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Old 04-19-2017, 07:30 AM   #1
nzdreamer55
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Need advice on touring across the US on 1 Gen Bike.

Hello everyone,

I have a 2002 FZ1 with about 23K miles on it. My wife is planning to take it on a long trip across the US from CA going east. Not sure the route yet but wanted to get tips on how to prepare the bike before she goes, need recommendations for a good tank bag and any other tips of stuff to bring or not bring as she has never taken on a long trip like this before. I have a set of saddle bags (soft) and will be putting on new tires (any recommendations for touring?) Will do all the normal maintenance before heading out, always have (except repacking the swing arm bearing which is due). She is a light rider both in weight and on the throttle. Also any recommendations from a woman's perspective of riding a long trip alone would be welcome.

Thanks
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:50 AM   #2
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Sofun has a couple of threads about he and his wife camping across the US on the GEN1, once without a trailer.

I really like the hard bags on mine, I've done everything from the Rockies East, and I've done Iowa to Florida twice with soft bags, like the hard bags a lot more. And most trunks you can bungie stuff on top too.
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:58 AM   #3
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You don't say which route or what time of the year?

Hand out the bags before you start packing and that's all the space anyone gets. There is no point in carrying dirty laundry so wash and wear as you go and you can get by perfectly well with 3 of everything. Just try washing it before you go to make sure it dries fairly quickly. Computers, phones, cameras and chargers are, heavy, bulky and delicate. You probably have all sorts of reasons for taking the ones you do, but I've managed to dump my laptop in favor of a lighter Chrome Book and used my phone as the camera which helps.
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Old 04-19-2017, 11:14 AM   #4
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1. Get a camelbak bladder and put it in your tankbag. Even if there is not port and clip to let the hose out, just arrange the zippers and the hose so that it sticks out toward the front on the left side. That way you can use your left hand to open and close the bag, get the hose out, and take a drink while riding.

2. Hydrate well and often. I've tried lots of different drinks and settled on the powdered Propel packets. You can get packs of 10 for like $2.50 or something, so it makes very cheap beverages and taste is good. I drink a diet mt dew at lunch and maybe once later in the day but in general minimize caffeine on the road. It makes you have to pee more and can distort your sense of when it's time to take a break.

3. A modular helmet makes eating and drinking on the road easier.

4. Regarding the helmet - put it on and off as few times a day as possible. If you take it off at every stop, after 3 days the tops of your ears will be raw and it gets very painful. With the modular, put it on in the morning, and only remove for lunch and dinner. Otherwise just keep it on. Saves time and eventually pain.

5. Same with ear plugs. On a multi-day trip, many insertion/removal cycles will eventually abrade your ear canals and the plugs will stick to your flesh. Not fun. Take them out as few times as possible.

6. Gas stops, pee stops. Only stop for what you have to. I stop to pee wherever I am (within reason), and don't wait for a gas station. I hate the discomfort of needing to go. When stopping for gas, stay on your bike. Practice before you go: pull up on your favorite side, get out wallet, pay, pump, and close up and move on without dismounting. Faster and less effort.

7. Tank bag - On a Gen 1, I recommend a magnetic bag, or SW Motech tank-lock bags. For me, the strapped bags move around too much and are a pain to take off. I have the SW Motech and vastly prefer the system to either straps or magnets.

8. I found hard luggage much easier to use than soft luggage. Stays put, secure, and waterproof. Also easier to take on and off at the hotel. I have a V46 top case and E360 side cases. Plenty of room in there for a long trip. I think there's a guy selling a set of racks in the classifieds right now.

9. If you need a place to stop over mid-continent (Wichita), the grommet house is open. Plenty of garage and floor/couch space, tire changer, tools, etc.

10. Lots of great routes could be done. Could be a very scenic and fun trip.
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Old 04-19-2017, 12:23 PM   #5
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Good stuff already and will emphasize the practicality of hard luggage. Simply put, they work, and in ways you may not realize. FWIW, they make great sliders, just in case.

I'm not a tank bag user, and no desire. I like keeping the tank area clear. One less thing to move when getting gas. Again, that's what luggage is for, and the bike already has enough weight on the front tire. Let the rear share some of that.

For me, the range of a Gen 1 makes for perfect rest stop intervals, allowing me to get off the bike and stretch, while I fuel it up. Stretch and keep the blood flowing on those long rides.

GPS mounted to the bars keeps you pointed in the right direction. A $100 Garmin in $15 waterproof case from fleaBay works great if you don't want to spend hundreds more for a dedicated mc unit.

A 12 volt outlet to charge said GPS and/or cell when needed.

Maybe consider a Sena or similar helmet comm unit.

If you want to track progress in realtime, a SPOT unit is fantastic. The website app is a bit clunky, but once it's working, it is very good. If there's spotty or no cell coverage, being able to get some message out is a good idea, or just knowing from where the last message was sent.


This sounds like a grand adventure. Envious, so post progress please.
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Old 04-19-2017, 04:18 PM   #6
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Wait so you said your wife is planning to take it cross country. Does that mean you are not going?
My wife wouldn't try to ride mine out of the driveway much less cross country.
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Old 04-19-2017, 04:46 PM   #7
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Awesome suggestions so far.

Tires: I cannot recommend Metzeler Roadtec 01's highly enough for all conditions. Reasonable price, excellent wear, grip, wet handling.

Tank bag: Personal preference for her here. I don't like them but some people swear by them. If I had one, it would be a SW type system as described by Grommet.

Luggage: Hard luggage is a godsend on cross country trips. I use bag liners which makes it even better as I just grab them and can leave the hard bags on the bike. I have Give E21s and found a cheap weatherproof bag at REI that fits perfectly. I have the factory liner for my Givi 46 ltr trunk. I've used soft luggage and it works well enough if you take the time to fit it well but hard bags or at least a trunk are much better.

Maintenance: Sounds like you are on top of this. Double check/refresh all fluids, check cable adjustments, repack bearings all around if they haven't been done recently. If you do the swing arm bearings, give the chain a super clean and overnight bath in motor oil. Might consider a handlebar adjustment since her reach is different than yours.

Extras: A cheap throttle lock for temp relief of the right hand is good enough and is a huge help. Be prudent with tools/gear for maintenance self help on the road. Tire plugs and air could be lifesavers. New tires should negate the need but won't eliminate it. A 12 volt plug or a usb plug would be a wise addition. Pack extra earplugs. Camelback can be a lifesaver or a big worry. I'd take a couple short hops with one to determine if it is more help than distraction.

Route: Would be helpful to plan the route, map it out and print it with copies for both of you. I'd highlight anticipated fuel stops and hotels/camp sites so everyone is tracking. When on the road, the batteries for the map never run out...

Speaking of route, if she makes it as far as Tennessee and needs an assist, drop me a line. I've got plenty of room in the garage and every tool for every job for the bike.

If you can give us a little more info on what you guys have in mind for this trip (direction, destinations, dates, who is traveling, etc...) we can provide better specifics re: assistance/suggestions.

Best,
Ron
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Old 04-19-2017, 05:38 PM   #8
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Some of these have been covered by others but a few random thoughts.

If doing maintenance right before a trip make sure there's sufficient shakedown riding to uncover any new issues.

About ten years ago I stopped ignoring what others had told me about hydration and set up so I could drink without distraction while riding. The difference was more than I thought possible.

Can rider plug a tire? It's not that difficult and even for non-believers it can at least get you to cell service if in the middle of nowhere and save time waiting to flag down someone.

If doing any maintenance en route (chain slack etc) rider should use the tools that will be carried for any assembly done in the garage prior to departure. Rubber gloves are your chain lubing friend and make hot-boxing glove liners in a pinch.

Most of the major tire mfgs have decent touring tires these days. I like Michelin Roads.

Some folks like Spot tracker type devices for solo riding. Haven't done that but have a diver emergency whistle that's in my pocket. And, while thinking about it the other things usually in my pockets are: rag, chapstick, multi-tool, sunscreen, and deet.

Have done the full hard luggage thing but now prefer a tail trunk and a dry bag on the seat. Like Allan P I've reduced packing volume by carrying tide packets and a drying line or using motel laundry machines when I can find them. All quick-dry clothing. Riding suit is machine washable which has been a big plus a couple of times.

A full neck covering can be handy in the heat, cold, bugs, blowing sand. Some people swear by cooling vests.

A hat and comfortable shoes (no woman needs this advice from a man).

Spare keys.

There's more but the masses should have it covered
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Old 04-19-2017, 07:34 PM   #9
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Smile

if you are not P-ing, you should be drinking water.
carry a gallon on each bike, (not one large, but number of smaller bottles).

maybe have some parts all boxed up and ready to ship (add address as needed).
just have a friend over night to you.

watch what you eat. a sour belly can shut you down where you would not want to be.

drink lots of water.

pack light. never more than four (4) days worth of under clothing. shirts pants can do couple days.

if possible one can wash clothing while riding. a bucket, soap, water, and ride.

drink lots of water.

fix everything on the bike, new tires, brake pads, break fluid etc, two-three weeks before departing. do a couple long rides to find what else needs work.

(i am shut down waiting on parts for my vacation).

drink lots of water.

set up your carry bags.
panniers, saddle bags,
dry tote.
hard trunk.
tank panniers,
tank bag,
front fender bag.
light back pack (water bladder).

load them up a week before so you can work out how much gets to stay behind.

better to buy some items as needed as you go.
but never skimp on the Mt money.

and remember to have lots of fun, take lots of photos/videos, and post up after.


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Old 04-19-2017, 09:05 PM   #10
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The biggest hitters for me:

#1 - Use a camel back or similar for in route hydration. The positive effect this has cannot be overstated.
#2 - Wear riding pants and undergarments that whisp moisture away from the body. Example, Under Armour Seamless.
#3 - Gold Bond to prevent monkey butt.
#4 - An evaporation vest for the hot routes.
#5 - A good tire plug kit and portable compressor.
#6 - Roadside Service.
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Old 04-20-2017, 08:34 AM   #11
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Take a few weekend trips to see what it's like. If she finds she doesn't like traveling more than 10 hours a day, then she'll be stopping frequently enough to ignore the tips for loooong days on the road.

Traveling off the interstates takes a lot longer to cover the miles, but the scenery is better and the pace far more relaxed.

regards,
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Old 04-20-2017, 08:48 AM   #12
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I found SO FUN's report from the trip 2 up camping without a trailer
http://www.yamahafz1oa.com/forum/showthread.php?t=72833

He has lots of details about what he packed and how.
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:18 PM   #13
nzdreamer55
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Thanks everyone for responding (this is "the wife" - tried to create my own account but its taking a while I guess). So far some really helpful suggestions. Should be an amazing adventure!
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Old 04-21-2017, 07:05 AM   #14
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I usually try not to give many suggestions for something like this, because my riding is just different from how others do things, but I see a problem developing here. I get the impression that you maintain the bike and she is expecting to travel on it without you.

Anyone who travels alone, needs to be the person who does all the maintenance on the bike. If she's the person who will be checking the bike over at the end of each day's travel, then she has to be intimately familiar with every adjustment or routine repair and all the tools that are used. Without that experience, she may not notice some miner problem which could be easily fixed on the side of the road, before it causes a larger failure that leaves her stranded somewhere.

regards,
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:40 AM   #15
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On the flip side, a Gen 1 FZ is a consistent and highly reliable machine, needing very little attention in the first place. If all is good to start, a couple of trips across the contiinent should not be a major concern for the machine.
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:17 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvmyfz1 View Post
On the flip side, a Gen 1 FZ is a consistent and highly reliable machine, needing very little attention in the first place. If all is good to start, a couple of trips across the contiinent should not be a major concern for the machine.
Totally agree with this. If all maintenance is addressed before departure (Fresh fluids, bearings and cables lubed, clean air filter, good tires, clean and lubed chain, good battery, etc...) I'd be very surprised if there was maintenance trouble along the way.

Best,
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Old 04-21-2017, 12:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvmyfz1 View Post
On the flip side, a Gen 1 FZ is a consistent and highly reliable machine, needing very little attention in the first place. If all is good to start, a couple of trips across the contiinent should not be a major concern for the machine.
Agreed. Clean and lube the chain. Check tire pressures. All else should be good! Even an oil change really shouldn't be necessary.
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Old 04-21-2017, 03:45 PM   #18
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I travel on mine all the time and probably 1/2 or more of it is solo. I like to meet up with different groups around the country but most don't have to ride from the middle of Oklahoma to get there.

Post up if she's in the OKC area I can always help out too plus I have a great shop and mechanic that does all my maintenance.
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Old 04-21-2017, 03:56 PM   #19
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Once the route is determined, let the FZ1OA know. We can volunteer to help if needed, and you can compile a list of volunteer contact information for your wife along the way.
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Old 04-22-2017, 08:40 AM   #20
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It's kind of like riding in the rain. If you ride, you might as well just go ahead and buy rain gear because sooner or later you will get caught in the rain. The only way to prevent it is to stop riding. The question is "when," not "if."

If you ride alone, sooner or later, you will need to work on the bike. The only way to prevent it is to have someone else work on the bike. It may happen 1,000 miles into the first trip or it may wait until you've already got 200,000 miles on the bike. The question is "when," not "if."

It could be something as simple as... Coming out of the motel room in the morning to find some idiot broke off your turn signal during the night. It's easier to jury rig a $10 trailor light fixture from an auto parts store than aquire tickets during the rest of your trip. There are lots of exposed parts on a bike that can be damaged by debris kicked up by a truck tire. Plastic parts break, metal parts bend, aluminum parts break when you try to straighten them back out, cables get kinks, hoses get cuts... No matter how dependably the bike is maintained by someone else, sh** happens.

Some of us believe in "self reliance" and some of us believe in "depending on the kindness of strangers."

regards,
Joe
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