Accessories for a 4000 mile trip
I just did a 4000+ mile trip from Salt Lake City up to Seattle and all the way back down to Dallas. I thought it might be useful to talk about the stuff that got me there and back again.
First, some background on the trip. It was 10 days straight of riding, 7 of those were on twisty mountain roads. Two were interstate, and one was a long straight state highway. I faced conditions ranging from pouring rain to snow to almost 100 degree heat within a week. My typical riding day was around 400 miles. One day I did 500+, one day it was only about 300, but mostly it was in the 400 range.
- Baldwin Saddles custom seat. I'm listing this first because it's hands-down the #1 thing that made this trip possible for me. Loren does FANTASTIC work. I got a saddle built for my height and weight with the gel insert, and it was never once the thing that made me want to get off the bike. I can't recommend these enough.
- Givi V35 and E52 hard cases. My main luggage setup. I have the Givi mounts all the way around, not the OEM Kawasaki ones, and it all works together really well. I had a duffel bag in the tail case that held all my clothes, as well as my tool roll. On one side I carried the thermal liner for my suit, my rain suit, and stuff like my spare face shield. On the other side I carried my hot weather stuff (a mesh jacket and riding jeans).
- Bags Connection "Trial" tank bag with tank ring mount. This bag is a little too big for the Versys--the handlebars hit the sides of the bag. But, I was carrying it for size. I had my phone and headset chargers in there along with various bike maintenance things, spare ear plugs, GPS case, camera, etc. with some room to spare. If I had it to do over, I'd probably buy the "City" bag instead that is made for bikes like the Versys and BMW GS with their high, steep tanks and handlebar clearances.
- BarkBusters VPS hand guards. Awesome for keeping the rain and cold off my gloves.
- Oxford heated grips. This is the only way I survived the really cold wet weather. The controller never flaked out once.
- Spot V2. Not strictly necessary for the trip, but it let everybody back home know where I was at.
- Garmin Zumo 660. Awesome motorcycle GPS, it was my primary way to know where I was and where I was going. If I had it to do over, I'd spend the extra money and get a 665 to get the XM weather. I got snowed out on a mountain pass and had to turn around because I had no way to tell how much further I had to go to get out from under the snow and back to rain.
- Michelin Pilot Road 3 tires. They're brand new, and they're 100% worth the money. They never once slipped or acted like they would slip despite riding twisty mountain roads in the rain at a grin-inducing pace. I don't scrape pegs or anything, but I didn't have much left on my chicken strips when I got home and they stuck like glue in all conditions. The centers don't look all that worn after 4000 miles either.
- Stock windscreen. Believe it or not, I'm actually glad I mounted the stock screen before my trip. I have a Givi screen and the OEM "tall" screen, but I like the stock the best. I prefer having clean air around my head to avoid buffeting, and the stock screen keeps enough wind blast off my chest to not be a problem. When it got really windy coming back into Texas, I just put my feet on the passenger pegs and leaned down on my tank bag.
- Motowerk footpeg lowering kit and passenger peg lowering kit. These to me made all the difference with saving my knees after 10 days of riding.
- Throttlemeister cramp buster. I had one of these lying around and tossed it in a bag when I was packing for the trip. I'm really glad I did, it saved a lot of pain in my right wrist after 10 days.
- Olympia Phantom suit. Not technically a Versys accessory, but that combined with some Sidi B2 Gore-Tex boots and Cortech Scarab gloves helped me survive the trip. It wasn't always comfy in the cold rain, but then again I don't know of any gear that is unless you have heated stuff. But it kept me mostly dry and mostly warm in a huge variety of weather conditions.
I think that's pretty much it. All that stuff put together made for a really nice trip. I stayed in hotels or with friends every night so I didn't need to pack camping gear, but a waterproof duffel on the passenger seat would have handled camping gear nicely.
Oh yeah, the thing that *didn't* work was the MFW footpegs and clamps I got from Twisted Throttle. I had them bolted to my SWMotech crash guards to give me additional places to put my feet, but one clamp ended up slipping a lot and by the end of the trip both footpegs were stuck in the up position due to grit or something in the hinges. I was pretty disappointed with how those turned out, and they'll be removed from the bike whenever I get around to it.
I'd rather be riding.
2005 Triumph Speed Triple | 2009 Blue Versys
1997 Suzuki DR350SE (sold) | 2004 Triumph Speed Four (sold) | 2008 ZX6R (sold) | 2008 Concours 14 (sold) | 2007 Suzuki M50 (sold) | 2006 Ninja 500 (sold)
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