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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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  #1  
Old 22 Jul 2004
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prep an SV650 for Mexico?

I'm considering a ride through Mexico on an SV650. Three years ago, I rode from the U.S. to Central America on a Honda XR650L, and that was pretty much the perfect bike for that trip. The engine and gearing could pull 65 MPH comfortably on the highways, but the bike was extremely dirt-worthy and handled sand tracks and goat trails with aplomb. Now I have three bikes, but not a lot of extra money:

* 1999 SV650
* 2002 Yamaha WR250F (for sale--see http://www.onlineconcepts.com/moto/ )
* 1989 Honda XR250L

Unless I can sell the Yamaha or find a really cheap XR650L, I'm thinking that the SV is the best choice. I'm not confident that the XR250L frame would handle the weight. Plus, I bought that bike used and have never taken it on a trip over 400 miles.

I plan to ride from Georgia to Texas, down to Mexico City, and back in about three weeks. I know it's possible to ride highways the whole way, but I also know myself, and I'll be tempted to get off the beaten path.

That said, how would you prep an SV650 for a trip to Mexico?

-John
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  #2  
Old 22 Jul 2004
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I wrote:
> That said, how would you prep an SV650
> for a trip to Mexico?

Here are my initial concerns.

TIRES/SUSPENSION
This is where I need the most help. I currently run BT010 tires and .90 Race Tech springs in the front suspension. Does anyone make a dual-sport tire that fits the SV? How would I make the forks springy enough to handle Mexico potholes? I still have the stock rear shock at 45K miles.

LUGGAGE
Buy a spare rear seat pan and install a Givi top case mount, as described on this page http://www.svrider.com/photos/photos-24.htm I already have a Givi top case, and that's where I would store documents, my camera, and other expensive items.

Based on the advice from the Motorcycle Adventure Handbook, I would use soft saddlebags to carry clothing and tools. That worked well on my last trip. I would need a rack to support the bags.

Givi Tubular Sidecase Racks
Perhaps these look more sturdy than the SW Motech model below? Any experience with this?
http://www.riderhaus.com/index.php/t...roductview/118

SW Motech "Quick-Lock" Sideracks
http://www.riderhaus.com/index.php/trade/productview/18

FUEL
I'd like to have a 200+ mile range on the bike. Currently, I only get 120-180 miles, depending on my riding style. I guess I could use smaller jets for the carbs because I won't need the extra power. Can someone recommend jet sizes that improve fuel range but still allow the bike to run reasonably well? A significant drop in power is ok, as long as the bike does not hiccup or have huge power dips.

Other than that, the only option is an external fuel cell, right? Anyone ever set up one of these on an SV?

Thanks,
John
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  #3  
Old 27 Aug 2004
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Avon makes the Distanzia tire in 120/70-17 and 160/60-17 (radial and bias ply so be sure to get the radial). This is 1/2" taller in the front (you need to slot the front fendor bracket and raise it some). A 150/70-17 in the back might work better, but the SV650 wheel is a little wide for a 150, but I presume it could be done. The V-Strom bikes run a 150/70, but the rear wheel is 1/2" narrower than the SV650.

I have not run the Distanzias yet (they are next in line for me), but I know someone who has and he had no complaints.

I have Tourmaster sport bags (soft) and they are shallow enough that they do not seem to need racks (I have put a bit of weight in them, too, maybe 20-25lbs each).

I also have Pelican 1420 Marine cases mounted as front-panniers/crash bars. The cases were about $45 each. I mades simple brackets (attaching to the frame at the radiator mounting points, connecting the two cases between the radiator and cylinder, and passing through the frame under the rear carb) and also mounted them to my frame sliders. The are waterproof and can lock with padlocks. They let the heavy stuff (tools, etc.) be mounted at a height between your ankles and knees.

I would be happy to take pictures of what I have done, but I won't have access to a digital camera again until Sept. 20. How soon do you need info?

In regard to potholes, the suspension travel in not very large, so hitting a big pothole at high speed can easily damage a wheel (less likely with the 120/70 than the stock 120/60). You may just wish to run with the springs you have and take it easy.

The racetech cartridge emulators will improve the front end and reduce the chance of wheel damage at speed. A new (aftermarket) rear shock with damping in both directions would be nice, but more expensive.

If you want straighter bars but don't want the full width of off-road bars, I have a pair of "mini-moto" bars on my bike and they are great. The bend is much like a dirt bike, but the bars are about 28" wide, rather than 32".

Matthew

[This message has been edited by mmclaughlin (edited 26 August 2004).]
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  #4  
Old 27 Aug 2004
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I wouldn't touch the jets. Modern bikes run pretty lean as they are.

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  #5  
Old 27 Aug 2004
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John,

Lots of good ideas above, esp note the comment re jets - don't mess with them, you'll risk frying the engine form running too lean, it's probably about as lean as is safe - in fact most of the time you'd want to put in bigger jets.

My suggestion is to ride it as is as much as possible - luggage sure, you have to carry the gear! Suspension - not so important, while the roads aren't great, you'll be riding slower anyway, just keep reminding yourself that the roads aren't great!

Fuel - again, not so important - while a long range is nice, it's not necessary on that route. Any method of increasing the range is expensive or messy. Strap on a gallon can to the passenger footpeg if you're heading way off into the sticks. I think you'll find you really don't need it unless you're really trying to get way off road.

Mathews minimoto bars sound perfect.

KISS principle - Keep it Super Simple always works best, especially when heading off away from home.

Try to schedule the HU Meeting in Copper Canyon on your ride, it's going to be a blast!



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  #6  
Old 1 Sep 2004
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Thanks for your advice, folks. I've been out of town and haven't had a chance to write back. I've got lots of questions.

COPPER CANYON MEETING
Aaargh, I just decided on a route and schedule, but I can't pass up the chance to meet you folks. I'm gonna have to take some extra time off work and cross from Georgia to the Texas border in 2-3 days, but I'll try and make it.

CARBS & FUEL
You folks reminded me that I once shimmed the carbs as described on this page. http://www.geocities.com/catpoopman/howtoshim.html That reduced fuel economy at wide-open throttle, so I might want to go back to stock. I'll be higher than sea level for most of the trip, so I think that should be ok. I'll probably carry a small 20 oz. bottle of fuel in Mexico, just for kicks. Also, I carry a 4 foot length of plastic tube for siphoning.

LUGGAGE
Matthew, I would love to see a photo of your Pelican 1420 Marine cases mounted on the SV. I was trying to come up with a place to mount the tools low, and that sounds like a great solution.

TIRES
Matthew wrote:
"Avon makes the Distanzia tire in 120/70-17 and 160/60-17 [...]"

I posted similar questions on the SVRider.com listserv, and someone responded with this:
"Pirelli MT-60R. Front and rear. it comes in a 120/70 and 160/60.
They've got decent wear, and have a tread that you'll appreciate if
you're on dirt. They've got softer sidewalls than the BT-010's so
they'll absorb some of the bumps better."
http://listserv.aspitel.com/wa.asp?A...0-l&D=0&P=4530

Any idea how the Avons compare to the Pirellis?

CROSSING BORDER
The Ibarra Brothers border crossing page appears to be down. http://www.ibarra-bros.com/bordercrossing.html I have three questions:

1) Would I have any problem using the border crossing at Presidio, TX? It's south of El Paso/Juarez but north of Big Bend National Park. I'm coming from the Southeast on Interstate 10 in the U.S., so Presidio looks like it offers the most direct route to Creel. Any other recommendations?

2) Is it possible/advisable to ride from Presidio, TX to Creel in one day, including the border crossing? I'm guess-timating that it looks like 430 miles.

3) In July 2001, I returned to the U.S. on my Honda XR650L, and I never documented the fact that I left Mexico with the bike. Since then, I've sold the bike, but I've heard horror stories that they won't let you return to Mexico because they think you're importing bikes. What kind of documentation will I need? I have the bill of sale, but it's just a normal printout with signatures, not an official document.

INSURANCE
Can someone just recommend a company for liability insurance in Mexico? It looks like about $100 USD to cover me for a month in the country.

Thanks again! If all goes well, I should meet some of you in person in Copper Canyon!

-John
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  #7  
Old 4 Sep 2004
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by jtherkel:


1) Would I have any problem using the border crossing at Presidio, TX? It's south of El Paso/Juarez but north of Big Bend National Park. I'm coming from the Southeast on Interstate 10 in the U.S., so Presidio looks like it offers the most direct route to Creel. Any other recommendations?

I highly recommend the Presidio crossing, it's lightly travelled, and usually quick.

2) Is it possible/advisable to ride from Presidio, TX to Creel in one day, including the border crossing? I'm guess-timating that it looks like 430 miles.

I don't think it's quite that far. Last year I did just that, and it was pushing dark by the time I got to Creel, but we started late and didn't hurry, and stopped for lunch and other errands in Chihuahua City.

3) In July 2001, I returned to the U.S. on my Honda XR650L, and I never documented the fact that I left Mexico with the bike. Since then, I've sold the bike, but I've heard horror stories that they won't let you return to Mexico because they think you're importing bikes. What kind of documentation will I need? I have the bill of sale, but it's just a normal printout with signatures, not an official document.

You're on your own there.

INSURANCE
Can someone just recommend a company for liability insurance in Mexico? It looks like about $100 USD to cover me for a month in the country.

I'm going to use Sanborn's as they are here in San Antonio, but I don't know that they are better than anyone else. Hope to see you in Creel!



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  #8  
Old 28 Sep 2004
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I have picture of the front bags on my bike. I sent them to SVrider, but they still need approval before posting. I can email to you, if you would like, just send an email address via Personal Message, if you don't want to wait.

Matthew
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  #9  
Old 29 Sep 2004
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Thanks for your reply, Matthew. Someone sent me a this photograph of some Tourmaster panniers on an SV.
http://www.svrider.com/photos/sv-pic...t_Panniers.JPG

I've resolved to go without the front panniers because I'm not sure I can fit my legs in there. I'm 5 feet, 10 inches tall. My luggage system will consist of soft Chase Harper saddlebags mounted on Givi side racks, plus a Givi top case mounted to the passenger seat. I'll keep the heavy tools toward the front of the bike in a tank bag. That's a little higher than I would prefer, but it's only a one-month trip.

I could probably get away without the Givi side racks, but my soft saddlebags are kinda large, and I'd like to give them some support.

I'd still like to see your pics with the Pelican boxes though.

-John
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  #10  
Old 20 Oct 2004
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The photos of the Pelican Cases are on SVRider.com (do a search in the photo album "general" category for the word "bags").

I am 6 feet even, and here is how the bags fit. My knees are over the top of the bag when riding (clearance of about 2 inches on the back corner). When putting my foot down and forward, my boots hit the bottem edge of the bag at the same time my shin hits the frame slider. As a result, the bags are never in the way (at least never more than frame sliders). Since you are only 2 inches shorter, I imagine you would not have problems either. Even if you did, you could adjust the position a little. I left mine where they happened to wind up, but if I did a second set, it would be easy to move the bags a little one direction or another.

I like having some hard bags. On the other hand, soft front panniers are available (smaller than the modified rear bags shown in the photo you linked to) and not too expensive (less than $100). I have seen one company making them for motorcycles and several make then for ATVs.

http://www.wolfmanluggage.com/03Tank/TankPanniers.html

http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...rentId=cat2015 3&parentType=index&rid=&_DARGS=%2Fcabelas%2Fen%2Fc ommon%2Fcatalog%2Fitem-link.jhtml.1_A&_DAV=MainCatcat21412&hasJS=true

(wow, that's a long link...)


I will say that I like the way the bike balances better when I can take weight off of the back and move it forward. Whatever you do will work, so no worries and enjoy your ride.

Matthew
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