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

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

  1. Seadragon16

    Seadragon16 Adventurer

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    Re helmets & DOT - my wifi is a bit sketchy at the moment here in Mexico so I haven't read this whole thread yet, but in case it hasn't been mentioned, the reason I chose to buy a DOT stickered helmet when I got to Canada had nothing to do with concern about police stops. It was related to insurance. Several people warned me that if I didn't have the helmet legally required for the place I was riding then this could invalidate my insurances in the event of a claim. Ridiculous really, but I felt it wasn't worth the risk when the cost of buying a helmet over here was less than buying one in the UK.
    Drumbrakes likes this.
  2. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue Supporter

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    I was looking back over the start of your thread and your boots (made me kind of nervous before). I highly recommend you invest in a pair of proper off road/motocross boots (like Sidi Crossfires). Too many rides and trips have ended due to foot and leg injuries.

    I would take an emergency shelter (at least). Weather can be pretty iffy some of the places you're traveling (and some of those places are remote). Anything where you can get out of rain and wind (a tarp could work, just test out pitching it in different configurations before your trip. I'm sure you're aware of how nasty it can get in the mountains in the Lake District, take a really bad day there + lightning and hail and add in an injury or bike breakdown. Hypothermia is a real concern.

    Make sure you also have first aid, light and some way to start a fire.
  3. wianbiggar

    wianbiggar Been here awhile

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    That's a good point about the boots - I remember talking to a friend who had done a lot of travelling and with all the experiences he had he said the only thing he couldn't cope with was ill health. I'll be looking at proper boots soon as I need to replace mine anyway.
    Thanks LB
    Ian
    And the weather protection!
  4. Drumbrakes

    Drumbrakes Been here awhile Supporter

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    About half of that weight loss is just from leaving out things that aren't needed. - the heavy duty pliers, compact mole grip, deep sockets etc.
    The other half was from swapping out the ratchet and wheel sized sockets for the motion pro lever (and fitting swapping the CCM axle nut for a 27mm one, same as the KLX.)
    Actually changing the tool roll saved a bit too and it's now slim enough to fit in the drain pipe tool-tube that will be going under the left side rack, once it's shortened enough to clear the side-stand.


    I've got the T-handle and an extra 11mm socket included with my MP tool, without those it's just under 400. perhaps there's variety from tool to tool, like the buzetti tyre levers?

    The CCM has mostly allen bolts for the bodywork, the Kawasaki has mostly hex bolts, so there's not as much over-lap as I'd have liked, though Kawasaki do a good job of keeping the tools required to a minimum.

    I'm planning to take 1 front and 1 rear spare tube. Standard duty for the spares, though heavy duty (or Ultra HD?) fitted in the wheels before we go. Both bikes have the same tyre sizes, which is handy, even if the KLX currently has imperial sized versions fitted (D605s I think?).
    I've heard of people using front tubes in the rear as, but having to squeeze the extra length in (Stop sniggering) as a get-you-home measure only as the folds in the tube will fail after a while. I believe a small tub of talc is also advisable to help fit the tyre and prevent he tube sticking against the tyre.

    We're not going to be charging fast over boulders and rocks, so not expecting snake-bites to be a major problem. Simple holes from thorns etc can be patched fairly easily, enough to get us to a town big enough to get a new spare tube.
    2 tubes and a lot of patches should see us through


    Also swithering over the chain tools. The MP T6 chain tool is nice and light + fairly compact, but there's no point taking a chain tool without spare chain sections and spare quick-links (which are heavy). That in turn means fitting the same chain to both bikes so we only need one set of spares, though neither bike needs a new chain any time soon (just over 1000 miles on each bike).
    I've only had a chain fail once and that was several thousand miles after I had over-tightened my V-strom chain to stop it taking bites out the hugger. (I've since found out the previous owner fitted a hugger meant for another bike, so a correctly set chain would always catch it) That time the chain snapped at 50+ mph and took out the clutch arm and some other damage as it departed, so fixing the chain would still have left a barely ridable bike anyway. perhaps chains can get damaged in a less spectaular way off-roading? small rock or a stick could get jammed in and bend some links? (a common mountain bike problem, but you can split and re-join MB chains 6 or 8 links shorter with a pocket sized tool and still ride home easily)
  5. pinball1008

    pinball1008 Been here awhile

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    I carry a chain tool, spare split links, a bit of chain and a file to start the rivets, but I've not had a chain snap since 1979! Plus I carry a tube for front and rear and the only puncture I had was on the CDR in 2011. However, I'll not be leaving them behind anytime soon.
    As for sticking a front tube in the rear.......... I'd rather carry a second tube!
  6. Drumbrakes

    Drumbrakes Been here awhile Supporter

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    I hadn't thought of the insurance aspect. I'd rather buy a helmet here because i have time to find a helmet in the size i want, and get a bluetooth headset fitted. I couldn't find one i liked in any of the nearby shops ( though Firecrestmoto.co.uk do now stock Nexx helmets!) and for my wife's helmet it took a special factory order to get one, even with a local shop supplying it. I'm not familiar with US law, but in the UK, it would require them to prove that having a non complaint helmet contributed to the extent of your injury.

    The boots are a compromise I admit. They are genuine motorcycle boots (not the actual ones in the first photo, but the look similar) with anti-crush soles and ankle impact protection as well as being quite stiff to reduce ankle injuries, though they are not full-on motocross boots.
    I have tried motocross boots when doing off-road training, as the instructor insists on them for insurance purposes. I found them very uncomfortable to wear and worse to walk in (because I have long but very narrow feet they tend to dig in as they flex, major blisters after 1 day, I've still got the scars left after 2 days) and also tricky to change gear or use the rear brake effectively. (obviously there's a knack to that as loads of people do ride bikes in them, and have much more finesse on the rear brake and gear changes than I do).
    I've also found proper motocross boots lack good grip on the sole when walking on slippy terrain (I assume "motocross riders" just ride over everything, and never get out to check the terrain first, or walk into the woods for a piss)
    ( just seen that the corssfires have a bolt-on "Enduro" sole available)

    There are some trail / off-road boots out there that don't make you look like you just mugged an astronaut, but I'd still need 2 thick pairs of socks to make them a comfy fit for me. Even without width fittings, the buckle style of boot doesn't adjust as easily as laces for my feet.
    I looked at the Forma adventure (below) and the TCX track Evo Boots (very similar), but neither seemed to offer much more protection that the Alt-Bergs. still leather with re-enforcement & padding.
    [​IMG]
    Over-heating is one of my major concerns. So a lightweight ventilated boot with moderate protection in a light colour seemed the best option at the time. I'll have think about this again, but there aren't many boots available in a UK 13, and as far as I can see only Alt-Berg do width fittings. It will be case of order a pair in, see if they fit, then probably send them back. Repeat with another size or another make.

    I also liked that they were discrete enough to wear on the flight over or walk into a café or bar wearing them (ATGATT !), so I wouldn't need to pack an extra pair of shoes.

    First aid kit is included, so far it's bog standard with just a few extra drugs and elastoplasts for minor cuts, but we are investigating what else might be useful. "Sam Splints" seem to be a worthy addition for this trip.

    I have a work lamp in the tool kit (blue and black thing between the allen keys) and a head torch.

    We're still considering camping equipment, but will probably take my Force 10 Vitesse as a minimum, with some survival bags. It weighs less than 1 kilo (inc pegs and poles), very compact and you can even leave the poles out if you have anything you can tie the guys up to such as trees, or motorcycles. It's not luxury. It gets a bit of condensation overnight if the wind is under 30mph, though not so bad in warm dry weather.
    It has just enough room for 2 people with no kit, but it is storm and water proof (you get a lovely water-bed effect when the water level rises an inch above the ground).
    [​IMG]
    (that's not me - just a picture from the internet)

    I hadn't considered fire lighting equipment, not sure on the rules about fires in different places, and I know forest fires are a problem in some areas.
    With 2 people in the tent, survival bags and fresh dry clothes to change into, we'll be warm enough inside to survive a night in a snow-storm.
    BarryB likes this.
  7. Drumbrakes

    Drumbrakes Been here awhile Supporter

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    Take an umbrella and it will never rain on you either! (wish that worked for me)

    I like the file idea to take the heads off the rivets.
    pinball1008 likes this.
  8. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue Supporter

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    SAM splint is a really good addition. Regarding the boots, I've seen someone go down and break their foot when they were pinned with the footpeg, that's why I'm now very particular about footwear ; )

    Ability to make fire is for emergencies only. You'll find that having campfires will be prohibited in most state and federal campgrounds (private campgrounds will vary)
  9. kwakbiker

    kwakbiker Been here awhile

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    Will you be removing the standard klx toolkit from under the seat as a way to offset weight of your better toolkit?
  10. Drumbrakes

    Drumbrakes Been here awhile Supporter

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    Yes, makes it easier to get the luggage on too. The Kawsaki tools are better than the usual junk you get free with a bike, but still not tools I'd use, given a choice.

    Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk
  11. Wreckchecker

    Wreckchecker Ungeneer to broked stuff. Supporter

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    With respect to the discomfort of boots, check out some made for the ADV bikes like the AlpineStar Toucans. They have a bigger toe box and are hinged to make walking more natural, and made with Gore-Tex to breathe, but most of the boots are plastic like mx boots.

    As for helmets and insurance, don't worry about it. As long as you wear one nobody would even think about looking for a DOT sticker. Even if they did, point out that the European sticker goes with your personal license and bike registration.
  12. Tommyturtle

    Tommyturtle Been here awhile

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    +1 re. the Toucans. I used them on my trip. Super-comfy and the gore-tex is great, plus they breathe well. Uber protection and fantastic comfort.
  13. kingrj

    kingrj Been here awhile

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    While discussing tools and spare parts...From actual experience a 15 foot long lightweight nylon tow strap can become extremely valuable! You connect foot peg to foot peg and it works pretty well. This can get you started if a battery fails when all the pushing in the world won't and can get you back to a repair shop if you are careful and patient. I have used one of these on more than one occasion.
  14. Drumbrakes

    Drumbrakes Been here awhile Supporter

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    A tow strap is something i was considering, as it will get you to the nearest town, provided the bike still rolls (and hopefully with 1 working brake) depends on the terrain i suppose.
    I would rather the towed rider had some way to release the strap if something went wrong. popular method is a couple of wraps (or an Italian hitch) around something sturdy at the front of the bike, then the loose end held in the towee's hand.
    Nobody wants to be dragged along the ground if they fall off. (This has been mentioned on another thread about towing techniques.)
  15. wianbiggar

    wianbiggar Been here awhile

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    I remember reading that you tow from footpeg to opposite footpeg - a couple of loops around the footpeg and held with the boot of the towee so he/she can disengage easily if necessary. Not tried it but made sense.
    Ian
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  16. RTM66

    RTM66 n00b

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    Hello Gentleman.
    I just very recently signed up to this board. My name is Russel. I live in South Carolina and work in Charleston. I have ridden street bikes forever. But I want to do the TAT which is why I signed up to this board. I am reading and trying to learn as much as possible. My point for replying to your thread is this. I have a house and garage space 60 miles from the port of Charleston SC. The home is located in Georgetown SC. Plenty of Room. If you get into Charleston South Carolina in the mid afternoon or whenever......IF you need a place to stay and regroup and get everything set up in comfort before pushing on towards Andrews North Carolina. Please stay here. I would love to have you. I have a suburban with trailer if you need me to pick you up at the docks in Charleston I can do that too. Just let me know.

    One question

    I am 5 foot 10 inches tall. I weigh 175 lbs.
    In your opinion can I do the TAT on a Honda Transalp or a Kawasaki KLR?
  17. magwych

    magwych Been here awhile

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    Yep. The towing bike should use the footpeg that is not on the same side as the chain. DAMHIK ☺
    The strap should just be looped 2-3 times around the peg, enough so that light fot pressure holds it, but not start ch that it won't come free if you lift the boot. If anyhting goes wrong either person can just lift the foot to release the strap - so long as it is not on the chain side of the towing bike.
    It is surprisingly easy and effective, the odd handling is jyst that, odd.

    Sent from my SM-G388F using Tapatalk
  18. kingrj

    kingrj Been here awhile

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    One question

    I am 5 foot 10 inches tall. I weigh 175 lbs.
    In your opinion can I do the TAT on a Honda Transalp or a Kawasaki KLR?


    Yes you can....
  19. Drumbrakes

    Drumbrakes Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thanks for the offer.
    We have a hotel booked in Charleston for the first couple of nights. If our plans change, and we need to stay any longer, I'll let you know.

    I've not done the TAT yet, but I know others have done it on larger adventure bikes. The KLR and Transalp should be capable enough (low front fenders seem to be troublesome in the mud on any bike) , though the standard saying appears to be "Nobody completes the TAT and looks back wishing they'd taken a heavier bike"

    It probably depends on your own skill, endurance and who you are with.
    There first time i heard about the TAT it was when 3 people did it on 800 GSs.
    They had a few fallen trees blocking the path. and really struggled to get the bikes over, even with 3 of them. It's a matter of luck how many times that might happen in one day.
  20. Wreckchecker

    Wreckchecker Ungeneer to broked stuff. Supporter

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    Many have done it on the KLR, DR, and other 650s, including women smaller than you. The old Transalp probably has done it, the new one is too new to the US to have had a chance.