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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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  #16  
Old 15 Jul 2011
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Thanks Tobi - there are plenty in the UK who have not put on 10k over the last 10 years but I accept this is not record breaking mileage but perhaps not bad for someone who works full time and does not use the bike for commuting.

I'm not off to Africa so horses for courses though I agree with your point.

I hate the highways but they do get you out of Western Europe quicker and into the parts I really want to see ie east of Germany. Plus I can really put this great German bike I own to the limits on the superb Autobahn's in Germany - its the only part of the world where you can really appreciate the qualities of my bike.

Will buy you a when I pass through.

Cheers

PS. Was in the Black Forest a couple on months back. Why aren't all roads like the B500?
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  #17  
Old 15 Jul 2011
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Hi,

>> there are plenty in the UK who have not put on 10k over the last 10 years


But not here at the HUBB


>> Autobahn's in Germany - its the only part of the world where you can really appreciate the qualities of my bike.

Hihi well then have fun there but dont get cought...a lot of Autobahn parts are limited by now even in germany

>> Will buy you a when I pass through.


Will you come to one of my diashows about africa on the 22.07 in Stuttgart and the 28.07 in Ɯberlingen?

>> PS. Was in the Black Forest a couple on months back. Why aren't all roads like the B500?

Dont know but have you been in switzerland riding the Grimsel, Furka and Susten passes? They are great as well

Travel save Tobi
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  #18  
Old 15 Jul 2011
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I didn't realise there was a minimum annual mileage requirement to join the HUBB! What is it? I'll be more than happy to comply. Making a start on this trip on the 28th ex London and will not be far from Stuttgart on my way east. Any other dates for your shows? Would love to attend - I'm good for that - but my German comprehension is limited to junior high school (can only now remember how to recite Die Affen! eg Der Bauer sprach zu seinem Jungen etc). Spent the last half of 2010 working in Africa (only sub-Saharan) - I can understand the appeal and great people but not for me on a bike (I'm way too soft) but can always be convinced otherwise. Might do those passes in Switzerland on the way back to the UK if not too late in the year. Thanks for the tip - I'll put them in my GPS now!
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  #19  
Old 15 Jul 2011
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Sony NEX 5 digital camera, DSLR quality at a fraction of the size.
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  #20  
Old 16 Jul 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brettfrom Oz View Post
I didn't realise there was a minimum annual mileage requirement to join the HUBB!
Agreed. Take no notice - this is a place where people of all sorts with an interest in long distance biking get together. Some of these people will have clocked up zero miles so far.

I'm heading down to Turkey in a couple of weeks, too, leaving London on 24th and stopping in Koln until 27th, then over to East Germany/Czech and down through Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania etc. No planned route and I'll be roughing it a bit more (mostly camping) but I'll look out for you - it would be nice to cross paths.

As for technology, how about a GS911 diagnostic machine for BMWs? Or in-ear headphones which double as earplugs? Or go the whole hog and get an autocom sound system. Definitely a laptop or netbook: for something really high quality how about a MacBook Air.
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  #21  
Old 16 Jul 2011
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Originally Posted by ornery View Post
I would like to offer up a differing opinion.....I think a phone is essential and some type of computer, or combination of both.
I've tried the internet cafe thing and frankly, if your butt is in a crack, you need access now. Not when the cafe is open, or they can convert your currency , or they can understand wtf you're saying.
I've tried it both ways.....the self reliant part of having your own electronics gear is a real plus. I can think of MANY occasions that I WISH I had a mini-netbook or such. I carry a smartphone and a roll-up keyboard. (Think I want a mini netbook instead). The phone can even be a pay as you go job, but the netbook is just a necessary item in these modern times. Believe me, I am NOT a tech kind of guy either.

As long as the gear doesn't dominate your focus it's a blessing.

I don't agree that it is an unnecessary extravagance. I think you could be just as over the top about tubes and wrenches. ( I say this based upon the style of travel you say you enjoy.)

Just my .02 pennies...
My gut feeling as Tmotten suggests is just to take a smart phone (or maybe an ipad) which can perform most of the functions of a netbook.
Having done it yourself Im wondering why you feel you need a netbook rather than or in addition to a smartphone. Im guessing people with lots of video etc and websites to maintain may need the netbook?
Any advice appreciated.

Cheers,

James
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  #22  
Old 16 Jul 2011
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Originally Posted by ornery View Post
I would like to offer up a differing opinion.....I think a phone is essential and some type of computer, or combination of both.
I've tried the internet cafe thing and frankly, if your butt is in a crack, you need access now. Not when the cafe is open, or they can convert your currency , or they can understand wtf you're saying.
I've tried it both ways.....the self reliant part of having your own electronics gear is a real plus. I can think of MANY occasions that I WISH I had a mini-netbook or such. I carry a smartphone and a roll-up keyboard. (Think I want a mini netbook instead). The phone can even be a pay as you go job, but the netbook is just a necessary item in these modern times. Believe me, I am NOT a tech kind of guy either.

As long as the gear doesn't dominate your focus it's a blessing.

I don't agree that it is an unnecessary extravagance. I think you could be just as over the top about tubes and wrenches. ( I say this based upon the style of travel you say you enjoy.)

Just my .02 pennies...
The only upside of a netbook is the screen with keyboard, and the USB host capability to upload stuff to the GPS. But apparently with the new Montana this is sort of solved, and in reality you should have all the maps already uploaded as mentioned. An ipad is just a 10" phone with USB host, but no computer type software. No mapsource. There are sub 10" netbooks but you need all the charging equipment as well and it just adds up.

Personally I don't plan a trip in mapsource but just tap it in. In reality you can't really replace paper maps. Even on the road. But everyone is different.

Less is more.

I've never had any electronics completely fail on me but I look after it quite well.

Last edited by tmotten; 16 Jul 2011 at 05:07.
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  #23  
Old 16 Jul 2011
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I've been on the road a month now traveling through Canada and Alaska. Here is my experience with technology I brought:

GPS: Very useful gadget, but I could just as easily live without it. The only time it has been at all important is navigating big cities, but I don't spend much time there.

Phone (not a smart phone): I have not turned it on since I left. If I continue to not use it through Central America I will probably give it away.

Netbook (Asus EEE 901): Used once a week (or so) for photo editing and writing blog entries. If a tablet could handle photo editing I would use that instead with a roll-up keyboard, but they cannot do this yet. The photo editing is important enough to me to keep the netbook around because I shoot all pictures in "RAW" mode on my camera. If not for the photo editing I would probably not bring a netbook at all and instead use internet cafes for blog writing and/or a tablet with roll-up keyboard.

Internet Tablet (Archos A43 using Android OS), pocket sized: It has wifi so I can check email when I have an internet connection. Copies of my photos to share with people. MP3 files for music and language lessons. Currency and unit conversion. Voice recorder for recording music I want to learn (I travel with a fiddle as well). But not capable of photo editing or writing blog entries. Better than a smart-phone because of battery life: 35 hours playing music, 12 browsing the web. If it were to fail, I would miss only the MP3 player, and that not much.

Amazon Kindle. I brought this along because I already owned it when I left. In addition to entertainment when sitting around, I have medical references, my bike manual, guide books and I can forward emails to it with reservations, travel information, etc. I'm not entirely certain I would bring it again (or replace it), but it has been useful.

Camera (Canon S95): Best bit of technology I brought along. I would find a way to go without any of the above, but a good camera I would miss a lot as I enjoy sharing photos of my travels and plan to make prints when I get back.

I have no regrets on the above choices so far. I am happy to not use any/all of the above as my mood suits so it does not get in the way of traveling (I have plenty of people annoyed that I have been up to two weeks behind on my blog). It does take up space, but the only one that gets annoying this way is the netbook, everything else fills in cracks in my packing.
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  #24  
Old 17 Jul 2011
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Now we're getting somewhere. This is great.

Thanks for the camera recommendations. Was going to use the camera on my mobile and mostly rely on HD video from the GoPro camera (I take a few hours every day and download from the SD to disk every night using my laptop - quality is superb but very large files). Will think some more about getting a stills camera.

Apart from HU and Google Maps, what other websites are good resources when planning a trip or on the road?
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  #25  
Old 17 Jul 2011
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Hi,

This one:
Free worldwide routable Garmin maps from OpenStreetMap

Have fun, Tobi
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  #26  
Old 22 Jul 2011
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Some Android apps that may be of interest - at least the free ones are worth checking out:

- Best Biking Roads
- Trackmaster
- Touring Navigation
- Trip Advisor
- iTravel
- Headset Button Controller
- Tapatalk
- WhatsApp
- Intercom
- Backcountry Navigator
- Maverick
- Skype
- Google Earth
- booking.com
- doubleTwist
- GoExplore

Most require data - can be expensive if free wifi cannot be found. For those in the UK Vodaphone have reasonable roaming data packages if you are touring in Europe (no I don't work for Vodaphone).

If you are in the market for a new phone and don't want to wait for the new iPhone (or are anti Apple - everyone has them!) check out the Samsung Galazy SII - very slick.
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  #27  
Old 24 Jul 2011
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I have a different set up.

I like a relatively small amount of luggage compared to many, but I have invested in gadgets, many of which are involved in the recording and processing of words and images related to the trip ... i.e by having a few gadgets, I am better able to record and document my travels. Thats important to me.

Phone: I typically have at least one smartphone. Every village in the remotest areas of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia et has mobile phone coverage. With a local sim card in there I have smartphone internet access in the most unusual of places. Make sure your phone is "unlocked" so that you can use other sim cards in it.

Netbook: I also take a netbook. I used to have a 10 inch, but have switched to 12 inch (eee1201n). The weight is much the same, but the bigger, higher resolution screen makes a significant different in image editing. I have pretty decent routine down that most days when I am not in a city, I write a blog and edit the days images on the netbook. Writing a blog and recording daily, allows you to record much more vivid, detailed images in your thoughts than if you leave it a week, or if you try and do it post trip.

Cameras: I have, at times, had 4 specialist cameras in my gear. A ruggedised compact camera (Sony TX5) in my pocket, a DSLR (Nikon D90) in my tankbag (there is no substitute for a DSLR - no such thing as DSLR quality at a fraction of the size), a helmet cam type video camera, and a proper video camera in the luggage. I keep all my cameras set at zulu time (UTC) as thats what the GPS satellites use. That allows for quick and easy geotagging of pictures (getting the exact GPS location of each picture) via free software like geosetter which can take a batch of fotografs and a GPS track and take the time and GPS data from the GPS track to automatically locate and geotag each picture on the map.

GPS: Yes. I back up my GPS tracks to netbook once every 2-3 days.

- - -

Other electrical appliance related tips I have learned from my experiences:

Change all electrical plugs away from bulky and unconventional Australian, Swiss or especially British plugs. Cut the ends off and change to European style schuko plugs (or US plugs if going to south america). Saves a huge amount of bulk and not insignificant weight for UK riders in particular, and means most trips you will not need any adapters ... another weight and bulk saving in itself. (see 4th item on this page ... 10 low profile europlugs for about 12 quid) Schuko, European & USA plugs
Also note that most mains chargers have the same lead that goes from the plug to the voltage adapter ... no point taking a whole bunch of duplicated cables.

Avoid cameras that take AA batteries. They are in my experience a false convenience. A false idol.

Avoid compact cameras with pop out lenses (about 98% of them) if possible. They let in dust, moisture and typically have terribly flimsy built in lens covers.

Camera gear MUST be very accessible. If you cant get it out quickly, you wont use it enough. Tank bags and pockets are the go.

Recharging items from the bike: a huge amount of different chargers takes up a lot of space. Apart from smaller items like smartphones, I end up rarely recharging items on the bike. Despite starting with a bunch of extra sockets installed on the bike, I have reverted to just one. They are over-rated and an easy way to cut out duplicating recharging systems. Things like camera batteries that need to be recharged only once every two or three weeks, I do from mains power. A lot of other stuff can be charged by USB cable ... these are great in terms of weight and bulk saving. EU initiatives to standardise all small electrical devices (beginning with all phones) to charge via a micro USB cable will help massively on this front. Think about using a high output USB socket like this (2.1 amps, vs a standard 0.4 or 0.5 amps) as it charges everything 4-5 times as fast as from a standard socket or from a laptop. 2100ma HIGH POWER USB CHARGER
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  #28  
Old 24 Jul 2011
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Originally Posted by ta-rider View Post
First thing: get a travel bike wich can be repaired in less developed countrys as well. Even the team of charley borman could not repair there computer GS on there long way round...
Or get a modern bike, prepare it properly and it wont need to be repaired.

I did a survey of bikes that had been as far, and then done the Road of Bones in the past 3 years .... 70+% of them were modern fuel injected bikes. None of them broke down or needed to be repaired.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brettfrom Oz View Post
Will probably stay in hotels. I'm more of a tourer than an adventurer (i.e. I'm soft and keen for a hot shower and confortable bed at the end of the day).
Dont even worry about it mate. The degree of adventure has nothing to do with camping. Personally, I hardly ever camp, cause I too like a shower every day if I can get it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ta-rider View Post
And what about some gravel roads with strong vibrations that will destroy your hard disk? Rather save everything on sd cards that you can switch to read onely if you are in a internet cafe with lots of viruses.
If you dont stick your computer or hard drives in metal boxes, then nothing will vibrate. Take soft luggage and you can take all the hard disks in the world. I have ALWAYS used normal computers carried in soft bags and NEVER had a hard disk problem. I even take additional USB hard drives with me (video files are large). There is NOTHING wrong with taking modern hard discs.

I had an impromptu bikers meeting last year in Mirny, far northern Siberia, a place only about a dozen adventurers have even made it to on bikes, with my riding companion Sherri Jo Wilkins, and well known Austrian adventurer Joe Pichler. After dinner, we all pulled out our laptops to show each other photos ... all were normal garden variety laptops with normal hard drives. For what its worth, all riders were on modern fuel injected bikes too. I would like to think Joe Pichler and myself have enough experience to know what works and what doesnt when riding through very remote and rugged regions. We were both were on modern, fuel injected bikes that provided us with 100% reliable transportation. We both were riding with normal laptops, and normal additional hard drives. We both avoided camping wherever possible (90% of the time).

So Brett, there are a lot of "conventional wisdoms" about adventure motorcycling to become familiar with ... but equally, be aware that MANY of those "wisdoms" are 1st generation adventure motorcycling wisdoms from the '80s and '90s that are now not only out terribly of date, but in many cases, the opposite is now a better option.
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Last edited by colebatch; 24 Jul 2011 at 15:33.
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  #29  
Old 25 Jul 2011
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Thanks for all this excellent information and advice.

I'm off at the end of the week and will be sure to make the most of my gadgets and tech.

Hope to see you on the road soon.

Cheers
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  #30  
Old 26 Jul 2011
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(there is no substitute for a DSLR - no such thing as DSLR quality at a fraction of the size)
http://snapsort.com/compare/Nikon_D9...ha_NEX-5/specs

By removing the mirror you can have the same sized sensor within a much smaller unit.
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