Recent road trip's list of must-haves - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 36 Old 09-17-2010, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Recent road trip's list of must-haves

My husband and I just took a 2,700 mile tour through Washington, Oregon and California. Me on my wee-strom, and he on his Moto Guzzi Quota 1100. Of all those miles, we did about 100 total on the "super slab". The other 2,600 miles were twisty backroads along the ocean, over the mountains, through fog, cold, blazing sun and heat, shadowy Redwoods, vast swarms of gnats and aphids, and more. We camped for 2 weeks.

There are a few things we had along for this trip that are relatively new in our lives, and we were so pleased with those items I felt them worthy of their own post of must-haves for touring. Your mileage may vary.

1. Armored mesh jackets. What an amazing invention! Many of our days went from high 50s and very foggy in the mornings to mid 80s and dry in the afternoons. Before we bought the mesh, we'd been considering taking two jackets each to accommodate the changing weather situations. I found us both Joe Rocket mesh jackets on newenough.com for way below list price. They're armored, with zip-out wind and rain liners that do a bang-up job. In the heat, we were cool and air-conditioned as the wind passed through us. I also felt less torso buffeting with the air moving through the jackets.

2. Pinlock anti-fog visor inserts. Both my husband and I have used Fog City visor liners for many years, as we're both year-round commuters in Seattle and defogging is absolutely vital when sitting in rush-hour traffic in a downpour. I had read about the advantages of the Pinlocks over the Fog Citys, and the 3 that struck me most before AND after purchase are the durability of the Pinlock (easy to clean without scratching), the simple swap-ability of the Pinlock (we each took clear, yellow, and dark tinted inserts with us) and the incredible optical clarity of the Pinlock. Riding through the redwoods at sunset, headed West on Highway 1, visibility was greatly hindered by the alternating sun/shade/sun. Both my husband and I vastly enjoy a "spirited" ride in the twisties, to say the least, and after running the old Fog Citys for the last 6 years I am confident I would NOT have been able to see clearly through that product. The Pinlock's optical clarity is every bit as good as prescription glasses, for me. We had fog almost every morning on our trip, and rode through great fluffy suspended clouds along the coast. We didn't ride in any rain on our tour to test out the Pinlock in a downpour, but the cold fog was enough to have us bundled in all our layers, all vents closed, visors tightly in place. I could see the perfect edge of fog all around my Pinlock insert in the helmet, it was obvious I would have been blind on many incredible mountain roads without that product.

3. Highway cruiser pegs. I have the SW Motech engine guards, and was able to pick up some cheap chrome *wince* :buttpirate: highway pegs to bolt on the horizontal bars on my guards. They didn't fit as optimally as promised on the package, so we tried using a bit of inner tube to get them mounted tight. When that failed, my husband fabricated a little metal tab that sticks out and rests on the vertical bars of the engine guards. This stopped them from rotating down. When your fuel range is well over 200 miles and you don't want to stop because the riding is so good, there is nothing quite like pushing against some different footpegs, stretching legs and wiggling butt, without having to stop.

4. A sheepskin butt pad. I use an alaskaleather.com Deluxe on my seat. It kept my seat warm in the cold, and cool when parked in the sun. It's almost an inch thick and so does sit me up a bit higher, but that's fine for me as I have a short torso and I run a Givi Tall windscreen in the lowest setting on my 'strom. My butt never got sore, our whole trip!

5. Thermarest sleeping pads. OK, that's not a bike/gear component, but DAMN it makes a huge difference for tenting. No morning soreness, and no cold air in an air mattress. We actually use the REI house brand knock-offs, 3.5 model self-inflating, with the lashing straps to hold two together so we don't slip apart in the night.

6. Tool Tubes. Strangely enough, we don't keep tools in ours. We both carry full tools at all times (as well as first aid, tire repair, and a towel of course), so outfitting ourselves for our tour didn't require the addition of much of anything in the way of hardware. We have found a Sigg metal water bottle fits perfectly in the Tool Tube. When touring, it's annoying to have to dig to get to your water at a stop. Having water in the Tool Tube was almost too easy. We used them at every stop, and made other bikers grin at the ingenuity. The Tube would also hold a fuel canister perfectly, for those REALLY LONG backroad tours.

7. Last but not least... a journal. This was my first trip journaling the happenings every day, and I found it both relaxing and very fun to recap the day's events with my best friend and #1 riding partner. In areas where we rode with other bikers, I got their input on the happenings as well. I tend to write long, personal ride reports (sorry) and the journal has been vital to remembering where and when things happened.

What are your touring must-haves?



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post #2 of 36 Old 09-18-2010, 03:14 AM
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Thanks for the detailed report about the Pinlocks. I'll keep that in mind ... I live in the same rainforest as you, fighting the same battles.

Cheers -d
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post #3 of 36 Old 09-18-2010, 05:45 AM
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What are your touring must-haves?
Time and money.

I'm self-employed and never seem to have the opportunity to enjoy them simulaneously.

My wife (best friend and favorite riding partner) and I just got back from an extended Labor Day jaunt and found it difficult to turn into our driveway at the end of the trip.

Cheers,

Norm

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post #4 of 36 Old 09-18-2010, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the detailed report about the Pinlocks. I'll keep that in mind ... I live in the same rainforest as you, fighting the same battles.

Cheers -d
David, upon further "research" I would have to say the yellow insert is my favorite for overcast days. The amplified light is awesome, and it only takes my brain a second to compensate for the color difference.

Do you ever make it to Backfire Nights in Ballard? I see a lot of 'Stroms down there, and usually try to introduce myself to other 'Strom riders if I notice them. I know I've met at least 2 'strommers at Backfire, just wondering if you're one of them. )
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post #5 of 36 Old 09-18-2010, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Stromin'Nroman View Post
Time and money.

I'm self-employed and never seem to have the opportunity to enjoy them simulaneously.

My wife (best friend and favorite riding partner) and I just got back from an extended Labor Day jaunt and found it difficult to turn into our driveway at the end of the trip.

Cheers,

Norm
Sounds like you two have a similar dynamic to my husband and I - ah, the magic of a best-friend-and-fave-riding-partner who you also get to to sleep with!

I would speculate self-employment has the same need as any other career... scheduled time off. Work on that!

Funny thing, my other friend Norm (F650GS rider) also signs his emails to me as "Cheers, Norm".
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post #6 of 36 Old 09-18-2010, 08:54 PM
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Looks like a nice trip, wish I had the time to do that. I have a question. Which shade visor did you prefer? I am interested in the pinlock shield and visor and I am thinking either amber or yellow. I ride in a lot of cold rain in the winter, sometimes fog, during my morning commute which is before sunrise, but with well lit urban fwy's. I am thinking the amber or yellow would be better over the clear in these situations. What is your opinion between the clear and yellow? I will probably carry an extra shield without insert and just swap them before the afternoon commute. The fog/humidity usually burns off by noon here in the winter. Thanks,

Kevin

Kevin

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K7 DL650 Hi Yo Silver R.I.P!

Last edited by khager; 09-18-2010 at 09:46 PM.
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post #7 of 36 Old 09-18-2010, 09:29 PM
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"Cheers, Norm".
That's actually an inside joke with some business assocates: Years ago when the TV show "Cheers" aired on Thursaday nights on NBC, my name would get called out when I walked into certain offices. Yes, I'm that old.

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post #8 of 36 Old 09-19-2010, 08:09 AM
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I would speculate self-employment has the same need as any other career... scheduled time off. Work on that!
If I need time off, I put the phone on ignore. There's no other way.

I like your list. New for me in essential gear this summer is a 2 liter Camelback. I don't know how I did without it for so long.

-Tom (DL650AL2) (KA1TOX) (E-I-E-I-O)

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post #9 of 36 Old 09-19-2010, 10:14 AM
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Boy, am i jealous.
I like your gear review. I just got my pinlock (HJC CL-16) and love it except I used a cheap paper towel at work (the rough brown kind) to clean it and scratched the bejebers out of it. Still functional. Just be careful.
The new mattress pad by _______ (can't remember who makes it) is awsome. Got to try one out at Gander Mnt. It's only $170.00!!!!! but is lighter
and actually a little more comfy than the self inflating. It will only go down to about 35-40 degrees though.
What is the other motorcycle in the pictures (red one). I tried to read the letters on the tank and it looked like "Kabota". Could that be?????
Just bought my son a Joe Rocked jacket like yours with the liner. How cold can you go with it with
say a flannel shirt underneath????
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post #10 of 36 Old 09-19-2010, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Boy, am i jealous.
I like your gear review. I just got my pinlock (HJC CL-16) and love it except I used a cheap paper towel at work (the rough brown kind) to clean it and scratched the bejebers out of it. Still functional. Just be careful.
The new mattress pad by _______ (can't remember who makes it) is awsome. Got to try one out at Gander Mnt. It's only $170.00!!!!! but is lighter
and actually a little more comfy than the self inflating. It will only go down to about 35-40 degrees though.
What is the other motorcycle in the pictures (red one). I tried to read the letters on the tank and it looked like "Kabota". Could that be?????
Just bought my son a Joe Rocked jacket like yours with the liner. How cold can you go with it with
say a flannel shirt underneath????
Thanks for the scratch warning on Pinlock - after all those years with the very light Fog Citys, I'm very cautious of cleaning regimes!

My REI brand "thermarest" was only $80! Hope yours is twice as comfy for twice the money!

The red bike is my husband's 2000 Moto Guzzi Quota 1100. They were only imported to the US for one year. It was Guzzi's answer to the BMW GS. It's very hairy-chested and a torque monster. My husband is a die hard Guzzi guy, I think it's a contagious disease...

As for the mesh jacket with the liner in, and just a flannel shirt, I would estimate I PERSONALLY could ride in the high 50s for a sustained period. I'm sure your son's experience will be different. I say that because I am hot blooded, well acclimated to cool temperatures (in fact I can't cope with heat at all), and rather "busty" which leaves me with two heated sweater puppies inside my jacket. :mrgreen: Let's just say my torso doesn't get cold unless we're doing sustained riding in sub-freezing temps. It's my ass that freezes off.
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