DSMRA Taralga ADV ride
The Dual Sport Motorcycle Riders Association posted a ride calendar on Facebook and listed a ride that I had been meaning to do since buying the Himalayan from Paul. A ride that the bike had done before when Paul took the bike to Taralga and beyond. They were intending to ride from Mittagong to Taralga via the Wombeyan Caves road and back via Swallow Tail Pass and through to the Highway via the Canyonleigh Road.
I recently purchased some 3 litre auxiliary jerry cans that attach to the tank frame on the Himalayan and wanted to see how they stood up to a rough road. The SRC mounts are very well made and easy to fit https://srcadventuremoto.com.au/products/royal-enfield-himalayan-fuel-tank-mounting-brackets?variant=31633602936931
The idea is to carry one full of water for washing up when camping and the other with spare fuel.
These attach using Rotopax style holders that fit through the jerry can and have a t-bar bolt to secure them.
I also fitted the leather panniers I bought with my Classic 500 years ago from Motociclo to use as tool/spares bags.
I have a compressor and a jump starter on one side and a tube, a tyre repair kit and spare clutch and brake levers in the other.
The pillion seat rack I bought from Glen off the Himalayan Facebook group holds the tool roll and tyre levers etc.
DSMRA is a national club with branches in most states and sub branches in major cities. They run graded Enduro and Adventure/Dual Sport rides and hold an annual premier event in Canberra called the Kowen Forest Ride which attracts around 850 riders. Now that I have done my complimentary ride with them I think I will join up and try to fit in a few ADV rides in between all the other stuff I do.
So I spoke to the ride organiser Tim Clarke who happened to live in Baulkham Hills. We decided to meet at Norwest Maccas at 630am and jump onto the M7 from there. I initially intended to trailer the bike to Mittagong and save the boring 100 kilometres each way of the Hume Hwy. Riding @ 5000 rpm just sitting on 100ks on the clock (93 on the GPS) and getting passed by trucks and learners isn’t my cup of tea, but since Tim was riding a Dual Sport bike as well, a KTM 640 Adventure, he wasn’t in a hurry we decided to ride down together.
We arrived at Mittagong at about 745am and topped up fuel at the first servo in town and then headed to Maccas to meet the other riders at about 8am. There were about 9 in the group, from memory a BMW F800, BMW F650, KTM790, KTM640, KTM390, AFRICA, WRF250, HUSABERG, and the Himalayan.
After a coffee we started out and headed to Wombeyan Caves road and regrouped at the Bullio tunnel.
The road was dirt from just before the tunnel which lies at approx. 764m ASL and descends via a rough fire trail with switch back corners down a ridgeline into the valley to the Wollondilly River Ford at about 200m elevation where we stopped again to stretch the legs and get out of the heat.
We climbed up away from the river towards the caves with some more interesting and challenging terrain which was tackled standing up for most of the sections and then detoured onto Langs Rd and then back onto the Wombeyan Caves road which by then was a fast gravel road almost all the way to the Taralga Rd.
We got to Taralga at about 11am and we had lunch at the café as it was too early for the Pub Bistro.
The trip home was via Swallow Tail Pass which winds down to the Terlo River and back up through farmland along the Canyonleigh Rd to the Highway and then home.
The off road riding was a mix of low speed 2nd gear 20kmph on climbs and descents and up to 60kmph on the open fire trials and about 80kmph on gravel roads.
The Himalayan went really well in the dirt considering the extra weight I was carrying, approx. 10kg on the front and similar again on the rear. I didn’t bottom out the rear shock too badly despite some big potholes and a very soft spring. The front took some hard bumps too which didn’t seem to faze it. It was the first time riding the new Mitas E-07s on dry dirt and not mud like last time. They performed quite well and I only had a few issues mainly some lock ups due to over enthusiastic rear braking and a bit of a sketchy front on what seemed like fine power on hard pack, from time to time the dirt would build up into mounds on the road, due to cars tyres, where changing lines around corners was a little un-nerving. On the gravel they were great. I was pretty impressed that the bike kept up with the group only getting passed by a few of the bigger bikes on the straights and by some of the smaller more off-road oriented bikes on some of the uphills. It did not miss a beat.
It was a long day but worth it, If I did it again I would probably take the slow way down via the old Hume Hwy (which makes it an even longer day) or trailer the bike to Mittagong and enjoy the ride home in the truck in air conditioned comfort as the bike is just not suited to hours of freeway riding.
A great ride with a new club and a nice bunch of people.
Link to video of the ride made by Peter from DSMRA https://youtu.be/8qTscdAergU