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Old 05-18-2014, 11:02 PM   #1
blainerides OP
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Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Seattle
Oddometer: 21
Honda VFR800 GS Adventureceptor - knobbies on a street bike!

I posted this the other day, over at expeditionportal.com, and thought some of you fellow crazies here on ADV might appreciate the absurdity of my VFR mods, too:

Sooooooo, this is my fourth VFR in the last 12 years (previously owned VFRs, in order of ownership: a '98 (5th gen), '02 (6th gen), '94 (4th gen), and I now have a '03 (6th gen). I LOVE the V4 engine to death. Not thump-y, not vibe-y, not whine-y...juuuuust right. Not that I don't love other engines, or won't have other bikes in the future, but the V4s just speak to me.

In addition to the aforementioned VFRs, I've also owned two Ducatis (a Monster and SS 750...), a Honda CBR1100XX "Blackbird"; (put 68,000 miles on it...), a heavily-modded KLR650 (1996 model - EVERY mod done to it, courtesy of Dual-Star, etc); a Kawasaki KZ550 LTD "cafe racer" (1982, baby); and a CBR 900RR.

I've always lusted after KTM 950s/990s (after many hours of lurking here on ADV), currently lust after the sexy F800 GS, and have rented/ridden/demo-ed many other BMWs (1200GSAs and R1200RTs) and Ducatis (Diavel Carbon, Multistrada GT/PP, etc). For 7 full years (June 2002-July 2009, I rode only my various motorcycles (no car, and no public transportation when it rained...), while living in the perpetually-misty-weather mecca of Seattle, WA. ;) After I got a car, I still didn't drive it that much, except for trips to the ski hill. I'm a two-wheeler for life (my grandparents met on motorcycles...bikes are in the Stockinger blood, I suspect...).

Point in babbling all that out, is to give you a frame of reference - a window into my mind. No, I'm not 20 (not that there's anything wrong with being 20...); no, I'm not "inexperienced" or reckless or stupid (well, at least not too often); and no, I'm not bat-**** crazy - at least not any crazier than most of the other Inmates here. A lot of you here do beautifully weird shit too, and have, in one way or another, inspired me. I'm not as rad as some of the lucky inmates here who have had longer "'round the world adventures" (or been around a few decades longer), but on top of dirt biking since age 6, I've accumulated around 125,000 miles on 10 street bikes, since I got my motorbike license in 2001 (not too shabby for only being 32). Because of my modest, but relatively broad motorbike experiences on several very different bikes, I've finally figured out what I want to explore on for a while. After many solo "adventure(ous)" rides on my Blackbird and VFRs (on Michelin Pilot Powers, nonetheless...) up on the dirt/clay/mud logging roads up around Darrington and other side-roads off Hwy 20 (I grew up in Winthrop), and not dying or even crashing, I thought about putting some (as Ewan McGregor would put it...) "knobblies" on my current 6th-gen Honda VFR "sport touring" bike, to improve my chances of continuing my luck streak. Ah, but why butcher a sport touring bike and "Frankenstein" into an "Adventure" bike...?


Well, because:

A) I'm a ****in' AmeriCAN, so why the heck not try it for a summer?;

B) because she's been down a few times already (previous owner) and has some cosmetic flaws, so she's a good test subject;

C) because the VFR is such a wonderfully universal combination of desirable Honda reliability, chassis robustness, bodywork style, header routing (they "protect" the oil sump!), and of course that smooth and torque-y V4 powerplant;

D) because I have enough student loans to keep me married to just one bike for at least the next five years (if you have kids, DO NOT let them go to college, unless you can pay cash for it!); and

E) because I believe, like the story of your own life, an "Adventure" bike is defined by where YOU make it (let it?) take you.

If there's a perfect "inappropriate" bike out there to try it on, she's it.


I'm posting a few introductory pictures. The real "adventure" season is just now upon us up here in Seattle (I pretty much just commute to work November through April), and I JUST got the TKCs on last week/300miles ago, so this will be my posting place for ongoing adventures here in the PNW.

For those shaking their heads, I'm not trying to turn this classy lady into a brute. No increased-suspension-travel mods (hmmm, yet...), no spoked wheels, and no starry-eyed imagery of this beast jumping tree stumps. This is being predominantly used as a two-up (125lb wife) paved road/rough paved road/dirt Forest Service road/muddy logging road "exploring machine". We/I might hit some easier WABDR sections (probably NOT the rougher Packwood to Ellensburg segment), in the mid-to-late (drier) summer months (can't ford more than 18" or so). For a quick overview, these are the notable "dirt road" modifications, so far:


1) Continental Twinduro TKC80s front and rear (surprised at how solid they are on pavement, actually - though it is a huge change in "feel" from Michelin PP's, but not scary at all).

2) Rear suspension shimmed up 7/8" and front fork tubes dropped down 7/8" for equally increased ride-height front and rear (need that extra ground clearance!).

3) Pro-Taper 1-1/8" Contour bars on riser shims (drilled/mounted at top fork plate).

4) -1 F / + 2 R sprockets for more "git 'er goin'" down-low grunt when things get loose or technical. The torque is now more accessible at starting RPMs, though this increases revs at cruising speed of 85, but oh well. Will try it for a bit.

5) Adjustable MRA Vario windscreen to get air up and over my increased upper-body profile, due to dirtbike riser bars (sitting more upright, now).

6) Oxford "Rider Grips" strap-on belt aka "oh-shit-he's accelerating-to-redline-on-the-on-ramp-again" handles, so the wife is more comfortable (she LOVES them), when the inevitable evasive maneuvers happen and/or we want/need to lay down rubber ;)

7) Luggage: Small magnetic tank bag, OEM Honda/Givi side cases (I mean, "crash protection system"), and Givi E52 top case (with Admore LED lighting kit). We need lots of storage room for extended adventures. The top case lights AND standard turn signals are hooked up to custom "hazard flasher" (thanks to http://www.murphysmotorworks.com/VFR/) system. If **** breaks down, we have lots of flashy lights to be visible on the side of the road. Top rack on trunk for carrying two rolled-up sleeping pads and lashing down lightweight things like an extra jacket.

8) On-board: Expanded tool kit, medical kit, tubeless tire flat repair kit, extra fuel, Fiskars X15 #7857 23.5" axe (for removing fallen trees from rarely-traveled roads), 3-gal dromedary bag and water filter, extra clutch and front brake lever, etc.

9) Sargent Cycle double-custom seat...modified for wife's booty, with extra extra thick foam to raise her UP 1.5" for better view, and contoured, so she has a neutral saddle and stays put.


There is not a lot of acreage on a VFR (when compared to the gold standard BMW GSA or KTM 950/990/1190AdvR, and I generally prefer not putting up with pork-y motorbikes, ever, so I've tried to be very conscious of only bringing what is necessary, to save space and improve handling as much as possible. I plan on upgrading suspension front and rear, later this year or this coming winter, but for now, stock will have to do. Stay tuned for updates on mods (possibly a skid plate!!!), and reports on performance as the summer progresses. Happy trails, y'all, and hopefully we'll see some of you at the Touratech/Overland Rally (in Plain, WA) at the end of June!




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Old 05-18-2014, 11:07 PM   #2
blainerides OP
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More pics from first real ride, two-up, with the TKC80s. They're great!




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Old 05-19-2014, 02:29 AM   #3
Thomo55
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I love this!!
I have just come up with the perfect bike in my mind and no one actually makes it so I like your 'build' it how you want logic!
Having recently sold my beloved BMW F800gs due to knee and mental issues and thinking just a dirt bike would suffice I now find myself missing the road going option!
So been thinking and looking at a lot of bikes and none of them really nail it for me. I want comfort like the BMW, I want power like my CBR1000, and the agility of the two aswell. Wherever you throw the extra ponies at an adventure bike they seem to build massive bikes! The closest thing I have half looked at is the ktm 990 supermoto t.. Maybe I need a cbr modded up like yours!!

Cheers for the ideas
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Old 05-19-2014, 03:07 AM   #4
XtreemLEE
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There is plenty of room on your saddlebags for more reflective saftey decals.
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Old 05-19-2014, 05:50 AM   #5
Ronin1
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Looks cool.
I just want to see the "VFR faithful" lose their minds over this!

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Old 05-19-2014, 07:04 AM   #6
Paulvt1
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Cool as fuck.
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:47 AM   #7
Dubl-A
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Pretty cool man, opens up many more routes for ya
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:17 PM   #8
blainerides OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomo55 View Post
I love this!!
I have just come up with the perfect bike in my mind and no one actually makes it so I like your 'build' it how you want logic!
Having recently sold my beloved BMW F800gs due to knee and mental issues and thinking just a dirt bike would suffice I now find myself missing the road going option!
So been thinking and looking at a lot of bikes and none of them really nail it for me. I want comfort like the BMW, I want power like my CBR1000, and the agility of the two aswell. Wherever you throw the extra ponies at an adventure bike they seem to build massive bikes! The closest thing I have half looked at is the ktm 990 supermoto t.. Maybe I need a cbr modded up like yours!!

Cheers for the ideas

How about an Aprilia with knobblies? http://instagram.com/p/m-ld1mO1FI/
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:29 PM   #9
blainerides OP
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Originally Posted by XtreemLEE View Post
There is plenty of room on your saddlebags for more reflective saftey decals.

Why you gotta be like dat? I like my ride limed-out, brah. In fact, I have a few more packages of that stuff in my cart on Amazon (waiting for next time I have a free-shipping order over $40). After I fill in those ugly black areas with some more shiny reflectiveness , I'm going to put a few horizontal layers on top of the first layer, just to be extra, extra safe (cuz every backup needs a backup). And then a few more vertical layers (backup for the backup's backup). It will be like a carbonfiberreflectiveweaveofglisteningblindthecage rsglory, so damn bright, the planet will literally around my backside.
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Old 05-19-2014, 01:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ronin1 View Post
Looks cool.
I just want to see the "VFR faithful" loss their minds over this!

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Old 05-19-2014, 01:40 PM   #11
blainerides OP
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Originally Posted by Paulvt1 View Post
Cool as fuck.
Thank you, kind sir. I hope to share some more ADVRIDER-worthy pics (deer carcasses/mud splatter/shattered plastics/fluids not where they're supposed to be...), indicative of where our adventures have gone wrong, as the summer progresses. Or maybe just some more cliche "bike-in-front-of-a-dilapidated-barn" pics. Probably both. Cheers
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:16 PM   #12
blainerides OP
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Originally Posted by Dubl-A View Post
Pretty cool man, opens up many more routes for ya

Yesiree bob. Should be a good blend of all the things I want. I still look forward to a KTM with a foot of suspension travel in the near future, but I want to get a bike for the wife, first, so I can start getting her comfortable on the dirt roads by herself. A work in progress ($$$). She's only been on quads, so far. She has the right spirit, though. Getting her weight off the back of the bike is the fastest way to "improve" my bike's performance
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Old 05-19-2014, 05:12 PM   #13
tmills
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A VFR800 scrambler cool


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Old 05-19-2014, 06:05 PM   #14
Scubalong
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Cool......
VFR owner here
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Old 05-19-2014, 08:42 PM   #15
ACD
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Joined: Aug 2011
Location: Brazil
Oddometer: 243
I don't care what you ride, bring a scooter and we'll ride together. Bring a scooter on TKC' s and you are my newest childhood friend. Cheers!
P.s.: tie that matress on top of side panniers and gain 20 mph on top speed and improve mileage by 30%!!!


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