I&G plans for the Trans America Trail by CCM GP450 & Honda CRF250L

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Drumbrakes, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. Drumbrakes

    Drumbrakes Been here awhile Supporter

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    Yes, I have a slight worry about axle snapping and wasn't 100% sure about the nuts being interchangeable, both for thread size and length, so decided to switch the whole set.
    I'd like to be prepared for most things at the side of the trail, as well as just checking tightness of all bits on a regular basis.

    Strange as it may sound, I've only worn the Nexx XD1 around the house so far, but it seems comfy enough, and very well made. It's a nice snug fit, and I don't plan to wear it until after "Balaclava season".

    I've also been very impressed with the shark Explore-R, though the shape wasn't quite right for my head.
    #41
  2. Drumbrakes

    Drumbrakes Been here awhile Supporter

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    One further kit update.
    Some of you may have spotted my first post originally contained details about my wife's bike and kit for the trip. I removed it at her request, as she's not so comfortable with personal photos and details being made public as I am.
    However she has agreed that we should give a big public acknowledgement to Nolan / X-Lite helmets, and in particular the staff at Firecrestmoto.co.uk near Glasgow.


    My good lady was wanting an adventure styled helmet for the trip, but struggled as she has a smallish head.
    She wanted: a peak, a drop down sun shield, a light colour, some vents and breathing room, and a proper visor (not a goggle only design)

    She tried the smallest adult helmets available from most brands in our local shops, but none were a reasonable fit.
    She'd ordered in a Bell helmet over the internet, again too big, so it went straight back in the box and was returned.
    Some MX style helmets come in older child sizes, but they are very basic, and don't really meet any things she was looking for.

    Some AGV XS have been a good fit (including her current road helmet), but not the adventure styled ax-8, which was too big, and they don't have a sun shield anyway.

    We then visited firecrest (just off the M8 outside Glasgow). They do a wide range of helmets (Better than our local bike dealers anyway) and have been helpful with much of our other kit. We spoke with a very nice lady (whose name escapes me) who then tried a variety of small helmets on her head, not to see if they fitted, but to see how they fitted. Each helmet got a variety of pushes, and presses applied, while our assistant checked gaps at various points to see which helmets had the right shape. She then checked the catalogues and suggested an X-lite 551 in XS or XXS might suit. The 551 had the features, but we hadn't realised it came in XXS. X-Lite and Nolan turn out to be the same company, so an XXS and XS from a Nolan full face helmet were brought out to try on. The XXS was a good fit, so they ordered in a 551 XXS. A few days later my wife got a call. It turns out X-Lite don't make it in a 551, so there were none in stock. However, X-lite did agree to make a set of extra thick padding for an XS to make it an XXS as a special order.
    We've just picked up that helmet after a short wait. This one was tried on with the same procedure to inspect the fit, so we were all happy it was a good fit.

    This is not a stock helmet with extra bits of foam velcroed or glued into it. it is a perfect factory finished article that looks brilliant and fits with a Goldilocks level of "Just Right".

    Was it expensive? Well it cost not a penny more than the standard 551 models and it has most of the features you could want in an adventure helmet (pinlock included!). Firecrest aren't the cheapest on the internet, but they aren't the most expensive either, and you are getting good quality new genuine products with full guarantees.

    We're both very happy with the service from Firecrest and X-Lite. We'll be buying more of our kit from there, whenever possible.
    #42
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  3. pinball1008

    pinball1008 Been here awhile

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    What great customer service. When you know you're going to get what you need and that the outlet will go that bit further to ensure it's right for you, you don't mind spending a little extra.
    It's easy to just hit the internet for the cheapest price, but that's not always the right path as you have clearly shown. A big up to Fiercest for the help they've given you.
    #43
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  4. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

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    Good service
    #44
  5. Drumbrakes

    Drumbrakes Been here awhile Supporter

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    2 new bits have arrived recently - I now have the Nexx X-com for My helmet.and the Gamrim VIRB XE camera
    Fitting was a bit of a faff. There are places for each of the components - the microphone, speakers and control panel all go straight in, no probs at all. The main electronics unit go into spaces at the back of the helmet, which are a bi larger than them, so might look intialy liek they will rattle around, but then you have the connecting wires between each part, with fairly bulky connectors to try and fit in somehow so they won't get in the way of refitting the liners. I managed this by pushing them into the cavities beside the battery and main unit. The left side padding is not quite a perfect fit, but the rest of it is ok. The charging port for the battery sits just between the centre padding and the left cheek pad, so can be tucked away when not in use. It takes the sam micro-USB as my phone and tablet, so no exrtra charger needed.

    From the outside you wouldn't know it was there, other than the control panel which doesn't stick out at all, but is easy to reach and operate even with gloves on.
    XD-1 with X-Com fitted.jpg

    The helmet speakers give you feed back by beeping, or announcing things, to let you navigate the menus.

    It's both easy to use, and quite complicated. To set it up, you need to hear the beeps and announcements, so I found myself sitting on my sofa with my helmet on, and My sat-nav, phone and manual in front of me, that's ok, as my neighbours already think I'm strange, though the postman was a bit surprised.

    With my phone connected, I can now speak out loud "OK Google, Play Johnny Cash" as we ride through Tennessee, and Johnny Cash will start singing for me a few seconds later. The audio quality seems pretty good, and should be loud enough even at speed with the CCM's engine trying to join in. (I'm not a huge JC fan, but for some reason I have taken to listening to his later works whilst riding on long trips. I think the steady pace and sing-along lyrics work well for me)

    I can easily pair either my phone or my sat-nav with the headset, but so far, not managed both at once, not because it's hard to use, but because I don't understand the intricacies of the different pairing modes available, and I think I unpair the previous item each time I try to connect a new one. I will consult with a couple of my work buddies who understand this stuff pretty well, and see if I can make sense of it, and I'll RTFM again.

    There are so many options available with the unit - Sharing music over the intercom, starting and stopping music. It's all possible, but hard to tell which of my devices I have are compatible with each feature or mode on the headset.

    I would like to get the action camera connected, so it can record commentary as well as the sound of me swearing and talking to myself as I get lost, fall off etc. If i can get it to record the 2 way intercom chats that would be great,but only once the other things are sorted will I try that.

    My VIRB XE camera arrived last week. looks great, though I've yet to find a spot on the bike to mount it. I'll need to one where I can do a Rossi style wave into the camera after I've managed a tricky bit of trail.

    There's no screen, but there is a phone app you can use to see the images and fine tune the position as you fit it. The Garmin rugged power supply looks as rugged as the name suggested. Waterproof connectors with silicon sleeves over the joins and dust covers to keep the connectors clean and dry when not in use. It looks similar to the standard power supply from the outside, but there's a lot more going on on the inside with the rugged version.
    VIRB connectors.jpg
    Standard on the left, rugged on the right. If you look closely there's a seal around every contact.
    VIRB connectors 2.jpg
    The rugged cable has a micro USB charging port, (the one at the top) a Microphone socket (middle) and video out - (Bottom). The three cables fit together to stop them flapping, or can be separated if required.
    The Mini USB is the same as my Garmin Sat-navs, and this joins top their waterproof MICRO USB 12v adapter. The fit together neatly, and the red sleeve slides over the joint. Both sides have dust caps, which conveniently fit together, thus keeping the dust caps clean!

    I had to do a firmware update on the camera before the little remote unit would connect, but now I can mount the camera more or less anywhere, and with a remote on the dash, I can start it recording, stop it recording, or take a still photo.
    depending on the resolution and frame rate, i can get between 10 hours and 30 hours of video on one memory card.
    It's not great for taking hand held still pictures, as there is no screen or view-finder. I used it to take the photos of the helmet and cables for this post. It's not intended for close up photos, and the focus was not ideal. The pictures were so wide-angle I had to crop them a lot to get the bits I was aiming for.

    I may have mentioned previously that the VIRB XE can be connected to an OBD 2 bluetooth adapter to give engine telemetry on you videos, showing throttle position, engine speed, gear etc. that's still true, but probably not easily compatible with the BMW / Huskvarna ECU fitted to the CCM. ODB2 is a strict international standard for cars, loosely followed by motorcycle manufacturers, who add in a few of their own tweaks to make you buy their software and adapters. It might be possible to make an adapter that converts the BMW standard into proper ODB2 and then lets you connect to the camera, but I haven't the patience for that.

    The camera will already record location and speed via the GPS, it has an internal motion sensor that will record the "Gs" in all directions for braking, acceleration and over bumps (might do lean-angle or fall-angle as well, will try to figure that out). With external sensors, you can also get ambient temperature and my heart rate (not sure I need or want heart rate)

    Plotting of the GPS tracks is still ongoing. I was supposed to be doing Oklahoma this weekend. So far I've only done 70 out of 240 waypoints, and it's Sunday lunchtime.

    Here's a wee snapshot of the finished product:
    OK route sample.jpg

    Now, Back to work...
    #45
  6. pinball1008

    pinball1008 Been here awhile

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    Really looking like a great set up. Will you test the camera on the bike before you go in case there is a bad vibration issue? I looked at the Nexx as my next helmet but not decided yet. I like the idea of the built in intercom, but as it would just get used for music it's just too expensive.
    Sorting your waypoints is never going to be a quick job, but well worth taking your time and getting it right.
    #46
  7. Drumbrakes

    Drumbrakes Been here awhile Supporter

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    Yes, I will be trying out the camera, Vibration could be a problem.
    If you just want to listen to music, then a pair of headphones does pretty well.
    I have a pair of these:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0083E7T7C/ref=cm_sw_r_em_udp_awd_1g2TwbAV8TJ1W
    Not the best audio quality as headphones in nornal use, but they reduce lots of background noise (but you can still make out general road noise, other vehicle engines, horns etc for safe riding).
    I found there was some electrical interference on the CCM with an audio wire running from my zumo near the cylinder head, so if you can keep your music player in your pocket you'll get better sound.
    #47
  8. jondirt

    jondirt City rider

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    All the best with those gadgets. I really look forward to hearing how you get on. The Bluetooth gizmos I've purchased have all since been tossed. Annoying electrical interference sounds, rain/dust issues, continual loss of pairing setup, firmware upgrades, short battery life, frustration and eventually the bin. I like that the GoPro uses WiFi!

    For mounting options, have you considered a chest mount? I have one for my GoPro and really like it. The view is a little lower, more smoothed out, you get to see a bit of the bike dash in the view, its easy to adjust and change batteries, and I don't feel like a space martian with a camera on top of my head. Mounting on-bike mounts is good for very short segments and effects shots, but I've yet to find a spot that doesn't vibrate too much on a thumper. Look forward to seeing some trial footage.
    #48
  9. Drumbrakes

    Drumbrakes Been here awhile Supporter

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    I've used a bluetooth link from my zumo 660 to an Autocom Logic unit successfully for a few years. This gave a much cleaner sound than using the audio cable built into the zumo charging cable, which ran past the top of the engine.
    Battery life on all these things tends to be too short for an all day bike ride, which is why I like to have them wired to the bike. Hopefully the helmet headset battery will somewhere near the 8 hours claimed. I'll be using it before I go, and if necesary get an additional battery pack, as I don't like having wires connecting me to the bike. (I forget about them when I get off, and forget to reconnect when I get back on, & the wires need more slack off-road where you need to stand up or sit down, and generally move around more as you ride)
    Sena do a spare battery pack for their other units that fits on the outside back of the helmet that should be compatible.

    I'll see how bike mounting the camera goes before I look at body mounting.

    The trip is not meant to be about the gadgets, but I'm trying to find ones that will make some aspects easier, so I can concentrate on the riding. The Virb camera fits because it can be bike powered, even in wet conditions, and one memory card will last all day. I can start it in the morning and turn it off when we finish.
    #49
  10. pinball1008

    pinball1008 Been here awhile

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    Quote: and one memory card will last all day. I can start it in the morning and turn it off when we finish.
    Will you record constantly all day or does the Virb have the option to save clips when you hit a button? I use the "capture feature" (not sure of the proper term) to save interesting sections of a ride on my Drift. I normally have it set for around 30 seconds either side of hitting record on the remote. It saves trawling through hours of sometimes tedious footage.
    Hard wire for the camera is a good idea. I have to remember to change batteries every 3 hours and then get them charged overnight.
    #50
  11. Drumbrakes

    Drumbrakes Been here awhile Supporter

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    It has a loop option, intended for that kind of thing, but I've not looked into it yet.
    I believe the editing software has a feature where it highlights the areas where the motion sensor has the highest levels (i.e tricky trail sections, falls or emergency stops).
    Having too much footage is always a problem, as it takes nearly as much time to review it as it does to record it.
    I'm wanting to record the scenery and views as much as the trail, so perhaps the loop option would be handy for the regions where it's a bit repetitive. Seems like of the Tennessee forests and the Oklahoma farm tracks could look the same for 100 miles at a time.

    There's also a time-lapse option where it will grab a still once a second, minute or hour (actually any interval you want).
    Once a second would let you do Benny Hill style footage through the boring sections, with an hours ride taking 2 minutes to play back at 30fps.
    #51
  12. Drumbrakes

    Drumbrakes Been here awhile Supporter

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    Not a huge amount of significant progress over the last couple of weeks.
    I'm going to try some RAM mounts for the garmin camera, which should give several mounting options. Above the Sat Nav, behind the screen is my current favourite, if it doesn't distort the image too much.

    Whilst plotting some of the Oklahoma route, I discovered I'll be passing through the landa if the Kaw Nation - Native American tribe.
    It's something I know very little about, and I'm fairly sure the "Cowboys & Indians" films I saw on TV as a child weren't an entirely fair reflection of how things happened.
    I did a little research into their history, and the current situation.
    It turns out "Pow-wows" are a real thing, and they have one annually in early August, perhaps at the time we'll be passing through. Not sure yet what it actually involves, or if it's the kind of event that welcomes spectators. further investigation will be made.

    Route planning is now 1/2 way through Colorado. I've just reached the part where Sam's route passes the "Rainbow Trail". Looks like the kind if singletrack I'd love on a mountain bike from YouTube videos. I know our motorcycles could handle it, but I'm not sure if my confidence is sufficient to ride a motorcycle on twisty ST with steep drops to the side yet.
    Perhaps by the time we reach Colorado it will be.

    I've also come across the rule that Colorado requires "OHVs" using public park trails (such as the Rainbow trail) to have a permit sticker displayed
    OHV is an "Off Highway Vehicle". Is that only vehicles that are never used or licenced for public roads (i.e. unplated). or do highway legal vehicles that also use these type of non highway trails require a permit too?

    The permits are issued annually, and run out in March. They aren't expensive, so I'm considering just getting them anyway, as we're making no other direct contribution to the upkeep of the roads and trails we're using on the trip.

    Do other states have a similar scheme?

    I think a forkleg covered in OHV permits for each state we pass through probably would be cooler than the standard stickers on a metal pannier box.
    #52
  13. pinball1008

    pinball1008 Been here awhile

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    Can you get a mount on the auxiliary light bar for a different view, or would there be too much vibration? I've always stuck with a helmet mount, so I'm pretty interested with how you get on with different mounting points.
    #53
  14. cwegga

    cwegga Been here awhile

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    1. Indian reservations should be fine. There are some very large ones out west. A few things to be aware of is that they are considered sovereign nations and generally have their own laws that can vary from the surrounding state and federal laws. Also in some cases there can be poverty issues on reservations that can lead to there being some rough areas where you may be less safe than more prosperous places.

    2. Many states have OHV permits. How they are required will vary by state. In my state of Montana for example you need an OHV permit for riding trails, but anything considered a "road" all the way down to double track as long as it is marked a road on the map you are fine with just a license plate. Also the different land management agencies such as the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, State Department of Natural Resources, State Fish and Wildlife Department etc. can all have separate rules for what roads are open and what is a trail vs. a road. I doubt that will affect you much with a normal route though. I would ask in the regional forums here about the OHV permits for states you are going through and when they are necessary.
    #54
  15. chasbmw

    chasbmw Long timer

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    When you get quotes for shipping, check the basis of the charge, it might be solely on weight, or it might be a combination of weight and volume.
    You can reduce the volume of a shipping crate , quite easily by removing the front wheel and mudguard and fixing the front of the bike with the front axel, this will make the crate both lower and shorter, this made a big difference in shipping costs back in the day.

    http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f146/chasbmw/Travels 77-78/Sri Lanka/9D24F511-2481-47D6-B391-D3A16B78856B_zpstsqd2xje.jpg
    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    #55
  16. 35xj

    35xj Long timer

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    We are heading back out to Finnish up next month. We made it to Nevada when a broken foot put a stop to our progress. Alas. We didn't have any issues with permits along the way. Typicaly in the US the street liscence plate will override the OHV permit requirement.
    When you get here to the U.S., we are in Asheville nc, couple hours from Tellico plains. Pretty good size group of riders if you need a place to stay etc.
    #56
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  17. Drumbrakes

    Drumbrakes Been here awhile Supporter

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    There's a good section on Horizon's unlimited about the costs of shipping bikes.
    Basically, volume is always the defining factor for shipping costs for a motorcycle. Anything you can do to make the bike fit in a smaller crate (and perhaps a crate that can have other crates stacked on top of it will save you money.
    However the amount of volume you might save by taking a wheel off, might not be worth the hassle of having to disassemble then re-assemble the bike, and having it rest on the forks or front axle etc needs to be packed carefully to avoid damage.
    I would imagine our shippers could get both bikes into a single crate that is less than double the size one bike would need. However I'm going to leave it up to them to crate the bikes.
    We're going with James Cargo, they've been among the most helpful in terms of contacting us and providing advice, and have a depot in Manchester, which is much more convenient for us than London.

    We're also looking into motor insurance at the moment. there are a few useful companies (again Horizons Unlimited has many handy links)
    Surprisingly the type and value of the bike appear to be largely irrelevant to the cost of Insurance. It seems to be mostly based on the "damages" you want to be covered for. Damages in this case doesn't seem to be the cost of repairs to vehicles, or even medical costs, but just money to be given to the other party in an incident if I'm at fault. I can pick a number from $25k to $250k.
    My favourite so far is actually a German company called TourInsure. They aren't cheaper then the others, but make a better attempt to explain American motor insurance to non Americans.
    #57
  18. chasbmw

    chasbmw Long timer

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    I think that amount of US insurance depends on what assets you have that could be taken by a US lawyer, I know of people who have had their whole lives turned upside down by legal crap following simple auto accidents. Back in the day when I was young and dumb I rode for at least 3 months in the US after my insurance expired, completely uninsured in central and South America .
    #58
  19. jondirt

    jondirt City rider

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  20. chasbmw

    chasbmw Long timer

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    That's a radical pack
    #60