The Highest Honda Cub in the World.!!! After a 5 day expedition to Ojos de Salado Chile Team Honda Vs The World reaches 5706m!! The under resourced, ill equipped and barely prepared team succeeded in riding, pushing and wrestling the Honda up mountain to reach an altitude of 5706 m. Unusually deep snow for the time of year prevented us from riding higher and meant we had to haul the bike over sections to reach our altitude. Our aim when we set out was to reach an altitude higher than the highest road in the world at 5565m in Tibet.
We set out from Copiapo Chile at 384m above sea level. We loaded our bikes up with everything we needed, camping gear, food, fuel and water. The first day was extremely tough. I got two punctures in the desert in the baking heat which had us all frustrated. We eventually arrived at our first destination of Laguna Santa Rosa at 3700m for our first nights acclimatisation. An extremely beautiful lake with lots of feeding birds and flamingos.
The next day we headed off for Camp Murray at 4500m. We overnighted there and the next day rode to our base camp Camp Atacama at 5200m. This turned out to be an extremely difficult ride and we needed to push the bikes through deep sand. This 22 km drive took us the best part of 5 hours to complete, but the bike was running beautifully, I had fitted a #72 main jet and she was preforming far better than I had expected. When arrived I stripped the bike down and prepared it for the mountain. I knew it was going to extremely difficult to make our target of 5600m due to the amount of snow on the mountain and the steepness of the trail.
We spent a very cold night sleeping in out tents on the mountain. The next day I started the bike and prepared for the climb. The bike made a good first climb of around 80 vertical meters. From then on we had there was a mixture of walking, pulling and pushing the motorcycle over deep snow and riding it when ever it was possible. The bike was performing great and ran throughout.
When we were reached 5680m above we were all shattered, we were all feeling the effects of altitude. I walked ahead to check out the route. I could see its was possible to ride the next 200m distance that would take us past 5700m. I mounted up and the bike ran faultlessly dodging rocks and up and down hallows to reach our summit. We had made it!!!
We were delighted, we all agreed it was the toughest thing any of us had done. The physical exertion to move the bike at that altitude in the snow was completely draining. We spent some time verifying the altitude which read between 5706m to 5711m. The altitude is a full 141m higher than the highest road in the world at 5565m in Tibet and cements El Burrito as the highest Honda Cub ever!
Special thanks to my brother Gavin Dillon and Gordon Jackson for helping me with this delightfully pointless exercise and putting in a mammoth effort on the mountain. And thanks also to Darren Cormack and Erik Innocent for providing the GPS unit.
Sorry its been ages since I updated the blog!! I have been putting up regular updates on facebook and daily updates recently.
I have a few tales to tell about Peru and Bolivia, but I will have to back track to update you on that.
What I want to do know is fill you in on my world record altitude attempt on the Honda.
How high can a Honda cub go before it just can’t climb any further or with just won’t run? I became interested in this when I reached 5000m on the El Burrito in Peru. It was freezing cold, snowing and icey but yet the bike was still running and could have kept climbing if the grades weren’t too steep.
Frozen at 5000m
5000 m in Peru
I started doing some research and didn’t find any record set by a Honda Cub and I found out the World Record for a motorcycle was broken last year in Chile. It was set by a very well resourced international team using 550cc Husaberg with a high compression engine. They reached 6,331m. They had to cross a glacier to reach this height. You can read all about that at www.andesmotoextreme.com, it was quite grueling, they had to use ropes to pull the bike up some sections!
The record was set In Ojos de Salado, around 150 km north east of Copiapó in Chile. Ojos de Salado is the highest active volcano in South America and its sides have a relatively gentle gradient.
So I have chosen this area to make my attempt. The highest motorable road in the world is in Tibet at 5,565m. My aim is to beat this and set a new altitude record for a Honda Cub.
Any reader of this will be aware of the Honda Cub’s status in the world. It is the most iconic motorcycle in the world and holds the record for the most produced motorcycle (and vehicle) of all time having sold in excess of 60 million motorcycles! So a record should exist for it. I have applied to Guinness World Records to create a new category for the highest altitude Honda Cub.
Altitude and Risks
There are many risks associated with undertaking this. Firstly the effect of altitude on the human body. If proper acclimatisation is not carried out then there is risk of experiencing altitude sickness which can become serious plus there are risks of developing pulmonary edemas.
The reduced level of oxygen over 3000m means that ever action carried out above these height can be very physically taxing on the body. Any time spent over 5200m starts to weaken the body. Nobody lives above 5250m around the world.
To try an give us a good chance of making this we will be spending between two to 3 nights above 3700m.
Secondly weather conditions and the cold is going to be an issue. At these altitudes; any rain or snow and things can very cold very quickly.
Thirdly, actually keeping the bike running at this altitude maybe difficult. Fuel needs oxygen to burn above 5000m the air density is around 50% of sea level air density. Therefore the bike will tend to run rich as all the fuel being sucked into the engine will not be combusted thus the bike being severely down on power and it simply might not fire up up much over 5000m.
Team Honda Vs The World
To undertake this challenge I have assembled a crack team of international experts, all experts in their particular field. My brother Gavin Dillon and Gordon Jackson. Gavin’s is in charge of opening tight jars and tying ropes. Gordon is in charge of eating stuff and lifting heavy things. I’m in charge of balancing pineapples on my head and making the bike go.
The Expert Team
But seriously, Gavin is a trained crane operator and rigger and Gordon is a trained firefighter and first responder, he is also a stripper (though I’m not sure how that skill might come in useful on the side of the volcano).
I have been busy the last few days applying for permits to climb the mountain, I have put a lot of thought into the safety aspects of this as obviously it will be a risky undertaking. I will have my SPOT Connect GPS messanger with me also, I can send SOS and Assist Messages from this device. The messages are received by an international operations room who co-ordinate a rescue attempt with local emergency services.
I have changed the front sprocket from and 15 tooth to a 13 tooth sprocket. I have also changed the rear sprocket from a 39 tooth to a 45 tooth. This should give me some great climbing ability. I will not touch the carb apart form opening out the air screw. The needle is already in its lowest position. I have got a smaller main jet which I may use if i cant get the bike going at high altitude.
I have also taken the clutch apart and cleaned the clutch plates to make sure they have good binding. As a trial run I stripped the bike down to the form it will be used on the mountain and relocated the back box. This will be put back to the old configuration for the ride out there to carry all the equipment and supplies and then put into ‘mountain mode’ again at Camp Murray.
We have no support vehicle so we have to carry everything with us on the bikes. Enough food, water and gas for 6 days, plus our camping and cooking gear and spare clothes.
I’ve managed to get my hands on 2 GPS’s a Garmin eTrex 20 and a Garmin Colorado 400t. Thanks Omar and our buddy Darren from Darren&Eric otherwise know as Derik.
A little clutch inspection..
Day 1-2- Copiapo to Luguna Santa Rosa – Depart on Monday 28th January.
We will leave Copiapo and drive 120 km to Laugna Santa Rosa (3700m above sea level). We will stay there over night to acclimatise, do a spot of exploring and maybe some fishing. Here we will check over our gear and make any modifications to the bike. The bike will be stripped of everything unnecessary to lighten the load.
Laguna Santa Rosa
Day 2-3 We will make our move to Camp Murray. Camp Murray is located at 4500m. We will over night there and prepare for a difficult day the next day
Day 3-5 Ojos de Salado
These 2 days will be spent on the mountain side trying to bring the bike as high as it can go. Depending on our progress the bike may have to be abandoned on the side of the mountain over night and another crack made at it the next day.
Ojos de Salado
Time to make our way down the mountain. Hopefully sucessful with a new World Record under our belts!!. We may over night again at Laguna Santa Rosa on the way back.
You can keep and eye on our progress on the the “Where’s Seán?” button on the website. The SPOT device will track us a update the map every time a location is sent I will also be able to post short messages on Facebook from SPOT GPS devise.. how cool is that eh?
Hopefully the next time I write here we’ll have be the holder of a new World Record for this recording breaking bike!!!