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OT-Want to ride Dakar? - Here's how you need to prep your bike

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I was in Nouakchott, Mauritania in '93 and got to see the guys in the Paris/Dakar come through there on their way to Dakar...Last stretch was down the beach...I headed out into the desert and found where they were stopping...It was really wierd...Out in the middle of nothing but sand dunes and all of a sudden support vehicles, a helicopter, etc. The Paris/Dakar bikes are custom built monsters. Humongous aluminum tanks...Very large motors (650+)...The bikes look to weigh in the 300 to 400 lb. range easily...GPS was still pretty new at the time...The only GPS I had available was a Sony Pyxis but it was huge and had no mapping so I never used it. I got very good at navigating using just a compass and my trip meter and a few times just relying on the position of the sun to get me going in the right direction...If really lost I just needed to head due West and eventually I would hit the coast (but that was if you had enough petrol)...BIG TANKS are requisite for that type of riding...No poser 2 gallon tanks there...

That place was the best riding I have ever done...Nothing like riding in the desert/sand dunes in a sandstorm and not being able to tell where the horizon is...I always carried a compass and two canteens of water every time I rode. I also carried a space blanket for shade should I have broken down (Luckily never did) as there is absolutely no shade whatsoever.

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Lage displacement will get you to the beach more quickly, but not necessary to finish the race.

In the 2000 Dakar Rallye, French rider, Louis Ramel piloted a Suzuki DR350. He finished 81st in the final stage of the race and 62nd overall.

That same year, Italian rider, Alessandro Balsotti also rode a DR350, finishing the final stage 92nd and 81st overall.

I believe BMW rider turned car driver, Andrea Meyer also rode a DR350 at one point, also successfully completing the 10,000 kilometer run.

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I would love competing in the Dakar, I watch it every year on TV. I think it's one hell of a race but if you compete it will change your life ! Lots of riders have competed on XR400's as well and I'm sure I saw a couple of DRZ 400's two years ago. There was a French guy who did very well on the YZF 2-wheel drive bike last year, he even won a couple of stages. I'd rather ride a smaller bike than a huge 1000V-twin 😢

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Whew! I don't know about those 1000cc V-Twins. Pretty big Monster Camels if you ask me. 😢 Prior to riding the DRZ I was on the KTM 620 Adventure and before that, Yamaha's XTZ750 Super Tenere, 750cc parallel twin. This was Yamaha's civilian version of their championship XTZ Dakar machine, piloted by Stephan Peterhansel.

After nearly 10 years, some folks over in Germany still have my photos online 😢

wheelie.jpg

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