What about tires?

The trip to Colorado and beyond will take us into terrain that is not really compatable for stock tires. We looked at multiple tire options to use on our bikes. The major consideration was where we were going on this trip. We decided that a 50/50 or a 40/60 tire would be best suited for our needs, instead of the 90/10 tires that came on our bikes.
We looked at the Michelin Anakee Wild, the Continental AKC 80, the Heidenau K 60 Scout and the Kenda Big Block. Wear was also a concern for us, as well as increased off road traction. These two concerns seem to trade off with each other. After a long deliberation and much internet time looking at video reviews and reading the comments and thoughts of other riders we both chose the Heidenau K 60 scout.
Our trip from Michigan to the Southwest corner of Colorado will be on all secondary roads and some expressway. Our travels following the BDR route through Colorado the Wyoming will be mostly trails, gravel roads, fire lanes etc. Then back to mostly pavement as we aim for West Yellowstone, Montana. There we will meet up with our wives to view the eclipse and travel the area for a few days. Then back on the road home, where we will try to add more gravel and trails as we travel through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
We estimate 5000 miles on this trip and it should be a good test for these tires which will see maybe 30% off pavement use, we shall see. I’m looking forward to this ride and the new adventure of mixed riding, on and off the pavement.
We looked to our local cycle parts dealer for the tires we wanted and he could not access the Heidenau’s tires, so we purchased them on line. When Bill took his wheels and tires to the same dealer that could not provide us with the tires he charged $70.00 to mount the 2 tires. Bill stopped by my place and we decided to purchase a tire changer and away we went.
We purchased a Harbor Freight unit that did not quite meet our needs, so we began modifications to the unit and purchased a No Mar tire changing bar to help protect our rims. I proceeded to take another educational journey into the work of tire changing with a machine. I have changed a number of motorcycle tires in the past from my dirt bike days and have used spoons, and had to deal with tubes and wheel locks. Now we are tubeless and have anodized, painted or chromed rims. We would prefer not to scratch them. I made poly inserts for the tire clamp part of the changer and after my first attempt at tire removal I had to go back and run screws into the poly blocks to secure them to there sockets in the changing unit. Having now secured holding the rim I mounted the changer on a heavy plywood covered pallet and went to work. The unit was not that stable and moved around way too much for me. But for right now I am living with it and will modify it when I return from this trip.
I used my fancy new changing bar on the front tire and after a U Tube video on the use of the bar, I started getting the hang of using it, the front tire was done. Now the back tire. The old tire came off in good order but while trying to put the new rear tire on, the pallet that the changer was mounted to, seemed to be spinning at the same rate of rotation as my attempt to rotate the mounting bar on the machine. To finish mounting the tire, I reverted back to spoons. All is OK and we are off to balance the wheels.
We have also purchased a static tire balancer which I will now attempt to use to balance my tires. The front tire balanced was balanced with the weights from the factory left in place. The rear was out of balance so I removed the factory weights and rebalanced the wheel adding weight in a different location then the stock weights. The balancing went well and after the test ride it seemed like I had not made anything worse, so the tires are done.
Upon my return I will make modifications to the changer and find a way to better secure it so that the skid the changer is mounted on does not turn as fast I’m tuning the tire changing bar.

First Post 7-23-17

Its been a long time since Bill and I last posted to this blog.  Many changes have taken place in the way we look at motorcycle travel and the best way to enhance our travel adventures. With our being unable to travel to the Artic Circle using the haul road to Prudhue Bay on last years trip to Alaska we discussed changes.  We were unable to use the haul road due to rain and road conditions. Our bikes were both road bikes and the road to the Artic Circle and Prudhoe Bay was gravel and the road conditions on the road were soft, due to road work, and muddy due to all the rain. We started talking Adventure Bikes and a new type of riding with new route choices available to us on Adventure Bikes. Through the fall we read and looked at bikes in the Adventure bike category. The question was what size bike would fit our need and which brand would best fit our individual requirements.

In November I was on line looking at cycle’s at an auction site and found new KTM 1290 Adventure up for auction from a dealership, I placed a bid and went to $14,500 in my bidding, I lost the bike. The next week while again on the auction site I saw the same bike come up again, this time I only went to $14,000 and won the bidding. I arranged to pickup the cycle at a location in far Western Illinois and with the help of my very happy and supportive wife was now on my way to retrieve my purchase.

Now the pressure was on Bill. Bill has a strong brand loyalty and leaned strongly towards the BMW line. The only thing I thought would sway Bill from the BMW was his conservative nature when it comes to spending money. But sure enough after much consternation, hand wringing, mental self torture, deliberation and then rationalization, Bill overcame his conservative impulses and did what was obvious to me he would do all along, he bought the BMW. Anyone who knows me understands that I will not make an issue of the LARGE price difference in our purchases.

Bill’s purchase was a new BMW 1200 GSA adventure bike, I had purchased a new KTM 1290 Super adventure. We again have different bikes and we can take turns picking at each other over our choices. I will mention I paid far less, not a dig, just a fact. Again, I would never dig at him about the money difference.

Our choice for a trip this year is from our homes in Belding and Lowell, Michigan to the 4 corners and then travel the BCR route through Colorado. This route runs from the Southwest corner of the state up to the Wyoming border near Steamboat Springs traveling over many high country passes and into old mining towns etc. BDR’s web page and this route and others can be seen at ridebdr.com.

We have taken a couple of trips into the woods in Northern Michigan to test our bikes, tires and our diminishing off road skills. As I write this we are both gearing up for the inaugural trip to the high country of Colorado and are both excited and apprehensive about our chosen route. The excitement comes from our wanting to see this beautiful part of the USA, our apprehension comes from hoping the riding skills of a 65 and a 66 year old rider are up to the task.

We look forward to blogging about our trip and loading pictures for anyone looking to enjoy.