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Old 01-04-2015, 01:07 PM   #1
Harleytoo OP
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Adventure Bike (lite) Quandry/Questions

So, it has been quite a while since I posted here but have continued to lurk since the sale of my 1200 GSA Adv some years ago. (if this is in th wrong section, please move).

I have continued on with my '05 Road King Custom and since also purchased a Triumph Rocket III Roadster. Love both bikes.

My Harley I tore down and built a Rat Bike out of it last year. The Triumph became my primary touring bike of which I have added a hidden hitch and pull a trailer on longer rides. It has made a fantastic US touring bike easily in line with my Road King with far more power and ease of maintenance.

I have never lost a love of adventure bikes, but really have not, nor do I plan to do much with an Adv type bike beyond some dirt roads and maybe a hard pack fire trail. So no real off-road adventuring for me. I really have no great desire for that much adventure.

However, I do still like to travel and it does (especially around Texas) end up on dirt roads and the like from time to time.

The Triumph I am a bit iffie on when it comes to this as the very large back tire is a bear to deal with if something goes wrong.

This brings me to my question and some desired input from the community.

I could just sell the Harley and get either a basic GS or I have been looking at the Triumph Explorer XC. Both very capable for what I want to do.

However, I have a bit of a problem with this in that part of what I do is work with biker ministries many of which a Harley is pretty much a must.

So, my idea and question - Since I have Rat Rodded my Harley (effectively taken most of the bling off, removed the front fender, ratted out the rear and put bigger rubber all around - could I set it up similarly as a sudo-adventure bike?

My thoughts were cross-over style tires, a close mounted skid plate and metal panniers to replace the bags.

I have seen Harley's ridden just about everywhere. You have many others who have ridden BSA's and Triumphs Bonnivilles around the world.

Would the Road King be a suitable bike set up properly?

I would like to hear your thoughts.
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:21 PM   #2
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I think that'd work just fine. Most bikes will do dirt roads, even fairly bad ones, without issue. You may not even need to modify it. As an example I did fair extensive dirt road and and some ATV trail touring on my Suzuki Bandit 1250 and it did quite well. It actually felt more composed in the loose/soft stuff than my Ulysses does I find that as long as you aren't worried about going really fast on dirt roads a fairly long, low, mellow street bike works just dandy. Generally skinny tires are better for stability off road.
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Old 01-05-2015, 05:47 AM   #3
Harleytoo OP
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Thanks for the input. Any other thoughts on this?
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Old 01-05-2015, 06:14 AM   #4
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The new Indian M/C company built a bike similar to what you're thinking of for an invitation only, dual sport, cross-country ride.
http://www.indianmotorcycle.com/en-u...n-ball-project
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Old 01-05-2015, 06:20 AM   #5
Blur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harleytoo View Post
Thanks for the input. Any other thoughts on this?
I find it ironic that the biker ministries require a specific brand.

Is that the sort of input you're looking for?
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Old 01-05-2015, 06:23 AM   #6
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Sure.

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Old 01-05-2015, 06:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blur View Post
I find it ironic that the biker ministries require a specific brand.

Is that the sort of input you're looking for?
Jesus was very specific about requirements. It's Harley or Donkey only.
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Old 01-05-2015, 07:52 AM   #8
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It's more about the bikers than the ministry. Some are hard to reach if you are on a Honda. Just sayin....
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:10 AM   #9
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Oh Boy! Here we go................
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:58 AM   #10
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Of course you can make the HD work....but why ?

Sell everything and get something new. You'll be glad you did.
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Old 01-05-2015, 12:11 PM   #11
Harleytoo OP
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Originally Posted by RicH2 View Post
Of course you can make the HD work....but why ?

Sell everything and get something new. You'll be glad you did.
My answer would be why not?

Also, not trying to bash any other bike. Anyone who knows the biker community knows that there is a stigma, especially with non-Harleys.

I have owned just about everything and loved them all.

Also, my answer to why not a purpose built adventure bike is in the OP. I had one and found that, while a great bike, it was massive overkill for my kind of riding. I wont be doing what you need a GS Adv to do or KTM, or...

I just want to tour anywhere. The Rocket is my typical touring bike and I love it. Since I have the Harley and I have Ratted it out, I was just thinking that maybe, swapping the tires for something a bit more crossover and fixing a skid plate might be enough to take it to say South America or Alaska. Of course, any bike can do this. So I am just looking for input on how BEST to do it.
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Old 01-05-2015, 01:37 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by RicH2 View Post
Of course you can make the HD work....but why ?

Sell everything and get something new. You'll be glad you did.
Shouldn't he sell everything and give it to the poor? Or will a H-D fit through the eye of a needle?
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Old 01-05-2015, 03:25 PM   #13
Harleytoo OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeirdHarold View Post
The new Indian M/C company built a bike similar to what you're thinking of for an invitation only, dual sport, cross-country ride.
http://www.indianmotorcycle.com/en-u...n-ball-project
Missed this post.

This is what I was looking for. Thanks for linking.
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Old 01-06-2015, 10:09 AM   #14
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Several thoughts:

The "some assembly required" section is where folks build/modify their motorcycles, and where you'll find this type of project. You should check it out.

The original FLs and FLHs were often ridden on dirt and gravel, as that's what existed for roads back then. We've just gotten soft. No reason you can't do that again. The few times I've ridden mine off pavement it did surprisingly well.

The sportster is a better platform for turning into a scrambler than the touring bikes. But, do you need to be on a big twin for your ministry to be successful? Note: The Sportster dirted up right may be cool enough to offset the "girl's bike" rep some Harley knuckle draggers have of it. After trying to pick my Road King up after hitting loose gravel on a paved corner in the dark, the less weight of the Sportster is attractive. On low traction surface, all you're doing with a downed big twin is picking your bike up slightly, sliding it sideways and then dropping it again. Repeat. Several times.

There are chain conversion kits for Sportsters, so you don't have to worry about broken belts due to gravel. But, I really don't know how big an issue that is, though you're not replacing a belt on a big twin on the road like you can a Sportster. It's a tow to the shop problem.
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Old 01-06-2015, 10:14 AM   #15
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A Triumph Scrambler, perhaps?

Barring that, I'd agree with boatpuller that a Sportster is a better candidate for a Scrambleresque bike. :)

Good luck!!
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