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I finally got to put all my sport touring mods to the test, three days all over northern California. My brother was on my VFR, and my dad on his R1100RT for a total of just under 750 miles and 17 hours on the hourmeter. We had two hours of riding in the rain on the first day, but excellent weather otherwise. My brother and I had fun in the curves and my dad caught up on the straights where we took it easy.

On the RC51 the Givi topcase rack was solid, the new handlebars I made and Corbin seat allowed me to ride all day. The Garmin Zumo 550 made navigation along some pretty detailed routes a snap. With the big buttons I was able to find lunch and gas stops very easily.

On day 3 we went to take a side road I had programmed into the GPS. As I turned off the highway it looked like a driveway climbing up into the woods. After about 200 feet I ran into the sign shown in the last pic. Recalculating!

Overall the VFR is still more comfortable of course, but the sheer fun of being on an RC51 on Highways 70, 89 and 49 more than made up for the slightly less comfortable riding position and more frequent fuel stops.

I can't wait for the next trip in October!
 

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Looks like it was a blast! I really need to move back home so I am closer to family and can get my brother out on a bike. He keeps daydreaming about them, but never pulls the trigger.

If you ever think about making another rack like that, let me know as I might be interested. Where did you get the back triangle shaped part that the trunk latches to?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I bought the topcase used from a guy who had been using it on a Suzuki. He didn't use the case anymore after the steel rack he had broke. He gave me the busted rack for free and I pirated mounting hardware off it and used it on mine. I was just going to buy the mounting hardware seperately from Givi or one of their dealers otherwise.

I wish there was some simple way to reproduce that rack I made, but it took forever to fab it up such that it pops in and out of the trunk lid hole but still securely attaches itself to the subframe crossmembers.

If anyone is interested in making their own, all the pictures I took while making the rack can be viewed here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/104658614196852627154/GiviTopcaseRackBuild?authkey=Gv1sRgCMzfxI_35YLsxgE
 

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Get rid of that rear stock shock. It'll feel like an entirely better bike, especially on our shitty half maintained California roads.


Dan Kyle is just 1hr away if you live in the S.F. Bay area and need a used shock serviced.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Get rid of that rear stock shock. It'll feel like an entirely better bike, especially on our shitty half maintained California roads.

Dan Kyle is just 1hr away if you live in the S.F. Bay area and need a used shock serviced.
Thanks for the tip, but at this point suspension work isn't justified yet since I haven't exhausted the traditional suspension setup/adjustment steps. I figured out long ago with dirt bikes that getting suspension work done because someone else has done it, or using somebody elses settings is lazy and spending money without knowing what I'm doing. That's not to say that the conventional wisdom here of nuking the stock shock isn't correct, it probably is, but how can you truly appreciate good suspension or be able to adjust IT properly if you don't have the experience of going through the whole process? Just my opinion of course.

Anyway, I wasn't riding the bike that hard on this trip, and actually highways 70, 89 and 49 are in pretty good shape nowadays.

As an experiment I put ALL the suspension clickers full soft to see how plush the RC could be for street riding. Kinda like plushing out my CR250 when I run it on single tracks in the woods. I ended up cranking about 6 clicks of fork compression in to make it less divey on braking, but otherwise it worked out well on the trip with those settings.

Would I run it like that on the track or if I was going to ride with a faster group? No, but 2 minutes with a screw driver is all it takes to adjust it.
 

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Beautiful work on the mount for the top case.

Pete
 

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Thanks for the tip, but at this point suspension work isn't justified yet since I haven't exhausted the traditional suspension setup/adjustment steps. I figured out long ago with dirt bikes that getting suspension work done because someone else has done it, or using somebody elses settings is lazy and spending money without knowing what I'm doing. That's not to say that the conventional wisdom here of nuking the stock shock isn't correct, it probably is, but how can you truly appreciate good suspension or be able to adjust IT properly if you don't have the experience of going through the whole process? Just my opinion of course.

Anyway, I wasn't riding the bike that hard on this trip, and actually highways 70, 89 and 49 are in pretty good shape nowadays.

As an experiment I put ALL the suspension clickers full soft to see how plush the RC could be for street riding. Kinda like plushing out my CR250 when I run it on single tracks in the woods. I ended up cranking about 6 clicks of fork compression in to make it less divey on braking, but otherwise it worked out well on the trip with those settings.

Would I run it like that on the track or if I was going to ride with a faster group? No, but 2 minutes with a screw driver is all it takes to adjust it.
Mess with it all you want. The spring is for a 300lb+ 2up rider and the shock is too soft. It doesn't work no matter how much you try and tweak it. You can't soften up the front except the high speed compression. My rebound is two turns out from full in. Any softer and it will pogo. For $600 you can buy a used Ohlins and have a completely different bike. I did and I would never go back to stock.
 

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Ahhhh...thats home turf. First photo is the north side of the entrance of the old bridge crossing of Highway 49 over the Yuba River - I grew up using that old bridge before they built the new one in around 1990. Those roads (and many more in the area if you know them) are great carvers if not a bit rough around the edges. Looks like a great trip!
 
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