Has anyone tried to pull a motorcycle camper with their 9'er - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 24 Old 02-04-2010, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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Has anyone tried to pull a motorcycle camper with their 9'er

Through a little fiscal responsability, I have the opportunity to take 3 months off work and I would like to spend it all on the bike eatting up as much road in America as I can. To save on cost of hotels, or the hassle of setting up a tent every night, I have been researching motorcycle campers. My question is if anyone has tried this? Can the bike handle the load without any undo wear and tear. The one I am really considering is the Roadman Camper. Any pertinent info would be great! Been searching through Adventure Riders but nobody has had a 919 with this set up. My back up plan is top case, side cases and tent. Also, any info anyone may have on extended motorcycle trips would be great.

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post #2 of 24 Old 02-04-2010, 02:19 PM
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I'd imagine it would not be an issue or the engine, after all a gutless old Road King HD easily tow trailers. The mounting of the rig onto the frame may be another matter as may be the durability of the frame lugging that weight around.

But you really need to ask yourself WHY?

Maybe buy one of those things called 'cars' if you want to load up a Camper.


Must be an American thing, I just don't get it.......

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post #3 of 24 Old 02-04-2010, 03:12 PM
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Dwm, I've seen some funky stuff people have set up on their 919's on this site...a transverse mounting bicycle carrier, some bizarro trailer one time...but not a camper. I wish you luck on this quest...but I'd just go with the luggage/tent option. Hope you have fun with your touring, if you pass through Colorado, stop by for a beer!

Well, fire the engines! Spur this iron space-pony on!

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post #4 of 24 Old 02-04-2010, 04:55 PM
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On their site they say they pull one with a 650 V Twin!

Roadman Campers, Motorcycle camper, trailer

Still don't get it ..... $3k for a camper not much bigger than a outhouse .........

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post #5 of 24 Old 02-04-2010, 05:30 PM
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What is your expected total weight with you, trailer and all packed items?

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post #6 of 24 Old 02-04-2010, 06:02 PM
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Not to steer you off your interesting project but we've stayed in some pretty nice hostels that are about what a campground costs.

You might want to check it out:
Book Your HI Hostels with Hostelling International

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post #7 of 24 Old 02-04-2010, 07:46 PM
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or use couchsurf.com. awesome place to find a place to crash for 1-2 nights throughout the country. if you make a stop in portland, ur welcomed to stay at my place.

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post #8 of 24 Old 02-05-2010, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions guys. I've started checking into the hostel deal and the couchsurf site. Just don't know how I feel about crashing out with complete strangers.
Don't want to wake up to someone asking me to put the lotion on my skin. As far a taking a car and camper, I've driven cross country twice in a car and doesn't even compare to the open road on a bike.
Between me,the camper and gear I am looking at about about 500 to 550lbs. I have seen a cool way to mount the hitch possibly by mounting it to the swing arm(see thirdwheeltrailers.com).
After reading Two Wheels Through Terror and what he went through, it seems like camping in the US should be a cake walk. That's mostly why I am hung up on the camper or camping.

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post #9 of 24 Old 02-05-2010, 11:18 AM
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I'm all about camping. But the idea of pulling a trailer with anything less than a GW just doesn't compute for me.

I've pulled trailers with various vehicles (not bikes) and it's not to be taken lightly. Having a trailer behind you is dangerous under the best conditions.

On a bike? Whoa! Good luck, seriously.

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post #10 of 24 Old 02-05-2010, 01:33 PM
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If you are going solo, then by all means get a 3 hard lockable bag set-up and a large duffel for the camping equipment. Self contained is the way to go. I pulled a trailer with my GL1100 and it is not fun.

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post #11 of 24 Old 02-05-2010, 02:57 PM
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Let's see -- from LA to Redding; to Kalispell, Montana; to Tacoma, Washington; and back to LA. A total of 3,100 miles and two and a half weeks on the road on a Honda Hawk GT. All with a tent, sleeping bag, two fairly sizeable soft saddlebags and a tank bag. Camping was free whenever I could find a spot on land managed by the BLM, and there were plenty of cheap campsites.

This pales to insignificance compared to the trip made by my (now) ex -- two months and 14,243 miles doing the Four Corners rally and attending all AMA regional conventions. On a Yamaha 400 Seca with everything strapped to it. Solo. Makes the Iron Butt rally look like a trip to the store for a quart of milk.

If you want to travel with nine elephants a trailer may be the way to go, but attaching it to the swingarm can cause some very unusual handling as the entire tongue weight is unsprung, the bracket has to be quite stout to support the trailer and braced to prevent sagging (again heavy and unsprung), and you haven't lived until you hit a bump while braking and the trailer wheels leave the ground. It invariably points you toward the nearest immovable object.

It makes for a lot of interesting stories. If you survive that is.

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post #12 of 24 Old 02-05-2010, 10:34 PM
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I bought a Givi hard luggage setup (sidecases and topcase), packed my backpacking tent, sleeping bag, and the rest of my gear, and took off for 2 months on the 919 this summer, solo. Only did 10,500 miles, nothing like Rob's ex. Nonetheless, the adventure was...considerable.

A combination of tent camping, visiting friends, relatives, and lovers, and occasional cheap motel rooms worked for me. No camper needed, nor wanted. It would seriously cramp the "open road" feeling you are probably looking for on a bike.

Better research and/or an iPhone or laptop would have allowed me to use resources like this forum and the ADVRider tent space thread for crash space, but as a woman riding solo I am a bit leery of strangers. Also, I like to make up my route largely on the fly.

In any case, I must say...do it. You are likely to have stories to last a lifetime from the experience. Oh, and get good rain gear.

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post #13 of 24 Old 02-05-2010, 10:36 PM
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say no to the trailer thing. in my opinion, attaching a trailer to the bike kind of ruins the whole purpose of taking the bike in the first place. Might as well buy a miata for 3k and take that on your trip.

buy some good lightweight camping gear and pack what you can on the bike and that's it. Splurge occasionally for a hotel. I went out a snowboarding trip over new years and stayed in a couple of places for $30 a night. I think of doing a trip like this some day, but I'd want to take my mtn bike so I'm not sure what way i'd go.

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post #14 of 24 Old 02-05-2010, 11:02 PM
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I loke the camper idea. And intend to do it.
but NOT on a 919.

I agree it belongs on a GW or some other sort of cruiser/tourer with big brakes.

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post #15 of 24 Old 02-05-2010, 11:02 PM
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Lots of good points here, I agree that towing a trailer would greatly lessen the fun of riding at best and cause major safety issues at worst. Some soft saddlebags, a tail bag and a tank bag can swallow up a whole lot of gear. Plus you're riding a 919, you're gonna smell like exhaust fumes anyway so clean clothes aren't that important!

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post #16 of 24 Old 02-06-2010, 01:48 PM
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For once I agree with the non trailer idea. Kills the who reason for riding. Other than the sence of adventure. Can't get much more adventurouse than riding cross country on a sport(y) bike towing a trailer.

The real reason I'd go for a tent is this. yes, setting up a tent every night sucks. But no where near as much as it would suck to tug around a trailer all day. It would be more hastle and more worry than what it is worth. I think. I've never actually pulled a trailer on a bike.

Go with good lugage and a tent. If you stay away from hotel chains and only use no name motels you'll get a bed/shower for the same as most camp sites. And the lugage will be usefull for the life of the bike. As oposted to the camper that is only useful for this one trip.

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post #17 of 24 Old 02-06-2010, 02:29 PM
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One other think to ponder. I'm not fmiliar with the camper you are thinking about but I have used a couple different popup campers. Setting them up is more more work than pitching a tent by a lot. Some tents are super quick and easy to set up. Setting up your bike camper has to involve some time and effort, right?

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post #18 of 24 Old 02-06-2010, 03:10 PM
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This guy may be on to something


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post #19 of 24 Old 02-08-2010, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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The camper is a no-go. My pet elephant Mr. Tramples is sure going to be bummed out he can't go.

My next question is a two parter. Anybody have any personal recommendations on good camping equipment? Also, are there any intangibles that I may want to address before I head out? I know intangibles are something you don't plan for, but you get my drift. Road Runner magazine is running a 6 parts series on motorcycle camping but I hope to be gone before the third part. Thanks again for letting me pick your brains!

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post #20 of 24 Old 02-08-2010, 12:53 PM
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If you have a REI store near you, they offer good advice on equipment and some of their store brand stuff is a really good value.

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post #21 of 24 Old 02-08-2010, 01:50 PM
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Yes. I used REI-bought gear that I've got for backpacking--

* a Mountainsmith 2-man backpacking tent (actually a nice amount of room for me and my stuff--whatever you get, use a thin tarp or nylon footprint below to save the floor and get something with aluminum poles)

* a Therm-a-rest sleeping pad--luxurious after long days in the saddle. Speaking of saddle, a sheepskin seat pad and a gel insert in the seat (Sargent did mine) are really good to have.

* a REI Sub-Kilo down sleeping bag--size of a loaf of bread, 750 fill power down. Always use a sleeping bag liner (get a silk one from eBay like I did, or cut and sew a thrift-store sheet). I always find that I sleep cold for the first 2-3 days and acclimate by the 4th.

*I didn't bring a camp stove, preferring instead to get apples, jerky, crackers, energy bars, etc. at grocery stores, supplemented with 1 restaurant meal a day. If you do, REI carries some great tiny backpacking stoves. I recommend the multi-fuel stoves with the separate fuel bottle, like the MSR Whisperlite. The stove will burn gasoline, which means you have a spare small fuel bottle tucked away--often good.

*Many car parts places will let you buy oil and a cheap pan and funnel and change oil in their back lot.

*Carry a decent toolkit, a tire patch and pump kit, and raingear (Frogg Toggs are decent and light, XL rubber dish gloves work for hands).

*Do all your scheduled maintenance before the trip, make sure your brake pads are fresh, your chain is new, etc. and keep your tire pressure checked daily and your chain lubed daily as well. Bicycle shops sell squeeze bottles of clear teflon chain lube that works fine for moto chains.

*Be really careful about fatigue. Pace yourself, don't pack in too many miles, and get enough food, water, and sleep.

*Get an annual National Parks pass (80 or so) and use it for all it's worth.

* Hard bags are awesome--waterproof and lockable. Soft bags are cheaper and very versatile, but you'll want to use some Snider's Paintguard or contact paper to protect the bike's paint where the bags touch. Check bungees and straps and bottoms of soft bags daily--they can fray, break, melt, burn through.

* Also, be sure to get off the bike sometimes and go for a hike, see a show, browse a bookstore, swim in the creek, whatever you like to do. Make it a well-rounded experience. I found that I got rather lonely after 5 days or so, and made sure to visit friends and relatives when possible, and had a book of postcard stamps to send postcards in the meanwhile. Pay lots of attention to your emotional and physical state--you're all you've got out on the road.

* Bring a GPS and/or a state-by-state atlas, but talk to locals and other bikers you meet and get their recommendations as well. Some of the finest roads I found on the trip were ones I'd never heard of, but was told about by other riders or folks I met along the way.

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post #22 of 24 Old 02-08-2010, 03:14 PM
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Nemo has some great recommendations, and the cred to back it up, too....lots & lots of miles worth of motorcycle camping....

- Obviously budgeting your money will be important, $$$ = miles you can travel, so planning your expenses as best as possible is always worthwhile to think about.

- Carry enough food to get you by for a couple days if necessary, snack foods are ok.

- Carry a couple of quarts of water, too. Buying drinks at gas stops gets expensive, and if your like me you'll be inclined to load up on caffeinated sugary stuff...bring a couple of army canteens, or water bottles that seal well, and a camelback. tap water can be had for free...staying hydrated is important and it's easy to overlook If you are bored by drinking plain water, so stock up on packets of drink mixes, instant coffee, etc.

Getting fatigued happens quicker on a bike than in a car,it makes your attention wander before you notice it... so plan to make plenty of rest stops to walk around, catch a cat-nap, stretch out, etc.

Riding at night gets treacherous, the animals are out, cars can't see you as well, you can't see the road and it's hazards as well...avoid riding in the dark as much as possible...it's dangerous out there, and you can't enjoy the scenery after dark anyway.

bring enough cold weather gear. even in summer, you will run into rain & cold, so plan for it. you can get hypothermic pretty easily on a bike, and cold saps your energy, your mental focus and your will to live...

-when you pack, particularly with soft luggage, ziplock big freezer bags are your friends! trash bags work good, too...keep your stuff nice & dry.

-take the time to test out your rig before heading off on the big trip. spend a morning riding around with all your stuff, so you can readjust as necessary. also, work up to distance riding...do a few overnighters and such to get your body & mind in shape for doing long distances. this will also help you figure out what gear you need and how much you need...I can almost guarantee you will initially bring about twice what you really need.

Well, fire the engines! Spur this iron space-pony on!

"The Shadow"
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post #23 of 24 Old 02-08-2010, 08:33 PM Thread Starter
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WOW! You guys rock. I was figuring on some basic outlines but Nemo and Shadow knocked it out of the park!
Now that I know what gear I need, my plan was to start doing 3 and 4 day trips once it warms up a little. I'm getting through riding in 20 degree weather, but don't think I'm quite ready to sleep in it. Plus, there is tons of places around Georgia and the neighboring states to camp.
I figured on about $50 a day including gas,food and campsite. Plus, quite a bit extra for any other things I may encounter along the way. Does this seem reasonable?

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post #24 of 24 Old 02-08-2010, 09:58 PM
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It all depends on how hard you're riding. a 3-4 day trip to me is one way to Deal's Gap, from Colorado to Tennessee....in 4 days, I made it from Colorado to Virginia Beach, VA. $50 would about cover the gas for the day, ($10 or so per fill-up), and I know plenty of people who go farther in a day than I normally do. if you're just going 100-200 miles per day, $50 is still kinda frugal, unless you are eating real cheap and find cheap/free camping...Experience is the best teacher with things like this, so give yourself opportunities to learn without terrible consequences... give yourself room to buy souvenirs and do/ see cool & interesting stuff, too.

Well, fire the engines! Spur this iron space-pony on!

"The Shadow"
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