Solo Harley San Francisco to Austria

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Swilling, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. Michel59

    Michel59 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    France
    You will be able to buy it at any gaz station or car shop. It is the same one that you must have in the car, so no problem.
    Again, welcome! I am sure you will enjoy!
    #21
    Swilling likes this.
  2. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    21,845
    Location:
    Western Sierras
    I'm the type to stretch rules. I'm also the type to be stubborn about wanting to ride/drive a certain vehicle for whatever reason.

    I bet you could go under the radar on everything else if you just put the OEM pipes on before heading over. They are about $150 on eBay right?

    https://www.ebay.com/i/202152346553?chn=ps

    In this case, you may even want to go with boring black ones just to make sure they look OEM.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/OEM-Harley...ash=item3d5c443e54:g:Xz0AAOSwO~VacRnK&vxp=mtr

    Getting pulled over for noise will probably get you inspected with a fine tooth comb, which could spell the end of your ride. It would suck to have to spend 1-2 days figuring out how to ship the bike home half way through, then renting a little Euro car for the remainder.
    #22
    Swilling likes this.
  3. Swilling

    Swilling Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Nor. Cal
    Thanks! - yeah it would require reflashing my Ecu to stock and buying a used factory exhaust. I found some slip in "quiet" baffles that should bring the db rating down. Im still uncertain if people were flagging my pipes because they appear loud, when they really arent horribly loud. They sure flow better.

    The trip itself is very little for planning, and trying to keep myself from looking at too many pictures or roads in Europe, im extremely excited about seeing lots of new landscapes that are so foreign to me, and truly feeling like its somewhere ive never seen or been.

    my next step is working on the bike strictly out of a tool kit ive put together. I'm adding and removing items as i go and im gonna do a full service on it out of that tool kit before i leave and will add and subtract everything i do and or dont use. Hopefully getting that into a small efficent amount.

    Gear wise im extremly minimal but im warming up to the idea of some kind of rain gear other than some trash bags i was initially planning on bringing. So thats this weeks task.

    hoping to see my sleeping bag/pad this week, and ill update you guys on my list of items, so far. Hopefully you pro's here can point me in the direction of things im missing/overlooking.

    Thanks again!
    #23
  4. Bobcycles

    Bobcycles Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    135
    Location:
    Newfoundland
    Props to you for grabbing the time you have, valuing your time over money, going way outside your comfort zone, and being open to new riding and cultural experiences. Props as well for doing that on your own bike so your brain/muscle memory/reflexes will be on your side in those "oh shit" moments as opposed to being on a strange rental.
    I think folks here are trying to alert you to potential show stoppers. Possibly those pipes. I'll never forget the guy we saw sitting on the roadside in central Ottawa on his Sporster. We hauled over (wife on her 1200 Low, buddy on his Road King, me on my Triumph) to see what was up. He had just been ticketed $100.00 and told his bike would be impounded if he was stopped there again. He had straight pipes and was riding from Western Canada to the East Coast. His plan was to wait until late at night then lug through town in high gear.
    BTW, we've cruised the Autobahn outside the speed zones at around 210kph or 125mph comfortably (in car) so if you can make good time on that route if need be... just don't pass on the right.
    Don't forget wet/cold weather gear for the mountain passes, a cheap GPS with North American and Euro City maps, and a decent set of road maps for France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria (so people can point you get back to your route if you wander off...).
    Also you may want to post up in the Europe regional forums here on ADV to see what the locals there say about exhaust, lighting, handlebar height, horn, mirrors, helmets, high vis gear etc. etc. The Harley Owner's Groups in France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria as well, just post up in English saying you're riding your Harley from California to Austria and see what happens.
    Hope you have a good adventure and that you find time to post a few pics with some words so we can share some of your experiences.
    #24
  5. Swilling

    Swilling Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Nor. Cal

    Thanks - its spur of the moment - but this is the only way to capitolize on it. Agree on the pipes again they have good baffles in them they just look "straight" i have the manufacturers Quietest baffle option, and it seems acceptable. But i guess we'll see.

    I heard Canada was one of the worst as far as Noise goes - but again i question since it sounds like he is a Candian resident he was more responsible of understanding the local laws. Appreciate the insight.

    Just scored some wet weather gear last week, and looking at cheap GPS units for exactly what you speak of. Need to get out of a bind, plug it in, figure out where to go, then shut it off. At least thats how i visualize using it. I have a thread on a few questions on Europe boards right now and slowly getting into the nitty gritty - its been really helpful so far.

    I really do too - thanks im extremly excited, but i keep forgetting how close its getting, and also. that its actually happening. Will definitly try to keep the trip updated for those interested.

    Thanks again for the insight, i really do appreciate anyone who takes the time to go out of there way and help me out. Thanks
    #25
  6. Swilling

    Swilling Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Nor. Cal
    As for actual updates on my trip - did a quick test this weekend with my camping gear, tools and bits and pieces.

    The only thing i was really missing were a small batch of clothes, socks , underwear, shorts and a spare shirt - will be wearing the rest. Fluids for the bike, trans and engine oil for top ups and any electronics, and i still had lots of room so im feeling confidend that im not overpacking and or already bursting at the seams if i need to aquire something vital.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    things felt pretty good at speed but and over bumpy roads but i just stuck around locally for the day and did some errands. I kinda was expecting to learn a thing or two and figure out where something else would prefer to be, but it all went so smoothly im more worried about something obvious that im missng. Bike felt great, nothing wanted to fly off. i'll just keep working at it.

    Also did some maintenance and built out my tool kit, started with a basic pre assembeled roll i bought and adding to it. I hate removing stuff from my real tool kit this early on. But i dont have the time to work on other projects leading up to the trip so i guess ill just roll with it. I'm a car guy so assortment of lines and hoses, and lots and lots of stainless steel zip ties, and hose clamps get me out of lots of trouble so im packing lots of those too.

    [​IMG]

    Not sure what my next steps should be, maybe do another test session and ride and setup camp see how my bag. pad and all that goes - i havent even unrolled those yet. Any ideas?
    #26
  7. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,430
    Location:
    Central fly-over land.
    Overall I'm really starting to like this idea. You'll be in demand, a real American Biker on a chopper-like Harley tooling through Europe. Oh, you've got to keep track of the number of European gals who want their picture taken with you. You might be such the bad-boy celebrity that you don't want to come back.

    Anyway, don't see sockets, and hex bits in your kit, and not enough torx bits. Pack self-sticking rescue tape, and diagonal wire cutters. Tire plug kit, and inflator, electrical kit of fuses, wires, ends, tiny multi-meter. Do applaud the pry bar and razor blades, even if I don't know what they are for.
    #27
  8. Michel59

    Michel59 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    France
    Hi,
    Just one comment seeing your licence plate in a vertical way; That's forbidden in France, because radars cannot catch you ! Better to install in horizontal way in order to avoid trouble with police!
    #28
  9. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,562
    re: tool kit and spares
    How often are you stopping along the road in California. to wrench ,tighten ,tape,strap ,spark plug , rewire and rehose ?
    For a few days of riding in Eutope you should not want to worry about the odd " what if " event as long as your bike was properly put together and has correctly torqued fasteners Weed that tool set down to only the few essential
    items for tire plugging and pumping . If a certain bit keeps coming loose now loctite or wire it now or bring only the wrench size assortment that serve actual outside fasteners.One good sized " Vise Grip" ( tmr) will do a lot of good - or a lot of nut damage , no adjustable or left handed hammers required
    And what is that loose khaki rag doing way up there on the monkey bar?
    Invest in some waterproof bags and covers for your sleeping bag up front . You will get some rain .
    #29
  10. Swilling

    Swilling Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Nor. Cal
    Thanks! ha im just hoping to have some fun on the road with no real agenda and use my bike for what it was made for. Gettin excited!

    Sockets and ratchet are there little 1/8 drive in the bottom left of the roll - i have the small breaker bar to crack anything i need then use the ratchet to finish it off. Saves stressing the tiny gear head on it. I have hex keys and torx bits all in the middle of the roll. covers all sizes i need. i just removed all my hand controls that take 3 different torx with them and loctite everyhting this weekend. And have all the hex heads for engine case/primary snug ups. i have a tire plug kit on the way but i don't have an inflator - im really not excited about a compressor, and thinking a hand pump. Sure it may take a while but its not like ill have anything else to do. Any ideas on a hand pump? or are you guys all stritcly compressors? - my reason being - even with the compression release valves in the heads on this bike, it still takes a pantload of juice to crank it. I dont want to run anything off the battery if i can avoid it. spare fuses i have packed away inside my side cover.

    Pry bar is great for popping pug leads at the boot end, without damaging the wires. how i always do it, its light plastic and fits in my tool bag. Razor blades for surface prep on a gasket replacement. also have jb weld and high temp rtv. Again im used to working on old junk where nothing has a decked surface. So you always need goop or gaskets, but man the fit of the case on this bike is pretty impressive. New technology... who ever woulda thought it was actually a good thing :hmmmmm also razor blades are nice to use to make a gasket in a pinch. I have a sheet of gasket paper rolled up in a tube with my documents/papers. Thanks again for hte input its really helpful!!
    #30
  11. Swilling

    Swilling Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Nor. Cal
    Great to know! - im down for anything i can do to avoid being pulled over. i will switch the plate around before i arrive. Thanks!
    #31
  12. Swilling

    Swilling Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Nor. Cal
    Ill be on the road approx 5000 mile between here and the Montreal Airport that i fly out. This bike even though its the first bike ive owned where the engine isnt hard mounted to the frame, it still likes to vibrate things lose. Im forever tightening or catching things losening, but the more loctite i add, the less things i seem to come accross. hopefully by the time i leave ill just be a giant blue glob ripping across the country.

    agree on extranal fasteners only but i want to be covered for clutch adjustment thats also inside the primary. Bike only has 13k miles on it, and if i do 7000 + ?? im expecting to need to reset it, without having to throw $$ at a dealer for no reason. i do have a vise grip in the roll but i had thought about switching it out for a better quality one i have in my real tool kit for just that reason.

    Just a blanket i have forsomething to sit on and use as dust/mud mat out side my tent. It works awesomely as a windbreaker also. My sleeping bag is rolled up in a dry bag, in my main bag on the sissy bar. Everything in my main bag is divided up into 3 dry bags, but im curious if you could point me in the direction of a waterproof cover? i was planning on just having some plastic garbage bags i can bungee over the blanket if needs be.

    Thank you!
    #32
  13. boatpuller

    boatpuller Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,430
    Location:
    Central fly-over land.
    If you think you'll need to do a clutch adjustment, it requires a wrench with a deep offset, or better yet a pass-through socket like type used for all thread. Before buying the socket, I heated and bent a cheap box end wrench to get down in the hole where the clutch lock nut lives.

    If you weld, I could see a socket with a nut welded to the drive end that your adjusting Allen wrench fits through, might work well and need less space in your tool kit. I've just never had any luck using a regular open end wrench to tighten the clutch lock nut.

    Tire inflator: I've seen one that was a hose that screwed into your spark plug hole. The engine is a big air pump, and this used the compression to inflate the tire. Can't imagine what a manual pump would require to inflate a Harley sized tire on the rear, where flats usually happen.
    #33
    Swilling likes this.
  14. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,562
    I own the type of air hose using the engine cylinder to pump up a tire . It works well with older engines FARMALL and Ford 9N tractors , flatheads and two stroke bikes . I doubt you would want to use it on newer electronic ignition bikes with fuel injection . New multi cylinder bikes now you cannot easily access the spark plugs.
    One needs to remove one spark plug to install the tool which sucks in outside air through its own reed valve - not the air coming from the carb . The engine needs to be run at idle - try THAT on a Jarley !!
    But with electronic ignition the spark plug lead needs to be grounded securely to avoid electrocution or ECU damage AND if you have fuel injection it may add gasoline fumes - not good for rubber.
    The tiny 12 volt compressor pumps work like a charm- plug in to your outlet and run and it will pump any bike tire up to well above recommended max .in about 5 minutes .You can start your bike engine first and let it idle and you will never drain the battery . The new high end models come with their own recharge power pack .

    Re: garbage bags as luggage - they work well for waterproofing INSIDE a sturdy bag of any type .Do not wrap crap in a garbage bag and bungee it on .
    The bungees will immediately poke holes in it and the wind flapping will pucker and rip them up quickly .
    Really ,your nuts shake off all the time and you need to adjust a clutch every bloody week ???
    You were also mentioning bringing certain fluids for the bike - forget that , you can buy as needed in Europe .
    #34
    Swilling likes this.
  15. Swilling

    Swilling Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Nor. Cal
    I thought about torching a box wrench and bending it in the vise to get the angle, but maybe welding a cheap socket to some rod might be better - I know exactly the tool you mean, i bet its identical to what i use to lash valves on car engines - just bigger. That probably would be nice but i bet expensive, and cumbersome to pack. Ill definitely feel it out this weekend and go with one or the other, thanks again! Great input.
    #35
  16. Swilling

    Swilling Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Nor. Cal
    Yeah i bet if i ran this thing on one cylinder it would throw all sorts of codes and errors. - i do hate new stuff for these kind of reasons. Definitely leaning towards and electric compressor now! - i figured 1 qt of each just for top ups, but i guess reality is if i check it often enough, i should be able to plan ahead. - expecting to do the clutch at least once but certainly not every week. Wherever i end up needing to change my primary fluid would be when id do the clutch adjustment. maybe then i just mail the tool back home and forget about it.

    Really helpful guys - this kind of stuff keeps me thinking and re-evaluating, exactly what i was hoping for. I'll go over my camping stuff this weekend and check in with what i find. Thanks!
    #36
  17. Swilling

    Swilling Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2015
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Nor. Cal
    Went for a decent ride this weekend added a quick release strap to my tank bag I made using a rock strap. I don’t really trust the magnets at highway speed. Mostly due to the shape of the tank.

    I got hit with a lot of rain real quick. I had my rain gear but I was close to home so I just jammed through. I wish I did try my rain gear since I probably won’t have another chance till on the trip. Just cheap stuff but it only has to survive the trip.

    Camped out in my tent overnight , tried out my sleeping pad and bag. It got down to 36, and I was comfortable in T-shirt and shorts. So I’m happy with that for a summer trip.

    I did learn I’ll need a pillow, I thought I’d be fine without it but it was instantly clear that I need to get one. Didn’t want to but glad I know now.

    I thought the tent was kind of a gimmick, it does pack down small and obviously no poles so I had it set up in under 5 minutes without even scrambling. Packs down just as easy, I’m 6’2 and I fit comfortably in it and there seems to be ample room for gear. And I woke up with a heavy layer of condensation all over that didn’t leak through but I wonder how well this “waterproof” tent will do in the rain. I wasn’t planning on taking a fly/tarp but now I think I might.

    [​IMG]

    Jury still out on the tent, for the same money I probably could find one that packs down just as small and I really don’t see an advantage to it being teathered to the bike. However this trip isn’t about setting up a base and rolling around, I just need it to sleep in. Wish I took more pics - another lesson learned

    Any suggestions for an efficiently packing tarp/rain fly to cover my setup?
    Any suggestions for a small packing pillow (i guess im finally caving into comforts)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #37