Bikes and bike problems

CRF250l (aka Big Red)

I could not take my own bike to Myanmar and joined a motorcycle tour which use  CRF250Ls

After Dizzys engine seized I got a Suzuki DR650SE (aka Dozer)  from Chris Smaborski (from the Hubb) and fell in love with this bike, I think this will be my bike of choice for my next big adventure.

Suzuki DR650 SE 1997 (aka Dozer)



new larger tank and home adapted chinese panniers, a bit of welding and a couple of screws here and there 🙂

Ready to Go

Suzuki DRZ 400 (aka the Dizzy Devil)


Modifications & Additions


28l Safari tank – The DRZ came with a rather inadequate 9l tank. Moving up from that I had the choice of a 17 or 28l a real pity the tanks don’t come in 22l which I think would have been perfect. I decided on the 28l in the end after much deliberation.

Electric connection for my GPS

Kick start – I decided to install  the kick start as a backup, the electric start is great but since I am spending a large part of the journey alone I thought it’d be good to add. It is also really easy to start my DRZ using the kick start, bonus

Lowering kit – I can hardly tough the ground of my bike even on the SM wheels adding a 21 and 18 inch set was a joke so I lowered the bike by 5cm and can now just get my toes on the ground phew

Shock spring – The bike came with a 4.8 spring rated shock which had the rear fender almost touching the wheel when both I and the panniers where on the bike. So I changed it for a 5.7 rated shock and am very happy and so is the dizzy

Off-road foot pegs – although the original foot pegs were duel ones the minute I stood up on them it felt like my foot was going to slip so I swapped them out and it’s one of the best little changes I made.

Bash plate

new Oil filter

new Air filter

New Corbin seat – comffffy 🙂 – well not really but better than the standard DRZ seat

Double braided break lines

Happy Trail aluminum panniers 2 x 30l – I debated for ages about the pros and cons of hard vs soft luggage. The weight of the aluminum panniers put me off but the security on those solo routes is what won out in the end.

New wheels and tires – My bike is a 400 SM and had supermoto wheels so I scrapped those and added a 21 and 18 inch wheel with a set of Continental TK80s


and of course the most important piece of luggage the Screaming Banshee (aka nunu)

Bikes and the things that have gone wrong


2x broken chains

Broken bolt in the front sprocket cover, which caused the second chain break

Stripped bolts on bash plate, discovered when trying to do an oil change. Fortunately Jeff had an easy out and managed to remove the bolts which I could then replace with good ones.

Back break light not working. Broken back indicators. Broken number plate. Broken pannier racks that needed welding … the BAM will do that to a bike 🙂

Safari tank fit. I like Safar tanks but the design of the front bracket is quite bad and the bracket rubs against the front part of the bike frames and literally wear sit down. I tried many things to fix this but putting better padding to replace the worn padding that comes with the Safari tank but that too just got worn down time and again and very quickly. So eventually I bent the supporting bar of the Safar tank almost straight, re drilled the holes where it screws into the tank and basically made the while things fit a lot tighter and more snug to the frame.

Stripped back wheel bearings

Overheating resulting in fully seized up engine: Hole in the radiator and thermostat not working (i.e. meaning the light did nto come on) during days and days of rain so I did not notice the small drip drip of the colling liquid draining out. It was also freezing so I did not notice the bike overheating untill it was too late. I did eventually see the problme and filled the radiaotr wiht fluid constantly and managed a temp fix of the hole. However the damage was done and 2 days later the bike completley seized up.


Broken pannier racks that needed to be welded again… temporary Chinese ones were just no match for the Mongolian roads

Spark plugs


Starter Motor (nothing wrong with it but somehow taking it out and reassembling it plus the spark plugs and battery sorted the starting problem Dozer had)

Carburettor drain screw fell out on a trail and was lost…damn

Front right fork seal broke during flight from Ulanbataar to Bangkok

Carburator seal broke and needed to be replaced

Choke broke  (even though I have never once used the choke on Dozer) I dind’t quite understand all the details of what the mechanic explained but something about it breaking and a piece being in the carburator which stuck the choke on

Back wheel bearings needed replacing

Back indicators replaced

Number plate – I don’t know anyones whose numberplate survived mongolia