Welcome to Insanity – I’m going to ride the IRON BUTT RALLY 2013!!!

I knew it for quite some months, but I was not 100 % sure if I would join until I had to pay the second half of the entrance fee this week. Yes, I was granted an entry based ‘on the discretion of the rallymaster’ aka a personal invitation for the toughest motorbike rally in the World. I was hesitating for weeks and months, but now I’m decided. I’ll be riding the mother of all long distance rallies – the Iron Butt Rally 2013 in the USA. It is an honour to be invited to this rally where the best 100 motorbikers of the world compete. On average, the task is to ride 11.000 miles in 11 days, to visit as any bonus point locations as possible, and to arrive at two checkpoints and at the finish on time. This goes beyond what I ever have experienced – I am quite used to the 24 h or 36 h rallies in Europe, but 11 days….I add some links that can explain more:

Video 1

Video 2

2011 Iron Butt Rally GPS tracking video

The start and finish will be in Pittsburgh, PA, 1st to 11th of July. I expect to have to visit Canada, Florida, California and many spots in between.

I was convinced to have to buy a new motorbike, I planned to get me a BMW R1200GS Adventure. But in the very last moment I changed my mind and I chose to compete in the ‘hopeless class’ – I will do it with my old, but trusted Honda XBR500. The reason for this last-minute change was that I discovered solutions to the biggest problems for this bike. The biggest drawbacks result in an action plan that I will have to tackle in the next weeks:

1. Get a decent protection from wind and weather

2. Lower the drain for the electrical system as the alternator has only a 170 W output.

3. Make the motorbike as comfortable as possible

The enormous advantage the XBR has over my BMW is the reliability: It never broke down during the last 327.000 km. Which bike can say that? During the last two big trips (Arabia, Africa), it did 22.000 km without any serious technical problems. The speed limits in the US are rather low so I expect to be sufficiently ‘competitive’ despite my tiny engine. There is only one big objective: arrive healthy at the finish. At the IBR 2011, only one traditional air-cooled motorbike made it to the finish (Boxer BMWs not included) the legendary Triumph Trident of John Young. I’ll have to find a solution for the heat problem as well.

I have already started to address action 1: I borrowed the huge Habermann fairing from Harri, the biggest solution I am aware of. I am busy with attaching the fairing properly to the bike – the pictures already give a first idea 🙂

Harri's Habermann 'Jumbo' fairing

Harri’s Habermann ‘Jumbo’ fairing


Enormous but slim

Enormous but slim

The fairing  model is called 'Jumbo'...

The fairing model is called ‘Jumbo’…

12 Comments on “Welcome to Insanity – I’m going to ride the IRON BUTT RALLY 2013!!!

  1. Errr – one tradtional air cooled motorcycle amde it to the finish in the IBR 2011 ……..


    But truely, I wish you all the good fortune in the world. I know how hard it is to ride a hopeless class bike in the IBR



    • Yeah, sorry, I was hesitating when I wrote it, I wasn’t aware that the Trident had a water cooling :-). It’s corrected.

  2. Great news. I will espicially follow you in Spotwalla and see how your rally progress.

  3. “Hopeless Class”… There is a certain ring to it!
    I remember the betting on Johns Trident in 2011 – “Won’t make out of the state” wasn’t it?
    Well, the XBR might just be the best choice for you, as the bike and it’s personality is so well known to you.
    Fingers crossed for all of the europeans, but anyone entering the “Hopeless Class” deserves a little extra support. Will be monitoring your preparations!


  4. Will follow you in the rally, I guess you picked the right weapon for the fight as it’s a ride you know by heart and truely believe in the ability to complete IBR2013.

    For Skye: Previously IBR attendents has had their name scrambled in spotwalla.


    • Tüv is no problem if he want it. This Jumbo fairing (made by Habermann) was 10 years at a CB 750 K0, then at a CX 500 (Gülle) and since 2004 at my last 2 XBR winterbikes . Everytime with the Examination of the TÜV.
      At the the moment I don`t need it, cause the last rusty winterbike hat a broken frame.

  5. This XBR is a trained long distance motorbike. 😉
    Bike and driver well hardened at 3 continents, visiting dubai as well as africa
    US riders: be prepared!

    • I second Johannes statement! Looking forward to reading your reports, so lively written, genuine and with heart.

      For the first stage, the preparation, good luck for the inspirations, no matter with or without TUV.

      Fortune assists the active ones!


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