quality bike for Cent/South America...

Discussion in 'Americas' started by redelvis, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    redelvis........

    I would check in to replacing your suspension springs. Two front from Procycle are about $100 and the rear about the same or a tad more. With your 150 + riding clothes + equipment you are heading for 250.

    You WILL need to lower the bike with the new springs.

    It's easy. Don't listen to the 'push the forks up in the triple clamp crowd '

    do it right..it's basically free. When you are doing the rear spring just flip the collar under the spring to lower the rear. The front you will need to remove the fork legs and do a bit more work but it's worth it. Then you'll need to cut two inches out of your stand or get a short stand.

    Acerbis handguards are on sale on Amazon

    You can get an Acerbis gas tank from Justgastanks. Order two gas taps, Y and a lockable cap. Don't get their fuel line though, buy heavy duty line from autoparts store.

    You may want higher handle bars. I like Pro-Taper Woods High. If you want Fat bars you will need an adapter. Procycle about $65 and choose even more rise 1" or 2".

    Sargent World Sport seat (low) is on Amazon $303.

    You should have a lockable box on the rear of your bike. Pelican is a good choice. I have an old Touratech 13" Square top case so I use that.

    You may want to add a couple of charging ports. I put a BMW style port in the left side cover for a heated vest and a Cig lighter and USB on the handlebars. (Don't use them all at once!).

    I made a mesh head light guard out of a paint brush holder from the 99c store.

    The rear light is rather large. The 250cc light from Procycle is cool, a bit pricey. I didn't get the kit, just the light. I didn't bother with a lic plate light.

    Keep checking the Flea Market for used stuff. Your gonna need engine protection plates on the side and a skid plate.

    I put a 16 front sprocket on our bikes, but it gives them rather LONG legs. I'd just stay with the 15.

    The front fender stability piece from Procycle really works for the money.

    The retainer that goes behind the front sprocket will give you great peace of mind. Procycle.

    You should do the NSU switvch too for peace of mind. Either remove it altogether of Loctite those pesky screws. I did mine without removing the clutch, you have to bend a couple of tools (Harbor freight).

    The fuel/air mixture screw is a good thing. I wouldn't mess with the carb other than that.

    I wouldn't cut the air box or any of that stuff.

    You may want a windshield.

    I like to disable the clutch switch, it's free!

    Some people like K&N air filters....I do.
    #81
  2. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    Adding heavier springs will not raise the bike up much at all unless the bike is WAY over sprung. Once gear is loaded on ... and rider on board ... the reach to the ground will not change much at all with slightly heavier springs. I know, I did exactly this mod. The OP said he's already adapting to seat height. I would not lower the bike unless you absolutely have to. And leave the side stand alone unless it's causing problems.

    Moving forks up or down in triple clamps is not "wrong", it's just another way to affect ride height and steering behavior and geometry. I agree however, to lower the DR I would start with doing the factory recommended steps ... then adjust fork tube height for "fine tuning". If you have too much rear sag then raising fork tubes up a bit in the clamps can balance the bike and aid in light handling by lowering the front slightly. (no more than an inch is usually required)

    A Pelican or other hard case are good for smooth road touring. But for rough roads and off road they can be problematic. Just ask Walter Colebatch! :lol3

    My experience is that stuff inside a hard case get shaken to bits ... like it's been in a blender! :D Everything turns to dust after a few hundred miles of wash board.
    If you go this route, take care what and how you pack. Also, guys tend to over load hard top cases. This leads to broken/bent sub-frames. Very common show stopper.
    A soft bag may appear to be less secure but with a Pac-Safe mesh, it's not too bad. Most hard top cases are child's play to break into. Soft bags are lighter, ride better on rough ground, items get less beat up.

    Spot on! :clap Lots of deals pop up. like Corbin seat for $150,
    used IMS tank for $100 and Fat bars and tons of other stuff. Items come and go quickly.

    And some don't! :lol3 The consensus on the BIG DR thread is a NO GO for K&N air filters. They flow a lot of air ... and a bit of dirt too!
    If one is very careful to keep the K&N clean ... then they are fine. Using a pre-filter helps.

    ... or just go with an oiled Twin-Air or UNI foam filter with Filter Skin covers to extend servicing intervals. Many experienced DR riders riding in dusty conditions go with oiled Foam filters and have good results over lots of time & miles. As usual ... YMMV! :freaky

    [​IMG]
    Looks nice & smooth, eh? Wrong! Wash board! the stuff inside those GIVI panniers was shaken to bits. Hard bags and heavy items do not mix! :lol3
    #82
  3. jimmex

    jimmex Guero con moto Supporter

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    I would never attach a hard Pelican type bag onto the rear rack of any bike destined for long rough mileage. Soft bags are much easier on the subframe, especially if placed on the seat. YMMV.
    #83
  4. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Hard bags and heavy items dont mix? Well its not a problem if you pack the bag properly. :D

    Never had an issue with pelicans and the subframe/rack on my 990. Never had to weld or fix a thing although I use them as panniers and use a dry bag on the tail and not a top box. I agree with you guys about the top box thing though. Unless its packed full of crap, items will be pretty much destroyed. When its packed full of crap, your subframe will get destroyed.

    I would classify half of my riding as "rough" (endless washboard, rutted two track) and some of that as "brutal" (big ruts, washouts, whoops, rocks, jumps) Crashed the shit out of it several times too and it was fine. I thought the pelicans worked great as panniers, just a bit wider than I like. Although the subframe on the 990 is pretty beefy so YMMV, but still I would not put a box on the tail. Use a dry bag. I never felt the need to put a lockable wire mesh on my dry bag. No one ever screwed with my stuff at border crossings and the top dry bag comes off every night, so its really not an issue. I left home with a pac safe and wound up giving it to another rider a few months into my travels. I think I wound up giving away 40% of the crap I initially brought with me. :lol3
    #84
  5. redelvis

    redelvis Adventurer

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    Thanks for all the recent replies!

    I'm not planning on any gnarly off roading on my trip because it doesn't interest me. I just wanna cruise and take in the scenery/culture. I chose a dual sport bike because I know I will encounter many dirt or gravel roads that aren't in the greatest of condition and didn't want a heavier bike, like a Vstrom. Knowing this, would a Pelican on my top rack still be considered a bad idea? I suppose I primarily want it for a laptop and important document as it is weatherproof and lockable. I could leave the majority of the foam in it to minimize the contents shaking.

    As far as upgrades I'm kinda only looking for necessary things. Higher handlebars, and things of that nature, may be nice but I'm pretty sure I can get by fairly comfortably with the stock bars. I currently have purchased Wolfman gen2 racks with Expedition saddle bags, Wolfman Enduro tank bag, Wolfman fender bag, as well as a Wolfman medium Expedition Duffel. Other than the possible Pelican top case I am thinking seat and tank are next up.

    Thanks again for the suggestions... keep 'em coming!
    #85
  6. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    I would say its still a bad idea. I carried my laptop in the waterproof top bag secured by Rok straps without issues. BTW, Rok straps are awesome. Don't leave home without them. End of the day, bag comes off the bike with everything you need for the hotel.
    #86
  7. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    Pelican cases were made to carry delicate electronics. I have used them over 20 years to carry Digital recording equipment around the world. A couple have been broken (airlines) but generally OK. Pelican have lifetime guarantee ... no questions they send you a new case if you break a case.
    I custom cut the foam blocks that come with the Pelican's to fit each item. Seems to keep it fairly secure ... and totally waterproof.

    On a bike you would need to pack your lap top/camera/lens (or whatever) tight, using most of the foam Pelican supply. This will hold the gear solid in position and keep it from self destructing. Some guys take out the foam and toss stuff in there. That way they can cram in a bunch more stuff. OK if just clothing or other soft goods ... but for heavy, more dense items ... they need to be well supported from shock/vibes. I cut slots in the foam to custom fit items in place, a tight, solid fit.

    Keep in mind, one good whack with a small hammer will bust off the plastic hasp on a Pelican case. Happened twice to us in Africa. Luckily the thieves did not get away with the $40,000 Ikegami camera. To some ... when they see a Pelican case ...or other nice case ... they see dollar signs. :eek1

    Sounds like you've put together a nice luggage package ... you should have more than enough space for everything. Have fun! :freaky
    #87
  8. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    I have two DR650's side by side.

    Dr. Black has Progressive front springs. Procycle 7.5 rear spring, 'factory lowered'

    Dr. White has stock suspension 'factory lowered. 800 miles.

    Dr. Black is sits approx 1" higher than Dr. White. Even with barely any preload.

    The stock suspenders are pretty darn soft. I wouldn't load it up for travel and go on uneven roads without upgrading the springs.

    For Dr. White I'm going straight rate .55 in front, and 8.3 in rear. 175 dressed and 80 pounds of crapola.

    I'm putting .55 fronts on Dr. Black, I REALLY ought to change the rear eh?

    No off road. Just the lower Americas and whatever that entails.
    #88
  9. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    Update:

    On Dr. White I installed single rate .55 fronts from ProC (2" pre-load spacer) and their 8.3 rear. ('Standard' pre-load).

    Bike is 'factory' lowered option.

    It is WAY higher in the seat now, it has a shorty side stand and it leans WAY over.

    I have a 29" inseam and it's impossible to flat foot. One flat foot is easy.

    Pro-Cycle recommended these springs for one up (175 dressed), with 80 pounds of luggage riding graded roads.
    #89
  10. jordan325ic

    jordan325ic Been here awhile

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    In my experience, everyone is going to recommend pretty much exactly what they used/did/rode, no matter what it was.

    So in that vein, I highly recommend using a stock ninja 250 with used nelson-riggs saddlebags and a $10 ebay tank-bag and a home-made drybag for the camping equipment. Seat discomfort should be solved by getting your girlfriend to sew a cover over a throw-pillow and strapping it to the seat.

    So either everyone is mistaken or anything will work. I'm going with the latter. The success or failure of the trip lies entirely in your mindset, it has nothing do with the equipment you're using. I wouldn't worry about it.
    #90
  11. MikeMike

    MikeMike Long timer

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    Jordan, astute observations:D
    It is not the ride, it is the "ride" as you point out.
    Have a look at John Downs ride report about is wanderings with a small cc Super Sherpa. He rode the wheels off that thing, had a blast doing it every day of his trip.
    If enthusiasm was infectious, both you guys would be patient zero!:deal
    #91
  12. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

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    Well said! (That quote may just find a home in my signature line...) But I'm biased because I agree with your thought to not completely over think the planning. Below I show my changes on your ideal setup, making it a bit more cush, but it has worked out famously!.

    #92
  13. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Very true. However he did come here asking for advice and of course none of us really have any opinions about motos and moto gear.......:lol3

    Yep, just get going and you will figure out all the other little stuff along the way. Its going to be a learning experience, and your whole method will change and evolve no matter how much of your kit you plan out
    #93
  14. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    Wow! Those are some stiff springs! Hopefully with luggage on board the bike will settle a bit? If not, maybe go back to standard kick stand?
    Done a test ride yet?

    I have straight rate .47 kgs fork springs. (stock is .40 kgs.). I'm about 210 lbs. with gear on. I carry "about" 65 lbs. of luggage on the road. More than that bike becomes "unwieldy". My bike is stock height (5' 7', 28" inseam)

    Out back I had a 7.6 kgs. Eibach spring on the stock shock. (stock is 6.5 kgs) These rates worked OK on a a loaded up bike in Baja. Jesse at Keintech recommended these rates for me ... and they worked pretty well.

    But now I have an Ohlins shock and I'm not sure of the spring rate ???
    I think it's a bit stiffer than my 7.6 kgs one I had before. Needless to say the Ohlins' best feature is it's amazing rebound damping and over all superior performance compared to stock shock. Plush with control. I have no trouble getting feet down, using stock side stand.

    I would fully load up your bike and take it for a nice ride. Try to do some rough dirt sections ... see how it feels. I'm thinking it will be fantastic!
    Let us know!
    #94
  15. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    Great comments Jordan and Mike ... thanks for keeping it real. Travel is so much more than the bike. It's all individual, everyone goes for different reasons. Plenty of day to day challenges to face ... and staying happy and healthy are top of the list.

    Not everyone is cut out live/travel in Latin America ... many never enjoy it ... just grin and bare it and speed up to get it done. Others are there to get as many Passport stamps as they can collect ... then write that break out ADV travel book or movie and become rich and famous! :lol3

    Others settle in and end up never coming back :D.

    Juanito Downs' style is one of the best I've seen. Easy going and always sees the positive. The bike is just a tool ... not a life long companion. John knows how to stay on budget too ... very low key, never the "Ugly American". A true mentor for us all.
    #95
  16. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    On our other Suzuki....Dr. Black, we have/had progressive front springs (no pre-load) and 7.5 ProCycle rear spring (most pre-load)
    I love that bike in the twisties, the suspension really works. BUT it is way too soft to carry camping gear and even lightweight me. Even with full pre-load the rear sags more than half way through it's travel when loaded and sitting. One third is ideal.
    So I put .55's in the front of Dr. Black and have ordered an 8.3.
    YES, we will have a couple of shake down rides. No real off road is planned, we will carry a ton of gear though. Colleen isn't exactly a minimalist tourer, and it's a planned six months trip.
    We'll do a full bike prep report soon......just as soon as they are finalized.

    Got to agree though......you can do this on any bike....we are just trying to mitigate any unforeseen troubles down the road, it's a long way to TDF and it's nice to be comfortable and reliable.

    One fine day in 1976 I departed Long Beach California and drove to Panama City Panama in a '66 VW Bug I bought for $400. No prep whatsoever, used tires. No luggage. Never changed the oil even.
    #96
  17. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    redelvis,

    In my opinion, take the bike that you can feel comfortable riding and as long as the bike can keep that smiles on your face, you will be happy the whole trip.

    I bought the KLR650 with a plan to use it for Deadhorse-Ushuaia but after doing TAT as a prelude to the trip, I found that it did not do very well at highway speed and piss poor when the wind is blowing sideway I am leaning against the wind to keep my balance. It was not comfortable getting from Oregon to NC so I sold the KLR after I got home.

    I am about to assemble my harley and should finish it by end of this year. I already had a Russell's Day-Long seat and I paid to have pistons custom made so the engine could handle poor octane fuel. The nice thing about harley is that I won't have to worry about valve adjustment or coolant issue (KLR had coolant problem the last leg of TAT and had to cruise 60MPH all the way back to NC).

    No, I am not suggesting you to consider Harley at all. What I am trying to say is that I chose to use Harley because I realized that I can convert my sportster into a Dual Sportster and make it lighter than what factory built it to be and still capable of both on and off road (hoping for a better version of KLR). I am building it for the trip so it can get me to my destination, wherever it is! I will know my harley better than any other mechanic so I will fix the problem myself. I would suggest you to do the same with whatever bike you want to ride and take Adv Grifter's advice- prepare it yourself and put it through some test locally so you can weed out any potential issue.. and try to ride it long distance like maybe 1,500 miles in a weekend to find out what need to be done so you can travel comfortable locally and long distance. After all, it is practically the only thing that you will depend on to get to your destination and you want it to be reliable without breaking down.

    Good luck and ride far!
    #97
  18. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    I actually considered two more bikes for our trip and one was a Harley Sportster 883, I think it would be a great bike to do it on.

    My other consideration was my Yamaha TW200.

    I've seen people tour on a Honda 50 stepthrough...so anything will do!

    I sat on a Honda 250 Rebel in a dealership and even went "H'mmm?"
    #98
  19. redelvis

    redelvis Adventurer

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    Update: No real update, just been working and saving money. So I've had my luggage solved for quite a few months now and have been thinking about the gasoline situation. For those that don't remember (or don't want to read the beginning of this thread) I'm planning to ride from Wyoming to Patagonia.

    So lately Ive been thinking that it would be much, much cheaper if I bought a few fuel containers (MSR, rotopax, etc.) to supplement my stock tank rather than buy a new fuel tank. Besides the money saving aspect, I like the idea of stock tank/petcock.

    What do y'all think? Is the stock tank just too small in volume to even consider using supplemental fuel containers for a trip like this? For clarity, I won't be doing any real off-road adventures as I just want to cruise and take in some scenery and culture. Sure, I hope to hit the "Death Road" and things like that but I just won't be doing anything with gnarly terrain.

    P.S. My bike is a 2008 Suzuki DR650

    Thanks for any direction or insight that you experienced travelers can give me!
    #99
  20. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    fuel containers will be more a pain in the ass to deal with and will use valuable space. i don't exact mileage needs (SA might have long stretches) but i've been 100% happy with my IMS clear tank. It's expanded over 5g so I have a solid 250mi. i use an Acerbis locking cap on it. many now use the Acerbis tank. i'd say the 7.9g tank is overkill and makes for a heavy bike.