Bikes And Bits!

Steve with his CBR before it was stolen.

The Ducati Monster 796 that replaced my CBR on which i'll be doing this trip.  Not quite as fast as the CBR and a very different kind of ride,  buts its a Ducati and I can actually still walk after riding it for an hour unlike the CBR.

Matt has 2 bikes.    The BMW below he lovingly calls  "The Brick" which he'll be touring on:


And his beloved CafĂ© Racer.  A very cool retro looking bike.


Its currently December 2013 and the biggest issue I have is how the heck I get decent luggage on a Ducati Monster with its pipes so high up the rear.  I came across and awesome and inspiring blog by  Amy Tracker who did a trip around the states on a Ducati 696 Monster.  The 796 has a larger frame but has the same issues with its rear pipes. 

Those pipes weren't meant for Panniers !

I've bought myself a set of Oxford Lifetime Panniers from ebay for £45.   Now I've just got to find a way to prevent them melting on the exhausts.   First solution I'm trying is to use Titanium heat wraps designed to reduce heat and looks pretty easy and cheap to setup.  Bought a 10m role for £20 from ebay.   No instructions with it so I used my trusty friend youTube.  Seems the trick is to soak the role for 10 minutes or so to enable it to stretch.  You wanna use some kind of gloves as that stuff's quite itchy.  

As you can see,  I removed the black metal exhaust cover.  its a bit fiddly and tricky to stretch it tight whilst applying the metal ties.   Some people seem to recommend spraying on some kind of heat spray too.  I wasn't convinced it would work and didn't
 want to mess my pipes up so went without the spray.  

To be honest,  I don't think its worked.   The titanium role and the metal brackets still seem to get pretty hot.  think  it could be back to the drawing board.

I took another look at Amy Tracker's site.   She had documented using some High tempreature resistent silicon rubber rings and even documented the company and part number.  I contacted the       company,  McMaster-Carr, and received the following email:

"Due to the complexity of U.S. export regulations, McMaster-Carr accepts international orders only from our established customers. This decision also applies to orders shipping within the United States, because it is based on the final destination of the items. We will not provide a quotation or accept your orders. "

After trying several ideas,  i gave up and went for the Givi Soft Pannier racks kindly donated to me from Branded Biker.     Note,  despite getting ones designed for a Ducati Monster,  you also need to additional order a Ducati Fixing kit which surprised me.

It wasn't terribly hard to fit but not as easy as i'd hoped either.  Partly because i had an R&G tail tidy and the indicators get in the way of the rack so had to do some magic to move the indicators back a little  (Thanks Matt !).

Tank Bags

Another problem the Ducati has is plastic tank.   Not ideal for some of the tank bags out there which use magnets to hold it on.  There are ways around it but i went for a small detatchable bag that i can keep my valuables in and remove quickly and easily when parked up.

I ordered the SW-Motech quick lock EVO Daypack + Tank Ring.  The bag attatches to your fuel cap and can be easily and quickly removed.    Bought it from  BS Motoparts.  I paid a wopping  162 Euro's for it and not terribly impressed.  Was much smaller than i anticipated  (appreciate its only a day bag,  but did expect it to be a little larger).  Most of my dissapointment though came from dealing with BS Motoparts.  They delivered it with the wrong tank ring and missing parts.   I informed them immediately but they insisted i sent photographs of what i'd received which i did the same day and got a reply saying they would investigate.  I heard nothing for several weeks. I chased them and they told me they were waiting for my photo's. I informed them that they indeed had received my photo's already as they had infact replied to the email.  They've now admitted its their fault but no appology and are sending out the correct ring this week. Not impressed with the company at all.  The tank bank itself is good,  just a little smaller than id hoped.


Matt has just ordered this lovely looking sheepskin cover for his Brick.  He's test driven on the toilet and has several months to see how comfy it is :-)


(suitable for big bikes)

A biker called Steve sells these on EBAY for £29.99
Much better than my first model and has a lacing system to keep it on nice and tight.

I'm currently considering the airhawk.   Still trying to work out what size i'd need for a Monster but reviews are good but there seems to be quite a price difference between the polyethylene and the more expensive Neoprene.  Even on ebay im struggling to find them for under  £170.

Wind Protection

Another think Matt doesn't need to worry about is wind protection.  The beemer has a pretty decent fairing and windscreen.   The poor old Duke has a rather sorry looking windshield and is basically naked.  Wind protection on a bike is pretty important as most bikers will appreciate over any distance.  Not so much for keeping you warm,  but more the physical exertion that your body and neck takes being battered by the elements,  particularly on motorways where you're quite exposed.

Great news on the Screen.   I spoke to a very helpful and friendly guy called Denis at  Design Corse .  They have agreed to donate a PUIG screen to help us on our quest.  Most greatful to these guys. Please see our comments under  Sponsors & Thanks.    Screen looks great fitter and is larger than i expected. See pics below:


Fitted a Puig deflector on top of the touring screen , the sheepskin seat cover sat me higher so this little screen has made all the difference and so easy to install and to adjust 


Steve has chosen a Coleman 2 man tent 
that we took for a test ride in his dinning room

I have chosen the same design but a different make, Quick hiker Ultra light 2, Quechua


 Tom tom rider 2nd edition has proven tough and reliable , waterproof , has bounced down the road at 40MPH and has a built in filter so the screen can still be seen in full sunlight ,                                                                    

(Sat nav holder made out of plumbing copper tube)

                                          BMW K75s Mods



                                                 Just completed a full rear end rebuild

Hagon rear shock 
Rebuilt drive shaft
Bevel box , found a new one on E Bay  got very lucky with a buy it now price of £220 
Rear disc


                                                   Heat wrap to keep my left foot cool 
                                                       Common problem with the k75

              Camera for filming the epic ride ( GoPro Hero 2 )



With all the extras and outstanding back up from support ,take it anywhere do anything with it.

                                   Touring kit for Matt                     

Alpinestar Tech-Touring  DRYSTAR
from J&S Accessories

The guy in the Eltham branch gave me 5% off 
Thanks a million : )

Helmet Arai Tour X4


                                                          Helmet link for Arai tour x4

                                         You have one head so protect it !! bought this from the link above from Gear Change online shop and Carol gave me 20% off without even asking , arrived 2 days later , fantastic fit and feel                                                                          


  1. Looks great Steve, although that Ducati does not look like it was designed to carry luggage! Have you thought about a CB250 instead?

  2. Hi Matt, always knew you were a frustrated Charley McGregor. Does Jodi Ann know you've bought ANOTHER new helmet? Keep it rubber side down. Richard