Tuesday, June 18, 2013

This years riding season and small Tool Tube

Richard recently made a comment about my riding my Vstrom when I take my trip this year.   For the past few months I have been getting my Nu2Me  BMW  R1200R  ready for this years riding season.  I bought it for highway travel as I feel it is safer.   It has Traction control (ASC), TPS: Tire Pressure Sensors and on-board computer system.  It also has ABS and shaft drive so there will be less maintenance than my Suzuki.  The items that I had serviced were just regular maintenance that should have been done by the previous owner, but I had a feeling that it was neglected.   I have previously bought new Michelin Pilot Road2 tires and now I have my new battery.  The brake pads are virtually new so I didn't change them and I have already had all fluids changed; including brake fluid flush, transmission flush, diff flush and spline lube.   All of these items are just regular items that have to be done whether I go on a trip or not.

Now that my R is ready for the road, it will always be ready for the road as it will always be "highway and vacation" ready


My Vstrom needs nothing done and it is also "highway" ready but if I were to take a long trip with it I would have new sprockets and chain replaced.  They look new as I am not a fast rider and I always keep it lubed up but with nearly 30k  kilometers I would rather not have to deal with replacement "on the road".  I would rather pay extra and have them changed out before I leave.  It is not easy to find a dealer in an unfamiliar area and of course any failure would happen at the worst possible location, or on a Sunday.

Now I have two bikes perfectly capable of extended travel.  Both are set up for touring with hard side cases and top box.   My Vstrom, which I bought new has taken me to Montana, Idaho, Oregon & Washington.  In fact I have ridden to Oregon the past 5 years since 2008 and this year I wanted to go somewhere where I had never been before.  I trust my Vstrom, it is reliable and is able to eat up less than perfect road surfaces.

Most of my riding prior to 2008 has been within a 250 mile radius from home.   I have ridden to Vancouver Island and Kelowna on my Maxi-Scooter.   In fact I even rode my Kymco X500Ri as far south as Mount Hood for the Sound Rider Maxi Scoot rally.  I have probably owned more than 25,  2 wheeled vehicles from Hondas, Suzukis and many scooters but all my riding has been within our Urban area.  I bought a brand new Suzuki GS1100L in 1981 and I think the farthest I rode was to Bellingham, WA.

My limited range was mainly due to not wanting to selfishly horde all of my vacation time for my own pleasure.  I was always respectful of Mrs Skoot's time and our desire to be together on road trips which we  took in our sports car.  For the past 30 years we always had a "spare" car, mainly convertibles.  Mostly MGB's, Alfa Romeos, VW Westfalia, Firebird convertible, Sebring Convertible and a couple of Corvettes.  I still have a C5 Corvette Roadster.  Somewhere around 2005 I started to take 3 day weekends to go to out of town rallies.   My first multi day solo ride to Oregon was 5 or 6 days (in 2008).    My plan was to take one riding vacation a year and perhaps another couple of 3 day extended weekends.   I also don't ride on Sundays so you notice that while I like to ride, it cannot be an obsession as I must be respectful to others around me.

I am past retirement age and I feel that I haven't really traveled anywhere on my bike so I am trying to make up for lost time now, before my health fails.  You can grow old and have regrets about not doing something.  You can dream but your dreams may never come true.  You can wait for the perfect time then find that you are physically unable.

This year I have planned for a much longer trip which will take me to the far side of the Continent.  This may be the first of a few so I have investigated the possibility of leaving my bike somewhere and flying home with the idea of flying there next year to continue my trip, and if I did this, I would rather leave my Vstrom, thus the idea that at the last moment I may change my mind and not take my R even though that is currently my plan.    This is the reason that I have not yet sold it.   The other idea is that I may not like my R after I return, thus I would have the option of selling my Beemer and just keeping my Vstrom.

My Vstrom is more fuel efficient, uses Regular fuel and has a much larger gas tank (nearly 23 litres).  It also has ABS but has more storage with 40 L side cases and 44 ltr top case.   I regularly get 500 kms per tank with city riding, more on the highway.  Mr R only has 32 L sidecases but I bought a 47 l topcase but the gas tank is only 17 ltrs and it has to use Premium fuel.   The R is more relaxed on the highway as at highway speeds it is turning nearly 2k RPM slower and has much more power on demand with brakes 4x better, with traction control.   It is hard to decide which is better.   The R is about 80 lbs lighter and easier to push around.


I have storage under the seat of my Vstrom where I can put wrenches, tire plug kits extra tools and also my small air compressor.   The R is space challenged so I thought I could make a small tool tube so I could carry a ratchet with a few standard sized sockets.  There is not much room anywhere to hang it


Here is a 1-1/2" IPS DWV ABS plumbing pipe which I cut down to size with end caps and the only place is behind the side case rack on the backside of the bike frame, near the tire.   I just hope the suspension doesn't bounce low enough to dislodge it, or get jammed into the wheel rim


With the side cases mounted I don't think you will even notice it.  I just have to figure out how to fix it there


I still have time to figure out what to pack.  I have two small folding chairs but I think I can pack one with my sleeping pad in one of my dry bags


44 comments:

  1. Maybe you should have traded the Wee on a Vee Bob?

    It's great having 2 bikes and I enjoy the different characteristics of my bikes and that they're kinda designed for different jobs.

    Sure the Vee is a good tourer (a lot of people never see gravel on theirs) but the Connie is superior in this role. The Vee does have it licked in the gravel though...

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    1. Andrew:

      My two bikes are similar as I have never left the pavement, otherwise the better choice would be to replace the Wee with a WR250R, or Super Sherpa or KLX. I've thought about it. I was going to trade the Wee for the new 2014 updated Vstrom, when it arrives. Or perhaps I will love the R1200R.

      Delete
    2. I'm sure the trip will help you get used to the Beemer and make a decision. You could always get yourself a crotch-rocket ;)

      Oh yes, the 2014 Vee...

      Delete
    3. Andrew:

      the 2014 revised Vstrom is rumoured to have shaft drive, traction control, etc to compete with the GS but at a lower price. We'll see when we see it

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    4. Bob: Suzuki could build a 1000 to compete with the GS but it's unlikely. By the time you built a lighter 1000 with shaft drive, better suspension, first rate brakes and a much higher level of finish, you would have a bike as expensive as a BMW.
      Suzuki proved with the GSXR that they can build bikes as good or better than anyone; but at what price? My 1000 Vee does have serious stomp compared to yours, but it is also taller, heavier, much less nimble and with brakes not nearly as, good as yours and heavier fuel consumption.

      I'm sure the new 1000 will be a better bike than mine, but it still won't be a GS. Not even close.

      Delete
  2. There may not be a riding obsession, but there are a couple OCD items in there. :)

    Here's to hoping that you figure it out and can relax and enjoy the trip. Part of the fun is the anticipation.

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    1. Lori:

      What ! OCD, ME ? for wanting to have my bike serviced so I don't have the dreaded; spline failure, ABS pump failure ? All service has been done to all of my vehicles. I don't see OCD here. I may be a bit obsessed with preventative maintenance as I believe that less money spent NOW may stave off a big repair bill later, if left unperformed.

      I can't think of anything else to spend money on so now I'm in the packing stage. I have no trip plan, no routes decided and don't even know which highways I am taking, except for the first 2 days where I have to put on the miles. There is no need for me to dilly dally around WA, OR or ID as I can go there anytime.

      My only regret may be that there is no Cupcake reward at the other end

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    2. LOL! If you don't like the OCD...I can think of another term that you would like a whole lot less. ;)

      I'm glad that you don't have a route! The worst thing is to have that all planned out and then feel like you are always pressed for time.

      I am sorry there won't be one Cupcake. Maybe another in honorary celebration. :)

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    3. Lori:

      Not having a route doesn't mean that I don't have a destination. I am confused about the toll roads around Chicago and how to avoid them. I am allowing for a few less strenuous days too.

      I am wishing that someone would surprise me with a cupcake, when I least expect

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  3. Hi Bob

    Make sure that tool tube is secure...may I suggest perhaps large hose clamps with additional heavy duty zip ties for redundancy? Now, if you had a sidecar.....the R is one of the Beemers that can handle one you know (with the required subframes of course). But then again, a sidecar would tempt you into taking so much stuff you won't need.....sigh.

    dom

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    1. Dom:

      Those tractor/agri instruction tubes are too large, and I also bought a couple of those welding rod tubes and they are too large. I just wanted to bring a ratchet set with a few sockets, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 14mm etc. Or I could use the tube to carry stove fuel (Methyl Hydrate) so it doesn't leak into my clothes.

      I have a packing plan so I won't bring too much & there is always Walmart

      Delete
  4. You don't have a route plan yet? That isn't like you Bob.

    It sounds as though you have quite the decision to make on which bike to take with you. If you are seriously wanting to leave one bike back east then you have your answer.

    If you aren't sure which bike to take - flip a coin. As soon as the coin leaves your hand you'll know which one you wish for and take it.

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    1. Trobairitz:

      If I were not alone, then I would have a plan with specific stops booked along the way, but then again this would not allow for flexibility if I wished to stay somewhere longer to sightsee. This would also allow me to change my route to avoid weather problems on the flatlands, or to force me to ride longer days just to get there.

      Delete
  5. You are a man who loves machines. I can tell by the long list of bikes and premium cars you have owned over the years. It is nice that you take such good care of your bikes. I find so many people are too hard on their machines. They ride their motorcycle, put it away in the garage for the winter, and then don't touch it for a year and get pissed when it doesn't start.

    Good luck on your trip. The tube is a brilliant idea. You have good solutions to problems.

    What is this space you are speaking of under the seat of the V-Strom? The only thing I can fit under there is a sandwich...and it is a panini by the time I take it out.

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    1. David:

      I have learned that if you take care of things then, they will take care of you. Preventative maintenance is cheaper than repairs. I also have a tool tube on my Vstrom in the space where the left muffler would go, and this is where I put my tripod.

      I have a tray area under the seat of my Vstrom. I have a lot of stuff crammed under there, open end wrench set, tire plugs and mushroom plug inserter, screw driver set with bits, 2 pin sae 12v outlet cable and a small air compressor. You should look at an older model and you will see what I mean

      Good luck on your trip to Key West, sorry you won't be around

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  6. Always a connundrum which bike to take. It makes me wonder if you should take the strom, because it seems to have a bit more room for stuff, particularly on a long trip. Hmmmm. When are you due to leave Bob?

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    1. Dar:

      I'm already familiar with the 'Strom but as compared to the "R", it is a slug. The brakes on the R, are fabulous, plus the shaft drive and the traction control.

      I am purposely leaving details of my trip to the last moment otherwise I would have nothing to write about. Put it this way, I am nearly out of paydays, then there is my time off "without Pay"

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    2. Ahhh so trip time is close ;) I hope you have beautiful sunny weather as you make your way down the asphalt ribbon of freedom! (Hows that for artsy) I think you and Nu2u will bond on this trip and you may come back and sell the strom. There definitely is something to say for a shaft drive - I love it on my bike. Looking forward to the pics and stories!

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    3. Dar:

      I wanted so much to ride over to Victoria during May to have that Chinese Dinner with you and M/C Man but with Mrs Skoot's surgery it was not possible. I wanted to do a test ride using my equipment.

      I only have 12 more business days before I take off, so Yes, time is closing in.

      Delete
  7. Preparing fro the trip is as much fun as doing the trip. You seem well prepared BOb. Have fun!

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    1. Roger:

      I know this is the trip you are planning for "next year" but I'm going to be checking things out for you. I presume you are going to ship your K1200rs to Oregon and start from there ?

      Delete
  8. Bob,
    I really like the idea of a 'part way' trip and flying home and then "to be continued later...." I honestly had never thought of doing that until I read the trials and tribulations of Vermin on ADV.

    Here's hoping to see you either To or From in the Midwest. I know a thing or two about cupcakes...

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    1. Coop:

      This was one of the reasons that I didn't sell my Vstrom, so that I could have other options. It is better for me to leave my bike in Eastern Canada. The idea that I would do all my Eastern rides and then perhaps just sell it in the Toronto area, so it would never come home again. If I don't do it this year then perhaps next year.

      I will be posting details of my trip soon. I know you are going to be on the road around the same time heading to the Moto guszi Rally

      http://www.mgnoc.com/rally_calendar.html

      I am thinking that I should catch you when it ends.

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  9. Bob, I know you have been following J Downs. He swears by http://www.motionpro.com/motorcycle/partno/08-0161/
    It looks like the ticket!

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    1. Chris:

      Looks like an expensive alternative. I have a few cheap sets from CDNtire and I have a small tool tube, just have to find a way to attach it.

      I did donate to Jdowns a few times and I was going to meet him in Bassett BUT he will be in Oregon most of the summer. He told me I could stay in his back yard if he wasn't home. If you follow ADVrider then you may have noticed Kedgi. He is going to make me homemade Lobster Rolls when we reach Shediac. I don't even know what they are

      Delete
  10. Dear Bob Skoot:

    The first time I read your blog, you were on a scooter, taking pictures of a remote, stream-side town, north of Vancouver. I found it to be one of the most engaging ride reports. Shortly thereafter, you did another one of a floating community on a tidal tributary. (I remember just about everything I like reading.) Now its a few years later and you are into the mechanics of servicing two different road bikes, on the threshold of a cross-continental ride. Every motorcycle in the world is a compromise... Except when it comes to pure fun and excitement.

    I am not riding again this year. In fact, I am not walking either. I am in seclusion until I beat this damn disease on my own terms. How I envy you this year. But nothing on earth is going to discourage me from pulling off a cross-country ride next year.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack/reep

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    1. Jack:

      It may surprise many to know that I have always been riding Motorcycles. I had numerous back since the early 60's and then up to the early 80's. I bought a new Suzuki GS1100L in 1981 which was the fastest production bike that year. But then I stopped riding for a few years and started up again around 2003 but I decided to try out scooters and then blogging. Even when I had scooters, I still had a motorcycle

      I was hoping to see you this year but you are half a day south, and we are heading north after our Lobster dinner. I truly wish you would get your health back and at least be able to walk & drive.

      I may try your phone again . . .

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  11. For the long stretches of road that you have to cover you will learn to love the Beemer, and by the end of the trip you will know if it is a keeper or a goner. I wish you a trouble free journey, whatever you're choosing to go on, and whatever direction you are going to take. I remember you were mentioning to leave a bike where you end up. I love the idea of parking the bike at this year's journey's end and continue your trip another time. Be safe, Bob and good luck!

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    1. Sonja:

      Leaving my bike and flying back has been on my mind ever since I sold my SV650, which I thought that I should have kept for this purpose. My other option is to just buy a new bike in Toronto when I retire and start my trip from there. I still haven't figured it out

      I am not sure if I can take unpaid time next year due to our Co policy so I may defer this idea for one year.

      I was told that I should take my Beemer as it is safer due to Traction Control, plus less hassle with the shaft drive.

      Delete
  12. Bob,
    Here are some ideas for your trip next year....
    http://www.wimp.com/motorcycletravels/

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    1. Coop:

      There is no way I could do that and ride where HE rode. I think he took too many chances by passing on the right

      Delete
    2. I'm with you; I was feeling almost too daring lane splitting while we were in Orange County.

      Delete
  13. Jack: I've had the pleasure of corresponding with you many times although we've never met. In another life I was Phipsd. You showed me kindness and it was appreciated. I really hope things can go better for you.

    Dave

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  14. Replies
    1. Ken:

      I know you are near to Vancouver but just a bit too far away for me to meet up. Ride safe and enjoy your trip too

      Delete
  15. Wow, sound exciting! But I don't think I have the stamina for long distance trips like that unless I was on something much more comfortable with a wider saddle and a bit lower to the ground. Have fun on your trip, Bob. We have only been out once or twice since being back in the states as all of our time has been spent getting my backyard oasis up to snuff. But things are settling down in regard to that and Ms Vicky will ride again!

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    1. Pat:

      I am feeling that if I don't take an adventure now then time will pass me by. I will be sitting somewhere, in the future, thinking about this trip which I never took, and there would be sadness and tears in my eyes. Another dream unfulfilled . . .

      I will be too far north of Lawton but I can wave in your direction

      Delete
  16. Bob

    Have you considered funding your trip through a sweepstake on what aspect of the Teutonic engineering marvel will fail in the middle of Minnesota 10,000miles distant from the nearest BMW shop?

    My money is on the left hand cylinder no. 9 knock sensor thg

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  17. PS

    'thg' is an acronym for 'thingy', a Bavarian engineering term for 'thingamajig'.

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    1. Nikos:

      I don't expect my "R" to breakdown and I am having problems with your technical terms, but I understand "Thingy"

      Delete
  18. 10 days or so to go...must be exciting! It sure was for me. A couple of things:

    Rodney rode his 1982 Yamaha Seca on our trip West last year. He had a clutch replaced well before the trip and his mechanic said the bike engine was good to go. Still, he wanted to keep the speed low, 65 mph or so, and never had any trouble at all. I suspect you will have a great trip on the BMW. My RT made my dream trip an easy ride.

    I've never been to the Chicago area, but have heard the traffic on the slab there is tough. Around Toronto we have the busiest section of slab in NA. It's not the business or even stop and go (that is tough in July in the 80's and higher!) but the width of the urban stretch. I'm guessing Chicago to past Buffalo on the slab willbe through a lot of urban areas. Some research may find some longer but more scenic routes. And, don't forget the fast ferry option from Milwaukee. I enjoyed that!

    Tools - I've read to take only what you need to do the work you are willing to do at the side of the road. Tire plugging and inflating - sure, but really, what else? Tightening up stuff? Likely not. Are you going to change oil or stop at a dealer? If you, make sure you have an oil filter wrench and a filter and crush washer. I had mine shipped to a friend's in Seattle, changed oil in Duncan. Well, John did it for me... .

    Bought that Luxurylite cot yet? If you do get it before you leave (MEC has them, Cabelas in the US, others too) then I am a shoo-in for "Best Advice" award.

    Please keep us informed about your prep. Great times are a-coming your way!

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    1. Ed:

      I don't bring tools for myself, but for the good samaritan who stops to help "if only you had the tools", so I make sure they are available.

      I was thinking of that Luxurylite Cot but the legs will make a hole in the tent floor. I have an MEC self inflating pad, Reactor 3.0, or something like that.

      I am not a fast rider, speed limit +5 is about it but I can pile up the hours. I travel at "scenic" speeds

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  19. Bob: I'm making progress with my trip preparations as well. I am now the proud owner of a bright yellow BMW high-viz rainsuit size 3 XL ( and it's just big enough!!!!!! ) sigh. Tomorrow I will be off to the HD dealers for overboots and gortex rain gloves. It might look a little odd to be kitted out in BMW and HD gear on my SYM scooter; but they are the only folks around here that have stuff to fit me.

    I wanted a pair of Rain-off over gloves, but they don't seem to exist here on the 'wet' coast. Very strange. With all the horrible weather they have had in the Interior I figured it was time to get serious about wet weather protection.

    I'm glad I'll be taking the scoot. I don't need to speed in the rain and I'll have much more comfortable weather protection.

    Hopefully it will be warmer and dryer where you are headed.

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    1. David:

      Scooters have better weather protection. When I had my Kymco X500Ri maxi-scoot I went to Kelowna and as far south as Mount Hood. It's amazing how much water the wheels kick up but the scooter has floorboards.

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