What started as “luxury” items for my North to South America trip turned into essentials. With 27,000+ miles completed, I am ready to begin the next portion of my trip across the world without fear of failure or injury.
In March 2016 I decided to embark on an ambitious solo motorcycle trip from the United States down to the end of South America and back. A trip of this magnitude requires a lot of planning, research, and gear in order to be successful. With the logistics and budget solved for the trip, I only needed to outfit my Kawasaki KLR 650 to be ready for every possible environment. During the trip I wanted to explore the unknown, to leave the tourist trail and discover the true culture and daily life of each country.
To remain budget conscious, I created an essentials and luxury item list. Essentials would be purchased regardless, whereas the luxury items would be nice to have but could be discarded to save money. Three items from Tucker Rocky Distributing were on the latter list that, without them, my trip could have possibly had a more dangerous and less adventurous outcome.
IMS ADV II Pegs
The stock foot pegs for the KLR are basic small rubber pegs with a metal extension for cornering. While effective on the street, once you hit rough or wet terrain you risk slipping off or struggling to properly distribute weight. The IMS ADV II foot pegs fit my preference for a large platform for my feet. This has given me secure grip through sand, mud, and rivers without becoming uncomfortable on long highway rides. While standing, there is no concern of slipping off when navigating over rough terrain. These footpegs have increased my confidence when standing, which overall have increased my riding ability and have likely prevented me from dropping the bike. They install easily into the stock peg location and provide a true adventure-ready look.
Quadboss Pod Lights
Driving at night in foreign lands can be extremely dangerous. While pod lights such as Tucker Rocky’s Quad Boss are typically used for nighttime travel, I have found them more valuable during the daytime as 95% of my travel time is during the day. These bright lights act as a beacon for oncoming traffic to clearly see my motorcycle, regardless of the bright scenery behind me. In countries where it is common for drivers to constantly overtake cars in dangerous road conditions, even around blind corners, being seen is the utmost importance. As expected, these lights turn night into day when required. The installation was easy as I integrated them into my engine guards and the amp consumption is extremely low. They are also extremely durable after having seen several, direct, impacts with the hard terrain.
IMS 10gal Tank Upgrade
My desire to see the remote areas of a country brought a large concern for fuel. In remote areas there might not be any fuel or if there is it could be very poor quality. Additionally, with all of my gear my overall MPG was reduced. I considered bringing a spare container to carry fuel, but then that would require an additional mount location and risk of theft. IMS resolved this with their 10 gallon tank. The stock gas tank for a KLR 650 is 6.1 gallons, in which the tank from Tucker Rocky extends the range by 3.9 gallons. With a full tank I can manage 400+ miles before running out of fuel (on average the reserve tank is used after 340 miles). The design of the tank does not alter the airflow and the plastic is highly durable. The installation process was easy with the detailed instructions provided. I was initially concerned about the extra fuel weight in the front effecting my balance, but IMS designed the tank to properly distribute weight so that no significant change was noticed.
The extra fuel proved its worth as I headed into the vast unknown throughout the Andes Mountains and the remote lands of Argentina. Fuel was never a concern for me, therefore my path was never restricted. Another perk from the upgrade was the conversations the large clear tank initiated. Police checkpoints, gas stations, and simply parking on the street brought questions from the locals as to how large the tank was and that you could see the amount left. A quick ice breaker that helped me interact with the locals and quite possibly get out of any issues with the police.
With my time coming to an end in South America I have my eyes set on crossing from Europe to Asia without any concerns having these products. They have proven their worth and leave me confident that they will continue to throughout the empty mountain ranges of the middle east and beyond. My current success can easily be credited to these “luxury” items, which are now essential.