Road trip gear... - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 07:59 AM Thread Starter
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Road trip gear...

I have some questions for you seasoned veterans out there.

I've never traveled more than 100 miles down the highway on a motorcycle before but one of the reasons I bought the Versys was to take weekend getaways and maybe trips longer than that.

What do you guys take with you on road trips? I'm looking for any suggestions - gear, tools, emergency supplies, etc. Winter is a good time to plan for this stuff. Come spring I want to be riding me bike, not thinking about riding my bike.

Thanks
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 08:49 AM
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All of my bikes are wired for a Slime air compressor, and I always carry a flat tire kit....got us home several times, cell phone, flashlight, lighter, rain gear, change of clothes, water, snack, tool kit plus a few extras....HARD, Lockable Luggage is Great, but Pricey.

I learned a long time ago, that if my pace goes from that pace to zero abruptly, mighta' been faster than I thought...skuuter

If You ride a motorcycle, I really like You, don't make a liar out of me...skuuter
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 09:24 AM
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I'm on board with skuuter. As far as getting home, a power port, a mini air compressor and a flat kit are important. Make sure you know how to plug a tire...practice on an old tire if you have one. Tools to get your front and rear wheels on and off can help if your tire is beyond repair. A credit card is useful, too.

I pack clothes in ziplock bags (2 gallon freezer bags) to keep them dry. Also lets you keep clean and dirty separate.

Food and water. Rubber gloves. First aid kit. Tire pressure gauge. Flat foot or some kind of kickstand puck. Something to write on and with. Spare fuses. Something to clean your face shield.


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 09:33 AM
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I'm on board with skuuter. As far as getting home, a power port, a mini air compressor and a flat kit are important. Make sure you know how to plug a tire...practice on an old tire if you have one. Tools to get your front and rear wheels on and off can help if your tire is beyond repair. A credit card is useful, too.

I pack clothes in ziplock bags (2 gallon freezer bags) to keep them dry. Also lets you keep clean and dirty separate.

Food and water. Rubber gloves. First aid kit. Tire pressure gauge. Flat foot or some kind of kickstand puck. Something to write on and with. Spare fuses. Something to clean your face shield.
Yep, we're still on the same page...........

I learned a long time ago, that if my pace goes from that pace to zero abruptly, mighta' been faster than I thought...skuuter

If You ride a motorcycle, I really like You, don't make a liar out of me...skuuter
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 02:55 PM
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Charly, a few things to add to the good suggestions you got above.

First, I take the same gear with me when I go on day rides as when I go on a 6 week trip. Really, there is no difference between getting stuck 300 miles from home to being stuck 3000 miles from home. You always have to have some basics:

Tire repair kit - cheap string-type kits work surprisingly well, take less space in your bags. After carrying all sort of "sophisticated" alternatives, I am back to the ~$5 ($8 if you want to splurge on a kit that has T handles ) string-type kits. As mentioned above, have some experience using it in the comfort of your own home is invaluable. I carry a small, high capacity, manual pump and now also a Slime electrical one. In reality, now that I have the Slime pump I don't really need to the hand-pump, but since it takes virtually no space, it's a useful backup.

Tools - Get familiar with your bike and what tools are required for basic maintenance. How do you take a wheel off? How to remove the fairing to get to the coolant reservoir, headlights, etc? Know how to do those things and what tools are needed. Make sure you take those with you on those trips (don't count on the Kawasaki tool kit, it's just a paperweight for most things, but you can take some useful tools out of it, or replace the not-so-useful ones with a better tool).

Riding gear - Where will you be riding? I don't remember where you live, but out here in the PNWet, you can leave your house in nice comfy temps and by the time you covered the first 80 miles be freezing across some mountain pass. Plan for the different weather conditions you'll find along the way, always assume the worst condition in the forecast will happen, not the other way around. Remember, you are not in a car, if it's 50 deg up on the mountain passes, it will feel even colder with wind chill. If you plan to ride in cold temps, consider electric gear, there is nothing that works better to keep you warm.

There are lots of options for bags, but having a lockable hard bag (be it a top case or side cases) makes your life easier when touring. It's relatively secure, keeps honest people honest (but obviously is not 100% secure, if someone wants what's in it badly enough, they'll get it, just like your car) and keeps your stuff dry (at least Givi bags do) To reduce the initial cost, I usually buy a top case and if I really need more capacity I use a pair of soft saddlebags for those trips. I can go on a 2 week trip (in summer) with just a tank bag and a top case.

Which brings me to the next related topic, packing. Pack light. It's going to be hard on your first overnight trips, but in most cases half the "stuff" you take with you is never used. If it doesn't fall into the tools/tire repair category (stuff you may carry around for years without using, but wouldn't leave behind) leave it at home next time. My wife and I rode for 6 weeks around Mexico and did it with one pair of soft saddlebags, tank-bag and a top case.

Here is my setup for a 6 day, ~4000 mile trip:



Hope this helps,

Gustavo
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Slime

Thanks guys. This is really good information. So can I use the tire sealant that comes with the Slime kit? It says "Auto" on the can. Also, what about the cigarette lighter connection? Should I just cut it off, put on some alligator clips and go directly to the battery?
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Last edited by charly; 01-05-2009 at 03:35 PM.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 05:13 PM
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this is great info to read up on as I am taking a 21 day trip down the westcoast and over to Yellowstone Park and back up into Canada and do somemore riding in Beautiful BC

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by charly View Post
Thanks guys. This is really good information. So can I use the tire sealant that comes with the Slime kit?
Charly, not that Slime pump, this one - Sport Pump. It's a lot more compact and comes with the leads to attach to your battery (comes with alligator clips too, but you are probably better off using the SAE connector). You can use sealant, but I wouldn't recommend it, unless it's an emergency, such as you can't get the puncture sealed with a string or mushroom type repair. It's a pain to clean up when you want to replace the tire, your tire changer will hate you for using it.

Gustavo

Last edited by Gustavo; 01-05-2009 at 05:36 PM.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 04:09 AM
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Ditto on just about all said so far on tools, bags, lockable topbox, etc.

A small to medium tank bag is useful too for those things you want to get to quickly, like wallet, camera, passport, maps, etc. The Oxford Lifetime range (http://www.oxprod.com) includes the humpback, which is 28L fully expanded - more than enough. Nice thing about it is that the bag zips off the base and it's a small backpack too. There are other, similar products you can consider, it just happens to be my choice.

Other benefit of a tank bag is weight distribution, specially if you plan on carrying a tent and sleeping bag. Which reminds me, keep the centre of gravity as low as possible by packing sensibly.

Clothing always leads to much debate, but here's my take:
ATGATT, without question or debate. This is what you will wear all the time in the saddle. So make sure it's suited to the climatic conditions you plan on.
Only bother with one, maybe two changes of decent clothing for the night off/out (e.g. shirt, chinos and shoes to match).
As for the rest, ride in the synthetic sports gear under your kit, plus 1/2 spare. Not sure what brands sell there, but any decent camping, cycling, canoeing, etc store will carry. These are great as they absorb sweat, don't smell, are comfy, don't chafe, take up hardly any room. Best part - wash/rinse at night and they're dry by morning.
There's no reason for your clothing and toilet bag not fit in half of 1 pannier bag. You can ride a week or a month + like this. Leaves plenty room for everything else, including the bottle of preferred amber liquid.

If you're camping, then food can be bought fresh daily otherwise visit the camping shop and pack as if you were hiking, that way you limit weight and space.

Lastly, like camping and hiking, learn to pack to keep stuff dry - nothing worse than being wet and miserable in the saddle for days on end. Ziplock bags or the stuff you buy in the camping/hiking shops work great.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 07:07 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the great advice! I'm a backpacker so maybe I can return the favor and mention some of the hiking/camping gear I use:

MSR Hubba Hubba tent - this thing looks flimsy but I've used it in West Coat rain for days on end and it's always dry. The factory footprint is a must. And MSR goes to the end of the earth to honor their warranty.

Mountain Hardwear Ultralamina 32 sleeping bag - This bag is synthetic fill but almost as warm as down. If it gets wet, it doesn't give you the grief that down does.

Patagonia down sweater - this thing is very, very light, and scrunches down to almost nothing, but is incredibly warm.

I use a 3/4 length Thermarest mattress, which is okay but I can still feel rocks and tree roots through it sometimes. For a pillow, I use a stuff sack with fleece on one side.

For clothing, davew, I agree with you when it comes to synthetic material. Cotton stays at home. I wear polyester T shirts and nylon/polyester convertible pants with zip-off legs (not on the bike, of course!). I wear hiking boots on the bike already so I can pack a pair of sandals for walking around.

As an extra, I might pack a small backpackers umbrella.

All my gear for a week, excluding food, weighs about 20 lbs., depending on how much clothing I pack. I should be able to fit it all into a 46 liter top case but I like the idea of a small tank bag for convenience.

Last edited by charly; 01-06-2009 at 07:21 AM.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 07:43 AM
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You're welcome!

You get the idea - bike touring is closer to hiking without the hard bit, plus you get to go further and faster! :-) As you gather - don't try and pack as if you're in the family SUV, it's a bike with typically only between 40 and 120 L of packing volume, depending on bags panniers, etc.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 07:56 AM Thread Starter
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Ha ha! Yeah, I know if I have the extra space I start filling it up with stuff I don't need. With a bike you always have the option of restaurant meals, groceries on the fly and checking into a room if the going gets tough. I'm hoping I don't need much more than the top case, although it will depend on how much room the emergency gear takes up.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 09:25 AM
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Most folks pack way too much stuff. Keep it simple and don't worry about planning for every possible situation. For clothes, I usually won't bring much. I stop at thrift shops or garage sales, then use them as rags to wipe off the rims, chain, etc.
If you break down on the road (very rare) someone will always stop and help you out.

Jeff in Illinois
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