Crossing the Darien in KLR - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 10-17-2017, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Crossing the Darien in KLR

The Darien is the inpenetrable jungle that serves as the border between Panama and Colombia. There are no roads connecting with Colombia, only footpaths. It has always been a challenge for cars and motorcycles. They will be using 4 KLR.
Taking 4 KLRs THROUGH the Darien Gap, Leaving Deadhorse in November | Adventure Rider

The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.
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post #2 of 12 Old 10-17-2017, 05:03 PM
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One of the first to make the crossing was a fella I met camping out at Coon Hollow, Loren Upton. When I first met him he wanted me to tell him stories of my motorcycle adventures.

That was funny.

Loren and his wife are good, and interesting, people.
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post #3 of 12 Old 10-17-2017, 08:53 PM
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A couple of crossings were made via Rokons; Ed Culberson did it on a BMW R80:


(Click on the green box and you will be directed to a blurb for the book, "Obsessions Die Hard," an account of the journey.)



Ed's bike spent quite a bit of time and distance as cargo aboard primitive native watercraft.

Crossing on KLRs? A noble challenge!
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Last edited by Damocles; 10-20-2017 at 07:47 PM.
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-20-2017, 08:05 PM
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Since this thread has awakened the latent adventure interest among forum members, I commend to them this overview article on the Darien Gap "riding area:"

Dark Roasted Blend: Darien Gap: The Most Dangerous (Absence of a) Road

(Don't forget the DEET! )
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-06-2018, 01:44 PM Thread Starter
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The four Americans who were going through the Darien Gap had to abandon one of the KLR because the clutch failed. It seems that they had been abusing it a lot since they had been using side cars on the way to Panama and did not check them.
There is a legend that says that Darien's Gap always keeps something. This time it was a KLR.

https://www.facebook.com/wheretheroadendsmoto/

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post #6 of 12 Old 02-06-2018, 07:28 PM
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What an adventure!

I wasn't there, so I will NOT presume to second-guess the actual participants regarding the clutch failure. The KLR650s (at least the earlier models; I think latter-day ones lost a couple of disks) have extraordinarily robust clutches; failure/malfunction rate low, given correct operation. My theory . . . the current population remains basically unfamiliar with manual clutch operation; FEW automobiles have "standard transmissions" with manual clutches . . . the KLR clutch is NOT analogous to an automatic transmission, the latter delivering power through a fluid coupling.

If a manual clutch is slipped excessively, it WILL fail. Choosing lower gears when appropriate, and slipping the clutch minimally (preferably, only at start-up) extends clutch life.

All this said, from the looks of the clutch disks in the images from the blog, that clutch was a textbook candidate for the, shim-up-the-clutch-springs field expedient to extend its life. Maybe these adventurers tried that approach, but . . . no mention of any such attempt in the text I read from the link posted.

The sacrifice of a KLR for such an expedition isn't a particularly great price to pay, IMHO; the bike might have been saved, but . . . as previously mentioned, I wasn't there; any such suggestion remains total conjecture on my part.

Congratulations to the party on their success!
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-08-2018, 11:37 AM
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MacGyvering The Clutch

Hello, again!

MacGyvering the failed clutch (as in, Monday-morning quarterbacking), I see another possible remedy (along with the previously-mentioned shimming of the clutch bolts):

FOUR KLR650s were involved in the expedition, IIRC. THREE had serviceable clutches. Each of the functional KLRs could have EXCHANGED one fiber clutch disk with a worn disk from the malfunctioning KLR.

While clutches on all machines would be compromised to some extent from the exchange, they might still function until a source of repair parts could be reached. This tactic, along with shimming clutch bolts, might have enabled a finish as a unit, instead of abandoning a bike in the jungle . . .
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-08-2018, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Damocles View Post
Hello, again!

MacGyvering the failed clutch (as in, Monday-morning quarterbacking), I see another possible remedy (along with the previously-mentioned shimming of the clutch bolts):

FOUR KLR650s were involved in the expedition, IIRC. THREE had serviceable clutches. Each of the functional KLRs could have EXCHANGED one fiber clutch disk with a worn disk from the malfunctioning KLR.

While clutches on all machines would be compromised to some extent from the exchange, they might still function until a source of repair parts could be reached. This tactic, along with shimming clutch bolts, might have enabled a finish as a unit, instead of abandoning a bike in the jungle . . .
Or the other three units could have suffered oil & coolant leakage from such in-field butchery and all four units could then be rusting in the jungle.

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post #9 of 12 Old 02-08-2018, 12:49 PM
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Or the other three units could have suffered oil & coolant leakage from such in-field butchery and all four units could then be rusting in the jungle.
Or, head-hunters could have slain them all, and decorated their huts with their shrunken heads.

If your bike suffered a malfunction in the remotest wilderness, would you refuse to open a case attempting a repair, abandoning your bike because you feared the consequences of "in-field butchery," the horrifying risk of, "oil & coolant leakage?" Or, would you RISK repairing your machine, so you could ride it back to civilization? I'd favor venturing in favor of SURVIVAL, myself, rather than giving in to the circumstances; YMMV!

MacGyver never curbed his initiative, expediently repairing things when no more favorable alternatives were in sight; some riders are so inclined, in EMERGENCY situations.
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-08-2018, 01:12 PM
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Apocryphal Anecdote (Emergency "Cannibalizing")

If, changing a flat tire for a spare on your automobile, you somehow lost the lug nuts for the affected wheel, would you consider "borrowing" a lug nut from each of the three remaining wheels to temporarily mount the spare?

Certainly not, I should think; ALL wheels might then come off!
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