TavisB's TAT 2010 (solo) Planning Thread

Discussion in 'Americas' started by TavisB, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

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    I'm planning on doing the TAT summer 2010. At the moment, I'm planning on running the whole trail solo. That may change a bit depending on finances and time. I'm also entertaining the idea of riding with others for portions of the trail. Right now I should be able to be on the road from July to mid August. I'm going to use this thread to document my preparations for the trip. I've done a lot already...need to put this down before I start to forget stuff :)

    My idea for this trip actually started when I decided I was going to drive my Mustang across the US two years ago. I was recently single and wanted to do something on my own and I had always wanted to visit the western US (I've only been west of the Rockies once, and that was a brief visit to Ca). Well, that trip didn't happen due to procrastination, lack of planning, and having too much to deal with at home. In the meantime, I bought my first street bike and was having a lot of fun riding (hadn't done much since selling my last dirt bike when I went to college).

    So my plan was changed to riding a motorcycle across the country. I started looking at touring bikes but then decided I wanted to do some off road riding in Moab. So I started looking at KLRs and decided to put the trip off another year so I could buy another bike and prepare.

    Then I discovered Ghillys TAT thread, and knew that this would be the perfect trip for me. I made another change to my plan, deciding that I'd be better off with a lighter bike than the KLR. So I purchased a 2002 DR-Z S from another ADVrider member.

    Here's the bike after my first off road ride:

    [​IMG]

    The DR-Z already has a skid plate, rad guards, better bars, bark busters and a manual cam chain tensioner, so a lot of the usual first mods are already done for me :).

    Next I'll post of some of the mods I've done to it in the last few weeks and then get into some of the equipment that I've already purchased and some that I haven't made up my mind on yet.
    #1
  2. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

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    The first thing I did (just messing around more than anything else) was to take an old FZR screen I had laying around and chop it up and make a screen for the DRZ.

    [​IMG]

    I also added a Ram mount for my gps (Garmin Vista HCx)

    [​IMG]

    Then today's little project...get some luggage mounted.

    Made a top box from a surplus NV goggle case. Seems pretty sturdy and water proof, yay! I made a bracket to bolt to its bottom so that I could quickly mount/dismount it from my factory rack.

    [​IMG]

    I bought some Nelson Rigg CL-850 saddle bags. I have one of their tank bags on my FZR and really like it and they were pretty cheap at newenough. I didn't like how they sat over the exhaust and was worried they'd get in the tire so I built a ghetto-fab rack to keep em in place.

    [​IMG]

    On the bike

    [​IMG]

    With all the luggage

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    I'm hoping to go on a 500+ mile, three day camping/motel dual sport ride down into WV next weekend. It'll be a shakedown run for both the bike and myself :D.
    #2
  3. NOTAR_520

    NOTAR_520 Been here awhile

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    The DRZ makes for a good TAT bike. Sweet pick-up on a bike with many GREAT mods already. Ghilly had nice seat, check it out, $$ but I wish I had one. By the time I had my TAT bike picked out and in the driveway, it was too late to buy a comfy seat. Ghilly might sell his seat, I know he is eyeballing the KTM 530's....

    Shake down rides are worth their weight in gold, ride plenty of bumpy roads, it will show any weak points in your armor.

    Your going during Prime time, you should be able to bump into other riders when you ride the large expanses of Utah, Nevada, and Oregon. Many ride it Solo, but I'd bet most would of loved to have at least one other bike with them. I'd like to ride the TAT from West to East, just to see how many TAT riders you bump into, and end up on the beach somewhere in North or South Carolina.

    Pack light, Have fun, the ride will happen before you know it. :D

    Is that a 4 gallon tank?
    #3
  4. Ghilly

    Ghilly Been here awhile

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    I really like the NVG case idea. That is a super heavy duty case on the cheap too. Your frame for the bags might be a tad light weight and far off the bike though. Your bike and gear will get thrown around a crap load. Well at least mine did like crazy. I had to re-strap my stuff often enough and it causes problems for you at times. All the guys who used any kind of bungy where less than pleased with them. Get some cinch straps from harbor freight to strap it down. If you can have a way to keep your bags or at least the stuff inside dry as you can. Also, do your best to keep your gear as light as you can which means not taking a lot of stuff you will end up wanting to get rid of. It is great you have a chance to put the time in testing out your set up. That will be a huge advantage to know what are your issues before your trip. I can't wait to see how you progress!:D
    #4
  5. Ghilly

    Ghilly Been here awhile

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    I also was worried about melting issues with my pipe. What I did was wrap yellow fiber glass insulation around the pipe and use aluminum tape around that. Never did I have any melting issues. My rack I made also kept the bags a little away too. By the way, that wind shield looks cool!

    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. Sugar Pig

    Sugar Pig almost certain...

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    Have a great time. I did Co. on a DRZ and Miss. and Ark. on a DR650 solo. My buddy on the Co. part had a Happy Trails rack built much heavier than yours is and he DESTROYED it. I mean broke every weld.
    Beef that sucker up some. Would hate to see you not have a good time due to equipment. It really put a damper on his trip through Nevada and Oregon.

    Hope you have a great time!
    #6
  7. NOTAR_520

    NOTAR_520 Been here awhile

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    I broke one weld on my rack too, most of the time my rack held my tire tools, and a 3 gal gas can, it broke the last day when I almost ate it in a big ditch that I saw at the last moment. It was a well made rack, I got it from Brett on our ride. Ghillys rack was well made(self made, I need to get welding skills), he also rode solo for a large portion of the trip where you have to be self sufficient, ie pack everything you'll need). When he linked up with others he lightened up his load :)
    #7
  8. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

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    I'll see what breaks on it this weekend. Hopefully not one of my welds :)
    If the rack doesn't survive no biggie was only like $30 worth of steel.
    I can make a beefier one or reinforce this one more... Just trying to keep the weight down as much as possible. Plus...its just 1/4" rod. If I smash it on the trail I should be able to just bend it back where it should be.
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  9. Ghilly

    Ghilly Been here awhile

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    The cost is not an issue at all for the money to build another rack. The huge problem is if it goes down while on the trail. You would be S.O.L. on carrying your gear and that is very bad. Tubing will offer the best strength to weight you can have. I used alum tubing and gusseted the crap out of it. It held up 100% but I wore the epoxy pant off it in spots. If that rack flexes at all it will need fixed because it will fail. It does seem well made but maybe not beefy enough for the western TAT. The trail will beat the crap out of all your gear. Make sure it can take at least several times having the bike dropped. I destroyed my tail and saddle bags on my trip. Pictures do not seem to capture just how abusive the trail is out west and if you ride like me even more so.:D
    #9
  10. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

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    Hmmm...I was kinda going for flexy and easy to bend back into shape :) If its gonna fail, it should do it sometime soon...I've got time to redo it if so.

    I was kind of worried about the rack damaging the subframe in a good crash/drop. I figured if something had to give it should be the rack.

    I think maybe tomorrow I'll take it ouit into the front yard and drop it on its side a few times and see what happens. Should amuse the neighbors :p

    I don't have the setup to weld aluminum...wish I did. Gonna have to be steel for me. Maybe I'll make something from some smallish square tube or something. Not worried about redoing it...I like welding and usually use all the metal from my failed projects for something else :D
    #10
  11. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

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    Last week riding home from work gas started spilling on me riding up the hill to my house. Caused by this:

    [​IMG]

    So I got this:

    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. juniorsktm

    juniorsktm Been here awhile

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    Hey Good Luck with your trip planning. I rode it this July on my 950 with a Giant Loop Great Basin. I would recommend it all day over other set ups, but looks like you got a pretty cool rig so, just my .02........

    Read the last couple pages and you will see what I took etc. I never needed anything I didn't have or really had things I didn't need.

    Enjoy
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=479876

    Frank
    #12
  13. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

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    Ok...here's a crazy idea...what if I just moved the saddle bags forward a few inches...I could forgo the rack completely. Think my movement would be too limited with it positioned this way? I think I'm gonna give it a try.

    [​IMG]
    #13
  14. NOTAR_520

    NOTAR_520 Been here awhile

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    Show us a picture with the bike facing downhill and you on the pegs leaning back. as long as the bags don't affect your standing ability.

    On our trip, we didn't have any major issues with anyone's luggage, and no one had their bag sucked into the rear tire. Ghilly did the WHOLE ride and his luggage was secure with his trick rack and some TOUGH webbing(not a cheap strap). I'm thinking KLR Mike had racks. Mav and I had Giant loop bags with no rack needed, and Ben was sporting some trick Enduro bags, no rack needed. You'll just need to do more shake down rides with your load-out gear. I was VERY happy with the giant loop bags, some think expensive but no rack needed, and they are MaverickChick TOUGH(trust me, she puts the hurt on gear), they are now WaterProof, and the next luggage I'll buy will be the Great basin Giant loop bag. We will use on street bikes, and on the dirt bikes.

    Ghilly, what will be your luggage choice on the NEW KTM? I'm with Ghilly, start with tough stuff, the trail is long, and you don't want to fight gear, just the trail, lots of bumps in Colorado, Utah and Nevada(even though I took my biggest jarring in Oregon, got to keep my eyes open). After seeing Ghillys rack, I'm thinking I need some Alum Welding skills, I already have the 3d modeling down that will help with layout, cutting and design, but I burn holes in metal when welding.
    #14
  15. Ghilly

    Ghilly Been here awhile

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    Those saddle bags really look huge. That is very bad because that means you will fill them up. They also look a tad light weight too but I have never seen them in person. I did my best to try and find a good bag on a cheap price and will not do that again. My choice is likely to be a wolfman or giant loop bag for the next trip. I paid a little less for those bags I got and would not trust them on another trip. The are pretty much trashed. I could use them on a road trip but never another heavy off road trip. Your bike will be getting bounced around like crazy and big heavy saddle bags flop around a lot. Trust me because I strapped the crap out of mine and they still flopped around a bit. Things you may consider are a wolfman tank bag and maybe a front fender bag. I kept my spare tube, patch kit and chain lube in mine with zero issues. The tank bag wil be your number one bag you open and close all day every day for camera, maps etc. No matter what you do you will learn from the mistakes you make. I know I did and I researched the crap out of this trip.
    #15
  16. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

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    They're really not that much bigger than the GL bag. I will prob fill them, but Im hoping that I can get all of my camping stuff in the bags and not have random duffels/sacks/tents strapped elsewhere on my bike. They seem sturdy enough, and have been used on the TAT before. I think I have my mounting solution figured out...I'll post pics later.

    I'll be able to give this setup a good workout and see how it holds up to some single track riding. If not...the Giant Loop bag will be my next purchase.

    edit...just looked at the Coyote model...temped to order...damn...bleeding $$$$ lol
    #16
  17. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

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    here's the bracket I made that hold the tool tube and keeps the bag out of the tire. Should work well and much lighter than the full rack.

    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

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    Also...got my new tent today. It is small enough to fit in one of the saddle bags along with my sleeping bag.

    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

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    Yesterday I mounted a Wolfman tank bag and swapped out the stock shift lever for a 1" longer MSR lever. Yay...I can shift wearing boots now!

    Took it out for a ride this morning all loaded up with all the camping gear. Hit up the local sand pits and tossed it around a good bit. Everything seemed to be ok. Didn't really notice the extra weight (didn't drop it though). On downhills I could get my butt over the top box and the bags were just touching my legs. The bag over the exhaust did get a bit warm but no melting or burning. I will probably add another bracket or a better heat shield for that side before my ride this weekend, just to be safe.

    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

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    I've been riding to work and with it getting darker and darker in the morning I'm beginning to think that I may need a better headlight than the Acerbis that's on now. I think I'm going to put the stock back on for comparison. The front fender is blocking a lot of the light...so I may have to go to a different headlight setup. Any suggestions appreciated :)
    #20