Ok so I know it is a basic thing and all about having shade and I have tried a few different brands of pop up shades but with the test of time seems like they would always become frail. Enter the Eurmax brand of canopies. This started back in the RC Racing days, setup an shade early in the morning and bake in the sun all day so after a few shades bit the dust I took a chance on their heavier duty line with the Hexagon legs. Black of course as I figure the shade was better that way. Well 4 solid years and when I sold off my stuff, the material still had not faded after multiple washes and tones of track dust, I was thoroughly surprised and for the build quality vs price they have the other guys beat!
Now with the Chasing Waypoints Podcast and Rides and Events coming it was time to go shopping again. This time I did not want to go with Black but found a Tan or Khaki or Coyote... whatever color you want to call it. At first I noticed that frame was a bit stiff to open but after being setup for the day it tore down easily. The back has just the right amount of room and fits nicely in the back of My Tiguan either front to back or side to side with the seats folded down... WINNING. Although not as robust as the OG one that I had this one is still tougher than the typical store bought versions. In the end I would recommend this to someone looking for the pop up tent! Pricing is really good too! By the way, yes it comes with Back Pack Straps, no I would not carry it that way!
Well ok, we have these rad bikes... NOW WHAT? Route planning can be one of the funnest things if you enjoy that sort of thing, but there are some things to cover that will make things easier.
It should come as no surprise that the OG in adventure bikes had drawn the attention of all manufactures in the space and some very stiff competition has risen from the Austrian fellows.
The Verdict, the cliff notes, the cheat sheet? You guessed it, They actually are 2 different machines. But you will have to listen to the episode in order to hear all the details.
I have spent time on both bikes and although they occupy they are in the Mid Weight Adventure Class, they bring two distinct rides and abilities to the table. If you are considering one or the other I recommend you take a listen and of course you can Always join The Bivouac and ask questions on the show thread for this episode!
At 19 years of age, enter Mason Klein into the world of Rally Raids. Currently holding the title of youngest ever Dakar Rally motorcycle competitor Mason is feverishly training to continue the streak of youngest ever achievements in Saudi Arabia this coming January 2022.
The Sonora Rally Experience
This time around we are talking to rally raid young gun Mason Klein. Fresh off the bike from the 2021 Sonora Rally and now setting his sights on more training for the 2022 Dakar Rally. *Note, no unlawful activities or intentional trespassing occurred during the events mentioned in this podcast. Want to help Mason on his journey to Dakar? Chris and the guys over at Motominded have stepped up and will be donating $150 from the sale of each Rally Moto Kit, link below!
MotoMinded Rally Moto Kit V3
Follow Mason on Social Media: Instagram:
@KorrOffRoad and @mason_klein1
This time around it is a Chasing Waypoints Podcast first, three guests! What are we talking about? Well tune in! Rally events are alive and well for the rest of the year so tune in to find out more about the Mason Kleins Dakar effort including his upcoming travels to Spain and Morocco. Also, both Dan Bart and Happy Dave have put together some awesome events to help Mason and also get people into the sport! Tune in.... and here are the links you need to know about!
Socal Roadbook Rally
Mason's Dakar Fundraiser
MORE TO COME!
WELL we made it this far so now it's time to get some Roadbooks going but, first things first, how do you read them or make them?
Most of you probably don't even know this but at some point in your life, you have navigated by roadbook already. In this day and age that roadbook we use to read has been replaced by Siri or Alexa or whatever exotic dancers name your phone goes by. In the old days you use to have to print out a directions page that told you what street names to turn on and more or less the distances from one to the next. Unfortunately, there is a lack of street names in the middle of nowhere which makes it difficult to just jot down a few names and whether you're going left and right. If it was that easy they would hand you 6,000 km worth of notes on January 2nd and a participation trophy which would effectively take all the fun and challenge of completing the Dakar.
So enough rambling we are gathered here today to start figuring out how to read and create roadbooks. at this point, you have the bike you have the navigation equipment and now you need one of those roll chart thingies to tell you where to go. in the previous episode of the chasing waypoints podcast we took some time and spoke with Matthew Glade of Rally Moto Shop and in that episode he mentioned that he had some resources that he would share with newcomers to the world of cross country rally or rally raid.
So let’s see that first…
This first link is a great write up featured in The Red Bulletin a piece written by Werner Jessner called How to Decode a Dakar Rally Roadbook sheds some light first off on the game changing decision that Matthias Walkner made at the 2018 Dakar Rally, one that would net him 50 minutes and the top step on the podium.
“If you want to survive the iconic Dakar Rally, the infamous roadbook is your best friend. Here's how to decipher this mystifying manual – just be thankful you don’t have to figure it out at 140kph.” - Werner Jessner
Okay what did I just watch?
This video has been making the rounds amongst Rally Raids for a little while, it happens to be probably one of the best illustrations or onboard videos of showing actual navigation in practice. You can see how the notes line up with the terrain and the kilometers that are displaying on-screen. In some instances, you see where the numbers flash red indicating that a correction was made via the switch on the handlebars. Also towards the end of the video you can see where there is a note that was difficult for the rider Michele Cotti to decipher, he retraces his steps, sets back the odometer and tries again this time getting it right while other people are still trying to figure it out. Check out more on his youtube channel here: Michele Cotti aka Skuomno
Want to get your hands on some Dakar roadbooks?
Check out this video that Matthew Glade of Rally Moto Shop recommended. Manuel Lucchese shows exactly how to get a Dakar roadbook in this video from his youtube channel. Here you can see what the participants of the Dakar actually have to deal with and best part is, there is a way to see what the note reads if you get stuck. This I would use as sort of a flash card setup where you read the note and then compare it to what the creator actually is trying to tell you.
What's in the boxes?
Here is a simple note from a roadbook I have been building in Tulip nothing fancy at all but the structure is pretty much the same. Reading it left to right, the first box shows 2.44 which is the total KM traveled from the start of the stage. The small box with in that says 0,92 that is the distance since the last note (Note 3) .
Now the box in the middle we read from the bottom to the top. In this case we are crossing an intersection with fences or gates on both sides (note, this roadbook is for a road in California where locked gates are plentiful). Something to take note, the dotted lines mean its a trail in this case or faint. The lines used can be different and mean something depending on thickness or number of lines.
Last but not least is the box on the right, this will usually contain written notes like in this one, TDSPP which means follow main path or stay on main path. This box can and will contain timing controls or waypoint designations , also notes that clarify or add to the Tulip in the middle box. In this case warning to watch for cross traffic. These are just basics and are fluid, different people write roadbooks differently but there are standards and they do change. recently the powers that be decided to go from French to English when it comes to the abbreviations that you see.
Ok so how are Roadbooks made?
Well you see it starts when one friend tells that other that I have an idea for a route. Actually not really, truth is you have either done or want to explore an area and want to have some directions laid out so you or your riding buddies can go out and hit it. There are a few reasons you may decide to make roadbooks but if for nothing else it is for the challenge of creating a route and then going to ride it with friends. There are two main option at the moment the first is of course Rally Navigator and the other is the new comer Tulip.
Each of these programs have their merit, Rally Navigator is robust in its features and multiple formats and offers apps that allow roadbook creation on the fly. Tulip on the other hand offers a minimal experience with all the right tools to get going on making a roadbook. One big up at this time is that Tulip lives on your desktop and only requires internet to fetch the map. Word on the street is that Rally Navigator is getting an upgrade we are not sure if this will include a desktop version. As soon as that comes to light we will jump on a basics video for that one.
Lets take a look at Tulip (Download Here) which lives on the Highway Dirtbikes Website. They have a manual available on their website and I threw this video together to show how to build a note.
Okay now what to we do?
Well, the next step is to start making roadbooks. As mentioned in the video if you already have GPX file from a ride you have done it is as simple as importing it and starting to add notes. Here is what I propose, pic a friend or friends and take turns making a roadbooks. Short basic routes and then building on them and adding more detail. Start with major turns and features and then start adding more. Carry a marker or pen and be ready to make some notes and add some changes. In the end it's about having fun and challenging yourself and others.
What do I need to get into Rally? Here's the short list on what you need to get started!
First things first....
All right, so it's official you have decided you are on the path to participating in your first rally, and you've got your head straight and know that you are signing up as an Adventure Rider or you are in to win it. Whichever category it is or mind set that you will be subscribing to, you're going to need some gear, so here are the basics! (note: we are not responsible for the consequences of your significant other finding out how much you spent on this adventure)
Where do I put the map?
First and foremost, you will need a roadbook holder or, in some places, known as a roadbook reader. I think that is like the whole tomato/tomahto thing. Below, you will find 2 of the more popular options. Remember that you can go with manual or electronic advance, whichever suits your budget and intended use better.
Simple, easy to mount, and no wiring required unless running a light.
Simple, easy to mount, will require 12v power and running of the control switch.
Ok how do I keep track of distance?
Next up will probably be one of the more essential pieces of equipment. And that is going to be a trip meter. Before we get too far in yes, we know what odometers are and motorcycles have these on them; the main difference is they cannot be adjusted or corrected for slight mishaps along the route. There are two options in this realm.
Mounting it up...
Okay, so now that we have the two essential pieces to get into this whole Adventure, how do you mount this to the bike while duct tape zip ties and chewing gum or quick epoxy may be handy for many types of do-it-yourself projects or Trailside repairs this is not one of those times! Here there are two options for rally light style, one that goes on the handlebars and is very simplistic or two, adding a small fairing or tower that will allow you to mount these things to the bike. These options are suitable for bikes that are going utilizes in different arenas.
Short and sweet, this bracket provides a way to attach the a 12mm bar to your handle bars which in turn mounts the roadbook reader and with the use of the bracket below, your Tripmeters as well.
Simple Solution for mounting your tripmeters and roadbook reader all together on the same 12mm bar.
The easy way...
Customizable kit that can be order in one easy step.
Brainchild of Matthew Glade the Sonora Tower is a simple and light way to have both a fairing and a place for your navigation equipment. As mentioned in episode number 7 of the Chasing Waypoints podcast with Scott Bright, a little wind protection goes a long way!
But wait there's more?
Maybe, you have to remember that most rally raids are based around covering long distances and often have fuel stops scattered across longer distances. So basics would include a desert tank chosen based on the largest volume, a comfortable seat, and the right handle bar / stabilizer / riser combination. The end result is you want to have a bike you can ride all day because in the world of rally raid you will.
In the end I hope this gives you a basic outline of the parts needed, it is not much! If you haven't already don't for get to tune in to the Chasing Waypoints podcast for more background on this and more. A huge thank you to Matthew Glade and the gang over at Rally Moto Shop . Tune in to episode number 9 where we chat with him about rally gear and more!
The training, equipment, language, events, and budget... where to start!
Photo: KTM Factory Racing
What is Rally Raid?
To keep this simple, remember when you would print out yahoo maps to get to a place you had never been before? OK, well, you are now ready for Dakar.... well, not really. Rally, or adequately known as Rally Raid, is a sport comprised of navigation and rider skills. Participants compete in "Cross Country Rallies" in other words, make sure you have a comfy seat on your bike or car. We are going LONG!
Comprised of multiple days, entrants in a Cross Country Rally or Rally Raid will set out each day on a route created by the organization and provided to them in the form of a Roadbook. What is a Roadbook, you ask? Remember that printout from Google Maps? It's that! But with more detail, we will get more into that later. There are usually three main parts: Liaison, Special Stage, and Liaison. Only the Special Stage is timed, but all three carry penalties for not following directions! We will get into the anatomy later in this. Still, those three parts repeat for each day of competition, and your total time across the Special Stage (s) plus the penalties awarded (that sounds like a good thing, it is not) make up your Final time or Classification.
The Rally Raid Mind Set
Ok, so now that we know what Rally Raid (or at least my definition of it), what's the mindset? I am glad you asked! In my experience, there are two, and the third group is just the bounce between the two, much like when you leave one group of cars on the freeway to catch the faster group. Anyway, the first is the group that is looking to be competitive and wants a race but not an all-out sprint, there are a few in this group, but I think the bigger group is the ones that want an adventure. They are there for the chase and want to finish each stage, see the sights, and enjoy a good ride with the new and old friends. This group is the group that's taking breaks, making sure pictures are taken, and maybe a taco stand... or two. Where are we going with this? Time to be real with yourself and set your expectations; I want to run a class on Price, Walkner, and Short or finish the adventure that is the question... what is your choice?
Like to get lost? Don't leave the house without these 10 essentials
Why not, I have personally logged a couple thousand miles in Klim Arsenal Vest and not only use it for Adventure Rides but also for hiking. This think allows you to carry all the stuff you need and don't! Once on you and adjusted, even with an additional 40lbs. stuffed in it, you barely notice the weight. Highly recommended!
There is no greater feeling than have the right tool for the job but, want to one up that? Have the right tool for the job when you are out in the middle of no where! Enter the Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool with 19 tools in 1 this is a must have in your adventure kit. You never know what you are going to be up against but you can better your chances by having more options. These have been part of my kits since the get go because of their versatility and compact design.
But wait, the Leatherman Signal has some of the same tools! Correct, but this is a compact back up that will also come in handy. Yes, it will be ok! The SOG Flint Survival & Defense Tool is Great to carry with you anywhere and let us talk about fire starters.... they are considerably safer that using the spark from an ignition coil and a gasoline soaked rag, I PROMISE!
The Gerber Swagger Knife is one of those things you alway want in your pocket. Several, like almost 8 years and I have yet to have to sharpen the blade. The overall weight is nice thanks to its fiberglass handle and the assisted opening makes deploying it with one hand easy and almost borderline bad a$$. These come in handy when you need to cut something quickly and reliably. It make fast work of pesky packing tape on boxes or that one zip tie thats hard to reach.
The Tusk Motorcycle Tow Strap is one of those trail essentials that will never ever be used... ever! At least that the way the legend goes. No one wants to come home on a tow strap but then again having to push a bike back to civilization is a little worse. So long story short, worth having this strapped to the bike...
The Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight Watertight .5 Medical First Aid Kit not a whole lot of explaining needs to be dong about this item as it should be in everyones kit. One pro-tip I can offer is look at the contents and make sure you know how to use everything that is in it... and if you know that there are certain things like heartburn and allergy medication that you prefer, throw those in there. These kits are really light weight and no reason why one of these or something similar should not be in your kit!
The Go Time Gear Life Tent Emergency Survival Shelter is probably one of the most compact Tent setups I have seen. With a little work this could probably be used more than just for emergency use. Either way when in the middle of nowhere have a way to block the wind and protect yourself from the elements is very important. Anything you can do to preserve energy and keep your self comfortable is going to pay dividends and then some! Packed down this can fit in the Klim Arsenal Vest and wont add much weight at all.
The Back Country Discovery Route Map Bundle is the ultimate gift to the person who refuses to stop and ask for directions! Paper maps are quickly becoming a thing of the past but what happens when your GPS bites the dust? Time to get creative and quick! If this is your first time hearing about this series of maps, you are in for a treat! These are some of the best back road rides out there! Not only that but they have a documentary for each one. Want to see more, check out the entire Back Country Discovery Route Series.
Plexus Spray Cleaner is one for the most effective thing out there to clean windscreens and visors! I swear by it! Want to clean like a pro? Spray it on, wait a minute, take a clean Microfiber towel and wipe IN ONE DIRECTION ONLY. This avoids getting those swirl marks that make plastic look dull and worn out. This works, I have an almost three year old bike and I have been doing this since day one, windscreen still looks new!
10. Paracord 550
Why 550 Paracord? Simple.... It's like duct tape but better, yes I said that. From tow ropes to tent lines to snare traps, 550 Paracord is a staple to survivalist and EDC fanatics. So many uses it would be like Buba telling you about shrimp recipes. Small enough to carry or wrap around the frame, this is something you should have in your kit!
Okay, ever been on an epic ride humming your favorite Tough Mix Jam or Yacht Rock banger? Wish you could hear it clearly and rock out with your throttle out? .... Check this out!
The Sena 10R has proven to be reliable, I have personally logged over 20,000 miles on mine and its working like a champ battery life is still good and the elements have killed it yet! The best part is that it is not complicated, menu are easy and basic and it gets the job done! I have seen so many people go with the fancy and in the end not know how to even pair the thing! You can charge while on the go with a power bank you, the buttons are easy to find with gloves on, the audio quality is good especially with DIY ear buds that I run. So for comms on my helmet, I am going to pick this over my 10C Evo!
But wait, there's more!
So what does it do? Why do I wan... NEED it?
The SR10 from Sena He bridges the gap between you Two Way Radio and your Sena Bluetooth 10R. Why if the 10R is intercom capable? Well it is but it is EXTREMELY line of sight in other words if you can not see your riding partners license plate, you may experience break ups. It's not super bad, works well on road trips where you are out and alway close together. The reason you NEED the SR10 is your two radio, while still line of sight, can still penetrate further than the intercom feature on most if not all Bluetooth Helmet Comm kits. The SR10 has its own internal battery and comes with both a belt clip and handle bar mount. Battery life is awesome, 2 full days of riding and then some! You pair this to your Sena 10R and you are not married to your bike via a wire like most Helmet/ Two Way Radio Kits. I run this thing in my Klim Arsenal Vest and mount the Push to talk button on my right shoulder, radio stuffed in the same pocket and now in communication on or off the bike. The only downside I have found so far is that the round button on the top is also a Push to Talk, so you have to protect it from hitting things in your bag. I turn on the report on my radio so that it beeps at the end of transmission so I can here if it is being triggered inadvertently. Not trying to win the Richard Cranium award at the local Score Race...
OK, one more thing....
Well we already talked about why you NEED one of these radios and well Rugged has been in the radio game for a minute. Yes there are alternatives to this but after having first hand experience with their customer support and how they are Johnny on the spot with there racers, I will support them. Enter the third version of the Rugged Radios Dual Band Two-Way Radio tried and true with tons of Baja miles to prove it. This with the longer antenna and you are ready to go! Can be programmed with custom frequencies and if needed you can key them in directly when on the go. The price is right incase it becomes part of the landscape, ever seen a grown man cry over a $400 handheld radio... yeah me neither but that would suck to set $400 on fire.
What else you will probably need...
Wait, what? Correct everyones favorite underpowered work horse with three 5th gears.... goes to Baja
The Baja DRZ 400
Well here it is! The build list for the DRZ400 from Suzuki I prepared. This build was awesome, to this date I really have not seen another DRZ that looks like this one. These bikes are cool because of parts availability and the fact that Suzuki really did not change the recipe allowing parts to be shared. Pretty sure 7/11 has countershaft seals ... Check out the Chasing waypoints podcast for more background information on this build.
Rear Sprocket: ProTaper Race Spec 47T Sprocket
Front Sprocket: ProTaper Race Spec 15T Front Sprocket
Chain: D.I.D 520VX3 112L Gold Chain
Handle Bars: ProTaper EVO Magnesium RM Mid
Handguards: Acerbis X-Force Handguards
Multi Function Switch: Tusk Compact Control Switch
Start/Stop Switch: Highway Dirtbikes Perch Switch Double
Gauge: Trail Tech Endurance 2
Exhaust: Rocket Exhaust