Posted on February 26, 2012
Funny how some things you just don’t think all the way through until enthusiasm pushes you to a place where it’s tough to turn back. I was in my driveway, trying to figure out how I might lash 4 days worth of water to my bike with everything else that I’ve got attached. In a week I would be riding into the baja desert alone and I only just then started thinking about such basic practicalities. This wasn’t exactly the plan, of course. I’ve harangued most of my friends to get motos for just such an adventure for the last 2 years or so, and nearly succeeded in acquiring some company on this trip. My friend Steve even had his bike all set up and ready to go before a last minute mechanical debacle with his truck knocked him off the ticket. This is his mighty Yamaha Serrow 225 all set up and ready to roll, that will have to wait for the next excursion:
Over the last couple of months I’ve become more familiar with this machine that I’ve bound my fortune to. She is simple – a carbureted, air cooled, single cylinder, tractor of a bike. Even with her relatively low-tech make-up, I seem to spend ages fixing or modifying anything on Dyna Rae, and I don’t really mind. The bike is so well designed for ease of maintenance that some things are honestly easier to do than they are on my mountain bike. It’s like Legos for grown-ups.
During the last few months I managed to change oil, and filter, lube cables, inspect clutch plates, change spark plugs, clean the air filter, lube and adjust the chain, adjust valves, change tires and tubes, install a new lighting system and a host of other bolt on goodies. I’ve still lots to learn about how the thing works.
For example, I’ve yet to get into the carburetor, which I really should as it may end up a likely trouble spot somewhere down the road. Replacing wheel bearings, installing new sprockets, and riveting a chain together are also on the list of must learn moto tasks. Regardless, I was feeling confident enough to ride off down a dirt track in the desert and hope for the best.
I did some preparation for things most likely to break. I installed heavy duty tubes and carried a spare front and rear tube along with my tire repair gear. These things are way thicker than the stock tubes, but I imagine that nothing will stop a long enough cactus spine or a nail from piercing your tube if it is so determined. I’ve used thread locker on lots of bolts that could vibrate their way out after days on rocky tracks. My buddy Rob in New York mailed me some wider foot pegs that he had kicking around to keep my dogs happy during long standing stretches. I also mounted a spare set of clutch and throttle cables zip-tied right alongside the functioning ones so that it would be piece of cake to fix when one breaks on a hot, dusty track somewhere. Clever, eh?
Time to load her up and give it a go…