Major service

The bike had hit 30,000KM and was in need of service. The front brake calliper dust pads were ripped, the lever grating under pressure and the face of the screws on the brake fluid box completely worn and unable to be unscrewed. Plus the engine was running rough with chugging and surging occurring under acceleration and to top it all off suspension oil was starting to leak out of the top air valves.

So, considering it was supposed to be rainy season I pulled the bike apart to get to the carburettors, which I suspected of being responsible for the rough engine performance no doubt caused by the dusty roads in Timor and the poor quality fuel from there and Indonesia.

Sure enough, the diaphragm valves of the carbies both had numerous scratch’s and the butterfly valves were sticky with carbon deposits. I prepared for my toughest maintenance job yet – disassembling and cleaning the carbies. Try as I might though, I couldn’t get past step 1 of the manual – disconnecting the brace that keeps both carbies level! Probably a good thing since you are supposed to have a special tool to make sure they are level when you reconnect them!

Rather than put everything back together and take the whole bike for service, I figured it would be better (cheaper) just to take in the parts that needed work. After several trips to Bikers community land I finally made it in with the front brake (caliper, hose and lever), carbies and translator. They were very surprised to hear of a Kawasaki KLE 500 in Japan! Turns out there would be more parts for my bike in Europe as it was only manufactured for Europe, Africa and Australia. They have been extremely helpful though and we identified enough replacement parts for the carbies and calliper to make it worthwhile, plus I will finally upgrade the brake with a new Daytona lever and steel braided hose.

Upgrade to a progressive spring for the front suspension is also in the pipeline. Should be back on the road by Septermber, just in time for Richys visit.

Golden Week Photos

The Japanese are smart. They stick almost all their public holidays into just two separate weeks of the year so you get a decent break. They call it Golden week and silver week. Unfortunately, some 100 million (no joke) other people are on holiday too and not much is open because the shop keepers are, yep – you guessed it, on holiday.

Still, despite a nasty deadline and some even nastier weather I managed to get away for a train ride around the Boso peninsular (Chiba), take a burn on the bike through the traditional buildings of Kawagoe and on to the mountains to Chichibu where I checked out the flower festival, dressed up in traditional kit and took a very nice onsen (hot spring bath). On the way home I dodged a tornado (apparently), rode through a mountain (seriously) and avoided a few thunderstorms by sitting them out in ramen shops.

Enjoy the pics.

Almost feel like a mechanic

First real service of the Bike for me on the weekend:

  • Warning light inspection and check
  • Throttle grip free-play inspection and adjustment
  • Idle speed inspection and adjustment
  • Coolant filter inspection and clean
  • Coolant inspection and replacement
  • Fuel hose, connection and tank inspection
  • Air cleaner inspection and clean
  • Brake fluid level inspection and replacement (Front & Back)
  • Fuse box inspection
  • Worn nut, seals and bolt replacement (~15 in total! One bloody bolt had to turned from an allen-key bolt into a flat head screwdriver bolt with a metal file only 10cm long)
  • Bash plate ‘straightening’

Still to go over the next 2 days of public holidays:

  • Smashed/melted rear right indicator repair / replacement – No mum I didn’t crash, girls just keep knocking it when they get on/off my bike! ūüėČ
  • Horn replacement
  • Fuel filter inspection and clean
  • Fuel line clean
  • Radiator grill inspection and clean
  • Clutch play inspection and adjustment

Still to go when I get someone organised to send me some brake pads from Australia (Any volunteers?):

  • Front and rear brake pad replacement

Things to think about:

  • When I removed the fuel tank, the manual said to disconnect 3 hoses. I could only find 2! Still baffled!
  • Coolant was clean and radiator full but coolant filter was full of black flakes… Any ideas?
  • Bike still feels like it is getting too hot even though no temperature warning light comes on.
  • Bike occasionally cuts out with the clutch still fully in when I put it into first gear for the first time… this is the most concerning, hoping that the clutch inspection will give me some hints.

Big thanks to the Sydney S&CC team who got me a Leatherman multi-tool as a parting gift. Big thanks to Maria also for replacing it when it was lost on the way to Maliana with Dad. It has been very very useful.

Moving on

I left the bike and 2,250,000 IRP with a complete stranger. All I have in return is a piece of copy paper, a ‘legal’ stamp and a promise to deliver it to Kupang in about 2 weeks.

To be fair, it is supposed to be a logistics company, but in reality it was just a nice house which advertised the services of a lawyer. It sounds bad, but in reality the transaction with Schenker in Australia was kidnd of the same, the only difference was that I know Schenker, and they had a warehouse. A big warehouse with lots of trucks coming and going.

I fly out to Denpasar on Sunday morning. Spend the day in bali and fly out to Dili on Monday morning. I’ll be starting ‘work’ immediately and will take a wk’end run to Kupang to pick up the bike and ride it back to Dili when it arrives in Kupang. If i’m lucky, it will arrive in about 3 months and it will be just in time for me to take it to Ende and ride all the way back through Indonesia.

I’m ok!

All the effort doctoring my Jetstar flight receipt was in vain. The bloody immigration officer didn’t even ask to see it this time. Can’t help but feel i was just a tad unlucky last time because the immigration officer was having a bad day.

Up and about early today but to no avail. I still don’t have transport to kupang yet and time is running out. Off to the Pelni head office now to see if they can help – they have a boat that goes but I don’t know if it will take cargo like a bike.

I know its possible because its been done before, but something tells me the ferries that operate between the islands are different to the Pelni boat.

Got the bike, leaving the country

I got the bike on Friday. No dramas. No bribes, no real difficulty. Had a lot of help from the Schenker guy in clearing the paperwork through APW. It took from about 10:30am until 3pm, including an hour break for lunch.

Rode half-way across jakarta back to jaksa without issue and without getting lost. Also rode out to the Kawasaki factory today without even a hint of a traffice problem or navigational problem. Have even found the bike much better than the local scooters for stability.

Couldn’t get the bike on a boat to Kupang and unfortuantely due to the public holiday on Thursday it appears all the immigration officers took the day off on Friday as well, so Its off to Singapore for me for a visa extension. I’ll be back to take care of the bike and fly opff to Kupang, lets hope that doesn’t take a week!

Gota go, Jetstar flight in 2hrs!

Its ok, I’ve adapted

Customs inspection went well on Wednesday. I arrived at DB Schenker office and Mr Farried who is handling my case and who happens to be a bike enthusiast took me out to the bike on his 150cc Kawasaki. It sounded horrifically tinny but it looked good.

DB Schenker, Tanjung Priok, Jakarta
When we arrived literally just around the corner (Easy walking distance) I realised that the location on my Delivery Order document of APW actually stood for Agung Public Warehouse, and that was as specific as it needed to be – because when we walked in and asked for “Motor” they all got excited and took us straight to it. No need for bay numbers or anything fancy when your goods stand out so much.

If I had of known this,¬†I would have gone straight to customs and told them the bike was ready for inspection and not bothered waiting around nearly an hour for the Schenker people, because besides doing some translating and taking me for lunch and actually being really nice people, they didn’t really help much!¬†Instead, because we were at APW already¬†I had to persuade Mr Farried and the APW people to let me go back to customs, because I wanted to make sure the customs inspector knew that I knew Mr Sofwan (his boss) and that Mr Sofwan knew that particular customs inspector was dealing with my shipment.

As it was the Schenker people, including the normal customs clearing agent (who I¬†met on Friday and still don’t trust)¬†warned me that I might be looking at about a 2 million IRP ($200 AUD) ‘Inspection fee’. I was left with no doubt that this fee was a bribe for the inspection officer. I indicated that if it ever came up it was to be referred to me immediately. My couple of hours¬†in Mr Sofwan’s office¬†had demonstrated to me that there was typically a list of charges attached to the documents in each customs folder (copies of all my documents had gone into a similar folder). These charges were reviewed and signed off by Mr Sofwan.¬†My feeling¬†is that if the charges were written down and available on an invoice or receipt of some form signed of by Mr Sofwan, then¬†I would have no real way of arguing with them. If anything was asked for that wasn’t on paper signed by Mr Sofwan, then it was a bribe and I wouldn’t be¬†paying it – i’d simply play the dumb Bule card and ask for it to be included on the paperwork to be paid later.

So, due to the messing around it was Lunch and of course nothing was going to happen for an hour. All you ppl who work 9-5 in the developed world should thank¬†capitalism that¬†banks and post offices and government buildings don’t just shut down during lunch hour – when would you ever get anything done?


After lunch we headed back to APW with our customs inspector. With¬†much excitement¬†and a crowd we headed to the bike, which seems to be in about the same condition as when I left her nearly 2 months ago (April 7th!). They then spent a lot of time taking photos and trying to scrath the engine numbers onto making tape for their files. Eventually they were happy. I made sure to mention a number of times when they took copies of my documents (again) that a folder of documetns already existed, that Mr Sofwan was my friend and he had already approved them. Seemed to go down a treat and not a single mention of ‘inspection fee’ arose. Happy with that, even if it means it just shows up later on paper! I figure if official documentation of such fees doesn’t scare them no level of protesting from me is going to get them to change anyway.


Unfortuantely, Mr Sofwan was not in the port office on Wednesday – he was out at the head office. So, it meant that due to my name dropping it appears now that nobody is prepared to stamp the Carnet and that I’ll have to get Mr Sofwan to do it himself! Not sure how that will go, but if it has helped me avoid a $200 bribe then I’m happy to wait an extra 2 days.

So, still no bike but its ok – I’ve adapted to local time now and really, another couple of days when i’ve been waiting 25 days already and my visa is about to expire is really not going to matter.

201 Posts, Still no bike…

The bike is definitely maybe available tomorrow. I have had this confirmed from other independent sources now, which helps keep my head above water.

These are the events that have been confirmed by multiple sources as having occurred to delay my bike:

  • There was a strike in the Port over the week-end
  • There has been 2 public holidays with a 3rd this week if it is not out tomorrow
  • One of the shipping¬†manifests for goods that were shipped in the same container as mine were incorrect, so the whole container was way-laid until the over-all manifest could be adjusted.
  • Singapore shipping wouldn’t release the cargo because they don’t know what a carnet visa is and thought that (temporary)¬†imports of motor vehicles to Indonesia was prohibited.

And¬†I haven’t even ridden it in a single country other than Australia yet!

Post number 199!

Been a good, productive few days.

Decided to visit the Jakarta Customs today despoite not having the notification from Schenker that the bike had been ‘Stripped’ yet. (First the container gets un-loaded, then it gets stripped).

I have nothing but good things to say about Jakarta customs at this stage, they were impressive.

I arrived about 10am, was informed I couldn’t enter because I didn’t have a collared shirt. Hotel is about an hour and $5 one way (thats a lot) taxi ride away, so shot off to the nearest market and got a shirt for $6. Its nice too.

Back to customs, its 12 noon, Friday. Everybody is at lunch and prayers. The Client Co-ordinators sit behind floor to ceiling glass panels and I could easily see when my contact – Mr Kurniawan arrived. Once he did (about 1pm, much better than the 2hrs I had to wait for Schenker) I reported to the conceirge and was taken straight to him, skipping the que (bonus!).

He was shocked that Schenker was taking that long. Because I had all the paper work he proceeded to take me up stairs and introduced me to the head of teh division that would clear the Carnet. We sat and talked with his boss intemittently over teh next 2 hrs while the whole department seemed to work on the paperwork required for my bike. 2 hrs later, everything complete except the physical inspection they give Schenker a call to see why they take so long and to arrange the physical inspection. Monday is agreed and I’m out the door with everything but one last hurdle to jump.

Thank you Indonesia Customs!

South East Asia by Harley

I ran into this Italian guy on the street in Jakarta. He has riden his Harley from Italy down through the Stans, China, Pakistan, India and then itno SEA, through Indonesia to Bali where he sips the bike to Japan and then goes home through China, Russia and Mongolia.

He had some great info on the Chinese / Pakistan border which unfortunately wasn’t promising. But what got me most was his quiet, understated nature. Then I checked out his website and was blown away by his photos, they are beautiful.

You can check out his pictures here – be patient, there are a lot so it takes a while to load.