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Making a touring bike.


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I've got the top box, a Motocentric rear bag, and the Nelson-Rigg side bags and the Madstad shield. Nothing real expensive, and the side bags can hold big items. 
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Really though, just pack 1-3 days clothes and hit the road. You'll learn pretty quickly what you really want for long trips exploring.
yes. this right here. 
the stuff a new rider will take on a weekend trip is comical. and a new rider taking their first week-long trip? oh boy thats a riot.
but eventually the extra stuff gets culled. 
same goes for a lot of the bike-farkles people think are important.  hard bags, hand warmers, wimpshields: mostly useless. all you need is a bike and some gas.

My first long trip was ... comical?  :o You bet. It was for a 2 week trip to Nova Scotia. Half of my luggage was on the bike and the poor thing can't take it anymore. I ended up to put all my stuff in my car. Couple years later, i went to the Rockies with a tankbag, soft saddlebag and a drybag on top. Camping gear, stove and all. Nothing was getting wet. But one of the strap broke. 
Later, i opted for 2 Givi sidecases that can be use as a top case. Even for 2 up traveling, with a tank bag it was enough.With times, you'll know how to travel light. Now, a tailbag (or a top case) and a dry bag is all i need. Gearing the bike for 5 days or 2 weeks is the same for me. That wasn't the case  in my first years of motorcycle traveling.

past bikes: WR250X, KLR650, V-Strom 1000, DR650, FZ-6, SV650S, Seca II, GS400S, Seca 750, YZ80.

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  • 10 months later...
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for a week on the road camping, i carry:
sleeping bag
big giant self-inflating mat [that i strap to my bars because i dont need no damn wimpshield]
one large dry-bag (dirty laundry goes in this)
one pair of socks for every day (always need more socks than you think)
three pairs of underwear
three pairs of jeans
an assortment of tshirts, preferably from bike rallys and shops: dates and location on the back are a good way to "wear your heart on your sleeve". this is a benefit as locals will have some idea of your situation. they will find it a romantic notion and they will think you are cool. if they think you are cool, they're likely to be really helpful if you happen to need help.
one denim long-sleeve shirt (cool nights) or something similar.
aeropress coffee maker, coffee, filters, a small mess kit, three aluminum tent stakes, and a can of stearno*
more cash than i need, but not enough for the trip **
extra tie-down straps
ziploc bags
personal grooming items
paper map
two piece rain suit, boot gaiters, and nitrile gloves. the rainsuit is tied to the forks where i can get at it quick. the boot gaiters and nitrile gloves go in the tank bag. i can mix/match as needed. the gloves go under regular gloves and keep water off my skin. i've found that wet gloves are fine once rain stops and the sun comes out... and if you are making miles, this is almost always the case.
All of this goes into one tank bag and one large waterproof bag. the mat, ties to the front handle bars to act as a wind shield. the tent has its own bag and ties to the waterproof bag.
I never take interstates. I always avoid touristy places. KOA campgrounds are preferred as they always have showers, washers/dryers, and electricity. but i've stealth-camped at rest areas, along roads, and begind beer joints (the smaller places are usually run by the owner and they'll almost always let you camp 'round back).
* place can of stearno on the ground. push aluminum stakes into the ground around the can, leaving a few inches above the top of the can. sit pan/pot atop stakes and try to level things out. light stearno and cook. this is not only ultralight cooking setup, its a seriously cheap cooking setup. also, be carefule with the aeropress it makes very strong coffee. not strong as in bitter, but mildly sweet coffee that hella-caffinated. sugar/cream not needed.
** use credit/debit when you can, but carry a hundred or so in cash. cash is king. you can get things cheaper if you say "all i have is cash, but not enough for this. can i get the room/campsite/whatever for $x?". in certain cases***, you'll get what you need cheaper than usual. distribute your cash sensibly. 10 one-dollar bills should be easiest to get at for stickups/scary bums/assertive dirtbags. if you get stuck-up by a greasy bastard, say "jesus christ not again" and hand them the big fat wad of 1-dollar bills. tell them its all you have and sound disgusted. the rest of the money should be split between tank bag and under the seat. so half in an easy-to-get-to spot and half in hard-to-get-to spot.
*** if you roll into a motel at midnight and you plan to leave early, the night clerk is likely to put you in the room, clean it themselves in the morning, and never report the room occupied. if you know you can be gone by certain time, mention it. you'd be surprised how many night clerks are willing to give you a really really good rate on a room. they arent making tons of money working night-shift at motel6 and they do not love their employers. don't expect a good deal from Indians. they don't care. they wont even hire someone for night-shift.
on the point of clothing: major truck-stops and better campgrounds have laundry facilities. no need to carry a ton of clean clothes. in the case of traveling through serious wilds: a rope across running water, with laundry weaved through it, will come clean overnight, if you can span the creek/river/whatever. running water is a wicked-good cleaner.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Are you looking into getting storage space? We'd be able to help with a minimalist storage option, or go all out, depending on what you're looking for.
We also have an instrument riser that moves the cluster up a bit

Moto Machines
Importer and Distributor for Hepco & Becker and Ermax Products

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