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Old 12-28-2015, 12:54 PM   #1
copb8
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Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

I'd like to start this general discussion about anything to do with planning and prepping for an extended Dual Sport (DS) ride. I'm planning on participating in the April Mexico ride (http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?t=106215) and have A LOT to learn!

This thread can be a place for both DS noobs (me) and those with more experience to exchange ideas and tips about what to bring, what works and what doesn't, how to prepare, safety, etc. Let's keep this thread to planning and prep and if anyone has questions regarding the Mexico trip please follow the link above.

I'm in the process of fitting out an '08 XR650L for this trip and will be adding racks, luggage, lights, spares, riding gear, etc.,etc. so will have TONS of questions.
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Old 12-28-2015, 01:01 PM   #2
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

I've decided to add Manracks to the bike and am waffling between Giant Loop and Wolf Pack luggage. It's seems the GL stuff is very easy to put on and take off the bike but may be a bit awkward to use and pack.
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Old 12-28-2015, 01:16 PM   #3
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by copb8 View Post
I've decided to add Manracks to the bike and am waffling between Giant Loop and Wolf Pack luggage. It's seems the GL stuff is very easy to put on and take off the bike but may be a bit awkward to use and pack.
On a relatively light and agile dirt bike, IMHO it doesn't get any better than Giant Loop.

But the truth is, there are multiple solutions that all work.

The real problem isn't the luggage, it's the human tendency to overpack.

Whichever way you go, if it is a solution that you've never used before, let's say some brand new luggage combo, I highly suggest the first ride you take with it not be south of the border. Find out what doesn't fit, what comes loose, etc. on some ride in the Hill Country, before you're 100 miles north of Mexico City.
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Old 12-28-2015, 01:19 PM   #4
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

I'm working through the process too. The first trip for me will likely be the Rundown, but also for trips such as the CDT, TAA and possibly Montana. I've found this thread among others useful: "What to carry while dual sport riding"

I'm outfitting a KLR and a DRZ. One or both might turn into a 5XX or 690 KTM one day. I'm currently trying to decide on luggage. I think I've settled on the Wolfman tank bag, but I haven't found a tail pack or saddle bags that I'm stuck on yet. Dirt Bagz seem to be the default for the sides. I'm just beginning to look into auxiliary lighting too. Any thoughts on either of those subjects would be appreciated.
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Old 12-28-2015, 01:54 PM   #5
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

Revzilla is having a 20% off sale on Giant Loop. Seems like a good time to commit.

Thanks for posting the 'what to carry' link. I'm building my personal checklist and this was something I was wondering about.
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Old 12-28-2015, 02:27 PM   #6
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

The basic categories that should be considered, planned for, and prepared prior to departure are:

Protection and Safety - for you and your bike: Things like skid plates and crash bars for your bike and clothing with armor for you.

Recovery - spare parts and tools: What are the most likely problems that will affect your particular model of motorcycle? For example, are you riding a KLR? If so, what have you done about the doohickey, the weak subframe bolts, or the weak footpeg bolts? Or, if you ride a XR650L, have you reinforced the subframe and do you have a spare CDI? Or, if you get a flat deep in Mexico, do you have everything necessary to repair that flat trailside (tools to take the wheel off the bike, tools to remove the tire from the wheel, patch kit, spare tube, and an air pump that can produce an unlimited amount of air)? And so on. You should either fix or upgrade anything that needs to be done before you go to Mexico. Then you should carry all the tools and necessary spare parts with you to recover from the most likely problem your particular bike might experience during the rally.

Bike Prep - is your bike ready to go? New chain? New sprockets? New tires? New battery? Is it time to replace your wheel bearings? Fix/upgrade/pre-emptive strike everything before you leave for Mexico. Everything is 1000% more difficult to fix in Mexico than in your own driveway. Trust me on this.

Luggage - Do you have a system that will allow you to carry everything you need? Is it waterproof? Is it secure or will you constantly be fighting with it, trying to keep it from falling off your bike? Is it top heavy? Is it balanced on the bike? Does it make your bike hard to handle? If so, should you do something about it before you venture 500 miles into Mexico?
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Old 12-28-2015, 02:34 PM   #7
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

I bought a spare non-OEM CDI online this weekend as a backup. Bought after-market to save some money. Going to put it on the bike and run it for a while to make sure it works ok. I'll then put back the OEM one and carry the new one as an emergency spare.

See any holes in this logic?
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Old 12-28-2015, 02:42 PM   #8
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

Here are a few good threads on packing for camping off the DS style bikes
http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?t=85385

http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35164

On my KTM 530 ECX, I use the Kriega Overlander 30 setup. I like where the bags sit. They are tough and have removeable water proof liners that can be replaced independent of the bags if they ever wear out. The bags are very easy to mount/dismount. They hold a good bit. They don't move around. They are easy to access on the side of the road. If I need to carry more, I use a Wolfman Drybag on the tail of the bike and put light stuff in it like a sleeping bag, tent, air mat, etc,... Tools and spare tubes go in the side bags. I use a Wolfman tankbag for misc small stuff. This still leaves me plenty of room for moving around on the bike when the riding gets technical.

Examples of what I think is "technical"






A few shots of the bike fully loaded








Typical camp setup - 3 man tent, cot, chair, extra fleece blanket, a few days of dry food and a JetBoil stove with two cans of fuel. No extra clothes, just the riding gear... Warm/cold sets of gloves. All in all, a pretty minimal setup.


I also have the Giant Loop Mojavi bag, which I like a lot. However, it is really only big enough for day rides where you are carrying tools, spare tubes, and maybe a few other misc pieces of gear. It is no where near large enough to use for camping. I have not used the larger bags, but one of the guys riding a KTM 530 with us had one and seemed happy with it.

On my KLR 650, I used the DirtBagz Ranger panniers. They were good for the KLR. They are NOT waterproof at all. At best, they are mildly water resistant. You can put rain covers on them, but they will still get wet on deep water crossings or in heavy rain. Even water just splashing up from the rear wheel will soak through the backside of the bags where they are not covered by the rain covers. They also require a mountain bracket. Brackets bend and break. The Kriega bags don't (you drill a small hole in each side of rear fend or use a tail plate like I already had installed). They are super easy to mount/dismount. They hold a LOT.

Another popular brand is the Ortlieb dry bags. They are waterproof. Some require mounting hardware and some don't. I've never used them but from what I have read they seem to be pretty durable. There are lots of different types/sizes of bags to choose from.

The Wolfman bags are also very popular. They have a nice selection of types/sizes. Not ALL of their stuff is waterproof. So you have to really check that for whichever ones you might like. I would strongly advise against the idea of getting one big tail bag and cramming everything in there. This is a BIG safety issue. You want your weight down low. Weight up high makes the bike difficult to handle, especially at high speeds or in rough terrain. On the technical stuff, weight up high will drastically increase the odds of you dropping the bike and getting hurt! On my KLR 650, I liked to used the Wolfman tank panniers. I kept stuff like rain gear, extra sweat shirt, and other light weight items in them. They also made for nice soft pads for when the bike fell over...

Some folks like to use front fender bags to carry a spare tube and maybe tire irons/patches. I think this is where the particular bike can make a difference. If you can get the bag right up close to the forks, it usually works well. However, if the front fairing/headlight pushes the bag further away from the forks, the weight of the bag can really affect the handling of the bike, especially when the terrain starts getting technical. It will tend to make the wheel want to flop to one side or the other. I have stopped using a fender bag.

There are some folks that like to use hard luggage. I would only suggest this if you are going to be riding pavement and easy unpaved roads (something on which you'd drive a typical sedan without any issues). Generally, the hard bag and their mounting hardware don't hold up to serious abuse real well and they are expensive to repair/replace. There is also the issue of getting your leg pinned between the ground/rocks and the leading edge of the bags. There have been quite a few people that have suffered broken legs/ankles because of this. Soft bags are MUCH more forgiving... I use hardbags on my 1200 GS, but never on the KLR or KTM. Even then, I rarely use the hard side bags and instead mostly use the hard tail bag, but I don't carry a lot of weight in it. If you do use hard bags (or even soft bags), having some bailing wire or lots of LONG zip ties can be a real ride saver if you have to keep the bag attached to the bike after a nasty drop that damages the mounts.

Hand pumps for inflating tires
http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?t=46173

I like to have an electric pump. Yeah, I am lazy. But I have been on too many trips where having that electric pump came in REAL handy, not just for me, but for other riders in the group. You can also use CO2 cartridges, but once they are gone, you are screwed if you still need more air. There are all kinds of air pumps available. I just got the inexpensive "Slime" brand pump at the local auto parts place and it works great. Some people tear them apart to get down to the bare minimum pieces. Again, I am lazy and that is more work that it is worth in my opinion given the small reduction in weight and size.

There are some folks that will tell you to carry a front tube only. If you get a flat, you can temporarily run the front tube in the rear. Personally, I don't like this advice. I have seen too many front tubes fail when used in the rear, even when only used for a few miles. I'd rather just carry a rear and a front so I don't have to risk ruining my whole ride just because of a flat. I also carry patches to that if I just get a clean puncture rather than a tear, I can simply patch the tube and keep going. I have even occasionally carried two spare rear tubes. There have been times when other riders had problems and my extra tube kept the group moving.

PRACTICE changing tubes at home BEFORE you go on trips. It is much better to learn in the comfort of your garage than on the side of a road/trail when you have a group of riders standing around waiting for you to get your bike rolling again. ONLY use the tools you will have with you on the bike. With a little practice, you will be able to fix a tire problem pretty quick. There are loads of YouTube videos out there on how to do it easily and correctly.

The biggest safety issue is having the proper adjustment of the nut between the handlebars and seat. Seriously, I cannot stress this enough. Develop your skills. Do NOT ride as fast as you can or over ride your sight lines. Adjust your riding to the terrain and conditions. Stay properly hydrated and keep your body cool/warm as needed. Dehydration and fatigue are literally killers. Ego can be a real issue as well. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people get in over their heads because of the feeling that they have to impress the group or because of a fear of holding the group back. A GOOD group won't be worried about you holding them back. They will understand that you are riding as a group and the group takes care of everyone! If you are riding with people that don't get this, find new riding partners. Also, the good riders in the group should be willing to help the less experienced riders learn to become better riders.

Good gear is a big issue as well. You can find decent gear for a decent price. I would not skimp on gear in terms of quality or coverage. Even a mild accident can result in BIG medical bills. It is easy to think of gear as being too expensive and to go for something really cheap. All it takes is ONE serious injury and all of a sudden that better gear is not so expensive in comparison. I am not saying you have to buy the most expensive stuff. Quality is the issue. Good quality gear will last you at least 5-10 years depending on how hard you use it. It might be more upfront, but in the end it is usually cheaper because it gets replaced less often. I have had many instances where good boots, pants, jacket, gloves, and helmet have protected me from very serious injuries. I cannot stress this enough either.

Good gear will not only offer you physical protection from injury, but it will be comfortable and keep you cool/warm/dry as needed. Cold can be just as dangerous as heat. Wet and cold is the worst! Good venting is important as well as the ability to close everything up to keep out wind and rain. The ability to add layers under the jacket and pants is also important if you plan to ride in a wide range of temps and weather. Personally, I like Gore-Tex pants/jackets because I hate messing with liners or over suits. It does usually cost more though.

You will have to experiment with what you like. Most likely, you will start with one thing and gradually figure out what you like or don't like. I've used all manner of gear over the years and still haven't found the perfect setup
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Old 12-28-2015, 07:23 PM   #9
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

Good info. Reason you're seeing various answers is there really isn't a one size that fits all answer to this. Trips come in different colors... getting there and staying in a motel means leaving the heavy stuff at the motel and only carrying fix it and feed it items during the day. Motel hopping each night while carrying everything you own down the trail all day calls for a more austere approach. Riding dirt roads and pavement allows for way more baggage. Carrying it all through the woods while rock hopping at a spirited pace is where things have to get pretty minimal. Whatever...Weight is not your friend.

Regardless, load low and balanced. Top weight will put you on the ground. However you decide to load - go ride that loaded motorcycle before heading south. A loaded bike rides very differently than one that isn't.

You'll have a blast on this trip. If you're riding with TWT folks then you can count on being in a group that works as a team to keep everyone safe and on the trail. Once there, get with a smaller group that rides like you do. That just makes for a lot more enjoyable - and safer - trip for everyone.
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Old 12-28-2015, 07:28 PM   #10
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

No tools without spares and vice versa.
Take an assortment of self tapping screws,
and seizing wire.
Rubber cement will go bad even in a closed tube, so replace your patch kit before you leave.
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Old 12-30-2015, 05:49 PM   #11
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

This stuff can save a ride. I used it to patch a half dollar sized hole in the case of a DRZ400. It got the rider and bike home. All he had to do was add oil after it had cured. I also used to it patch a hole in the head cover of my 1150 GS after a nasty high side. It worked so well that it was still on there 18K miles later and never leaked a drop!

J-B Weld 8277 WaterWeld Underwater Epoxy Putty - 2 oz: J-B Weld 8277 WaterWeld Underwater Epoxy Putty - 2 oz:


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The number one rule for this forum!
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Eph 4:29 (NIV)
Think before you post. Leave out the vulgarity, personal attacks and foul language!

Quote:
"However lofty the goals, if the means be depraved, the result must reflect that depravity." - Leonard E. Read

Lies are fragile. They require constant attentiveness to keep them alive. The exposure of a single truth can rip through an ocean of lies, evaporating it instantly. - Brandon Smith

If you want government to intervene domestically, you’re a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you’re a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you’re a moderate. If you don’t want government to intervene anywhere, you’re an extremist. — Joe Sobran

It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.' But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance. – Murray N. Rothbard

When one possessed of the Truth suffers from a heavy heart he is susceptible to a more dangerous affliction — the craving for power to eradicate error, to cause Truth to triumph by force. - Frank Chodorov

Where politicians flourish, long history has harshly taught us, people and their liberty wither. Where the state is god and the "public interest" worshipped, individual man will be found bleeding upon the altar. - Karl Hess

The accepted wisdom is that without the state, society would collapse into lawlessness and crime. In fact, lawlessness and crime define the very nature of the state and the society organized by it. - Bionic Mosquito

But the myth of the rule of law does more than render the people submissive to state authority; it also turns them into the state's accomplices in the exercise of its power. For people who would ordinarily consider it a great evil to deprive individuals of their rights or oppress politically powerless minority groups will respond with patriotic fervor when these same actions are described as upholding the rule of law. - John Hasnas
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Old 12-30-2015, 06:55 PM   #12
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

How many of y'all carry spare clutch and throttle cables? I've only had one go bad, but I've seen guys broke for them while I'm out and about. Having to have both a push and a pull for the throttle seems excessive. I've also wondered about a rear brake pedal. Most of them are fairly heavy and you can do without it, but I'd rather not. Can't say as I've heard anyone talk about breaking one though.
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Old 12-30-2015, 07:18 PM   #13
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

I keep a spare clutch cable and throttle cable zip-tied beside the working one. The throttle cable has never broken, but the clutch cable has broken twice, last time on the ET750 2 day.
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Old 12-30-2015, 07:51 PM   #14
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

Do you carry both a push and a pull cable for the throttle, or does your bike have just one?
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Old 12-30-2015, 07:54 PM   #15
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

My clutches are hydraulic, so no spare cables. When I had my KLR 650, I carried a spare and there were several cases where it got used for another rider's KLR. I carry spare brake and clutch levers. I don't carry the spare rear brake lever. With JB weld and a wrench, something can usually be rigged if needed

Deciding how many and what kinds of spares can become a real nightmare. I have seen riders with a HUGE assortment of spare nut, bolts, washers, etc,... It does not take long for that to add up to a lot of weight and space. I usually plan for the known issues for a given bike. I try to "upgrade" what I can as prevention and then carry the minimum to take care of problems on the road. Of course, the type of ride makes a difference as RG pointed out above. Packing for a local ride is not the same as packing for a ride into the wilderness regions of Southern Utah where help could be MANY hours away.
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The number one rule for this forum!
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Eph 4:29 (NIV)
Think before you post. Leave out the vulgarity, personal attacks and foul language!

Quote:
"However lofty the goals, if the means be depraved, the result must reflect that depravity." - Leonard E. Read

Lies are fragile. They require constant attentiveness to keep them alive. The exposure of a single truth can rip through an ocean of lies, evaporating it instantly. - Brandon Smith

If you want government to intervene domestically, you’re a liberal. If you want government to intervene overseas, you’re a conservative. If you want government to intervene everywhere, you’re a moderate. If you don’t want government to intervene anywhere, you’re an extremist. — Joe Sobran

It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.' But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance. – Murray N. Rothbard

When one possessed of the Truth suffers from a heavy heart he is susceptible to a more dangerous affliction — the craving for power to eradicate error, to cause Truth to triumph by force. - Frank Chodorov

Where politicians flourish, long history has harshly taught us, people and their liberty wither. Where the state is god and the "public interest" worshipped, individual man will be found bleeding upon the altar. - Karl Hess

The accepted wisdom is that without the state, society would collapse into lawlessness and crime. In fact, lawlessness and crime define the very nature of the state and the society organized by it. - Bionic Mosquito

But the myth of the rule of law does more than render the people submissive to state authority; it also turns them into the state's accomplices in the exercise of its power. For people who would ordinarily consider it a great evil to deprive individuals of their rights or oppress politically powerless minority groups will respond with patriotic fervor when these same actions are described as upholding the rule of law. - John Hasnas
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Old 12-31-2015, 08:36 AM   #16
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tourmeister View Post
This stuff can save a ride. I used it to patch a half dollar sized hole in the case of a DRZ400. It got the rider and bike home. All he had to do was add oil after it had cured. I also used to it patch a hole in the head cover of my 1150 GS after a nasty high side. It worked so well that it was still on there 18K miles later and never leaked a drop!

J-B Weld 8277 WaterWeld Underwater Epoxy Putty - 2 oz:
I've added it to my cart. Thanks.

Once all this stuff arrives and I start backing I'm going to really have to evaluate the weight. Just the camping headlight I purchased weighed significantly more than expected.
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Old 12-31-2015, 08:38 AM   #17
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

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I keep a spare clutch cable and throttle cable zip-tied beside the working one. The throttle cable has never broken, but the clutch cable has broken twice, last time on the ET750 2 day.
Great idea. Very smart!
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Old 12-31-2015, 08:48 AM   #18
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

I need to get some clarification about radios. Don't want to clutter the Mexico ride thread.

I currently have the Sena SMH10 units and the mics and speakers mounted inside my helmet. It's primarily used for my wife and I to communicate on trips. If I understand it right when you go with the Rugged Radios and MC kit you'd have to replace the Sena helmet mic & speakers with their kit. Not sure I'm crazy about that. Especially at $200+
.

The Baofeng radios are much cheaper, almost throw away, but would need something to integrate them into the system. Sena has their SR10 kit that would seem to work with both the Baofeng radio and the SMH10, AND it may be useful later on to use with my existing Sena setup on the Tenere. Does that seem right?
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Old 12-31-2015, 09:17 AM   #19
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

There is an adapter, made by Sena that will allow you to use either of those radios as a blue tooth device with your Sena. Jeff (Tossinglead) is going to be using such a set up. There was another thread about hams on motorcycles in the last day or so that had some info too.
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Old 12-31-2015, 09:56 AM   #20
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Re: Planning and Prep Tips for the next big DS Ride

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Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post
There is an adapter, made by Sena that will allow you to use either of those radios as a blue tooth device with your Sena. Jeff (Tossinglead) is going to be using such a set up. There was another thread about hams on motorcycles in the last day or so that had some info too.
So both the RR and Baofeng are bluetooth enabled? I assume you still need a PPT button integrated somewhere on the handlebars, correct?

I'll search for the other thread as well..
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