Feb 18, 2022
7 mins read
Tim here... so expect less poetic words than you're used to with Marisa, and more pictures of the motorcycle!
The mighty KTM on our 'Maiden Voyage' long before she was knighted with her 1st sticker
Things have definitely changed since the day we bought our 1190 way back in 2013 as we daydreamed about traveling the world.
As with most things, it was a learning process. Our original set up was... rather interesting to say the least. Our luggage, the way it was packed, as well as our gear, all failed the initial test as we roamed around the Rocky Mountains. But the three things that still seemed eager and willing to travel the world were Marisa, myself, and the mighty KTM 1190.
This post is our way of saying goodbye to the third member of Notier's Frontiers, and consists of some of our favorite memories as we meandered around 3 continents, over 4 years, while raking up over 85k hard miles that the motorcycle (mostly) took with stride.
To prepare both man and machine for what was to come, I took an off-road class at D.A.R.T. (Dragoo Adventure Rider Training) where I learned invaluable lessons that we would carry with us over the course of the next 4 years. I am so thankful that I learned the basics and some intermediate technics as they got us out of some pretty nasty situations where I was able to dig into my 'toolbox' of knowledge.
The first time we meandered down aggressive dirt was in New Mexico, where Marisa wasn't exactly 'comfortable' as I zipped down gravel and sandy roads. It took another year and a half for her to relax and to not completely freak out. But she ended up coming around, and even now urges me to take the path less traveled.
It was nice to know that as my skill level grew, and Marisa got more confident as a pillion, the KTM was always ready to take it to the next level of adventure riding.
Once we entered Central America, we knew that we were in it for the long-haul. The trio that was Marisa, the bike, and myself, had passed multiple tests. We had lived together in tighter quarters than members of the Navy on a submarine, and somehow, we still felt the urge to push forward.
The motorcycle had experienced a few bad days, as well as its riders, but we were a team, and were an unstoppable force that knew how lucky we were to be doing what we loved.
After Central America, we put the bike on a small sailboat, and crossed the Caribbean Sea from Panama to Colombia. Now we were in a brand new land, and a continent that held more wonders than we could have ever imagined.
The KTM, now dubbed 'Pegasus' was preforming nearly flawlessly as we continued to explore South America.
We were able to travel to remote villages, through landslide-ridden muddy backroads, all while smiling the entire way.
Then... we did something wonderfully stupid. The Bolivian Salt Flats were a dream landscape to ride on when wet. But maybe not the smartest idea as that was the first time I unintentionally messed the bike up. Salt is the destroyer of all things electrical, and our KTM had plenty of electronic gizmos that all fed into the CPU of the motorcycle.
During our ride on the salt flats, the kickstand sensor was corrupted by the watery salt. It wasn't anything that we weren't able to figure out within a few days, but I still think that salty ride may have led to even more problems further down the road.
Me trying to figure out why the bike was overheating in the middle of a mountain pass.
But the motorcycle still chugged along. It successfully got us to the tip of South America where we celebrated an achievement that we had only dreamed of a few years prior.
Most of the hard work and abuse was put solely on the 1190, but it absorbed everything that I threw at it, and didn't seem to complain much.
That is Marisa 'jumping' in joy, nearly 6 inches off of the ground.
After our South American adventure, we headed back to the States, and got married! And we treated the bike to a spa day at the mechanic where we replaced nearly every bearing, fluid, and scrubbed every electrical connection clean before assembling it back together.
Then we launched the three of us to Africa!
The KTM seemed to be healthy again, but in Namibia, we snapped the monoshock (for the second time). The first time we had snapped the monoshock was back in Ecuador. This time around, the corrugated sandy roads seemed too much as loaded as we were.
One fault that I knew of on Pegasus was her monoshock. It was proving to be her achilles heel. On most motorcycles, the spring and valves can be upgraded. The KTM 1190R, for example, has a much more heavy duty suspension, and one that can be modified. Unluckily for us, the standard KTM did not have an aftermarket 'beefier' spring and valve replacement.
I began to sometimes wish that we had bought an 'R'.
With a new spring, we pushed forward further up the African continent. We still had the same sense of wonder as the very first day we took off from our home in Chicago.
We camped in the most remote places that reminded us of the seclusion one could find in South America. Vast open landscapes filled with picturesque mountains and valleys. Sometimes we would be woken up by curious tribesmen who saw Pegasus and were blown away by the achievements that she had done. Carrying two people around the world is no small task.
The last foreign soil that her tires dug into was in Kenya. But just like in South America, she was in need of some TLC once again. Our road had ended on the African continent due to the pandemic, so we flew home to see friends, family, and to hit up some of the Overland Expos back in the States.
We were having an amazing time, but the bike was continuing to have more problems as we crossed the States.
Sadly, when we returned home, I knew that I would be retiring the old girl after years of faithful service. I have had her for 8 years, four of them were on the road. With over 85k miles she has served her duty. The cost to repair just about everything on her was nearing 7k, and that would still leave us with a frame and subcomponents with 85k miles on them.
I began to ponder once again about the KTM 1190 R that I knew had a better suspension, and if there were any good deals with low milage in the surrounding area. I knew that a new shiny 1190R would run us around $10-11k, a huge dent in our budget, but hopefully the last investment into a motorcycle that would more confidently get us to Mongolia.
And I think I may have found one...
So, I honorably discharge Pegasus from active duty. Let us all wish her well, or what is left of her, after I scrap her for parts and strip her of all the farkles. She has been a reliable steed, and even though she has given us grief in moments, I believe she held up just as good, or better, than any of the competition. That fact alone is why I want to stay with KTM. I know that I can take it to the ends of the Earth.
If you want to help contribute to pushing us further down the road, there are a few ways that you can do so! Kinda like an NPR Pledge Drive... but in this case, NPR stands for 'Notiers Phenomenal Ride'.
The simplest way would be to travel along side us in any of the three books that I have written that are all available on Amazon by clicking here.
You can also join our Patreon Page and get early access to all of our videos as we meander around the world!
Or, if you're feeling generous, you can donate to our adventure via PayPal or buy us a tank of gas via paypalme/notiersfrontiers or buymeacoffee.com/NotierFrontiers.
Marisa and I are thankful for all of the support. And hope that everyone enjoys the ride reports and videos that we post as we continue our passion.
Marisa and I know that the life we have chosen is our financial responsibility. We don't expect to have our journey completely paid for by our following, but for those of you who would like to contribute, we are forever grateful!
Cheers to what is still to come!! To NEW FRONTIERS!