Archive for May, 2011

For anyone wanting to follow the progress of our group of guys headed for Alaska, you can track them with CJ’s spot device and see where they’ve been and their current location.  Just click here for todays “spot” or you can stay up to date by clicking on the spot icon in the top left corner of CJ Designs website.

The latest transformation of Craig's bike as he prepared for the Alaska trip

Craig has been hard at work prior to this trip on some new CJ Designs products that are getting tested out on the trip and should be available later this year.  Things like fuel tanks, tool boxes, panier boxes and skid plates are prototyped and being torture tested on this trip in preparation for sale on Dual Sport Warehouse.

Ardie, Craig & Matthew ready to hit the road

You can follow the story with pictures on the CJ Designs Blog.  They are logging a new post each day with a few pictures and dialog of where they rode that day. 

Three of our riding buddies are franticly prepping their bikes, gear and bodies for a 2 month adventure to Alaska with a return trip down the Continental Divide all the way to the border with Mexico and then back to Wisconsin.  Departure date is May 18, 2011 for Craig, Matthew and Ardie and they have a lot of work to finish before that time. 

Craig, from CJ Designs and my partner in, is the mastermind behind the trip and has been planning this for about a year.  Craig is riding his 2006 KTM 950 Adventure with the CJ Designs/Christini AWD conversion done on it.  Matthew, from photography, is from Ohio and has signed on with Craig for this trip and is the official “team photographer” and will be in charge of pictures, video and riding the wheels off his 2006 KTM 950 Adventure.  The third member of the team is Ardie who is from Australia and he’s flying in 3 days ahead of the trip and finishing the final prep on the bike Craig is setting up for him (also a 2006 KTM 950 Adventure). 

Ardie’s bike as of a week before departure!

Ardie was somewhat of a last minute addition to the team and he needed a bike to ride, since shipping one from Australia was crazy expensive, so Craig agreed to build up a bike for him.  The issue is that Ardie is 6′ 8″ or so and makes these big 950 Adventures look like little toys.  So everything needs to be “super-sized”.  Heavy duty, tall suspension, Rox bar risers, CJD foot peg extensions, Hammerhead +20 mm shifter, etc, etc. 

Craig also had to go through his own bike and double check everything before this major trip.  They are expecting to put on about 20,000 miles in 2 months so they need everything inspected and in good condition before departure.  Craig has nearly 80,000 miles on his ’06 Adventure so by the time he gets back to Wisconsin he should be breaking the 100,000 mile mark!
Craig, Matthew and Ardie will be posting regular updates to the CJ Designs blog and you can follow their progress there.  They will be testing lots of the products that we sell at Dual Sport Warehouse and reporting on how the products work in the real world under extreme conditions.  They will go into much more detail on this but some of the “sponsors/product providers” are Remus Exhaust, Klim Enduro, Wolfman Luggage, Giant Loop Moto Luggage, Rekluse Auto Clutch, Rox Bar Risers, Heidenau tires, CJ Designs and several others.  If you’re considering any of these products you should get some good feedback on their function and performance during this trip. 

In a couple of the previous posts I talked about our week in West Virginia, riding the Hatfield-McCoy trails.  One of the cool things about the West Virginia trails is that there’s a lot of variety to choose from so you can pick some easier two track (atv trails) or go to the opposite extreme and ride some pretty intense single track.  Our group was made up of a group of guys that would mostly describe themselves as dual sport or adventure riders, covering a lot of ground either on or off road and on bigger bikes like the KTM 950 Adventure or 690 Enduro.   Our last two days we decided to test just what we could get through on the big bikes.

Some rocky ridges to test our skills


The view back on the ridge. Craig watches the next "victim" to give it a try!


Some of the muddy atv trails provided plenty of challenge just trying to climb some of the slick hills


We found the limits of what a 2wd 950 Adventure would climb up. Time to use that little Warn winch on the back

Craig’s 2wd KTM 950 Adventure was able to climb up some pretty surprising stuff and Craig manhandled it through lots of tight and treacherous trails but when we got to this climb we figured it would be a good time to try out the Warn winch and see how that worked.

Dennis handled the winch cable. This was a pretty steep climb, the camera makes it look less dramatic. The pipe is natural gas pipeline that runs along a lot of these trails


Successfully winched the bike up, re-mounted the winch on the CJ Designs rear rack and on we go!


At the first turn onto the trails Craig managed to find a mud hole that even a 2wd bike couldn't drive out of!


Some beautiful overlooks. Dan snaps picture of me snapping picture.


Craig found a tricky little section and tries to stay out from under his 550 lb. bike. Dennis helps spot him


Wayne on the KTM 560 descends one of the rocky hills


If there's a hill to be climbed Dennis was always willing to give it a shot. His KTM 250 XCW worked well

Dennis was always up for a hill climb challenge and he was pretty successful at it.  He came in handy for some of the rest of us that struggled on some of the climbs either helping us push up the hills or riding our bikes up a couple of times.  We all got our work-outs this week helping each other push, pull and drag bikes up some of the hill climbs!  It was a job but we all had smiles on our faces when we made it to the top.

Dan climbing up the single track on the borrowed Yamaha TTR 230 (the clutch fried on his KTM 690) Dan had a blast on the little Yamaha


Bill, our host and trail guide, on his 450 Husaberg shows us the way down one of his "goat trails"


When riding single track you're going to hit obstacles. Just jump your bike over that tree! 🙂


Dennis diving down a tricky steep section that caught a couple of us out


Do you think it'll fit? He made it down but ripped off his left foot peg doing it!

This was one of the hardest sections right at the end of our last day on the trails.  A steep, narrow down hill that had this rock wall on the right side and a boulder that stuck out right at handle bar height.  It pretty much forced you off the track and it pushed Craig off line a little and he hit a rock with his left foot peg and broke it off!

I came next and really messed it up and tumbled off the left side.  My bike flipped over and I managed to grab tree on the way down so I didn’t get hurt, but it could have been bad.  My left radiator was ripped off and I thought it was going to be a real mess but it had just popped out of the rubber bushings that hold it and wasn’t even bent.  Pull out the tool kit, make a few trail-side repairs and we were good to go…maybe.  When I started the bike it spit a big glug of oil out the breather and after checking my oil level I found that it was low from dumping it over and loosing it out the breather.

Since Craig was missing a foot peg and I was low on oil we decided to call it a day and head back for home.  It had been a great week of riding and we all made it through fairly unscathed and we had a blast.  Good time to stop before we couldn’t say that anymore.

Craig, Bill, Dennis and Wayne enjoying the view from the "playground"


Some of the local cuisine a the Matewan Depot Restaurant - what more can you say?


The view of our rig through the flood wall door