donderdag 9 mei 2013

A Beast fable

So the garment bit is covered, but what about the travel kit on the bike?

For the bulk of my luggage (mainly clothes, food & fluids) I use aluminium panniers, mounted on either side. They are the basic ZEGA cases from Touratech and hang from a Hepco & Becker rack. The rack came with the bike when I bought it - the cases can be put on every rack there is, as long as it's got a closed framework where you can hang the 4 mounting 'pucks' into. You have to add the pucks to the panniers yourself - in my case, it wasn't a particularly difficult job, you just have to take your time with it to make sure everything is aligned correctly.

I use the little handles on the pannier lids to secure my tent on the buddy seat. During the first trip, I noticed that the placing of the tent had an unforeseen benefit - it provides sterling support for my lower back, which makes long distances alot more bearable.

As you might notice, one pannier is larger (41L) than the other (35L) - this is to account for the exhaust on the right of the bike, so the bike remains symmetrical.

To make sure one is not heavier than the other because of the big one taking more gear, I weigh both panniers before each trip. In the end, balance is all that matters on a motorbike.

On the front of the beast is a Bagster tankbag, which mounts on a 'bra' strapped on the bike for the duration of the trip - in case of a petrol stop, I can easily click off the tankbag and put it back on once I've filled up.

The tankbag takes the stuff I want to have within arm's reach - waterbottles, (ratchet-)straps, mounts for the cam, tie-rips, fuses, and in Britain also the rain suit (which will be moved to the panniers to help weight balance). It also serves as temporary home to my gloves when I need to take them off  - e.g. when going through customs. The transparant top of the tankbag takes the compass, enabling me to take a quick peek whenever necessary.

Lastly, in the rear is my top case - on the road, only my backpack is in there to keep the bike balanced. It's got space for two helmets, so during a longer stop I can take my backpack out and put the helmet in. In Britain it was also home to the road book - this had as a benefit that each time I came to the end of a pre-determined route, I was forced to take a break beside the road, which in turn countered possible road-mesmerization and fatigue.

Main alterations to the bike as opposed to last Summer will be:
  • A tooltube, to be mounted to the sump guard. I want to be able to make small repairs on the road if need be, and a small toolkit is just one of those things I'd rather have but not need than the other way around. As a bonus, the location of the tube also helps with weight distribution.
  • A sheepskin to the seat - the beast is actually getting some fur! I read everywhere that it aids ride comfort on long distances... for me, I'm just hoping that as a result my ass won't be as sore as it was at the end of each day in Britain, heehee.
  • A shorter windscreen with spoiler. During testing in heat I noticed that with the big screen, the entire top half of the body was out of the wind. This is fine for moderate climates such as the one I live in, but for this Summer, extra ventilation is paramount.
  • A GPS Spot Messenger on the handlebars. I'll be passing through some rough territory, and this way I can easily outline my route and call for help if need be.
Finally, here's the new poetic installment I've been working on for the past weeks. It includes alot of new imagery, as well as some footage that didn't make it into the Britain compilation. Enjoy!