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I frequently use a backpack on trips, just don't wear it when you are riding - you'll be sore within an hour, and it's very unsafe. If you've ever fallen with a backpack while hiking, you'll know it's much worse than it sounds, and falling off a bike with the thing at any speed would be bad news. Security for your stuff is an issue, but if it's a questionable locale, I just carry the stuff along - it is, after all, a backpack!
Have purchased a 40l dry bag that can be strapped to the seat behind me. Small waterproof back-pack for camera etc and will look into the tool tube idea. The bash plate is next on the list, fitted the GPS and a rear brake cylinder protector at the weekend. New bars with risers,and a few other bits and pieces to come. Also looking at changing the rear/front sprocket for better road speeds.
As said I am in to minimilist camping gear bso fitting it all on shouldn't be a problem.
Thanks for the help and will post pics when all finished.
Great idea with the standoffs for the bags.
I too tried to minimise my kit, and the solution I used on my XR650R was as follows:
Small rear rack with a soft tail-bag on (expandable and holds a helmet, that sort of size) - this contained all my food, waterbag, toiletry bag, Jetboil cooking pot, tools, tube, few spares/oil and a loo roll!
I then used a 30 litre dry-bag bungeed on the set between me and the tailpack which contained my sleeping bag, thermarest and tent (cosy two man size), plus a pair of sandles for when off the bike.
Finally all my clothes and the odd book/map went in a narrow 30 litre rucksack on my back, which had the benefit of resting on the dry bag when seated, taking the weight off... and as someone said above, when standing has the effect of lowering the CoG more than if it were strapped to the rear of the bike.
Although I felt loaded up intially, this set-up worked surprisingly well over 4000 miles of mixed highway & byway and desert dirt road riding across Nevada, Oregon and California.
As long as you keep the ruck sack for soft stuff/clothing only, I think it's certainly viable for a few weeks' riding at a time?
Hi Mollydog - I haven't got the pictures hosted yet, but hopefully I can upload a link to them below:
I too wondered about the strength of the 650R subframe, but it seems to have held up perfectly well (so far) with what I was carrying. I used the XR's Only billet rack which is a lovely piece of work, if a little expensive - but you do get what you pay for...
They bike handled very well with the load - I do have a GPR steering damper fitted too though. Sustaining 50-60mph on the dirt roads was no problem, and even on the more rocky technical trails I rode, it did not feel particularly unstable.
I stared off in Vegas, headed west though red rock/spring mountains and into Death Valley from the southern end. I'd planned to spend a couple of days there, but ended up heading straight up past Ubehebe and out past the Eureka dunes, as I had to be in San Francisco the following evening.
Went though Yosemite on the 120 (Tioga pass was still open), but exited via the valley floor and the 140 - took the Briceburg Road (dirt road/trails) north west towards Modesto and had a great afternoon in the mountains on the forest trails - the GPS had them all in the map memory!
Spent a few days in San Francisco with friends, then headed via Napa and over the Sierra's on hwy 4 to Lake Tahoe and Truckee. Found some great trails north of there on my way to Doyle and Gerlach - although I did get stuck in the Smoke Creek desert (soft wet sand) and ended up camping out the night next to the railroad in a frozen tent!
From Gerlach and black rock I headed up Oregon - Lakeview and the Hart Mountains / Abert Rim and up to Fort Rock, then China Hat to Bend. Another great OHV trail area.
From Bend I headed south via Crater Lake, down highway 199 into California through the redwoods, then cut inland from Eureka and spent a week criss crossing from Highway 1 into the mountains and forests and back, via San Francisco and Santa Cruz/ Big Sur (found another great OHV trail network east of San Luis Obispo between Pozo and La Panza) and down to LA across the Carrizo Plain and hwy 33.
For the most part I tried to stay of the main highways, and took the scenic or dirt road option - the bike was excellent in those conditions and some of the tarmac roads were just as much fun as the dirt! However, it is drinking oil and the compression is down, so I'm currently back in Vegas getting it sorted under warranty.
All being well, I'll be heading out via southern Utah into Arizona next week, athough I think I'm going to have to cut the Mexican/baja leg of the this trip, as I'm due to fly out on the 27th December.
I've just realised, this has sort of turned into a bit a thread hijack hasn't it?
Still, it proves you can ride all of that with a backpack on...
we all steer motorcycles with our heads, in the end, by looking where we want to go and then transferring body weight. you don´t want anything impeding that freedom of movenent, and a backpack does just that.
high centre of gravity (COG) is bad any time but even worse off road. consider that motocrossers and enduro riders throw their legs out and forwards as they sit into corners in order to have more weight down, forward and inside the corner, to get better front- wheel grip, adn you understand how small changes to COG make a big difference.
a backpack would be even moer hassle if it was loose and able to move around independently of rider and bike. like, dangerous. and who wants a backpack tied tightly to them any time? sweaty and icky. like plenty have said.
when you stand up on the footpegs of a bike, most of the increase of control, especially at speed, is due to the fact that you can keep your head and body stable while the bike wobbles around under you, doing its thing according to road surface and all that. fix the weight firmly to the bike and let it vibrate, slew adn wobble, but keep yourself free of weight and stable.
for other soft luggage ideas, check out andy strapz. well made stuf.
andy (not the strapz bloke)
man, you are clearly an experienced rider!
but ttrkiwi is clearly asking his question from the point of view of less experience. let´s help him ride safely. every chance he has not yet pulled a wheelie (or might be practicing as we speak!), so let´s not encourage him to ull his first ones with a backpack on.
cheers, nice photos, too.
see you in the sand,
For explanation of this opinion, consider that standing up on the pegs increases control, even though the CoG of the bike-rider system is now higher.
Nope. It's lower, on the assumption that the rider is attempting to keep on top of a wobbling bike. EG If the bike was banked over at 30 degrees, the rider would adjust to upright* and apply their full weight at the pegs against this action. If they don't take action and went with the bike then yes you are correct! I suspect you know this and meant that the additional weight of the backpack therefore helps to keep the overall CoG lower when stood up, even though it raises it whenever the rider is sitting on the seat / not balancing around. Nit-picking I know!!
*CoG only matters if the object is leaning - eg it doesn't matter in a tower, until it starts to topple. Keep the tower upright, and the weight is still being applied at the ground (and in our example, adding the weight of the rider to the bike at the pegs).
Anyhow, I always wear my backpack/camelpack. Water, maps, a fleece, and my super-important bike docs. I actually don't like the feeling of riding without it! I've taken a few on/offroad tumbles, and I'd say that if you're going fast enough for a small backpack to be a problem, you've got bigger problems.
quite apart from all the other answers why backpacks worn on a bike are not a great idea, i once had the wind blow open my rucksack and suck out all my college coursework, an expensive (to a student) PDA, and my packed lunch.
20 years later i still cant decide which i was more upset about losing......
'been riding for close to 40 years and have ridden through most countries in the world and always use a backpack. Even last year on my ride through China - the backpack dwarfs the little 125 it is balanced on.
Looks like we've got two different uses for a back pack here. Strapping it to your bike, and strapping it to your back. The OP doesn't make it totally clear, but to me it reads like he's planning on strapping it to his back. If that's the case, I wouldn't do it either, it's sweaty, annoying, knackers your back, and uspets your bike's balance.
And if the idea is to just strap it to your bike, I'd suggest something simpler like a duffle bag, fewer straps to worry about, and for the short carry between bike and room, you don't need a backpack's complicated framing system. Nowt wrong with a backpack, but perhaps not the best bag for the job.
A backpack pack has one really useful feature; if you need to walk you can carry stuff. You can make a carrying system out of say a roll sack and cargo straps if you need to walk, but they'll never be as good as the real thing.
I have a so called SAS style framed one. The frame is bolted to the sidecar boot lid but can be unbolted. I therefore have the following set-ups available;
Rack for other bags like a roll sack.
Rack with fitted bag which can be removed and used as a day/grab sack (soft rucksack).
Frame for carrying jerry can etc.
There is no way I'd wear one when actually riding.
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