Trans-Am 500 - the seven year itch

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JMo (& piglet), Apr 29, 2015.

  1. Gryphon12

    Gryphon12 Long timer

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    Excuse me if you have answered this before, but do you know the alternator output on the Honda CB500R/F/X ? I can't find a spec anywhere, and the answer will help me decide which and how many electric / electronic / lighting mods I can contemplate for this platform. TIA.
  2. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi Gryphon12 - I think this was discussed on the main CB500X thread, and someone said it had a 500w stator - certainly it appears no-one has had any problem running lights and heated vests etc.

    Jx
    rbrhsv likes this.
  3. Yakima

    Yakima NC 700

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    Just finished reading through all of this: what a wonderful story, and a story well told!
    I read in part because of my interest in the CB500X and have PM'd Jenny with a few questions. She replied right away admitting I had caught her at the keyboard.
    Midway I discovered Jenny is something of a spelling/punctuation/grammar snob—as is moi. Made me smile.
    I had asked her about who Piglet is. She told me and said there were a few photos. So when I found the Piggly Wiggly store with Piglet preparing to ride, what great memories. Piggly Wiggly left Washington State some time ago. I have memories from childhood. Another reason to appreciate the report!
    thanks for a great ride report, no, uh: travelogue. no, not that, uh: epic. Nope, not that either. EPIC. Yes, that fits!
    JMo (& piglet) likes this.
  4. motocopter

    motocopter ˙˙˙ƃuᴉɥɔɹɐǝS

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    Really nice report - read it over the past two days. I had read in the current ADVMoto magazine a mention of the RRP 500x kit and did some snooping around the web - which led me to this thread. Enjoyed reading it and seeing the pictures. Good work! :thumb

    Travels that you and Piglet took were right through the area I live. First time through you kept encountered road closures due to recent rains. Those days I was prepping for my own outing. Returning back through and when you flattened the rear tire on CO-115, you would have been within two miles of the house. At that time I would have been arriving in Cortez, CO following an adventure across the Burr Trail in UT with my Connie. If only...I could have helped you somehow.

    Is there another adventure on your radar?

    :beer
  5. Kattzoo

    Kattzoo Adventurer

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    Absolutely loved your RR. Hope you are resting after such a great trip. Thank you for sharing it!
  6. Andylaser

    Andylaser Heavy Metal

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    An excellent adventure, thank you for sharing.
    I was impressed when the UK bike was shown at the Ace cafe. It has turned out to be a little cracker.
  7. gills72

    gills72 n00b

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    Fantastic trip and a wonderful write-up. I've thoroughly enjoyed following it - thank you for taking the time to document your travels for the rest of us to have the pleasure of reading.
  8. Yakima

    Yakima NC 700

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    For those of you who read the British motorcycle magazines, check out Jenny's report in the September issue of Bike.
    JMo (& piglet) likes this.
  9. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hey! - I have to say, that was a nice surprise to see!

    [​IMG]

    Jamie Duncan (BIKE's travel writer) has been following the project since we exhibited the UK demo bike at the ACE Cafe overland show in March this year - and this was his follow-up piece based on a short interview we did after my trip... He is currently in the middle of an overland trip to South Africa at the moment, but is very keen to test the bike himself once he returns.

    I was also out filming with Nathan Millward (he of Postie to the UK fame) and the guys from web-broadcasters Adventure Bike TV last week, and you can expect his appraisal of our UK demo bike in their September webcast: http://www.adventurebiketv.com

    Jx
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  10. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    In the meantime, I thought I might share a few more 'post trip' thoughts with you regarding my gear and accessories I used during the trip:

    [​IMG]
    photo. Outside a Starbucks just before we returned to Giant Loop HQ... a faithful friend.

    Luggage:


    Main Luggage - Giant Loop Coyote

    As I explained in the initial introduction posts to this story, the idea was to try and pack as minimalist-ly and efficiently as possible, so as not handicap the concept of a 'lighter-weight' Adventure twin with a whole heap of unneccessarly luggage and accessories, that would essentially negate the benefits of the core machine.

    Without dredging up the whole hard vs soft luggage debate, suffice to say that for this sort of multi-terrain trip, where there would be a higher proportion of rough road and off-road riding (often into the unknown), then soft luggage wins every time.

    I consciously chose the Coyote size Giant Loop bag (the smaller of their two 'banana' style luggage hoops, at approximately 39 litres - vs. the 60l of their Great Basin version) as it would force me to pack simply and efficiently.

    I was fortunate that I already had what I consider a very compact camping set-up - a Big Agnes Seedhouse 2 tent (that particular model is now discontinued, although they offer something similar in their range) and their compact inflatable air-matteress (see post #152 for more details of my full camp) together with a pretty compact sleeping-bag and a Jetboil cooking system, plus a few sundry items such as a travel towel, head-torch, earplugs, pocket-knife & spork in a separate bag.

    I also included an Ortleib water bladder (2L) which is a simple way of carrying extra water should you require it - for example if you are planning on camping, you can fill it up and strap it to the outside of your luggage (or even put it in the expanding rucksack - see below), but that it takes up virtually no space when empty and rolled up.

    My camping gear was packed in their respective individual stuff-sacks, and together fitted very neatly into the two cheeks of the Coyote bag on either side - leaving the middle/ central section free for my few clothes and other personal effects.

    My additional clothes were separated into outerwear and underwear, and rolled/folded in individual [waterproof] stuff sacks, together with a pair of sandals (in their own stuff sack) for when off the bike. My washbag also was put inside it's own waterproof stuff sack - and I use the Exped brand which come in different colours depending on size, so it is easy to see at a glance which bag contains which items.

    The reason I mention these additional stuff sacks, other than helping coordinate an efficient modular system of packing (so you only have to open a particular bag, and not rummage around unnecessarily) is that the Giant Loop bags are what you might call water 'resistant' rather than truly 'waterproof'. Giant Loop are the first to admit this, and include a trio of 100% waterproof liners themselves with each bag.

    However, I found that you could actually pack even more efficiently (ie. cram more into the nooks and crannies) if you used thinner/lighterweight sacks for certain items - and I did not feel it was essential to have my tent and sleep mat in a water proof bag (my sleeping bag has it's own Exped dry-bag). That said, there were a handful of occasions when I'd been riding in heavy/torrential rain that I did have to unfold my tent and let it dry out when the Coyote had ultimately leaked a little after prolonged exposure.

    I would suggest that if you already have (or are prepared to invest in) a compact camping set-up, then the Coyote is perfectly sufficient for an extended trip such as the one I undertook (seven weeks, 12,500 miles). Indeed, had I elected to motel it every single night and forfeit the camping gear (although it is always wise to have some means of shelter with you, just incase you get stuck or have a mechanical you can't fix straight away), I could have got away with an even smaller bag I'm sure.

    Essentially, my packing method meant that my rarely used camping kit stayed in the two side cheeks of the bag, while I could access my clothes (including a fleece for inclement weather), sandals and wash-kit quickly, even at the roadside. Packing the Coyote this way also meant the bag would stand up nicely when lent against the wall in a motel room, allowing me to access just what I needed (from the centre portion) for my overnight stay.


    Additional on-bike storage.

    In addition, Giant Loop also provided a pair of additional external waterproof bags (Great Basin Pods), which connected to the lower edges of the Coyote using the compression straps, and could be either left empty (and filled with food/water each day if you were camping overnight), or provided handy access for cold/wet weather items for example. Indeed, I typically used them during the west-east leg through Colorado to hold my winter gloves and an additional fleece jacket.

    [​IMG]


    I supplemented this main luggage bag with one other Giant Loop product - the Klamath tail pack (on the Rally-Raid tail rack) which contained my complete tool kit, together with a spare tube (a 120 x 18, so it would fit in either front or rear tyre) plus a small can of chain lube, WD40, some disposable rubber gloves, a small bottle of tyre lube and a trio of Motion-Pro tyre-levers/ring wrenches, that had a 3/8th drive adaptor to use the larger of my tool kit sockets.

    [​IMG]

    Again, this system allowed for easy and quick access of any tools and bodge-it repair items (including quick steel, gaffer tape and electrical tape) that I might need during the day, without having to unpack my main luggage bag.

    The only other 'repair' items I included in my inventory were a Cyclepump air compressor and pair of motorcycle sized jumper-cables stowed under the seat.


    On my person.

    Completing my luggage system (other than sundry items stowed in my jacket pockets) was a Camelbak Blowfish (again, I believe this model is now discontinued, but similar versions are available) which features a 3l (100oz) drink bladder, plus a sizable rucksack compartment that zip-expands from 8-15 litres.

    Along with water (plain water - I don't like mixing electrolytes in my drink bladder, preferring to supplement my intake with a Gatoraid etc. when stopping for fuel for example), I'd usually have a few energy/Clif bars, plus a bag of trail mix or nuts to snack on.

    The Blowfish is also large enough* to contain a full-size iPad Air in a neoprene protective case, and I got into the habit of also wrapping this in a ziplock bag incase of bad weather.

    *indeed, when I was travelling back in 2008/09 I was also able to carry my Dell Mini 9 laptop in the backpack, as it had a similar size footprint (although was about 6 times as thick, and 10 times as heavy!)

    I took the conscious decision to keep the iPad on my person from both a security point of view (as I didn't want to have to unpack my luggage every time I stopped for a coffee or some lunch for example), and also to protect from an potential damage due to vibration over those many thousands of miles on washboard trails and rough roads. It was therefore handy and easy to quickly check emails etc. whenever I stopped somewhere with wifi.

    Of course I realise that had I crashed and rolled over on my back, then I could have equally damaged the iPad - but that was a risk I was willing to take - and indeed, when I did crash in Nevada on the way back west (post #388), the iPad survived perfectly well unscathed. Mind you, that could have been partially due to the fact that Piglet was also safely ensconced in his own dry-bag inside the rucksack too, providing a valuable cushion ;o)

    Ultimately, I feel it is wise to keep those most important/valuable things close to you/on your person (which is why my SPOT tracker was also fixed to the shoulder strap of my rucksack) so that in the event of a catastrophic disaster and a parting of you and the machine (either over a cliff, or if the bike was stolen), you are still able to contact help, update ADVrider, and hug your pig.

    cont.
  11. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Tech equipment.

    Cameras.

    Again, I endeavoured to keep things as simple and minimalist as possible.

    Because I was travelling solo, and personally find hours of helmet-cam footage mindnumbingly boring, I did not consider filming a priority - not least since I was on a relatively tight schedule that really wouldn't allow me to indulge in the time required to set-up and execute all the shots that I would feel worthwhile and watchable. There is a reason Long Way Round took a film crew along* ;o)

    *That said, I have to say I am very impressed with the way Lyndon has been able to capture such varied and enthralling footage during his extended RTW trip, particularly now he is travelling solo. Of course he has the luxury of a little more time, and that the film-making process is a fundamental part of his trip - but it really goes to show how much effort is required to make something of broadcast-able quality.

    My priority was simply to take some [hopefully good quality] still photographs, and do my best to describe my journey and observations through the written word - and ideally, be able to upload some choice morsels regularly and remotely.

    Since I was not photographing action, nor extreme close-ups over long distances, I felt it was by no means essential to have the bulk and liability (and cost!) of a DSLR camera; rather electing to use my high quality Panasonic Lumix LX7 as my primary camera (with an f1.4 Leica lens, it is very good in low light btw.), and utilise the point and shoot nature of the Garmin VIRB camera to supplement this with some interesting wide-angle alternatives.

    The question has been asked and answered previously why in some of the photos taken with the LX7 there was an edge blur/focus issue in some of the frames - and it's basically because the Lumix has had a hard life, and was not properly repaired last time. It will have to be replaced, as this issue has blighted an otherwise perfect travel camera in my opinion.


    As for the Garmin VIRB - I honestly have a mixed opinion. It's video recording and still photography is both clear/sharp and with great colour saturation - I like that.

    It is also very simple to use (well, to take a shot/record at least - the menu/settings system is a bit tedious), robust, waterproof and it's horizontal shape means it's perfect to set up an impromptu ride-by shot by placing on a flat surface for example. It's quick release cradle works very well (with one hand), and you can even set it (via that tedious menu) to record upside down but the right way up if you see what I mean (ie. flip 180°) if you've inverted the camera in an effort to mount it in clever position.

    Other neat features are the fact you can sync it to the Garmin Montana and use the GPS screen as a remote switch (for both still and video) over a distance of about 20ft. The version I had also track logs your route when video recording (and the coordinates when taking a still) which can help if you have multiple clips and want to be reminded exactly where they were filmed; and that you can almost film indefinitely if you are using a Garmin Montana GPS, since they share the same battery so one can be charging (in the GPS) while the other is powering the camera. That's kinda neat.

    However, there are a couple of downsides - one, it takes rather a long time to warm up when you switch it on. That is if you don't have it on standby, it takes around 10 seconds to be ready to take a still, by which time you've probably ridden past the thing you wanted to photograph. Sliding the record button on the side of the unit to shoot video takes a similar amount of time too - it's not instant either. You can of course leave it on, but it goes into sleep mode after a couple of minutes, and ultimately sucks the battery life.

    The built-in screen is a nice feature, however, it is not back-lit, so hard to see in bright sun, or indeed at night.

    But the worst 'feature' I found was it's unreliability. Honestly, I thought I was caught in the Matrix or something, particularly I can recall two or three key occasions when I went to grab a once-in-a-lifetime shoot or footage, the device froze up, or simply didn't record. It started to feel like a bloody conspiracy or something! There was also a good number of other occasions where it had gone to sleep, and seemingly locked up - and the only option was to remove the battery to reset it.

    I'd love to be able to recommend it, but honestly, I would not want to rely on it as my only video camera.


    Computer/internet access.

    As for the iPad Air - what can I say? The device is awesome! - big enough to type on the screen (not ideal of course, although surprisingly efficient I found - although I soon turned the auto-correct off!), and with the SD card-reader cable, very easy to import and upload photos to photobucket etc. each evening. There does seem to be some cut/paste/copy limitations with iOS compared with OSX on a full laptop/Macbook Air (especially if you are trying to cut/copy stuff out of webpages for example) but for the cost you really can't beat it.

    I bought the wifi only version, with the 32Gb drive, and pretty much filled it with photos by the time the trip was over. I will say that HD quality video (from the VIRB at least) seemed to take up a lot of memory, but if you're clued up with cloud storage (I'm not!), then it ought to be relatively easy to process your media and have plenty of space remaining. I'd say unless you are planing on writing a lot of words, this is the perfect travel 'computer'.

    I also have an aging iPhone, and while it doesn't run all of the latest apps, on the whole it was perfectly sufficient for checking the weather, emails and booking hotels etc. At a push, a smartphone is really all you need these days unless you are planning to extensively update a blog or website.


    GPS

    Other than a 'brain freeze' on the first day between San Francisco and Bakersfield (ultimately overcome by removing and reinserting the SD card, which I guess was just not home properly), the device was faultless for the whole trip. I did have a huge panic one morning in Idaho (post #378) when I thought I'd wiped the whole user memory, but that was more my fault than that of the machine.

    The Montana is a chunky and rugged device (many times I ended up dropping/throwing it across the floor when I'd put it in my helmet when walking in to a store, and forgot it was in there when I put the helmet on a counter!), with a decent size screen and many customisable data fields and menus so you can get it to work the way you want to.

    The dual battery system is also a nice touch (that is if the Lithium battery pack ever does run out, you can always put a trio of AA cells in the back and continue), while the dedicated 'rugged mount' power bracket held the unit perfect secure (even without the locking screw engaged) over every kind of rough terrain and speed.

    The other benefit with the Montana is the ability to display many different map formats, and that it has a huge memory for waypoints, routes and tracklogs - I certainly never ran out of space. However, it is worth noting that if you are tracklogging (breadcrumb trail) your daily ride, over a particularly long day the device does start to 'wrap' the route - so it's best to save your tracklog halfway through the day, and either reset the record as a 'part 2' or just factor in that the later half of the day may not include all of the earlier part.


    Traditional 'tech'

    I would add that I am by no means a techno-geek, rather can simply see the benefit of using the most efficient tool for the job.

    In that regard, I still love to use a pen and notebook for my day to day 'diary' musings (I filled one and half Moleskine pocket books on this trip), and much prefer to plan my initial outline route at least using a paper map and highlighter pen.

    [​IMG]
    photo. The Butler range of motorcycle maps - it's like someone has already highlighted all the really good roads for you!

    While I was content on this trip to use a series of offline downloadable maps on my iPad rather than carry a paper map of each state (there were 20 of them in total) once on the road, I was grateful I'd taken the precaution of keeping a reasonably detailed paper map of both Colorado and Utah in my backpack, as it certainly helped me to plan an alternative routes on the fly when required - sometimes there is actually too much information available in online maps!

    cont.
  12. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    And finally, well for now - questions are always welcome...

    My riding gear.

    As I explained back in post #153, on the whole I have been a creature of habit when it comes to riding gear, preferring my own personal choice over any potential 'sponsored' gear, as foremost I want to be comfortable and confident in what I'm wearing.

    However, I admit that my existing gear was now distinctly shabby - and while I purchased a new open face Arai recently (for trail-riding in the UK primarily), with a trip of such magnitude ahead, it was inevitable I would be facing both rain and cold along with [hopefully] a lot of scorching sunshine - so a full-face, 'adventure' style helmet with a visor and peak was probably going to be more appropriate, if only for comfort.

    So as I explained in the introduction to my gear post during my west-east trip, I ended up head to toe in a selection of Icon clothing - primarily their 'Raiden' sub-brand of off-road and adventure/dual-sport biased apparel.

    [​IMG]

    My jacket and winter gloves were the Raiden DKR versions - and proved properly waterproof the whole time, and that was through some torrential rain on the way east particularly (including the last 300 miles of the Iron Butt ride).

    I will do my best to highlight the good (and bad) points below, and let you make up your own mind if these will also work for you.

    Jacket: Raiden DKR Jacket. This is certainly what I would consider a 3 or 4 season jacket - as it features their own brand of Gortex style waterproof outer shell, a good number of vents, plus a zip-out thermal/quilted liner for winter use. I elected to leave the thermal lining out for this trip, and only needed to supplement the shell with a lightweight wind-stopper fleece underneath on a handful of the colder days.

    The jacket itself (especially with the liner removed) is refreshingly light in weight, and the medium cut generous under the arms and around the shoulders, while you can also nip up the bottom cuff with a drawstring if desired. The vents (two on the chest, two long ones under the arms - similar to a Klim Traverse for example, and one dual zip one across the rear below the shoulders) proved good ventilation, but it was still warm at 90°F, particularly at slower speeds - so I would often ride with the front zip undone in such instances. The jacket also includes full elbow/shoulder and back D3O armour, which is flexible enough not to feel bulky or get in the way.

    The jacket continued to work well through out the trip, and although the light tan colour I'd chosen seems to have faded a little in the sun, it still looks pretty smart after all those miles, and a buzz through the washing machine.

    All the zippers worked well (they are quality YKK zips) - however, the waterproof one on the front right breast did come undone, and although I was able to fix it again, it never sealed particularly well. This is one of those rubber 'zip-lock' style zips, and personally I don't know why they didn't just use a regular rubberised zip and/or a storm flap, like they did on the other pockets. The only other issue was the lining of one internal pockets developed a small hole and my pen fell through it into the void between the shell and the mesh inner lining - simple enough to retrieve once I realised what had happened, and a small stitch would sort that out.

    Finally, the jacket is designed with a snug cuff at the end of each sleeve (complete with a thumb stirrup), and while that works well in the cold to keep drafts out, it is ultimately a bit too snug in warmer weather, and I followed the advice of Ray from Icon, and simply cut out that part with some nail scissors before I started my journey back west. You might want to do the same if you regularly ride in hot or humid conditions.


    Gloves: The Raiden DKR winter gloves were very comfortable, if cut a little on the large size - I like long fingers, but these were almost too long, especially when using the GPS touch screen. Still, it meant I could also wear a glove liner inside if required. The only issue I had with the gloves is after I'd taken them on and off a few times in the rain, and my damp hands subsequently pulled the lining out of the fingers each time. This was particularly tricky to get back in, and I resorted to using the 1/4" T handle bar in my toolkit to poik the lining back into each finger.

    I also chose a pair of the ICON Anthem lightweight summer gloves - these have leather palms and a mesh back, with knuckle protection. To be honest I tended to wear these all of the time other than on couple of really wet/cold days, and they were great - although they started to stretch a little after riding in a number of rainstorms, and I didn't feel the smooth leather fingertips were the best for using the GPS touch screen either - although they worked well enough.

    In that regard, I took the decision to buy another pair of lightweight gloves before I started back west - and went for my budget favourites of FOX Dirt Paws ($25 in Cyclegear ;o) which are a mesh MX style glove, but fundamentally have a chamios style palm which is far more tactile for the GPS (and on the smooth OEM grips on the Honda CB500X), and also works well to clean rain or dust off your visor/sunglasses/GPS screen.

    I also tend to cut the tip of the forefinger and thumb off my left hand glove for use off-road - not only to further improve the tactility of the GPS, but mainly so I can more accurately use my iPod Nano wheel - yes, that might sound superficial, but it works for me. I would also add that there are times when having a bare finger and thumb tip is useful for testing any leaks or temperature changes, without having to remove your whole glove. Anyway, I didn't really want to cut the tips off the ICON gloves, so I sacrificed the FOX ones instead!


    Pants: Rather than the matching all-weather Raiden DKR pants (which are unvented, and unlike the Klim Dakar pant for example, do not have any zip vents either), I went with their Arakis pant, which is a much lighter-weight and vented semi-mesh pant - which would prove far more comfortable in the hot weather in Moab heading east, and during the later half of the trip back west especially.

    While the upper panels are a multi-layer mesh, the lower legs of the over-boot design incorporate plenty of cordura and leather panelling to protect against exhaust burns and brush, and the knees feature D3O armour too. There are also a pair of long leg-zips so that you can take your boots on and off whilst retaining your modesty.

    These pants really were all-day comfortable (and by that I mean 10-12 hours a lot of the time) they were cut generously around the bum and thighs, and the high waistband meant they didn't cut into my hips at all - which meant they could also be worn as effectively over-trousers (over my lightweight jeans) on colder days. Meanwhile in wet weather, I simply supplemented them with a lightweight pair of pull-on waterproof over-pants. It was a modular system that worked really well, allowed for a multitude of weather conditions and packed down really small when not being worn.


    Boots: ICON Patrol boots. These are a shorty style (two buckle, rather than the typical four you get on MX/Enduro boots), and 100% waterproof too. Initially they were rather snug to get on and off, as they feature a high internal cuff behind the tongue flap (together with laces which to be honest seem rather superfluous?), but they broke in very nicely, and like the pants really were all-day comfortable both on and off the bike.

    Despite being a shorty (ATV/FMX style) boot, and relatively narrow compared to an MX derived shorty boot (like the Alpinestars Tech 2 which I've lived in these past seven years) they seem to offer excellent protection for their shape. For example, in Nevada I had the whole bike land on my left leg and trap my foot under the pillion footrest hanger, and no damage or even bruising occurred. I'll be getting another pair of these (in the alternate colour) as I really do like them.


    Helmet: ICON Variant dual-sport/adventure helmet. Similar in design concept to the ubiquitous Arai Tour-X/XD4 or Shoei Hornet style with a full-face visor as well as an MX/Enduro peak, the Variant is nicely finished with a quality (removable) lining and plenty of vents. It's styling is not exactly 'aggressive', but it is what you might call 'contemporary' - that is quite sharp and pointed (certainly compared to the Tour-X) and more akin to the Airoh range of MX and dual-sport helmets for example.

    One particular thing I appreciated (compared to the Arai at least) is how rigid the peak is fitted to the shell of the helmet, there was no vibration and I never felt the helmet tugging in the wind, even at higher speeds. Of course it could also be due to the fact that the peak seemed slightly shorter than the Arai equivalent, but either way, I found it's a nice adventure style helmet to wear for long periods on the road too.

    The other thing I particularly liked (again, compared to the Arai Tour-X) is that the clear visor, despite being quite a 'bubble' shape on appearance, did not cause any distortion to your view, either fully closed or partially open.

    I also found there was good peripheral vision, but would add that even when the visor was fully up, you were aware of the the lower edge of the shield at the top of your field of vision. This was exacerbated if you dipped your head to use the peak to block the low sun towards the end of the day for example. Ultimately, I plan to race in one of these helmets at the end of September (yep, in the Baja Rally 3.0) but will most likely remove the visor shield and wear glasses/goggles instead.

    So that is pretty much the pros and cons of my riding apparel. I would be more than happy to undertake exactly the same trip again, in exactly the same gear (with the noted modification to the jacket cuffs) - but would prefer my summer weight gloves to have a softer/textured palm, hence my purchase of the FOX Dirt Paws.

    Hope that gives you all some food for thought!

    Jenny x
    MaNDan likes this.
  13. MaNDan

    MaNDan 'Old Japanese cycles & '26Chevy truck

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    Wow, what a wordsmith. Nice report!

    Will you be testing and reporting on one of the first Honda Africa Twin 1000s? DCT or not?
  14. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Glad you found us Motocopter!

    And yes, I'll be heading back to the US in September for a very different kind of 'adventure' - in that I'm taking part in the Baja Rally 3.0 this year in Mexico...

    My original intention was to lead up to this event with a personal bike-build thread (I've been prepping my Honda XR400 with a selection of parts and accessories amassed over the years form my previous rally bikes), but logistics at this stage mean I am more likely to be riding a borrowed bike this year, and saving the XR until the 2016 event when hopefully I'll be able to take advantage of the free shipping deal for European competitors.

    Ultimately I am also hoping to buy my own CB500X (with a Rally-Raid kit of course) and keep it out in the USA - so you can expect plenty more 'adventure' ride reports to be taking place in the future!

    Jx
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  15. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
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    Hi MaNDan!

    Hee hee - for sure, just as soon as I can get my hands on one ;o)

    To be honest, I don't have any contacts to get me an early ride - and you can bet that any magazines will be sending their own staffers on the official launch, rather than a freelancer - but I'm sure there will be opportunities just as soon as they go on sale in the UK.

    With regard to DCT, I would be very keen to try it (I have a DCT auto transmission in my car, and do not miss a clutch at all), and feel that fundamentally not having the bike stall on you in tricky off-road conditions will be the primary benefit.

    That said, I love the purity and simplicity of the non-ABS CB500X - it is about as basic as you can get, while still offering all the modern essentials like perfect EFi fuelling, great economy and smooth and manageable power delivery without having to resort to complex electronic rider 'aids'.

    It might sound a little contrived, but I honestly don't think the Africa Twin is going to be an appreciably better genuine all-terrain travel bike that the Rally-Raid CB500X Adventure. Yes the AT will have essentially twice the power, which means it will be storming on the highway and a hoot on well-maintained dirt roads I'm sure... but in the real-world, the CB500X bops along very nicely already thank you.

    Off-road, the AT does appear to have [slightly] more dirt-oriented geometry - although other than the 21" front end and leading axle USD forks, the production bike seems a lot lower slung than the pre-production model shown at the end of last year appeared to suggest? - it is certainly no KTM Super Enduro that is for sure.

    I would suggest that unless the suspension travel is appreciably greater* than the 7" afforded by the RRP kit, I'm not sure how much 'better' it is going to be off-road - especially carrying all that extra weight. Admittedly the 21" front wheel (and correspondingly narrower front tyre) might well have the edge in deep sand and mud; but in technical terrain, I think it's physical size and weight: the taller stance, higher centre of gravity and longer wheelbase of the AT may not work in it's favour, especially in a direct comparison?

    To give you an indication, Harold from Giant Loop has been extensively testing the CB500X Adventure in California (with ADV Pulse amongst others) these past couple of weeks, and admits that the CB-X Adventure not only feels more fun and capable than his own BMW F800GS (a bike physically a similar size to the new Africa Twin), but that he was genuinely impressed at the sort of terrain the Rally-Raid CB-X allows you to tackle with utmost confidence.

    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile, in purely practical terms, the AT will be significantly more expensive, more complex (electronically at least), heavier, taller, and currently no-one knows whether it has a genuine 250+ mile fuel range or not. All these things start to matter when you are planning an extended distance trip, or even simply keeping an eye on your 'fun-budget' in these more austere times?

    I have no doubt the new AT will be huge fun to ride... I just wonder what the ratio of huge to fun will be ;o)

    It will be interesting to test them side by side for sure!

    Jx

    *note. It has been suggested that the new AT may have around 220mm of travel, and if so, then yes, it is likely to ride a little more compliantly over square-edged rough terrain (such as roots) than the CB-X can with it's 170mm travel. But these things are relative, and adventure riding is certainly not all about outright speed - in fact it is not really about speed at all.
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  16. MaNDan

    MaNDan 'Old Japanese cycles & '26Chevy truck

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    Jen: Thanks for the reply. Kinda thought you and your team would be on the inside track with Honda.

    Wonder if you (or some tech inmate) would cut & paste my ques and your reply over into the Honda Africa Twin thread.?? It is much better than a lot of the junk over there! Or maybe you would rather not?
  17. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    You are right, I would rather not.

    As you have probably seen from various replies in the Rally-Raid CB500X vendor thread, I tend to refer to that train-wreck as the 'shitfest', and for good reason - it is just a bunch of people whining and waving their imaginary cocks at one-another. The handful of people on there who have tried to restore some balance are either ignored or shot down - most often by idiotic assumptions from people who lack even a basic understanding of either engineering or marketing.

    We've already had one or two people try to spread these disease across the CB500X vendor thread in the past, and most recently even John's ride-report thread from Australia, which I had to nip in the bud.

    I'm sure you appreciate that I really don't want this thread derailed too - which is why I always direct people to the CB500X vendor thread if they have more general enquiries about the bike/kits/options, keeping this particular thread for specific questions about how the bike handled the Trans-Am trip itself.

    I purposely have not even subscribed to that Africa Twin thread, as there are simply not enough hours in the day (although I admit my morbid curiosity means I do sneak a peek every so often just to see what disaster is unfolding...), and do not want to become embroiled in all the tit-for-tatting in there. In such instances I always quote the tag-line from the 80's movie War Games: The only way to win, is not to play.

    So in all honesty the last thing I would want to do is add anything else with which they can mass debate over, as on the whole it would be akin to poking a hornet's nest. The sensible people already know where to come, and I am happy to give my opinion (that I trust people appreciate is based on genuine experience) and answer any questions from people who are actually interested in and considering buying one of the Rally-Raid kits.

    In that regard, if you'd like me to copy the question/reply above to the CB500X vendor thread, I am more than happy to do so - as I feel it will be far more appropriate there?

    Hope that clarifies things ;o)

    Jenny x
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  18. juno

    juno Long timer

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    2,084
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    Hey Jenn!
    That was an awesome ride report! Across the US and back incorporating an IB 1000 and the TAT plus some more challenging terrain was a definite test and proving ground for the RR CB500x. I believe RR hit a home run with this kit for an excellent 50/50 bike at a great price.
    I do however question your math skills! Ha! A stock 690 fueled up is at least 110 lbs lighter than the CB. It did not look like Dave was carrying 110 lbs more than you!

    Looking forward to more reports on the RR CB!

  19. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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  20. MattF44

    MattF44 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    Jenny:

    I like the idea of the Giant Loop Great Basin Pods, but am not finding them on the site. It seems they sell stuff sacks with a similar name. Do you know if these are available for purchase? I have some RR stuff on back order from them and maybe I'll get a set thrown in when the next shipment goes out.

    Thanks so much for all your help. This has been an exceptional thread.