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This is the "Plaine de l'Imbo".  There I am front & center in the opening seconds. The Honda XR650R is in the background. I'm still a little dazed from the beast having bucked me off...  :wacko:
 
We are starting to worry however about our ecological impact on the plain, so we might have to constrain ourselves to a more limited part of it.  The black Yamaha Tenere you see in the video makes so much noise you could probably hear it in Nevada!
 
But this is not the only riding venue we have - and this is not typical of most of the rest of the country. Here's another link that will give you an idea of more typical scenery.
 



There are single and two-track trails of all sorts going from hill to hill.  We basically live in a moto playground - just stay off the roads as Burundian traffic is dangerous for bikers!
 
David

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David, this is utterly amazing, fantastic country!  The lake is incredible.  Filming vantage, soundtrack and editing are superb!  So, who has the drone?  Looks like GoPro footage on a 3-axis Gimbal.

 

As for riding, you do have it made.  (So do I really, we're on dirt in less than 10 minutes from home and can ride up to 120 miles without crossing a paved road at much of northern Nevada.)   You have an enthusiastic riding group with great bikes.  Thanks for considering the plain's ecology, looks somewhat fragile and susceptible to injury from wheeled vehicles.  We have that at Nevada, too.  Most don't realize the extreme fragility of desert.  "Pioneering" trails in uncharted areas can result in a 150 year cycle of sagebrush regrowth.  Our approach is the Tread Lightly formula:  Stick to existing, designated trails, logging roads, mining roads, fire roads, single-tracks, two-tracks, gravel "highways" and such.  This is not really inhibiting, just considerate of our outdoor recreational legacy.

 

David, thanks very much for sharing this fantastic footage and helping us wrap our minds around Burundi.  You live at one of the world's most pristine venues.  Trust it will stay that way, the geography must make this a remarkable tourist destination and living space!  I would really enjoy sharing a trail or plain at Burundi—or dirt motorcycling and four-wheeling on Nevada's widely varying terrain.  The mean elevation at Nevada is 5500 feet elevation, much like Burundi, I would think.  We have everything from stark Mojave-type desert to peaks nearly 14,000 feet with high desert flora, alpine forests and even a few glaciers—all within the State of Nevada.  I'll share more over time...Can't wait to learn more about Burundi!

 

Moses

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Hi Moses,

 

I've been traveling a bit (on airplanes - not bikes, unfortunately), so have been away from the site. Just to update, the XR is working great. Went out a couple of weekends ago on a different kind of ride - this time it ranged from street (to get out of town), dirt roads that were of variable quality, and then down to single track. It was really great, but I ended up getting a flat rear tire. I had seen the nail in a board that someone had placed over a wash-out in the track. I thought I avoided it, but I guess not.

 

We had a chase vehicle, a Yamaha Rhino (sort of a quad-like thing), but we didn't have tools (yeah, I know... 100 miles from home and unprepared!). I couldn't leave my bike there, so I had to ride it back on the flat for about 15 kilometers to a gas station where I abandoned it and got a ride home in the Rhino (terrible - too slow!). I had to catch a plane that evening so it was the only solution. In the process, the bike was getting pretty hot, so it was a trade-off between speeding up and risking the tire (or a fall), or slowing down and having it boil over. I guess I got it right since yesterday I pulled the tire (still good - even the tube!!), and then opened the radiator (still nearly full!). 

 

While in the UK last week I got a used radiator to replace my banged-up one, and a couple of used footpegs (no more bashing my shin when kick starting!). I also bought a new MT63 Michelin rear just in case. This time it's a 130 (rather than the 120 - I'm following your advice after all). I'll put it on when this one is done.

 

But what a blast of a ride though! I was much more able to keep up with our local fastboys - especially on the hardpack. Some of it was wet and just rolled with a vibrating roller, so it was really slippery. Back to the road riding skills! The bike does pretty well in the rutted stuff, too.

 

Now that this BRP is sorted, the only problem so far outside of the flat (and crash induced breakage of the clutch lever) has been that my rigged speedo drive has given up. I'll have a look at it later, but this may well be the end of it.

 

Cheers!

 

David

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The bikes and riding venue look incredible, David!  Your Honda XR650R motorcycle is a standout, for sure...

 

You'll like the bigger rear tire, my T63s are doing very well, you'll need to adapt with regard to "dual-sport" versus true "dirt" tires.  I've been looking at the Baja No Pinch tire mounting tool, it would have been useful in your recent scenario.  The tool made Dirt Rider magazine's Product of the Year for 2014: http://www.bajanopinch.com/baja-no-pinch-tire-tool/.  Since you ride together and have a very cool support vehicle in the Yamaha Rhino, the Baja No Pinch with the spindle adapters (fits all common axle bores) would be a good "club" investment.  Carried in the Rhino tool pack, you could each benefit from this device in the field.  Just add tire spoons for dismounting and a quality tire tube patching kit! 

 

Trust your peg bolts are up to grade, there's the replacement bolt upgrade, which I believe you already installed, right? 

 

Very pleased that you're riding and enjoying that Honda XR650R.  Like a U.S. dual-sport conversion, the Euro version with street legal equipment does not diminish the bike's wicked potential! 

 

Be safe and keep us posted, you're gaining on the dirt riding.  It would be interesting to share impressions about your extensive asphalt riding experience and the transition/comparison to riding dirt.  Do I see a hot new topic here?

 

Moses

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Hi Moses,

 

You're right, the venue is a moto paradise. But most bikes around here are not much to dream about! They are usually in the same shape that mine was when I got it - meaning touched by too many unskilled hands and cheesetools. Our core group however does have a collection of pretty good ones. A couple of Yam 450s (one pretty recent and in super shape), a couple of late model 680 Teneres (a bit too big and heavy - but good for the long distances), And of course, there's my rejuvenated XR!

 

Next time we'll have to take at least a patch kit and a bicycle pump. Better yet, a can of fixaflat (but I don't know if that exists here). Local shade-tree mechanics are capable for fixing flats (without even removing the wheel), but don't always have supplies..

 

Foot peg bolts are up to date. In the beginning I didn't know about that - and apparently neither did any of the previous owners, since when I picked up the bike for the first time, the right footpeg fell clean off! A helicoil, the superseded bolt from Honda and some Loctite did the trick. No problems since. But nearly every common problem affecting XRs has exhibited itself on mine! But no more  :)

 

But now having messed with the rear wheel (what with the flat and all), I notice that it isn't even close to being round.  :(   I don't think I'll bother to do anything about it for now though. The spoke heads are all rusted, and some of the spoke holes in the rim are seriously damaged from previous hamfisted attempts to true it. Next trip abroad will involve bringing a good used one back. And maybe a speedo drive.

 

D.

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If your riding "team" can see its way into the Baja No Pinch tool, fiddling with tire mounting and loose spokes will not be so daunting.  In my T63 Michelin tire mounting video, I touched on "spoke tuning".  Could be your spokes are just loose, and if so, careful restorative tightening without distorting the rim is possible.  I like to do this with the tire off.  You can even use the wheel shaft as a makeshift "truing stand".  The trick with tuning spokes is to not over-tighten at one area of the rim, which can distort the "round" of the wheel.  Keep in mind this is a hub with a suspended rim, and over-tightening a spoke can pull the rim out of center. 

 

Avoid tightening spokes with the rubber rim band and tube in place, as turning rusty spoke nipples will chew up the rim band and even the tube.  Tire dismounting and mounting, wheel truing and chain tension setting, consider all of this basic survival skills when riding in the outback.  Your neighborhood is much like ours, I can ride 120 miles at a stretch without crossing a paved road. 

 

I'm due for a chain and sprocket set on my XR650R and will share details, likely a video of that project.  Came as a surprise, but apparently the teeth on the aluminum rear sprocket had worn the teeth narrow.  The side-float of the chain allowed too much chain movement laterally, which chewed up the rubber chain guide, and the replacement will be part of the pending project.  I'll do some research on the best aftermarket solutions.  Have been considering an aluminum body/steel tooth rear sprocket to extend service life.

 

The fresh uncorked engine and hotter camshaft are putting out ponies, add to that the racks and bags plus the 6.3 gallon Acerbis fuel tank, all in all has produced an added load on the final drive system!  Time to pay here, a 60-mile brisk highway ride on Sunday finished off the rear sprocket.  I actually sensed this intuitively and decided to convert to the Borrego tail rack, dropping to the two saddle bags for lighter riding ventures.  In the process of this easy changeover (thanks, TCI Products for a simple, interchangeable rack system!), I discovered the rear sprocket damage.  I will hold to the tank bag and light tail rack system unless planning a lengthy campout. 

 

These Honda XR650R motorcycles are deceptively powerful bikes, especially at our level of tuning!  Not surprisingly, all of the extra add-ons did not diminish the performance level.  The rear sprocket shows it.

 

Moses

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