Covert's First GSA Adventure

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by Covert, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. Covert

    Covert Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2019
    Oddometer:
    391
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    TLDR; Pics below. Rode my 1250 GSA down to Ensenada, Baja, Mexico from Los Angeles. I went on part of the SCORE Baja 1000 trail. Got my butt kicked! But the bike took it like a champ! I definitely need more practice and/or a class. 50/50 tires are in my future. Need a new windscreen, give me your recommendations!

    I am new to dual-sport/adventure riding, I've only had my bike for a month now. I just experienced an epic 3-day weekend. I’ve seen videos and read about people going down south to ride off-road and have always said to myself “That looks awesome, I wish I could do that” all while also saying “That’s crazy/dangerous, I will NEVER do that!”. I never thought in a million years I’d ever do this.

    I was invited by some very experienced riders to tag along on a trip to Baja to ride part of the Baja 1000 trail. Overall it was a lot more than I expected it to be, being the absolute hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I was doing well for the first 45-60 minutes until I had a pack of soft dirt causing my rear wheel to spin out from under me. The fall wasn’t too bad and I was ready to get up and keep moving. Then I fell about five more times which caused quite a bit of frustration. I went through so many different emotions from the initial excitement, to being discouraged, being upset/frustrated, fear, pain, and then finally happy again (once it was over!) Overall I am so glad that I did it. However, if someone asked me to do it again, they would get a big NOPE… at least until I get some more practice in.

    I would like to thank everyone who shares info on the board. It has been extremely helpful in my research learning how to prepare for something like this.

    Here are some observations from my trip:

    Gear
    I need to invest in better gear. I am still rocking an old Joe Rocket jacket from when I used to ride sportbikes ~ 8-10 years ago. I picked up some Sedici adventure pants for this trip which helped but I still have some scars and bruises on my legs. Mostly everyone I was with had Klim Badlands, I am planning on picking some up.

    Skid Plate
    I felt the bike hitting rocks pretty hard, even on parts that were relatively flat. There were a few jumps that I took that really had me concerned after landing. While the stock plate seems to have held up, I’ll definitely be buying a beefier plate.

    Windscreen
    I have the stock GSA windscreen. One of the times I fell, I went flying through the windscreen and broke it off. In hindsight, I should have used my smaller Rally screen and/or had it adjusted to the lowest position. My cargo nets came in handy allowing me to strap the broken windscreen to my top case to salvage the mounting parts for its replacement. I am in need of a new windscreen — Any recommendations? I’m 6’3 and could use something that blocks the wind better than the stock one.

    Tires
    I rode with the stock Bridgestone tires. Everyone else around me had 50/50 tires (or close to it). While the experienced guys said I should be okay with the 80/20s, I am not at their skill level and I think having 50/50s would have made the soft dirt and sand patches (I HATE SAND) easier for me.

    Soft Bags
    This is a must! I purchased the Bumot Xtremada from advmotorrad.com (shout out to @rotaryracer). The bags stood tall taking a brutal beating and have held up perfectly fine. One of the main reasons I wanted a soft bag was to avoid any injury to myself from a regular side case. There were a few falls where this could have happened. It was so convenient being able to pull out the dry bag, bringing it in my room and using it to store all of my clothes. The smaller bag on my exhaust side I keep a Dowco Cover, a KingCamp chair and some cargo nets. This same payload also fits in the EVO Defender exhaust side case. I am 100% happy with this purchase. I ran the Bumot EVO defender top case.

    Phone Mounting
    My setup involves a Ram ball that replaced my handlebar bolt, a long ram arm, a Hondo Garage Buzz-Kill w/ the Hondo Garage mount and Motopuck QI charger. This setup survived all of the beatings I gave it without any issues. My iPhone XS Max stayed in place and kept charging the whole time. One positive side-effect of the Buzz-Kill that is extremely valuable to me is the ability to move the phone around while it’s in the mount for better viewing angles, taking a selfie or even capturing a photo of something ahead of me (limited angles).

    Cylinder Head Guards
    This is also required. If I didn’t have these, I’m 100% sure I would have punctured my cylinders and would be stuck in the middle of nowhere SOL. There were tons of rocks out there. I purchased the MachineArtMoto X-Head 1250. One of the other guys I was with had the Ricochet guards which are more affordable and give great protection.

    Handguards
    I am not a fan of the stock white handguards, I replaced them with the MachineArtMoto Advanced Guards and they performed very well. They have a few scratches on them from hitting the rocks, but they’re solid.

    Headlight Guard
    I run the Lone Rider headlight guard. I had no problems with seeing forward at night even with all the dirt and the mesh screen up.

    Toolbox
    I picked up the Touratech style toolbox from Aliexpress. It doesn’t lock properly, one can pull the door open from the side opposite of the locking latch. My uncle fabricated a new backplate which allowed it to remain secure when locking. Despite that, this toolbox was very useful and convenient. Inside I kept an air compressor, six CO2 cartridges, and a tool roll. If you guys are interested, I can take a picture of everything I keep in there.

    Toolkit
    I had an old $20 Husky Stubby kit from Home Depot that I’ve had laying around which has been useful for all of the service/farkling I’ve done to my bike. This came in handy several times for myself and others while on the trip. I also have a Torx bit set from Neiko.

    Air Compressor
    I bought the Motopumps Air Shot, I am glad I purchased this. The convenience of being able to air right back up anywhere without having to look for a gas station was well worth it. I believe 3 or 4 bikes (including mine) used this pump back-to-back to inflate without any issues or overheating.

    Shorty Levers
    My Shorty Pazzo Racing Levers were very comfortable and made it easy for me to control the bike while standing up.

    Handlebar Bag
    I have been going back and forth on whether to get a tank bag or not. I was very interested in the SW Motech EVO Daypack, but I’ve never seen one in person and no one here seems to talk about them so I’ve hesitated to buy. I saw the Motopockets handlebar bag and felt it was unobtrusive and useful being able to hold sunglasses, wallet and a big power brick.

    Mirrors
    My stock mirrors got knocked out of place a few times, had to break out the crescent wrench to fix them. I may consider DoubleTake Adventure Mirrors for my next trip.

    Pics ---

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    #1
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  2. Covert

    Covert Been here awhile

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    #2
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  3. Covert

    Covert Been here awhile

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  4. side-burn

    side-burn Long timer

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    Nice! Now give it a bath and show you love it!

    I like those Bumot bags a lot. After washing them down they’ll still look new. I’ve dumped mine a few times and they protect the bike and you can’t tell. As a bonus, all the bug gut splatter on the front scrub off easily and no rock chips are possible :)
    #4
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  5. Covert

    Covert Been here awhile

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    This upcoming Saturday, one of my buddies from the trip is coming to my place and we'll be washing our bikes together. Looking forward to it.

    I like these bags a lot too, I'm so glad I got them.

    P.S. -- I edited my original post to add a snippet on gear.
    #5
  6. DualDawg

    DualDawg Been here a while Supporter

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    Wash it? Pffff! Its perfect the way it is! No need to wash until you have to open it up for a valve adjustment or some other internal maintenance. :) Hats off to you for gettin' out and not being afraid to get it dirty and used! Get some full knobbies for riding in that kind of stuff. Really for most any off road riding. Your number of offs and frustration level will be greatly reduced. Its a big heavy bike that will always be difficult in the rocks and the soft stuff, but the knobbies will help a ton! Congrats on a successful first Adventure Ride on the new bike. Love Mexico! I think Jimmy Lewis puts on a good ADV training course for a reasonable price. Worth looking into. Cheers!
    #6
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  7. Covert

    Covert Been here awhile

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    Normally I would be with you on leaving it dirty, to me it would be a badge of honor. However, it's way too dirty to ride.
    #7
  8. side-burn

    side-burn Long timer

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    I wish my OCD would allow for this. Alas, I’ve embraced the things I can’t change LOL.
    #8
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  9. ADV Wanderer

    ADV Wanderer Been here awhile

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    You can do the RawHyde classes in Castaic (north side of LA). Well worth the investment.
    #9
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  10. AndyTAZ

    AndyTAZ Adventurer

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    Great report. Definitely check out RawHyde. They'll teach you how to ride in sand and gravel amongst other things.
    #10
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  11. tentative_rider

    tentative_rider Wanna Be On Gravel

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    Thanks for the great pics and review!

    You have some serious cajones taking that big expensive bike down there with what sounds like minimal experience, KUDOS!

    As above take some courses and keep riding, it just gets easier and better as you go.

    TR
    #11
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  12. ShaftEd

    ShaftEd Long timer

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    I think the Advrider Flowchart is appropriate here:

    [​IMG]
    #12
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  13. Covert

    Covert Been here awhile

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    Yes, one of my buddies has highly recommended that course to me. I plan on checking them out.

    Yeah, I couldn't pass up the opportunity, I wanted to see what the bike and I could do.
    #13
  14. Covert

    Covert Been here awhile

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    I was definitely a good adventure!
    #14
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  15. WADE-O

    WADE-O Been here awhile

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    Another good training place to check out is @West38Moto Dusty is conducting training out in Borrego Springs once a month during the winter months. He's a great rider and very great at teaching.
    #15
  16. Covert

    Covert Been here awhile

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    thanks for that info
    #16
  17. Lead Wrist

    Lead Wrist Mehr Gelände Weniger Straße

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    First adventure on Shifty Adventure - does it get any better? I guess it does - 2nd, 3rd, etc adventure in months and years to come - well done... :clap :beer

    As for riding gear recommendation: while not everyone's cup of Java, BMW Rallye suits, or jacket/pants as individual options, have been great part of my riding gear together with BMW boots for quite some time - obviously tons of options out-there to check them out...

    Windshield-wise, it's hit-and-miss and no one-type-fits-all-best. If GSA screen wasn't doing it for you, you could try Puig Touring, few inches taller, does work for some so it may work for you...

    :thumb
    #17
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  18. Covert

    Covert Been here awhile

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    I just purchased a Puig touring screen for long trips from another inmate. I’m also going to pick up another smaller (GS) windscreen for local riding.

    The ride back was pretty brutal at 75-80+ without the windscreen. I could barely hear my music. I didn’t appreciate having one until I was stuck without it.
    #18