Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Finding Diego

Before we head out of Quito there is one more thing to do. A rather big job on the bike that I have been postponing since Central America. My suspension is in dire need of an overhaul. Our friend David recommended a guy named Diego a while ago, so we set out to find them. The way to get in touch with him seems to be via Freedom Bike Rental in Quito. The lady at Freedom is very nice to us and upon asking for Diego she leads us to the back and introduces us. I ask Diego whether he can overhaul my shock and if it is ok if I do my front suspension myself. The oil seal has been leaking for a while now. He thinks for a second and then agrees but mentions a rather steep price. I did not expect to spend that much but with it being our last opportunity before we hit the dirt roads in Peru I agree. The problem is that he will only have time two days from now. Well, so be it.

We walk out and look at each other. We both have a weird feeling about this. David had been raving about this guy. "The nicest and most helpful suspension technician in Ecuador", he had said. This guy was cold and not in the least interested in our journey or even our bikes. He didn't even look at what shock I was running before he agreed to do the job. Is this the right Diego?

The next evening Azure logs into Facebook and has a new friend request. Diego Salvador... NO WAY! and he works for RaceTech Ecuador. How is it possible. This is the guy we have been looking for! How big are the chances that the day before I am about to have the wrong Diego work on a crucial part of my bike, the right Diego gets in touch with Azure? 

The next day we ride out to meet the real Diego and find him in a clean and organized shop, set up for suspension jobs. He welcomes 
us with a big smile on his face. Now this feels a hell of a lot better.

 Before we know it the bikes are inside the shop and we are allowed to do as much work as we want ourselves. He will only charge us for what he has to help out with. The next days are spend working on every suspending part of both bikes and riding around town on his scooters to find parts and meet his friends. 

When Diego isn't ripping around on his KTM, he weaves through traffic on this monster of a machine.
 Once the suspension part of the bikes is done, Diego insists we take them for a test ride to see if they need any final adjustments. We ride out early the next day and he guides us on a beautiful ride to Volcan Cayambe. If ever you make it to Ecuador, make sure you check out this beautiful Glacier and the stunning but challenging and dangerous road to get there.
The views just kept getting better and better as we approached Cayambe.



The Transalp refused to go any farther than this :/


The altitude took it's toll after our little hike to the glacier in moto gear.
On the way back down

The suspensions were given the OK by Diego but he had found a small puddle of oil under the bike when he had opened the shop earlier that day and my bike had been acting up on the way up to the glacier. The idle was all over the place. Azure's bike had lacked power so we had left the Transalp on the side of the road. Simply said, we weren't going anywhere, yet.

Diego and I suspected the Africa Twin's problem was in the carburetor. For the second time in just over a month it comes of the bike again. Last time I had not looked at the diaphragms because the sun was setting. What I found was very disturbing: lots of spots that were porous and an actual crack in one of them. Finding replacements within a few days was going to be very hard so I decided to fix them up with some liquid gasket maker. I let them dry overnight and the result was quite good. Let's just hope they last...

The puddle of oil came from my water pump. Obviously the oil seal had worn out. I had seen this coming so I had a spare seal with me. The seal of the pump cover was a different story. I took the Transalp to shop around for a suitable seal. No luck in the first shops. The last shop I check does not have it either. The owner however is a very creative man. He promises me that he can stretch a seal that is just not big enough and glue it in to groove of the pump. Whatever works and allows me to ride South I guess! 10 minutes later I walk out with a custom made seal for under a dollar. That is quite the difference from an original Honda part number!

Overjoyed I return to the shop and put it all back together. It worked! Great! Finally the Twin can be tested with its new seals and repaired carburetor in place. Within a few seconds the bike roars back into action and sounds better than it has for a long time. Since everything is off the bike, I decide that I should change the tire as well. Maybe everything else was playing up just so I would look at my tire and realize that it really did need to be changed. I was going to ride it as long as possible to make sure I would make it to the end of the road in Ushuaia and back to civilization on my new Metzeler Tourances that I'd been carrying since Medellin. But it wasn't worth the risk, especially in the rainy season. Azure's bike did not get much more love. We figured 4600 Meters above sea level was just all the 1989 Transalp could handle.

Diego had been a great host. We got to meet many of his friends and family. He even brought us to his Grandfather's farm in the country where we relaxed and did some work on his future homestead. He took us (read Azure) salsa dancing (because I still don't like dancing) and showed us the beautiful surroundings of Quito. 

This toast was for David, a.k.a. Junyah...
 We have like new suspensions. (And WOW what a difference that makes!!!) The bikes are in the best shape they have been in for a long time and they are ready for the rest of the continent. A big thank you to our new friend, Diego Salvador, at RaceTech Ecuador for all your help and an amazing time! We hope to see you on our way back North! 

Time to get back on the road...


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