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Sundown STX Motard: back to Kalunga land

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After visiting the land of Kalunga for the first time at the end of July/2009 I decided that I would return there as soon as possible.  One month after my trip I sent by Express Mail a pack to my friends at Kalunga community of Engenho II; within this pack there were some T-shirts, caps and photos I was sending to them.  Unfortunately they were not notified about the pack (that was sent with the note: To Be Collected by the Receiver), and after one month the Mail (Correios) delivered the pack to my door.  Since then I decided that I would deliver the pack personally, and so I did it.

Photo session by the roadside Goiânia - Anápolis - GO road.                     Photo session by the roadside Goiânia - Anápolis - GO road.

I firmly decided to return to the fantastic land of Kalunga; this way I could face again a top trip with my Sundown STX Motard, and I could deliver personally the pack that came back to my hands.

This time I would have Theresa with me.  We organized our belongings trying to take the least we could, meaning by that some clothes, photographic cameras and things to be delivered to our Kalunga friends.  I protected the tail of my bike with two pieces of foam, and over them I attached firmly two bags.  The whole extension of the seat was made available to us seat.  Instead of attaching the bags longitudinally over the seat as I usually do, this time I did it transversally.

Photo taken at Jerivá II restaurant - Abadiânia - GO.

We left Goiânia - GO by 07:30 AM on the 07/05/2010 heading to Brasília - D.F., beginning then our trip to Cavalcante - GO - at a distance of 530 km from Goiânia - GO.  From Cavalcante - GO to the community of Engenho II there are 28 km of gravel road (sand banks, gravel and dust, some creek crossing, etc.) along the beautiful mountains and hills of the region.  The panoramic view is superb, and travelling by this road makes a motorcycle trip totally pleasant and thrilling.

Uphill towards the Kalunga land.                     Panoramic view close to the Nova Aurora lookout.

The first leg of this trip, up to Cavalcante - GO was done with tranquility, the weather was stable and warm, but not hot and the performance of my bike was excellent.  However, I noticed that the chain drive was noisy and too just.  I lubricated it before the trip, and during it, but even in this way I became afraid of a broken chain drive.  This time I was carrying a pillion passenger (Theresa) and the bike's mileage was nearly totalling the 20.000 km mark.

Magnificent view from the Nova Aurora lookout.                    Theresa, Andrelina with the baby and Joelson.

It is worth mentioning that the chain drive (still the original) became too just after the sprocket change (I went from the original 12 teeth to the 14 teeth size, with an increased diameter that made the original clearance disappear).  Consequently the chain drive began to work just since then, which produced more tension and a premature waste of the chain drive bearings.  Later on, at the end of this trip, my fear turn reality: the chain drive broke apart.

Theresa at the window of the adobe house of Joelson and family.

This return to the fantastic land of Kalunga is the beginning of great trips I intend to do this year; my intention is to commemorate in great style my 40 Years of Motorcycling, achieved this month of May/2010.

I liked the performance of my motorcycle, this time carrying not only myself but Theresa as well.  This trip totalled 1.118 km - from which 56 km on gravel road.  Considering the small size of my bike's engine - only 200cc - I can say that the overall performance of my bike was excellent.  I achieved an overall consumption mark of 24 km/litre.  Specifically on the gravel road, heading to Engenho II (Kalunga community) and back to Cavalcante - GO my motorcycle achieved the mark of 29,47 km/litre (56 km ridden utilizing 1,9 litre of gasoline).

Approaching Kalunga territory

Photo session near Nova Aurora lookout.

Approaching Kalunga territory.            Photo session near Nova Aurora lookout.

The road that takes us to Kalunga land is wonderful.  A beautiful stretch of diverse scenaries allowing us to enjoy Nature at its best. Uphills and downhills, sand banks, dusty stretches of road, many creek crossings, etc.  I felt myself a priviledge motorcyclist by travelling again on those spots, principally because I could take Theresa to share that with me.  Furthermore I felt lucky for doing this trip and for being able to share all those moments with everybody that access my website.

Crystal clear creeks.  Crossing them made the trip pleasant and interesting, principally during dry season as such is the case.

Meeting again the friends of this "quilombola community" brought happiness to me; I could deliver my gifts personally to them.  They liked everything, specially the photos I took last year.  I developed them using glossy paper, and ordered a bigger than usual size.  This allowed them to enjoy better this occasion.

This time I decided to stay over the Pousada Morro Encantado.  This is a very special hotel at Cavalcante - GO.  It has beautiful and well maintained garden, a lushy natural vegetation that margin a creek, many birds, and it is located at a handy location close to the town centre.

Pousada Morro Encantado. Rustic comfort and astonishing view.                         Partial view of the restaurant.

The three days of this trip went by quickly, and Sunday afternoon (09/05/2010) we were back to Goiânia - GO.

At the last stretch of road, when arriving in Goiânia - GO, the chain drive broke apart and I had to stop my bike by the roadside.  I called my brother, and he came to give me assistance with his pick-up, we put the bike at the pick-up trunk and came home.  Next day I took it to the Sundown dealer Moto Limongi.

As the bike would be serviced over a period I decided to do some maintenance on it: I bought a new rear tire, and I took out the whole exhaust in order to sandblast it and to paint it with the original matt black colour.  The stainless steel end was taken off, and I bought new rivets in order to fix it prior to assembling the exhaust in its place again.

André (the mechanic that take care of my bike currently) observed something strange concerning the alignment of my bike's back wheel, and found out that the swingarm was cracked inside.  Exactly at the curved section of it, internally.  The factory warranty was claimed, and fortunately they honoured it.  In my view this has everything to do with quality of material and production methods used to produce this part (in China).

Blue sky and peace of mind.                             Minutes before leaving Cavalcante - GO heading to Goiânia - GO.

This breakage of the swingarm, fact that has been reported many times here in Brazil (for the STX and STX Motard models) made me think about newcomers and the motorcycle market in general.  Forty years ago when I bought my cherished Yamaha YF5 the Japanese motorcycles were beginning to conquer their space.  Despite "riding to the bone" my little 50cc I never had any major problem as I already had with my Motard.  In spite of that I think that the Chinese motorcycles are evolving fast, the quality standard is improving accordingly and soon we will trust them more.  As I am a very experienced rider, and as I take care of my bike properly it wouldn't be expected to have this sort of problems, as I have been eventually having with my Sundown STX Motard.

Anyway, my Sundown STX Motard is having a very reasonable performance if we take in account its small size engine (200cc), and if we consider the cost x benefit ratio we can say that it has been performing well overall.  Principally if considering that it has clocked 20.000 km in two years.

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