Parts is Parts
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Charleston, SC
My 2 Cents
I have done a lot of riding in South America, and our shop works on Vespas quite a bit, so I will tell you what I think is the best way to go.
I think a GT200 is a lot better choice. Most shops will be able to work on it, the Leader motor is everywhere and pretty much any parts you need and can't find are only a week away. If the bike breaks down, the odds are you will be able to get it taken to a shop and repaired for less than a tire change costs at a Dealer in the US.
One thing you really want to protect is the radiator system. Protect radiators with wire mesh over Vespa plastic ducts, and install Cuppini crash protectors, and side crash protectors. These protect the bike from falls more than anything else. Install an OEM sidestand. It is hard to put a loaded bike on a Centerstand.
OEM shocks are fine, as long as they are in good condition. Get a Xena lock and cable and use them, even if you are only leaving the bike for 2 minutes.
For more lighting, mount a pair of driving lights, one fog, one driving, on the front fender. Better riding at night and in adverse conditions, and you don't use space you need for storage. Disconnect the charcoal canister and either make a secret storage compartment out of it or use the space for a first aid kit or something like that. Take two blue keys, and have another programmed with someone in the States who knows how to ship things to other countries. Leave the Red key home.
Save weight with softluggage, and carry valuables under the seat and in the glove box. Tape the glove box so it doesn't accidently open.
Carry variator and clutch tool, ratchet wrenches, necessary allen wrenches, socket set with necessary sockets only, pair of good screwdrivers, Loctite. Belt, Rollers, oil filter, tire irons, tire plug kit, inner tube, valve stem and co2 cartridge pump. Install a fuel filter big enouth to trap water. Use iridium plug, you shouldn't have to change it. Use 15-50 or 20-50 Amsoil or Mobile 1 and plan to change it around every 5000 miles. Lots of Motul in SA. Change out the rear end oil with a synthetic one and forget about it unless the bike goes underwater (happens).
Change out seat plate for GTS250 plate and use a GTS250 rear rack. Try to keep bike as narrow as possible, lots of lane splitting in SA. Tires are common, avoid the cheap chinese ones. They are hard as a rock and offer no traction in wet conditions.
Intstall a throttle locker, there are a lot of days of monotony and wide open spaces. Get a good touring seat, wider is better. I am partial to the Russell Daylong.
Tucano Urbano makes a great rider cover, and handcovers, and get a good electric vest. You want to keep your core warm, and it is possible to go from 80 degrees to subzero blizzard in a day in Tierra Del Fuego. At times you will need to carry extra gas. Get a 2.5 gallon metal jerry can. Modify your floorboard so you can strap it to the floor when full and carry it somewhere else when empty. Thanks to the EPA and CARB, they are hard to find, but you can buy them in green marked for water. Do not carry spare fuel containers in the saddlebags. If you go down on asphalt, the bike will throw off a lot of sparks while it slides down the road, and you don't want full fuel containers in the saddlebags adding to the excitement.
Small windscreen can be used as a mount point for cameras. Cameras can be mounted on rear rack, and side crash bars. Motobatt battery, make sure there is no way the cables can touch the frame. 6 feet of fuel line, 6 feet of radiator hose. zip ties, wire, good first aid kit with scalpel and sutures. and a few dozen strong pain killers. Get Medjet insurance. Vaccinations for everything known to man, and make sure to get a tetanus booster. Replace all hoses prior to trip.
For increased performance without sacrificing reliability, a Malossi 210cc kit, Leo Vince exhaust and KN air filter. go down a gram on weights, easier up hills and taking off. The CVK carburetor will adjust to altitudes pretty well, but if you are going very high, carry smaller jet for higher altitudes, but make sure to change back at 6000 feet. Sort out with at least 600 miles of travel before taking off, including shakeout trip of average day, and overnight. Don't get the bike serviced and then leave for the trip. Do a ride or two first to make sure it's really sorted out.
Take all your old clothes and throw them away before coming back to the US.
Have fun, and if there's anything you need on the road, send me a PM.
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scooterpartsco screwed with this post 02-05-2013 at 09:28 AM