What can I say, the bike, on the face of it could there be a more inappropriate machine to traverse 2 continents and over 20,000 miles but dig deeper and what I am taking with me is the most reliable bike on the planet with spares readily available throughout the world. It is almost completely mechanical, no fuel injection, no water pump, no fancy engine management system, no catalytic converter, no electric start. These are all items which have the potential to fail and are items that cannot be fixed by Joe Soap on the side of the road. In my view this makes the Honda an ideal overland machine and for me it fully fits into the ethos of my trip.
The bike features the mighty Honda 90 engine, which has a whopping 85cc capacity. It can reach dizzying speeds of 55mph, though I wont be taking it much over 40mph! Half by choice and half.. well it just wont go that fast when loaded up! A few mods have been made to the bike which include:
- essential front basket for carrying a 5l jerry can of fuel, and other small items, the standard tank only carries 3.5l of fuel!
- a tank bag for maps and things I will need throughout the day
- Widened legshields for additional protection from the elements and rocks..
- Pannier bags (not shown)
- USB power socket
On the subject of bike preparation I cannot thank Mick and Declan enough at Motorcycle City, Blessington St in Dublin for really taking an interest in my trip and doing their utmost in helping me to get this bike in to tip top condition for the journey. Thanks guys!!… By all accounts they are about to break up with their wives and join me on the trip. See you in Colombia lads!!
My former tent was an MSR Hubba Hubba, that cost me $300, I slept in it 3 times. It fell off my bike and on to the exhaust while riding and I burnt a large hole right through it!
My new tent,a Marmot Limelight was less expensive and easier to set up.
Tools and Spares
To carry out essential maintenance and repairs along the way I need to bring some essential tools and spares. Tools and spares carrying is always a compromise between what you NEED and what you would LIKE to have. Due to carrying capability of the Honda I have to be very watchful of weight, therefore there are a lot of items I would have liked to bring but I’ve just had to make a call and bring only what is essential and leave the rest up to fate. Below is a list of spares I will bring, which I will update once I leave.
- 2x Inner tubes
- 1x puncture repair kit, incl valve remover, tyre irons, extra tube of solution, extra patches, bicycle pump,
- 1x throttle cable
- Spare bulbs (though I’ll be avoiding riding at night)
- 2x spark plugs
- Spare chain link
- Oil, WD 40
- More to come…
Power – USB Charging Socket
To get around the the issue of constantly trying to maintain a charge on my camera, phone and my spot device I have installed a USB power socket on to the bike. As long as I have my bike I will have a charge, though holding on to my bike may be the greater challenge in some parts of South and Central America!
This is a great little device, the Spot GPS messenger will allow anyone to track my progress and will automatically update my location to my website and a shared Google Map. The device works using GPS satellites and works when there is no mobile signal, I can even update my status of Facebook if wanted. More importantly it will allow me to send “ok/check-in” messages to predefined contacts and can also send an SOS message to GEOS International Emergency Co-Ordination Center, and I am insured to the tune of 50k for someone to send a chopper to pull my ass out of a ravine should the occasion ever arise.
In this section I was going to tell you about the camera, phone, netbook, mp3 player to allow me keep in contact and post my blogs, however I have decided to simplify. All these devices have now been rolled into one – the iPhone 4. Damn Apple for making such a sweet piece of kit. I have resisted smart phone fever for a while, my own phone not even having a camera or any such fancy capabilities, though I gave in when I found the iPhone could replace all, so in the interest of weight and simplicity I have got myself an iPhone, which will be jail broken imminently..