Binh to the Wild

Sun, Jun 27, 2010


Just got a letter back from our friend, Travelin’ Binh, and here’s what he had to say:

I’m in Whitehorse, BC.

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The scenery here has been pretty monotonous, my favorite section so far has been between Bell 2 and Iskut on the Cassiar hwy. The roads here are in very good condition, better then many highways in CA. There are short sections of gravel road. Even that is fairly good, very flat and compact. I’m able to go 40mph on the gravel sections.

I just put on new tires today. The Factory Tires held up well..the front still looks almost new while the back is almost gone. Surprisingly the front tire handle gravel roads pretty well and the rain didn’t slow it down much either. There will be more dirt/gravel sections coming up. The mostly all dirt road is call the Dalton Hwy pass Fairbanks, AK

The last few days had some drama. The day after Prince George almost near hwy 37 the bike felt like it had a flat. I pulled over and discovered that the swing arm bolt had came out half way, it had lost the nut. I was able to scavage a nut off the kickstand. At the end of that day almost half way up 37 at camp I dicovered that one of the exhuast header bolt had sheared off. I used safety wire to tie it back up. The ironic thing was that those two things were the things I didn’t prep on the bike. I fixed both problems here in Whitehorse. A fellow local rider saw me changing tires out in front of a motorcycleshop and was able to hook me up with a buddy of his that had a welder. I was able to weld material on the broken bolt to grab it with some vice grips.

I find that the bike runs best on 20w50 oil, anything less and it will make funny noises after a couple hundred miles. I even tried Mobil 1 10w40 sythetic motorcyle oil and that acted up after about 300 miles. My first choice would be Mobile 1 20w50 sythetic motorcyle oil, it ran 1000miles okay. I just changed the oil today to some other 20w50 sythetic, I’ll see how that holds up. Castro GTX 20w50 motorcycle oil holds up over 500 miles okay. Running almost wide open on an air cool motor for 12+ hours a day breaks down oil fast!!! I’m keeping the speeds between 50-55mph now. At these speeds the bike runs best, smoothest better then any other gear/speed combonation.

I think I’ll be in Fairbanks AK on the 29th if all goes well and will be back in Fairbanks from the Arctic Circle late on 7/1/10. Having mostly ridden paved roads and only a few sections of gravel dirt roads I’m concern that other things will break or fall off. I’m not going to aim for Dead Horse.

Good save!  Sounds like your preparation is paying off.  If that’s the worst that happens, that’ll be fabulous!  And PLEASE stay far away from any more of THESE:

***UPDATE 06/28/2010***
At the Public library now.

Got to Fairbanks a day ahead of schedule. Yesterday was another 400+ mile day. Camped about 20miles past Tok.

Yesterday was the first day of constant rain past Koidern. The bike did well I was able to pass Goldwings, Harleys and RVs in the rough wet roads. Getting to Koidern the pavement got rough. Crossing the border the gravel road here in AK is horrible!  WAY worse than in Canada. I’m only able to do up to 30mph. Looks like the Dalton will be just as bad if not worse so it will take me all day to go from Livengood to the Arctic Circle and back.

Woke up to rain most of the morning. Nearing Fairbanks it got warm and dry. 68* here in Fairbanks today. Up this far north I’m having a hard time sleeping cause it is constantly light out. I rode up until midnight again yesterday and the sun was still up. It does get cold around 4am and I have to zip up my sleeping bag.

The bike is still holding up just fine. It is finally muddied up. Will do another oil change before I hit the Dalton hwy. Seems like fixing the exhaust leak slowed it down a few mph….but it could be the rain. I also just noticed the last two days that my gas mileage is not quite the same. It seems like I’m only getting about 90miles per tank instead of 100miles per tank, this could be caused by the rougher roads or the exhaust leak repair. I’m gonna check the valves again before hitting the Dalton. Oh it could also be the tire change that cause lower mpg and/or slower speeds. There are just too many factors to have any real conclusion only time will tell.

So I plan on heading up to Livengood just before the Dalton tonight.  I’m going to ride up to the Circle then back down in one day instead of up to Coldfoot then back on separate days. It should be about 250miles
of gravel road. If the Dalton is really bad and it takes me longer then expected then I will just head up to Coldfoot and stay there for the night and head back the next day.

By the time I reach the Circle the bike will have about 4000miles.

WOOHOO!  You’re doing it!  Thanks for the updated reports Binh!  We look forward to seeing photos of you arriving in the Arctic Circle!  Brrrrrr!

4 Responses to “Binh to the Wild”

  1. gina k Says:

    What an inspiring, amazing story. I’ve was up to Fairbanks years ago and love the Simba!


  2. Vaughan Pederson Says:

    Very impressive. I like the info on oil and speed combinations. Sounds like you will provide SYM and Symba owners valuable info on prepping and improving their bikes.


  3. Tim Lewallen Says:

    Great report. I like hearing about the technical details and the photos help a great deal.

    Let’s hear it for the little bike that can and the rider that endures to get it there!


  4. Iruvss Says:

    Go Bihn! What an amazing ride, story and mechanical analysis. Sym and any sponsor just got their money’s worth. However, almost no one else will be hauling that amount of gear around, so the oil advice may not apply, yes?


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