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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.
Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia



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  #136  
Old 25 Jan 2016
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That smaller GL is much better, suits the scale of things, not so oversized.

I guess as a "Throw & Go" bag it's good. Love the inner storage bag color coding idea for staying organized. A must.

Friends used early GL's with NO inner stuff bags ... they took bloody forever to find anything in that big black hole ... and took them a half hour each morning to strap the thing back onto the bike. Was 1st use of the GL for them.

I don't want to continually remove and remount my bags, prefer to just OPEN, grap inner bags and go. In the AM, you need only stuff your stuff bags back in the GL (or whatever).

I see a perfect gap on that bike where nice side panniers might fit? I prefer smallish panniers, sat low and forward, something like Colebatch's ADV Spec ones.

Might lower CG a bit, easier to get onto/off the bike. I think I saw a pic of one your CB500's with panniers somewhere? Also important (to me) that tail bag does not interfere with side pannier access and vice versa.

Keep up the excellent work on this project!

PS: any progress on getting just a bit more HP out of that engine? I love the excellent economy ... but just a few extra HP would be welcome. Any simple/cheap or free ideas to extract a bit more?
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  #137  
Old 25 Jan 2016
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Hi Molly - thanks for your kind words!

Here's a/the photo of the CB500X with soft panniers on:



Again, these are Giant Loop Siskyou's, which we found were the perfect hight for the CB500 (particularly on the exhaust side) tucking in neatly above the silencer, and keeping the weight low and forward as you say - I believe the Adventure Spec panniers are slightly deeper, so may not fit quite so well?

With regard to the banana style of bag Giant Loop make - their Coyote is very simple to fit on and off (if you did want to carry the whole thing over your shoulder inside a hotel room for example) - it has two two hooks underneath that fit around the edge of a dirtbike rear fender, or lip of a seat - and in the case of the CB500X particularly, Rally Raid make a pair of brackets that replace the OEM passenger grab handles (the 'Solo' luggage brackets), which are prefect to slide these hooks onto...

Then there are just a pair of straps that run forward from the base of the bag to a point either on the footrest hanger or the subframe...


photo. you can just see the forward straps here that loop round the subframe rail above the pillion footrest hanger.

It really is very secure in use, and totally unobtrusive - leaving the complete rider seat area free on the CB500X.

As you suggest though, you do have to high kick (or McGregor goose-step) to get on and off mind you ;o)

Jx

ps. There doesn't really seem to be a consensus regarding getting more power out of the CB500 engine - certainly not without compromising the tractability and fuel economy. I'm sure you could put a free-er flowing air filter and exhaust on it, and perhaps a power commander to tweak things up a bit, but the gains are going to be modest at best.

Fortunately, the bike feels a lot more perky to ride than it's on-paper spec would suggest, and honestly I haven't heard anyone who actually owns one saying they desperately crave more power than the bike already has...
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  #138  
Old 25 Jan 2016
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Re what the discussion above regarding a replacement/free-r flowing air filter...

It's worth pointing out that this is the OEM 'dry' air filter from the bike that John rode 6500kms across the Simpson Desert in Australia:



Looks pretty gummed up eh? - until you realise that nothing passed through the filter at all:



... it was still totally clean on the engine side.

Dave Darcy said that all the bikes that had oiled type air filters could not be kept as clean as the OEM paper filter that the CB was running - worth keeping in mind if you're considering chasing a couple of extra HP... I know which I would prefer!

Jx
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  #139  
Old 26 Jan 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
Hi Magnon - that is the standard seat, and I can confirm it works perfectly well for a pillion, although there is a pronounced step in it as you can see.

I've found there is also plenty of room for a solo rider, although there are optional aftermarket seats/seat foams & covers available from the usual suspects if you'd prefer a taller and/or flatter seat.

The nice thing I've found about the stock bike is the flat pillion pad in combination with the OEM passenger grab handles is it provides a nice flat surface for strapping a duffle/dry bag too for example - very handy for casual luggage carrying...

The seat is also wide enough to be comfortable (certainly compared to a traditional thumper dual-sport bike) but still narrow enough to take a rack-less Giant Loop banana style bag as pictured above.

Jx
I really didn't look at the photo properly and wrongly assumed that the Giant Loop was sitting on a rack behind the seat. Have to say it looks much more purposeful with the Coyote as per your photo.
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  #140  
Old 27 Jan 2016
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Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
Re what the discussion above regarding a replacement/free-r flowing air filter...

It's worth pointing out that this is the OEM 'dry' air filter from the bike that John rode 6500kms across the Simpson Desert in Australia:

Looks pretty gummed up eh? - until you realise that nothing passed through the filter at all: ... it was still totally clean on the engine side.

Dave Darcy said that all the bikes that had oiled type air filters could not be kept as clean as the OEM paper filter that the CB was running - worth keeping in mind if you're considering chasing a couple of extra HP... I know which I would prefer!
Jx
Looks good! On some bikes the seal of the filter pod onto throttle body can sometimes be insecure or loosen allowing dirt to pass. So, once apart, take care to put it back correctly, fully seated and tight.

On the Vstrom, the engine would sometimes BACK FIRE ... blowing the air filter pods right off the throttle bodies.

Another note from my Vstrom days: (also uses a paper filter as standard)
If paper air filter gets wet ... it is not a good thing. Looks like the Honda one is well protected .. but if you have a tip over in deep water, could be a problem?
The paper just sort of dissolves, turns to mush.

Thousands of racers have used oiled foam filters for decades. If done right and cleaned once in a while, they do well. How many Dakar or Desert racers use a paper air filter?
If your guys got dirt leakage then maybe they made mistakes mounting? No oil, or ...
Dirt bike guys put a small bead of grease along the sealing surface of foam filter to air box contact. Once secure and mounted correctly, becomes pretty dust proof if filter is lightly oiled.

In dusty conditions I use "Filter Skins" over filter and just pull off dirty skin and add another as needed. Not bad. Saved me on several super dusty AMA Enduros I rode. But YES, foam filter leak once they are totally clogged up.
(I try not to let that happen! )
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  #141  
Old 27 Jan 2016
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Hi Molly - yes, the intake for the CB500X is pretty well protected - there is a small snorkel up under the seat, facing the right-hand side panel (sort of by your thigh) - so as you surmise, you'd really have to submerge the bike on it's side to get water in there.

The filter also appears to seat very well inside the air-box itself - the only downside is the cover is held on with four cross-head screws, the lower pair of which are also rather difficult to get to, even once you've removed the battery.


I know what you mean regarding traditional oiled foam filters - that is what I use on my XR (and other rally bikes), along with all the hints and tips you suggest (grease around the filter seat, filter skins as required) and most importantly regular changes and cleaning.

I have also used a K&N on my XR650R in the past, and also had good results from the similar DNA drum style filters on my 660 Tenere (compared to the dry paper OEM filter on the Tenere).

The stock paper Honda CB500 filter is certainly impressive and reassuring though!

Jx
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  #142  
Old 3 Feb 2016
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This is the thread I was looking for a while.

But, I would like to hear where a "original" CB500X, before RR, stands comparing to VStrom 650? Both just out of a store. With an accent on touring, long distance rides...

I have 1998 ST1100 and after I finished couple solo long weekend rides I started thinking about a second bike. My reasons are probably identical to many others: I don’t want to stop at the end of a road and turn around because my ST hates gravel/unpaved roads; and, when I drop my bike, that I don’t need to unload everything to be able to pick it up. Or, even worse, wait for somebody to help me to pick up my bike. I can pick up ST, I did it. Couple times. But it also happened once I couldn't because she was down the slope.
I think I need kinda 80:20 bike. For two up, or riding with "touring" friends, or commuting (120 miles a day, interstates and/or highways) I would use my ST. For long weekends and week-long trips (especially solo trips) I would rather use smaller, more off-road friendly (but not necessary dirt road friendly), bike.

Thanks.
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  #143  
Old 3 Feb 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afan View Post
This is the thread I was looking for a while.

But, I would like to hear where a "original" CB500X, before RR, stands comparing to VStrom 650? Both just out of a store. With an accent on touring, long distance rides...

I have 1998 ST1100 and after I finished couple solo long weekend rides I started thinking about a second bike. My reasons are probably identical to many others: I don’t want to stop at the end of a road and turn around because my ST hates gravel/unpaved roads; and, when I drop my bike, that I don’t need to unload everything to be able to pick it up. Or, even worse, wait for somebody to help me to pick up my bike. I can pick up ST, I did it. Couple times. But it also happened once I couldn't because she was down the slope.
I think I need kinda 80:20 bike. For two up, or riding with "touring" friends, or commuting (120 miles a day, interstates and/or highways) I would use my ST. For long weekends and week-long trips (especially solo trips) I would rather use smaller, more off-road friendly (but not necessary dirt road friendly), bike.

Thanks.
Hi Afan - I have ridden quite a few thousand miles on both the stock bike and the Rally-Raid kitted version, so hopefully this will help...

First up, the CB500X is a 471cc twin making 47hp, so it won't have quite the same grunt as the 650cc V-Strom (67bhp), but still the CB makes a very good case for itself - the gearing is well spaced and the fuelling is very smooth from tick-over to the redline and the power delivery is very linear... You can cruise all day at 75-80mph if needs be, with another 10-15mph for over taking, although it does run out of puff at about 100mph or so.

Certainly the CB500X feels much more nimble than the V-Strom - it is shorter (4" shorter wheelbase) and more compact, and basically feels far more eager to turn in, and flick-flack around on twisty roads. It's more like a supermoto in that regard, but at the same time, the CB is also very stable at speed - I rode an Iron-Butt on one last year, so it has the long-distance legs if you need it to.

I imagine the V-Strom would be a little more comfortable if you want to take a passenger regularly - not that the CB is bad, but the seat/tail is quite short in comparison (sharing the subframe with the CB-F and CBR-R model too of course). It is however very strong, and perfectly capable of carrying a passenger and luggage as needs be - loads of options out there for hard or soft luggage. Again, I've carried a passenger on the freeway on a number of occasions (70-80mph again) and never found the bike wanting - it really is very impressive for such a relatively small engine, and really smooth at all revs.

Certainly I would say it is near perfect as a solo travel bike, size and weight wise.

Hope that helps - do try and get a ride on one, I've never met anyone who hasn't been impressed by it!

Jx
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  #144  
Old 3 Feb 2016
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I think the standard CB-X would be fine, or at least more confidence inspiring than an ST11 (had to look that one up, but largely as I thought).
Much would depend on your weight and how much load you're carrying, even at low off road speeds. The OE suspension is pretty basic - especially the front - and the whole bike would be much improved by an inexpensive spring makeover which RR and I'm sure others do. If you're light you may well get away with it.
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  #145  
Old 4 Feb 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afan View Post
This is the thread I was looking for a while.

But, I would like to hear where a "original" CB500X, before RR, stands comparing to VStrom 650? Both just out of a store. With an accent on touring, long distance rides...

I have 1998 ST1100 and after I finished couple solo long weekend rides I started thinking about a second bike. My reasons are probably identical to many others: I don’t want to stop at the end of a road and turn around because my ST hates gravel/unpaved roads; and, when I drop my bike, that I don’t need to unload everything to be able to pick it up. Or, even worse, wait for somebody to help me to pick up my bike. I can pick up ST, I did it. Couple times. But it also happened once I couldn't because she was down the slope.
I think I need kinda 80:20 bike. For two up, or riding with "touring" friends, or commuting (120 miles a day, interstates and/or highways) I would use my ST. For long weekends and week-long trips (especially solo trips) I would rather use smaller, more off-road friendly (but not necessary dirt road friendly), bike.

Thanks.
Both bikes would be good, but IMO for the use you've described the V-Strom has a stock CB500X beat. However, I've never ridden the 500X but have spent thousands of miles on the Wee Strom and owned a V-Strom 1000 for years, which is identical in many ways.

A few points to consider:
1. V-Strom makes about 66 HP at the rear wheel (measured). The CB dyno's at 45 HP, rear wheel.
A 21 HP deficit is H U G E. You will feel it, especially coming off the might ST1100.

2. The V-Strom comes standard with a 19" front wheel. CB a 17". The CB will have a wide road tire that is not so happy on dirt or gravel roads. The 19" of the Vstrom can be fitted with a TKC80 knobby and handles mild dirt/gravel wonderfully. Lots more confidence compared to riding on a 17" front. IMO, this is the biggest advantage of the Vstrom. Much better feel/control on tight/technical and wet back roads, dirt and gravel roads.

3. Comfort. The Vstrom gives you more room than the CB and the stock seat is quite good. Good leg room for tall person. There is also more room for luggage and a pillion, more weight capacity.

4. The CB rules fuel economy but the CB has a smaller tank so I believe range is about the same? (about 220 on Vstrom, not sure on CB but I read they do 60 MPG but smaller 4.5 US Gallon tank vs. Vstrom's 5.8 US Gallon tank)

5. Weight: CB500X claimed dry weight: 402 lbs.
V-Strom 650 dry weight: 427 lbs.

Wet weights will add roughly 50 lbs. on both bikes.
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  #146  
Old 4 Feb 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afan View Post
This is the thread I was looking for a while.

But, I would like to hear where a "original" CB500X, before RR, stands comparing to VStrom 650? Both just out of a store. With an accent on touring, long distance rides...

I have 1998 ST1100 and after I finished couple solo long weekend rides I started thinking about a second bike. My reasons are probably identical to many others: I don’t want to stop at the end of a road and turn around because my ST hates gravel/unpaved roads; and, when I drop my bike, that I don’t need to unload everything to be able to pick it up. Or, even worse, wait for somebody to help me to pick up my bike. I can pick up ST, I did it. Couple times. But it also happened once I couldn't because she was down the slope.
I think I need kinda 80:20 bike. For two up, or riding with "touring" friends, or commuting (120 miles a day, interstates and/or highways) I would use my ST. For long weekends and week-long trips (especially solo trips) I would rather use smaller, more off-road friendly (but not necessary dirt road friendly), bike.

Thanks.
I have had a go on both of these bikes as rentals in Thailand. Both times I rented for 4-5 days and rode approx 2000 kms on each of those bikes. The V-Strom was the new ADV model. Both were relatively stock.

Actually theyre quite similar. Both two cylindred fuel injected and fuel efficient bikes with quite a linear power deliverance up through the rpms.

The V-Strom is bigger and stronger though and thus have more advantages on road, more power, more space when carrying a pillion and luggage and more comfort. More stable as it has 4 inches more distance between wheelbase. But the Honda is quite stable too. The seat on the V-Strom is better than the Honda seat but not as good as it looked.

None of the bikes - with stock tyres and with stock equipment - would I like to take off road except from a ok gravel road. The Honda would probably be be better just because its lighter and has a shorter wheelbase.

The suspension felt better on the V-Strom although not plush. On the Honda it felt simple - almost bad. The stock tyres might fool me a bit though.

Both bikes were exeptionally lean on fuel consumption. The Honda I rode 540 kms on one tank and refuelled 16,3 liters which gives approx 33 kms pr liter.
And the Suzuki I refuelled 17,1 liter after 450 kms which gives 26,3 km pr liter and that was with a pillion. Exellent on both bikes but Honda would win the range though.

Both lacked a bit in the "fun factor" department, maybe the V-Strom lacked more here.

Just my 5 cents though...
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  #147  
Old 4 Feb 2016
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Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Both bikes would be good, but IMO for the use you've described the V-Strom has a stock CB500X beat. However, I've never ridden the 500X but have spent thousands of miles on the Wee Strom and owned a V-Strom 1000 for years, which is identical in many ways.

A few points to consider:
1. V-Strom makes about 66 HP at the rear wheel (measured). The CB dyno's at 45 HP, rear wheel.
A 21 HP deficit is H U G E. You will feel it, especially coming off the might ST1100.

2. The V-Strom comes standard with a 19" front wheel. CB a 17". The CB will have a wide road tire that is not so happy on dirt or gravel roads. The 19" of the Vstrom can be fitted with a TKC80 knobby and handles mild dirt/gravel wonderfully. Lots more confidence compared to riding on a 17" front. IMO, this is the biggest advantage of the Vstrom. Much better feel/control on tight/technical and wet back roads, dirt and gravel roads.

3. Comfort. The Vstrom gives you more room than the CB and the stock seat is quite good. Good leg room for tall person. There is also more room for luggage and a pillion, more weight capacity.

4. The CB rules fuel economy but the CB has a smaller tank so I believe range is about the same? (about 220 on Vstrom, not sure on CB but I read they do 60 MPG but smaller 4.5 US Gallon tank vs. Vstrom's 5.8 US Gallon tank)

5. Weight: CB500X claimed dry weight: 402 lbs.
V-Strom 650 dry weight: 427 lbs.

Wet weights will add roughly 50 lbs. on both bikes.
In reply to the points raised above:

1. Yes the power difference between the two bikes is significant, but that is because the V-Strom is almost 200ccs bigger. As I mentioned above, the CB skips along very nicely with the power it does have. I'd suggest anyone coming from a larger capacity bike needs to ride one to to feel if that performance is sufficient for your needs.

2. Continental make the TKC80 in a dedicated 17" front size too. I would agree that ultimately for off-road use a larger diameter would be preferable (which is why the Rally-Raid kit uses a 19" front of course), but for general paved, dirt road and trail use, the 17" TKC does surprisingly well, as many owners will attest.

For info, here are a couple of videos of the stock bike off-road:

Straight out of the crate:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xu9xNEFLMqw

This one has a skidplate and more aggressive rear tyre fitted:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WjqAMoCKnY


3. The V-Strom is indeed a bigger bike all round. The CB500X however is also very comfortable over long distances.

4. The CB500X regularly achives between 250 and even 300 miles from a tank. It is very economic with some riders reporting as high as 70mpg (US).

5. The wet weight of the CB500X is 430lbs, fully fuelled.

My suggestion to Afan would be to try both bikes, and see which fits your needs the best.

Jx
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  #148  
Old 22 Feb 2016
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Front mud guard clearance

Is there a way to raise the front fender/mud guard on the RR version of the CB 500?


The close spacing between the guard and wheel looks like a perfect opportunity for mud buildup - which is a huge hassle.
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  #149  
Old 22 Feb 2016
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Originally Posted by Bain Dramage View Post
Is there a way to raise the front fender/mud guard on the RR version of the CB 500?


The close spacing between the guard and wheel looks like a perfect opportunity for mud buildup - which is a huge hassle.
Hi Bain - unfortunately there is not a lot of room under the lower triple-clamp for a high-fender to clear the radiator - or to clear the small beak under the headlight.

Furthermore, if you have an ABS version of this bike, the front brake hose routing (via the rigid line from the ABS pump) is directly under the lower triple-clamp, so you can't fit a high fender there at all without it fouling.

We did experiment with a Polisport supermoto fender initially, but it looked rubbish to be honest.

Ultimately because the bike has a large full-width radiator, we felt the low rallye style fender offered better protection, and also complimented the original styling of the bike better.

for info. the Rally-Raid low fender is mounted around an inch higher than the tyre (with a TKC80 fitted) - offering good clearance in all but really sticky muddy conditions. For example, during my 12,000+ mile Trans-Am 500 ride last summer, I only ended up having to remove the fender a couple of times when things got really bad in Mississippi and Oklahoma, otherwise it turned out there was plenty of clearance...



...fortunately it is a 2 minute job to remove and replace the low fender with just a 5mm allen key and 8mm wrench.

It actually looks kinda cool with no front fender at all - but it does mean the engine and radiator get covered with mud.

Hope that helps!

Jenny x
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  #150  
Old 22 Feb 2016
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Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
Hi Bain - unfortunately there is not a lot of room under the lower triple-clamp for a high-fender to clear the radiator - or to clear the small beak under the headlight.

Furthermore, if you have an ABS version of this bike, the front brake hose routing (via the rigid line from the ABS pump) is directly under the lower triple-clamp, so you can't fit a high fender there at all without it fouling.

We did experiment with a Polisport supermoto fender initially, but it looked rubbish to be honest.

Ultimately because the bike has a large full-width radiator, we felt the low rallye style fender offered better protection, and also complimented the original styling of the bike better.

for info. the Rally-Raid low fender is mounted around an inch higher than the tyre (with a TKC80 fitted) - offering good clearance in all but really sticky muddy conditions. For example, during my 12,000+ mile Trans-Am 500 ride last summer, I only ended up having to remove the fender a couple of times when things got really bad in Mississippi and Oklahoma, otherwise it turned out there was plenty of clearance...



...fortunately it is a 2 minute job to remove and replace the low fender with just a 5mm allen key and 8mm wrench.

It actually looks kinda cool with no front fender at all - but it does mean the engine and radiator get covered with mud.

Hope that helps!

Jenny x


Hi Jenny,




Thank you for the detailed, thoughtful reply. With a pic no less!


-Mike
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Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events all over the world with the help of volunteers; we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, or ask questions on the HUBB. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.




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