These are some pieces of Motorcycle touring equipment which we have or which we have had to discard or replace along the way. We are, by the way, not sponsored or otherwise supported by any of the manufacturers, and these are simply the things we have found which work best for us. No endorsement of any product should be assumed or is implied.
See Section Travel Preparations: Technical
Well the old stuff can only last so long. We were in the end very happy with our old stuff. Unfortunately nothing in life stays the same and Bullson has changed and I no longer thought that their stuff was really suited to our purpose, so I decided to try some of the top of the line BMW stuff. The cut of both of these suits (Cecilia uses the Savannah 2 and I have the Rally 2 suite) is different, not so baggy and shorter. We bought them in the middle of winter and used them through the summer in preparation for our trip. They work excellent, and if you add the gore-tex lining they are waterproof (at least for the short trips). Due to space constrictions I have decided to leave my gore-tex lining at home, and instead use an additional layer when it gets a bit chilly, and the rain suit when it rains. Cecilia still has her lining so she uses her rain suit a lot less than I. The suits themselves are excellent and even in the hottest weather (at least the European version) stays cool. We are curious to see how well they perform in the heat Africa. Stay tuned.
After our last trip we have decided to leave the riding boots at home and only carry heavy hiking boots, as these are much more versatile. During our last trip we noticed that we were using the boots only when going longer distances, and the hiking boots the rest of the time. So to save room, the MX boots stayed at home.
Rain suits are a must. For short distance work, the gore-tex stuff is fine, but when it really gets down to it riding in a heavy downpour all day requires a full rain suit. This time while we were getting the riding suits (see above), we went ahead an got the BMW rain suits also. They are very roomy, it is very easy to get on, even if you already look like the michelin man from the regular suit, and assorted layers. We have only had to use them a few times so far, but are very glad to have them.
What do you pack everything in when traveling? We have found that a couple of large waterproof bags is the best solution. No more packing everything in plastic bags inside another bag, strapped to bikes with spider webbing or bungy cords. We carry up to 4 of the Ortlieb bags and strap them down with straps, not bundgies, so that they become, in essence, part of the bike. No more moving around when the bike hits a pot hole, and everything stays dry, dust free. We carry two types of bags one opens at one end, making it perfect for storing things like tent, cooking gear etc. The other opens in the middle, a perfect bag for keeping clothes etc. in.
Aluminum boxes are almost a requisite for long distance touring. In our case I wasn't able to find boxes that fitted my very exacting demands for long distance touring, so I had some specially made. This was certainly not the cheapest alternative, but in the long run (almost 12 years, now) they have more than proven themselves. One of my major requirement for the boxes was that they have no holes. I have seen numerous boxes most of which have been riveted together and which usually have screws for the mounting brackets through the box. Eventually the vibration causes the rivets to enlarge the hole in the boxes, which then have to be re-riveted or otherwise plugged. The worst problem seems to be with the mounting bracket which when the bike crashes (and it will) landing on the box, causes the screws to be ripped through the box wall. Not a pretty sight and a real mess to fix. Another major item was the size. Sizes of boxes on the market vary greatly, but for my tastes they are generally too big. Mounting brackets, as already mentioned screws or bolts through the box are in my book a no, no. One of my favorites mounting techniques was employed by Helge Pedersen on his 10 year around the world journey. He used a plate welded to the box on which a circular tube was affixed this would fit through a bolt mounted on the bike. The whole thing held down by a nut and a small lock if memory serves. The system was designed so that the weak point was the bolt welded to the bike. When he crashed badly that would break hindering any further damage to the box. He said that on his journey he only had to have that piece re-welded 3 times. My boxes use a steel cradle in which the boxes fit. When the bikes go down this cradle keeps the boxes from ever touching the ground. It is extremely strong and still very lightweight. Some additional details, like a lid that opens outwards from the bike, mounting brackets for water or gas canisters, as well as numerous attachment points for bungee or straps, complete the setup.Last but not least I would like to say that all boxes have been designed with a particular purpose and function in mind. One of the foremost seem to be ease of removal, and aesthetics after removing the boxes. My boxes are easy to remove but the remaining cradle destroys the beautiful lines of the GS (no laughing now). In practice we have found that we practically never remove the boxes just to go riding around without them. We do remove the boxes quite frequently to use as chairs and a table when camping, and as soon as we are finished, re-mounted on the bikes.
The description above hasn't changed with the exception of the amount of time we have had them. In the meanwhile, we have been in a couple of accidents, rear ended, flipped the bike, and dropped an untold number of times. The result has been that the cradle had to be straightened twice, one of the boxes had to be fixed by knocking out a dent from the inside (20min), that is it. I cannot overstate how well the setup has preformed.
This time, I have decided to try the Touratech tank bags. They are very heavy duty, come on and off very easily. Have a single expandable pocket and a couple of small side pockets. So far very satisfied, with the exception that they sell the rain cover separately? (who buys a tank bag without rain cover!!).
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