Updated Sunday 12.04.2009
Here is how the bike looks with the luggage fitted. Now perhaps I am seeing the bike how I envisioned it to work for me as a sports tourer. I am not ready yet to move to a full size tourer which seem a bit heavy in the mountains and back roads (heavier feeling actually than some cruisers due to how they carry their mass) anyway they and the sports tourers on the market all require regular expensive servicing which is one of my pet hates.
The Buell of course I can service at home for next to nothing as well I don't have to worry about the miles clocked up as it's low tech engine is both good for a couple of hundred thousand and then cheap as chips to overhaul and do all over again.
I may or may not have the bike that long but it is a comfort to not worry about excess mileage. It is a problem that effects all high performance engined motorcycles. People tend to look at high stressed engines with more than 50,000km and deem them coming to the end of their lifespans. I suppose that's one reason perhaps more people turn to BMW or a Harley over a Japanese touring motorcycle, high mileage isn't as big a concern on a boxer or pushrod V twin.
Update: Well these bags are simply not big enough. They look bigger than they are due to the shape at the back. You really can't use these without a third bag. I travel very light - look at the bag I used for my two week Moto-GP tour - so for me to say this means these bags would be useless for most people. My fully compacted wet weather gear a pair of jeans a few pairs of socks and one pair of gloves totally fills one case to give you an idea. If I didnt have to take warm things then they handle a 2 or 3 day trip, as it is by the time I get my wet pack and a light pullover in the other side its too near capacity.
I have also decided to join the growing GPS movement and this trip will not pack my touring atlas.I have resisted mainly due to not seeing a real need riding in countryside Australia for such a device however finding that I can now obtain a map of Japan in english (only works for Garmin units) I have decided to trail their use on this trip. Besides Japan I plan to ride New Zealand or Europe in near future and see a real use for this technology when riding in a overseas country.
It is perhaps a surprise to some of my friends that I am this late to adopt to using GPS as in the past I have always been someone who loved new gadgets and computer technology. In the last few years I just lost interest to a certain extent and have not updated any thing.
As you can see I have mounted the unit using its suction base which I have tested to be unmovable without breaking what it is mounted to. I think this is strong enough - I am going to go for a test ride when the rain eases. You also may note I have blocked view of my tacho - this isn't a big deal for me - on tour I am not going to be gunning the engine much and even when I am riding more spiritedly here I never look at the rev counter anyway. I tend to ride by feel and rarely if ever look at either my speed or revs in corners a fail to understand why others so often do?
I have uploaded each days route to the unit, note if you are looking at getting a GPS that most of the entry level models do not allow this. Some of the mid priced Tom Tom units are ok and these are a cheaper than Garmin. Or if you want a particular map from Garmin (like me) then need to go to mid range models there as well. Seems very odd this is not s standard feature - I can't imagine having a unit that didnt allow this as would be useless to me.
I really would like a new mobile phone for this trip so I can look up the weather radar in route - however they are alot of money and in the end I will have to ride on regardless so I rather put the money a iPhone costs to another trip later in the year instead.
Here are some more photo's of the roads in Japan. Now I am armed with GPS and english maps I am already thinking of when I might return.
Photos by Moto & The Dude, SBK Japan Forum.