Day 139 – Medellin, CO to Cali, CO

Day 139 – Medellin, CO to Cali, CO      01/07/11      Mileage: 266

Today was a transit day down to Cali and half of that road I had already ridden, so it was not a super exciting day. So after chatting with Albert over coffee and saying goodbye to his attractive staff, I hit the road.

The one exiting thing today was getting to try out the new Ricor suspension parts with the bike loaded up. As expected, the suspension is way better than stock! First off, the ass end of the bike now sits up where it’s supposed to instead of sagging like it was. The next thing I noticed is that the bike felt 100 lbs lighter, partly I’m sure due to the steering head angle now being back where it should be because the back end is up where it’s supposed to be. A problem I noticed with the stock KLR shock is that the rear end bounced around and lost contact with the ground under power over bumps. Now, when I gas it over rough sections of road, the rear tire remains planted and hooked up with the road… and does not bounce around…amazing! This is all just on pavement…I can’t wait to get it off-road! OK granted, the KLR’s stock suspension is not very sophisticated, but holy crap what a difference! So I knew that the Ricor shock would be a substantial improvement over the squishy stock unit, but I was shocked (pardon the pun) at how well the Intiminator inertia valves improved the front forks. For adventure travel, I didn’t really have a problem with the front forks and I think they are adequate for the job at hand. However, the stock forks have three weaknesses in my opinion, they dive a lot under braking, do not absorb square edge bumps well and loose contact with the road over chattery sections of road because they can’t react fast enough. All of those problems were mostly eliminated with the Ricor Intiminators. They use 5 weight oil, much lighter than the stock oil, so the forks feel much more lively and are faster to react. When braking, the Intiminator valve remains closed limiting the front end dive. When the wheel hits a bump, the valve opens allowing the fork to compress much faster to absorb the bump. I know a tiny bit about inertia valves as the rear suspension of my Stumpjumper mountain bike also has an inertia valve they call “the Brain”, and I know how well that works! I’m looking forward to really testing the Ricor parts back in the dirt where it counts! Also, just for the record, this is my honest no BS assessment of the Ricor parts, sponsorship aside.

Now, for the not so shameless plug:

So, I rolled into Cali shortly after dark and found the Casa Blanca hostel, popular with overland biker as they have secure parking 2 doors down. After dropping my gear, I went out for quick dinner before calling it a night.