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Yumbo 200 Dakar – Nicaragua Surfmoto Bike

14 Mar

 

Yumbo 200 Dakar

New Yumbo 200 parked outside Pili’s Restaurante in Hacienda Iguana

I’ve been looking for my Nicaragua surfmoto bike for awhile and finally pulled the trigger today, buying this new Yumbo 200 this afternoon.

A bit of background…I’ve been spending time in Central America for 20 years now, and have a condo on the beach in front of Panga Drops in Nicaragua. I visit Nicaragua a few times each year, and every time I end up renting expensive vehicles that can deal with the roads and accommodate my surfboards. Most of my driving is off-road, and whether off or on-road, the whole time I’m wishing I had a motorcycle.

I’ve wanted to ride my DR650e down and leave it here, but it’s a three week trip, at least, that would be followed by import tariffs that could cover the cost of buying a bike here in Nicaragua. I’ll make the ride eventually, but in the meantime, buying a bike here in Nicaragua seems the best plan.

Once that decision is made, the next fork in the road is whether to buy Japanese or Chinese (or Indian). Japanese bikes cost twice as much as Chinese, and more. They’re better, of course, both in reliability and handling, but that’s more hearsay than fact as reviews are scarce so you’re left to asking around.

Also, there are no dual sport bikes over 200cc, Japanese or otherwise. Most of the Japanese bikes are 125 or 150cc – about a fifth or less of what I’m used to riding.

I test rode a used Honda Bross 15o. It rode OK, but it had over 80,000 km on the odometer, so while it had been well-maintained, it just wasn’t a great idea. Besides, the guy wouldn’t go less than $1,600, and I could get a Yumbo 200 for $1,200.

Which I did, but not until I scoured Rivas for something that seemed more, well, better made. And what might be better handling. With these rock-strewn dirt roads, handling was most important. But you can’t test ride the new bikes, so handling would be a guess.

I looked at Dayun, Raybun and others, but mostly Serpento. Genesis was closed. They all seemed cheaply made, and I almost bought a Serpento, but the only 200 they had was a sort of supermoto, and I wanted an off-road/dual-purpose bike.

I bought the Yumbo 200 in Tola for $1,200. When I rode away two things were noticeable. First, the brakes totally sucked. Second, the forks were crooked. I returned to the shop and we straightened the forks. Maybe the brakes need breaking in.

On the ride back to Hacienda Iguana the speedometer cable detached itself, but that was the only mishap over the 14km ride.

More to come on this. Sorry for the bad photo above.

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UPDATE

Last November (2016) I sold the Yumbo back to the dealer I bought it from. It really was a spindly piece of junk, so I learned my lesson. I bought a low-kilometer, 2015 Yamaha 125XT from a friend in Hacienda Iguana and couldn’t be happier. It’s 75cc down on the Yumbo, but nothing breaks, it handles twice as well and will hold its value better, too. I sold the Yumbo for $400, a third of what I bought it for 2 years earlier, but that’s OK.

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It’s about time!

16 Oct
Cycle World Does SurfMoto

Cycle World boys try out a short surfmoto trip during the Baja 500.

I was really happy to open up my Cycle World magazine a couple of weeks ago to see their Baja surfmoto adventure. (Not so keen on the “surf and turf” theme, but whatever.) They headed down to Coyote Cal’s in Eredira and caught a bit of surf at Punta Cabra. They rode and tested new bikes – the poster boy of adventure travel bikes, the BMW R1200GS and it’s closest rival, the KTM 1100 Adventure R. No Carver racks for these boys. The BMW and KTM have enough going on that all they needed were some straps and padding – almost like strapping boards to your SUV. Go read the article here. It looks like SurfMoto is catching on.

New Ducati Scrambler? Maybe a new SurfMoto machine?

9 Jun
Ducati Scrambler 2015

A secret shot of the secret new Ducati Scrambler.

Very much looking forward to checking out this new Ducati Scrambler. It seems like they’re going back to what the Monster started out as – the simplest interpretation of a motorcycle, Ducati style. I’m hoping this will be a good one to modify into a proper surfmoto machine. But even if it’s not, it looks to be a whole lotta fun!

The Ultimate Western Hemisphere Surf Vehicle?

26 May
2005 Ford F150 surfmoto vehicle.

Is this the ultimate vehicle for a motorcycle-loving surf traveler?

 

Is this ultimate western hemisphere surf travel vehicle? In some ways, yes. Cheap, used, high-freeway-miles Ford F150.

Parts everywhere. Easy to work on, especially with 2wd and no power anything.

Only 3 people fit in the cab – 2, really. And we all know that the more people on the trip, the less surfing gets done.

Enough room in the cab for backpacks and today’s food and drink – the essentials that can’t get stolen. Enough room in the long bed for everything else, from a gaggle of mini-Simmonses to that Skip Frye 11-footer you’ve been dying to set free of the crowds. Not to mention that dirt bike. And a bicycle, too.

 

White never looks dirty, not that you care. Actually, the dirtier the better. 

Stock rims that no one will want to steal.

A chipped taillight lens, cracked windshield and 3 small dents awaiting many more.

Baja and Central America, here we come.

What a Coincidence: Not Alone

29 Aug

Getting ready for a surf somewhere between Punta Canoas and the Seven Sisters.

As it turns out, I didn’t go alone on my May/June surfmoto trip to Baja. GaryUnguided went too. I just didn’t know it until now. He rode the same bike model – Suzuki DR650 – with many of the same mods. He did a much better job, though. Like mounting spare cables for a quick fix. Anyhow, check out his trip blog here: http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/ride-tales/baja-motosurf-2012-a-64360

Great stuff!

Spot Satellite Messenger Warning

10 Jun

UPDATE – After a few conversations with Spot, they graciously decided to refund my service subscription fee. The Spot customer service people were very professional and helpful. They acknowledged there were software problems (app), and suggested I tried the latest version of the app. I declined, as I really don’t want to be testing this product. I want it to save my life. So all went well with Spot. That left me dealing with the hardware, which I had purchased at Best Buy. All I could get was store credit, which I suppose is better than nothing. So all is good. I may try the Spot Messenger. We’ll see.

 

When a product is advertised as something that could save your life, it had better work. The Spot Connect doesn’t.

Facebook Comments On Spot Messenger

I looked into Spot products on the advice of Surfline’s Sean Collins. In his article on Baja surf travel, Sean recommended the Spot Satellite GPS Messenger as a “don’t leave home without it” product. If stranded out of cell phone range, this satellite communications product would send a message to loved ones and help at the push of a button. “I need this” was my reaction.

The Spot Connect – Doesn’t work.

I went to the Spot website and learned of another product, the Spot Connect, a device that Bluetooth-links to your smartphone enabling texts and basically more functionality than the Spot Messenger. With all the testimonials and stories on their website about the rescues due to the Spot products, coupled with Surfline’s recommendation, this seemed like a no-brainer.

The Spot Messenger – Works

But I messed up. I should have researched more, in which case, I would have bought the basic product instead. The Connect doesn’t work. Whether it’s the app, the firmware, or whatever, it’s a waste of money that risks your safety. Stick with the basic product.

More on this story here at The Surfer’s Guides blog.

AFX Helmet Review

5 Jun

AFX FX-39DS Helmet Review from SurfTravelGear on Vimeo.

The AFX Dual Purpose helmet is nice and bright, for high visibility, but has a few issues.