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1Back to top Go down    Krossing the Karpathians on Sat May 20, 2017 6:18 am

jbt

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Hi there,
I'm just coming back of a trip in eastern Europe, with my K1100.
The official purpose was to take part to an european Erasmus exchange program about school counselling and guidance in Brasov, Romania.
So I turned it to a 4000 km road trip from France to the other side of Europa, 3 days to go, 5 days to stays there, 3 days to come back.
I used my faithful K1100LT to ride there. Good comfort, extreme reliability, good wheather protection, especially with the additional Komfort Spoilers I added to it, originally devoted to german police K75 and K100 fairings but easy to fit.

Starting at 123 000km, I passed the Mont Blanc tunnel then crossed northern Italia by the highway. Well, nothing intersting to say about that, the main event was refueling... eventually I reached the Friul Islands at the end of the day for the sunset on Venezia...


Day to, I pass the nearby border to Slovenia. The landscape is more intersting, pine forest and mountains.
Willingto have a coffee stop, I leave the highway by chance and discovers, in a very little village, a sign to a motorcycle museum.
Well, why not? Once inside, wow! What a broad collection of rare motorcycles! With som very rare bikes, I never expected to see in real life!


1929 Majestic!

I really was impressed by this museum...but it's time to go.
I reached Hungary at noon, then the crossed the Danube.

Hungary is quite a flat country, with long and large fields. Roads are not at the west standard, some are very bumpy.  It's spring, with smells, sun and...some showers!


Eventually, I pass the Romania border at the end of the day. I had not benn there since 2000, I'm curious about the changes that occured during this period.

Day 3;  first change, the roads are quite good. I remembered very bumpy surfaces and hazardous rides, but it improved. 600 km to ride today to reach Brasov.
But...it's my birthday, and I want to celebrate it by offering myself a ride to the Transfagarasan. Mythical pass, curly road with beatiful scenary which crosses the Carpathian Mountains. So I leave the main road and takes the direction of Fagaras.

Hmmm... it looks like It's not gonna be the dram ride I had planned. Rain and snow. I stop by the road to ask a shepherd if I could pass. "Maybe, but beware of rockslides, snow...and bears."
Nevermind.
I hit the road, even wet. I cross some cars going down, so i feel confident it should pass at the top.


In fact after few kilometers...no way.
The road is closed. Crying or Very sad 

II was consolating myself about my deception when two men on mountain bikes arrived from uphill. So I asked them if I could pass with my bike and go on to the top.
Same answer: "Well, maybe, but beware of rocks, snow...and bears! This road is opened only at July so don't expect anybody to discover you in case of..."
OK.
I inspected the left side of the barrier, found enough room (1 cm!) for the K11 to pass, with the help of some plate rocks to climb the pavement.
And let's go, I do want to pass the Transfagarasan!
Well, the cyclists were right...

Rocks:



Not strange considering how are the rocks disposed that they collapes easily on the road.
Fortunately, I had a trail-bike type rear tyre mounted on the rear wheel, a Bridgestone Trailwing, because it's the only one in the K11 dimensions that  has a radial structure and I had found that it wears much slower than diagonal tyres, commonly used to the bone after only 3000 kms on my K1100. So it coped very well with these sharp rocks I had to ride on and had no flat tyre. By the way it's long lasting propriety is also verified: after 4500km it's still perfect and lost less than 20% of it's thickness. And no difference of handling nor grip, on dry or wet surfaces.

Eventually, snow stopped me before I could reach the top.


No way to go on. Anyway I didn't feel very self assured on this kind of road, exposed to rockslides, with no insurance that anybody would pass here within 2 months.
Yet the panorama was great, and the ambiance very dark with snow and rain showers.

Bye bye Transfagarasan, you won this time...but I'll be back.
Last attack from this accursed road was sent when I attended to pass the concrete barrier the other side. In the other direction, the bike had just passed between the barrier and the pillars, but going downhill, I discovered, in balance on a 350 kg bike, stuck forwards with no reverse gear, on a wet and unstable surface just besides a deep ravine with no hope of any human help but bears blowing in my neck that the exhaust silencer was preventing me to go further and pass the other side of the barrier.
Happy birthday!

Eventually I managed to pass, trusting the grip of my front tyre on the grassy slope to gain enough room to pass.
It remembered me a day when, almost short of gas on a sea dam in Camargue, the Rhone delta to mediterranean sea, I got stuck this way between to rocks that were disposed there to prevent cars from using the track. I had a R80G/S and eventually managed to pass between, but had to remove the panniers, the rocker covers and the rockers to narrow the bike enough!

End of the day, I reach my destination, Brasov!


To be continued...

    

2Back to top Go down    Re: Krossing the Karpathians on Sat May 20, 2017 6:45 am

Chocolate

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Hello!

Sounds like a good adventure trip.
Well done and nice o see.

Thanks

Where is the Motorcycle Museum?

Cheers


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Only a few activities make me experience my senses in a way motorcycle riding does, it is like swimming in the nude in a river.
K75 BA/1992 ABS, K75 BA/1991 noABS, Ducati, Mobylette M1/1973
Pictures: Me my bike and I
    

3Back to top Go down    Re: Krossing the Karpathians on Sat May 20, 2017 8:14 am

Dai

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More! More!


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'83 K100 upgraded to K100RS spec
Others...
'78 Moto Guzzi 850-T3, '79 Moto Guzzi 850-T3 California,'93 Moto Guzzi 1100ie California,
'03 Suzuki Blandit GSF600SK3 (NFS any more because wifey has claimed it)
    

4Back to top Go down    Re: Krossing the Karpathians on Sat May 20, 2017 8:18 am

jbt

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The motorcycle museum is at Vranko, between Ljubjana and Maribor.

So , part 2.
After a week staying in Brasov, a beautiful city, unusual in Romania because of the German influence that impregnates the architecture (it was called Kronstadt before and was kind of the most oriental city of the empire), visiting some castles, fortified medieval churches and orthodox churches, a journey to Bucarest I left the city to go to the south east of Romania.

First stop in Bran, 20 km from Brasov for a souvenir picture with the famous castle of Bran, which is supposed to be " the castle of Dracula". In reality it just used to be property of Vlad Tepes, a medieval voivod who inspired Bram Stroker when writing the novel, because of the cruelty of his maneers. He's allegedly supposed to be the inventor of the pal, a revolutionnary method of execution, providing a long and diverting show in the times there was no TV.

Then, let's cross the Carpathian mountains, at least. Beautiful road into beautiful mountains at first, but who turn in Arges to be very bumpy and in very poor condition, with many holes in the tarmac. So admiring the scenary is hazardous, concentrate on the pavement only! If not, vultures are waiting for your driving mistake...


Anyway, you can't drive at high speed on these roads because they're full of animals. Wild dogs sleeping at each crossroad, waiting to run in your wheels at the last instant, flegmatic donkeys, wandering cows, stupid sheeps and jumping goats. You never get bored on that roads.


Am I in Texas here?
No, there's actually some petrol fields exploited in Romania!

At the end of the day, I reach the southern border of Romania, the Danube. On the other side, it's Serbia.
From Drobeta Turnu Severin, it's more than 100 km of costal road that follows the river, with no bridge, crossing the Portile de Fiere, a canyon that narrows in some points to only 120 meters.
Some remembrances of the roman empire can be seen here, when the emperor Trajan has conquered this area.

After a big storm, a nice sunset on the Danube closes this first day of the journey back...

    

5Back to top Go down    Re: Krossing the Karpathians on Sat May 20, 2017 9:04 am

jbt

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Next part of the trip...
Sunrise in the mists above the river:



Then I leave Romania to pass the border to Serbia, with a long and boring flat road until Beograd.

Nothing really intersting to say about. 
Just a stop in front of a local motorcycle club, but nobody to talk with.
I speak very poor serbian, the cyrillic alphabet is in use in this country, I changed no local money...so I didn't stop until I'm in Croatia for lunch.

Then highway 'till home. I just made a stop, spotting on the map that  the highway was passing 10 km from the bosnian border. And I've never been in Bosnia, so...
Just a stop and go for one more stamp on the passport, a photo souvenir and that's done.

Let's go back on the highway to Zagreb, I stayed stoic under another heavy storm crossing Slovenia, and found a shelter in the first hotel I could find in Italy. Wow, almost 900 km in the day, time to go to bed.

Last day, as poorly exciting as the first one, crossing Italy from East to West on the highway. Weather is sunny, warm, the saddle, side pannels and the tank are overheating, particularly in the traffic jams around Milano. I even had burns in my thighs, I really have to manage a fan in this area to lower the temperatude.
The end is more satisfying, discovering the Alps after Aoste and gradually climbing until the Mont Blanc tunel is quite interesting.
Once in Chamonix, I'm 100 km from home...at least.

Conclusion:
K1100LT is a wonderful bike.
I already knew that, it's my 4th one of this model, but it's the first time I'm doing such a long and intensive journey, with 700 to 900 km per day.
Despite it's respectable kilometrage, no oil consumption. I added 60 cL for 4300 km done, so it's not significative. Brillant considering the bike is approaching 130 000 km, and was paid the unreasonnable amount of 700€.
The confort is excellent. No special seat (just a simple cover to overhaul the genuine one that was cracked), and no pain in the bottom despite the fact that I'm quite heavy, near 300 pounds.
The rear shock is a Fournales, springless, only air pressure and oil. Easily adjustable, smooth, light and reliable. Perfect in other terms.
I've had some minor problems before the journey with the front fork. Frequent leaks of oil, and undertared front springs that doesn't allow the fork to use it's whole travel, because of the weight it supports.I had tried to improve it playing with additionnal springs, with no good result and eventually went with the genuine ones. Surprisingly, I never had problems of overcharge on the front fork, even when riding on very bumpy roads. Yet I'll consider changing the springs for a different charge to solve the problem.
A high speeds, I noticed that the bike is wavering a bit, especially when following a truck. I suppose that this is due to aerodynamics, perturbations due to the additionnal front spoiler and specially because of the rear top case support is loose (even if I ride with this case empty, it's quite heavy). It creates a parasite oscillation which transfers to the bike. Nothing dangerous, but when riding with the thinghs away from the tank, and considering the soft mounting of the bar and the footrests, it leads to that lack of strictness.
The trail bike rear tyre  test is a succes. Very resistant to wear, good grip, good confort and very trustful under rain. I won't change!
The main issue remains the overheating area around the seat/tank junction. Yet this bike is a swiss version, with additionnal panels that enclose the engine, internal soft coating on the side fairing panels. It keeps heat inside. I'm planning about installing computer fans to extract heat from there to the rear of the bike.

That's all for this time! Go ride!

    

6Back to top Go down    Re: Krossing the Karpathians on Sat May 20, 2017 9:45 am

Snod Blatter

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Excellent write up of an area so far away to most of us that we barely see anything written about it.

Super jealous!


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1989 K100RS SE ABS 8v  VIN: 0149214
Others: 1.5 x Honda CBX250RS-E, '94 CB250, '95 TRX850
http://justbikethings.blogspot.co.uk/
    

7Back to top Go down    Re: Krossing the Karpathians on Sat May 20, 2017 10:54 am

Born Again Eccentric

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Jbt - thank you for a fabulous ride report and some stunning pictures too.
An incredible journey across a large part of Europe. What a great experience.


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                              Paul  

"Heidi" K100LT 1991 (Grey) (VIN 0190172 Engine No. 104EB 2590 2213) - 5th owner. January 2014 (34,000 - 61,000 miles and counting....)
"Gretel" K100LT 1989 (Silver Grey) (VIN 0177324 Engine No. 104EA 2789 2211) - 4th+ owner. September 2015 (58,500miles and counting....). Cat C Insurance write-off rebuild Feb 17
"Donner" K100LT 1990 (Red)  (VIN 0178091 Engine No. 4489 2024) - 6th & final owner (crash write-off now donor bike).   June 2012 (73,000 miles) to November 2013 (89,500 miles)
    

8Back to top Go down    Re: Krossing the Karpathians on Sat May 20, 2017 11:40 am

David Nimrod

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Excellent stuff!

Brings back memories of riding through south eastern Europe, en route to Istanbul, on my old R100GS...
Thanks for posting


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What I'm out for is a good time
All the rest is Propaganda!
    

9Back to top Go down    Krossing the Karpathians on Sat May 20, 2017 7:35 pm

RT

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Great report Jbt, makes me want to grab a bike and hit the road. Thanks
RT


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Suzuki V Strom 650DL 2011. Gasp, chain driven.
    

10Back to top Go down    Re: Krossing the Karpathians on Mon May 22, 2017 4:52 am

Gaz

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Thank you very much for the report. I love nothing more than being out on the road on one of my BMWs. Just completed a weekend ride of 1050km on my R80G/S PD.

Also glad that I am not the only one using a Fournales rear shock on my K1100LT and also a radial dual sport rear tyre - like you I will be staying with using that type of tyre.

Cheers

P.S. I'd love some more detail on your bike that is in your avatar picture.


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Gaz
95 K1100LT 0232224; 90 K75 6427509; 87 R80G/S PD 6292136
    

11Back to top Go down    Re: Krossing the Karpathians on Mon May 22, 2017 4:59 am

jbt

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You're right, Gaz, I'll write a topic about my K75 GS soon. I had a pleasant ride with it yesterday, so it deserves it!

    

12Back to top Go down    Re: Krossing the Karpathians on Tue May 23, 2017 5:40 am

88

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Super journey JBT. Thanks for sharing shuck an excellent ride and writings with us. Superb machine too.


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88....May contain nuts!

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." - St. Augustine from 1600 years ago & still true!

Bike: K100LT 1988. 0172363. AKA the Bullion Brick!
Mods: k1100 screen and stands

K1100rs 1995, Remus exhaust.
    

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