Minimalist Touring Thread (250cc and under)

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

  1. Outwardbound

    Outwardbound Been here awhile

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    Someone made mention of cycling panniers on their minimalist touring bike . I suspect many of us here were at one time cyclists: I've got 8 in my garage... When my back deteriorated I switched to recumbents (great !) and when my knees turned to mush.......motorcycles. Now a victim of Multiple Bike Syndrome I'm working my way back down the displacement ladder...

    back to cycling panniers....

    Thats's a great idea. Reletively cheap, smaller than the RTW crates you see on big touring bikes, yet adequate for light touring when the wx is reasonable. Where's my Nashbar catalog ???

    Coop
    Kymco 150 (wife's but she lets me ride it...sometimes...)
    soon-to-be DR200
    KLR 650
    VX800
    too damn many bicycles
    #21
  2. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    I'm a grad student with a family, so disposable income is nonexistent. I hadn't had a bike in years, and being back on campus really gave me the itch again. I just happened to stumble onto a good deal on an XR250L so I gritted my teeth, pulled out the credit card, and made the deal. I rode it like it was for a season, then turned into a low-budget motard with some Bandit wheels and rattlecan paint.

    The project now is to turn it into a mule for some 3-5 day camping trips. I fabbed up a luggage rack from scrap aluminum:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I wanted some hard cases, but again on the cheap. I found a sweet military surplus waterproof aluminum case that should make a good trunk box. I want it to mount and dismount quickly, so the plan is to make an aluminum tray the same size as the bottom of the box, with walls an inch or two high around the edges. I have some toolbox type latches laying around, so I'm thinking I can put the bigger part on the box and the smaller part on the tray. The tray will bolt to the luggage rack, then the box can go off and on just by flipping a few latches. I don't know if that description makes any sense, but I'm open to other suggestions. I'm also planning on putting some strap loops on the outside of the box so I can lash additional stuff outside of it, although the box is big enough that if I fill it I'll probably end up riding a perpetual wheelie.

    I find the gearing on my bike to be too high for the typical 60 MPH max state road driving I do (no way I'm taking this little lightweight out on the highway). It's a six speed tranny and doesn't have enough power to pull sixth gear. The countershaft sprocket that was on it when I bought it is the smallest available and I haven't been able to come up with the $50 for a bigger rear sprocket, so for now I'm living with it.

    I haven't camped since I was little, so this summer will be a learning experience. I got a 2-man tent and a sleeping bag for Christmas, I figure that plus a good supply of water, jerky, and trail mix should be enough to get me started. I'd like a stove, but again the money thing is an issue.

    Getting a KLR is pretty high on the priority list for when I graduate, but for now I'm more than happy tooling around on my little 250. I'm building up to longer distances, and it seems like as long as I stop every hour or so to relieve the butt I should be able to go all day.

    That's enougb rambling for me. I'm looking forward to hear everyone else weigh in on this one.
    #22
  3. Cornbread Red

    Cornbread Red Fart's dust

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    Over at www.xt225.com we're working on Clarke to make a larger tanl for the Serow. As it is, I love to ride the crap outta mine but fuel range prevents me from getting very far back into desert areas.

    So far, Clarke has said they'll produce a tank this year, but it woulsn't hurt to bug 'em a bit more:evil .

    Chip
    #23
  4. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Adventurer

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    Hi, everybody.
    This thread is great!
    I've been toying with the idea of a small touring machine for some time now.
    I didn't know there were any other crazy people out there like me.:D
    I like the xt225 and the tw200. I did the MSF course on the tw200.
    In the tight figure eights, that thing will almost hover.

    TheOtherBart, here's and idea for you on a cheap camping stove.
    You need the following:
    1 empty cat food can.
    some cardboard.
    1 box of canning wax.

    cut the cardboard into a long strip with the width equal to the height of the inside of the can.

    role the cardboard up so it fits snugly into the can.

    melt the wax and pour slowly onto the cardboard so it soaks in. Continue pouring till the wax is just below the top of the cardboard.

    The paper acts as a candle wick.
    they usually burn for around 6 to 8 hours, are waterproof and take up little space.

    BeSafe.
    #24
  5. markjenn

    markjenn Long timer

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    Slightly on topic, here's a cool photo of Robert Pirsig and his son Chris on their early 70's tour from the midwest out to the far west. The bike is a 305cc Superhawk.... not 250cc or less but close enough. I think these two captured the essence of what we're talking about here:

    [​IMG]

    This tour was the basis for his "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" book.

    - Mark
    #25
  6. All4Fun

    All4Fun Let the good times roll!

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    Love the idea for the inexpensive stove! Such ingenuity. Just bought a DR650 and wish I'd looked at the smaller dualsport bikes. I suspect, for an older (63) guy, they might be more fun and definitely easier to handle. And when you think about it, a garage can hold more than one bike .... thanks for the thread.
    #26
  7. Bake

    Bake adventurer

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    I will be trying out the KLX250 this year for some reasonably close camping trips, 400 miles roundtrip weekenders. The addition of an Alaskan Sheepskin D/S seat cover has helped the comfort level of the seat quite well. I use a Wolfman Enduro tankbag and a set of Aerostitch tank panniers as saddlebags. With a smallish duffle strapped to the rear rack. I lowered the bike 2" and fitted Kenda 50/50 D/S tires instead of the Dunlop knobbies, which I felt handled poorly for street use. A WER steering damper calms the twitchy front end, and helps stabilize the bike in the wind. Having the overdrive 6th gear begs the point that this little trailbike can handle trips, as long as 60-65 mph is going to work for you. That's still midrange on the powercurve pace. Most 2 lane blacktop roads are best suited for those speeds, and the bike is very capable on dirt roads.
    I think this bike will do fine for lightweight enduro touring. If a person is +6 ft and +250 lbs, maybe not, but I'm ok on it.
    #27
  8. steve gs

    steve gs Been here awhile

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    Yep, me too, and still ride a mtn and road bike to stay fit. Lot of crossover between cycle touring and MT. Still have my Kirtland tourpack panniers (ST's, I think) from 30 years ago but do prefer metal or plastics for panniers on the motorcycles. Some like the fabrics; whatever works for you is great! Still cycle about 2000 miles/year but that's about it. To read about some real cycling hardcores check out randonneuring at www.randonneursontario.ca. Comparing these guys to the riders of the big cycling tours is like comparing Isle of Man to Moto GP riders.

    Yep, my DR200SE is my powered mountain bike; small enough to be easily manageable but big enough to get the job done. It's great to not have to be the engine at times.

    Regarding my previous post; the DR200SE has a 3.5 gal tank and if I run in "cruise" mode I will go just about 300 miles before hitting reserve. With a normal touring load (about 80lbs) it will get about 100mpg. I can even pick it up by myself if it falls over or I auger it into the mud.:eek1


    I do want to add this warning about the 200. It is a great bike but has short legs. Even with my 15:42 final I don't like to ride it over 50 mph (but have at times). Like a cyclist you have to share the road (other motorists do appreciate the courtesy and even will give a wave of thanks not just the Adv Rider salute) while riding certain MT bikes on the highway, the DR200SE happens to be one of them when the posted speeds are 55+. I think some of these MT bike are better suited for the more experienced while out on the highway. Managing higher speed traffic can be a handful at times and we don't want to see anyone hurt or scared to death so they wouldn't want to ride again. Back to point; I have not seen a redline figure for this engine but based on my riding experience it will perform the best and give the best service life cruising somewhere around 4800-5200 depending on load and conditions. For comparison my DR350SE has a redline of 9000 rpm and loves 5000 rpm, and my F650GSD hums along at the 3800 rpm mark.


    All you Suzuki riders should be aware of Jesse at www.kientech.com. He has goodies for the DR's. Check out the extended pilot screw. For those of you still running factory carb settings and experiencing weather related idle variations the extended pilot screw will allow adjustments. I do believe this screw is available from other sources for this common Mikuni carb.

    :ricky
    #28
  9. lagcam

    lagcam Been here awhile

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    I've been thinking about replacing my ancient GT500 smoker with one of these teeny ninjas. It has about the same power and a whole lot less weight!:clap It also would be much less offensive to people...:nah

    [​IMG]
    #29
  10. notarex

    notarex Can U taste the waste?

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    Introducing the pepsi can stove...google it...it's really neat:D
    [​IMG]
    #30
  11. steve gs

    steve gs Been here awhile

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    Grew up on a pair of RD350's and a Kaw 400 triple myself, still have soft spot for the old strokers and the last generation as well, great bikes. Though dated by modern standards here's your GT 500's grandson, my Suzuki RGV250 (currently undergoing restoration about 1.5 years to go). Nothing wrong with 2 stroke MT bikes, check out Nigel Marx's words on topic www.horizonsunlimited.com. We have a KE100 that with a Wolfman Mini-Beta and a tankbag would be a fun MT rig though smaller than my DR200SE and would require frequent breaks for circulation restoration.

    Attached Files:

    #31
  12. lagcam

    lagcam Been here awhile

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    Oh, be still my beating heart. I've always wanted something like that RGV. A guy in my town had an NSR250 and I fell in love. I had an RD350 for a while, and it was way faster than the Suzy 500, at least if felt like it was! But being realistic, I'll probably end up getting either the baby Ninja, or an XT225/DR200.

    I need to look into the differences between the XT and the DR. I see the XT has a six speed while the DR has five. Anybody ever ridden both to give us a good comparison?
    #32
  13. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    I'm going to the grocery tonight and I'm adding canning wax to my list. Thanks for the idea!
    #33
  14. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    I'll do that too, thanks!
    #34
  15. Mojave Monster

    Mojave Monster Adventurer

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    Go lite, go fast, go have fun... just go! You never know what you will find unless you go look! You never know what you will find over that next hill, might just find yourself??
    #35
  16. Cornbread Red

    Cornbread Red Fart's dust

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    Another benefit to having a really light, smallish bike is that you can slide it under that barb wire fence to get to where you (but the Feds don't want you to) -go.

    My Dad's Honda Trail 90 was great for that kinda thing :wink:

    Chip
    #36
  17. steve gs

    steve gs Been here awhile

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    Depending on the flavor you choose, a point regarding the Ninja 250 is touring accessories (racks) are zilch; you will have use a "U" rear bag like a Mini-Beta or similar. The Ninja can run all day at 50-70 mph and deliver mileage in the 70-80's with a 15:42 final (not OEM). With OEM seat the seat height to pegs is way too short even for me with a 30" inseam. I find the thumpers much more comfortable (even the KE 100 is better :eek1 ). Plus there is better MT support for the thumpers. Don't forget the 90's era Suzuki DR250SE (same basic platform as 350 (I think?)though not as common).
    Check out www.loisontheloose.com, she was on the Yammie.:ricky
    #37
  18. SIKLR250

    SIKLR250 NYC

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    #38
  19. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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    I've ridden both bikes extensively. I think the XT225 is a slightly better bike because of the bigger engine and 6th gear. On the other hand, the gas tank is much larger on the DR200, so its range is phenomenal. Both bikes have been extremely reliable.

    I actually own a DR200. My brother has the XT225. I am not considering an XT225 because the differences between the two bikes are just too small to matter. I've got five bikes out in the garage, and most often, the DR200 is the one I grab to zip somewhere. :ricky

    I think I get more smiles to the gallon on the DR200 than any other bike I've ever owned. You end up doing things like dragging it under partially fallen trees, zipping down sidewalks, hopping railway tracks, etc.
    <!-- / message -->
    #39
  20. judjonzz

    judjonzz Beastly

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    A few years back, I took some short trips on my MZ TS250, overnights , no camping gear. One of those, a Puch split single or a Jawa Californian (a 350, but slower than a modern 250) make for some nice relaxed sightseeing. A buddy likes to do the same kind of trip on his 250 Morini.

    Jeff Ecker still likes to ride his Sears Puch to BMW rallies. A couple of his accounts are at: http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/searspuch/files/

    Sorry, you probably have to have a Yahoo ID to get at them.
    #40