Greetings from Heber City, Utah, which is near Park City, but has more affordable restaurants. I arrived here yesterday from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which does not have many affordable restaurants, but does have a lot of private jets at the airport. Coincidence?
Some of you (okay, very few of you) have asked about my bike and equipment setup. If you’re not into this kind of stuff, skip over this post and wait for the next one. I shall not be offended.
With that, motorcyclists, gear-heads, BMW Club of Southern California members and fans everywhere of all things technical and usually expensive, here’s my jam…
- 2008 BMW R1200GS. 51,000+ trouble-free miles. Heated grips, no ESA, standard suspension. Namibia orange. Stock seat (AKA, CIA Black Site torture device). I call her “Baby.”
The folks at @RevZilla are putting kids through college and funding retirements thanks, in no small part, to my voracious appetite for gear. #UnderstandingWife, #ZLA-Army, #hankwentthataway, #hashtag. I’m so hip.
View from the Lander Cutoff of the Oregon Trail toward Star Valley, Wyoming. Gotta remember to look up once and a while and not to stare at the farkles on my bike. Yes, farkle is a real word.
- Touratech Front Fender Beak Cover. More for looks than paint chipping protection. Makes the GS look like a GSA from a distance, which, short of having a larger fuel tank and with my additional mods, it pretty much is.
- Baja Designs XL Pro LED off-road lights. Mounted adjacent to the stock headlight, you get darkness to daylight with the flip of a switch. I’ll flash these 4300 lumen-producing babies when approaching an intersection with an opposing driver turning left (while talking or texting on a cell phone, or eating, or beating a kid in the backseat). Very effective at getting attention and burning out corneas.
- Ztechnik V-Stream windscreen. The unique design eliminates most buffeting and bug strikes. Those hurt.
- Rox Speed Handlebar Riser. I’m tall-ish, have a bad back and wouldn’t bend over to pick up a coin on the ground if it’s less than a quarter. You think I’m gonna reach down for my handlebars?
- Garmin Zumo 550 GPS. A finicky navigation device, which I’ll address with other complaints at another time.
- Kaoko Throttle Control. The middle class man’s cruise control. An absolute necessity on long highway stretches. BMW made true cruise control standard on the new GS.
- Cee Bailey GSA winglets. Cold air deflectors/low-flying bug killers.
- Pivot Pegz. Riding pegs that allow for a more flexible and aggressive off-road riding stance. Useless on the highway, other than toe tapping to the iPod.
- Hepco-Becker upper and lower crash-bar system. It works, trust me.
- AirHawk Seat Pad (driver and pillion). Like I said, BMW stock seats are awful. A custom made seat runs about $700 and stays with the bike when it gets sold. An AirHawk pad works pretty much with any bike. My current AirHawk pad (third one) sprung a leak on this trip. I patched it in Coos Bay, Oregon two weeks ago, but the patch failed, turned into a big-ass hole yesterday and now it’s gonna be a long ride home. Ugh.
- Giant Loop Fandango Tank Bag. This bag was great — durable, roomy, low profile — until the zipper closure failed on this trip. Now it’s an unusable lump on my tank, secured with duct tape.
- Sargent Passenger Backrest (removable). I like to lock in the missus behind me when I’m doing wheelies.
- Touratech Rear Rack Extension. Lightweight rack solution for carrying stuff you probably don’t need to bring.
- Givi Outback Trekker Pannier System. Originally, I had the BMW Vario Case system on the bike, but needed more space and security. These things are damn-near bulletproof. Not that I’d like to test that claim.
- Keeping the Rubber Side Down. For tires, I’m currently running Metzler Tourance Next for highway and trail. TKC 80 knobbies for true off-road. I get my tires from Chris at CT Motorcycle Tires in Reseda, CA. Good guy. Good deals.
My AirHawk seat pad with a “small leak.” The next 750 miles to home are gonna hurt.
What used to be my tank bag is now a $200 armrest. Awesome.
- Helmet. For touring, a Schuberth C3. It’s super-quiet, 99% waterproof and hotter than hell in the summer. For ADV riding, a Shoei Hornet DS. Yeah, these are high-end helmets and, sure, you can buy a helmet for fifty bucks. But is your head worth fifty bucks?
- Communication system. Cardo Scala Rider G9 paired with my passenger using a Scala Q2. Essential for 2-Up travel to keep your voice from giving out from turning and yelling over your shoulder, “What deer? I don’t see any damn deer!” Stuff like that.
- Rev’It Outback Armored Riding Jacket. Versatile, vented, not especially waterproof. That said, after 30 minutes of hard rain all gear fails. Water finds a way in every time. If you don’t like rain, avoid riding during monsoon season.
- Klim Dakar Riding Pants. Vented, adjustable fit, hard to dance in.
- Boots. For touring, Alpinestars Gore-Tex Waterproof boots. Waterproof-ish is more accurate. For ADV, Gaerne G-Adventure boots. I only received a hairline fracture of my right lateral malleolus wearing this boot, instead of a snapped ankle and a helicopter ride. My mom always said, “Don’t scrimp on shoes.You only get one set of feet.” Right, as usual, mom.
- Gloves. Rev’It Neutron with “connect” fingertips for easy use of iPhone (take photos, change music, or write a long email) without removing the glove.
- Support Gear. Back-A-Line support belt. Not really sure if this thing does what it’s supposed to do – eliminate back pain and fatigue while riding – but I’ll try anything. In my physical case, it’s not about the years, it’s about the miles.
Well, there it is. Hank’s complete, perfect bike and riding equipment setup. Which is total crap if you were to take a look my order history with RevZilla. I’m always looking for the next “gotta have” farkle.
The Smooth Crew has a favorite joint in Heber City, Utah called “Chick’s” (see “Smoothtah” post below). They’re famous for this thing they call a “scone.” I’ve been to the UK a few times and this ain’t a scone. It’s a big piece of fried bread, loaded with butter and served with honey. Fantastic and as nasty as it looks.
The highways I traveled yesterday from Jackson Hole to Heber City crossed from Wyoming into Idaho, then back into Wyoming, then into Utah, then back into Wyoming and finally back into Utah. I have no idea what state this is in the photo. Safe bet is to assume it’s somewhere in the Great American West and go from there.
Travel safe. And often.