Baja Ride January 2008

On the 3rd of January, Jay Bass, Elden Carl and I took off for a whirlwind 7 day Baja ride
to San Borja, San Francisco de la Sierra, Mulege and Rancho San Isidro near San
Jose Magdalena, Baja Sur.

Sunset near Catavinia

Sunset near Catavinia

The highlight of the trip was the time we spent eating Elsa’s great food and watching hubby
Jose Luis work his goats at the 150 year old Rancho San Isidro. It appears that Elsa will
soon be able to accommodate a limited number of tourists, including over-nighters.

Watching Jose Luis work a couple of hundred goats was more fascinating than we could
have imagined. Hopefully more riders will soon be able to experience what we have
enjoyed for the past 15 years of visits.

Jay, Rod, Jose Luis and son with  new baby goats at Rancho San  Isidro.

Jay, Rod, Jose Luis and son with
new baby goats at Rancho San
Isidro.

On the bike front we have just a few things to report. First, both KLR650s (a 12,000 mile
95′, a 48,000 mile 96′, and Elden’s 36,000 mile 2002 DR650) weathered the dirt, rain
and the stiff head winds without missing a beat. Miles per gallon figures on the stock-
tuned and properly geared trio of motorcycles was close to 50mpg, but it’s hard to tell
exactly due to the habit of Pemex gas pumps delivering less fuel than the meter indicates.
We only had one rear flat (mine). Oil consumption for the 1390 mile, 30 hour
engine operating period (the DR has a Top Gun tachometer/hour meter) was as follows.
Jay’s 1995 KLR650A went approximately 2,000 miles per litre, Elden’s 2002 DR650SE
used almost no oil at 16,000 miles per litre, and my 49,000 mile 1996 KLR650A burned
the slippery stuff at a rate of approximately
3,000 per litre.

The DR650 that Elden was riding is experimental with a re-coated Millenium liner,
stock piston, and stock rings (with the chrome stripped off). Oil consumption is still improving
with more miles and may reach the norm for a properly broken-in DR650.

Jose Luis showing us some of the  natural herbs in the area. This one  is used for upset stomach.

Jose Luis showing us some of the
natural herbs in the area. This one
is used for upset stomach.

All but one of the 8 DR650s in our group, all broken in on full motorcycle synthetic oil from
first start-up, are believed to be traveling more than 20,000 miles per litre. Yes, that’s
just the norm for stock tuned DR650s as far as we can tell. The best KLR650 I know of
was Elden’s 2005 which was going 7,500 miles on a litre of oil when it was totalled by a
reckless teenage driver September 2, 2007. There’s a fascinating story we’ll tell you about
Elden’s first collision with a car since he began riding 53+ years and over 750,000
miles ago, but we must first wait until pending litigation has been completed.

This is the 150 year old kitchen at  the goat ranch with wood stove  that is still used today.

This is the 150 year old kitchen at
the goat ranch with wood stove
that is still used today.

The most important advantages of the KLR over the DR for long rides boil down to three
things:

  • A.  A wider more comfortable seat(especially when improved).
  • B.  A greater ability to carry gear; avfactory tank bag for the light stuff and
    Happy Trails side racks and soft bags for the heavier things.
  • C.  Better wind protection (especially important north-bound in the wind and
    rain from Guererro Negro, Baja Sur. Great Grandpa Carl carried gear on
    his back and heavier stuff on the modified stock DR rear rack, but he
    must have been working harder than Jay and me with no wind protection.
    Bottom line, we were all having too much fun to complain.
Jay and Rod on the trip home with  the Three Hermanas peaks in the  background.

Jay and Rod on the trip home with
the Three Hermanas peaks in the
background.

2007 A High Speed Year for Bruce Redding

After spending a couple of weeks in Germany at high speed on the Nürburgring, Bruce
Redding returned to the western hemisphere to participate in a major car race rally in
Mexico. At the end of the grueling test of stamina, Bruce claimed 2nd in class and 6th
overall. Mr. Redding had also won a major Mexican rally in the 60’s to go with other
outstanding wins and performances in both air and land racing.

As if Bruce’s accomplishments in the air and on four wheels weren’t enough, he is also a
master multi-surface motorcyclist who has traveled extensively in this hemisphere and
Europe on two wheels and on all kinds of surfaces. He’s done this despite two knee
braces and putting up with two bad shoulders, one needing surgery and the other just
repaired after hitting a deer with it while riding his KLR650.

Considering his experience at competitive levels in a variety of motor sports, I think it’s
quite a compliment when he credits Elden as being the “best MSM rider and motorcycle
set-up man” he knows. In fact, Bruce owns two motorcycles – a DR350 and KLR650 (in
conjunction with MMP) – set up personally by Elden.

Bruce has also been known to display a quick wit. One day, discussing the riding
abilities of the Elden Carl / Pauline Read team, I asked him if he’d seen anything like it
before. Bruce replied “I can’t say. It’s difficult to get close enough to accurately observe
them.”

I’m happy to report that Elden and our “skipper” Todd Vosper are going to get cranking
on “Technical Insights” (a column he’s written since the Dual Sport News days of the
90’s) and “Contact Patch” which is written by Todd.

For 18 years Elden has ridden, studied and reported on KLR650s (213,000 miles),
DR350s (17 years and 80,000 miles) and DR650s (6 years and 75,000 miles).

Now he’s teamed with Todd Vosper a Marine fighter pilot (Major USMC ret.) who
understands motorcycle aerodynamics and handling characteristics as well mechanical
and electronic concepts better than anyone we’ve met. As was expected, although fairly
new to motorcycling, Todd is quickly mastering the rider skills necessary to fully grasp
what improvements need to be made to the various machines in order to enhance their
performance.

Elden and I expected that the physical and mental traits required for fighter piloting
would serve Todd well in motoring two wheels on and off-road, but his learning curve
has been much like the take off of his Harrier jet; almost straight up with no plateaus.
Lucky for us he doesn’t have the time to practice except one day a weekend. All kidding
aside, it’s great to have a 43 year old in this group of old guys capable of absorbing the
body of knowledge we now have and then adding to it as more becomes available.

In closing, I invite you to visit “Technical Insights” and “Contact Patch” on this website.
We will make every effort to inform you of important innovations, findings and in some
cases products sold by MMP on Top Gun.

Editors Note:

The February issue of “Motorcyclist” has an interesting short article on page 33 about
some things Jay Bass encountered with his KLR650. On page 83 is another short snip
on the 2008 KLR650.