Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cairns, Australia.
First I need to apologise because I didn't really finish the second half of the story, I had some other stuff happening and got distracted. I'll make an effort to finish it in the next couple of weeks.
In answer to your questions I was running on a set of Heidenau K60 scouts.
Like any tyre they have their fans and their detractors and like all tyres they are a compromise between longevity and grip and price.
The K60s have a deserved reputation for longevity (and this is what I wanted and even squeezed the 140/80-17 onto the rim because they had an unbroken centre strip), I think mine had about 10,000 k on them when I started and about 18,000 on them by the time I got home.
They are certainly not the best in the dirt, you'd need a knobby for that but they worked for me, long life, adequate grip in the dirt and on the tar, and a lot quieter than a knobby on the highway.
They are a tough tyre with very stiff sidewalls and I had real concerns about levering one off the rim if I had a flat. Luckily I didn't have that problem on the trip but when I got home I changed the rear (put on a 'Tractionator GPS just to see if they are any good-like 'em so far) and had a real struggle getting it off the rim. Took me a couple of hours using all sorts of two metre long levers just to break the bead. Mitas EO7s are a lot softer by comparison.
Yes, I adjusted the pressure according to the conditions. It makes a huge difference on the dirt if you lower the pressure. I deflated them to about 22 psi for 'normal dirt' ie your average 'outback road' and went down as low as 15 if it was going to be soft or sandy. No rimlocks but then again the KLR doesn't really have the power to spin the rims inside the rubber especially with the K60s. Somewhere in the mid 30s for the highway.
I had a 16 tooth on the front, this gave me about 3800rpm at 100k and the bike felt quite happy at that speed.
I got about 22 to 23 klm per litre. This is with a set of 'throw over' saddle bags poking out in the wind and another big bag on the seat behind me. Those numbers were average in good conditions and changed markedly when things were 'less than optimum'-a headwind makes a difference, a dirty air filter makes a difference, a high cruise speed makes a big difference, lower tyre pressures and soft surfaces make a difference and so on.
With a 23 litre tank I figured I was good for a minimum of 450 klm and I carried a 6 litre plastic 'jerrycan' as well for the longer sections.
I'd do a better inspection (obviously!) of the bike before departure but other than that I've done 60,000 k on this bike on similar trips and only ever had minor troubles.
Biggest weakness of the bike for me is the rear rack bolts. I replaced the 6mm bolts that hold the rack down to the rear subframe loop with 8mm hardened steel and they still broke when subjected to a couple of hundred K over a rough, corrugated road with a load (about 12kg,6 litres water and 6 litres fuel) on them.
The OCR is run every second year, so not due again until 2020 but it's getting bigger every time. I'm already planning for the next one