Getting ready for some touring! - Honda CBR250R Forum : Honda CBR 250 Forums
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-21-2017, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Getting ready for some touring!

I've got a 900 mile (1448 km) trek coming up (round-trip), across Iowa and South Dakota this summer. I decided it would be a great time to take my bike. I've never done more than about 60 miles (97 km) in one trip, so it's going to be different for me. But I've got my route all planned out and I'll be stopping every 80 (129 km) to 120 (193 km) miles for some sight-seeing, leg-stretching and refueling. The speed limit across interstate highways is 80 mph (129 kph), which I think I could manage, however, I plan to take my time and travel on some state highways where the limit is lower and the scenery is prettier.

The trip is still about 3 months out, but I've been acquiring some "touring" gear to prepare. So far I've got some cheapo (but surprisingly durable and well-made) saddlebags and passenger seat bag. I think the brand is Classic Motorgear. But since they were a universal fit and didn't come with any kind of mounting bracket, they sagged. So I followed suit to some of the other users around here and fabricated my own supports out of PVC and mounted them above the passenger footpegs. Simple.
The bags were pretty easy to secure and they're very stable. The passenger seat bag that attaches to the saddle bags, however, wasn't able to tighten very much. But it's not much of an issue. The tank bag is something I've had for a long time. It's small but it gets the job done.
The seat cover is another cheap product. A Coleman ATV cover I got for $15 on Amazon. It doesn't really fit, but it helps in terms of comfort. Not sure if I would necessarily recommend it. It was kind of a pain to secure over the seat.
Additionally, I bought a Go Cruise throttle assist. (Can be barely seen above the front brake lever.) I tested this thing out and it's fantastic! Expensive, to be sure (for a piece of plastic) but I think it'll be worth it. (It's especially nice to have because the cruise control malfunctioned on my Infiniti!)
I also bought a Slime Power Sport Smart Spair, in case of an emergency flat tire.

And lastly, I'm trying to figure out what I want to do about the windscreen. I'd love to have a bigger and taller one. The Laminar Lip is an option. I've also been searching all over for the Honda touring screen that attaches under the mirrors. The other screens that require taking the bike apart are not so appealing to me. I'll make that decision soon.

Before I embark on this trip, I will be cleaning and lubing my chain thoroughly (I actually need to do this right now) as well as changing the oil. Anything else I should be thinking of in terms of maintenance?
Any touring tips I haven't thought of? I'm really looking forward to this!
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2012 CBR250R

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1983 Yamaha XS400

Last edited by rdxj; 04-21-2017 at 03:09 PM.
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-21-2017, 11:34 PM
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OK. Your bike is very well-prepared for the ride. Well done! Be sure your tires have a decent amount of tread left. You don't want to be riding on cords while on tour.

The CBR250R makes a great flyweight sport touring machine, but you are wise to avoid interstates and ride on state highways. Although I live in Kentucky, the land of crooked roads, I do enjoy riding on undulating straight roads like the ones found in nearby Indiana. I lived in Nebraska for a year and can well appreciate the charm and beauty of the central Midwest with its wide-open spaces, small towns, friendly people, and big skies. I think you are in for a great ride! I'm envious.

I would advise planning for more riding time than Google Maps proclaims. Don't try to rush yourself...this should be an enjoyable ride. Set a limit of 150 miles a day if you can. That means three days out and three days back, if you can manage the time off from work. Otherwise you are looking at two 225 mile days, which doesn't leave a lot of room for discovery and wandering.

Your biggest concern will be rain. You need a strategy for dealing with it. I can tell you are frugal, but I would advise a rain suit. Olympia makes some good ones for the money. Another option is Frogg Toggs. They make ones that are motorcycle-specific. Don't go for a cheap suit that doesn't breathe...you'll be miserable. Bring extra gloves...I've not found a way to keep gloves dry that doesn't interfere with controlling the bike. So the gloves will get wet. Hopefully you have waterproof Gore-Tex boots. If not, get some gaiters or waterproof boot covers. Have a way to track storms. Get off the road when there is lightning and obviously if tornadoes are about. Be prepared to alter your route to ride around storm cells.

Stay hydrated. Eat breakfast.

I'm older, so I like to take one or two over-the-counter painkillers (I like Aleve) before I do a long ride to stave off joint pain and general body aches. Just a thought.

Bring chain lube and use it nightly. Ditto a tire pressure gauge. Don't know your weight but I'm a deuce (200 lbs) and run 33 PSI rear and 29 PSI front when loaded for touring. I run 31 PSI rear / 29 PSI front when not loaded. Adjust your rear preload for proper sag when loaded. You may have to crank it up a click or two.

Put a clear shield on your helmet or at least bring one with you. You never know if you will be delayed and have to ride after dark. A dark smoke tint will be dangerous and riding with an open visor while mosquitoes, gnats, and no-see-ems smack into your face is not fun. Have visor-cleaning supplies with you at all times. Use anti-fog coating on your visor and glasses if you wear them.

Put all of your clothing and so on inside waterproof bags before you put them in the panniers. The one-gallon ziplocks are great. Have smaller ziplock bags available to secure your phone and wallet against the wet.

Lastly: have a way to keep your phone and/or GPS charged. If you don't have anything hooked up to the bike's electrical system, get a high milliamp-hour battery power pack to use for re-charging on the go.

Best of luck! Be sure to take pictures and post a ride report!








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post #3 of 8 Old 04-22-2017, 03:21 AM
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Unless you're built very much differently to me (I'm 5'9" and 150lbs) you should find the CBR250R all day comfortable in standard trim. On the bigger days out I've done I've had no trouble clocking up 100 miles in three hours with a bit of sight-seeing thrown in, so 200 plus miles a day should be quite straightforward. You should also be able to get 200 miles or more to a a tank-full.
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-22-2017, 12:46 PM
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If you are looking for a way to fasten your seat pack a little better, I have a Ventura luggage rack available. Just see the want ads, or PM me if you are interested.

Yeah, the Google Map estimates are for people in comfy cars that can cruise tank-to-tank at over 300 miles to a pop.

Youth and/or fitness is the best way to pull this off.

Wear earplugs. If the wind noise does not damage your hearing (and it will), it will definitely exhaust you.

If the speed limit is 80 MPH, then traffic will be 90+, and there is no way you could keep that up for long. Not even 80, I wouldn't think, without being laid down on your tank bag.

When I had my bike, I had a RAM mount on the handlebars for my phone. I took a car charger apart so I could solder wire leads where the cigarette lighter plug used to be, and I hooked that up to the taillight circuit so that it was only activated when the bike was running. Then I ran the cord up to the handlebars.
The RAM mount I used is a small, 45° mount that they sell. RAM Motorcycle Base with 9mm Hole and 1" Ball Unpackaged - RAM-B-272U | RAM Mounts
I like it much better than the one that goes in the steering stem. That is what the GPS mount is on in the 3rd picture.

Good luck, have fun, and lube that chain nightly!
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-22-2017, 06:05 PM
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Tips, eh? You have already gotten some good ones.

1. carry a spare of gloves. I use plain leather work gloves in the when temps are above 50F, carry a spare pair and a spare pair of nitrile gloves (think examination gloves) that can go under the leather gloves if things get really cold or really wet.

2. keep your rain gear where it is quickly accessible.

3. stay off of Interstate roads. Either plan to take an extra day and shorten the daily mileage on the scenic/less-traveled roads, (can I question if there are scenic roads in the prairie?), or plan on riding longer. I'm a bit on the old side, and try to keep my daily mileage in the 400-450 per day range, but up to 500 scenic miles per day still works for me. I regularly rode my NX250 about 330 miles, each way, on back or scenic roads to visit our youngest boy and his family.

4. the bigger windscreen isn't mandatory. Have you ridden naked bikes? I did 3300 miles with no windscreen (I had removed what came with the bike because it caused helmet buffeting), but decent rain gear (I used Frogg Toggs as a cheap solution) is needed. See pic of screenless CB500XA

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Honda CBR500R Forum : CB500F and CB500X Forums - View Single Post - Arizona to Montana and back
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-22-2017, 10:01 PM
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I didn't read all the above posts but I will later on. I thought I'd add getting the best gear you can. Check Ebay for deals on your jacket, pants and boots. I have a bunch of nice gear I got very cheap and it really makes for a treat when riding. Feeling comfortable in rain, cold and heat is worth the time, effort and money to invest in this.
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-25-2017, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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Hey guys, thanks for all the input! I'm taking everything into consideration. I really appreciate it.

Unfortunately I don't have enough time to stretch the travel over two or three days. I did a few more calculations on my trip just to check out my options...
Google Maps suggests a 6.5 hour trip in 470 miles via the interstate route. That means the average speed would be about 72 mph. This might not be too bad, however, my preference is still the other route. Traveling the state highways, Google tells me 450 miles in a little over 8 hours. That averages out to about 56 mph. And I've got 4 stops planned in between. So I'm confident that I can make the non-interstate highway trip in under 10 hours with a fairly comfortable speed. I think 60-65 is good. I can image that too much faster than that would get uncomfortable after a few hours. But 10 hours as a high estimate sounds reasonable. I'll plan to leave before 9 am and be at my destination around 7 pm.

I'm really banking on not having rain. Maybe that's sophomoric. But I'm not going to buy rain gear. My protective jacket has a rain proof lining but I don't have anything else to keep the rain out for myself. My luggage came with rain protective covers that are actually attached and easy to put on. And that's good enough for me. My valuables can go inside the luggage and I can trek on. If I get soaked, I'll just change at my destination. I've ridden in the rain before and can handle it, unless it starts to downpour and storm really hard. If that's the case, I'll probably see it in the forecast and just end up taking my car.

As far as the other suggestions...
I need to look for a way to power my phone. I've got a Pebble (the 7 day battery life smart watch) that can receive Google Maps directions. I can leave it on and turn my phone screen off and my phone will stay alive for plenty of time. Still, I'd be more comfortable knowing I had a way to charge my phone. Is there any kind of DIY guide around here? I'll have to check...
I will for sure be wearing earplugs. Or maybe some noise-cancelling earbuds with quiet music for a stretch or two.
I plan to bring some water with me and buy more and drink plenty at each stop, as well as fuel up often. (I'm in the habit of drinking at least 100 oz of water daily anyways. )
My first bike was an XS400 with no screen. I took it on the highways before and did okay. But I would at least like to test and know if a bigger screen would benefit me. The stock one is not much. I almost always sit upright over it anyways, unless I'm trying to buckle down and pass someone at a higher speed.
I hadn't thought to bring lube with me. That's a really good, and obvious, idea. Will do. I've got a tire gauge and flashlight in my Slime kit.
Thanks for the PSI suggestions. I'm 195 lbs and about 6'0, so I imagine similar would be good.
I got new tires about 2,000 miles ago. I don't imagine I'll be riding a ton between now and July, so I'm thinking the tread life should be pretty good still. (Bike currently has about 10,500 miles on it. Over 6,000 of those are mine!)

2012 CBR250R

Previous:
1983 Yamaha XS400

Last edited by rdxj; 04-25-2017 at 02:36 PM.
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-25-2017, 04:18 PM
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Do at least one 8-hour test ride (4 hours out, 4 hours back, or an 8-hour loop) on a weekend before your ride, so you can see how your calculations measure up in real-world.
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