With the end of the Carpathian's trip in summer 2019, 3 weeks following the Carpathians from Slovakia to Macedonia and coming back through the Balkans and the Alps, Fosca (my GSA) was quietly asking for some love.
If you ride enough you know how things goes below the helmet. "What is this noise", "I feel the front wheel vibrating, has to be that rock in that offroad path, I hope is not the rim", "it's not the rim, it's the break discs", "no, it's the rim"...
I decided that with the starting of the 2020 I will address as much "historical" issues of the bike as possible. I have list, that I am filling during the trips. I just wanted to scratch some bullet points.
But when you don't own a bike shop, or you're not rich, things take time: looking at the second hand market, searching for the right part in the right place with the right price... And then you need to find the moment to actually do the fix. Time is not something that one always have.
When I did my first offroad trip, the Transpirenaica 2014, I was told to low down the pressure of the tyres to gain grip. Nobody told my that with this the rims get hit often... and since then I had a vibration on the front one that drives me crazy when I travel around. Is is the rim? is it the brake discs? I am never sure. One does not simply change the rims or the discs. I already discarded the tyre itself, as I changed it several times and every time it got equilibrated, but the issue never disappeared.
In January I found a set of rims in the second hand market. The price was ok and they felt in mint condition. Went there, assured the good state, and brought them home.
But let's make the action round. The brake discs are good but you can notice the time there. Let's change them too. And when you change the discs, you also change the pads. All in. It took me a while to end up deciding for a TRW/Lucas set bought in Louis.de. In March I had all at home, now it's time to mount everything, swap the ABS ring and the tyres and go.
And now the COVID-19 appeared, we're stuck at home, all gets paused. And I had 2 sets of rims, discs, pads, and tyres in my living room.
By the mid of May I had them swapped, and the wheels finally mounted. On the way one pressure sensor failed, loosing air, and had to be refurbished. Ok, done as well. Anything else? Feels the never ending story.
Yes I did some offroad, and yes I crashed lot of times. The bike somewhat always kept in good condition, but the "golden" side covers of the tank lost their shape. And I never liked that color so much. So I could find a second hand pair of side covers in black, in a really good condition, got them delivered and mounted. Done.
I have my own way of traveling: I have a draft of the route drawn in the map, I review the next day's segment every night with a beer, and I write down in a post-it the main villages and route events, so when I'm in the road I follow the map and my notes. One day I will talk about it.
But having the post-it over the map reduces its view, so last trip I used a roadbook for the post-its. It was a good improvement, but I did not like to have such a box floating in front of me.
So I came out with an evolution: I bought a plastic plate, I cut it in the right size, I added a RAM mount, and I reuse the transparent cover from the roadbook. Now I have a post-it holder, lighter, perfect for my purpose, waiting to be tested 😁
Gosh, what a pain of GPS! It is slow, can't hold all the maps of a trip, reading maps from the SD card is even slower, and the vibration makes it sometimes to loose the SD card and it auto-powers off.
Yes, I travel map based, but I like to have a GPS to take me out of any problem. Also to save positions, to find allocations, petrol stations and so on. Another use case is downloading and following a GPX track. The Montana has been always driving me crazy and I am tired of this fustration.
And now the Garmin Zumo XT just appeared. I read some reviews, saw some videos from the early birds, and got convinced. I ordered one. I did some initial tests and got impressed. It's not a 100% replacement for the Montana, missing some features that can be very useful offroad, but as a motorbike traveling companion looks very promising.
Yes, it's been 4 years doing the service myself with no issues. But this time I wanted some more actions to be done than only the oil and filters, like passing the TÜV, and here in Germany it's more convenient to have it done in a garage. So this time has been done by a professional, with the budget that comes with 😕
And there are other things I have on the list that I can enumerate here, more for me for further remainding