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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
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  • 1 Post By XS904
  • 2 Post By XS904
  • 1 Post By mollydog

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  #1  
Old 17 Dec 2011
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Beginnings

Little intro, I've been riding for 25 years, mostly sports bikes.
Did a fair bit of racing, not too shabby at it but not the next Rossi.
I've done distance, the in-laws live in the south of France and I've taken the bike over there.
Now I wan't to start stretching my legs and touring more. I haven't a clue about bike, gear, what I need or don't need, so to start with I'm going to use my 20 odd yr old CBR600, some throw over panniers, a tent and stick to Blighty (the UK) where I live.
I'm determined to start off in the spring and go explore over weekends different places, and what I do and don't need to go touring.

The CBR will do until I decide what I do want to ride, and what would be best for what I want to do. I'm probably thinking Versys or similar, then modify it for my needs, but thats another day.

Any idea's, thoughs or suggestions please feel free to advise, as I'm not too shy to say I'm a novice in this field of biking. Also, come spring time, if anyone is up for a ride out in the UK over a weekend, I'll be posting up.

Thanks in advance.

Rob
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  #2  
Old 17 Dec 2011
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That made me smile Rob! I have put in some distance, but only in the UK, on a Jellymould CBR600 + one or two other "sporting" Hondas.

You are right, IMO, just ride what you have, get out there and look at what other folks are doing, talk with them and make up your own mind - you can get some ideas from here, on such forums as "which bike", and they will keep you entertained for hours during the depths of a snowy winter. The same goes for gear - we are spoilt for choice nowadays!

But, in the end, those are just a few more opinions and you will settle on your own requirements eventually.
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Old 17 Dec 2011
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Like walkabout said, just get out there and do it.

There are no rules to follow. Just a few tips and tricks that make life easier. You will work all those out on your own in no time.

Go to a HU meeting and have a look at the bikes and what people have done to them. Watch a few lectures etc.

Most importantly.. Have fun and don't get conned into 'Tourateching' an already overpriced BMW
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  #4  
Old 17 Dec 2011
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Not much chance of that Ted!

I'm a mechanical engineer by trade, so I've sort of got used to the make it myself approach over the years. This is the approach I'm going to use with touring.

The Honda has always been a good, dependable bike. I've only ever suffered a regulator failure and a holed radiator on it, so can't complain.
I don't think I'd venture abroard on it now, as it's getting a bit long in the tooth for that. I think that would be tempting fate.

Thanks for the words of encouragement, nice to know that people think my heads in the right direction.


Rob
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  #5  
Old 27 Dec 2011
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Its the rider not the bike

Welcome,

Every conceivable type of bike has been taken around the world so your bike is fine for touring.

The advice I hear consistently is to travel less and spend more time in places seeing stuff and meeting people. Probably not so relevant when weekend touring in the UK, but when you go further afield....

On a bike, you take breaks every hour so you don't get fatigued -unless you have an ambition to become an iron-butt rider (1000Km per day).

Just get out there and enjoy.
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  #6  
Old 27 Dec 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XS904 View Post
Not much chance of that Ted!

I don't think I'd venture abroard on it now, as it's getting a bit long in the tooth for that. I think that would be tempting fate.

Rob
For the sake of balance and, whilst I may be tempting fate, I'd happily ride me 22 year old BMW (totally un-Tourateched) anywhere in the world.

I do, however, agree with the principle of riding what you have until you find it's not doing something you need.
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  #7  
Old 8 Feb 2014
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Thought I'd come back and update this old post with what's been going on.

CBR was, as usual, faultless for touring the UK. I spent the first year hopping around the place. First keeping it fairly local to test out gear and packing practices, then north the Scotland and the highlands. Geez the mozzies can be bad.

Last year I came across an Africa Twin for sale. Needed some work, but was all there. Over about 4-5 months I stripped it back to a bare frame and rebuilt it. I figured the last Honda has served me well so I'd stick with them.
Its a very different style of riding, much more relaxed and comfortable. I think my licence has a better chance of survival too!



Equipment wise, I started with a small one man tent. Quickly realised that it had several drawbacks. If its howling it down, I need to separate wet gear from sleeping area. I found a tent with a porch area for sale at Halfords. Urban escape 3 man tent, I've found this to be spot on.
Next thing I learned was to get a better sleeping bag! The warmer the better!

Next on the agenda is as few mods to the bike. I'm lucky as we have the equipment at work to make my own panniers. I also want to put some extra lighting on the twin. Single bulb rear light doesn't fill me with much confidence, and being seen is vital.

Met up with a few folks along the way, xrv owners are a good bunch. Done a couple of weekends out with them, but not really into riding with large groups. Tends to bugger up the photo opportunities, and scare away the locals.

Well that's it so far, I might update again in a couple of years!

Rob

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  #8  
Old 8 Feb 2014
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Great looking Africa Twin there Rob!

XRV owners groups and AT forums are helpful for learning all the ins and outs of your bike. You're lucky ... there is a LOT of support and knowledge for that bike. Take advantage and upgrade what you can.

For headlights, I am a big HID fan. Here in the USA, we get the Chinese made HID kits. They are cheap and reliable ... and about 3 times brighter than standard Halogen bulb.

My kit was $30 usd. Not sure if you've got these in UK, but so easy to install and SO bright. (mine is plug and play ... NO soldering or re-wiring. Just have to find a place for the small Ignitor and Ballast to live in the front cowl)
Good luck, hope you are able to get further on your next big ride!


standard 55 watt Halogen on my DR650

35 watt HID (saves 20 watts over standard 55 watt ... at least 3 times brighter. No ... no one flashes me as headlight is aimed properly.
Really lights up the road on a dark, unlit road.
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  #9  
Old 9 Feb 2014
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Hi mollydog,

thanks for the info. I'll take a look at HIDs although I'll have to check if they will go through the MOT test with them first. I know they are pretty strict with the cars on this over here.

Yeah, I'm really lucky with all the back up on the twin, was one of the deciding factors for buying it. I'd never owned a bike of this type before, always sports bikes. Its made a refreshing change, and really opened up another world.

Started planning a trip to Norway for next year, funds are a little tight for this year so France and the UK are on the list this year.

Hope to catch some of you folks out there!

Rob

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  #10  
Old 13 Feb 2014
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If yr down the south of france, givd us a shout...... aups area.
ridjng a twin too and know some nice bits.
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  #11  
Old 13 Feb 2014
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May well be later in the year, in laws live near Marmande and should be getting down there. Never can resist the Pyrenees!

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