Long road trip and tires - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-01-2014, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Long road trip and tires

Hi Everyone.

This year, I am planning a road trip from Toronto to Vancouver in July. I have been reading a lot about what I need to know when doing long road trips. I have a few questions I am hoping I can get answers from the fine people on this forum:

1. My rear tire has cracks on the side walls. Before I go on this road trip, I need to replace the tire. Which tire would you recommend (brand, model, size, etc) for a long ride? Safety is # 1 and I want to be able to handle all types of weather considering I will be going through mountains, and rain.
I have spoked wheels. Not sure if that makes a difference.

2. For the rear tire, what is the maximum size I can install on my 2005 Vulcan 1500? stock size is 150.

3. I was reading that I should have a heated vest when riding through cold regions. Which one is a good one (brand and cost)? Would you recommend heated grips for the bike or heated gloves?

4. If anyone is looking to do this trip, let me know. Maybe we can join up.

Any advice on the road trip, will also be appreciated. Places to stay along the way, interesting places to see, etc. I will be stopping in Calgary for a day or two then go to Vancouver.

Thanks in advance for all your help and advice.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 03:03 AM
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cant tell you much about the tires, but I can recommend that you get a windshield and wear layers. My shield keeps me dry and warm, and my fleece jacket under my cotton jacket under my riding jacket does an amazing job of keeping me warm, but lets me peel off layers if it warms up or I get wet. Also, I always pack a high visibility yellow and thick rain jacket to throw on should it looks really nasty up ahead, or ill be on bad roads or its dark. I'd rather be seen than dead.

Also, heated grips are better than heated gloves, imho.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 03:50 AM
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For tires I recommend Michelin Commander II. Ride safe.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 07:03 AM
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Tires: I would go with the Michelin CII's as well - have them on my Voyager and love them in all weather.

Gear: You are doing this trip in July right? Not sure exactly what the conditions will be, but you really shouldn't experience extreme cold - with that in mind and having a long trip or two under my belt, I would opt for the heated grips over the gloves - while I feel gloves do a superior job of keeping your whole hand warm, once the grips are on you don't have to worry about packing them - no extra space required. If you don't have a windscreen - get one and consider a Batwing fairing as they provide wind protection for your hands and help keep them warm and dry as well.

Heated Vest - I love mine - but really only use it when the temps are below 40 - again the packing issue - I have ridden sub 30 (degrees Farenheit) without it providing I layer up and start the layer with either silk long johns or performance cold gear like Under Armour. Proper layering and a windscreen greatly enhance your cold weather ride. My vest is a Gerbing - I bought off eBay - start trolling eBay in March when folks are getting rid of their cold gear . . .

I'm jealous - This sounds like a great ride - I was supposed to be doing a Virginia to Alaska and back ride about that time with my long distance riding partners, but my vacation time doesn't mesh with their retirement time - so if you see a Black Ultra Classic with a Gold Gold Wing out in western Canada - flip them off for me . . .

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the great info. I have been wanting to do this ride for the last few years. This year I am really doing everything I can to do this ride.

I know on the bike space is an issue. I think I will go with heated grips. If I find a decent deal on a heated vest, I will invest in it. But I think layering sounds like a good plan. I already have a windshield on the bike so that part is covered.

In regards to tires, can I install a wider tire than the stock? I have an 05 Vulcan 1500 classic and the tire size is 150. Does a wider tire make for a safer/comfortable ride?

If anyone has done this ride before, can you recommend any decent places to stay along the way? Which towns, hotels, etc. I would love to hear about your trip and how long it took, things to avoid, etc.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 06:52 PM
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Agree with layering, have never needed my electric vest in July and I have been thru all 4 western provinces numerous times. Tires -if you can get Commander II in your stock size go with them, if not I find Avon Cobras last longer than Bridgestones. Windshield, leather engine guard chaps on your crash bars are necessities in my opinion. Make sure you have some type of cruise control for those LONG stretches of wide open flat prairie roads-I recommend a brake away but if you want to spend less just get a regular $30 clamp. Chaps and Kevlar jeans are good for me, protection and warmth for cold mountain mornings, and just the jeans when it's hot. Make sure you have a cup holder and HYDRATE on those long hot days with powerade or water. Take a little walk and stretch break at every gas stop. As far as where to stay where to go etc, that depends on your route. If you are trying to make time and are on the Trans-Canada there are lots of hotels and gas stations along the way. Being from Manitoba I usually take this route to get through the prairies as quick as possible. Once into Alberta make sure you do the Columbia ice fields parkway but make sure your tank is full, only one gas stop over about four hours of highway. The bow valley parkway is great as well as the short road to Lake Moraine enroute to Lake Louise. Of course there are all kinds of nice mountain roads in Alberta and BC, depends on where you are going. I'm thinking of heading west this August too.

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