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Discussion Starter #4
Hi All

Well back from the Taffy Dakar and have just given the bike a much needed clean. Overall the bike performed brilliantly and I only didn't attempt one section as the rut was so deep I knew I would be paddling along the bottom and I only have a standard belly pan. Other than that it was really good. For those of you unfamiliar with the event parts of it are very very knarly with lots of rocks and bits of it are fast fire track type stuff along with a fair bit of road work. I've fitted Barkbusters, a full termi system, SW moto crash bars, Karoo 3's, pivot pegs and some Holan pannier racks ( or rear crash bars as I call them). Despite the fact I tipped off a couple of times at low speed the bike is totally fine, the crash bars and barkbusters doing their job, without these it would have been a different story. The ABS works really well off road and I never bothered turning the rear off, what was a pain in the backside was the traction control, on anything other than it's minimum setting it's far to intrusive, on it's a minimum it was actually pretty good even on steep rocky climbs and allowed for some very nice feet up slides on the quicker bits :). The tyres where pretty good but you have to drop the pressures a lot to get any front end bite and then they are pretty horrible on the road. I also think the rear will be done in 1000 miles. The suspension was pretty good and I only bottomed the front once, the rear I softened off to get a bit more grip on the rocks and that was bottoming all over the place, the centre stand also bangs around. I managed to go through some water that splashed over the top of the screen and through the vents in the front and it didn't stop ( thank Christ) but then neither did the old AT that was with me. All in all I was really really pleased with it and save for a better rear shock and belly pan ( on order) there isn't much I would change. Loads and loads of people came over to chat about the bike and most the comments where very positive, the only downer was another new AT owner who had a bit of a go saying it was too nice to take off road and how could I get it dirty and risk damaging it?. I guess he should have bought a GS, I really don't understand why you would buy an off road bike and not ride it off road unless you just want to pose.
 

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Sounds awesome. Good to hear your review of the AT doing what it's supposed to do - riding off road.

Interesting bit about the Karoo 3's. I just got them on mine, not done a lot of KMs, only taken it up and down some twisties and did a day off road. They are a good tyre for both on and off roads. But your estimate only another 1000 miles? How many have you done so far on them? Or are they pretty wasted after the rally?

Also interesting you only got pannier racks as protection. I have thought about buying some as protection for the rear, as I have a set of bars for the front already, but didn't know if it's worth getting pannier racks when I don't intend to have boxes.
 

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Brilliant ride report Cadoganpier and glad you were impressed with most of the standard trim. Are you going to upgrade the rear shock?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi, I use Mosko Moto soft bags mounted on Hepco ( sorry not Holan as mentioned before) racks, I can't stand hard cases. They do take a lot of punishment and it's a set up I used on my 990 for years without any ill effects. Re the rear shock Nitron are working on one so I might have a look at that, the standard one isn't bad it's just a bit of a compromise and massively under sprung ( for me at least). Re the tyres they where new when I left Newbury so have only done about 500 miles. I think what kills them is fast motorway work, I had to get a wriggle on there and back but not crazy fast by any means. A lot of the riding on the Taffy is dirt over hard rock and I guess when you are spinning the tyre it just chews it up. I must say though that they are not bad at all on the road, they don't seem to bugger up the steering/turn in like TKC 80's do and once you drop the pressures they aren't bad off road, I would say they don't have the same bite on the edges as TKC 80's, you notice it trying to climb out of ruts or when riding on steeply cambered tracks. One other thing I noticed is that the bike feels much much more planted off road when you are standing up, on my 990R there wasn't such a marked difference, on the AT it feels much more secure as it seems to move the weight forward a bit more which again makes me think the rear shock/spring is the weak link.
 

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Thanks for the write-up. Sounds like a fun day and something to aspire to for this off-road newbie.

Out of interest how was picking the bike up? And if you used the handlebars to help did they flex much? I've read the bars might be a little flimsy for picking the bike up.
 

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I was hoping to do the Taffy Dakar this year, but hadn't got tyres sorted.

Anyway, went out, got very stuck, had to turn the bike around with 12" ruts. Laying the bike down was the only option owing to the narrowness of the lane.....

Mine is certainly no show piece, though it's not actually damaged!

 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the write-up. Sounds like a fun day and something to aspire to for this off-road newbie.

Out of interest how was picking the bike up? And if you used the handlebars to help did they flex much? I've read the bars might be a little flimsy for picking the bike up.
Picking it up wasn't to bad and no the bars don't bend when picking it up. What can happen and did to me was that the Rox bar risers moved slightly, I've had this on other bikes, it's a bit of a pain but very easy to put right. It's much easier to pick up than my old 990 was. I can highly recommend the SW Moto crash bars, they kept the fairing well off the ground and unlike most of the others I have seen don't just transfer the impact to the opposite fairing.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hi
At present I have Bark Busters, SW Moto bars and Hepco rear frame, I only have the standard belly pan and no engine bars. I will be fitting a Rugged Roads Belly Pan when they are available. With that lot the bike is pretty well covered, yes in theory I could hole a case on a rock but again, engine bars only really help if you are lucky enough that a rock hits them square on or its a bloody big rock, in which case I don't think it would make a hole. I'm only really interested in stuff that is going to stop the bike from being unrideable as I like to go off the beaten track, I'm less concerned about preventing cosmetic damage and just adding heavy farkles to look nice, likewise I think the light grills are useless, it tends to be smaller stones that get flicked up and they go through the gaps anyway, if you are worried about bigger stone then don't ride so close to the guy in front!. When someone makes a decent perspex cover I will get one.
 
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