Trans-Am 500 - the seven year itch

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

  1. OlafofOregon

    OlafofOregon Long timer Super Supporter

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    "CB500X Adventure on Hell's Revenge, Moab UT"

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  2. BabisStinson

    BabisStinson Adventurer

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    Have a nice trip Jenny..!

    We are waiting on more and extensive info on how the bike performs!
  3. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    It's coming - I've had commitments this week, but I'll be sitting down tomorrow and writing an extensive report (...with plenty of photos obvs. LionBR ;o)

    Jx
  4. ADV Addicts

    ADV Addicts No Dirt, No Glory

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    Here's a shot from Death Valley! Jen thanks again for giving me a chance to check out the CB500X Adventure in action. It was incredible what we rode through in DV - the bike just seemed to take on all the various terrain with no issues, and transitioned from canyon twisties to dirt, gravel, rocks, sand, etc quite well.

    It was such a great experience and epic ride and I learned a lot about the bike (and riding techniques too) from you in just in those couple of days. I was telling a friend that I could not keep up with you in the trails - let's just say you went light, you went fast, and you went far, ha! :wink:

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    ThirtyOne and JMo (& piglet) like this.
  5. visualizerent

    visualizerent Raconteur

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  6. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    I took them off for light weight ;o)

    Actually, I'm waiting on a delivery of some BarkBuster Storm guards - they should be fitted next week...

    Jx
  7. Cruz

    Cruz Lost but laughing.

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    Can highly recommend them Jen.

    The bike is looking great, must be having a fun time finding out what it can do.

    Have you found the change of handlebars to give much benefit other than more strength and weight savings?

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  8. visualizerent

    visualizerent Raconteur

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    Cruz, what did you do with the little stock bar end thingies when installing the Barkbusters? Shitcanem?

    Jen, I was expecting a more dramatic story about the disappearing barkbusters... :D jb

  9. sparky831

    sparky831 Weekend Warrior

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    Hi Jenny,

    I hope you're having a great time as I already imagine you are. I'm just curious how the bike is performing. More specifically, how is the suspension handling the off pavement stuff?

    Thanks,

    Sparky
  10. mcmann

    mcmann Adventure Rider Junkie Supporter

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    Nice pic . . . Hope you have a great trip!

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  11. Cruz

    Cruz Lost but laughing.

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  12. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    First of all let me apologise for not updating you all regularly this past week - after the Overland Expo in Arizona I'd arranged to stay with some friends who were spending the week in Moab UT, giving me an excellent opportunity to ride a few familiar trails that I thought the CB500X Adventure could handle, plus a couple of new ones which is something I always like to do each time I visit.

    Having some fellow riders (plus two friends in their Toyota FJ Cruiser - don't laugh at its Tonka toy looks, it is extremely capable, even in stock form with just some decent tyres) meant I'd hoped to get some photos of me actually riding, and some video* too of course...

    *I'll have to let KTMmitch post the videos, as I don't have any editing facilities on my travels...

    So, before we really get stuck in, please let me set the scene and continue the Trans-Am story where I left off by rewinding a week back to a sodden field, somewhere outside Flagstaff AZ, and the Overland Expo 2015...

    SN-Overland Expo report

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    photo. It's big, it's black, it's unstoppable... and yes it's another obvious punchline: "and so is the train..." On my way out of Williams AZ, en route for Flagstaff.

    I arrived at the site around lunchtime on Thursday 14th May, and helped Harold set up the Giant Loop stand on what was a lovely sunny afternoon... We were located at pretty much the end of the Moto village avenue, sandwiched between the huge Raw Hyde off-road school/tour encampment, and coincidently right next to ICON clothing who were displaying their new range of dual-sport and adventure specific riding apparel under the 'Raiden' branding.

    I mention these guys particularly as Rally-Raid supported their promotional film project (that featured a pair of Triumph Tigers), and in return ICON have provided me with a selection of their riding gear to appraise during this trip, and which I trust will fend off the worst of whatever the weather can throw at me... and I was about to find out!

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    After a fun evening with a few beers around the campfire, it started to get distinctly colder, and Harold in his chivalry took the roof-tent, while I snuggled down in the back of the Giant Loop van in my less than winter weight sleeping bag.

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    The following day the rain started, followed by hail, and ultimately snow overnight too. To say conditions were bitter would be an understatement, but we smiled on through, although 12 hours of standing on my feet in the wet and freezing conditions took their toll, and I graciously accepted the offer of the kitchen floor of a cabin that Ray & Davin from ICON were staying in nearby - you guys really were a lifesaver!

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    photo. By Sunday morning we were living in a swamp!

    Despite the weather, while Friday was a slow day, Saturday picked up with plenty of human traffic in the Moto village area, and I got to meet any number of interesting people over the next couple of days. Finally, Sunday dawned warm and dry, and much more the conditions we'd be lead to expect - I even ended up with a comedy sunburn after another full day on my feet.

    So what about the bike you might ask? Well, I have to say the response was overwhelmingly positive from everyone I met during the weekend. We lost count of the number of times people asked if this was an actual official model from Honda, which was hugely complimentary - and at the same time, it was also humbling to see how many people already knew about the bike, and had specifically come to see it!

    It was also really fun to meet a number of ADV inmates over the weekend, and tried to make sure everyone went away with a couple of stickers that Dave from ADVaddicts has produced for me to take on the trip - a retro CB500X Adventure roundal, plus a really cool (well, I think) shield that personally I'll try and leave at various key landmarks along the route - kind of like a treasure hunt if you like?

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    I also got the chance to look around a few of the other trade stands, and marvel (or in some cases 'wonder') at the elaborate camper conversions and extensive outdoor kitchen facilities that pack up into trailers and 4x4s, and couldn't help but wonder if all these guys do is park up and eat! It certainly made me appreciate just how little I've been able to pack and still consider myself comfortable enough for a life on the road.

    Leaving the show late afternoon on Sunday, my intention was to ride the whole distance to Moab (approximately 300 miles away), but like all things, circumstances seem to have a habit of dictating both route and schedule, and ultimately offering something far more enjoyable than simply hacking through the dark and missing out on what would ultimately set the scene for the rest of the week in Moab.

    Cont.
  13. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Cont.

    Having underestimated how long it would take me to ride to Moab (especially when you consider the hour time change between Arizona and Utah), I felt it wasn't fair to try and turn up at the guest house I was staying at after midnight; and coupled with the high desert cold as I headed north, elected to bed down in Kayenta just south of Monument Valley, and continue the last leg in the morning. There was only one hotel in town that wasn't fully booked, and while I felt utterly spanked at the room rate, I have to say it was very comfortable and a welcome rest after slumming it on floors over the weekend.

    The following morning I got to pass through Monument Valley in all its glory, but the real benefit of my enforced stop-over meant I could at last embark on a trail towards Moab that I'd so far never had the opportunity or circumstances to ride: Lockhart Basin.

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    photo. Mexican Hat rock north of Monument Valley


    The fun begins!

    Heading loosely along the route of the Colorado river for nearly 50 miles, Lockhart Basin trail actually has a county road route number, although over the years it has deteriorated considerably (particularly at the northern end closer to Moab), and features a number of tricky and technical rocky sections - although fortunately on the whole I'd be going down these steps in the direction I was travelling.

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    Having left my marker on a gatepost on the gentler section of the trail, I pressed on at a good pace, although a little unsure of what I might find. I was also conscious that rain had been forecast for Moab that afternoon, and was certainly a little wary of some ominous clouds that seemed to be following me north from the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.

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    I have to say that once again I was impressed with how the bike was handling the combination of rocky and sandy terrain - when the trail is smooth you can really pick up the pace, confident in the knowledge the bike will track in a sure footed manner over undulations and gentle whoops; while over more technical rocky climbs and descents, snicking it down into first gear and simply riding it like an automatic gave no cause for concern, and indeed it felt very balanced and easy to turn/make corrections, particularly when stood up on the pegs.

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    photo. I loved this 'Starbucks' sticker when I saw it on Dave Lin's KTM during the trip through Death Valley, and was fortunate to be given one at the Overland Expo.

    Of course inevitably this confidence became my undoing, although I would add that in this particular instance, I was perhaps being a little too careful and trying to inch the bike down on the brakes - rather than let it roll over the loose obstacles as I had been doing all afternoon:

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    Still, I had to get that 'first drop' out of the way, and fortunately all the extremities survived completely intact, despite not having any hand-guards fitted... I'd taken the original MX style ones off at the Expo in preparation for the BarkBusters that were due to arrive - fortunately I'd also fitted the shorty billet levers that John has sent me from the UK, and which have proved particularly resilient this week in Moab - yes, I've dropped the bike more than once now ;o)

    What was especially revealing in this particular circumstance was just how damn heavy the bike is once it's laying on its side... Of course the tank was still nearly full of fuel, but I ended up having to undo the straps of my Coyote bag and flip it over the seat to remove enough weight so I could finally lift it back up on the loose and rocky surface. In that regard the banana style luggage really helped making removing and reattaching it easy - although I had to be dexterous to undo the strap on the underside with one hand while supporting the weight of the bike on my leg. A good incentive not to do this too often I'd say!

    The sense of achievement on finally reaching the intersection with a familiar trail (that leads to Chicken Corners) meant I was nearly home and dry, and while I'd done my best to avoid the rain so far, I could see an almighty storm ahead of me as I headed over Hurrah Pass towards Moab.


    Day 2 Moab: Seven Mile Rim

    Having managed to avoid all but a sprinkling of rain the previous day, we took a gamble with the forecast and headed north of Moab and the Arches National Park to one of my favourite trails in the area: Seven Mile Rim.

    This particular trail offers a varied combination of technical rocky terrain, fast sandy trails and some fabulous views from the top of the rim both north east, and south across Arches NP to the La Sal mountains in the distance. One particular highlight is an unnerving traverse along a slick rock face in the shadow of two huge rock towers (Monitor and Merrimac), and overall I felt this would be an excellent introduction to the variety of terrain Moab has to offer - to our friends who were visiting for the first time in their 4x4.

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    Of course for those of us who were riding motorcycles, the subsequent rain and even hail stones made the initial climb up the rocky rim interesting to say the least, and it continued to catch us out for most of the day, although the sun finally broke through mid afternoon...

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    So having toasted our respective successes that evening with another round of beers and burgers at the Moab Brewery, with the forecast now clear - I suggested we attempt a more ambitious trail the following day that would offer one of the best viewpoints in the whole of the area; and not least from my own point of view, really provide a serious challenge for the CB-X.

    More soon... Right now I have some miles to ride this afternoon!

    Jenny x
  14. BabisStinson

    BabisStinson Adventurer

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    We are "travelling" alongside Jenny, keep going!!!
    To say I am jealous it would be an understatement! :D

    BTW, is there any chance we can order the absolutely AWESOME "retro CB500X Adventure roundal" stickers??
  15. hillbillyhonda

    hillbillyhonda I'd Rather be Riding

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    Jenny, the X really is a porker when laying on it's side (no offense to Piglet). I had to pick mine up once after the side stand sank into the mud. Safe travels and can't wait to hear more!
  16. ToriMish

    ToriMish Long timer

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    Great update Jenny, and lovely photos. I visited Utah many years ago and it really has some astounding rock formations and scenery.
  17. tft

    tft Been here awhile

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    +1 on the stickers
  18. locorider

    locorider Loco, pero no estúpido!

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    Keep it coming! I'll be arriving Denver on June 7 for a ride to Ak, if weather/time allows. I will love to see your bike if you are still around.

    It might be my next, before I move to the new AT...lol

    My beast...

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    ThirtyOne likes this.
  19. Pentatonic

    Pentatonic n00b

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    Nice pictures from Utah! I am looking for a mid size touring dual sport and the RRP CB500X is at the top of the list for me right now, so I'm eager to get all the info I can on it. I rode through Moab and Utah many years ago, I hope to go back and explore dirt roads on this Honda. I was trying to figure out what the two small off road bikes are in the picture, I couldn't identify them? I'll look forward to more reports and pictures.
    Thanks
  20. ShenandoahRider

    ShenandoahRider Been here awhile

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    Following you now from Virginia, Jenny. Great RR so far. :clap I'm a native Utahn so it's nice to see my old homeland.