Sunday, September 26, 2010

Last trip of the season

Sean and I are planning one last road trip together for this season. Like the last time, we're going to meet 1/2 way, near Bancroft. We'll camp there and do 2 or 3 separate day trips. And like every other trip I've done, I still feel like my Givi E370 topcase is a little small for anything longer than a weekend trip. So, today I decided to rig up my own luggage solution -- on the cheap, naturally.

Went to a local scrap yard and found a heavy duty piece of 3/16" aluminium. It measures about 11" x 15" and it has a bend with an inch wide flap running along the long edge. I bought it for $5 and I used a jigsaw to round off the 4 corners. Then I clamped it tightly on top of the Suzuki OEM luggage rack. Using a centre punch, I lined up 3 holes so I could run bolts through the plate and directly through the steel tubing frame of the OEM rack. Some stainless steel bolts with nylon locking nuts hold it in place very securely.

It provides a stable platform for the new 46-Litre "Marine Duffle" I bought from Lebaron (local outdoor sports shop). It's quite rugged and it has a rigid foam tray moulded into the base of the duffle bag. The zippers are quite robust and they are covered by a thick flap so it should do OK in the rain. At least I'll be able to carry a little more than the Givi box.

And how about a tire wear update? Well, the Michelin T63 is definitely my new favourite tire, replacing the Continental TCK-80. So far, I've got 2,500 Kms on the rear, and a little over 1,000 Kms on the front. The rear still looks great, with over 8mm of tread depth remaining (10 mm when it was new). The front still looks brand new, and my tread depth guage doesn't show any measurable wear.  They are definitely noisier than the Conti TCK's on the street, but in the dirt and mud they grip a little better. I still can't believe they only cost $55 each !!!

Michelin T63 - front - after 1,000 Kms

Michelin T63 - rear- after 2,500 Kms

Odometer: 22,090 Kms