The first leg of this jaunt from Karachi, Pakistan was about 8000km and with two new DR650 Suzukis plus Dave’s older Dakar 650 having had a thorough going over, everything was up to scratch. This first leg began in pretty extreme heat conditions in Pakistan deserts and temperatures were as high as 53 degrees Celsius. As we moved up along the Karakoroum and to Tibet altitude became the challenge and I had packed carb jets to deal with this although they were totally un-needed. All I did was cut a hole about 3cm square in the air box and the bikes were fine up to Everest Base Camp 5300m, where we rode and then taped it up again below 3500m (roughly the height of Mt Cook). The only problem was a broken bolt on my pannier frames due to the rough Tibet roads and me not putting a new bolt in when I attached them. Dave has had his BMW Dakar along and I must admit it has a very soft seat compared to ours and the electronic fuel injection means he uses less fuel especially at altitude.
We did a check over of the bikes and an oil and filter change in India, near Darjeeling, where they were parked up for a few months. When we connected the batteries of the bikes after the storage period (over the monsoon) the Suzukis started first try bbut Dave’s battery struggled and he had to borrow my little Lithium spare battery that I carry for emergencies. Tyre pressures were a bit low but generally all well and we were on the road within hours.
We have had only one bike crisis on this second part of the Karachi-Chiang Mai ride and luckily had it approaching the India border from west of Bhutan. Dave’s BMW had stopped and it seemed to be a similar problem to that we’d had before. So after a bit of time trying to sort it we flagged down a new truck on it’s delivery journey. It was empty and we had some ropes, tie downs and $20. Into a mechanic’s yard and several hours and $30 later it is sorted. The fuel pump electrics reattached. As the bike was reassembled in the dark it wasn’t surprising to get a leak from an incorrectly positioned seal the next day when we fueled.
Just tensioned our chains so the daily lube seems to do the trick. It has been a surprise not to have had any punctures, and it makes me wonder about all the spare tubes we carry. We will need new tyres in Thailand where we will store the bikes again for a while before we start the IndoChina circumnavigation. Dave is intending to come over a day or so early and replace the shock on the Dakar – it’s blown its reservoir seal just like a couple of the Dakars did in Africa in 2007. In fact Dave’s Dakar is his Africa bike still, has done 50k bumpy kms or so, so it’s been due to blow it’s shock seal again – seems to be a fault with that part. Our DRs have only done 15k kms now so are much younger bikes.