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    atentie, a aterizat grasu’

    Friday, January 25th, 2008

    domnilor, grasu a juns in bucuresti si ne asteapta cuminte in vama sa venim sa il culegem πŸ™‚

    inca nu stim in ce conditii a ajuns, dar sper sa fie totul ok

    intrebari cu si despre moto

    Thursday, January 10th, 2008

    daca mai sunt motociclisti care se uita pe blog, am doua intrebari pentru voi

    1. Cit de des vi s-a intimplat sa loviti o pasare ? Eu cit am mers in Romania nu am lovit niciodata o pasare. Incepind din Iran si pina in Nepal, sunt o droaie de pasari care stau pe marginea drumului si zboara drept spre masinile/camioanele/motocicletele care trec pe acolo. Noi am lovit 3 pasari, o vrabie in Iran, un porumbel in Pakistan care s-a lovit de casca Ioanei si inca o pasare mai mare in India care a lovit fix intre faruri. Ignorind cele 10-20 de near-miss-uri, ar insemna un incident la 6000km…

    2. Aici in Vietnam, Cambogia si Laos au o droaie de motociclete usoare/scutere care au ambreiaj centrifugal ca un scuter dar au cutie de viteze (4 vit. de obicei). Sunt un pic ciudate cu schimbator de viteze dar fara maneta de ambreiaj. Exista asa ceva in Europa ?

    18.000km on the road

    Monday, December 3rd, 2007

    Our motorcycle journey is over, so it might be the time to have some conclusions.

    First why don’t we take the bike in south-east asia. The reasons are two-fold. The first one is the cost of transport, we would have to fly the bike from Kathmandu to Bangkok and then again from Bangkok to Bucharest which would be quite expensive. The sea-shipping from Kathmandu is much cheaper.
    The second reason is that Vietnam doesn’t allow big motorcycles (more then 200cubic cm) on its territory. As we want to make a tour (Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam-Laos-Thailand) we can’t really leave the bike anywhere and come back to pick it up.

    The bike performed admirably throughout the 17.800 km of the trip. The damage to the bike is pretty minimal: the left rear view mirror was broken in an encounter with a van in Iran but I managed to buy a (second-hand!) iranian honda mirror that fits, the lid of the right-hand pannier had a dent from a truck on the Manali-Leh road, and the bottom of the same pannier is dented from a fall in Rajastan. All this incidents took place at very slow speed or even standing still πŸ™‚

    Apart from the fuel pump which left us stranded on the side of the road twice, we had effectively 0 problems with the bike. This was probably due to a bad case of beginner’s luck as we didn’t even had a flat tyre the whole way…

    If you think of doing the same trip with same enormous amount of luggage (and two-up) it would be a good idea to change the rear spring to a stiffer one. The stock spring is much too soft for such a load and you lose a lot of suspension travel due to sagging. A high performance shock is not strictly necessary (although is certainly nice if you can afford it). If you decide to keep the stock spring try to distribute some of the load to the front of the bike. We had all the weight on the rear and the front was very light and prone to wobbling.

    A long-range fuel tank is both very expensive and un-needed. We had a 6 litre jerry-can (less then 10Euro), and we only used in Baluchistan and in the Himalayas. Even there we could have managed without it, as there were people selling fuel from jerry-cans on the side of the road.

    The Metzeler Tourances performed admirably, the back tyre is squared after the trip due to the load, but the front is still in very good shape. They are not off-road tires by any means so on the sandy and muddy parts you have to be careful but they have decent grip in the wet and are very hard to wear down. A good choice if you decide not to carry spare tyres.
    The panniers performed reasonably well (although I still thing they are a bit flimsy). They are rated for 10kg each and we carried almost double…

    One of the things that you might want to consider is an alarm. I’ve installed a cheap car alarm with a pager. It has a shock sensor, a leaning sensor (set to engage when the bike is taken off the side-stand) and a trunk-opening sensor wired to the seat. The alarm is installed in the toolbox under the seat. Also a bike cover is a must have especially in India.

    we kept records about our spending, this will be detailed in another post.

    One question that is likely to be in you mind if you read this contemplating a similar trip is “How difficult is it ?” . While difficulty is a relative thing so my assessment doesn’t really help, it is almost certainly that you will find the trip easier that you think. Once you are on the road you solve the problems as they arise and you don’t have much time to worry about it. There were some tricky parts (baluchistan etc) but they aren’t as daunting as they look from back home.

    This being said, expect some very long days when things don’t go as planned and you are quite stressed (our worst day was between Sukkur and Multan), but after you get through them they don’t affect your trip too much. There is so much beauty and excitement along the way that the difficulties that you encounter are comparatively too small to matter.

    Before we left there was much discussion among our friends if it’s wise to leave with a single bike. It’s quite clear that with a larger party some of the problems are easier to be dealt with, but it also causes additional ones. If you decide to go in a larger group be sure that you really know (and really like) your travel companions. We were lucky to met very nice people on our way and we went together for a while, but it’s a big difference between riding together for few days and riding together for 6 months, if you choose your companions poorly you will compromise your whole trip.

    We are quite happy with going alone, we managed to get over the hard parts by ourselves and I think it added to the feeling of freedom and unburden inherent in this trip.

    After almost 4 months and 18.000km we are convinced that riding is the best way to travel and hope we will be able to repeat this trip.

    Without any real connection πŸ™‚ , I add some pictures from our second forced stop. Repairing the fuel pump in Madhya Pradesh with some 20-30 spectators.

    gorakhpur01.jpg gorakhpur02.jpg

    gorakhpur03.jpg gorakhpur04.jpg

    shipping the motorcycle

    Saturday, November 24th, 2007

    for several different reasons we had to ship our faithful bike from kathmandu (more about this in another post).

    the horizonsunlimited recommended shipping agents (eagle eyes and new worldlink) were less than helpful so we used another company, public freight.

    since we are in no hurry to get the motorcycle to bucharest, we chose to ship by sea. The bke goes from kathmandu to calcutta by truck and from there to europe by ship. It should be in bucharest at the end of january at about the same time as we will.

    after deciding what parts of our enormous luggage we can send home and what we must keep,


    we took the bike at the warehouse and prepared it for shipping

    grasu01.jpg grasu02.jpg grasu03.jpg

    our target was to fit everything in under 2 cubic meters, so we had to try different combinations πŸ™‚

    I took off the front wheel, the windshield, the handlebars and the blinkers.

    grasu04.jpg grasu05.jpg

    after the crate was ready we put everything inside and tied them as secure as possible

    grasu06.jpg grasu07.jpg grasu08.jpg

    grasu09.jpg grasu10.jpg grasu11.jpg


    here is a short movie… we don’t need no stinkin’ forklifts


    Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

    Perhaps some of you that contemplate taking a long trip are interested in the way we packed the huge amounts of stuff that seemed absolutely indispensable.

    The bike came with 45 liters Hepco&Becker Alu Exclusive panniers.


    These are mounted much higher than other panniers, above the exhaust. Because of this both of them can be of the same capacity, unlike the touratech panniers. It also places the weight higher up and limits the width of the topcase that can be mounted on the rear rack (as the panniers rise above the rack).


    The panniers have a quick release system and can taken off the bike very easily. The locks/hinges seemed a bit untrustworthy so I use a supplementary strap for each side.


    The panniers themselves are not very sturdy, I don’t think they would survive a crash very well. Also they are not waterproof, we carry raincovers for them.

    The biggest aluminum topcase that H&B makes is 45 liters. As we were afraid that 135 l would not be enough (and also because of the price) I decided to make a custom topcase.
    This task proved too difficult for the fabricators that I could find in Bucharest. After waiting almost two months for a couple of welds and as time was running out, I decided to use a regular backpack as a topcase.


    I had two main concerns, how would I attach it to the rear rack and the security of our things.
    The backpack fits snugly between the panniers and is secured with 2 perpendicular straps. As I write this, after 16.000km, I can safely say that it works very well.


    On the backpack we fit the sleeping bags and the mosquito net using a cargo net.

    bagaje6.jpgΒ Β  bagaje7.jpg

    As for the second concern, security, we use a rain cover which neatly conceals allΒ  of this as a shapeless blob.


    Over the raincover, the second strap secures everything in place.


    Also over the raincover, I use a bicycle anti-theft chain which fits tightly around the backpack to deter an opportunistic thief.