I've got a 30 day trip coming up starting on June 4th up to Alaska and back. For those that have made the voyage or other longer trips with your Versys I was wondering what kind of mileage you saw on your tires and any modifications you made that were well worth it. Stuff like highway pegs (I've never used them) etc.
I've ridden my V650 12 hours to see how the comfort felt compared to past bikes I've owned (VStrom, Tiger 1050, MG Stelvio) and it's similar to the Tiger 1050 I had where it gets pretty uncomfortable past about 10 hours which is what I'm limiting each days ride too. In the past I've completed Iron Butt rides on the Tiger 1050 and the Stelvio but would obviously rather avoid that and take in the scenery.
My main points of discomfort were in the knees and the seat after a long day (stock, with airhawk). I'll be stopping much more than I normally do so that'll probably help with this trip, I typically cover 500-900 miles a day on cross country trips but this time it's with my dad and a friend so limiting to 500ish.
You have Iron Butt experience so you'll probably already be aware of what I'm about to suggest, but the best thing you can do for long range comfort is to get a Russell Day Long saddle
. An uncomfortable saddle can add to fatigue after a while (and thus negatively affect concentration), something you don't need on a LD motorcyle trip. I have ridden with one (on another bike) and was able to ride ride from sun up to well into the night with zero butt discomfort.
As to tires, when I used to do long distance travel on my Honda ST1100's, I followed a recommended technique of using a particular kind of long mileage, bias ply rear tire, with a normal radial front tire. The rear was a Metzler ME880 and wore like iron! Normal mileage on my bike for a rear tire was about 5500 miles, but the ME880 could go well beyond 10k. This allowed me to do a lot of mileage in one trip and not have to worry about being stuck somewhere with cords showing. Not sure if the 880 is even made anymore or if they even make it in a size that would fit the Versys. Tire technology has improved since I rode LD so maybe there is a radial tire made that gets equivalent mileage to the 880 that would fit the Versys.
Given the time of year that you'll be making this trip, another thing to seriously think about is hydration (forgive me if you already know this stuff but it might help others). The IBA has an excellent article on hot weather riding
. Even in the northern most states of the US, it can get seriously hot during the summer. HERE
is a cheap, home-made solution to the hydration problem I came up with that served me well. I only got to use it a couple of times before I had to give up LD riding but it worked great.