Only 130 days left


A lot of progress was made since my last post. Let’s start with the logistics. After careful judgement, I have booked the motorbike transport from Paris to Toronto and back. The main reason was that his is the only way to ship the motorbike back by air freight. In contrast to Canada, it is only possible to ship a bike by sea freight from the US. Be as it may. I didn’t want to wait weeks to get my bike back so I have to fly via Canada. I also will add a couple of holidays before the rally starts so I can arrive in a relaxed mood at Pittsburgh. I also got me an additional insurance and special medical coverage (Medjet) that is also required by the rally organisers. I have reserved all hotels at the start, the two checkpoints and the finish. So most of the logistics is on a good way.

What about the bike? I was very busy with upgrades. The fairing was mounted and with help from Heinz, the fixation was optimised. A first short test drive was quite OK. But this was not all.

Truck Lite LED head lamp 22W/43W

Truck Lite LED head lamp 22W/43W

The indicators were connected and the new LED head lamp was installed. The set up of the lamp is not yet perfect. The ‚original‘ Volkswagen Beetle lamp is a little bit larger than the 17“ lamp, so I had to use the original lens, i.e. I have another glass in front of the new lamp.

New LED head lamp (left) compared to classic H4 bulb (right). 22 W vs. 55W

New LED head lamp (left) compared to classic H4 bulb (right). 22 W vs. 55W

This doesn’t make sense, but it is only a temporary solution. Something to be optimised. The performance is OK, not overwhelming, but it saves me about 30W power which is about one fifth of the output of my alternator.I have also ordered the most powerful LED auxiliary lights that are on the market at the moment: a pair of Krista LED lights. 2 x 36W uptake at a light output equivalent to 360W halogen lights. They will serve as high beam flooters. The rear light/brake light was also replaced by a LED bulb.

Additional windshield deflector

Additional windshield deflector

I mounted a plexiglass deflector on top of the windshield, this should give me some extra wind protection. When I did my test rides at 5°C, I felt quite protected from the icy wind.

I have also connected the auxiliary tank that I used on my BMW during various rallies. I had prepared the mount 18 months ago, but never really used it before on the XBR. I also connected the little puke tank. The tank is connected via a quick disconnect. The system works perfectly and expands the fuel volume to about 36 – 37L (9.7 gallons) which should be enough for 550 – 650 km (340 – 400 mls) without stopping.

Cockpit at the moment. Very empty. It will be crammed with electrical farkles.

Cockpit at the moment. Very empty. It will be crammed with electronic farkles.

Another feature I purchased is a rallybook holder. I usually prepare a sheet with the bonus point instructions for the tank bag. This device can be controlled while driving. A little light in the interior makes it also useable at night.

This brings me to the topic that kept me thinking last week. I want to connect many electronic devices in the cockpit, but how to connect all the cables to the battery? I was thinking of a simple distribution box but in the end I found the perfect solution: I ordered the Dispatch 1. Its distribution box can connect up to 10 electric devices and controls them individually via a display in the cockpit. Additionally I get the battery voltage and a temperature via a sensor on the cockpit display (I want to use the sensor to monitor the oil temperature).

I also practised route planning with some old data from the Iron Butt Rally 2009. I made some interesting conclusions. For example, I have to further improve my routing software tools.

Still a lot of preparation ahead. Sounds like fun.