The Achievable Dream 5-part series - the definitive guide on DVD for planning your motorcycle adventure. Get Ready! covers planning, paperwork, medical and many other topics! "Inspirational and Awesome!" See the trailer here!
Gear Up! is a 2-DVD set, 6 hours! Which bike is right for me? How do I prepare the bike? What stuff do I need - riding gear, clothing, camping gear, first aid kit, tires, maps and GPS? What don't I need? How do I pack it all in? Lots of opinions from over 150 travellers! "This DVD will save you a fortune!"See the trailer here!
So you've done it - got inspired, planned your trip, packed your stuff and you're on the road! This section is about staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure. And crossing borders, war zones or oceans!
On the Road! is 5.5 hours of the tips and advice you need to cross borders, break down language barriers, overcome culture shock, ship the bike and deal with breakdowns and emergencies."Just makes me want to pack up and go!" See the trailer here!
Tire Changing!Grant demystifies the black art of Tire Changing and Repair to help you STAY on the road! "Very informative and practical." See the trailer here!
Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
"It has me all fired up to go out on my own adventure!" See the trailer here!
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Which Bike?Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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It is a 2007 with 2000miles on it no abs, my heart says hard luggage for peace of mind, my head is saying soft, probably the steel ponies. (i think i have been brainwashed by reading colebatch's posts), Going hyperpro on the rear and an upgrade on the front forks (maybe WP or marzocchi inards).
I went to the HUBB mini meet in Cornwall a few weeks ago and met some great people with awesome travel stories. I learned more travel tips in an evening than I have in my months reading all the forums.
The plan is last week of april london to kenya then up to nepal (that is the very rough plan).
It seems I have spent all my time deciding on the bike (this has been good fun) and now realise I should have been focusing on the route (which is now dawning on me).
I am sure it will all fall into place. I just have to leave!!!
GPS / maps
Communication (waterproof phone)
Bluetooth helmet device
Spotlights with HID
LED indicators (or LED bulbs)
LED sidelight/number plate light (saves power)
Aux power socket (full size saves on what you need to carry)
Dash board with new controls, probably one-off custom
better guages (volt meter, thermometer)
Hand guards (metal inserts ideally)
spindle crash mushrooms
rear subframe (mods or replacement for enhanced weight requirement)
Side stand extension (camel-toe)
Replacement bulbs (legal requirement in some places, as is medical kit)
High level mudguard
Stainless steel bolts (standardise fitting so you carry less tools)
rear wheel nut (standard is rubbish)
Cleanable air filter
Exhaust pipe guards
These are all things I've considered on my project. I did some, not all (most actually) but it's possible to keep costs managable with a bit of thought. I have actually spent most of my time waiting for stuff to turn up after being constantly let down by internet vendors.
You are going to need to think about gearing. The Xchallenge is designed for offroad so it's snappy but not so good on long runs, you might want to gear it down. You need to think on what tires you need too, depending on what terrain you are planning to cross. You've talked about an X-tank. I have to say, in my opinion they are a poor solution. You're spending the same money it would cost you to fit the touratech aux tank which is a better choice. It packs more range and doesn't load extra weight on the alloy rear subframe. Also it keeps your arse clear for luggage.
I also urge you to think about a full service before you go. There is a great guy in Bromley, kent who charges about half BMW price and still stamps the book. Get it done a good few weeks before you go and let him check over everything. Money well spent for peace of mind.
What route are you taking? That might decide a lot of what you need vs extra weight and expense. Personally I'm covering a wide variety of roads, mud and gravel so I've built my bike to cope with whatever. Luggage is bags to save weight and luxuries are few. I didn't go with heated anything to save the power from the generator. I'm riding at night in poor areas so I have upgraded lights with running lights and HID spots. I have a car-type 12v socket on the dash to run my bits one at a time and got the performance of an X-tank for £60 with a unit that can be run over by a truck without damage.
i think you just cost me a few more thousand pounds!! That is a proper list (which i will be referring to a lot).
So to answer:
Gps - I have a garmin 660 ( have 2 x iphone and ipad with gps as backup)
Maps - Am just looking at sorting these
Waterproof - otterbox for iphone
Have in ear fitted headphones - will go wired to gps
Spotlights - Planning HID50 or 35 in rally fairing
Regulator guard - Have seen the protector for this (now i know what it was protecting)
Frame Guard - maybe
LED indicators (or LED bulbs) - How much power does a swap save?
LED sidelight/number plate light (saves power)
Aux power socket (full size saves on what you need to carry) - Going to have them fitted in the fairing, have some USB also.
Dash board with new controls, probably one-off custom - Going for a rally style fairing
waterproof controls/switches - have found a guy to wire this for me
better guages (volt meter, thermometer) - The XC has a volt gauge on the computer, i like the thermometer idea.
Heated grips - doing it need to research a brand
Hand guards (metal inserts ideally) - Bark Busters
spindle crash mushrooms - hmmm had to look this up, do i need them?
engine bars - looked at the TT radiator bars, do i need them?
Rear rack - Looking at HB racks, not sure if has rear rack need to check
rear subframe - have sold my soul for the steel TT one (ouch)
Center stand - maybe second side stand
Side stand extension (camel-toe) - yes forgot about this
Medical kit - absolutely (also doing a first aid course)
Replacement bulbs (legal requirement in some places, as is medical kit) - good to know
High level mudguard - I would really like the low guard like a ktm, we will see.
Stainless steel bolts (standardise fitting so you carry less tools) - good idea
Upgraded battery - Odyssey
Upgraded chain/sprockets - yes, I have a 14 and 15
Tank bag - Need to source
headlight guards - yes
rear wheel nut (standard is rubbish) - good to know
Cleanable air filter - uni filter
Bar risers - looking at the rox 20mm
Exhaust pipe guards - need to look into this am fitting remus
security - I guess i will go those steel web for the soft bags and disk locks
I plan to have the bike properly serviced and setup by a guy who has done alot of work on XC, I am going to pull it apart so I know how it all goes together (I am looking forward to that).
I would like to be setup for all terrain and be as light as possible (within reason and comfort).
LED sidelight bulbs run on very low power and with only 90w to spare every little helps. I have twin 76 LED bulbs to replace my H3 running lights, they use about 5w and are just as bright as normal bulbs. Great way to save power and never burn out. I am using that to run my sidelights and number plate light too. They're more reliable and use less power (and cost pennies).
I went with Garmin too, the older 500 Zumo because it's cheap and I don't need half the gadgets that thing has. It's also an MP3 and mobile phone hub and I have bluetooth in my lid so it made sense. I'm thinking of a Samsung BT2100 (£50 on ebay new), waterproof, shock resistant, bluetooth phone with mp3 as an extra tool, no otterbox needed. I also have an organiser with bluetooth and have MP3 and maps on that so I have lots of redundancy. I'm carrying a laptop with maps too and everything backed up to a USB key.
I have a half decent exhaust fitted, a GPR which was cheap, solid and not too loud. Gives more power, saves some fuel and sounds quite nice.
HID is technically illegal so I'm sticking with normal bulbs in my headlight but upgrading to 100w. I'm using HID projectors in spots because I find the two kind of light make everything focus nicely at night. I don't think either is good on its own. 35w HID kit for twin H3 bulbs is £35. Peanuts. I made my own dash with marine switches, fitted a thermometer and a 12v marine power supply. I'm using a car charger with a USB output. It charges all my gadgets so i need only one adapter. Regulator guard and frame guard are toys. You don't need them so fit them only if you need to lose £70. For luggage I went with Dirtbagz. They come direct from the US and have mounting bars with them. Very light and cheap. If someone steals my bagz they get my used socks and some cheap food. My gear will live in a tank bag and travel with me. The rear subframe is soft and it's a good idea not to over-load. If you put the tank there you're adding a lot of weight where it's not designed to be. The dirtbagz put the weight over the crossbeam support. it's enough. Just.
LED indicators save no power but won't burn out. They just last longer and if you buy good ones they are brighter too.
Spindle protectors are useless unless you crash. If you crash on tarmac at speed then every help you give the bike will be rewarded when you have to repair it, especially if you're waiting for parts. I'm not fitting them but I know I should really.
I really urge you to think on the Touratech tank. It holds a lot of fuel up top but is designed to empty first before the normal tank so you fill it just for long runs. It's durable and when empty adds no obvious weight up top. I can't fit it, I have the X-country which means I'd have to swap all my body kit, seat and everything. I would if I could. I found an acerbis fork mount tank in 3 or 5litre which I'm adapting to fit. It is cheap and tough and matches the X-tank in capacity, give or take at a fraction of the cost. I'm also carrying a jerry can but I won't need it. You might in kenya. What exactly are you doing with the rear shock? Hyperpro? I didn't know they made one but I have heard good things. I went with Wilbers. Lovely quality, 5 year guarantee, set up for me for £305. Don't cut corners with the rear shock, if the swing arm bottoms it could crack. Too much weight saving alloy on our bikes. The challenge has an air shock. Opinions vary.
I like the rally fairing. It's a copy of the KTM one? Very pretty but you might have to make adjustments. Buying from a garage dealer is not the same as touratech. You might have to build stuff yourself to make it work. No disrespect but if it's the one I am thinking of I'd find customers and check quality first, just in case. This is as easy as you make it, I built my dash from sheet alloy using only a hacksaw from the poundshop and a coffee-table. Looks good to me as well and works fine. My screen does little to protect me and used to be a chinese R1 replacement rear seat cover.
Lights on these are ok. I had a 1200 and 800gs and both eat bulbs and throw enough light to see where your mudguard is. Bulbs are £25 each and blow once a fortnight. HID is essential on these but the X range is ok. Frighteningly my headlight is off the 130mph HP2 enduro. It's not ok on that but on a 650 single it gets by. For auxiliary power I'm cutting the rear socket under the seat off and routing it up to the dash. That socket only works when the ignition is on and cuts off if the battery runs low so it's ideal. Opinions may vary.
Metal hand guards are very important. This is the part of the bike that will hit the ground when you drop it so they need some protection. Unless you fall on uneven ground they will take the impact so i didn't bother with the weight and expense of engine guards. I'm still thinking about the sump guard. I will probably make my own from sheet metal. Personally I'm fitting a tool tube and will probably fit to the sump guard. I have more clearance than you with my 19" wheel but the same should be fine for you. I want to carry the weight of tools low.
These bikes are awesome but they have weaknesses and like any machine they break. From my research the things to watch are...
Subframe (can snap under load if poorly organised. Not built for luggage. Coleback admits his stood up well but he still replaced it later)
Swing-arm (can bottom under load and can snap) (very, very rare)
Battery. (two kinds, both rubbish. Think about odyssey replacement)
Fuel. (You don't carry enough. This is an expensive fix)
Suspension. (could be better. You will benefit from a new rear shock and progressive springs)
Seat. (WTF were BMW thinking. It would be more comfortable to stick a splintery gatepost up your arse and drag it along broken glass. Got a gel pad in mine. Still uncomfortable.)
Low power generator. (done to allow engine to rev. More of a compromise than a weakness.)
I'm leaving in July, crossing Europe, Iran (last chance before America ruin it for all of us) and then into Pakistan and India. Probably going to Nepal too. Then fly to Thailand for a trip around South, cross to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and back to Bangkok. Heading off around Europe in March (fingers crossed) to test the bike, going to Spain, Portugal, Gibralta and ending up in Prague.
I have one and can highly recommend them. Fuel economy, as you say is top notch but tank size is a pain. There are also 2 versions, the 07-08 black one has an alloy rear subframe, the same as the challenge, the 09 has steel but has been lowered significantly. This makes luggage a bit of a pain, on top of the small tank.
There are also 2 versions, the 07-08 black one has an alloy rear subframe, the same as the challenge, the 09 has steel but has been lowered significantly.
I think you have to seriously think about changing the suspension on the X-Country for travel. The forks are poor, but vaguely acceptable if you are not fussy. The rear is a hazard. The 09 has something like only 160 mm of travel and the spring is too soft. The suspension can rapidly get to the limit of travel and then can travel no more. meaning you will either then break the shock or the rear swingarm.
I would not recommend anyone does anything loaded or off road with the stock rear shock on the X-Country.
Jennabusa here on the HUBB has made a number of changes to his X-Country, including proper forks and proper rear shock. (pity he never gives it a wash
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