4 posts in this topic
By Eric Hall
Yet another great event! Dennis and I are on our way back now.
All my pics and video are on separate cameras so you'll have to wait for all that.
New venue of Gold Point truly rocked. Wine Ridge RV resort was nice but wasn't an experience. Gold Point was an experience.
Tracks dried out in just two weeks and were MUCH drier which means more deep sand. Great for a challenge but the scenic riders got more than they bargained for.
Weather was perfect.
Minimal injuries so that is good.
What do others think?
I have been using AltRider Hemisphere Soft Panniers for 3 months now and it is time for a quick review.
I have always been a fan of soft luggage for off road use for the simple facts that it holds gear more securely on rough roads and is more forgiving and less painful when its laying on top of me when I run out of talent. My first impression of the Hemisphere Soft Panniers was that they were a very simple design. They don't have a dozen straps dangling from all sides of the luggage which is great when loading and unloading my gear.
One requirement for the Hemisphere Soft Panniers is a hard rack, so I decided to install a Tusk Rack which worked perfectly with the Hemisphere Soft Panniers. The hook and loop attachment is about as simple and easy as it gets to attach the bags to the rack.
The second point of attachment is from the front of the panniers to the foot pegs.
The third point of attachment is to the back of the tail rack.
These three points of attachment hold the bags securely and at no point during my riding did I feel things shifting or bouncing around on the bike.
The roll top waterproof main compartments, separate, lower rear loading compartments, and the included top mount dry bag provide plenty of room to carry all of my camp gear on multi day adventures and compresses down small enough to hold less gear for day trips.
Here is a photo of the left side with the removable dry bag.
The dry bag is seam taped and kept all of my gear dry during my last trip to Death Valley. I decided to ride Death Valley on what was the wettest weekend of the year.
Warm Springs in the Rain
The two lower compartments include roll top dry bags to carry heavier items low for a better center of gravity. I used the right side for tools and used the left side for water and camera gear.
This is a photo of the included dry bag for the top of the rack.
Many of my rides are well over 200 miles between gas stations and I carry a RotoPax. I was concerned that the RotoPax would not work and was pleasantly surprised to see that the RotoPax was held securely with one of the provided tie downs. No shifting at all! There are two tie downs included to securely hold the dry bag or any other gear you will want to carry.
One issue with the Hemisphere Soft Panniers is that the design covers the pillion/passenger area including the passengers handles. I would guess that half of my rides are spent with my wife, Brandy, on the back of my bike so I had to make one modification and add handles to the luggage. I don't necessarily want to recommend this to other 2Up riders, however it worked out great for Brandy and my riding style. Brandy wraps her arms around my waist in all technical or fast sections of trail and she uses the handles while on the highway or flat non technical sections of road and trail. I used four screw links and two "dog bones" that are used for rock climbing quick draws to build the handles.
Please click on this link to be directed to AltRiders website for all the technical specifications and AltRider videos on the Hemispere Soft Panniers:
I hope that you enjoyed my review!
Brandy and Jesse "GeoMoto" Kimball are avid adventure riders and organize the Flying Monkey Adventure Rally every October in Southern Utah.
By Eric Hall
"Taste of Dakar" began back in 2012 when AltRider decided they wanted to do a couple of things. One was establish a relationship with the riding community through a destination type event. The other was to literally give riders a taste of what riding the Dakar rally might look like. Now of course the Dakar is run by professionals on custom designed 450cc rally bikes over severe terrain in stages that are sometimes 1,000 km or longer. This was designed to be more for the weekend adventure bike rider and has levels of difficulty depending on what type of rider you are (A, B, C).
The first was held at Shoshone RV park in Shoshone, CA. This was really more of an experiment and it's clear AltRider has learned much because each event has been better than the one before.
Here's a video from that first one.
I got my tracks jacked up because my 60 CSx won't handle tracks of over 500 points so it truncated most of the "intermediate" tracks I wanted to ride and I think I ended up routing us on one of the advanced sections because it was a very long and loose sand wash. Luckily, Jimmy Lewis rode by and showed us an easier way out and we finished without too much trouble.
The 2013 event was moved over to Pahrump, NV to the Lakeside RV resort. This wasn't really ideal since there was only one shower and the ducks from the lake crapped everywhere and were quacking all night long. It got really cold too, like 25 degrees. The tracks seemed better this year, at least the intermediate ones I rode. They asked me if I'd let two journalists ride in my group and I said "sure as long as they can ride." They could ride for sure! The highlight was ending at Big Dune and riding my 600 lb pig in dunes for the first time ever AND... with none other than Johnny Campbell and Jimmy Lewis. I thought I had died and gone to heaven!
But this ride report is for the 2014 Taste of Dakar. In so many ways this event exceeded the prior two. For one, they held it at the Wine Ridge RV resort, which has MANY hot showers as well as a jacuzzi, laundry, car wash, wi-fi, etc... The tracks were AMAZING. And of course the weather was a treat; we had a major rain/snow storm blow through that actually made for epic desert riding conditions.
Since the event, this video by Ride of My Life's Brad Barker, has really taken the event to mythical status.
I rode up on Thursday with Rich and we had planned to ride the day before. We ended up riding the intermediate tracks in reverse order (no big deal really) but in the afternoon, the storm really intensified and we got caught in a flash flood and for a while, it was a bit dicey exactly how we would get ourselves out of that area...