OK, So I'm Gonna Build a RTW Bike?

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by PacWestGS, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. PacWestGS

    PacWestGS Life Is The Adventure!

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    I hope this is in the right section. (Maybe Thumpers)

    Here's the deal, bike is non-negotiable. I'm going to turn my '06 BMW F650GS-Dakar into a long distance mile muncher. (I think I could do this with a standard, but hey, I have what I already own). Money is only an object of my desire. :lol3

    Fuel capacity, suspension, electronics, and cargo containers?

    I know what's out there, but I want your opinions?

    TT-39 tanks? Problems - issues?

    Ohlins rear shock and Progressive springs, or complete WP suspension front and back? Why, why not?

    Handlebars, controls, levers, etc. Thinking complete swap to Magura (X Line) with composite purches and levers and switch gear?

    18" and 21" wheels vs. 17" and 21" wheels? (Tires will probably be TKCs)

    Jessy bags vs. Happy Trails, or another brand? Why? (Tank bag and tank panniers already supplied by Wolfman)

    Exhaust will be changed because of gasoline (leaded), what's the best long term solution for rust + performance - SuperTrap (Adventure Pipe) or something else?

    Cockpit - thinking TT IMO 100, GPS (Zumo) and maybe a roadbook?

    Lights: HID + an auxillery 55W (Fog) light?

    I'm willing to forgo the heated grips for heated gloves, and will use my Gerbings jacket and pants to stay toasty.

    Is there really anything that someone has found or wish they had done to an F650 before tackling the world?

    I await your opinions and suggestions...:deal

    The bike already has most of what TT can provide.

    What say you dreamers and wanna-bees? What would you like to take around the world if you could?

    PWGS
    #1
  2. Kokopelli

    Kokopelli Yeah, right!

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    I've talked to a couple of Germans who went RTW for 2 years on Dakars. They had the big tanks, but reckoned that they could have easily done without them. They didn't do Africa, that may be different.
    #2
  3. PacWestGS

    PacWestGS Life Is The Adventure!

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    I tend to agree, but there are just a couple places in the world where having a 400+ mile range is a nice thing. (Without tying milk bottles to everything to get you through). That is still an option...
    #3
  4. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Why not post this in Thumpers Forum?
    :dunno
    #4
  5. dwayne

    dwayne Silly Adventurer

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    I have an ohlins and like it very much.

    If you change the forks to WP or whatever, you need to change the triples and I think you loose the steering lock.

    I have TT35L and they are a touch small, and a touch delicate for serious bashes. I really like the convinence of the BMW top case, but it may be a little small. I think the Jessies might be the ticket.

    Scott oiler, dual injector with touring kit. You can use ATF for lube, I have even heard of using winter weight chainsaw bar oil.

    Centerstand.

    Neoprean fork booties, even with the TT fork tube protectors. Rember to wash them out from time to time.

    If you run 21" fronts you will find tires anywhere (they may not alway be DOT), but dirt bikes almost universally run 21"

    The lower fender helps keep the spray off (and the rad clear of mud).

    My Staintune pipe has been light and awsome.

    I relocated my battery to infront of the gas tank to lower CofG (may be moredifficult on an ABS bike)

    I chose heated grips because then I could choose my gloves.

    The TT tank bag with the side panniers look nice...

    The TT switch gear looks to be a real option, so does the lower chain guide.

    Think about a place to store water.

    The BMW tin bash guard, coupled with the tubualar guard have been very effective for me. Upper crash guards are worth considering.


    Check out the Striking Vikings bike. He's BTDT.
    #5
  6. R-dubb

    R-dubb Dubbious Adventurer

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    What about Pelican bags?

    Metal bags get crunched pretty easily, IMO.
    #6
  7. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

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    Since you've consumed the BMW/TT Kool-Aid big time...best I can suggest is go here.....and find a fellow $Kool Aid$ addict.

    http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hu...wanted/sale-fully-equipped-european-bmw-27681

    These are the best, most over top (all you guys are over the top) Dakars
    I've seen. and..there are in San Francisco if you wanna see in person. The owner is quite knowledgeable....you might want to run some of your fantasies about what you think a RTW is about by him.
    #7
  8. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    :D
    You crack me up sometimes.
    #8
  9. PacWestGS

    PacWestGS Life Is The Adventure!

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    Thanks for the replies so far. Yes, the Cool-Aid is good and TT happens to be the best game in my town.

    I already have the bike, I'm not looking to buy another one. There maybe other bikes just as worthy, but I am confident that the F650 is quite capable of doing this type of adventure. It has in the past more often than other brands.

    I have considered Pelican luggage. Thanks

    BMW, KTM, Honda and all others each have their quirks and problems. I have a (relatively problem free) R1150GS but, I feel it is just too big and heavy for the places I plan to go, and it's really hard to pass up twice the fuel mileage.

    If this was only about the "bike" then "Thumpers" would be the correct post, but I feel it's more about the preparation of "a" bike for a trip that is in the planning stages - only.

    What about tire choices in far away places? Is 18" more prevalent than the 17"? Or do I not have to worry so much about that?

    TIA
    (Drinking the good drink - and I hate CoolAid) :lol3
    #9
  10. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    How does prep of a bike take it away from the Thumper Forum? :norton
    #10
  11. PacWestGS

    PacWestGS Life Is The Adventure!

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    I don't know :augie
    #11
  12. Smelly Biker

    Smelly Biker On the road, somewhere

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    84000 miles on mine now, still going strong.

    Mods - 39l tanks, fork springs, standard rear shock with a 10mm spacer, neoprene gaiters, centrestand, 2x35l Zegas, 'catectomy' & home made can (loud!), toolbox replaces RHS can (going to convert this to a water carrier), 12A/hr battery, eyeball-burner driving lights, Garmin 2720.

    Sadly, most of the touratech things have broken in the last four years (speed sensor guard, chain guard, hoses for the tank kit, no foam left in the saddle (ouch!), lots of pannier bashing/welding as well. Jessie bags are on this years letter to Santa.

    The big tanks are not really needed but are 'nice to have' should you be weighed down with cash - the saddle you get with the kit is best described as 'cruel & unusual'.

    Changing out the rear rim for an 18" would be worth while, its a pain finding 17" tyres outside the US & Europe. Drop the front sprocket to a 15 tooth while you're at it.
    #12
  13. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

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    Did you go to the link I gave you? Pierre has it down. And has the miles to know what works and what doesn't. Must have $5000 in Tourtech stuff. I could buy a new bike for that!!

    Some TT stuff is quite good but always way overpriced.....but I've seen...in person....plenty of their stuff not do so well. So...for you....its the only game....and that's fine with me. Just be aware...when your head comes out of the sand you may see some things TourTech didn't think of....at half the price. The problem with a lot of BMW guys is they are strickly BMW-centric and suffer from BMW-myopia. :lol3

    The Dakar is fine...just lose the Smug attitude. You know nothing about other bikes...why prejudge them as inferior?

    No worries, I always carry a Tour Tech tow rope to help get you to the nearest BMW dealer... :rofl (probably 2000 miles away:cry)

    No matter, with a good supporting dealer at home he can have parts in the mail in a day or two....I have to do the same on my Suzuki...and they have 10 times the dealer network of BMW. Sure, Suzuki dealers are everywhere....but its unlikely they will sell the bike I ride, so don't stock parts for it and would have to order from the US (sometimes). So a good dealer in the USA is the best way to go.

    Trip Planning or Thumpers?
    I'd say this is close enough to planning...and anyway....few on Thumpers go RTW or anywhere close (for the most part) So at least here we have travelers, not weekend riders. After all, prep by its very nature, has to include the bike. No? :ear

    (Lone, you crack me up too!! You are one of the few BMW riders who is loose and funny...and has a good sense of humor/wit about his bike...and doesn't have this facist loyalty so prevelant in the ADV world) Now tell the man what you're riding now!! :clap I can't say much...my Vstrom is for sale!! DR about ready to go.

    You think you hate Kool Aid now....just wait Bubba :cry

    From what I've heard, 18 inch tires are more common. But I would think in narrow sizes. Maybe not rated for a loaded Dakar? Honestly, don't think it's a big deal. Plenty of riders on 17" have made it OK. But as long your dumping wheel barrow loads of money in....do the 18" conversion. Have you priced it out? Probably about 5 countries worth of road money, eh?:ear

    Seems to me if you plan your tire changes for larger towns/cities, you may find BMW dealers or well stocked MC shops who either stock or can order tires. Ordering ahead via email or phone could have your tires waiting upon arrival. Other travelers are a gold mine of current, useful info....but since Trip Planning is a new forum, not a huge amount yet here. And virtually NO ONE yet reporting in from the road. See HU for this, or Ride Reports.

    Maybe this forum needs another Sticky: Shops/Parts/Tires on the Road ??

    I could post a list of Dakar problems starting with Shock, linkage, frame breakage to non sealed batteries that dry out and die...over and over.. and on and on. I would go to HU and contact Quastdog....doing the world also on a Dakar. I'm sure he has tales to tell. He's in Argentina now. Major Kool-Aid man.

    Shocks? Showa or Kayaba....the best. Now why is that? hmmmmm....Two words...Moto...Cross.

    Ohlins need regular service and new seals. The good news is they are very rebuildable. But guess what....so are KYB and Showa...if you know how. Wilbur's have a pretty good rep, but I've only read of a couple riders doing RTW with them....and they didn't say anything, so I assume they are doing OK. ??
    #13
  14. PacWestGS

    PacWestGS Life Is The Adventure!

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    Wow, where'd that come from? And, what do I not know about the other bikes?

    You must have me confused with someone who just started riding. :lol3 They are all inferior in one way or another, but it is the motorcycle itself that makes doing something like this possible. Maybe I should go over the the Land Rover web site and put together the ultimate 4X4, but then someone would come along and tell me you can do it in a Jeep for a lot less money. (Now that is being smug :D )

    Thanks DL for some of the other information it is very useful and appreciated. That is why I asked the questions I asked. Pros and Cons to each of the questions prosed... If something gets replaced or eliminated because of the answers provided here then all the better.

    If things like large fuel tanks are not needed (barring the guys who are carrying six 5L jugs on each bike to make it through Angola) then I would happily accept the advice that they can be overcome for a few remote areas and making some other arrangments specific to the location. Conversations I've had with other world travelers have spoken highly of the need to carry more fuel than was planned before heading off into those locations. Granted you can unload packs of liquid and get the bike and cargo across or through a tough spot better than having it all bolted permanently to the bike.

    I have no plans to get a TT (Comfort) seat, there are many better seat makers around.

    SB - Chian guard and brake/sensor protector broke how? Vibrations or impacts with hard items?

    Inquiring minds want to know...
    #14
  15. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra

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    The Ortlieb soft bags are awesome and will save you about $1000 over the Jesse's. If you're going way out there on difficult tracks, the soft bags are way safer. I was on a Baja trip with some buddies in the last couple of years, and two of the other riders knew guys on other rides who broke their legs while we were on our trip. Same scenario both times; planted a foot, foot stopped, motorcycle didn't, hard bag to back of leg, and broken tib/fib's. The soft bags have saved me from bruises and possible broken bones when bike and bags have landed on me. I personally never leave my loaded bike out of sight for long periods of time. If you need to do that in questionable areas, I guess hard bags might be worth it. But they make me nervous.
    #15
  16. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Personally, I would stay away from hard bags....for the reasons you typed. :D

    Even not planting a foot, just the bag (and weight of the bike) landing on your delicate lower legs too.
    #16
  17. Kokopelli

    Kokopelli Yeah, right!

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    Yep, hard bags can do that, got the scar and the metal to go with it.
    #17
  18. Mountain

    Mountain Adventurer

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    Excellent, a place to insert personal biases cloaked in the form of well meaning input...

    I'm a big fan of the pelicans (caribou set up or your own). Advantages over the soft bags is some level of security as I did find that there were simply some times I had to leave my bike unattended during the day, moreso when riding alone.

    And most importantly, they crash very well (as far as they are concerned). Some of the aluminum ones don't take the dumpage well. Sure you can pound them out but generally they leak, don't close well and are never quite the same again. Depends of course on the design and weld quality (touratech for example, surprisingly aren't that great) but going for a skookum set like the Jesse's would solve that.

    The Pelicans are heavier (something like 10 pounds compared to 7 per side) but what the hey, this isn't really a weight saving exercise by any stretch.

    Sure, they are removeable but in reality the dirty bags stay outside and you bring in the inner bags.

    Top box, different story. The soft bags are super handy, your crap fits in it really well, and when you stop you can fire your tank bag inside and throw it on your back if you are going for short wander. Some guys have been using the 140L North Face bags, I tried a same sized one from MEC and a 100L one. The 100 seems to be fine. Waterproof material, only downside is that the zippers are not waterproof.
    #18
  19. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    I would still stick with the hard bags, they can be dangerous, but they can save your legs too. Just depends on the situation. Jesse bags are really tough, and saved my left leg from loss in this one.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    You can crash the odyssey bags pretty good and have them still work well. I hit this truck at 47 miles per hour. There was a collision in front of me and the truck was thrown into my path. Jesse Luggage was smashed and then slid down the street about 35 feet. Purely cosmetic damage, and used them on my summer trip after the bike was out of the shop. And while I know hard luggage can suck a leg under it and snap it, in this case, it helped protect my legs at impact. In a RTW trip, I think you have a greater chance of getting smacked by another vehicle than sucking your leg under. Just my 2 cents, but I would go with hard luggage, and it would be the Jesse's based on my previous experience with them.
    #19
  20. Springs

    Springs Shipping Wars

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    Dude, is this just for something to do in your spare time or are you planning a RTW trip? Too bad you can't come alont to Baja next month! Sure you can't go?
    This would help you decide on some things/parts you want or not.
    These guys have me thinking about ditching the Jesse's for this run. I don't have any on Danno's bike. I thought keeping him lighter would be better.
    Now I'm thinking I might just loose mine too!
    Think about it man!!
    I'd sure like to try a 21" wheel up front on the GS. We plan on TKC's for this trip.
    Mudd says he'd not take em if it was him.
    Later
    #20