Minimalist Touring Thread (250cc and under)

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by SIKLR250, Feb 2, 2007.

  1. SIKLR250

    SIKLR250 NYC

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    Welcome to the Minimalist Touring Thread: the place for everyone who is interested in adventure touring on small displacement (250cc and under) thumpers.

    Write about your bikes and gear, great places to ride and events. It would be great if we could also compile a list of useful books and articles, links to web sites and other information sources for minimalist touring.

    Beginners and seasoned veterans alike appreciate the utility value of such machines, so check your bias and ego at the door and let's get on with the ride.

    Please introduce yourself and tell us about your bike and your travels.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    DR200, KL250 (Super Sherpa) KLR250, KLX250, TTR230, XT225, TW200, XL250, vintage thumpers
    #1
  2. TomN

    TomN Long timer

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    SOme day when I can have a 2nd bike I really want to try some longer distance trips on a small bike. Maybe I will change my mind one I actually try it lol.
    #2
  3. steve gs

    steve gs Been here awhile

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    A suggestion is to continue the picture thread we have going for "250's and Less" and throw every thing else here. For the first timer it might be initially confusing but the regulars around here can help out.

    :ricky Somehow this symbol strikes me as a 250cc or less tourer.

    The Aerostich people put out a small 78 page booklet called Lightweight Unsupported Motorcycle Travel for Terminal Cases which is available for $5 or included free with orders over $100. I can't say it is worth $5 but it certainly echoes the words spoken here regarding the kind of bikes we prefer.

    A quote or two;

    "a treatise on touring by motorcycle in a practical and efficient manner"

    "...relatively simple equipment and just enough power to get the job done."

    "...riding for the sake of riding- almost anything-without worrying about keeping up appearances"

    "...it means having a certain amount of grit, ingenuity, and self reliance."


    Notice I said prefer and not the only bikes we like. Our household has a full stable of bikes (12+), from a Polini 911 .... to a BMW K bike. But the one I seem to gravitate to the most is that unassuming DR200SE because of it's pure simplicity/utility and fun factor. I will have to try that KL250? (Super Sherpa) someday to check out that 6spd trans. I'm also a hard core self reliant type; if I can't perform most of the repairs/service on my bike by myself I don't need it!

    So let's get on with the ride! :ricky :ricky :ricky
    #3
  4. SIKLR250

    SIKLR250 NYC

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    Sounds perfect (check out my signature). I'd like to second outwardbound's nomination of Lois Pryce as the Queen of Minimalist Tourers.

    Info about Lois (now in Africa): http://www.loisontheloose.com/
    Info about her new book: http://www.loisontheloose.com/book.html

    Lois puts those 'Long Way Round' guys to shame.
    #4
  5. SIKLR250

    SIKLR250 NYC

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    Please quote the previous message and add your contribution(s) to the running list:

    Books:
    Adventure Motorcycling Handbook (Chris Scott)
    Lightweight Unsupported Motorcycle Travel for Terminal Cases (Aerostitch)
    Motorcycling Camping Made Easy (Bob Woofter)

    Articles:


    Web resources:
    Lois on the Loose (Lois Pryce): http://www.loisontheloose.com/
    #5
  6. Hair

    Hair Outside the boxer

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    #6
  7. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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    I get functionality and fun out of my DR200 all out of proportion to the money I spent on it. Small bikes rock!

    Lois on the Loose had quite a blog posted on line before she decided to write a book about her journeys. I think she took it down so people would buy the book. She's got it exactly right...use just enough bike to get the job done, go light.

    I've been fantasizing for a long time about going long-distance backroad and off-road touring on my DR200. Wish I had more time. My DR200 is also my daily driver. With some pannier racks now available from Happy Trails, it's going to be even more efficient.
    #7
  8. dorkpunch

    dorkpunch Oops...

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    what if its a 31 yr old 350? does that count? :D I put about 750 miles on my '75 XL350 last year. mostly fartin around town with a couple of day trips on back roads and trials. the furthest i ever got away from town was about 35 miles. i know, not much. I'm putting my MT250 on the road this summer and i'll probably get the same out of that. LITTLE BIKES ROCK! Specially the old ones. No competition when it comes to grin factor.
    #8
  9. gas_pig70

    gas_pig70 Mmm... mud!

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    I've already been tempted enough by the Mini Adventure bike thread. The TW200 with a custom "fat bob" tank would be my tool. Nothing but smiles and tons of tread.
    #9
  10. Ladder106

    Ladder106 It's a short cut, really

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    #10
  11. gas_pig70

    gas_pig70 Mmm... mud!

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    #11
  12. steve gs

    steve gs Been here awhile

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    I think we all stray a bit. :deal


    This thread was created by Adv Riders interested in touring solutions/info for 250's and smaller bikes but I don't think we should outlaw the 350's though they may not be our main focus. I also have a DR350SE that is a great bike but it is quite a step up from my DR200SE.


    Speaking of 350's:

    If you have not seen the dvd's Mondo Enduro and Terra Circa they are travelogues of some UK riders on Suzuki DR350's that circumnavigate the globe. You'll get nicked for $28 each but I felt it was money well spent, available from www.aerostich.com. Remember, if you spend a $100+ you can grab that "Lightweight..." booklet free with the order.



    Remember, if you just want to show us a picture of your bike or where you are at use the "250cc or less photo thread". However, if you have a pic of a specific touring setup/tech issue post here.




    The Suzuki DR200SE only holds 850cc of oil, that is bad and good. The bad part is that is not much oil to handle the responsibilities of cooling and lubrication of an air cooled 4 stroke. The good part is that it is an easy amount to handle at oil change time.

    My "on the road strategy" is to carry an empty 1 qt container and change my oil any time I decide. If I will need more than one change with all the bottled beverages available today any refuse container at any rest area is filled with plenty of empties. Most national chain auto parts stores accept used engine oil so drop off old oil there.


    Klay;

    I'm sure you have seen the Happy Trails Pannier system. I fiited their system to my 200. Very happy with result. Pic is available on "Suzuki DR200SE Minimalist Tourer" thread I started some time ago. This thread here will be our main thread from now on. Will post pics here again if wanted.

    :ricky
    #12
  13. Broken Wings

    Broken Wings Been here awhile

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    I just bought a 2007 Yamaha TW200 to tour around <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Florida</st1:place></st1:State> where I live. I’ve only got 100 miles on the clock but so far I really like the bike. I’ve owned a KLR650 that my son beat me out of and I had a 04 BMW R1150GSA for awhile but for all around hop on and go it’s been a blast so far.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    You can spin the whole bike around 180 degrees on the kick stand it’s so light.<o:p></o:p>
    I’ve looked into some racks for carrying camping equipment and gear and found some made by CycleRacks. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I plan on using the bike to commute back and forth to work and venture out on the week ends and see how it works out. It’s got a pad on the rear fender that will hold my lunch box and there are four bungee pegs on the sub-frame. (Yamaha makes a small rack for the back)<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I’ve map quested a couple parks that I want to visit and finding alternate routes to keep off of the interstates doesn’t look like it’s going to be too bad. <o:p></o:p>
    I like to Surf Fish and wanted something that will handle beach sand. The large tires float right through it. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    I don’t have any reservations taking it off road like I did with the GSA. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    When I was a kid growing up we would go “everywhere” on 250cc or less.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Maybe it’s a trend but I think the smaller bikes/scooters are coming back for a lot of different reasons.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Just my opinion…<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    #13
  14. budgie

    budgie budgie smith

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    Location:
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    Got back today from 1500km ride from Durban, South Africa, to Maputo, Mocambique on a new Jialing 200AT and a 27yr old XT250. This was a test ride for a trip to Kenya and to taste the famous LM-Prawns at the Cost do Sol Restaurant in Maputo. We have also filmed the trip (DVD will be made) and the story will be up on my site www.changingplugs.com. Riding the small bikes seems much the same as my DR600 Suzuki, except heck of a lot easier to pick up when it falls! Easy to cruise at 60mph and getting 104 miles to the gallon. Cheap Chinese bikes are now flooding the market & I am keen to put mine to the test....so far, so good!

    Attached Files:

    #14
  15. lagcam

    lagcam Been here awhile

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    Ah yes, I had the best adventures of my life at 13 years old on my SL125 Honda. I would pack it up and tour all the way to my favorite sandbar by the Wapsie Pinicon river to camp out, dig up clams and bake them over my open fire. I was only 4 miles from home, but oh what an adventure at that age. (Sigh). I would ride that bike down the neighbor's 2 mile long gravel lane, fantasizing that I was on one of those BWM airheads or Norton Commandos (yes, I'm that old) that I had drooled over in the magazines, heading off into the sunset to parts unknown.

    About the small bikes making a comeback, I have a few friends, not to mention my own Dad, who absolutely cannot ride a bike with a 37 inch seat height. They gaze at my TE610 with that look of longing, but at 5'3" or so, it's not going to happen. Hopefully bikes simmilar to those old street-legal dual purpose 70-250cc machines will make a comeback.
    #15
  16. Solaros1

    Solaros1 Long timer

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    One of Peter Egan's best ever stories was the tale of his camping trip to northern Wisconsin on a 50cc step through Honda - he was riding with a friend on a ten-speed bicycle and the speeds were pretty evenly matched. He said the friends powerbar consumption was greater than the gasoline the Honda used on the trip.

    I met a guy on one of my trips to Europe who had toured most of the continent on a used $50 Mobylette 50cc moped - when it finally died somewhere in Spain after three months and several thousand miles he just leaned it against a wall and walked away from it. There's something to be said for that way of touring.
    #16
  17. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    While the 250cc singles are a hoot, they're really not set up for touring very well, especially comfort and seating. I'd love to take a slower-speed backroads tour on something like a CB175 or perhaps an upright version of the small Ninja. Something reasonable comfortable, but nimble, preferably a small/smooth twin rather than a buzzy single.

    These days, when I tour on my DL650, I constantly shake my head and wonder why I need more. But I haven't sold my FJR.

    - Mark
    #17
  18. Hayduke

    Hayduke ///SAFETY THIRD/// Super Moderator

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    I wish we could get this in the US ... Yamaha ST225 Bronco....

    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. endurotour

    endurotour Been here awhile

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    its around other post's, but why not.. 05 ttr250, lots of nice stuff to help the fun level's on overland trips...
    for TTR's see www.ttr.250com, there is a Yahoo group, Google TTR etc...
    just about all the info is in there,
    cheers al

    Attached Files:

    #19
  20. steve gs

    steve gs Been here awhile

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    Mark, I have kept my K bike too but it's days are numbered, see below. I do find my DR200SE comfortable for touring. Buzziness, occurs when an engine has to run a high revs. Properly setup as I have done with my 200 the engine just hums along at 4500-4800 with enough power to get the job done. It certainly does not cruise at 80 or even 60 but this type of touring does not race the clock. If the clock is your master you need a bigger bike.


    Talking about setup; the trans is everything. The 200 comes up short because it is only a 5spd. I've learned to live with it's 5spd by changing the final. For a 250 Minimalist Touring (MT) rig you really need that 6th. Then, like pilots and marine guys (gals too) do, you find the rpm where the engine has it's sweet spot (with your touring load) and that's what you cruise at. The engine should run easy. Headwinds will require more rpm, you don't want to lug engine (rpm too low for conditions). If you want to adjust you can change your final drive ratio within common sense limits.


    Also, if you are running at anything over 35mph check to see if your wheels are balanced, many from the factory are not.



    I highly recommend the 250 Ninja for those that find it's 28 hp acceptable. Put on bar risers, change the final to a 15:41, and a reconfigured seat on that machine and it can do anything on surfaced roads.



    Lagcam;

    I'm in your Dad's situation; the new bikes are fantastic, so much better than in the past and are great for competition and woods blasting but the utility factor is well ... lacking. I'm interested in the (furure?)Aprilia Rally but know it won't work for me being too tall.

    Smaller bikes are NOT about nostalgia for me, it's about real world practicality defined by me and not a marketing dept. Mine has been set by a 300lb bike weight limit, a tech level I can manage, and a seat height that is practical.


    I'm sure you all have already been there but check out www.horizonsunlimited.com . While there check out Nigel Marx's (NZ) writings in the Suzuki section regarding the TS185 bike as a touring mount.:ricky
    #20