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Equipping the Bike - what's the best gear? Anything to do with the bikes equipment, saddlebags, etc. Questions on repairs and maintenance of the bike itself belong in the Brand Specific Tech Forums.
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Giant Loop Motorcycle Saddlebags & Motorcycle Tank Bags: Panniers, Soft Luggage for Adventure & Sport Touring

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Old 7 Oct 2003
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Luggage balancing...

Hi Guys,

Just an advisory note about loading your bike equally so that the load is balanced as much as possible.
I loaded my Dominator up with top box, ally panniers etc for a two month stint and found that the front end became really light and dangerous when trying to turn in corners at speed.

I know it sounds obvious, but even sitting as far forward as possible, it caught me by surprise and almost landed me in a ditch just after setting off! - definately not what you want!!

I'm told that most accidents happen shortly after setting off on big trips for various reasons, so just make sure you're familiar with how your bike behaves with a heavy load - take it for a long spin first...

Thats all!

Cheers, Steve
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Old 8 Oct 2003
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I had similar experience last month in Scotland, but didn't fall off.In my case I suspect the combination of heavy top box and gusting side wind.It felt to me as if the top box was catching the wind, lurching sideways,creating instability and causing the front end to oscillate. Very scary in the middle of a bend when hit by sudden side wind.Mind you my previous bike (Honda VFR 750) didn't like side wind, but in that case the whole bike moved almost as one, as opposed to the front end weave I get on the XT. Needs a bit of thought for next trip.Regards.
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Old 8 Oct 2003
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Yeah - the front end oscillations sound familiar, but I don't remember any gusting wind (other than from my ass!..) catching the bike.

I have been thinking of putting some of the luggage at the front of the bike, i.e. tank panniers to keep the load forward and low, but think the bottom line is to pack light and not bother!
Its amazing how much stuff I didn't need, even after reading about keeping things to a minimum...

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Old 8 Oct 2003
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"Its amazing how much stuff I didn't need, even after reading about keeping things to a minimum..."

Thanks for that quote - it will be well-used!

"low and forward" - I must've said that a million times...

"take less - you don't need that much #@%" - I must've said that two million times...

Tank panniers make a big difference - get all the tools and heavy crap well forward and low and it will improve the handling immensely. Another item that is often overlooked is the stiffness of the rear rack - if it sways it will upset the handling hugely.

An axiom used to solve handling problems - "if the front end is wobbling it's caused by the back end, and if the back end is wobbling it's caused by the front end."

Grant Johnson

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Old 25 Oct 2003
G_S G_S is offline
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Most of the time, bad handling is caused by poor suspension settings. The general rule is to increase both the front & the rear preload if taking on extra weight. This is wrong.

Try easing up on the front suspension pre-load & actually making it softer (i.e less pre-load ). That allows more weight to be placed over the front wheel of the bike which helps to calm the bike by planting the front end better on the road. Your bikes steering will be a whole lot less "flighty" and a lot nicer for you to ride with a softer front end.

Make sure that your rear suspension has been given some extra pre-load though. This helps with the additional weight you're carrying around. Just keep playing around until you get the best setting you can.
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Old 26 Oct 2003
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I fully intend to carry loads of crap so I'm getting Overland Ernie to make storage boxes (attached to crashbars) under the cylinders of my BMW.
If a thing is worth doing, it\'s worth doing to extremes.
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Old 26 Oct 2003
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Originally posted by G_S:
Most of the time, bad handling is caused by poor suspension settings.
Wouldn't it be more accurate to say "bad handling is caused by carrying too much extra weight, and poor suspension settings worsen the situation"?

Anytime you can get away with carrying less, you come out ahead, I think. Getting the suspension settings right is critical, but if you overload the poor bike too much, you are already at a disadvantage.

And don't forget the need to pay some attention to balancing things side-to-side--tools in one side and your helium balloon collection on the other will produce some odd results.
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