2017 Desert 100 Race

My favourite day of the year isn't Christmas, it isn't New Year's, St Patrick's Day or even my birthday. No, without a doubt, my favourite day of the year is a Thursday. This year it was March 30; some years it's a Thursday a week or 2 later. What is so special about this seemingly random day? Well, every year on this special Thursday, I leave the ice and snow behind. I leave my home in Calgary, Alberta and start driving toward Odessa, Washington. It's a pretty unremarkable farming town with a population of only 910 but for 3 days every year, the population swells to over 6000. 

For several years, the StumpJumpers Motorcycle club has been putting on the Desert 100 race just outside of Odessa. Every year, over 5000 dirt bikers travel there for one of the biggest races in the country. A steady stream of pick-up trucks and RVs roll in on Thursday night and continue pouring in until Sunday, race day. 

I found out about the race when a video from Touratech popped up on my YouTube feed in 2012. I don't own a dirt bike, what makes this event so cool is that they have a ton of different race classes including one for ADV bikes. Fantastic.

The 2017 Desert 100 was my 5th year in a row racing the ADV class. I raced my highly modified BMW F800GS 3 times (with 1st, 3rd and 6th finishes), my KTM 1190R (8th place) and this year I raced my Honda Africa Twin.

Racing big bikes is a ton of fun and it gives me a chance to really test out our products in a very harsh and demanding environment. This year, I was continuing testing on our recently released high fender kit for the Africa Twin. There were also a couple other things on the bike that will be announced in the coming months.

Last year was muddier than normal and had a few sink holes and my 1190R seemed to find every single one of them. This year the course was full of bogs and deep ruts. It was muddy enough that after I rode a few laps on the test loop, I decided to abandon my Michelin M12XC desert tire and install the ridiculous Terraflex mud tire. The only reason I even had it with me was to give it back to it's owner who lent it to me for the 24hrs of Starvation Ridge race in October. During this race it was quite obvious that I had made the right choice!


Here's a video of my day. Heads up, explicit lyrics in the background music!

 

 

Desert 100 2017 Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin Terraflex

 

Desert 100 2017 Camel ADV Honda Africa Twin

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2018 Black Friday Sale!

Our 5th annual Black Friday sale is here! We have only one sale a year and this is it. If previous years are any indication, we will sell out of many products but have set-up the store to allow back orders. We will get all of the orders shipped out starting Nov 30th. 

As always, thank you for your support!

LA-Barstow-Vegas 2017

2017 was the 34th annual LA-Barstow-Vegas (LAB2V) ride. This 2 day event sees 500 dualsport riders travel over 400miles through the desert from Palmdale, California to Barstow the first day and and Barstow to the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas on the second day.


I rode this event in 2015 on the shop KTM 1190R and had a great time. This year, I loaded the Africa Twin the the back of the newly acquired Sprinter van drove the 2100km to Vegas. Slamming and banging through the desert at +110km/h was the perfect opportunity to continue testing our new Africa Twin windscreen support and tweak the new suspension under the AT!

The event is mostly fast sandy 2 track but there are some technical sections along the way too. Red Rock Canyon is right at the end of day 2. The rocky sections though the canyon didn't disappoint!

Africa Twin Windshield Frame Brace

We're going down the list of Africa Twin issues and trying hard to solve them. As manufacturers try to keep the weight of their bikes as low as possible, some parts end up being a bit lighter duty that they should be. I believe this to be the case with the factory AT windshield frame bracket. Adding a GPS to the cross bar or in some cases, just adding a larger windscreen can cause the welds to crack. Riding on rough roads makes things worse.

We're currently testing our windshield brace to make sure it's up to the task before we launch them. Keep an eye out for updates!

Pt 1 Kayaba SSS Fork Swap

The difference in suspension ride after the re-sprung and re-valved was night and day. Despite this huge jump over stock we were still having issues with hard bottoming when we were riding hard and fast. The Showa fork (internals) on the Africa Twin are literally from a '89-91 CR500R dirt bike. Obviously suspension technology has improved drastically since '89. On top of the old technology, the CR500 is literally 1/2 the weight of the CRF1000L. No amount of tuning was going to get these forks where I wanted them.

The solution? Fork swap! The Kayaba SSS forks were first used in 2006 on Yamaha dirt bikes and are still used on current models. They received rave reviews and still win dirt bike magazine and website shoots outs against some very new, very high tech forks. The KYB SSS units are considered by many to be the best dirt bike forks ever offered from the factory on any brand or model. The best part? They can be had for a couple hundred $$ if you look hard enough!

The swap is pretty straight forward. I put together a few part vlog on the swap process. Check it out part 1 below.

Pre-Sale for the Africa Twin ATR Camel Tank is up!

I'm very happy to announce the pre-sale for our new Africa Twin fuel tank is up! Order before Saturday May 20th and save $50 off the regular price. We are also including the tethered fuel cap upgrade at no charge for all pre-sale orders.

Add 6.5L of fuel to your bike's range for a total of 25.5L!

 



Modifying Touratech crash bars for use with our high fender kit.

A customer gave us a heads up about a conflict with the Touratech crash bars and our high fender kit. The two can work together but some trimming is required on the crash bar mounting bracket as shown below.

Thanks for the pics Darren!