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May 31st, 2010, 04:14 AM   #1
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Crossing Australia

Hi all,

I have recently been pondering a challenge that i have been dreaming of - the concept of riding across the country on my berg, east to west, north to south, but havent settled on a route yey, but Sydney to Perth would be the ultimate challenge.

Thinking that starting in Sydney getting on to the bicentennial trail through the blue mountains before geting out into the plains and desert sounds like a good start, central OZ is a mystery to me, i know nothing of it, and would like to re-enter the southern / south western region of WA on the other side of the continent, just basic and conceptual.

Im hoping that some of our rally riding or desert riding berg brothers might be able to provide some of the hard earned know how and advice to point me in the right direction, and maybe give a few clues about bike prep and set up for the berg, as well as what to carry to keep out of trouble etc.

My old man is readying for full retirement and is somewhat inclined to follow in his landcruiser for support and supply.

anyway, if any one has some tips or techniques, set up or prep or any other guidance it would be greatly appreciated, could envisage possibly riding some sections with other berg riders along the way if anyone is keen to lead me through their patch.

I have been working on big tank setups, fabricating a sub tank for under the left side panel, and hard or soft panniers / saddle bags to cary essential equipment.

There is a story behind every ride, at the moment im going through a tough patch, its the season in my life that i can do something like this, and if it all comes together I'd like to try and raise some money for charity along the way to doing something amazing and challenging while i can.

I look forward to anyone providing any advice.

Cheers!

Azza.
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May 31st, 2010, 03:01 PM   #2
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Re: Crossing Australia

Jeez ! If I didn't have 3 kids and one on the way I would saddle up and come with you. Love trips like that.
I can't offer any tech advice, but just wish you good luck. Take a good digital camera and post lots of pics for other Berg fans to enjoy.

Years ago when i lived in the Pilbara 5 of us on various big bores planned a trip to cross the gunbarrel hwy west to east, hit alice springs then head north to darwin returning home via the kimberly coast. The trip happened for the others but my railway roster got changed in the last week and I had to cancel (super pissed at the time).

They had a ball, heaps of punctures and the odd mechanical failure, but overall they survived and loved it. With a trip like that it pays to do lots of research. planning fuel, permission in ADVANCE if you have to enter abbo land, ETC..

Good luck
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May 31st, 2010, 05:04 PM   #3
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Re: Crossing Australia

sounds tops !!

search for Enginenumber's thread on his Canning Stock Route trip on a 550, they went unsupported and he carried something like 45L of fuel on his bike plus everything else including the sink
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May 31st, 2010, 08:26 PM   #4
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Re: Crossing Australia

Azza,
great idea, i have often thought of doing an east /west run across aus on a bike.
Last year 2 other riders and myself completed a run across the Canning Stock Route. 1700km all up of offroad riding. Most attempts across the Canning by motorcycle are done with a support vehicle as back up.We tried to find out info off the net and so forth on doing the Canning Stock Route un assisted without support, there was only a couple we found that had done it, everyone said we were crazy even thinking about it.

After a lot of homework and planning(12 months) we decided to give it a go.A lot of info on the net on peoples claim to fame with the CSR trips, we found were done with vehicle support and back up,we found it was limited info for what we wanted to do.
Some of the issues we were faced with were- 750km fuel range out of the bikes, camping gear, water, 10 days food,bike maintenance,break down repairs,how to get out of there in an emergancy, communications,fuel usage in deep sand with a fully ladened bikes,type of bike most suited for the trip,tyre selection,what spares to take, what to leave behind, the list just goes on. You need to sit and talk to many people,4wd clubs,other bike riders,take notes so you never miss anything, go over the notes, add more info to it on what and how you are going to deal with certian situations,regular meetings and contact with your team, lay all your gear out, do a couple of dummy runs fully loaded up, test, retest to ensure it is capable,use as close to real conditions as possible for testing, do a multiday run as a test of gear, machine and rider.Go over as many what if this happened and how are we going to fix it? Show your team your bike and all the gear you are going to take, get their ideas ,modifications may be needed also.
Rider management can be over looked easily,its no good having the best of everything and all the preperation right and you find a rider fatigues early a few days into it and crashes out, this can ruin the trip for all,fitness and riding ability need to be accounted for also with the type of riding.If a rider is showing signs of fatigue or other issues or injures, then they also need to be managed, you may need to slow the pace down to accomadate other riders. You need to work as a team to get through the trip in one piece.Australian desert crossings in summer is not reccommended due to high temperatures especially on bikes so time of year will need to be concidered.

I looked at my berg for a week and a half, after many people said you cant do that on that bike! How do you attach an extra 80kg of gear equipement ,fuel,water and supplys to a bare arse race bike ideally suited to a 70kg rider.Well it can be done, see the attached photos below moments before leaving Meekatharra for Wiluna to the start of the track.

I carried 53 litres of fuel for a 750km stretch as we were unsure on fuel usage in dunes in deep soft sand, 7-10 litres of water a day(from wells on the track), 10 days food,tools,spares, oil,filters,light weight dehydrated food,tools.i installed a 130kg rear spring to handle the load and heavier front springs also. This was one of the best things done to the bike otherwise it would have punched itself to bits and damaged gear on the bike bottoming out with that sort of weight onboard.A gear rack was constructed out of chrome moly to hold jerry cans, gear bag and other items.This had to be modified a few times to make sure it was not going to fail out in the desert miles from nowhere.Soft fuel cells and tank bags were utilized also.i even went to the trouble of bolting the rack on the bike and taking it to a professional welder/fabricator for inspection just to make sure it was right.Even spoke to Gazza and others with desert riding/racing experience for their opinions as well,tyre choice came into it.It all counts, once in a remote area you cant chase info, tools, gear,food or other nessasary items.

To my suprise out there, the 550 was averaging 18km / litre through the sand dunes , so the 750km section was done on 32litres I think.We also pre arranged a 200 litre drum fuel dump halfway through the trip as well.The KTM LC4 used about 48litres and I think the KTM 625 used 50 during the same section.

I imagine a mountian expeditioner or the like would go through a simular process before heading out on a mountian climb.
Anyway good luck with your trip Azza, if you want photos of our trip and a write up on it , send us a pm- your email and i will forward them on to you.Any other questions or info , feel free to ask mate.

Hope there was some good info there for you.
Cheers,
Attached Thumbnails
Crossing Australia-canning-stock-route-ride.jpg   Crossing Australia-p7170065.jpg  
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June 1st, 2010, 02:44 AM   #5
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Re: Crossing Australia

thanks gents, very helpfull.

Enginenumber, cheers, that is a great start for me and the pictures speak volumes, im definately not going un supported, its just too extreme, i will work on the basis of being supported, but will work on carrying enough fuel and my own equipment to do large segments solo, also am looking at solo ride, except if others join in along the way.

If i can bombard you with a heap of questions - what is the blue 'box on the right side alongside the cylinder? how did you fix the jerry can holder frames to the bike frame? dud you use the standard 10.5 litre tank and work on refilling more frequently - did you have a sub tank of some kind? did you go with mousse tubes to avoid flats or did you use standard HD tubes? any tyres you'd specifically recommend?

Im starting to build a mental list of the sort of bike set up, and kit out, im thinking that my second berg (hopefully here this week, could represent a good back up bike if the first bike poops itself on the trail, spare chain and sprocket definately, case saver - yes, ive now seen what a chain malfunction will do to an engine case.

what about all those little tricks? yes or nos here - zip tying spokes? whatabout carrying and powering GPS? can you run a cig lighter plug from the bikes electrical system (not necissarily the plug - can be specifically wired) to power up a road and a hand held GPS?

minimal camp gear? one of those single man tents and a -2degrees sleeping bag? self inflate bed mat? small fuel cooker?

All good thanks guys, any other info will go in the notes and plans, maybe, just maybe I can do this, only prob is there are going to be few chances to pre-run, few chances to converse with other like minded riders or 4WD'ers, because im on an island, thats what makes doing something like this a really big challenge for me.

I think this is about getting out there, and seizing the day, carpe diem! if i can drum up some support or raise awareness about depression particularly for people in remote and rural areas, it would be worthwhile.

Cheers again

Azza.
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June 1st, 2010, 07:49 PM   #6
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Re: Crossing Australia

Azza,
the blue box on the side of the engine is nothing more than a cut down storage container that is sold in hardwares used to hold nails and screws,it was mounted on the bike to hold 1 spare litre of oil, this was put there to help keep the centre of gravity lower on the bike and it was out of the way, the plastic container added protection for the oil bottle that it housed.I also lined the inside of it out with carpet to prevent chaffing and a hole wearing through the container over rough ground during the trip.

I have attached a couple of photos of the heavy duty rack attached to the bike also.I built this myself, out of chrome moly tube. I hired a oxy set and nickel bronzed it.Mounting a heavy rack on the husaberg was a challenge, with the 40 odd kgs I wanted to carry, using the sub frame on the rear of the berg was going to be out of the question as this would of damaged the sub frame. However to get strenght and adequete bracing I used a couple of U bolts around the main back bone of the frame and also made a forked peice to go over the foot peg bracket and replaced the pin with a bolt.Added more bracing to the frame for strenght. our other problem was the bikes tend to shake from side to side in sand ruts, which in turn would work on the frame and potentially break it also. I then had to put nylon spacers through the side guard into the sub frame, 2 small bolts were used for that which then fixed that problem.You will also see i had to apply a touch of heat to the fuel tank corner so I could get clearance for the nuts on the U bolts so they did not wear through the tank. the tank was also spaced out on the mounts slightly as well.
I chose jerry cans that were slim (10 litres) to be mounted on the rear each side, these were steel also and durable, that way i had a narrower bike width which proved to be a wise chioce.I also designed the rack so if the bike went down on its side the jerry cans would just pop out the back and absorb most inpacts without punchering the cans.Carpet was also applied to the rack where the jerry cans sat to prevent movement and chaffing a hole in one.

When we carried fuel we did not attach lines every where so they all fed into the main fuel tank. The reason for this is if a fuel line came off in the desert and went unnoticed you could lose all the fuel. With seperate containers and soft fuel cells , if you damaged one you would only lose 5-10 litres but retain most of your fuel reserves to get to the next fuel stop.The same applied for the water, seperate containers.The standard 9 litre fuel tank was used and I had 2/ 8 litre soft fuel cells in a tank bag and another tied on the bike. Anyway after blowing off 9 litres of fuel you were pretty happy to get off the bike for 5 minutes.Another thing, as you go into remote australian communities sometimes Opal fuel is all that is avaliable.

Tyres,well after reading up on all sorts of info I decided to speak with Gazza and another Rally rider, they basically said moose tubes lost shape and density after a day of racing and needed to be swapped around or rotated, although you did not get puntches. We were carrying lots of weight so they would of got pretty hot and gone out of shape quickly i imagine.We went with the Ultra heavy duty 4mm tubes and Michelin Desert tyres. Now if you run those tyres at high speed with weight on them on open roads for long periods they will start losing knobs and fall apart. If you keep your speeds under around 100kmh the tyres will last and go the distance.i got second a hand set off a guy who rides rally, they had already been doing legs of the australian safari( had a hard time) before i got my hands on them.I used them for the whole 1700kms and have still got them on the bike now getting the last out of them, great tyres, excellent wear , strong side walls and a wide foot print,they provided excellent traction in loose sand over dunes.Cable ties were applied to the cross section of the spokes as a bit of extra support also.

Bike prep- we started off with brand new chain ,sprockets,brakes,wheel bearings. I even replaced the swing arm pin, bushings and bearings as they were slightly worn. With all the weight onboard and heavily corrigated tracks , I was glad i did.

Motor- you need to have a look at your motor before leaving, how many kms/hrs are you likely to put on it during your trip, how many does it have on there now, I had around 160hrs on mine, I needed to lower the proberbility down of a break down, although the bike engine had not been flogged, I replaced cam bearings $10 each , cam follower bearings and even put a cam chain in just for good luck prior to leaving.It may have made it through the ride with the original stuff in there, however you are going into the unknown after a certian number of hours I beleive.

GPS- without a doubt, going into remote desert areas i would say this is a must, we also carried paper maps as back up.If you are not a guru on navigation or struggle with navigation by the stars then these are great items.
I used a garmin Zumo 550, this is quite a large unit for a offroad bike, however very good, I had oz topo offroad maps in it which had the track on it already.In the middle of the desert it is flat on all horizons so no land marks to be seen, the sun was about the next best thing for direction we found.The unit is water proof, fuel resistant and can be used with the left hand with gloves on. It has all the mounting stuff for the bike and can be used as a navigator in the car also. I have punched the gps over rough stuff on the bike ,corrogated roads and the like, it just keeps going.Others will prefer a smaller more compact unit for bikes. This one hard wires into the bike as well.

Camping gear- i generally use a compact 2 person tent, 1.8kg, I can get all my gear out of the weather if needed and I got it cheap.1 person tents are great 1.1- 1.5 kgs a bit lighter. I used a cheap sleeping bag during our trip that was rated to 0 degrees. The temperatures out in the deserts can drop to around -3 , if i went again i would look at a quality -5 degrees sleeping bag, we also took thermal gear luckily as well. Sleeping mats, I have tried a few, very happy with the therma rest pro lite 4, XL about 1kg,compact and lite, most others did not seem to last and you could feel cold from the ground. Sleeping bags will be 1-1.3 kg in that range.I also use a $2 blue tarp as a ground sheet under the tent, you never know what else it cound be used for. I carried a emergancy thermo blanket 50 gms,can also be used to attract attention from above and keep you warm.I made my own metho stove, used a 250mm paint tin, filled it full of cotton wool, fill it with metho a hose clamp around the outside with a peice of thin sheet tin around the outside. Burns about 100ml of metho during a cook up.Plenty of compact stoves on the market out there as well.

Regards,
Attached Thumbnails
Crossing Australia-heavy-duty-gear-rack.jpg   Crossing Australia-drilled-through-side-guard-fit-nylon-spaces.jpg  
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June 2nd, 2010, 04:05 AM   #7
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Re: Crossing Australia

nice rack!

Azza Pm me before you leave and get my details, FWIW my workshop is yours to repair anything if you make it over here

we can look at your boingers as well, this is the test Track

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June 2nd, 2010, 06:12 PM   #8
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Re: Crossing Australia

Hi Azza,
If you do the East-West ride let me know if you need anything chased up from the Sydney end?
Iím about 40Kms North West of down town Sydney.

Good luck, you will need it when you tackle the Sydney drivers with that much gear on the bike. Wow you are going to get some looks.
I don't know how enginenumber got down any steep hills with that gear on the back you wouldn't be able to shift your weight over the back. Wonder how effective the headlight was shining through the bread rolls? I reckon he would have been chewing grasshoppers in the bread rolls
And Iíll be darned if I can't see the rack on his bike for the Port Bottles for the mandatory night cap around the camp fire each night They must be there somewhere.
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June 3rd, 2010, 03:46 AM   #9
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Re: Crossing Australia

Anyone have some really heavy uprated fork and shock springs?

may neen an escort out of sydney... i hate cities... and have never seen Sydney..

Azza.
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June 3rd, 2010, 04:47 PM   #10
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Re: Crossing Australia

I have a WP 92 rear shock spring in yellow which is hard to get, used it on our 650 Safari bikes, its no good for the new 570's so was looking to on sell it
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