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Rev.Brian57
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« on: December 15, 2013, 03:24:24 pm »

I just bought my first adventure bike - a 2013 V-Strom 650 ABS Adventure. I have never toured before and I'm receiving all kinds of advice on what kind of upgrades to make to my bike - skid plate, center stand, hand guards, mirror extenders, GPS (which one?) custom seat (Which one?).

I've owned cruisers before but never a sport tourer/adventure tourer. I really like this bike.  Love how it handles. I welcome advice about how to set up my bike for touring.

I'm taking an out west ride for 12 days next June to celebrate making it through prostate cancer and treatment. I'm calling it the "I'm Still Here" ride.
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Doc4216
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2013, 04:34:49 pm »

Congrats on winning the battle! Find what you like, which also depends on what you will use it for, and make the bike your own! Good luck with your new bike!
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UHOH
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2013, 05:22:48 pm »



 I've ridden the older version VStrom and liked it well enough ~stock.
That said, get center-stand for maintenance ease, if you'll be doing your own, and hand-guards to keep wind/rain off gloves.
Other than that, just try your bike and then decide.

I see this is your 1st post; hope you continue and post up photos from your big summer ride ...  Welcome.
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Chuck 500
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2013, 10:13:26 pm »

Congrats on winning your round with big C.

As far as the bike goes, I have heard nothing but good about V Stroms.  Optional equipment depends on where you intend to ride on your tour.  If you will stick to paved roads a skid plate is not needed.  I would get a center stand if the bike does not have one.  The center stand will make chain maintenance and tire checking much easier.  Also, the bike should be nearly level for checking engine oil, center stand helps here too.

Happy travels,

Chuck
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2013, 10:29:26 pm »

Rider comfort and safety should be priority.  Good gear that fits properly is a great start.  As with most things, you get what you paid for so don't skimp.  Finding out your "waterproof" boots are not sucks when you're 1000 miles from anywhere in an all day rain just above freezing.  On the flip side, finding out the plastic liner that has kept your feet dry does not breath and you've developed trench foot by day 3.

Safety upgrades like auxiliary lighting is valuable when you're navigating unfamiliar territory after dark or in bad weather.  Some extra brake lights are also good for highways and traffic.  Decent tires are also important.

Luggage options should be secure, simple, and hold all your stuff with ease.  It shouldn't take 20 minutes to strap down and you shouldn't have to worry about it underway.

And no matter what activity you are doing, the better you are at it, the more fun it will likely be.  Take a training course, read some books, and practice techniques in a parking lot regularly.
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mugwump58
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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2013, 05:32:38 am »

Start with short trips that progressively become longer. The farkles you want and need will become apparent quickly. Work into it.

I'm assuming you've already been to Stromtrooper, http://www.stromtrooper.com/ .


Seats are expensive and are like oil when discussed on the internet, good luck.
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« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2013, 08:00:26 pm »

THAT.  

Madstad bracket - having an adjustable windscreen is well worth a few bucks.

Seat comfort - Get an AirHawk pad ($) or a Sargent ($$) seat.  A BeadRider also works, if sliding forward doesn't bother you when you brake.

GPS - Just about everyone here uses one.  I always carry a full selection of paper maps as well.  They work well together.

Set of comfortable ear buds to plug into your mp3 player.  

Hand-guards are nice.  Don't know if mine actually shield rain and cold, but they do deflect small pebbles.  

Hard case luggage.  

A good rainsuit, boots and gloves.

Everything else is optional.  You don't need a bash plate for casual off-road.  Crash bars add a lot of weigh, and you really shouldn't need them if you stay on 2-track.  
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Rev.Brian57
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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2014, 10:03:10 pm »

I think I just erased my comment so I'll try this again:
Thanks for all the good advice. I've been making some additions to my Vee over the past month:
  Day Long seat
  Fork brace
  Mirror extenders
  20" Madstad and bracket (Written instructions aren't much and I could not find a video but got it done anyway in about an hour)

I'm going to get a pair of Barkbusters as well.
I'm planning my out west ride for June this year and am looking for a GPS that won't break the bank. I want to be able to plan a non-interstate route from Kentucky to South Dakota. Not interested in much of anything else. I'll be using paper maps on my tank bag as well. Any advice about a good GPS brand/model will be much appreciated!
I am really enjoying this site along with the V-Strom and Horizons Unlimited sites.
This stuff could become addictive!
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Chuck 500
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« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2014, 10:29:21 pm »

Sounds like you are off to a good start.  Especially with the Day Long saddle.  Russell is the best.  I finally put one on my NT700 and it made the bike.

Personally, I am a technophobe so stick to paper maps.  If you haven't yet, join AAA and add RV coverage which will towing for your bike if needed.  You will get access to their network of offices nationwide and all the free maps you can consume. I have been all over half of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, including a Saddle Sore 1000, using AAA maps and a green marker.  (No batteries to worry about).

Above all, have fun and keep the shiny side up,

Chuck
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Orson
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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2014, 03:02:24 pm »

The only mods I have is soft luggage  Bigsmile No GPS, no nuttin'. Just a paper map and wanderlust.

Just get out there and ride. If you really need something, it will become apparent before long.

Order an Aerostich catalog. It's full of doo-dads.
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wibornz
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« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2014, 11:06:15 pm »

For a,GPS, I buy cheap off the net.  The last garmin I paid 35 dollars for it.  It is not a great one.  It is not water proof.  I put a ziplock baggy over it in the rain. I also use my smartphone as a GPS.  

I use a  camelpac for water or tea in my ranking.  
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TED
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2014, 09:14:47 am »

Congrats are in order for the both of us. I am also a prostate cancer survivor and am planning a Rocky Mountain road trip again this June as well. I have never used a GPS...just tank bag maps. No luggage but a dry duffel and a tank bag. Blue Highways only...I cut across MN, SD, WY (small SE corner) and into Red Lodge, MT on US-212. Great road by the way if your destination is the Black Hills. Sounds as if you have everything in order, but don't hesitate to ask more questions. Even PM me if you want. Have a great trip. Thumbsup
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2014, 12:51:41 pm »


For a,GPS, I buy cheap off the net.  The last garmin I paid 35 dollars for it.  It is not a great one.  It is not water proof.  I put a ziplock baggy over it in the rain. I also use my smartphone as a GPS.  

I use a  camelpac for water or tea in my ranking.  


The older GPS' navigate just fine. The newer ones have lots of bells and whistles, but as far as getting from A to B. Not much has changed.

The camelback is also a great idea. Be sure to get one with a wide mouth. Easier to load with ice.
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Rev.Brian57
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« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2014, 08:05:23 am »

Thanks for all the helpful advice. I have added some things to the bike this winter. In terms of increasing comfort and my ability to stay on the bike longer I installed a Russell Day Long seat, Madstad 20" , Barkbusters and mirror extenders. Now I can sit in comfort and not have the wind buffet me. The ride is great. I bought a very basic Garmin and it is fine for my needs. I am a map guy anyway. I put a Givi quick release tank bag on the bike and really enjoy using actual maps while I ride. It seems to keep me more involved in the ride than the GPS although I'm glad I have the Garmin on board.
One observation - the Russell seat is worth every dollar and the Russell people are great to work with. Be advised they increase seat height significantly. I am 6'1" and am on the balls of my feet now at a stop. Not a big deal at all but if your inseam is shorter than mine (I am 32 1/2) then it might be something for you to consider.
One area I am not satisfied with is my helmet. I bought an HJC and it hurt my head after an hour. Then an expensive Shoei and the same thing. I have a long oval head and I guess these helmets are not for long ovals like me. Does anyone have any suggestions? Trying a helmet on in a showroom is not enough. It would sure help to find someone who knows the brand I could try.
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antimatter
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« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2014, 01:15:06 pm »


One area I am not satisfied with is my helmet. I bought an HJC and it hurt my head after an hour. Then an expensive Shoei and the same thing. I have a long oval head and I guess these helmets are not for long ovals like me. Does anyone have any suggestions? Trying a helmet on in a showroom is not enough. It would sure help to find someone who knows the brand I could try.



Webbikeworld had reviews of helmets based on head shape.  That said, if you're willing to splash out the cash, and Arai is probably your best bet for finding a helmet to fit your head shape.  I'm a cheapskate, so I tried a bunch of helmets before finding the Scorpion EXO-400 fit me perfectly.  I also have a long oval head, and the HJC helmet shape tends to sit on the front and back of my head.  I owned one a long time ago, and ended up doing surgery to the comfort liner (not the EPS) to take some material from the front and back and add it to the sides.  Beyond that, I advise keeping the helmet on, in the store, for at least 15 minutes before you commit your cash.  A good store will let you take a helmet for a test ride.
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Chuck 500
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« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2014, 10:08:16 pm »

I also have an oval head.  I tried on Shoie (SP?) but could not wear it for more than a few minutes.  I had a knowledgeable salesman who said that likely it was too round.  He steered me to an Arai Vector.  Instant comfort.  I am now on my second Vector.  Arai helmets are expensive but worth the money to me.  All Arai helmets are Snell rated so unfortunately no modulars.  
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« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2014, 09:05:53 am »

Re; GPS'
The real down side to older GPS' are the maps aren't the latest.  Roads don't change much, but they do change.  Confused the hell out of me the first time I was on a bypass the GPS didn't know about.  Now it's amusing.  Also, the 'map' includes the Points of Interests (POIs), which are restaurants, gas stations, banks, motels etc.  They change a LOT, esp restaurants lately.  Not a deal killer, just something to be aware of.  I upgraded my Nuvi after it guided me to 3 restaurants in a row that were out of business.  For just a bit more than the price of a new map, I got a newer Nuvi with lifetime maps (the old Nuvi stays in the car now).
For rain - I don't ride technical roads in the rain, so I don't need to constantly see the GPS.  I put the GPS in my inside jacket pocket and plug my ear buds into it.
Oh, and the batteries don't last as long.  But you can buy replacement battery kits with instructions and the tiny screw driver needed.
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« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2014, 09:45:57 pm »


Thanks for all the helpful advice.
...
One area I am not satisfied with is my helmet. I bought an HJC and it hurt my head after an hour.
Then an expensive Shoei and the same thing. I have a long oval head and ...


My hats are Shoei and Scorpion.  I usually choose the latter for comfort, even though it's a tad heavier.
Scorpion runs 1 size small (I wear a L everything, but need an XL Scorpion).
Maybe go to a stocking dealer and ask if you can try it on for an hour in their store.  
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« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2014, 02:57:52 pm »

(wont lie, didn't read all the post)

What I did when I decided to do more long distance riding was get a set of soft bags, and started there. I slow started changing what I felt I needed to in order for my bike to do what I wanted to make the longer rides more enjoyable.
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GerryPetrecca
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« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2014, 06:11:57 pm »


I just bought my first adventure bike - a 2013 V-Strom 650 ABS Adventure. I have never toured before and I'm receiving all kinds of advice on what kind of upgrades to make to my bike - skid plate, center stand, hand guards, mirror extenders, GPS (which one?) custom seat (Which one?).

I've owned cruisers before but never a sport tourer/adventure tourer. I really like this bike.  Love how it handles. I welcome advice about how to set up my bike for touring.

I'm taking an out west ride for 12 days next June to celebrate making it through prostate cancer and treatment. I'm calling it the "I'm Still Here" ride.


Welcome aboard from a fellow cancer survivor, for me it was stage 4 head & neck.  My "I survived" ride was from Guilford , Ct out to Milford, PA and rides up and down the Delaware water gap.  One of the best rides ever for me.


Gerry


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Gerry Petrecca
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« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2014, 04:17:57 am »

I heard that Arai and Bell offers comfortable fit for oval shape heads. Try to check them out.
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