Author Topic: absolute must modifications  (Read 4638 times)

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Offline expat 63

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absolute must modifications
« on: October 22, 2011, 12:30:30 pm »
Hello coggers. This is my first time posting and I am looking to benefit from all of your vast experience as concours owners. Please excuse my ignorance as I am a fisrt time owner, therefore any and all information is of value to me. I recently bought the 06 model so that myself and my lovely wife could take the trip of our dreams. We plan to take six months off work and see the entire US. We are not leaving until April 2012 so we have some time to get our Connie ready for the marathon trip. The Connie we bought is the absolute stock model and no modifications have been whatsoever. Our question is," What modifications do you consider to be an absolute MUST". Please try and think of this as if you were making the trip yourselves. We have no desire at this time to make changes for aesthetic reasons but want to get the best out of our beautiful Connie So reccomendations are sought in the comfort, safety and longevity areas. Also fuel economy is a factor as any increase in mpg would obviously pay for itself. We greatly appreciate all of your existing input and look forward to your very valuable help in our future endeavours. .Sincerely Shaun and Lucinda

Offline cra-z1000

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2011, 01:17:20 pm »
Although I don't have a lovely wife to join me... :'(...Thats the reason I recently bought my 87 . I didn't see the mileage of your bike so that will help with the suggestions . I put tipover bars and highway pegs from Murph's on mine right away . Look great and you'll need the leg stretch on long trips . Get the best tires you can afford , I like my Avons personally . Make sure the suspension is up to par and if it's running good mechanically , you should be good to go there . Mine will get around 40mpg average on the highway bone stock if I stay out of the throttle   hard to do sometimes though...lol   :motonoises:

The best thing you have already done is to join this site , these guys and ladies are great . Have even read stories of folks helping each other out in breakdown situations . Members are spread all over the country .
« Last Edit: October 22, 2011, 01:26:27 pm by cra-z1000 »
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Offline Zorlac

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2011, 01:56:17 pm »
6 months, lucky you !!!!

With that much saddle time, you and Lucinda might want to consider a custom seat.
I'm a satisfied customer.

Auxiliary lighting is a welcome addition after sundown, Hella FF50's work well but there is a myriad of choices out there.

The first thing I added to my Concours were Murph's tip over bars and they give a nice attachment point for lights.  :))

Concours engine self destruction through hydrolock is a possibility and Steve in FL (SISF) can modify your carburetors with overflow tubes if you're interested.

Peruse this forum with the search function for a wealth of info.
Welcome & good luck,
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Offline troidus

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2011, 04:06:50 am »
The first thing I would add is some daylong out-n-back rides with my passenger so we could figure out if there's anything that we don't like/wish we had that we should address.  Everyone has different preferences, so what works for us might not work for you.  In terms of stuff to take along, a first-aid kit and a spare headlight are necessities, I think.  I've used both. 

Offline Slybones

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2011, 05:25:48 am »
For a 6mo trip, I think comfort, safety and capacity.

Comfort:
I like the suggestion of doing lots of rides between now and then and seeing what works for you guys. As mentioned what works for my wife and I might not be the same for your guys. Having said that I think in the 2 up comfort area. 
- We love our custom seat. The stock seat can work with proper breaks and rest periods, etc.
- Being able to stretch out and move the knee's. Hwy pegs. When I move my feet forward to the hwy pegs, the wife can move her feet forward to the rider pegs. I also have Murphs Knee savers. And they do help my knees, but not so much for the wife. Hwy pegs can work for both of us as she moves her feet forward too.
- Intercom system. We have had an Autocomm unit for many years now. She does not talk my ear off, so I dont have to worry that. It is very handy. Not being able to communicate can be just as bad. OR when were using the hwy pegs and her feet are on the rider pegs, she knows the word "pegs" means move. The louder and more panic'd my shouting "pegs", means the faster you need to get them the hell out of the way. I guess it can be a safety thing too, I think of it as comfort too.
- Givi trunk, has a back rest and allows the wife to lean back against it. Not having to hang on to me or the hand rails. Had one of them little butt stops Kawa calls a back rest. Worthless IMO.

If you dont go with an intercom, work out a communication system. Yelling back and forth at 70 on the freeway is not going to work.

Safety:
- Aux Lighting up front.
- 3rd eye brake light with some kind of flashing unit or wig wag. If you get a trunk get one with an integrated brake light for thr 3rd eye effect and add the flasher to it.
- Planning. This will be bigger than all the gear. Looks like your off to a good start
- Bike Prep. You'll get lots of suggestions here. But you can go stock. You will need to get oil changes and tires, etc. on the road. Probably a repair or two. This will need to be part of your planning.
- Tools and repairs items beyond whats in that mini tool kit that Kawa gives you.

Capacity:
- The Givi trunk will add some as well as a nice tank bag, etc. Myself I would also consider trailer. I dont think the wife and I would ever make it 6mo in just those two saddle bags. I have no doubt that there are a few souls who can, but the wife and are not them.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 10:56:10 pm by Slybones »
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Offline cra-z1000

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2011, 12:06:39 pm »
I just purchased a cable set for mine  . They will stay in the bags all the time just in case , depending on where you are they might be hard to get on the road .
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Offline mr t

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2011, 01:12:35 pm »
Not a modification but nevertheless a MUST is joining COG if only for the members handbook. Many people ready, willing and able to help you if you have any problems on the road.




      Tom Taylor COG#7173

Offline wild man

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2011, 10:51:25 am »
Wow six months in the saddle, going to Alaska?  A russel daylong would definately be at the top of my list
Bill
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Offline Ranger Jim

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2011, 11:51:45 am »
You and your wife need to put several days in the saddle on day trips then decide what you need.  Tip over bars would be a good idea. An intercom system, and a top box are also good suggestions. The first thing you need to do is to join COG.  As already mentioned the membership handbook is an invaluable resource.  You also need to consider some very high quality riding gear as you will encounter all kinds of weather/road conditions.  You didn't say if you were camping, or motelling but you might also consider joining the Motorcycle Travel Network (http://motorcycle-travel.net). It's a group of motorcyclists who provide B&B facilities for other motorcyclists.  It's worth the small price.
JIM CULP
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Offline John_Atkinson

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2011, 05:48:25 pm »
good suggestions all.

I would also suggest Dan Bergmen's Spin-On Oil Filter Adaptor Kit (a.k.a. SPOOFAK). Greatly simplifies the oil filter change process and also allows you to use automotive oil filters that will be much more widely available than the stock.

http://www.bergmenengineering.com/Spin-On%20Oil%20Filter%20Adapter%20Kit.shtml
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Offline Pastor Andy

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2011, 11:05:08 pm »
+1 on the advice to do some day trips.  I have ridden with my wife a few times but never that long and there is a difference that you will have to get used to.  Depending on your height, you will want to look into a new windscreen.  I rode over 1k for a long trip with one and I need a neck brace when I was done.  I'm 6'1 and the wind hits me in the middle of my face on the regular windscreen.  Also look into some knee savers (larry Buck or Murph) - your hips will thanks you and so will your knees.

Cannot overstate the planning as Slybones said. 

Auxuilary lighting, Safety gear and communications all important as well.  The givi trunk is an added help on any long trip.
but most important is the cog membership, it will pay off immensely!

have fun!
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Offline turbojoe78_MA

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2011, 01:56:52 am »
SISF's 7th gear mod and 2 min mod will both help in the MPG area.
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Offline SteveJ.

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2011, 06:08:02 am »
Real cruise control is a right nice feature.

Attend a few functions, see what other folks have done to their bikes. Dunno exactly where you're at, but here is one coming up that is well attended, plus the Q is marvelous:

http://forum.cog-online.org/index.php/topic,30057.0.html
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Offline WillyP

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2011, 09:48:25 am »
The only mod I would consider absolutely necessary is SISF's jet kit. Coming in a close second would be some type of throttle lock or cruise control. Given your gonna be on the bike for 6 months, you might consider better seating to be a necessity.
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Offline GTRinFL

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2011, 02:39:35 am »
Taller windscreen (24"), tank bag (toll money, phone, eye wear, etc), highway pegs, radial tires, synthetic oil change, HH brake pads, and jet kit.
The bike that came with the toys is a lot more enjoyable a ride, especially highway and in rain.  The bike is completely different between bias ply and radial tires.  I'm 6' 2" tall, 34" inseam, highway pegs came with the bike.  HH brake pads really last a lot longer.  Jet kit makes the bike come alive in upper rpm range.

Offline krumgrinder

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2011, 04:12:16 pm »
Hi Shaun & Lucinda, welcome to the group!  ^-^

I ride solo, but I ride alot (commute daily) and have done quite a few long tours; I also ride year-round in all weather and temps. Honestly, you really could just jump on and go for a trip without doing a thing- it's that good of a bike- but there are things that will improve the experience greatly.  Troy's advice to do a bunch of day trips is right on the money- this will help you decide which things you need/want the most.  I'll leave the 'two-up' advice (mostly) to others who do it more often and focus on the things I would do to enhance a trip, given that this is a new bike, starting with (my) highest priorities from the top down:

- Join COG. Best $37 you can spend before a long trip, if only for the member directory of people around the country who will help if needed.  Lots of other great benefits and a great quarterly magazine to boot.
- Get a towing service, just in case- because the bike is new, and new to you- you can get it by joining AMA, or MTS-Towing, or AAA Rec Vehicle- but I would go with one of the first two as they are motorcycle specific services.  I've used MTS for years, they are great and very helpful.  Peace of mind.
- Better tires- I like the Avons; I've been running the Storm front and Azaro rear but am switching to the Venom rear for the much greater mileage.  Depending on your mileage, you may need to plan a place to replace the rear once along the way.
- Fork brace- really improves the handling of the bike on uneven/bad roads and in dirty air at highway speeds- around semi's, box trucks, SUV's, etc.
- Murph's tipover bars- especially since you are new to the bike, and since you will be two-up, and heavily loaded.  She's a bit top-heavy to begin with, but you are more than likely to have an 'oh crap she's going over' moment sooner rather than later- and the bars will help protect the brittle parts that tend to touch down on a drop.  Very expensive to replace these, replacements would have to be ordered if it happened on your trip.
- Grind back the stopper tabs on your pilot foot pegs so they fold back further.  Your calves will thank you endlessly, and this will also keep them from cracking their brackets if you do tip her over at some point.
- Sturdier rack on the back or Givi top box, whichever suits you better.
- Bigger windshield- I love my Cee Bailey (w/NACA duct) for the greater coverage and you can tell them how tall you want it.  Many also like the Rifle system, and I hear the Clearview shield is great as well.  You will want this for wind/turbulence/rain abatement at highway speeds.
- Grip heaters with a Heattroller control- because wet hands are cold hands, mornings and evenings are chilly and cold hands don't control the bike as well.  The hi/off/lo switch that comes with most of the kits is next to useless and will drive you nuts switching it back and forth on a long ride so spring for the Heattroller.
- Kawasaki OEM pillion back rest, or pad on Givi top box- to keep your lovely wife seated and lovely when you crack that throttle open a bit too gingerly.
- Inline fuel filter to keep your carbs operating properly.  Really tiny stuff from bad gas has a way of getting past the tank filter and into the #1 carb and jamming the float needle.  Not only is this part 1 of a hydrolock, but will also cause massive fuel loss through the overflow tube and one less cylinder firing.  DAMHIK.
- Switch headlight bulb to Philips Silverstar, or Vision-Plus, and get two- one for a backup to take.  Greater noticeability in the daytime, better light at night.  If you will be riding at night, esp rurally, then maybe add aux driving lights as well, but otherwise I wouldn't sweat these.
- Murph's side turn signal/running lights- cheap, easy to install, very bright, alternate with turn signals when you wire them right- make you very notieable to other traffic at intersections to the sides and front.  Get the extra bulbs while your at it to take along.  Somebody suggested the Wig-Wag rear light flasher too- might be a good idea, but the taillight is already two bulbs (most bikes are one) and pretty noticeable so go with what you think.
- Accessory power cig plug and/or bmw plug for car chargers, air compressor, etc.  Extremely handy.
- If you can afford a replacement seat, there are several seat makers out there that many people love to crow about, and I'm sure they're better than stock.  But personally, I've never gone that route- I put a Beadrider on my stock seat in the warm months and an Alaska Sheepskin on in the chilly ones- then it's LDRider shorts and Anti-Monkey Butt Powder and I'm fine.
- Murph's fairing screw replacement kit, and t-handle hex head drivers.  Priceless for when you need to remove fairing pieces, especially on the road.  The OEM screws tend to strip out quickly if you do not have the CORRECT size phillips head screwdriver.

- Some thoughts on gear to take-
   - good tire pressure gauge, tire plugging kit (I take gummies and plugs both) and small, cheap compressor- and know how to use it all.
   - basic tool kit- you'll need to do an oil change or two along the way and be able to get to parts- maybe even get a wheel off.  Practice at home ahead of time.
   - some extra fuses, electrical tape, small roll of duct tape, a**'t length zip ties and a leatherman.
   - first aid kit for touring- Aerostich has some good ones, but shop around.
   - 1/2 or full cover for parking lots/bad weather at night- COG sells a lightweight half cover that does OK and packs down small.
   - rain gear for you both
   - electric vest or jacket liner for you both- because it's bound to get chilly in spring/fall, on summer evenings or at higher altitudes.
   - neck warmer/balaclavas- lovely on chilly rides, and cheap.

Use the winter months to get to know the bike mechanically, and try to squeeze in as many long day rides as you can around the weather.  If you can get to any local COG wrench sessions or rallies also that's a great way to see other people's bikes and get more advice.  Use the forum to search through all the past discussions about all these things, and to post new questions.  Feel free to email me if you wish and good luck.
Steve K.
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Offline daddykevin

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2011, 04:22:33 pm »
Wow! What a great response!

I actually copied it and have it on my desktop.  8)
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Offline fred-houston

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2011, 04:30:18 pm »
You still have several months before you depart on your trip.  What is a great modification to one, is not so great to another.  I would use a more simplistic approach.

For comfort do as some has suggested and start doing some day rides or weekend trips that will mirror the daily mileage you plan to do on the trip.  During and after each ride, write down what (if anything) is uncomfortable.  Once you have a list of things that you would like to improve, then come to the forum and do a search and/or post a question.  I am sure it has already been addressed by someone else in the past.  This will keep you from spending money on modifications that is really not a benefit to you.

For mechanical issues there are a couple of things that I would take care of just to make sure there is not a problem during your trip.  Upgrading the J Box and having overflow tubes installed in the carbs are in my opinion two of the most important ones.  Even though I have done neither of these, that will be corrected this winter.

My 2 cents

Fred
« Last Edit: November 02, 2011, 04:32:37 pm by Fred »
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Offline btyoung

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2011, 04:15:38 am »
I would look at O-Neal helmets . I can't say more . They are great .

Offline 2linby

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2011, 05:30:09 am »
Money.  More Money!  ;)
"2linby" Get it? "Tooling by" "Everything is simple, but nothing is easy".
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Offline Jim Snyder

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2011, 12:45:27 am »
" What modifications do you consider to be an absolute MUST".  "So reccomendations are sought in the comfort, safety and longevity areas, also fuel economy is a factor as any increase in mpg would obviously pay for itself. We greatly appreciate all of your existing input and look forward to your very valuable help in our future endeavours. .Sincerely Shaun and Lucinda

Ok, in no special order, but all of these are good ones:
1. a good seat (Russell Daylong, Rick Mayer, etc.)
2. Steve's exhaust sprocket and jet kit (makes a huge difference in throttle response)
3. Bergmen's oil filter adaptor
4. a back rest for the wife (and don't rule out armrests) if you need more info PM me.
5. get a KB handlebar adaptor and switch to regular 7/8" handlebars.
6. brake upgrade front and rear.
7. and of course join COG !!! 
"Some days you're the windshield, and some days you're the bug" Get used to it cause thats life !!!

Offline Rev Ryder

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2011, 03:00:39 am »
  What is a great modification to one, is not so great to another.

Fred, you just said a mouthful.

WElcome to COnnie Ownership and first farkle that is a must have is COG membership.  THat one MOST of us agree on it seems.  From there things get dicier.

FOr me, the best things I have done, in this order are...

1.  Taxi Driver's Beaded Seat Cover. $8 from Wally WOrld.  I never leave home without it unless I am expecting only arctic temps.  It's a butt saver IMHO.
2.  Turbocharging.  Of course, as Fred mentioned, this one seems to have few (as in zero) other adherants.  Go figure.
3.  Electronic Fuel Injection.  Again, only one other so far... but someday... everyone will want/have it.  It cures much of what Connie has need of curing.
4.  Better forks and bars.  In my case they are ZX14R Upside Down forks from a 2007 model, but there are other easier to adapt forks and tons of mods that can be done to the stockers to reduce the dive and help the handling in every situation.  Another advantage is bigger brakes which are a real blessing.  Again, multiple ways to get there.
5.  I love my SPOOFAK.  And if I was going on the road for an extended ride like yours I would consider it since it makes the chore easier, quicker, and cleaner.  all good things when riding is paramount on today's menu.
6. 17 inch wheels. THis takes the hassle out of finding tires that fit and shifts it over to tire selection... since so many 17's are available you may find yourself whining about too many choices.  It's just such a difficult life already.
7. TUnes.  I love my Autocom and MP3 or Sirius radio.  Plus, it allows the use of phones and other devices as well.
8. GPS is cool and if you absolutely, positively have to be there by Tuesday it can keep you from making a boo boo that might delay your arrival.  Of course, being late can be pretty cool too.
9. It probably should be number one, but good safety gear is always a plus and I really consider it a necessity rather than a farkle or even an option.  Dress for success in the event success becomes limited by an accident.  Skin and bone are no match for road and rod and your SO will appreciate your taking care of her and yourself in this fashion.
10.  A can of Lemon Pledge or Honda Cleaner and a roll of blue towels.  These are great for touching up the shine on yer ride or cleaning the bugs off your shield (makes a poor replacement for Colgate on yer teeth though).

But out of all the things you can add or subtract from lists of theings to take or apply to your machine, the best one has got to be miles and miles of beautiful American roads and the freedom and health to enjoy them.  I hope the two of you have the time of your lives and arrive everywhere safe and happy.  When you pass through Texas, come see me in El Campo and share a margarita or eight.
Fortis non Ferox
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Offline S Smith

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2011, 03:12:08 am »
Application of my COG member decal made my bike ride better.
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Offline expat 63

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Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2011, 11:49:34 pm »
Wow!!!!!!!!. We want to thank all of the members that responded to our questions. We are both shocked at the wealth and scope of the information shared with us. Obviously the Cog members are very friendly, knowledgable people and the level of enthusiasm just pours off the pages. We feel very lucky to have access to  a wonderful comprehensive resource such as this. We will take all of the advice into consideration and we do plan to take many rides together before we leave, so that we can figure out which of the advice works best for us. Particular attention has been paid to the safety and handling aspects initially. We really cannot thank you all enough for your so very helpful guidance in how to make our adventure as smooth as possible. Sincerely Shaun and Lucinda.

Offline Jim Snyder

  • Crotch Rocket
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  • Oops, my Connie turned into an FJR !!!
  • AREA: South Central Area
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  • Membership Level: Asst. Area Director
Re: absolute must modifications
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2011, 12:19:47 am »
Wow!!!!!!!!. We want to thank all of the members that responded to our questions. We are both shocked at the wealth and scope of the information shared with us. Obviously the Cog members are very friendly, knowledgable people and the level of enthusiasm just pours off the pages. We feel very lucky to have access to  a wonderful comprehensive resource such as this. We will take all of the advice into consideration and we do plan to take many rides together before we leave, so that we can figure out which of the advice works best for us. Particular attention has been paid to the safety and handling aspects initially. We really cannot thank you all enough for your so very helpful guidance in how to make our adventure as smooth as possible. Sincerely Shaun and Lucinda.

Hey Shaun, now you know why our motto is "Join for the bike, stay for the people".
"Some days you're the windshield, and some days you're the bug" Get used to it cause thats life !!!