Small Bikes, Long Trip, Suggestions Please

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Awfroad, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. Awfroad

    Awfroad Adventurer

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    I and a buddy are planning a trip in mid April on a 1972 Honda Trail 90 and a 1971 SL 125 from Mesa, Az. The route will be through New Mexico, down through southern Texas then back up through Texas to northern NM. and AZ. back to Mesa (2500-3000 miles). both motors have been replaced with a Lifan 150 in the CT and a Lifan 200 in the SL simply for reliability reasons. We wore out the Honda motors.
    We will be staying in motels along the way but will pack camp gear just in case.


    My Questions: What suggestions do you have for what to pack?

    What to prepare for?
    Your experiences with long trips with small bikes?
    What to expect?
    #1
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  2. willys

    willys Long timer

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    Tools to fix whatever you think could go wrong with bikes, replace anything questionable, camping equipment to survive with, small can of fuel like a water bottle size should do for such fuel economy type machines no???? A GPS or the old school maps.... One day's worth of food and water.....what else is there.....little bikjes are a load of fun........we take for granted this when riding huge modern machines and don't realize what we are missing making it a real adventure!
    #2
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  3. inbred

    inbred Sweeter than Yoo-hoo

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    I have a street legal CT 70's that I've toured on. I traveled ultra lightweight with a soft backpack (with hydration pack) as if I was on a hiking trip. Light sleeping bag, a few tools and a small tarp instead of a tent. A coffee cup that fits in a small pan and good dark roasted coffee. Food taken along was a couple cereal bars and water. A liter of damn good tequila and a few limes. Couple other things. No clothes but the ones I wore including my Ex-Officio underwear which are the single most important garment I own. Take compass, No GPS. That'd suck the soul out of the adventure. Glance at a map before you go and rely on your innate directional skills. If the early settlers did it, you guys can. I have coffee in camp with a cereal bar and wait to find food and additional h2o along the road to carry to each night's camp.

    Only thing I'd be weary about is them there Lifan motors. I had two (125's) that shit the bed long before I expected. I'll be surprised if one or both of you don't grenade your bikes over the trip. But, hey.....it ain't about the calamities. It's a lot easier to push your bikes out of the bush than a gluttonous 1000cc bike complete with a taint warmer and cruise control. Have fun and please consider a trip log.
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  4. Awfroad

    Awfroad Adventurer

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    Inbred, How far have you toured on your CT? Talk about minimalists, you are the King!

    Hugemoth, a member here has a lot of experience with the Lifan motors, We've read a lot of his postings, I'd say he was a big reason we had confidence in the Lifan motor. We both did a lot of research into those motors. We will find out, I've got 700 miles on mine so far and no issues. It's been running strong. It's all part of the adventure right?

    Willy's.....good suggestion on the days worth of food and water.
    #4
  5. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    I have heard good things about the Lifan as well. Could be that long distance travel was just too much for a 125cc? The guys putting 150cc motors in the Trails rave about them.

    I don't have a ton of experience with bikes that small for long distance, but have done some short trips in California where people tend to drive 20 over the limit. If you just let traffic by as often as you can it seems to work pretty well. I don't wait until I have the legally required 8 cars behind me or whatever it is. The first few will get impatient and pass, sometimes dangerously. A lot of times you can pick wide spots where you don't even need to slow down.

    When travelling light, I don't even do coffee in camp. Unless you're doing cold coffee, it means you have to carry a stove, coffee grounds, etc. I like beer or liquor (and a water) at night. I might bring dinner to camp from my last stop, but nothing that needs to be cooked. A granola bar with the remainder of water to get me on the road the next morning, and I'm good to go. I find food along the route, mostly.
    #5
  6. justrider

    justrider Been here awhile

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    Waterproof bags and luggage. I would recommend Wolfman its extremely versatile compact and it will fit any bike.

    Fuel would be my biggest concern being where you are and your route. At least 1/2 gallon if not more. I usually have 50 miles worth of fuel as a back up.

    Tire repair kit a good one practice with an old tire aired up on spare rim. Make sure you fully know and understand how it works before you go.

    Trail mix beef jerky and a camel back with at least a 70oz capacity will go a ways. Good led flashlight and a Spot reciever would be my bare mimimum
    Hope this helps
    #6
  7. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    You need a hat, you need a light. Get a hat with a built in light.
    #7
  8. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    An easy way to carry spare fuel is aluminum MSR bottles. I can carry 2-4 of the 32 oz cans in a tail bag, but you could also put singles here or there anywhere on the bike you see fit.

    [​IMG]
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  9. Utarded

    Utarded n00b

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    The small bikes will do just fine provided you not in a hurry. Also if you're going West to East thru Pecos on 90 you might set landspeed record in Apr., going East th West, not so much! Enjoy& smell the purple sage! Lots of info over on Minimalist touring site.
    #9
  10. kojack06

    kojack06 Long timer

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    This sounds like an incredible amount of fun! I'd make certain your bikes are sprung properly to carry the load.
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  11. Awfroad

    Awfroad Adventurer

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    Utarded,

    The route east will take us from Van Horn southeast to Marfa then onto Big Bend National park. We are planning on staying a night in Terlingua and then onto San Antonio to see my daughter. The route from Terlingua to San Antonio is up in the air right now. Maybe those of you who know that area could make some suggestions, remembering we are staying off the super slab.
    #11
  12. Bindlestiff

    Bindlestiff Been here awhile

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    Yeah, re: the fuel issue have you guys done any long stretches of highway riding on your bikes? I've got an '84 CT110 and while the thing gets an honest 80+ MPG around town and messing around in the woods, I've done a few longer road trips on it and usually saw more like 50-60 MPG. I had one tank running into the wind where I got about 45. That is not a lot of range with a 1.5 gallon tank.
    #12
  13. hugemoth

    hugemoth Big Brother is watching you!

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    I do a lot of riding on my Lifan 140 powered CT90 with guys who have stock engines. The 140 gets much better mileage than the stock 90 even though it has a lot more power. It does require premium gas though. I average nearly 100 mpg on the 140. My Lifan 200 averages about 75 mpg and is happy on 87 octane.
    #13
  14. hugemoth

    hugemoth Big Brother is watching you!

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    I'm curious as to what failed on the Lifan 125 engines? My 140 only has about 16000 miles but has never missed a beat. Never had a stock CT 90 engine make it to 10000, and I've had several. My last one chewed up the can bearing surfaces in the head. Lifan uses ball bearings rather than the steel on aluminum used in the Honda.
    #14
  15. inbred

    inbred Sweeter than Yoo-hoo

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    Bought the inexpensive lifan 125's and installed them in the CT70's and they were fun and peppy while they lasted. I could get to 50MPH on a nice slight downhill with no headwind. Within a thousand miles one grenaded and the other seized in the parking lot of an Adult Book Store ( I needed hand lotion). Didn't spend a lot of time determining the how and why. But wasn't cost effective to rebuild. Both my ct70's have now had there original motors rebuilt to factory specs. One is the "H" model with clutch which is obviously my favorite. It can hit 40 now....not 50MPH. Have always searched for the needle in a haystack Honda Nice 110 motor and barely missed a chance to snag one for $1500 clams. Them things are the cat's meow. I recognize that my experience should not be relied on in one's decision to buy the Lifan product. I have no science to rely on in assuming they are all bad. Glad you have had a good experience.

    Every other year or so I do a 7 day trip from my house to the High Peaks region or Green Mountains. I average 30 miles an hour on the back roads as I putt along going 80 miles between gas stops. I spend two days getting to Lake Placid or Burlington, fuck around a bit camping, then buzz home. You can also hitch hike with these things. Last summer I rode to the Tree House Brewery in Mass and then hitched a ride with a pickup Dude near I-90 which turns into the thruway and goes within three miles of my house in Weedsport, NY. It's easier for me to get a ride hitching when I'm standing next to a ct-70 than it would be for a hot-bodied, denim skirt wearing college girl. One thing I can say....though it has obvious drawbacks, I have a lot more fun touring on my little ct-70 than I do on my pig f800gs.
    #15
  16. Awfroad

    Awfroad Adventurer

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    I rode the CT with the 90 motor in it for 7,000 miles and averaged 90mpg consistently. I did some mods to the engine that gave me a little more power and it was geared up from stock gearing so that may have helped the mileage. The 90 motor was worn out at 7,000 miles I wanted a little more power and reliability hence the Lifan 150 motor now. I've done many test runs on the Lifan motor to give me an idea of mileage and to put hours on it. I recently did a day ride of 230 miles. My low was 80mpg and high was 95mpg. Here again it is geared up and it runs comfortably 52-57 mph. The motor runs strong with not the least bit of problem so far after 700+miles. Hugemoth has far more experience with these motors than I do but so far so good.
    #16
  17. pnw

    pnw Long timer

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    Sweet!

    post some pictures of your CT.

    If I didn't already have the lifan 125 I would be tempted with the piranha 140 electric start semi auto but the 125 has some advantages (at least over stock), it is considerably lighter and I prefer the 1-N-2-3-4 and sometimes prefer a manual clutch over a centrifugal (and sometimes not).

    I took a TW200 Haines AK by ferry and rode back to WA, 2600 miles last summer. Suggestions - pack light. I sort of threw stuff together right before leaving and could have/should have packed lighter but I did use most of what I brought with me. I stayed at a cabin on the Cassier where the owners told me a solitary female rider came down from AK on a CT a year or two before. Expect a great time. I mostly stayed at hotels but would have preferred camping more than I did.
    Frogg Toggs were great riding in rain, my main coat was some cheap Amazon reflective high viz insulated coat - it is also waterproof, has a warm lined hood and compresses down small. Hefty vacuum bags (no the ones you hook up to a vacuum cleaner) keeps stuff dry and compressed down. Cheap amazon backpacking stove and minimal coleman cooking pot/mug I used every day.
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  18. Awfroad

    Awfroad Adventurer

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    This was the 230 mile test ride to check mileage and ride it hard.

    IMG_4136 (1).JPG
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  19. pnw

    pnw Long timer

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    Nice job with the install. I see you upgraded the rear shocks which I did also, the old ones were shot. I might try Gizmo stronger front springs or the DrATV upgraded forks.
    We took a couple CTs on the WABDR 4 years ago and they did fine on some pretty steep and rough roads even with the old springs - just bottomed out a lot. Each rider was over #200 and we had surplus Molle packs which are heavy. Had a great time but limited some by a really nasty fire season, unfortunately that seems to be a every year, each year worse than the last sort of thing.
    #19
  20. Awfroad

    Awfroad Adventurer

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    I've got stiffer after market springs in the front, the rears ae actually a little stiff but will be better with the load on them.
    #20