108days. 17,048miles. XR650L USA Tour

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by michael.brat, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. michael.brat

    michael.brat Been here awhile

    Oct 26, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Hi All!!

    I've just returned from a 108 day, 17048 mile cross country trip on the XR650L. To sum it up, the United Stated is much bigger and beautiful than I could have ever imagined. 3½ months is not nearly enough time to soak up this country, but it was a good overview at the least. You will meet some very amazing and very friendly people as long as you are amazing and friendly yourself. Your aura sets the standard for your environment.

    I won't be doing a full blown rider report since I blogged the entire trip mostly realtime. You can view my perspectives along the way on tumblr: http://michaelbrat.tumblr.com/archive

    Below is a full breakdown of all the gear packed on the bike for this trip. Hopefully this will give others ideas for when they plan to go on a motorcycle adventure! I've added some notes as to use of the gear brought on the trip. If I missed something or if anyone has any questions whatsoever, please ask! I didn't spend all day compiling this list just to have questions go unanswered :nod This thread is meant to be informative and helpful so please also take anything you need from it.

    Additionally, I have other pictures detailing certain items or even certain places along the way so if you'd like to see more of something or somewhere, ask and you may receive.

    Enjoy friends!
    Mike B


    Protective Gear

    1. Alpinestars Verona Air Jacket – Synthetic mesh jacket with elbow, shoulder, & back protection. Chosen for comfort in warm weather riding. Not ideal for cold weather.
    2. “The Buff” (not pictured) - Multi-purpose tube shaped wrap. Mostly used as a face mask to shield cold air. Seemingly overpriced but one of my favorite multi-function pieces of gear. Google it :)
    3. Klim Baja Pants – Synthetic mesh in-boot design. Chosen for warm weather riding. Not ideal for cold weather.
    4. Alpinestars SMX-2 Air Carbon Gloves (not pictured) – Great dual sport gloves. Carbon knuckles FTW, haha :)
    5. Arai XD3 Dual Sport Helmet – Awesome. Enough said.
    6. Alpinestars Tech 8 Boots – Great boots, inner booties are convenient & comfortable, expensive ($400+), buy them used off ebay for $100-150 ;)



    1. See “Flash 65” picture.
    2. See “BBQ Manrack” picture.
    3. Rei Quarter Dome T2 Tent – Under 4 lbs, 3 season, free standing, awesome.
    4. Camo tarp 10x12' – Multipurpose, mainly used for moto cover or tent mat, $15 online.
    5. Therm-a-rest Z-lite sleeping pad – Light, cheap, comfortable.
    6. Spare Dunlop D606 front tire
    7. See “Flash 18” picture.
    8. See “Giant Loop Coyote” picture.
    9. Coleman ATV pad from Walmart - $17, worth the cost.
    10. See “Fannypack Tank Bag” picture.
    11. iPhone 4 Ram Mount – Keeps my eyes off the road.
    12. See “Tusk Fender Bag” picture.


    Flash 65

    1. Vitamins
    2. Baby wipes – Poor mans shower
    3. Pepper Spray
    4. Windstopper Gloves – Had to upgrade to waterproof gloves in NC. Made these obsolete.
    5. Turtle Fur Neck wrap – For really cold weather.
    6. Jetstroke hand towel
    7. Lime green helmet towel – For removing bug guts
    8. Rei ultralite pack towel – Kinda like a body chamois; ultra packable & highly absorbant
    9. Bananaboat sunscreen
    10. Food – Clif bars, smarties, ramen, oatmeal, trail mix, chocolate cookies, other various candies.
    11. Cordura sack for Salomon Techamphibian trail shoes
    12. Clothing sack – 3 shirts, 2 long sleeve, 1 long underwear
    13. Stuffsack for Mammot Down Jacket – Doubles as a pillow
    14. Wash Kit #1 – Eye wash, Contacts solution, Contacts case, Q-tips, Tweezers, Soap Bar, Moisturizer, Shampoo
    15. Wash Kit #2 – Shaver, Deodorant, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Baby Wipes, Glasses
    16. Fiber – To stay regular :)
    17. “Bug Bucket” - Mosquito hat with head net. Glad to have this, especially in OR.
    18. Nalgene Bottle – For fluids.
    19. Plastic bags – Specifically for interior of boots on rainy days.
    20. Spare headlamp
    21. Fireworks ;)
    22. XR650L owner's manual
    23. Ziplocks – Unlimited uses
    24. Handwipes – For those dirty days
    25. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Didn't finish it; actually only read a few pages :/
    26. Rei Flash 65L Backpack
    27. Spare small rope
    28. Honda Hat – Represent.
    29. Misc small items – Nail clippers, lighters, ear plugs, razor blade, sewing kit, eye drops, aspirin, cable ties, vicks inhalor, aaa batteries, shoe laces
    30. Beer can insulator – Gift from a fellow in AR
    31. Tide Pen & Extra Shampoo
    32. Curiously Strong Mints
    33. Magnifying Glass – Who doesn't like seeing this really close up?
    34. 3M Double Sided Tape – Strong stuff
    35. Sunglasses
    36. Mac Charger, iPhone Cord, USB Wall Charger
    37. Rubberbands – Many uses.
    38. Grand Teton Double Steel Wall Cup w/ carabiner handle. Awesome.
    39. Bamboo Utensils – Won't scratch non-stick pot coatings, strong & light
    40. 3 liter Camelback Water Reservoir
    41. Macbook Pro


    BBQ Manrack
    -Thanks to Mike @ Manracks for sending me this rack. Has hit the ground many times and has held up flawlessly.

    1. MSR .887ml Aluminum Fuel Canisters
    2. Spare Bungees
    3. Motul Chain Lube
    4. Mini WD40


    Flash 18

    1. TP – Cause there isn't always a toilet around. Also a smaller ziplock inside for tp waste, cause no one likes litter, and burying it doesn't solve the problem.
    2. Smartwool Gloves – Mostly used as a base layer in cold weather.
    3. Firstgear Rain Gloves – Start to leak a bit in the fingers during prolonged rain riding.
    4. Beanie – Essential for shaved heads.
    5. Glacier Gloves – Fingerless for dexterity. My favorite gloves.
    6. Small Dry Sack – For small items; phone, wallet, etc..
    7. Medium Dry Sack
    8. More Zip Locks
    9. 3 Liter Camelback #2
    10. Rei Flash 18 Backpack – Great small pack for day hiking.
    11. Carabiners – Lots of these; multiple uses.
    12. Sport tape – Good for wrapping boo-boos so you can keep going.
    13. Mammot Precip Rain Jacket – Started bleeding through overtime; requires retreating to retain waterproof-ness.
    14. Rei Ultralight Rain pants – Same story; needs retreating.
    15. Petzl Headlamp – Red light filter is a must have.


    Giant Loop Coyote
    -Durable horseshoe shaped bag originally designed for dirtbikes. Easy to attach and remove from the bike and seals rather well against rain. After seam sealing the bag, it keeps out about 95% of the rain. Some seeps in still but it was just enough to make a few things damp. Held up well against falls on the dirt.

    1. See “Tool Kit” picture.
    2. Rotella T 15W40 Engine Oil.
    3. First Aid Kit – Just in case
    4. Snow Peak Giga Power Stove w/ tea bags, hot choco, oatmeal
    5. Latex Gloves – Greasy hands are not fun without a faucet in sight.
    6. Spare OE H4 Bulb – Incase my eBay HID bulb dies :)
    7. Assorted adhesives – JB Weld, Silicone Adhesive, Locktight, Grease
    8. Extra Shop Towels – A gift from a friend in SC
    9. Spare CDI unit
    10. Gorilla tape & Electrical Tape
    11. Giant Loop Coyote Bag
    12. Clothing sack – 2 shorts, 1 levis, 1 swim trunks
    13. Clothing sack – 5 pairs socks, 5 underwears
    14. Heavy Duty Black Trash Bags – Used to waterproof my Flash 18 & Flash 65 Backpacks.
    15. One of 3 Sacks provided with the Giant Loop – This one specifically used for dirty clothes.
    16. Dry Sack for 15º Stoic Down Mummy Bag – Stays warm comfortably to the 30º range.
    17. Fox Moto Goggles
    18. Evernew Titanium Pot & Pan Set – Contains fuel canister.
    19. Honda OE Oil Filters


    Tool Kit

    1. Latex Gloves
    2. Channel Locks
    3. Sharpie
    4. Zip Ties
    5. 8mm Socket & Allens (5/64”, 9/64”, 5mm, 6mm)
    6. 10mm Ratching Wrench
    7. 12mm Ratching Wrench
    8. 13mm Ratching Wrench
    9. 14mm & 8mm Ratching Wrenches
    10. Tusk Double Sided Wrench (24mm/17mm) & Tusk Valve Stem Puller
    11. Wood Handle Pick & 10mm, 14mm, 18mm Sockets w/ 2” Extension
    12. 3/8” Ratchet
    13. Phillips & Steel Wire Brush
    14. XL Flat Head
    15. Crescent Wrench
    16. 12mm Socket & Pivot Adapter
    17. Feeler Gauges


    Fannypack Tank Bag

    1. Card Case – AAA, Anthem, Nat Park Pass
    2. Overboard Waterproof Fannypack – Converted into a tank back
    3. Napkins from all around the US – Courtesy of random restaurants
    4. Gorilla Pod & Mount for a Cellphone – How I take pictures of myself :)
    5. Gift from SC – Haven't tried them yet
    6. Digital Camera – Didn't even use it once.
    7. Ballpoint Pen
    8. Wheeler's – Just south of the Tail of the Dragon in NC. Fixed my subframe the 2nd time. Does great work, highly recommended. Can't say enough good about them!
    9. Spare USB cig outlet
    10. Tire Pressure Gauge
    11. Sharpie – For writing direction on my gas tank
    12. Rain X – Works o.k. Better than nothing.
    13. Rei straps
    14. Compass – Only place I could find where it would be accurate. A full tank of gas seems to throw it off though.
    15. OFF bug spray – Gift from a friend in Sequioa Nat Forest. Comes in handy!
    16. Ear plugs
    17. Another gift from SC – Haven't tried them yet.


    Tusk Fender Bag

    1. Honda Gloves – Represent.
    2. Trailstand – Found on ADVRider, can easily lift the front or rear wheel for tire changes.
    3. Spare front inner tube – Can also be used for the rear temporarily.
    4. OE Chain Slider
    5. XL Zip Ties – Gift from a friend in OR.
    6. x2 Tire Irons
    7. Tusk Chain Press & x2 Spare RK Chain Master Links
    8. Topeak DX II Mini Pump – Had to replace for a new one during the trip due to a malfunction. Otherwise, works well.
    9. Aerostitch Tow-n-tie – Double as tow straps or tie down straps.
    10. Tusk Fender Bag – Came with 2 tire irons, can't beat it for $15.
    11. Carbon Kickstand Plate – For Soft Ground.
    12. Stick on Wheel Weights
    13. PD XRR 15T Drive Sprocket
    14. Tusk Chain Breaker – Had to replace for a new one during the trip due to a broken collar. RMATV happily sent me a new one free of charge.

    Maintenance Schedule

    Date, Mileage: Maintenance
    4/27, 993: Purchased - Honda XR650L 2004, Oakland, CA
    4/27, 1013: oil change
    5/4, 1670: Clarke 4.7 gas tank, IMS Baja Kit, smog equip removal
    5/10, 1939: Daves mods, uni air filter, fmf q4 exhaust, OE spark plug
    5/14, 1997: PD XRR 15T Front Sprocket + OE plate
    5/20, 2174: Oil cooler, fuel filter, power outlet, oil change (Left for westcoast trip, 2800 miles, 10 days)
    6/15, 3720: oil change
    6/18, ~4500: OE chainslider
    6/21, ~5030: sylvania H4 bulb
    7/1, ~5340: oil change, hid H4 kit
    7/6, ~5400: renthal sprock, RK chain, chain slider, chain roller, spud rollers
    7/24, ~6000: D606 rear
    8/1, 6103: (Left Los Angeles on Cross Country Trip)
    8/6, 7019: oil change
    8/7, 7096: D606 front
    8/11, 8100: oil change, uni clean/oil
    8/20, 9473: oil change, D606 rear, used PD sprocket
    8/31, 11014: oil change
    9/3, 11662: D606 front
    9/6, 12348: subframe gussets
    9/8, 12618: oil change, D606 rear
    9/13, 13690: valve adjust
    9/24, 14467: oil change, chain guide & slider block
    10/6, 16242: D606 F&R, oil change, valve adjust, brake fluid change
    10/12, 17269: RK chain, PD sprock, Oem rear sprock, slider block
    10/17, 18100: oil change, cycra handguards
    10/24, 19014: D606 rear, subframe fix #2, exhaust mounting bracket weld
    10/27, 19732: oil change, D606 front, tru rear wheel, lower magnetic drain plug
    11/9, 21760: oil change
    11/9, 22090: D606 rear
    11/16, 23151: (Back home in California)

    -I did not note chain lubrication dates. I wasn't very consistent. Maybe once per state, using Motul chain lube.
    -I have used Shell Rotella T 15W40 non-synthetic engine oil since the day I purchased the XR.
    -The subframe needs some major supports to handle large amounts of weight on a rear rack combined with hard offroad riding. The current gusset design patterns available on advrider will not ultimately fix the subframe weaknesses.
    -A saddlebag setup is much more ideal for adventure riding. My setup was too top heavy for overall confidence in offroad situations.
    -My suspension remained entirely stock. I played with the dampening adjustments f&r, but ultimately liked a close to OE spec for comfort and responsive suspension travel.
    -Decided to go with Cycra Probend handguards in VA. Though not cheap, protection and safety outweigh the cost. Keeps your hands from being crushed, while protecting the levers and mirrors more so than the OE flaps.
    -My choice of oil cooler location behind front wheel is poor for offroad use due to massive suspension travel. Going back to the drawing board.

    ~Thanks to all my friends, family, & advriders who supported me and made my trip much more enjoyable!~

    Mike B
  2. Okie Rider

    Okie Rider Avid Motorcyclist

    Nov 8, 2009
    NE Oklahoma

    Oh boy, this is going to be good. Always thought I needed an XR650L. Maybe this will convince me!
  3. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

    Dec 24, 2006
    Only N flowin river emptying in an ocean
    Now I know why I tour on a GS........but 17,000+ smiles has me beat to a mere shit streak.

  4. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

    May 24, 2005
    Tumalo, Oregon
    Gray Coyote!

  5. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

    Feb 20, 2007
    Burbank CA

  6. isaac004

    isaac004 Been here awhile

    Sep 12, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Glad to see you made the entire trip just fine Mike! Remember, you still owe me that Houston's! :evil
  7. michael.brat

    michael.brat Been here awhile

    Oct 26, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Haha, don't worry I didn't forget! If you know when you'll be in my area, let me know and we'll make plans.

    Mike B
  8. jungleplant

    jungleplant Motorcyle & Jeep Stuff

    Jul 8, 2009
    ManRacks, California
    Glad to see you made it back in one piece
    got any great stories
    Looks like the Honda XR650L BBQ Rack made it too!
    Thanks Mike :freaky
  9. thebigman

    thebigman XR's all the way . Big Thumps or V-twins

    Jul 9, 2010
    Texas Gulf Coast
    Congats on your trip Michael.Brat. :clap
  10. wjpjump

    wjpjump Been here awhile

    May 20, 2007
    Welcome back. A most excellent adventure. Think I'm inspired.
  11. woodsman149

    woodsman149 not n00b

    Jun 30, 2009
    Nanaimo, BC, Canada
    Hey Mike, I think I met you in Oregon at a road side view point on the 101 back in June. I was heading south from BC with my twin bother, I was on an BMW1150 GSA and my brother was on a Dakar. Had a chat with you for 10 mins or so. You were heading north to Bend I think. Glad to see you've been racking up the miles since. Looking forward to reading your thread, nice equipment list by the way :D

  12. Spud Rider

    Spud Rider Long timer

    Jun 15, 2008
    Welcome back, Mike! :D I'm glad you returned home safely. :nod

    Spud :wave
  13. michael.brat

    michael.brat Been here awhile

    Oct 26, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Hey Gary,

    We sure did! I hope your trip down the coast was eventful. I hope to ride into Canada someday; I'll let you know when I do!

    Mike B
  14. flyingwombat

    flyingwombat frozen dead guy

    May 18, 2009
    Nederland, CO
  15. MEMBRP

    MEMBRP n00b

    Aug 25, 2011
    Collierville TN
    Nice Job and welcome back. What tire pressure did you run on those D606's?
  16. Rainier_runner

    Rainier_runner Heh..?

    May 31, 2011
    Yelm, Washington
    Subscribed. :*sip*

    Digging the story so far, waiting for more! :clap
  17. beechum1

    beechum1 Dandole Gas al Burro

    Oct 14, 2007
    Your mother's
    Great Trip Mike. See you soon I hope.
  18. michael.brat

    michael.brat Been here awhile

    Oct 26, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Thanks! I ran 22psi cold most of the trip. Had to go down to around 17 on some really loose stuff though.
    I don't think I'd ever run higher than 22, though it can easily get into the high 20s in hot situations.

    Mike B
  19. michael.brat

    michael.brat Been here awhile

    Oct 26, 2010
    Los Angeles
  20. thinknlive

    thinknlive Adventurer

    Sep 8, 2009
    SF Bay Area
    Glad to hear you completed your trip safely and enjoyed it as well!
    Thanks for the detailed gear breakdown. Very useful knowledge to have and share.
    Best Regards,