Motorcycling TAT-CO

Challenging Dirt Roads Through Colorado

Motorcycling Adventure #10

8 days, 2,073 miles, Sep 2012

Ray Jardine

Day 0 2012-09-12Preamble page 1 of 8

I plan to slab to Colorado, then begin the TAT at Trinidad. The TAT is generally regarded as a fairly serious endeavor, certainly the hardest route I've yet attempted. So we will see how it goes. Should be a beautiful ride this time of year.


Working on my Dakar in preparation for the trip

Have done:

  • Change engine oil, and replace oil filter

  • New air filter

  • Lube throttle and clutch cables

  • Replace steering head bearings

  • Rebuild front forks

  • New front tire TKC-80 (carrying a fresh rear for mounting in CO)

  • Checked brake pads and fluid (ok)

  • Check coolant (ok)

  • New spark plugs

  • Check valves timing (OK)

  • Install relay-powered charging station for phone and sat-phone.

  • New moto battery.


The sat-phone was left-over from our South Pole trip. This is the first trip I've done in the Continental USA where carrying one makes sense, with traveling solo through such remote and rugged country. I needed mobile charging capabilities because I'm planning to camp most nights.

The new battery (Shorai lithium) flies off the table whenever I pick it up. Should be heavy, my arm thinks. love it so far.

Front end disassembly in my shop.

Severe notches on the lower steering-head race.

New bearings installed on the steering stem and cap. These bearings are an interference fit, so they must be pressed off and on. I learned how at the below websites. Once learned, I think I could do the job much quicker next time.

New bearing race in the lower steering tube. These races are an interference fit also.

Note: These type of notches on the upper and lower steering-head races are normal after a great deal of use. They happen on just about any kind of bike. The bearings and races have to be replaced every now and then. But I put off the job for longer that I normally would have, because I was on journey. I found that the bearings were not original, meaning that the job had been done before. I also found a few tool marks on the edge of one of the races that I don't think the factory made. When I bought it, the bike had only 6,000 mi., so I can't imagine why the previous owner needed new steering head bearings. Now the bike has 28,000 miles on it.

Refs: Steering Head Bearing Replacement FAQ Driving top SHB "Screw the counter pipe half-way in on to the bottom of the adjusting ring and add the collar nut to the base" This was the key to my success. Vid These guys also have lots of good ideas.

I learned how to rebuild the front forks from these people: Bluepoof F650 forks. The first time, the job took me all day. This time it took me only 45 minutes for each fork.

Most people who bought our Sewing the Ray-Way Backpack video will recognize something in this picture. It is Melly - supervising Jenny while she sews my new insulated jacket.

Not much tread left after riding the CDR twice. I get a lot of comments about these tires lasting the whole length of the trip. People don't expect them to last nearly that long, and neither did I. These are TKC-80, my favorite off-road tire.

Melly is studying the workings of the motorcycle. She's not like a normal bird that will just sit there, uninterested. She is very curious and has to study everything.

I'm doing a bit of electrical work on my bike, installing a charger for my cell phone and sat phone.

Not dropped, but laid over on the pads in order to practice picking it back up. The bike weighs over 450 pounds, so it is not so easy to pick up.

Dog not happy. Getting the Dakar ready can mean only one thing: Ray is about to leave for his NFT.

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