Its the seat!
For anyone considering riding the Trans America Trail or any other adventure ride we’ve found certain things crucial. Your seat must be very comfortable. Not ride around for a few hours comfortable, but in the saddle day after day, hours upon hours comfortable. Despite my seat foam modifications with a kitchen knife and a staple gun my seat is not. Samantha’s isn’t much better.
Corbin makes great seats for lots of money. There’s also Seat Concepts who, for a bargain, will send you new foam for your seatpan and let you stapel the vinyl over it. There’s another company I think it’s called Ranger who makes aftermarket seats. There’s sheepskin pads with or without gel inserts. We found an inflatable pad at a dealer for $167. Some folks just take a stadium seat cushion and sit on that. We are wearing padded bicycle shorts under our motorcycle pants. It’s a little warm but relatively inexpensive and does help, at least on motocross style seats.
We researched racks extensively and came back to basically three options.
1. The Wolfman tank and saddlebag set up with rack.
This is a nice setup but the side bags seem a little small.
2. The Giant Loop bag.
this seems like the tightest, simple, most secure and largest volume option. Not for 2 up riding bc the bag basically sits like a pair of legs behind you. It’s also less expensive and lighter as no rack is required.
3. These aero stitch bags seem very cool and also don’t need a rack. I couldn’t find anyone reporting on using them on a dirt bike and they might flap around.
I did some research but in the end just bought a metric socket set and wrenches and went through the TW 200 and WR 250 R bolt by bolt and packed every socket and wrench that fit on something. For the rear axle nut on the WR I bought a 27mm socket and an adapter to fit the 1/2″ socket on my 3/8″ driver. Not sure I’ll have enough tork but the 27mm wrench is huge and heavy. I also added a vice grip, the necessary Allen keys, a screw driver with interchangeable head, tire irons, valve core remover, small chain tool, a spare master link, my Gerber multi tool, and that’s about it for tools. It still came out pretty heavy. I stuffed as many as I could into the stock tool carrier on the WR and packed the rest in a fanny pack that straps around the back of my top bag.
I also packed guerilla tape, steel wire, electrical wire, heat shrink tubing, webbing, misc nuts and bolts, zip ties, epoxy for sealing gas tanks and radiators and if all else fails a tow line.
We have tubes (we also slimed the tires), oil filters and air filters, air filter oil(leaking), spark plugs and that’s about it. Might think about bringing spare cables and levers. I’ve bent my clutch lever and Samantha bent her rear brake lever so far and we’re just out of Tennessee. We actually did it on slippery clay in Georgia before we even got to Tellico Plains and the start of the Trans America Trail.
We use a lot of tape, zip lock bags and zip ties. The multi tool also gets used a lot, especially the bottle opener. We changed our oil, coolant and air filters before we left to make sure we had the tools to do it on the trail.
One thing we tossed was our plastic funnel. We use paper ones available at most gas stations for free and they pack much smaller.
We’ve also made a trip to the post office and shipped clothes home. We found that less stuff to pack up and the lighter weight more than makes up for the lack of wardrobe options. We just wear our motorcycle pants everyday anyway. What we use a lot of are socks, underwear and light, comfortable T shirts. We do have a light set of shoes and I have one pair of jeans and one collared shirt for nights out on the town. Samantha has a few little dresses.
Overall pack light. The point is to ride, not to lug a bunch of crap to Oregon. A heavy pack makes the bike unwieldy and the trail less fun. Samantha and I are light enough that we can dive into a single track off the side of the TAT and have a blast.