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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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  #166  
Old 5 May 2016
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Thanks Jenny
Now I just need to get the bike and I can get started on a conversion...
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  #167  
Old 23 May 2016
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Yes I used for 5 months Thailand / Laos after trying many others bikes it was excellent
Safe riding
Paul
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  #168  
Old 4 Jul 2016
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Originally Posted by Ham46 View Post
Tosko, on your budget, I rented my house out in the Uk, I got around £650 per month, I used this to travel around the world from 2008-2012, on an old Bmw r100gspd, so using the 500x would have halved my fuel bill, going to Thailand was easy with only the flight cost from Nepal the Thailand, which I used additional savings (as with all my flights), if you get out of Europe quickly you money goes along way, till you hit Australia if you go that far. Camping is hard in some countries, eg: most parts of India, to many people! But guest houses cheap.
Good luck with your planning.
Graham.
After my adventure I moved to Thailand, now teaching under privileged children in Lamphun.
Hi, Graham. I have the CB500X now. Very satisfied with the purchase. I have installed the central holder, panniers and topcase, also a cigarette plug for connecting devices and a Tomtom gps. Do you have FB or email?
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  #169  
Old 11 Jul 2016
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A very nice bike.

I have done over 20000 km on my 2015 mod.500x,Two times from Norway to Venedig,and ofcourse,the alps.No problem to sit on it for 400 km trips,or more,on a day,the seat is very good.Very economic to drive also,about one litre fuel,brings me 30 km.One up and with a lot of luggage.Have had no problems,all all with the bike.
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  #170  
Old 1 Oct 2016
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Hi everyone,

just a quick summary of where I come from before I ask my questions:
I am 25 years old, from Germany (which makes this RR conversion a PITA), and my love for motorcycle riding was lit during my voluntary year in Uganda from 2011-2012. Some of the discussions regarding 125s and 155s really made me nostalgic . Anyways my first bike was a 2001 BMW F 650 GS because it has been a dream ever since to discover the world an the peoples within it. So it seemed logical to buy a bike that could handle a variety of situations and conditions. Unfortunately the thumper really did not impress me on long road trips through Germany and Europe. Due to the vibrations my arms and legs went numb after an hour or so. So I was on the lookout for another bike (the CB 500 X was the other contendor for my first bike, but couldnt afford a new one - there were no used ones in 2013). Since then I watched every Youtube-video from Blancolirio and any video that remotely handled the subject of the CB 500X. Basically thats going to be the next bike in the following year. Never the less there are some questions I'd like to ask the community. They are noobie questions, yet I regard them as worth it to consider:

Firstly: Do you think the Level 1b Kit is woth the while? My skills are not really developed. This is one reason why the 500X makes sense, since I can improve my riding skills. So many other people want the fastes available bike even though it might not make sense to start on these huge bikes... So the off-beaten paths id really take are gravel roads and maybe some forest roads. Are those 17" wired wheels acceptable in these conditions? Also I am 167cm on a good day, so the huge 19" conversion is quite intimidating to me... Or will I regret that choice soon and have to invest in yet another upgrade, the level 3 upgrade?

Secondly concerning hard-luggage: The way id like to ride in the near future (the next 2 years) is mainly to discover places. That includes some odd city-touring with the occasional stop to visit an interesting site. So my thoughts are that an aluminium-pannier is the better choice for luggage to discourage thiefs. What's your take on that? Blancolirio says that the Giantloop bags, or the Siskyou panniers, are all that you need, which is true, but only if you do not leave the bike over night or for a couple of hours in city centers... Or would it suffice to get one of those metel fishnet security think that you can wrap around your luggage?

Thirdly: Am I getting it right, that with your fork clamps you can install the level 2 Suspention kit (with additional 2") but still maintain the original ride height? Does that mean it is also possible to buy those and just increase the ride height about 1" due to my limited height?


Tank you for sharing your expertise and time.

Greetings

Alex
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  #171  
Old 1 Oct 2016
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afaict, Level 1b is purely a suspension upgrade and is bound to improve the CB-X on road and trail. I would not bother fitting same sized but spoked (wired) wheels (is that what you mean?). Stick with the original tubeless alloy and spend you money on the suspension first. I believe the fork kit has been improved still further from the version I had.
On a bike this size 19" front is best all round size for road and gravel but the right tyres on a 17 front can make a big difference off road.

Before you spend any of this money, run a CB-X for a while first and make sure its the bike for you regards height and weight. It will definitely cure your vibration issues with big singles.

For the reasons you mention, hard luggage would be better in European cities.

Third Q - don't know.

My CB-X pages
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  #172  
Old 1 Oct 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdmirAlex View Post
Hi everyone,

just a quick summary of where I come from before I ask my questions:
I am 25 years old, from Germany (which makes this RR conversion a PITA), and my love for motorcycle riding was lit during my voluntary year in Uganda from 2011-2012. Some of the discussions regarding 125s and 155s really made me nostalgic . Anyways my first bike was a 2001 BMW F 650 GS because it has been a dream ever since to discover the world an the peoples within it. So it seemed logical to buy a bike that could handle a variety of situations and conditions. Unfortunately the thumper really did not impress me on long road trips through Germany and Europe. Due to the vibrations my arms and legs went numb after an hour or so. So I was on the lookout for another bike (the CB 500 X was the other contendor for my first bike, but couldnt afford a new one - there were no used ones in 2013). Since then I watched every Youtube-video from Blancolirio and any video that remotely handled the subject of the CB 500X. Basically thats going to be the next bike in the following year. Never the less there are some questions I'd like to ask the community. They are noobie questions, yet I regard them as worth it to consider:

Firstly: Do you think the Level 1b Kit is woth the while? My skills are not really developed. This is one reason why the 500X makes sense, since I can improve my riding skills. So many other people want the fastes available bike even though it might not make sense to start on these huge bikes... So the off-beaten paths id really take are gravel roads and maybe some forest roads. Are those 17" wired wheels acceptable in these conditions? Also I am 167cm on a good day, so the huge 19" conversion is quite intimidating to me... Or will I regret that choice soon and have to invest in yet another upgrade, the level 3 upgrade?

Secondly concerning hard-luggage: The way id like to ride in the near future (the next 2 years) is mainly to discover places. That includes some odd city-touring with the occasional stop to visit an interesting site. So my thoughts are that an aluminium-pannier is the better choice for luggage to discourage thiefs. What's your take on that? Blancolirio says that the Giantloop bags, or the Siskyou panniers, are all that you need, which is true, but only if you do not leave the bike over night or for a couple of hours in city centers... Or would it suffice to get one of those metel fishnet security think that you can wrap around your luggage?

Thirdly: Am I getting it right, that with your fork clamps you can install the level 2 Suspention kit (with additional 2") but still maintain the original ride height? Does that mean it is also possible to buy those and just increase the ride height about 1" due to my limited height?


Tank you for sharing your expertise and time.

Greetings

Alex
Hi Alex - thank you for your enthusiasm, the CB500X is a great bike, you won't be dissappointed!

To answer your questions regarding the Rally Raid kit/s and options:

1. The LEVEL 1b kit offers fully adjustable front and rear suspension (note. from 2017 onwards, this will include the new Fork Cartridges, which have externally adjustable compression and rebound damping, along with preload) - while the rear shock will continue to feature high and low speed compression damping, plus rebound and preload, and will now have the option of a hydraulic remote preload adjuster too, again, from the 2017 production onwards.

In comparison, the current LEVEL 1 suspension offers a similar build and overall suspension quality, but without the individual damping adjustment - the adjuster is a combined clicker, that controls rebound and compression in proportion to each other.

Basically, the standard LEVEL 1 suspension is a huge improvement over the stock set-up. You only need the further control of the individual adjusters that the 1b shock (and new fork cartridges) offer if you wish to further tailor your ride to specific conditions. Personally I'd take advantage of the great price on the regular LEVEL 1 kit at the moment.


2. The 17" front spoked wheel is built to exactly the same standards as our 19" front, so it is certainly just as strong. The only limitation is the smaller diameter (and proportionally wider tyre) that can make directional stability less positive in loose sandy or muddy conditions... the gyroscopic force of the larger [19"] diameter front wheel also helps with stability on-road and on rough piste type desert tracks and trails, especially at higher speeds...

However, if you are concerned about overall seat-height on the bike but want stronger wheels that the stock cast aluminium ones, then the 17" front and rear Rally Raid wheels are an excellent option. My friend Lisa just spent a week riding exactly the same trails as I did with her 17" front wheel and she found the bike very manageable and stable, you just had to take a little more care and ride accordingly.


3. Personally we feel the longer travel (+2"/50mm) suspension of the LEVEL 2 and 3 conversions is the optimum for this size bike, and certainly the bike is very capable indeed in LEVEL 3 specification. However, we are aware that a number of people choose the CB500X because of it's lower seat height, so if you are more comfortable at the standard ride-height, you'll be more confident, and that is the main thing when tackling unfamiliar terrain.

Fortunately, all the Rally Raid parts are bolt-on bolt-off, and no modification to the bike is required - so ultimately you can always sell your LEVEL 1 kit on if you ever decide to take you bike to the LEVEL 2/3 specification.


4. The LEVEL 2 (longer travel) suspension does come with a new triple clamp, but this is primarily to achieve the correct ride height front and rear, and to provide sufficient clearance for the larger 19" front wheel when fitted. While you could slide the fork legs through the triple clamps to the same hight as a LEVEL 1 bike if you kept the 17" front wheel size, the rear of the bike would still be 50mm higher, which would mess up the handling significantly.

Basically you can't have the longer travel suspension without the corresponding increase in seat height.


With regard to hard luggage - personally we feel the extra weight and bulk of such items undoes everything we have tried to achieve in keeping the size and weight of this bike small. However, I would concede that for general touring riding, and especially when visiting cities - having solid lockable luggage can be beneficial...

There are any number of pannier frames and hard boxes out there by the usual suspects - just be aware that the CB500X is only about 4/5ths (or 7/8ths) the size of the larger twin-cylinder adventure bikes [and has a short tail section too] so try to chose boxes that are physically in proportion to the bike - something around 35L a side is really the absolute maximum.

Personally I like the Caribou Cases system (from the USA) that uses Pelican cases as the boxes themselves - these are virtually indestructible plastic cases that are properly waterproof (typically used for transporting camera and other electronic equipment) and come in a range of sizes and options. If you're on a budget, you can always buy some pannier frames from a 3rd party and mount some Pelican Cases yourself.

I have never felt the need to use one of those metal security mesh nets over my soft bags, but typically I tend to plan any visits to tourist attractions to coincide with where I can remove my soft Coyote bag and leave it somewhere safe (such as inside a hotel).

Hope that helps - good luck with your new bike purchase, and feel free to ask any further questions about the Rally Raid options here, or over on the dedicated Vendor thread on the ADVrider forum here.

Jenny x
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  #173  
Old 1 Oct 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMo (& piglet) View Post
Hi Alex - thank you for your enthusiasm, the CB500X is a great bike, you won't be dissappointed!
Well I guess it is the other way around: I'd like to thank you for inspiring and giving confidence. On Most RTW shows or blogs you find these huge adventurebikes, which gives the impression that other options might be valid but a huge hassle none the less.

Quote:
Basically, the standard LEVEL 1 suspension is a huge improvement over the stock set-up. You only need the further control of the individual adjusters that the 1b shock (and new fork cartridges) offer if you wish to further tailor your ride to specific conditions. Personally I'd take advantage of the great price on the regular LEVEL 1 kit at the moment.
Yeah you are right: Since my scope is not to ride these single tracks and canyions yet (like you did) it isnt really necessary to get the fanciest stuff. Rather spend a little less and use the money to get to places (or spend it on the bashguard etc.).

Quote:
2.
However, if you are concerned about overall seat-height on the bike but want stronger wheels that the stock cast aluminium ones, then the 17" front and rear Rally Raid wheels are an excellent option. My friend Lisa just spent a week riding exactly the same trails as I did with her 17" front wheel and she found the bike very manageable and stable, you just had to take a little more care and ride accordingly.
Exactly. Maybe it might even be beneficial to be "forced" to ride more deliberatly and with greater foresight to understand the conditions of the tracks better (?). Dunno if that makes sense.
Also in one video where you had to change a tire on your heritage build you chose to just take a single new tube that would fit both the front and rear tire. With the 17"F/17"R setup you dont have to compromise sizes, so that one fresh tube will surely fit both rims.


Quote:
With regard to hard luggage - personally we feel the extra weight and bulk of such items undoes everything we have tried to achieve in keeping the size and weight of this bike small. However, I would concede that for general touring riding, and especially when visiting cities - having solid lockable luggage can be beneficial...
Yeah I understand that. But there are always some rogues who adapt ideas to their liking . Again the way you do things is really inspiring, however ATM I dont feel capable of doing that myself (yet), eventough it is tempting as heck

Quote:
Hope that helps - good luck with your new bike purchase, and feel free to ask any further questions about the Rally Raid options here, or over on the dedicated Vendor thread on the ADVrider forum.
Thanks again. Your explanations have been very clear, that helps a lot.

Concidering the new 2017 cartriges: I presume that you are selling the Level 1 sets due to the fact that by 2017 you'll produce the new ones. Will those new Lvl. 1 Sets also have the externally adjustable compression and rebound damping?

Greetings

Alex
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  #174  
Old 1 Oct 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdmirAlex View Post
Well I guess it is the other way around: I'd like to thank you for inspiring and giving confidence. On Most RTW shows or blogs you find these huge adventurebikes, which gives the impression that other options might be valid but a huge hassle none the less.
Hee hee - just wait until you see the latest video Juan Browne is working on... it will categorically prove why we feel the Rally Raid CB500X is the BEST all-round twin-cylinder adventure bike on the market...

Suddenly, everything else looks bigger, heavier and more of a liability... ;o)



Quote:
Yeah you are right: Since my scope is not to ride these single tracks and canyions yet (like you did) it isnt really necessary to get the fanciest stuff. Rather spend a little less and use the money to get to places (or spend it on the bashguard etc.).
I would totally agree - for a signifcant improvement both on-road and off, and in the dynamics of the machine in general, the LEVEL 1 standard travel kit is the way to go, and use those savings for important accessories like the Adventure engine guard.

This is Lisa's bike - LEVEL 1 suspension, Adventure engine guard, Scorpion Taper exhaust (not essential, but very nice ;o), Giant Loop Coyote luggage (and Solo brackets), Heavy Duty footrests and TKC80 tyres on the stock rims - it works very well indeed for the shorter rider:





Quote:
Exactly. Maybe it might even be beneficial to be "forced" to ride more deliberatly and with greater foresight to understand the conditions of the tracks better (?). Dunno if that makes sense.
Yes, it certainly does... this trip was the first time Lisa had ridden her bike on a series of consecutive days off-road, and she was increasingly impressed with just how capable and manageable it felt - the gearing is nice and low for technical off-road riding, and the fuelling perfect for trickling along at tick-over and then opening up the throttle as required - no nasty surprises to spit you into the dirt!

Quote:
Also in one video where you had to change a tire on your heritage build you chose to just take a single new tube that would fit both the front and rear tire. With the 17"F/17"R setup you dont have to compromise sizes, so that one fresh tube will surely fit both rims.
To clarify, there is still quite a volume disparity between the 17" front tyre (120/70) and the 17" rear tyre (150/70) - but yes, it is not quite as marked as the 19" front which was only 110 width. Therefore you could probably get away with a 130x17" size tube in both - although ideally long-term you'd still want a fatter tube in the rear (see below).

On that particular trip in the video I took a 120x18" rear tube, which would fit in both front and rear tyres if required. for info: It lasted for another 1500 miles until I changed the rear tyre, however I would say a 120 width is a bit narrow for the 150/70 rear TKC tyre, and it was wearing thin after those miles - so it is more a temporary measure until you can get a correct size replacement.

I now carry a 140x18" rear tube (which still should fit in the 19" front tyre ok), but if you have space in your luggage, then of course a separate front and rear tube in the dedicated sizes would mean you ought not to have to change the tube again.

Quote:
Yeah I understand that. But there are always some rogues who adapt ideas to their liking . Again the way you do things is really inspiring, however ATM I dont feel capable of doing that myself (yet), eventough it is tempting as heck
Another option is to just use a top-box for the time being (I did that for a trip around Europe on my XR650R a few years ago) - having lockable storage that keeps the bike nice and narrow (for weaving though traffic in narrow European streets), and with the more expendable stuff - clothes and camping gear - in a soft bag on the rear of the seat?


Quote:
Thanks again. Your explanations have been very clear, that helps a lot.

Concidering the new 2017 cartriges: I presume that you are selling the Level 1 sets due to the fact that by 2017 you'll produce the new ones. Will those new Lvl. 1 Sets also have the externally adjustable compression and rebound damping?

Greetings

Alex
Yes... the current LEVEL 1 and 2/3 shock bodies needed to be redesigned to fit the new hydraulic preload adjuster to them, as the existing design was not the right shape.

We currently have the new version of the longer travel LEVEL 2/3 shocks available now, with the preload adjuster available as an option at the point of purchase, or retrofittable at a later date if desired.

The standard travel LEVEL 1 and 1b versions of the new shocks will start to be built in the next couple of months, which is why we say they are 2017 model year products.

To clarify - as before, the new LEVEL 1 shock will retain the combined single compression/rebound adjuster at the bottom of the shock, but it will now have the option of fitting the hydraulic preload adjuster collar and remote control knob.

Similarly, the new LEVEL 1b shock will continue to have a separate reservoir with the individual high and low speed compression damping adjusters, while the separate rebound adjuster is on the bottom of the shock, and again will now have the option of specifying the remote hydraulic preload adjuster too.

Hope that clarifies things!

Jenny x
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  #175  
Old 3 Oct 2016
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Hi Jenny,

Yes, got it!

The heritage bike you've built is pretty appealing so thats what i am aiming for (Except the 2" rise). But I am still confused about the bar risers that you'd need for that. RR offers four different ones which seen indistinguishable from one another to me. The 2 cm drop is to account for the difference in construction of the Fatbar, so much is clear. But why are there four different ones?

Also does the Level 1 Kit come with the nice RR spanners?

greetings

Alex
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  #176  
Old 3 Oct 2016
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Originally Posted by AdmirAlex View Post
Hi Jenny,

Yes, got it!

The heritage bike you've built is pretty appealing so thats what i am aiming for (Except the 2" rise). But I am still confused about the bar risers that you'd need for that. RR offers four different ones which seen indistinguishable from one another to me. The 2 cm drop is to account for the difference in construction of the Fatbar, so much is clear. But why are there four different ones?

Also does the Level 1 Kit come with the nice RR spanners?

greetings

Alex

Hi Alex - basically there are two versions of the top triple-clamp/bar risers: one that accepts the standard 7/8th bars at the OEM height, and a taller riser for the Fat-bars since, as you surmise, the Fat-bars available don't have the same rise as the OEM bars, so need to be correspondingly taller so that the clearances are retained.

The other two options are for the CB500F model - this is essentially the same triple/clamp, just with the additional bracketry for mounting the F headlight unit directly to the forks and triple clamp.

Your confusion was probably compounded by the fact that I think they currently use the same photo on all four options on the website...

Hope that clarifies things!

Jenny x

ps. The wheel spanners do not come as part of the kit, but fortunately they are very inexpensive to add on.
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  #177  
Old 4 Oct 2016
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If anyone was still wondering about the trail-ability of the CB500X (well, in Rally Raid spec at least) - last week, this happened...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7jpOMaGnps


While this clip is a great illustration of how the CB500X compares to any larger and more heavy twin-cylinder Adventure bike:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiEA3A8g-88

Jx

Last edited by JMo (& piglet); 5 Oct 2016 at 14:12.
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  #178  
Old 5 Oct 2016
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Alex:

I've got the RRL3 and it is great, but I know the L1 is also outstanding.

Regarding hard luggage, I have the HepcoBecker boxes on mine -- 35 lt side cases and the top box. VERY rugged and can take getting hit or side swiped in traffic, as well as holding up well to a drop. SW Motech also makes cases, and their foot pegs are outstanding.

I'm not a big fan of Pelican boxes as side cases but have a small one I use as a top box for day trips -- those work great. I much prefer top loading side boxes so things don't fall out. The Pelicans are not light either -- aluminum cases often end up lighter.

But like was mentioned earlier, grab a CB500X, ride it for awhile to be sure you like it, then jump on the cases/RR upgrades/etc.

You'll not regret it!
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  #179  
Old 6 Oct 2016
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Originally Posted by markinthailand View Post
Alex:

I've got the RRL3 and it is great, but I know the L1 is also outstanding.

Regarding hard luggage, I have the HepcoBecker boxes on mine -- 35 lt side cases and the top box. VERY rugged and can take getting hit or side swiped in traffic, as well as holding up well to a drop. SW Motech also makes cases, and their foot pegs are outstanding.
Thats great to hear. Especially when I think about it rationally, I have a spinal dislocation (?), that thing when the quishy part between vertebrae pops out. So maybe the hardcore offroad isnt the brightest ideas of all.

Considering cases: Those two are the ones I am looking for:

Globescout from Turkey 28L (Expensive though): Side Case Sets :: XPAN+ Aluminium Side Case Set, 2 x 28L, natural

Heavyduties from Romania: Very well received, but bulky: Heavy Duties

Quote:
I'm not a big fan of Pelican boxes as side cases but have a small one I use as a top box for day trips -- those work great. I much prefer top loading side boxes so things don't fall out. The Pelicans are not light either -- aluminum cases often end up lighter.
Pelican cases also come as top loaders.

Quote:

But like was mentioned earlier, grab a CB500X, ride it for awhile to be sure you like it, then jump on the cases/RR upgrades/etc.

You'll not regret it!
Yeah I've testridden two bikes so far for about an hour each and even after the F650GS, which has more HP and Torque on paper it was a blast!

@jenny: how great are the savings on the currently discounted lvl.1 shocks? Do you know?
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  #180  
Old 23 Oct 2016
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I just decided to buy the Lvl 1 set from RR. My goal is to "get there", even if that means more deliberate riding. I think you can achieve much more than you can think of from the comfort of your couch, with some persistence.
Also the Magdan Softbags fulfill all my needs, which is really confidence inspiring. I just joined the "go light, go fast, go far" mindset; thanks for all the info and above all the tremendous inspiration!

Greetings
Alex
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New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80G/S.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

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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