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Old 06-10-2014, 07:48 AM   #1
chris7s OP
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Question Rebel for touring? Will the engine hold up?

Hey everyone I was hoping to get some opinions on this. I'm a 24 year old college student looking to stay in grad school for another 5 years. Needless to say, finances are tight.
My SO and I just bought rebel 250 to put put around town, and are in the final stages of getting it road worthy.

We are looking to go two up from Florida to Maine, maybe into Canada. Lots of camping and ramen noodles to afford it. We're thinking about taking the rebel on this trip.
We're both 5'6 and 140+160 lbs. I'm really not too worried about it comfort wise. We're young and she's a tough cookie. I'm principally worried about the engine taking highway speeds with our combined weight + gear.

I've had some bad experiences with 250s and highway travel. Specifically, I blew the engine on a gz250 after cruising on it at 65mph for a full gas tank or so. 65 also happened to be about full throttle on it.

I've gone cross country on a 1100 shadow before so I have some idea of what we're in for.
http://7sbiker.wordpress.com

Again, I'm principally worried about the rebel being mechanically able to do thousands of miles at highway speed (60-65) with two people and gear on it. A blown engine would set us back too far. Thanks!
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:20 AM   #2
lake_harley
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Here's a report.....http://www.pashnit.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18512

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Old 06-10-2014, 08:44 AM   #3
calamarichris
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If you can't get a larger engine, I'd spend a little extra time on the route to minimize your time on the Interstates. It'd be easier on the engine, easier on you and your SO, and IMO a lot more fun.




Pirsig rode an engine much like your Rebel in ZAMM, but that trip was very likely back in the day of the 55mph National Speed Limit; and also it sounds like Pirsig spent most of his time on two-laners.

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Old 06-10-2014, 08:45 AM   #4
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How did you manage to blow up a gz250?
That is very hard to do.

I would normaly say the Rebel is good for the trip, if you look after it and its running right.
(Oil changes, valves not tight, not running lean and hot)

But if you managed to blow up a gz250, maybe take a bus.
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:14 AM   #5
mrbreeze
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I don't think I would want to be two up on a 250 Rebel on the interstate. As for the engine, I would think that if it is good condition to start, and you check the oil periodically, you should be able to go anywhere you want.

Nathan the Postman rode a 110 from Australia to London. It's in Ride Reports somewhere, and it's a good read. Do you do cartwheels?

PS - take your time, and let the little lady have a break whenever she wants it.
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:21 AM   #6
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Totally agree with the recommendation to stay off the interstates. I'd be concerned about GVW and the suspension.

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Old 06-10-2014, 10:14 AM   #7
DustyRags
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My brother rode a Nighthaw 250 for 18 months, and took it from Oakland to Fresno (200 miles) on a regular basis. He tended to fill up in Oakland, pin the throttle, and roll into my folks' place on fumes. Only problem he ever had was valve adjustments.

You *might* want to consider running a heavier grade oil (most bikes have a recommended cold, regular, and high temperature oil grade), and if you're doing a lot of flat-out work you'll be running pretty hot.

Watch your oil, chain and tires, and have fun.
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Old 06-10-2014, 10:17 AM   #8
MariusD
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I'm all about doing more with less, but this sounds like a stress test to find the weakest link, a bit dangerous.

The stated carrying capacity for the rebel is just at 350lb. The both of you already make 300lb with clothes, shoes and helmets on. With gear you're right at the limit if not over. This means you'll be pushing every mechanical component to the limit (brakes, suspension,engine) which besides possibly damaging parts, just doesn't seem safe. The engine on the other hand is really designed for minimal highway cruising within the weight carrying limits of the bike, so it will be strained to the absolute max given the weight you'll be carrying at highway speeds. I'd say you're asking the bike to do things it wasn't really desinged to do, because any piece of machinery run at 100% for extended period of time is likely to fail, doesn't matter that is't a Honda, which could ruin the bike and your trip.

Personally, wouldn't do this.

Like other's have said, if you can commit to mostly backroads, then maybe you'll be ok. I'd suggest you make a test run loaded down the same way, should you decide on doing this trip. At least then you will know excactly what you're in for and maybe change your mind if you realize something isn't right, (say the engine keeps overheating or brakes aren't adequate, you have handling issues or whatever else...)

Good luck on making your decision.
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Old 06-10-2014, 10:30 AM   #9
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Read his blog : http://traveling250.com/
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Old 06-10-2014, 11:01 AM   #10
NJ-Brett
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The weight rating of most bikes is limited by the rear suspension.
Brakes also come into play, with more weight, weak brakes may not stop a bike fast enough to pass DOT tests or something.
You also have to check the tire ratings, but the rebel is a light bike and most tires are good for much more then a rebel could do.

If everything is right, the rebel should be able to run 2 up cross country full throttle a few times with just the usual servicing, although I would run 20w50 in it.

If the bike runs lean, has an air leak, or you do not adjust the valves, or run it out of oil, it will die.

90% of bikes die of old age, not use.
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Old 06-10-2014, 11:03 AM   #11
NJ-Brett
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Oh, and if you do it, do a ride report and include a way to donate, I would donate cash to anyone riding 2 up on a rebel that far just to be able to read about it.
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Old 06-10-2014, 11:37 AM   #12
chris7s OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calamarichris View Post
If you can't get a larger engine, I'd spend a little extra time on the route to minimize your time on the Interstates. It'd be easier on the engine, easier on you and your SO, and IMO a lot more fun.

Pirsig rode an engine much like your Rebel in ZAMM, but that trip was very likely back in the day of the 55mph National Speed Limit; and also it sounds like Pirsig spent most of his time on two-laners.
I wouldn't mind doing 55 the whole way. We'd be in no rush. That said, when I went cross country last summer I did my fair share of 80mph on state roads (on a 1100 shadow). I did try to avoid the interstate as much as I could, except when doing the IronButt challenge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ-Brett View Post
How did you manage to blow up a gz250?
That is very hard to do.

I would normaly say the Rebel is good for the trip, if you look after it and its running right.
(Oil changes, valves not tight, not running lean and hot)

But if you managed to blow up a gz250, maybe take a bus.
I rode it from Miami to Gainesville. (330 miles). It got to Gainesville fine. It didn't use a drop of oil on the way up.
On the return trip though...
I rode it harder, with throttle wide open or almost wide open for a long stretch. (65mph for probably two hours when it failed.) It just ate all the oil. I had a sudden power loss, and when I checked it on the side of the road it was dry. It's another thing I'm worried about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lake_harley View Post
I've come across that one before. He wasn't riding two up though. And he did blow his engine! (Granted, that was negligence not abuse.)
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Old 06-10-2014, 11:41 AM   #13
chris7s OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadscum View Post
Totally agree with the recommendation to stay off the interstates. I'd be concerned about GVW and the suspension.

Paul
I'll try to lose some weight before we go then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DustyRags View Post
My brother rode a Nighthaw 250 for 18 months, and took it from Oakland to Fresno (200 miles) on a regular basis. He tended to fill up in Oakland, pin the throttle, and roll into my folks' place on fumes. Only problem he ever had was valve adjustments.

You *might* want to consider running a heavier grade oil (most bikes have a recommended cold, regular, and high temperature oil grade), and if you're doing a lot of flat-out work you'll be running pretty hot.

Watch your oil, chain and tires, and have fun.
I'll see about the heavier oil. I imagine with it getting hot it'd be wise to use something heavier. That way it doesn't up and decide to drink oil and end up like the GZ.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbreeze View Post
I don't think I would want to be two up on a 250 Rebel on the interstate. As for the engine, I would think that if it is good condition to start, and you check the oil periodically, you should be able to go anywhere you want.

Nathan the Postman rode a 110 from Australia to London. It's in Ride Reports somewhere, and it's a good read. Do you do cartwheels?

PS - take your time, and let the little lady have a break whenever she wants it.
When you say periodically, could you give me a number? Every "x" hours, miles. It's just not something I'm used to worrying about... Doing long trips with a bike that doesn't eat oil that is.
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Old 06-10-2014, 11:46 AM   #14
chris7s OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MariusD View Post
I'm all about doing more with less, but this sounds like a stress test to find the weakest link, a bit dangerous.

The stated carrying capacity for the rebel is just at 350lb. The both of you already make 300lb with clothes, shoes and helmets on. With gear you're right at the limit if not over. This means you'll be pushing every mechanical component to the limit (brakes, suspension,engine) which besides possibly damaging parts, just doesn't seem safe. The engine on the other hand is really designed for minimal highway cruising within the weight carrying limits of the bike, so it will be strained to the absolute max given the weight you'll be carrying at highway speeds. I'd say you're asking the bike to do things it wasn't really desinged to do, because any piece of machinery run at 100% for extended period of time is likely to fail, doesn't matter that is't a Honda, which could ruin the bike and your trip.

Personally, wouldn't do this.

Like other's have said, if you can commit to mostly backroads, then maybe you'll be ok. I'd suggest you make a test run loaded down the same way, should you decide on doing this trip. At least then you will know excactly what you're in for and maybe change your mind if you realize something isn't right, (say the engine keeps overheating or brakes aren't adequate, you have handling issues or whatever else...)

Good luck on making your decision.
Thanks for the input. The rebel doesn't have a temp gauge, so overheating is definitively a concern. I imagine with the GZ it began to overheat and that caused it to begin drinking oil which led to the eventual failure. Besides the engine and maybe the suspension I'm not too concerned. I don't tailgate people (not that I could with 250cc's anyway) and I'm reasonably 'grandma' for a biker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by huguesfrederic View Post
Read his blog : http://traveling250.com/
Will do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ-Brett View Post
The weight rating of most bikes is limited by the rear suspension.
Brakes also come into play, with more weight, weak brakes may not stop a bike fast enough to pass DOT tests or something.
You also have to check the tire ratings, but the rebel is a light bike and most tires are good for much more then a rebel could do.

If everything is right, the rebel should be able to run 2 up cross country full throttle a few times with just the usual servicing, although I would run 20w50 in it.

If the bike runs lean, has an air leak, or you do not adjust the valves, or run it out of oil, it will die.

90% of bikes die of old age, not use.
I would check the valves before leaving, of course. Oil and chain maintenance as I go.
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Old 06-10-2014, 11:47 AM   #15
calamarichris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris7s View Post
I wouldn't mind doing 55 the whole way. We'd be in no rush. That said, when I went cross country last summer I did my fair share of 80mph on state roads (on a 1100 shadow). I did try to avoid the interstate as much as I could, except when doing the IronButt challenge.
It would not only be easier on the engine and more fun for you two to stick to 2-laners, it would also be much, much safer. Going 55 on many interstates is hugely dangerous. Just because the speed limit might be 65, that often equates to many drivers (including many semi trucks) doing 75, 80 or more.
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