Minimalist Touring Thread (250cc and under)

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

  1. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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    That looks like a great time! :thumb
  2. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hey RLK,

    Looks like fun!

    Kindest regards from your Beverly Hillbilly uncle,
    Jed Clampett



    (just kidding)
  3. Mountain Bob

    Mountain Bob and OSO, my silver bear

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    Uh, Matt:
    On top of your "standard" payload, how many top-mounted anvils might it take before you rig gets top-heavy?
    I'm thinking you may have the only '82 Anything with a c-g at 48 inches !!! :rofl


    Seriously (why B?), as a former scout leader, I still pack my truck and my Jeep with enough gear to supply Noah -- but you're the first I ever saw who did it on a small Honda !! :freaky:freaky
  4. Mountain Bob

    Mountain Bob and OSO, my silver bear

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    Who the heck is "Matt" ??
    Guess I lost "RLK" under that awesome pile of gear. :lol3
  5. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    My little XR250L is all loaded up and waiting for me to come home from work and get on the road. I'm riding from Lafayette IN to Pekin IL for a flattrack race, 300 miles round trip. That's nothing for most of you jokers, but it will be the longest trip I've taken yet on a bike, not to mention the first time I've been camping since high school. I'm like a kid the night before the class field trip to Six Flags.

    I'll write up th whole thing when I get back. Maybe someone like me who has never done this before can benefit from my lessons learned, or maybe it will just be amusing for you seasoned vets to laugh at my fumbling.

    Anyone want to place bets on how much work I get done today? :rofl
  6. moterbiker

    moterbiker Gypsy diver

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    Have a ball. I know exactly how you feel too!
  7. rockt

    rockt Long timer

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    Have a great time, Bart, but try to keep the fumbling to a safe level:D
  8. driller

    driller Twist and Go

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    Have fun and link us to your ride report when you get back.
    Flat Track in Rochester tonight, yeah, baby!:clap
  9. BruceC

    BruceC Been here awhile

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    Here's a link to a photo story of a trip I did last week with 3 mates.

    http://www.brucec.smugmug.com

    Click on the Alpine Rally 2007 gallery. I know I can link photos to here, but then I have to re-write the whole story and I'm lazy.

    FYI "postie" bikes are 105cc CT110 from Honda. They are made exclusively for Australia Post as its preferred mail delivery system. All those owned by private people are second hand after Aus Post has disposed of them. They have a 4 speed gearbox and an auto clutch. They have become a cult bike in Australia but I'm damned if I know why - they are horrible. The very steep steering head means that keeping them pointing in a straight line is bloody near impossible. Suspension is something that is supplied on other bikes. They are also totally gutless. On this trip I rarely got beyond 3rd gear on the DRZ250. I spent most of my time pushing posties up hills.

    Our trip was over 5 days in the Snowy Mountains area of Australia. Its winter here now. We were unsupported - everything had to go on the bikes.

    Enjoy,

    Bruce.
  10. rockt

    rockt Long timer

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    SmugMug was a little slow this morning, so I'll have to look the rest over later. I did finally get to see the first picture of your Dual Sport DRZ250. Don't know why Suzuki North America doesn't offer a street-legal DRZ. I'm guessing it's a great bike. Does it have kick and electric start like the dirt-only version here? Can you post a couple pics here and tell a bit about it. What you like and don't like.

    Thanks.
  11. BruceC

    BruceC Been here awhile

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    Re the DRZ250. I've posted here a couple of times in the past about this bike. But, here goes:

    Firstly, it has both electric and kick starter. AFAIK its the only dual sport in Oz that does. I still don't know whether the kick starter is actually attached to anything and I will probably never find out.

    Likes: a lot

    Dislikes: Not many, except for the too tall seat, but that's my problem. My mates can flat foot it whilst sitting on it. Lack of accessories is an issue as well. I can't get a larger tank for it. So, if anyone here knows whether a tank from a 1990-99 DR250/350 will fit the DRZ then I'm all ears. There's plenty of bigger tanks for the DR but none specifically for the DRZ.

    The riding position would be quite cramped for a bigger person but its fine for me (I'm 5'6" with a very short inseam). Most people in Oz fit higher bars to them (and the 650).

    I tossed up between the drz and klx250. I think I would have been just as happy with either. I don't do much trail riding. I bought this as my 60th birthday present to myself as I figured I was entering my second childhood. It is used as a replacement adventure tourer for my Honda 650 Transalp which now just gathers dust in the shed. I'm having an absolute ball on the 250.

    Having said that I don't do much trail riding, I do use it to get to some fairly interesting places.

    As a dual sport it is great. More low down grunt than most 250's, simple and parts in Aus are OK. It will sit on 100kph quite happily on the highway although I prefer to find all the backroads I can. Twice I have run out of power getting up a gnarly hill but on both occasions it was because I had to stop half way up because a bigger bike (DR650 on both occasions) had come to grief. I then couldn't get momentum from a standing start on the hill.

    I've made a few simple modifications: bark busters, an auxiliary tank that fits to a rear rack so that I now have a range of 350-400km, a set of heated grips, and a set of Andy Strapz throwover saddlebags. They all got used last weekend! I've kept most of the stuff that most people ditch as it is generally good for road use (eg the standard headlight which is brilliant).

    When I first bought it I thought the seat was going to kill me, but either I've got it run in or it has got my bum run in. Either way, its now liveable. I can do 200km between stops which is as far as I ever want to go between rests. Mostly we stop every 50km or less to look at a map and figure out where the bloody hell we are.

    I've now done a couple of trips of over 1,000km on a long weekend, so its OK as a tourer. On the dirt it is so much better than the Transalp that its not funny. Bigger bikes do get away a bit from me on the tar (but not much) but I catch them up real quick soon as we hit the dirt.

    Now, the big question which is exercising my mind: Would I ride it round the world?? Probably not and simply because of the seat height. For me that is its only limitation. I have to be really careful where I stop. Even what appears to be totally flat concrete (such as in a gas station) can sometimes leave me in a situation where I can neither get off the bike nor push it to a position where I can get going again. For a round the world trip I would probably choose something like a Honda SL230 or Kwaka super sherpa. They're just easier for me to live with when getting on and off on a regular basis. Having said that, I'm not selling the drz any time soon.

    The final word: this is the first 250 I've had in 40 years. Its the best thing I ever did. So much more fun than a bigger bike (not that I've ever had any real big bikes. 650 is my limit).

    To be quite honest, I think any of the dual sport 250's are fine. Its more a choice around whether you want less or more seat height. If less, then consider Honda SL230, XT225, Super Sherpa etc. If more seat height is OK, then klx or drz. The only compromise is that those bikes with less seat height also generally have less suspension travel (but they also tend to have much more comfortable seats).

    My philosophy has always been to pick a bike that does what I want it to. Then don't touch the bloody thing! I can't see the point in buying cheap then spending a bucket load of cash trying to make the bike into something its not, and never will be. I get my jollies riding the bike, not playing with it.

    BruceC
  12. metalmaster

    metalmaster adventure dreamer

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    I like it. :thumb
  13. rockt

    rockt Long timer

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    Thanks Bruce. Sorry to make you go throught that again. It's just that the DRZ is such an interesting and appealing bike for us minimalist touring types.
  14. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    My little 250 made it there and back, had a great trip. Ride report here.
  15. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    I also went on a minimalist tour this weekend on my XR250L. Last Thursday, I headed over to the BMW rally in John Day Oregon. Met some nice ADVriders. Suzanne (Sector) took a picture of my minimalist camping setup. Being a minimalist, I don't travel with a camera, and rely on fellow ADVriders to take pictures so I can post them here to share.

    [​IMG]
    http://johndowns.smugmug.com/gallery/3026179#164459773-M-LB

    I had a blast! With a small bike, I was able to ride through the woods around the snowgate on the old MacKenzie Highway and had the road all to myself twisting up over the Cascades.

    There is just nothing better than riding across the desert as the sunset is lighting the hills on fire with that magic golden light. I just loved watching my hundred foot tall shadow dancing in the sagebrush off to the side of the road as I motored across the desert.

    I left the rally and went for a long ride on Friday over to the Wallowa mountains. Took forest service 39 around the backside of the Eagle Cap wilderness. Stopped at the Hell's Canyon overlook. With all the recent rains, the desert flowers were everywhere up at that elevation. Flaming orange Indian paintbrush, blue camas lilies, and a multitude of colorful wildflowers. Headed back to the rally campsite after sunset.

    Rode on the dualsport ride on Saturday up to a couple of fire lookouts in the Eastern Oregon mountains. Beautiful weather, wonderful riding. Because it was a BMW rally, most people were on big beemers so I had no trouble keeping up offroad.

    Yesterday I rode that little Honda on a 750 mile epic ride. I left the rally at 6 AM and headed south. It was chilly up in the high desert. Low 40's. Stopped at the first open gas station 70 miles south and reached for my wallet and it wasn't there. Yikes! This is after I had filled the tank with six bucks worth of gas. I did have a checkbook, and the gas station owner took my check. He said his daughter owns a cookie store in Eugene where I live and she weighs 300 lbs. And if the check bounced she would come over and kick my a$$. He was pretty funny.
    So I deadheaded back to the rally. I waved at dozens of BMW riders heading away from the rally instead of towards it like me. By 9:30 AM when I got back it was pretty much deserted. Of the 800+ people who attended maybe a couple dozen were left. I looked around my campsite and on my friends trailer where I thought I may have left it, but no wallet. Oh well. Two nice people gave me twenty bucks each and I wrote them checks. I checked with the lost and found but no luck.
    So I headed back to the gate and my friend Dave was just coming back from breakfast and waved me down. He wanted to know if I needed some money. Ha, ha. He had my wallet in his truck. PHEW! I was elated.
    That meant I didn't have to take the short way home. YAY!
    After another 70 miles I was back at the gas station again. Only took me 210 miles to get there. I bought my check back and ripped it up. (Hey, it could bounce, and I don't want an angry 300 lb. woman in a bakers hat trundling after me.)

    I could see the Steens Mtns. south of town still snowy on top, so took off south. After a hundred miles or so I was riding through the small town of Fields out in the middle of nowhere and saw the BMW parts person sitting at a picnic table looking at a map. Her name is Lin and she was riding a red VFR so I stopped to say hi. Turns out she is headed out to a hot springs out in the middle of nowhere in Nevada, so I tag along. There was a brisk tailwind blowing, and I was able to crank that XR up to 75-80 mph and barely keep up with her on the way down to Denio, Nevada where we stopped for gas.
    However, when we turned off onto the gravel road to Bog Hot Springs, I left her in the dust. This was turning into sort of a weird Honda dual sport ride. The water was too hot and the day was warming up. If I had been by myself, I might have taken a soak. But being with a woman and being a minimalist with no swimtrunks, it seemed inappropriate. But we were both glad we found it, and it is a beautiful, desolate, peaceful place.
    So we both headed back out the dried rutted mud road to the gravel road. Lin was taking a sport bike where few would dare. I got a head start and headed back to the highway and took off while she made her way carefully back down the loose gravel to the highway. She passed me before we got to the Oregon border and was soon a distant dot down the long straightaways. But I did catch back up on the downhill twisting sections. Of course, she could have easily left me in the dust if she had wanted to. But soon we were in Lakeview and stopped for dinner. Afterwards, we parted company and she went to camp and I headed back home.
    I forgot to fill up in Lakeview and it was getting late. All the gas stations for the next 100 miles were closed. I hit reserve with 37 miles to go to LaPine where I knew there was gas. But the bike sputtered to a stop with 10 miles to go. Not much reserve in that Clarke 4 gallon tank I got on Craigslist last month. But the side of the gastank that doesn't have the petcock still had some gas sloshing in there, so I laid the bike on its left side and lifted the wheels to get the gas over to the petcock side of the gastank. Kickstarted about 10 times before realizing I had hit the kill switch. Once the killswitch was turned to run the bike was much easier to start. And I made it to the gas station. WHEW!
    Then it was just 100 miles or so over the Cascades at dusk with one eye on the beautiful fading sunset and one eye out for deer. I watched the road with my third eye. Made it home safely and with a smile still on my face. This was sort of a shakedown ride to see how it would be to ride an XR to South America next winter. I rode it 1800 miles in 4 days. Hey, that's a third of the way to Panama. It will be cake.

    But you know what? I'll bet TheOtherBart had just as much fun riding his XR250L this past weekend. I read his ride report and it looked like he had a blast. Minimalist touring isn't about how far you can ride in a day, it's about getting out, exploring and having fun on a minimoto. But beware, it's addicting.

    People are always asking me if my butt hurts riding these little bikes. It's like riding in the tour de France. You need to train. If you ran a marathon with no training, you'd be wasted the next day. Same thing with riding motorcycles. If you only ride occasionally on a padded 2x6 plank, it will kill you to go on a long ride. But it doesn't bother me. Of course it also helps if, like me, you aren't too bright.

    Best,
    John
  16. TheOtherBart

    TheOtherBart Long timer

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    Sounds like a great time John! I need to start watchng Craigslist, I've just about decided to get a bigger tank for mine, too.
  17. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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    Thanks for the writeup, John!
  18. steve gs

    steve gs Been here awhile

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    Can't say it much better than that.:freaky




    Quick report on everyone's favorite topic, the DR200SE final.

    Went from a 15:42 (2.8) to a 15:40 (2.67), found that even though I was able to drop some rpm the engine seemed to need a few extra rpm's (wind loads) before it could settle down to an easy "cruise" of 45mph (GPS). Need 4800-5000 to "cruise" now as opposed to 4500-4800 with previous final.

    I actually prefer the 15:42 for the easy cruise it provided but the 15:40 does perform well above 45 mph. From the factory 15:45 where the bike had a sweet spot at 37mph (indicated) in 5th that is now my 4th gear cruise. Did this test with panniers fitted. Will do some mileage tests to see where that goes.

    Have also done some back to back comparisons of the 200, 350, and 650 I have. IMO from a MT perspective the 200 and 350 are superior. The choice will be based on your speed, chassis, economy, and on the road serviceability requirements. All three can carry a touring load, the 200 is the economy and serviceability champ but limited top end, the 350 offers a superior chassis and good serviceability, and the 650 provides a fair chassis, limited serviceability, plus power and weight.



    Another great ride...:ricky ...tell us about yours.
  19. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    Just curious, in what way is the 650 more limited in serviceability than the 350?

    BTW my DR250 consistently gets 70mpg at 65-70mph with 16/42 gearing:deal
  20. steve gs

    steve gs Been here awhile

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    Not talking about the DR650 (which does not interest me) but the F650GSD.

    From a battery jump to oil changes there is plenty to do to get the job done on the GSD. We are talking about self reliance on the road; simple is better.

    I have had an EFI computer failure on another BMW while on the road though everyone says the units are "bullet proof" and never fail. Dealer could not even solve the problem until they borrowed a unit from a running machine to test on mine. Fortunately, I was fairly close to home when the computer began to fail. I was able to limp home and then it died. A new unit was $1400; found a used one but if I would have been struck some distance from home the used option might not have been available.

    I'll take a mechanical system over a "black box" Eddy Electron system any day.




    Minimalist touring means different things to each of us and to me it means a "Steve-tech" machine, that is, one I can nearly fully service myself whether in the shop or on the road.


    I'm planning to do the James Bay Road in Sept and it will be on the DR200SE. It's about 900 miles to the start of the road from here with the entire round trip being about 2500 mi. For this trip I will also carry a spare ignition module, rectifier unit, and lighting bulbs. Being an E start only bike I will also pack one of those small solar battery panels and a spare battery that I may wire in as a dual battery system or carry separately.


    Confident, you bet, but things do go wrong but at least I have the major weak areas addressed. There are some vast areas (225mi) on the JBR that are void of services and people. Not a place to take lightly, especially if you are traveling solo.


    Another great ride...:ricky ... tell us about yours.