Long, 2up ride, what do I need? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Question Long, 2up ride, what do I need?

So come May, and the nice weather, the GF and I plan on doing a cross country tour.
We plan on starting here (in AZ) and working our way to Chicago, with Nashville, New York, and Philladelphia being the major stopping points along the way. So a semi circle of sorts... I'd say 80 percent of the trip will be paved roads, interstates and B highways... but we will be camping out a lot as well and thus dirt and mud are to be excpected.

So my question is... what do I need? For the bike, for myself, and for the passenger?

As far as my bike, I've got one of Mike's touring windshields, just ordered the madstad bracket as well. I ordered Speedy's lowering blocks, for me and the passenger, as well as the flat foot...
The bike has comfortable protaper bars, acerbis hand guards, and heated grips...
I'm going to be getting a Shad rack, and a topbox soon... and if money finds its way to me, some hard side cases as well, if not then maybe jumbo sized soft cases...
So what am I missing? Anything vital? Any accessories that would be helpful?
I'm thinking possible a rear hugger, and a belly pan... are these worth the money?
I can't/won't be buying a Corbin seat, so maybe some of those sheep skin pads I see around... are they comfortable? Where do I find those? Or are the wooden beaded ones better?
Also... I was planning on slapping some D/S tires on the bike, but now that I'm planning this... I'm thinking some Sport Touring tires that can take very high mileage (but still hold better than the sotckers on dirt/gravel)... what shold I look for?

As far as riding gear... we will both be in full gear. From boots to helmets and every piece in between.
The girldfriend has ridden with me plenty of times... but... never for more than a few hours at once. So what kind of things should I have her do to get into proper mode?

Also... supplies.
Obviously... tent, sleeping bags, clothing for us...
what do I want to bring along for the bike?
Tire repair kit, basic tools for the bike and all the farkles on it, a gallon or so of extra gas at all times.... what else?

Anything you guys can pass along would be great, I know May is still a ways out, but I'm trying to prep early so that come time all will roll out smoothly...
also, if anyone has suggestions of places to see, spots I gotta try the grub at... etc.
Thanks, Amir.


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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 07:05 PM
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You might consider an intercom system. I would also recommend that you do a weekend getaway as a dry run. Keep close track of what you use that weekend and what you don't. Then when you get back home take everything that you didn't use and put it in the don't pack pile. Then take everything that you only used once and put that in the maybe pile. Nothing less fun than riding a 450 pound bike with 500 pounds of junk and riders on it.

Steve

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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 07:08 PM
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i wouldn't worry about the extra gas....if you stop every 100 miles for a quick break and gas you'll be fine...would suggest an extra quart of oil, and drinking water, duct tape, zip ties, extra fuses, and bungees, limit your clothing, 2 days worth is plenty, there's a laundry mat in every town, tire repair kit for sure, i would go with highway pegs, the extra place to put your feet is a godsend on long rides...airhawk cushions are a nice option...or better yet consider a rework of your stock seat..i did mine..a huge improvement and takes only a few hours of your time (check my post on reworking your stock seat).......getting back to the clothes issue...i rode from Va. to wyoming a few years back and carried 5 days worth of clothes!! i was so sick of packing and repacking all of that crap, i never took into consideration i might buy a t-shirt along the way....came back with more than i took...never again....P.S bring a swimsuit...if you stay in a hotel many have a nice hotub...great for soak after a long day of riding. i just got back from AZ in oct..you have a beautiful state...enjoy your trip and be safe
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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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ah, an intercom is a good idea...
issue is... I bought a Nady one last year, and I just plain out sucked.
Couldnt hear it at speed at all...
any recommendations on one?


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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 07:57 PM
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i've used chatterbox with good results....autocom is also nice
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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 08:18 PM
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Pack light, Amir. Start by laying out everything you think you'll want, then find a way to leave half of it behind. Less is more on a long trip. There are 2,000 WalMarts in the USA...for better or worse, you're never that far from one.

Compression bags let you mush stuff down to size. Great for reducing "fluffy" stuff like a sleeping bag, fleece jackets, etc. Akona makes a great waterproof compression bag so you could keep your stuff dry if a frog strangler soaks your bags.

If you need camping gear, shop for backpacker's equipment which is usually light and packs small.

The V has good range and a big tank for a 650. I'd pass on carrying spare gas.

A good road atlas would be on my list. I've found my zumo GPS is a great navigator, but on its own it's a lousy route planner. A Michelin atlas is spendy but a good investment. Find one that fits in your tank bag or can lay flat on a top case so you can access it easily.

If you have a GPS and can download extra POIs to the memory or a card, get a list of all the Kawasaki dealers. Look on www.zumoforums.com...it may be there along with some other cool POIs, like national parks, KOAs, etc.

In addition to a tire repair kit, I'd get a small power compressor. Those little C02 tanks only do so much. I have a Sparrow AirMan, which I like, but there are others. I've seen some ST guys take one from AutoZone remove the plastic housing to reduce the size. A compressor could serve double duty to inflate an air mattress if you carry one.

Carry tools needed to remove the wheels and know how to do it. You might consider getting an AMA membership. For $39 you get roadside assistance. https://home.ama-cycle.org/amajoin/0...?tmpnum=IJAP05 Use it once and it's paid for many times over. Don't use it and you still support the AMA.

Do something for your backsides. A stock seat will probably be torture fairly soon. I have sheepskins which help quite a bit. Rather than sink $500 into an aftermarket seat, you can get your stock seat modified. Try Spencer (http://greatdaytoride.com/Home_Page.php) who does great work. He did seats on my ST1300 ($90) and my V ($75). Does great work, one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet or do business with.

Good underwear, like Under Armour or ExOfficio Give-N-Go, will keep you comfy. Wear a pair, pack a pair. The polyester microfiber shorts dry in a few hours.

Good socks. Sidi Coolmax socks are the best for riding I've ever used. http://www.newenough.com/boots/boot_...oot_socks.html Again, wear a pair, pack a pair.

If your GF wants to ride cross country two up on a 650, you better think hard about making her your lifetime #1...women like that are hard to find.

A few squares of microfiber cloth and a spray bottle of Novus or Brillianzie or similar plastic cleaner to keep your face shields clean. I look over the windshield and don't worry as much about keeping that clean, but I like my face shield clean.

As far as your route goes, I'd stay off the interstates as much as possible. They all begin to look the same really soon, whereas the nation's byways and secondary roads have lots of distinctive characteristics. Take your time and enjoy the ride.

Carry chain lube and use it.

Have a safe trip and a great time.


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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 08:25 PM
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I think you need a second bike... but that's just my opinion. I've done it on a Concours and it was a LOAD!

Jeff in Illinois
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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-19-2009, 08:32 PM
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Amir,

I only have one long trip with the V so far (1700 miles in 4 days)

The thing I missed the most was a good place to store my chain lube. I purchased two mini panniers and I will install at least one for my chain lube

http://www.agrisupply.com/product.asp?pn=67670

This season, I will be purchasing rain gear since my riding gear was not rain proof

I do not have a GPS yet, I rely on maps instead. I met this guy on a very nice Triumph bike that used pages from a road almanac in plastic binders in a tank pouch.

I have yet to try my throttle control (Throttlemeister) but I think it will make these long highway rides more comfortable.

Have a great trip

Charles Leblanc
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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 01:33 AM
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scot-oiler ( or something similar )
rain gear
tyre repair kit
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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 08:52 AM
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I would strap plastic bags to that thing if I had to choose between luggage and a heavy-duty seat mod.
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post #11 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 09:40 AM
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It's all in the seat

Wal-Mart sells a 'sport seat' that has
a sticky bottom and space age waffle
gel inside for about $20. Top that off
with Alaska Leather Sheepskin Butt
Pads (say "Dead Sheep" on you order
for a 10% discount), which are both
cooler in summer AND warmer in winter
(How do it know?).

My wife started riding a little over three
yeas ago and now loves her Kawasaki
900LT cruiser. Wherever we go she carries
most of the baggage, not to mention
leading the way! IOW, I'm with Spiderman,
two bikes is the way to go. I'm sure what
you propose can be done, but test the water
like lonerockz sez with a weekend ride or two.

Good luck. Oh, and if you're still best friends
when you get back, marry her!!!
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post #12 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 10:14 AM
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Amir, that sounds like a great trip!

Other folks' suggestion sounds pretty good. I don't think you'll need extra gas with the routes you describe.

I want to recommend LD Comfort underwear. The stuff is awesome! Get one or two sets to use as your base layer and you're good to go. You can handwash it and it will dry overnight. It's designed and sold by a motorcyclist, and there are thousands of happy customers.

You might want to check out the Scala products for an intercom. I've never used one, but I have heard good things about them.

-Alan
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post #13 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the suggestions guys, and keep 'em coming!

As far as the two of us on the V, neither of us are worried about that. Sure 2 bikes would be nice, bu that is unrealistic right now. She doesn't ride... yet...
But we have done a few weekend long rides, on a basically all stock bike and have been fine. We're both young (in our early twenties) and adventurous (always camping, hiking, rock climbing... etc.). We're rugged and we can pull it off...

Bones~ How does Spencer's mod to your seat work for you? His work seems fairly priced, and I've heard good things... what exactly did you have him do to your seat? Quick turn around?
I think I'll be getting those Sheep Skins for sure... I'm not sure if I'll want the seat moded even after that, as I am one of the few persons who has not really had complaints about the stock seat...

As far as "rain gear"... am I going to need a separate set? All my current riding gear is water proof... so I'm thinking it won't be worth it to haul around the extra outside layers... what do you guys think?

Also... thinking a "Prop Stand" of sorts... Machog, was it you that came up with one a few months back? Thinking this will be helpful in allowing me to adjust my chain and get it properly lubed up at the end of every day.


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post #14 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 11:19 AM
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Some excellent advise from experienced camper/riders!

If your motorcycle jacket/pants are truly waterproof-you won't need anything else. But in most cases its not and riding wet and cold as we all know is totally miserable-you don't want your GF flying home in the middle of the trip.

http://www.redledge.com/products/view/id/65

I have a set of this, 100%waterproof and breathable-you can get a jacket for about $30.00, pants about the same. You wear it over the top of your regular gear.

It packs up into a tiny stuff sack. Its so small I keep my jacket in the left hand side tank cover. Its the same product that one of the crews in Deadliest Catch TV series wears.

I can vouch for its 100% waterproofness (new word). Plus its thin enough you can put the hood up and wear it under your helmet, so you don't get the trickle of water down the back of your neck.

I hope you can get all the stuff you need for two up camping-I looked at doing it and just couldn't get it all on. Main problem was two sleeping bags and two mattress pads.

Every time I come back from a camping trip, I try and take out at least two pieces of gear, that I didn't use or could do without.

Take your camera.

Machog


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post #15 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 12:01 PM
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Spencer did a superb job on modifying my seat.
For $75 he recontoured and lowered it and
installed Supracor underneath. Very quick
turnaround (one week) and the kicker is the
process is reversible!

It's pretty hard to beat Frogg Toggs for ultra
light rain gear. Make sure the dealer you buy
from gives you the stuff sacks. They compress
to almost nothing, are quick to don and breathe.

My wife burned a hole in her original set several
years ago and Frogg Toggs sent us a repair kit
free. Get the lighter colors to enhance visibility.
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post #16 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amir_zwara View Post
So come May, and the nice weather, the GF and I plan on doing a cross country tour.
We plan on starting here (in AZ) and working our way to Chicago, with Nashville, New York, and Philladelphia being the major stopping points along the way. So a semi circle of sorts... I'd say 80 percent of the trip will be paved roads, interstates and B highways... but we will be camping out a lot as well and thus dirt and mud are to be excpected.

So my question is... what do I need? For the bike, for myself, and for the passenger?
Experience. How many days/weeks are you planning this will take? How many multi day trips have you been on (and with your GF)? I can fill a two page list of things to carry (an a four page list of what not to) but it's only somewhat relevant to what you need. You need to figure out for yourself what works and what doesn't for your comfort on long trips.

You'll get 50 different recommendations for seat, windscreen, pants, jacket, underpants, waterproof, boots, gloves, etc, etc. that I am sure do work for the people who recommended them. No matter how many people swear by them, they are not guaranteed to have the same effectiveness for you. You have to go out and try it. Preferably on a longish weekend trip, where you can come back and change stuff the didn't work, not on the third day of a 3 week trip...

You also need riding experience riding long days back to back (which unless you have unlimited vacation time, it is an inevitable part of long distance trips). Don't underestimate how fatigued you get after the second 500 mile day. Once you build up your (and your passenger's) endurance, you can easily ride more. But it takes practice.

You should take Bone's advice to pack light seriously. I see lots of people with bikes packed so heavy that the suspension can barely cope. You don't need that kitchen sink. Really. When you think you are ready to put everything on the bike, lay it out on the living room floor and take half of it back. Make sure you take stuff you need and will use. Same for tool, if you pack it, make sure it has a good reason to be there and that you know how to use it. For example, you don't need a 16 hex key set if all you use is a 4 and 5 mm hex on most tasks. In order to know that, you have to practice doing basic maintenance in your garage. Do you know what tools you need to remove the fairing? To replace a headlight? To change the oil? To change a wheel? Keep the list of maintenance tasks realistic, otherwise you'll end up riding a Snap-On tool truck, not a motorcycle.

This is what my bike looks like packed for a 6 week two-up ride:


Put heavy tools low and forward. If pack the heavy stuff in a top case the bike's handling will be affected.

Finally, may be nice weather in AZ, but you are still likely to run into some bad weather in the NE. Plan ahead, look at the forecast for the places you are planning to visit in the next couple of days and adapt your plan accordingly.

Have fun planning,

Gustavo
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post #17 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input Gustavo, once again you bring up very valid points...

I'm not going to be on a tight time schedule, (I'm giving myself close to 3 and half weeks to do it all) so there won't be too many long haul days back to back. Plenty of time to rest and enjoy the view. Also... I will be stopping in with various friends along the route (hence the scattered destenations), so there will be opportunities for us to be off the bike and out of the weather for a few days at a time.
For any of you guys up in the NE area... what can I excpect in May?
The WWW is telling me comfortable days, and nights in the 50s (which suits me well enough)... but if your side of the country has weather anything like our side... well it can be pretty unpredictable out here. Is it likely that I's going to need to bring along the super extra warm layer?


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post #18 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 08:00 PM
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Weather in the Northeast is variable because we get the influence of systems coming up the coast, down from Canada, or over from the Midwest -- sometimes all of them in a day. It rains here way more often than Arizona. I don't have separate rain gear, I ride in waterproof gear. My overpants are waterproofed (Camp Dry, the same stuff you use on tents), one jacket is treated the same way, the other is a mesh with a waterproof liner I zip in if needed. I keep a pair of these oversize rubber gloves in my pants pocket or tank bag to put over my regular riding gloves for when it rains steadily. (I get plenty of ribbing about these blue gloves, but my hands stay dry.)

Counting on nights to be in the 50's in May will depend on where you are in the Northeast. It's nearly always cooler in New England (where I live) than New Jersey or Pennsylvania. Layers make sense, and being able to add or remove layers will help you stay comfortable across a range of conditions. I'm not sure how you define a "super extra warm layer" but don't bring anything you don't think you will use. I never go far from home without my Gerbings heated jacket liner. Being able to pump heat into your torso makes a huge difference on cool day, a wet day, or a cool wet day.

Do you carry spare fuses? Good idea.


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post #19 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Spare Fuses... check. Definitely want to keep those with me, I also still have the stock headlight bulb (I switched mine out), so I
ll take that along just in case...


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post #20 of 46 (permalink) Old 02-21-2009, 07:39 PM
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I did couple long trips 2 up on Versys, not anymore though. My wife will get her own bike this season

To improve the comfort level of your companion, buy her one of those $20 pads mentioned above. The pillion seat could be bigger, so do herself a favour. Also, do not buy the backrest for the top box, it will just take the space you do not really have. Without the backrest, both of you can move a bit, front and aft.

The light packing can not be emphasized enough. You need far less than you think. Merino long sleeved shirts will take you through hot and cold, and they last for years of abuse. Frogs are good because it packs light, and could be used under the riding jacket/pants during a cold snap. Compression sacks are awesome if you find something that you must have during the trip

Make sure your boots are waterproof, some are only water resistant. It takes a long time for boots to dry, especially for the pillion. Same apply for gloves.

Lastly, make sure your girlfriend knows what to do during a slow speed maneuver, when gravity might take over

Have fun...
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