Sunday, February 1, 2015

Looking for a Dual Sport rig

Da'mu the White Wing is almost ready for a long distance USA ride, however attention recently has been paid to seeking a dual sport sidecar rig for South America.

As some of you know, I was riding Chile and Argentina in January 2012 after reached Ushuaia, the southern most city in the world in time to celebrate New Years Eve 2011. Riding back north across Tierra del Fuego in anticipation of seeing the Andes mountains up close,  the bike went into a serious tank slapper and we flipped - head over heels. After a week in the hospital in Punta Arenas, Chile, I sold the BMW and most of my gear down there so I could fly home to see a specialist.

Am now fully recovered and riding once again, after learning how to drive sidecar rigs. My goal has been to return to Chile and finish my ride. The most scenic spots in South America have yet to be visited.

Da'mu the White Wing to too big and heavy for the hundreds of miles of soft gravel road one has to navigate in southern Chile/Argentina. Da'mit the Ural was given serious consideration for the trip but Ural parts are not available down there. There are no Ural dealers anywhere in Central or South America. Nor is the brand well known to motorcycle mechanics there.

For that type of ride one needs a dual sport motorcycle, economical to operate and maintain, parts readily  available, high ground clearance and a network of mechanics who could repair it if need be. That narrows the field down to single cylinder 650cc Japanese motorcycle. Both BMW and Honda have 650 dual sports, but they can cost 40% more and parts are not as readily available as are Kawasaki or Suzuki. So a KLR650 or a DR650, both of which have excellent reputations for durability and reliability, are the best choices to fulfill my requirements for this ride. I started looking back in December for a low mileage slightly used Kawasaki or Suzuki sidecar rig. Found two on the internet - one in Virginia and the other in California. The California rig looked to be stronger, better built. Photos and a short video of it running were encouraging enough to  haul an empty trailer to north Los Angeles to pick it up.  Once there I spotted several fatal flaws in the design and construction that were not apparent in the photos. Returned to Texas empty handed.

Finally concluded that my best bet was to find a low mileage Kawasaki or Suzuki that I could hang a sidecar on. The plan is to later sell that rig in South America at the end of the ride.

In South Texas I found a 2006 Kawasaki KLR650 with under 9,000 miles. I hauled it home.

In Texas, one sees lots of cattle, even bulls. But this as the first time I've seen a bull in a boat...
 in a truck - going 70 mph.

Once home, the KLR went up on the lift for detailed inspection. Every used motorcycle requires service and inspection. One does not know how it was treated or service previously. So everything must be check over. You do that by stripping the major pieces off, cleaning, servicing and replacing parts where necessary.

The partially stripped KLR. 
Have already found several items that need replacing. Rusty bolts, stripped threads, leaking exhaust, bearings, loose wiring, etc.  

While the bike runs, I test rode it before buying, but knowing where I plan to going with this bike, everything must be in sound reliable condition. I don't need mechanical surprises in the middle of no-where. By personally stripping and rebuilding this bike, if I do have problems with it later, being very familiar with it will aid in diagnosing and solving any issue.  

This bike might be Da'mit II if it checks out and is adopted. After the bike is finally approved for use, will order a sidecar cargo chassis to hang on it. 

Ciao for now,


  1. Looks like a promising start CCJon, will you be getting the subframe and sidecar from Dauntless?

  2. Thanks, spoke with Jay at DMC (is that Dauntless?) about their rolling cargo chassis. I want a low profile locking aluminum tool box instead of a passenger tub. We'll see how this project turns out. Am open to suggestions.

    1. Yes, that's Dauntless. One of the Uralisti I know has a GS rig that he mounted a truck tool box on instead of a tub.....that what you're thinking? If so, email me and I'll introduce.

  3. That's what I'm thinking, a truck tool box with two lids.



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