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Advice needed

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by Turtl3, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. Hi all,

    I'm planning on doing a trip either from Bunbury to Mackay or Mackay to Bunbury...possibly even both. This will be my first ever touring ride. Im not a newbie to bikes or riding, but ive never endured more than 5hours of seat time in a day. and ive never tackled a multiple day trip either :confused:. i will be trying to cover atleast 7-800ks per day, but there is no rush- so maybe less if the scenery is good.

    First off, I'm planning on going SOLO and im still unsure as to whether its a sane idea to venture off the tarmac given its my first ever tour. So feel free to chime in with a vote of safe or suicidal for that one...

    The next problem i face is choosing a bike that will be comfortable and im 6'6...so no sports bike allowed. Im trying to keep the cost down for the purchase price of the bike, which is extremely limiting in itself. im trying to stay at around $3500 with a little wriggle/haggle room. so far my viable options are:
    1999 honda xl1000v varadero. private sale, one owner, 65,000ks, just had major service $3500
    2002 bmw k1200rs. dealership sale, 142,000ks, just had major service + new tyres $3900
    1998 honda st1100. private sale, 95,000ks, ex police bike (probably maintained correctly), recent oil+filter change $3250
    1992 yamaha fj1200. private sale, 64,000ks, log book history, great condition $3000
    im imagining that the last 3 will be pretty limited to the black top...
    If you have any other suggestions feel free to chime in. comfort is a must. a nice upright seating position (ill be taking a kidney belt regardless) plenty of wind protection, and availability of pannier bags or atleast a top box.

    Im undecided on whether to go north coast, south coast...or split the difference and cut across the middle. ill be going mid-late october. any suggestions from those with previous experience? Im leaning toward staying on the tarmac and tavelling light, which means stopping at motels. which brings me to my next concern. are the rooms along the road plentiful and readily available, or are they scarce and require booking in advance? What are the towns to avoid stopping in, whether it be for fuel or rest? and what are the towns that are the most common to stop or have points of interest.

    any input will be taken onboard and greatly appreciated, please dont flame me as im new to this, im sorry if this has been covered before...if it has, please point me in the direction of where and i will read up some more.
  2. Your km/day is too high. 7-800km per day every day is entirely unrealistic on an extended tour.

    The odd day where you have to pound out some kms is fine, but you won't be able to do it day in, day out.

    *Especially* given your very limited experience riding extended km.

    Before embarking on this adventure I would highly recommend doing a shorter multi day trip to familiarise yourself with the challenges involved in backing up day after day.

    You need to be ride fit.
    • Agree Agree x 8
  3. +1 ^ riding big kays day after day is a very romantic idea , but you have to build up to it . You'll hurt in places you didn't know you had . First purchase for any bike is a sheepskin seat cover , then some form of throttle lock . Australia is a big country on a bike. But don't let anyone put you off doing it . One motorcyclings greatest pleasures is solo traveling. Do yourself a favor and do a few thousand kms on whatever you buy before you leave . You want confidence in the machine.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. I can categorically state that ALL ex-fleet vehicles have not only not been maintained correctly, but have had the absolute shit flogged out of them. I heard a running joke about riding the clutch in the work cars instead of using the handbrake waiting at lights on a hill, that government vehicles had wet clutches just like bikes so it was alright ;-)

    Seriously though. Tradesmen do all the important work at the fleet service departments, and apprentices do the routine services. We once waited at the service depot for the ute to cool down then sticky taped all the lids (oil, auto transmission fluid, brake fluid, coolant etc) and inked the dipstick handle before we took it in for service, then when we came back the sticky tape hadn't been touched and the ink was still perfect on the handle. It looked like they literally did not even open the hood.

    In saying that, sometimes you get lucky and the bike just goes forever. So maybe it's worth a test ride.

    I'd agree very much with the prior post though, being bike-fit for a ride like that is crucial. Do a few 3-400km rides 2 or 3 days in a row and see how you feel... Definitely rack some kms up on the new steed before you saddle up and go off into the sunset. You'll need to know how well it pulls up in an emergency, how easy it will be to dodge debris on the motorway and in the hills, and that practise and build up could very well keep you alive.

    Apart from that, I'm bloody jealous mate. Have the time of your life
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Also , I like the idea of traveling light . But take a sleeping bag and mattress with you anyway . Lots of place in remote areas have limited accommodation , but usually someone at the pub let you crash in a back room or garage or something.
  6. When ever I am on tour with my wife, we plan on 650km day's as a max. By myself a touring max of 1000 kms. They are big day's and that is from an expeirenced ride. So from the point that this is your first big tour, I would plan on 650 km day's. Your butt is the first thing to wear out, so I would plan on a butt break every 100-150 kms. And get yourself an airhark for your seat. Remember you need layers for when it gets cold and somewhere to put them when it's hot. Alway's have water on your tour.
    I would go with the st1100 and listen to the local riders on NR for your route
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. 700 - 800 km days are more than doable, this is what I usually work on with my trips but I've been riding a long long time and I always start building up a few months out with several weekend runs pushing up the daily mileage each time. As for bikes the BMW or the ST1100 would be the two best choices for that sort of run, greater luggage options etc, only issue with the BMW is that model has servo assist ABS which if it hasn't been maintained exactly right (full flush and bleed annually) is a very expensive repair if the ABS module craps out ($3000 just for the part) and is a common failure on poorly maintained examples, the ST1100s are just about bullet proof and would be my recommendation. Definitely carry some camping gear, better to have it and never use it than need it and not have it!
    Plan rest days, I usually look at every fifth day a rest day, last trip in March I did just over 11,000kms in three weeks, four days down to Canberra, rest day, four days playing in the Snowies with a heap of other lunatics then back to Canberra for another rest/service day then took my time wandering home up through Queensland. Remember to factor in servicing, most Japanese bikes run a 6000km service interval, BMWs run at 10,000kms service intervals, extremely hot or dusty conditions look at doing more often, factor in at least one set of tyres, most critical thing is planning!
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  8. Ok now let's look seriously at your bike choices, at your height a lot of bikes would just not be suitable, any inland route at that time of year is going to encounter air temperatures up to 42c, most air cooled and carburetted bikes will have performance and over heating issues, tyre wear and fuel consumption will be increased as actual road temperatures will get well over 55c, rider over heating and fatigue will necessitate more and longer stops, hydration will be critical. All of your possible choices have good fuel ranges so not an issue.

    1999 honda xl1000v varadero. private sale, one owner, 65,000ks, just had major service $3500

    Pre fuel injection model, non ABS, same motor as the VTR Firestorm, very thirsty motor, fuel economy is not their strong point lol, usually easy fit up for luggage options, not the bike I would recommend.

    2002 bmw k1200rs. dealership sale, 142,000ks, just had major service + new tyres $3900

    Dependent on service history, if this has a full dealer service history then it's a bloody good buy at that price, actually low mileage for that motor, remember though the RS stands for Road Sport and in their day these were supersports beaters, fully capable of holding off ZZR1200s and early Hayabusas up till about the 280kmh mark, with the servo assisted ABS system they had what is probably the best brakes ever fitted to a motorcycle but it does need that full annual flush (to do properly requires at least 3 litres of brake fluid and the eight bleeder points to be bled in exactly the right sequence). Being a dry clutch, separate gearbox and shaft drive these are relatively low maintenance apart from the brake system. Good fuel economy at highway speeds, can tend to get a bit thirsty at warp speed. A good option but much more sports orientated, lots of luggage options. I'd suggest you ride her first as ergonomics may be a bit too sporty.

    1998 honda st1100. private sale, 95,000ks, ex police bike (probably maintained correctly), recent oil+filter change $3250

    Bulletproof motor, the ST1100P (Police version) should have ABS, will have heavier shielded wiring and some form of luggage as standard, great fuel economy and large tank will give you at least a 450km range, be aware though they ran an 18 inch front tyre which may not be that readily available, very strong drive train, shaft drive so low maintenance, mileage is good though not all ex police bikes were that well maintained, would be my recommendation.

    1992 yamaha fj1200. private sale, 64,000ks, log book history, great condition $3000

    Great bike in their day but far too old now, she's getting to that age where she's going to need a lot of work, not motor but things like wheel bearings, swing arm bushes and bearings, steering head bearings etc, would not consider at all.

    As with any bike before a long trip, service and check, replacing anything even a bit dodgy as necessary; tyres, wheel bearings, brake pads etc
    • Informative Informative x 3
  9. Mate that sounds like a great trip. My 2c is that if you are planning on a lot of dirt or offroad, your bike choice should allow for this. As you've said, the last 3 don't really fit this bill. I would spend a little extra on the bike for something that handles dirt better, and give yourself better travel options. There is a 2006 VStrom 1000 in WA on bikesales, with only 64k on the clock. Dealer is asking $5250, you could likely get it at under $5000, so maybe a thou or so more than you are currently looking at spending.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Look at you chillibuttonchillibutton spending people's money everywhere haha
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  11. Slow day at work lol
  12. Best advice I was given when I did my first tour was to ride between the hours that you worked as that's when you're most alert. Once you're ride fit and are familiar with your bike you'll soon find out what you're capable of in terms of kms in a day.

    Don't dwell on it too much though, just enjoy the ride and what Australia has to offer.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. My 2c worth:

    I think 700-800 kms a day is fine. I rode from Geraldton to Melbourne in 5 days, did over 4200 kms on the trip. Our first day was only 300 kms, so that was 4 days of around 1000 kms each. We got tired, but not so much that it was a safety issue or anything.

    Manage your butt. If you get off when it hurts, you have been on for too long. I would suggest no more than one hour at a time, and we generally did about 45 mins, with a 5 to 10 minute break. Get off before you get sore, and you can continue for a lot longer.

    Mid-late October I would be suggesting the south coast. It warms up in the middle by then, and north will be hot and potentially humid. It can be wet, and windy, but it can also be very pleasant and warm in October.

    If you do go through the middle, you will be doing a lot of dirt. A lot. Think about your bike choice carefully. I would be suggesting something much more dirt bike style than what you are looking at. Maybe a dr650 / klr650.

    Do you need a thousand CC bike? There are newer bikes on offer that are 650's or 800's that will come in under your budget. As others have said, fuel injection generally doesn't fail in hot weather.

    I would camp. It keeps the costs down and you can spend some of the saved dollars on things for your bike, or spend a little more on it in the first place.

    Lastly, go for it! It may be a once in a lifetime trip, so don't let others talk you out of it.

    • Like Like x 6
  14. And that being the case, even more VStrom 650's around for $4000 odd...
    • Agree Agree x 2
  15. Lots of good advice from the guys above. I tend to agree to work up to those distances/day. I also agree with carrying a camping kit just in case. A couple of links below worth reading. A couple of points, beware of dehydration so carry water and drink frequently. Don't spend too long in the saddle in each stint, stop, take photos walk around then get back on and continue. Have a great trip.

    Preparing for bike touring
    Online Motorcycle Trip Planner Checklist
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Hi Mate, if your planning on riding on gravel than you need to reduce your expected 7-800km per day down to around 500km (max), unless it is a gravel version of the Hume Hwy.
    Dirt roads have too many things that can suddenly catch you out, I never really plan for distance each day, just pick a start time and aim for around 4-5pm as a finish time, or if you go for the big distances you will end up riding during 'Roo - time' and /or be mentally fatigued as the concentration required for gravel travel is above what you'd use to cruise along the tar top.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  17. Hi Turtl3Turtl3

    Good on 'ya for planning an epic trip. You're not new to bikes, so forgive the preaching tone, my friend.

    Smashing out big distances every day sounds great. But...

    Is it the best way to travel?
    Will you be riding just for the sake of moving forward?
    Does fatigue feature as a desirable attraction on a trip?
    Do you want to risk hating the sight of your bike, knowing the pain that awaits you, again?

    I'm no expert, mate, but I am setting of in 12 or so hours, on my V-Strom 650, to do the Melbourne, Warrnambool (via the G.O.R), Natimuk (via the Grampians), back to Melbourne loop in 3 days, while free camping.
    That's about 1,400km, spread evenly over 3 days. When I come back, I'll be ready to go again the next day. That works for me.

    Been riding for 2 years, roughly 35,000 under my belt, and have ridden about 750km in my longest day. Stopped having fun after about 600km.
    Advice is free. Decision is yours.
  18. Wow guys...just wow. I honestly did not expect this sort of response. Great community. I really am leaning towards an st1100. The old boy has one, and he based his decision on buying it because he loved riding them back in the day when he was still in the force. Ive ridden it once, and compared to the the fz1n i was riding at the time...it was a lazy-boy precariously balanced on 2 wheels.

    Im honestly thinking i will stick to the black top. I want an adventure, but i will do so within my means and experience. I have 2 beatiful girls to return to...so id like to avoid any 'wolf creek' or 'charlies farm' situations rofl.

    Im only setting a km-per-day target as i dont want to spend too many days on the road. But sight seeing is all part of it aswel. But the main part of the trip is my time in mackay.

    2x 5L jerry cans were at the top of my list of things to take...one for petrol, one for water. First aid kit, minor tool kit and tyre repair kit, snack food, clothes
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Good luck man!
  20. #20 cjvfr, Sep 14, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
    The ST1100 had one of the largest tanks on a bike over 28 litre on some variants so it had a range of 450 - 500km. If that is your choice then I am not sure if extra fuel is necessary. Shaft drive so no chain maintenance to worry about. The down side is they are a heavy bike, over 280kg so I would limit any off road work to well graded flat gravel roads. They have a huge alternator so can quite happily support extra electrical goodies such as GPS, phone chargers, extra lights etc etc. The early ones had a smaller alternator which was prone to trouble so stay away from 1990's versions if possible. The high output alternator was due to there being a Police variant and the necessary power to run their radar and radio gear.
    • Agree Agree x 1
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