NO bikes are set up for THIS kind of travel right out of the box.
EVEN WHEN WE DECIDED THAT the R80 G/S was the best base bike for us, WE KNEW THEY needed a fair bit of prep and upgrades before THEY WERE going to ready for OUR trip.
While we have the luxury of having a full shop and the experience (under the close guidance of Peter Boggia from Moto Borgotaro) to prep motorcycles for different environments, we will also share other options that are readily available. Most everything can be accomplished on a tight budget and by doing it yourself, this way you'll have the advantage of knowing your bike inside and out.
FUEL IS A BIG DEAL. THE MORE FUEL YOU CAN CARRY, THE FURTHER FROM THE BEATEN PATH YOU CAN GO. We have the stock 32 ltr/9 gallon tank on my R80 G/S PD and a 24 ltr 6 gallon on Joel's ST (Conversion) from an R100GS. This gives us a combined capacity of 56 liters and 15 gallons to split between the two of us if it comes down to that.
Under ideal conditions this gives us an average range of a little over 385 miles (615 km) for the 9 gallons, and 295 miles (468 km) for the smaller tank . Fuel range is fickle though. The average range changes drastically depending on altitude, speed and gears used.
*POST TRIP: Having experience now I would make sure both bikes carry the 32ltr / 9gallon tank. There are many areas of our trip that were at high altitude and had no real access to gas for hundreds of miles. Between 7000-13000 feet (2100-3900 mts) you can use as much as 30-50% more fuel on a carbureted bike while trying to keep your regular travel pace.
WITH THE INCREASED WEIGHT OF OUR LUGGAGE AND LARGER FUEL CAPACITY, WE NEED TO INCREASE THE SPRING STRENGTH ON BOTH ENDS OF OUR BIKES.
We upgraded both of our front spring to Promoto progressive springs from Wilbers. The GS already had a top of the line Road & Track BM 317 but it hadn't been serviced since I got the bike. The guys at Ohlins US completely rebuilt it and pre-loaded to my specs for passenger weight plus load. The ST got a brand new Wilbers Type 530 Road rear shock. After 19,000 miles we can say that the Wilbers fits much better than the wider diameter Ohlins and performs as nicely under load and rough roads. The Ohlins actually rubs on the very top edfe of a fresh rear tire.
Front fork seals and bushings should be replaced before you leave, they are cheap and much easier to do before hand than in the middle of Guatemala. Fresh seals should last you well over 30,000 miles of rough riding assuming your boots are keeping the stanchions clean.
The 12 watt Glenda WAS perfect for this trip. We didn't plan to ride at night but so happened that when we had to it was always extremely dark.
Check this video of us lost in the mountains. The light flickers in the video because we installed a custom switch which after 4.5 months of everyday use it started to get finicky.)
- 12 watts consumption each
- 2" diameter
- 800 lumens each
- 7 ounces
- Fully dimmable, comes with dimmer
- Includes wiring harness
- CNC machined (Made in the U.S.A.)
THE MIGHTY KICKSTARTER
ONE OF THE BEST FEATURES OF THE R80 GS (NOT THE R80ST) IS THAT IT BROUGHT BACK THE KICKSTATER FROM THE DEAD. BUT YES, IT'S TRUE, WITH A DEAD BATTERY THE KICKSTARTER IS USELESS AS YOU NEED POWER TO WORK THE IGNITION.
The starter solenoid requires quite a bit of juice from the battery to even engage, but if for whatever unexpected reason you find yourself with the tiniest bit of battery the kickstarter will save the day. Also it's incredibly handy to rotate the motor when doing a service instead of having to use the rear wheel or taking the front cover to reach the crank.
Even if our tanks already have a fine-mesh filter on each petcock it's never a bad idea to add some extra help.
This fuel filters act as a second screen for small impurities, dust, lining, rust and gunk that can accumulate in the bottom of the tank over a long period of time.
Riding through countries where gas stations are not every 100 miles or less there's a chance that we will be running our tanks pretty low more than a handful of times