This Sunday was our fourtnightly Adventure Breakfast, this time at Jerry’s Servo & Cafe @ Kulnura near the Watagans. So it was logical to take the mighty TT and hit the trails after breakfast (plus the Buelly’s rear wheel bearings failed on Friday, so it was out of action anyway).
I spent Saturday night getting the TT running again after drowning it a few weeks early riding with B. I cleaned the air filter, made sure there was good spark, and changed the oil (as much of it as I could without starting the engine). It eventually started on Sunday morning after a push down the hill from Andrew - so away we went! WOOHOO!
Andrew and I headed up the highway to meet a few of the other Advriders -Jacob, Pete, and Pat- at Berowra Mobil. Here, I noticed that the TT was blowing a LOT of blue smoke… not good. But it’s a TT, it can handle it :) So off went to Kulnura.
Pat got sick of riding slowly behind the smokey TT and turned off at Mt White. We saw him later at Jerry’s.
The TT continued to burn a lot of oil and starting sounding quite sick. We made it to Jerry’s safely though, and settled in to a good breaky and chat with all the other guys there.
It was another great turn-out for the Adventure Breakfast, lots of great people and very nice bikes to oggle. After the extend breakfast and socialising, I got a litre of spare oil and topped up the TT - this would prove to be not enough oil.
Andrew, Jacob, Pete and I decided to hit the Watagans, so we fueled up and set-off… after TT & I got a push start; I can’t remember who was pushing me (hard to see amoungst all that smoke), but thanks guys!
Pete had a front-wheel-wash-out on some loose gravel at the turn-off into the State Forest. He, or the DRZ400 were ok, just a torn glove and a few (more) scuffs. It was also kind of funny, since we were talking about that exact situation (loose gravel at the turning-arcs of corners) only minutes earlier.
Jacob wanted to try the new Katoom on some real single-track, so we went on a trail he’d ridden previously, taking us from The Letter A to Cooranbong. About 40km in 8 hours, hahaha (The first ~26km were covered in a blistering 6 hours!). During the ride, TT consumed about 3 litres of oil.
Katoom went great on all the trails - veeery very impressive!!!
Pete did great on the DRZ (with road-trail tyres), especially considering the ‘L’ plate he has stuck on the back.
Andrew! Oooh Andrew, on the mighty Adventure Hyosung! WOW! Also impressive. He got through some things that a road bike just should never, ever, ever, have gone. Very cool. The Hyo’s clutch started playing up mid-way, after a few km of tough single-track. We noticed there was no play in the clutch lever at all and there was not enough adjustment left in the cable to slacked it off. So we re-set the rose clamp, allowing the clutch to close fully and engage with (mostly?) full drive.
The trails we did were no problem for the TT, so I was playing scout (checking the track ahead, looking for lines, taking photos, etc) and trying to conserve oil. Oh and I snapped the side-stand somehow. I assume it was already damaged, and a bad parking attempt made it worse.
Along-the-way we encountered a few other dirtbikers, and received all sorts of comments about having a big Katoom, a Hyosung, and a DRZ with semi-road tyres out there in the mountains. Apparently one guy was even quite angry about it… whatever. We were on an adventure after-all!
The ride changed ‘moods’ when Andrew lost the front on a hill climb and cracked his water pump on a rock. It was then an adventure of brain-storming and team-work. Which is just-as-fun I recon :)
We were only about 500m from the main gravel road, which we would follow down to Cooranbong (where food awaits). But it was 500m up a reasonably steep, bumpy, loose slope. Jacob and Katoom struggled to tow the Hyo up. Even with Pete and I pushing to the Hyo over bumps to keep up momentum; Katoom just couldn’t get enough grip and was throwing itself onto the ground every few metres.
Jacob eventually suggested that Andrew rides the Hyo to the top of the hill -as quickly as possible- with no coolant. Which he did, and we made it to the gravel road!
From here Jacob and Katoom towed Andrew and the Hyo back to Cooranbong. TT was running very low on oil buy this time, and unable to sustain high rpm, so I was trying to sit in 5th gear at the lowest rpm possible, and killing the engine on long down-hills. I had a lot of fun rolling down the sealed road coming into Cooranbong with no engine, trying to maintain speed through the tight corners, hahaha. Lots of fun!
Pete and I got to the bottom of the mountain first. After waiting a few minutes, we saw Katoom coming down the hill. At first we thought Andrew and the Hyo were with him, but yes! They were hidden behind the mammoth KTM :D
We were all very happy, and continued on to the burger shop at Cooranbong for a rest and food - Glorious Food!
Before leaving Cooranbong, Jacob decided to throw Katoom on the ground one last time. Luckily not much damage. So off-we-went to the closest servo.
At the servo I stocked up on oil. The helpful (and quite strange) guy working there didn’t want us towing the Hyo back to Sydney on the freeway, and let us keep it in their garage for the night. Andrew got a pillion-bitch ride back home on Katoom.
TT wasn’t sounding great, so I sat on a comfy ~70km on the freeway, with Pete tailing me for support - Which was very nice of him! I know how much it sucks riding slow on a freeway, not-to-mention being stuck behind a cloud of blue smoke. Jacob had forgotten that he was carrying my spare oil, and took off into the night. About half-way home, at the Gosford exit, the TT was sounding terrible and getting dangerously low on oil, so I decided to ride to my bro’s house at Woy Woy and get a lift home.
Pete tailed me to Woy Woy too (thanks mate!). I left the TT there, chilled out for a while and was even given dinner, chocolate and a lift home (thanks Richard & Salihan!).
I think we all learnt valuable things from the adventure, here’s what I learnt and/or realised:
- I really enjoy the mateship & teamwork involved in any good adventure.
- The TT is bullet-proof - But I appreciate a LOT more now and plan on taking better care of it, and riding it a lot more from now on.
- The big KTM 950 really is a very capable bike!
- The Hyo is an impressively reliable bike and definitely can not be called a ‘toy’ korean bike.
- I think Andrew reached his Adventure-limits on the Hyo and will now put more effort into getting his TT running, and return the Hyo to more road/gravel orientated duties.
- I will ride the TT more on ‘adventure rides’ and reserve the Buell for more mild gravel ‘motard like’ terrain. Obviously with the odd bit of exploring, but nothing too risky… I don’t want to be dropping or damaging it any more.
- I need to figure out how to use my luggage on the TT. The soft panniers should be fairly easy to rig-up.
Looking forward to the next one :)