can be bought from the locals). Departing from Creel, the roads get windy and the pine trees make place for deep canyons and steep mountains.
Road quality varies from good tarmac to poor tarmac to no tarmac. While the roads are almost free of cars (1 per hour and the occasional pickup truck with narcos), crushed rocks and sharp curves are something to take into account.
After a 3 hour ride through the untamed beauty of the copper canyon you’ll reach the town of Batopilas. This old silver mining town with only 1500 inhabitants is a spectacular frontier and a great place to spend the night. You can either make Batopilas your final destination and return to Creel, or continue your trip towards the Pacific coast. A mind-blowing 5 hour offroad/on-road trail will take you via Choix and El Fuerte to the coast at Los Mochis, Sinaloa.
JJ at the Good Adventure Company has made this trip (and more). You can find their interesting blog and photos here.
A tad remote, but incredibly rewarding, this could be your next extreme motorcycle adventure…
Sneak Peak at the big update