So obviously, we’re going to want to carry some luggage. We also kinda want to avoid breaking down if we can help it. There’s only one thing for it – To The Batcave! I mean garage.
First things first, we needed to give the bikes a service. Sure, they’ve only got a few hundred miles on the clocks, but I doubt either of them has seen much maintenance in their lives. This means a good check over, an oil change, some fresh plugs and a whole load of preventative work.
Fortunately, the Monkey Bike community is amazing and we’ve had lots of great advice on Facebook from the UK Monkey Bikers group. Apparently one of the big risks with these little engines on long journeys is that they overheat quite easily, so we’re adding oil coolers (thanks, OORacing!) We’re also fitting magnets inside the engine to catch stray metal particles and obviously, we’re planning on regular oil changes out on the road.
Claire’s bike wasn’t running right and we traced it to a dodgy throttle cable keeping her tickover a bit erratic, so another job today was to sort that. By the end of the day, both bikes were running a whole load better and we reckon it’s time for some more testing.
At the same time as Claire was wrenching, I was making a start with the racks. Daxes were never designed to carry more than a spare pair of swimming trunks and a couple if cans of beer, so we need to fabricate some one-off racks front and rear to carry all our gear. We’re not taking much, which is a bit of luck because there’s next to no room. The design I came up with looks like it’ll be good for some small rear panniers and a dry bag on the back. The design process worked largely like this: Think of something, make it in cardboard and if it’s good, cut and weld some metal:
I learned to Tig weld at night school when I was university and although I’m no artist, I can make nice strong joints in steel. Our racks don’t have to be pretty, they just have to be tough.
An advantage of steel racks over aluminium or anything else is that if we should bust, bend or otherwise damage them, wherever you go in the world, you can usually find someone with a big hammer and a stick welder.
We’re at it again tomorrow – hopefully, the second rack should come together a bit easier than the first. I’m going to make some attachments for Sigg bottles to hold a bit of spare fuel, too. After that, we have to come up with a design for a front rack and I think that might end up involving one or two unorthodox and expedient components…