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Saturday, 14 September 2013

Pete's Gear Review

After being home from "the Trans Lab" for over a week it is now time to talk about the gear that got us there and back. Ill start my review from smallest to largest (In Terms of perceived importance to safety and comfort on the trip)

Ill start on the ground with a few items. Tent: Mountain Hardware - Drifter 2. Although we only slept in tents one night we did have to carry them the entire trip. The Drifter 2 is a very well constructed 2 person tent that is light and easy to set up. I can't imagine two people sleeping in this bad boy unless the idea was to be stuck to the other person. If you are sleeping solo then this is a great choice and if you are hoping not to "sleep" solo then this is also a good choice. 

I referred to the Thermarest pad in a previous post. Again these things are as comfortable as some beds I've owned. They must add a little black magic to make them so thin and so comfy. I am a fairly boney cat and I didn't feel like I was ever trying to leave hip bone marks in the Newfoundland soil.

Boots - in a previous post I berated the quality of my Iicon Reign water proof boots. I slammed them for their lack of water proofness (as if that is a word). Anyway I am here to apologize. I realized that my long boney legs were acting like rain gutters directing Newfoundland rain down into the tops ( and there fore the bottoms) of the boots. Iicon can I be forgiven? I think the boots look sharp and my size 11 set are very light and comfortable.

Smart wool undergarments. I paid a fair amount for my smart wool top and bottom( as much as my tires) but they were worth every penny. The gear is made of really smart wool that some how knows that when it is 28 Celsius and you are sweating like a whore in church, they somehow keep you as dry as possible and as cool as possible. When it is wet and you are wet, you are still warm. The truly amazing thing is that after a nine days of continuous wear, they some how manage not to smell like a hockey dressing room in a 52 year old community rink with out showers. That is smart! 

I picked up tent, smart wool and Thermarest from my buddy Sean at his shop in Rothesay, called River and Trail.

Tires. Continental TKC 80 or Conti TKC 80's as they are known. When I put a message out as to what I should put on El Diablo to slay the Trans Lab, Dwight and Tom replied with the Conti's as the only option. I have since learned that there are probably more Conti tracts on the Trans Lab than moose tracks. The tires worked very well on the slab, cornered nicely but really shone on the loose gravelly stuff! They are fairly worn after 4200 km (half worn) but still in fantastic shape. I must also note I did not reduce pressure as some do and I did not have a blow out!

Olympia Motosport riding gear. Warm, cold, wet or apocalypse this is the suit you need for full on 3 season riding. Terry and I were both super impressed at the comfort, sizing, water proofness (that word again) and look of these amazing suits. In warm weather you can unzip the many flaps that allow air to flow through the suit and cool you off. The flaps are accessible when riding (except the back) and allow you to adjust your comfort on the go. The integrated Camel back holds about 1.5 litres of water that I quickly emptied on hot days. When the weather cooled off I added the thermal liner and on wet days the rain liner was added as well. In fact once I put the thermal liner and rain liner in, I didn't remove them. I am fairly tall 6'4" and around 2 berries (200 lbs). The suit I wore was an xl and fit me like a glove. 

07 KLR 650 - El Diablo. I remember when I first looked at El in Steve Erbs garage in Bellisle Creek I was impressed with the care he had bestowed upon her. The clock showed 12,000 km. the doohickey had been done. The sneakers were fairly good. The plastic was in great shape. He had a Corbin seat on El but as a long legged galoot, I found the Corbin too low. I went for the stock. I handed Steve 32 hundred bucks and rode off. When she was introduced to the family I quickly upgraded her. New foot pegs (moto cross style) ims I think. Ricochet skid plate, crash bars and luggage racks. I had pelican cases on order but they were in back order a week before the trip. I found some 35 dollar Husky cases at Home Depot that worked out very well. Not water proof or bear spray proof, but great inexpensive cases. I finally had a big Eureka camo waterproof 75 litre canoe pack strapped across the back rack. Terry figured it looked very Duck Dynasty. He also commented I had the most ghetto bike on the Trans Lab. This I took as a badge of honour.

Mechanically El Diablo shone. I did not have any issues. The chain needed adjustment after a couple hard bumpy days of riding and on one particularly nasty pot hole I ripped my license plate off. This was due partly to the weight and the depth of that hell hole on the TL. I was as comfortable as one can be on a KLR on the slab. Kudos to Terry and Oliver for waiting for me. I know they could have twisted the throttle and left me a province behind but those guys are classy dudes and never made me feel I was holding them up - I know I was. All in all is the KLR a good choice for the TL, general riding or running to store to get a few beers - hell yes! Simple, tons of after markets, huge tank, good mileage and fast enough to scare you. Add a 70's cab driver inspired piece of sheep skin on the seat and you are off. Remember Kawasaki let's the good times roll. 

Sent from my iPad

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