I have spent the last couple of weeks looking for a decent looking tank bag that doesn’t cost the earth and will fit an adventure style bike. After much research I found the GIVI EA110, an expandable bag with enough room for my valuables, pockets for change and phone etc..
Whilst searching I discovered the website “Two Wheeled Trekkers”, a website that details the epic journey undertaken by Cliff and Jenny as they travelled from England to New Zealand on 2 BMW F650GS bikes over a year! After a bit reading I discovered that Cliff and Jenny now run a bike shop dedicated to touring and adventure, The Adventure Bike Shop and they have some great gear for the wanna be explorer or experienced tourer. Having enquired about the Tank Bag and explained to Cliff what the purpose of the trip was he kindly offered a sizable discount on the tank bag as a way to help out and I’m very grateful for that support.
They will be at the BMF Show in Peterborough this coming weekend (16-18 May 2014) in the Adventure Zone, go see them and see what they have to offer! I plan to!
After months of searching for the perfect bike for the trip I found one last week! I had been looking at 2 real options, the Honda NC700X and the BMW F650GS, both have 2 things in common that I wanted, relatively cheap to buy and economical to run. It was going to come down to cost and what I could find urgently with just over 2 weeks until the start and still no bike I was starting to panic. I wasn’t able to plan or work out what I could take without knowing how much luggage space I had. Then one evening on one of my nightly searches across Ebay, Autotrader, Guntree etc.. (have some free advertising guys!) I saw an advert for the perfect BMW F650GS, fully loaded with luggage. unfortunately it was located in Bournemouth but I wasn’t worried about that too much as long as the bike was perfect for the job. After a few emails with Chris the seller I decided that I would be a fool not to go for it. So yesterday I took the long journey down and picked it up! Chris and his wife… also Chris! Were a lovely couple making me a cup of tea and a cheese sandwich to give me a bit of biking energy. Chris who works as a semi-retired HR Consultant and also works at a local school is a long time biker with more than 45 years riding. He clearly liked the BMW and it was a sad day for them both seeing it go but he was happy it was going to someone who will use it for a good cause. Hopefully I’ll meet up with them sometime after the trip for another cuppa and a chat!
Chris with his wife, also Chris and the BMW F650GS which I’ll soon be riding to the Arctic Circle!
Auritech are serious about ears! They make a huge range of standard and custom fit ear plugs that will protect your hearing whether you are flying on a jet off on your holidays, doing 10 lengths of your local swimming pool or riding a motorcycle down an open road. Auritech have very kindly donated their “Biker” ear plugs to save us from going deaf on our journey! I’ll let you know how we get on with them. Thanks to Auritech!
So I’m hoping that shortly I will have enough money to buy a more suitable bike for the trip. I know the CBR would likely make the journey, let’s be honest Honda’s are pretty bulletproof, but I’m not sure my wrists and back will make it in the CBR. So I have been looking around for options and there are plenty in the tourer and adventure tourer classes of bikes. The important factors for me are reliability and economy and those things have driven my research.
Bikes such as the BMW GS range, Honda Varadero, Honda Transalp, Suzuki DL650/DL1000 all came up as considerations but 2 bikes have stood out as likely candidates, the BMW f650GS and Honda NC700x. Neither bike is designed for speed but that’s not important when you are touring, comfort, economy and ability to carry what you need are what is important. Sure if I wanted to travel the world then a BMW R1200 might be a better choice but bother the f650 and Nc700 offer good reliability, comfort and 60+ mpg.
So I’ll be looking out for one of those over the next couple of weeks, ideally kitted with panniers and top box.
So after spending last year trying to fix an oil leak on the CBR I decided to bite the bullet and source a second hand engine from Ebay. With the help of my best friend Ryan we swapped the engine last year but never had a chance to test it out. So it sat garaged until now when I finally got the bike MOT and Tax sorted so I could start to get some miles under my belt before the trip. After one trip I discovered oil on my back tyre again! So another trip back to Reading and a couple of hours later the leak was fixed! So I’ve now completed almost 1000 miles over the last 2 weeks and the bike is running pretty nicely. If it gets used for the trip I’ll need new tyres and may need to check the brakes.
Parked up at the services on the M1 for a coffee break 🙂
So unless I come can get the funds together in time it’s likely I’ll be riding this for the trip! Not ideal by any means but if it’s a choice between riding this and not going then there is no choice! Of course I’ll still need luggage of some sort and I need to hope the replacement engine doesn’t have an oil leak like the old engine.