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  1. #1
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    Default ロブの旅—Summering in Japan

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    It's finally going to happen this year. I actually don't quite believe it yet! I've been planing on doing this for so long it seems totally surreal. My seventh trip to Japan will be as a rider.

    Tomorrow, January 2nd, is traditionally a great day to buy plane tickets to Japan, and I will probably to get one tomorrow. I intend to spend about five weeks riding around, and being Tabibito san. The only set in stone date is May 5th for Cmac's Twisty Butt Coast to Coast. Other than that, and some time to get there to prep a bike my schedule is pretty open.

    I do wonder a bit about the weather. How is April compared to May for riding weather? In a way it would be nice to get there a little earlier in April to have more time to sort the bike, but staying longer in May is attractive too. I know weather has become about as predictable as well the weather! lolz

    I probably should have bought Red's ST2 as it would be a perfect bike for this adventure being that it was well sorted, and had many upgrades. But I really want to be riding a two stroke. Hopefully this aspect of the adventure will be able to come true, and be manageable. I expect I'll be chatting John up about some auctions.
    Last edited by ToraTora; 16-02-18 at 02:22 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default ロブの旅—Summering in Japan

    That ST2 was without doubt a great touring machine! But I'm sure if you let folks know your budget we can help find something. Keep in mind that while 2 strokes are fun and great, I love them myself they are constantly going up up up in price.
    I'm sure another touring type machine will come up at a decent price.
    Have you thought about how your going to register a bike? I only ask as you are coming to visit and don't live here😊
    Getting to the Summit is Optional, Returning home is mandatory
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    Registration is still something I have yet to figure out. I have some ideas on this, but those depend on which bike I end up getting. For most of the choices I'm really not sure. For type of bike I'm pretty much set on sport bikes. I am a fan of the lighter is better concept. I don't expect that I'll seriously look at anything larger than a 250cc two stroke. But I'm not totally opposed to the possibility if something comes along.

    Most of my bikes are two strokes. So I know that they can be a handful, and the scary proposition is that most of the two strokes that I'll be looking at will likely be 25 years, or older. If I can find something viable I'll probably have it shipped home afterwards. That's one of the things I wasn't too sure about with the ST2 because oddly enough, it wasn't old enough! 1993 is the cutoff. It could be a 94 model if it was manufactured in 93, but that's about it. As for budget, the less I spend on the bike the more I can spend riding around.

    Another possibility would be to find a place to store the bike and then go again in 2019. I know a place like this in Germany that will store a bike for around 200€ per year. That's a great deal!

    When I first started planing this adventure no one gave a hoot about the strokers. They were very affordable. But now as you say the prices are just going crazy. I think this has a lot to do with the 25 year law that is finally allowing these bikes to cross the ocean (legally). The 250 Replicas are arguably the finest bikes that Japan ever produced for the mass market. Even today most of the stuff they offer doesn't measure up.

    The top three bikes of interest currently would be an RGV250, TZR250, or a very early RS250 Aprilia. I think the RS was first sold in 1995 so if I went with one of those it would have to be stored in Japan for at least a year, possibly more before I could ship it to the States (legally).

    I would also jump at one of these (which was actually my original plan)—2011 Derbi GPR50 if I could find one. They are only 50cc, but I know very well how to mod them, and I've done a lot of miles on the older versions. But this route requires that I have a place to do some rather invasive wrenching on the bike, as it would require a number of upgrades for this adventure.

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    There is a sister bike to the GPR that I might also be tempted to get. Actually there's a pretty good chance I might go with the Aprilia RS4-50 version of the bike, because there are still some of these for sale in Japan. I know these bikes don't qualify with the 25 year rule, but there are different rules for 50cc bikes. ;)

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  4. #4
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    Default Packing Sand

    For touring bags so far I really like the Giant Loop Coyote saddle bag system. While made for adventure type bikes it's actually well suited for sport bikes!


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    Default ロブの旅—Summering in Japan

    Hey I love 2strokes myself I'm always keeping my eyes out.
    If your preferring to stay lighter and in the 250cc I've seen a few tzr 250's that were reasonable but I don't know what work if any was needed. But staying in that same range also take a look at the older FZR250 delta box and the old cbr250rr now both are 4 strokes and 4 cylinders but still light and in many cases cheaper than a 250 2 stroke.

    As to registration there are some of us who may be able to help. And if your thinking to export back to the states I'm sure we ( some folks) would be able to help.
    On a long term storage I'm not sure on that one. Maybe someone can chime in, now that might depend on where you ultimately would want to store it, meaning where in Japan.
    Hope some of this helps.
    Getting to the Summit is Optional, Returning home is mandatory
    Life begins at 155mph

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    That would be really great.

    Even though Hane rides a SuFour I have some deeply personal reasons for not buying Hondas.

    If I can't find a 250 Replica I'll look at some of the other options. There are so many amazing bikes in Japan that I should be able to find something really fun.

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    Kippo Kaimashita!

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    April and May represent some of the best riding weather in Japan. Will still be chilly at night, and there is the possibility of rain. Head out here to Kyushu. I'll show you around.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmizer View Post
    April and May represent some of the best riding weather in Japan. Will still be chilly at night, and there is the possibility of rain. Head out here to Kyushu. I'll show you around.
    Oh that's great news. I hope to make it out there. A lot will depend on the bike, and how long it takes to get it sorted. I've got a total of five weeks to sort the bike and ride. I front loaded the trip to make sure things are well sorted by the time of the Twisty Butt ride.

    One thing I'm probably going to need is a place to wrench. Not really too sure about that one yet.

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    Default GPS: What not to get when going to Japan

    I thought I had done some decent research when I picked up the TomTom Rider 400 that was on sale during the Holidays. The price was way below its usual price, but I didn't even think that it would not work in Japan. It can't do anything in Japan, and having contacted their customer service it doesn't look like any TomToms can do Japan—nor are there any plans to enable the Rider to function in Japan. Suxors.


    The Rider 400 does have some rather nice features like being water proof, and the ability to swivel on the mount from landscape mode to portrait mode. That is quite handy. It can also be used with gloves on—that's a feature not easily replicated with most phones. The case is also rather robust (and heavy). It does appear that it could survive a tumble.

    Having spent a little time with it (off the bike) the UI seems a bit obtuse. I have to wonder if any moto people actually worked on the design. If they did, I don't think they did much if any real world testing with it. Planing a route on the gadget is nearly pointless. You can give it a destination, and it will find a route. You can modify this slightly by providing some user selected "gimmick" modes, but you can't really plan a route.

    The Rider will also offer options like gas stations en route. If selected the route changes to the station, however if you are not careful it will replace the main route forcing it to be re-entered. That's what I call a pain in the ass.

    They offer the ability to load in routes planed out on another device, say a computer, and they include a free download of a program called Tyre Pro, but it's only MSOS based so they are kind of saying fuck off to the OS X users.

    It has a way to include live traffic, but you have to be running an app on your bluetooth linked cell phone for this to work. That seems a bit counter productive. I mean if you are going to be using your phone why the hell not just employ Waze?

    Another disappointment: even on TomTom's lower priced GPS units you get world maps included. On the much more expensive Rider 400 it only comes with North America. If you want to employ it else where expect to pay a lot for the privilege. Like half again the unit price, and that's only for a limit use. It will expire within a year or so forcing you to pay again.

    At this point I'm feeling like even if the Rider worked in Japan it might not be the best choice, or even an okay choice. The newer iPhones (since the 7) are water proof. That removes one feature advantage. There are mods people have done to their gloves (all of which have issues too), but that's going to be a winning feature of the Rider over employing a phone. The Rider also has a nice quick mount that includes power when wired up to the bike. This is another feature that would be difficult to replicate with a phone.

    Do these competitor difficulties overcome the extra price, and major deficiencies of the TomTom Rider? That's a really hard question with which to answer yes. If you never plan to leave the States, don't ever need to make your own routes, and don't really care about live traffic warnings then you might have a solid maybe.
    Last edited by ToraTora; 05-01-18 at 10:12 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToraTora View Post
    I thought I had done some decent research when I picked up the TomTom Rider 400 that was on sale during the Holidays. The price was way below its usual price, but I didn't even think that it would not work in Japan. It can't do anything in Japan, and having contacted their customer service it doesn't look like any TomToms can do Japan—nor are there any plans to enable the Rider to function in Japan.
    It looks like this will work with the OSM project. I use the OSM on my Garmin Zumo 550 as my main navigation tool when on tour. Someplace to start for reference: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/TomTom

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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by dmizer View Post
    It looks like this will work with the OSM project. I use the OSM on my Garmin Zumo 550 as my main navigation tool when on tour. Someplace to start for reference: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/TomTom
    Hey D!

    Thanks for the tip. I had looked into that before I gave up on the Rider. The OpenStreet stuff looks great, but it doesn't work on the newer TomToms, so it wont work on the Rider. Ż\_(ツ)_/Ż

    I'm giving up on the Rider, as per John's suggestion, I ordered a used iPhone 6 Plus and will be running a combination of Google Maps and Motion X GPS. The biggest issue with this combination is gloves wont work the touch screen. I'm thinking that maybe a stylist on a tether might be a solution, but concern there is it dropping into the steering mechanism and fucking it up, and causing a crash! :P

    Now if I could get Siri to behave that might be an option, but so far it seems she has a mind of her own. I have the Sena 20S installed on the helmet (they have been available at blow out prices for what seems like a year already). These are the units most TV shows use to capture rider conversations. I've done some experiments with them, and they can be recorded to an iPhone with the comms going on. They wont however record to a newer GoPro. Thus why I researched using them with the iPhone. The sound quality is garbage though. You can hear it on any TV show the uses them. I think this might be the mics, but I don't have an adapter to test out a decent mic with them. That's on my list! lolz

  13. #13
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    Google maps via phone sounds superior to the product you bought. I have no trouble using my phone with my summer gloves on. Winter gloves are too cumbersome though. And in North America, you can actually plan and follow a route with google maps if you plan it on the computer and use the "send to phone" feature.

    Most riders here use Garmin Zumo for this very reason. Check for an old used Zumo 550. You can load it up with Open Street Maps for Japan.

  14. #14
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    Default ロブの旅—Summering in Japan

    The Zumo's are good you could probably get one on yahoo auctions for a decent price and your ready to go. Some of the Garnin Nuvi line you can also plan routes and some are waterproof also. I've been using a Garmin Nuvi that I bought here in Japan at Costco and it works great, the maps are a few years old but that's ok. I also use google maps on my smart phone at times.
    Depending on what kind of phone and data service you will have while in Japan may limit your google maps ability.
    Getting to the Summit is Optional, Returning home is mandatory
    Life begins at 155mph

  15. #15

    Default ロブの旅—Summering in Japan

    Cheaper to buy an unlocked phone and get a SIM card and plan for here. Use google maps. You can import planned routes from Google’s My Maps (not the same as google maps). Works bloody well. I used that for trip from Hokkaido to Tokyo and another from Tokyo-Shikoku-Kyushu-Tokyo. I used my iPhone 6+ with a ram X mount and usb charger, with a rain case for when I needed it (since changed to a low profile rain case). I frequently touched my iPhone to use map, music, voice notes and speed camera apps. Regular riding gloves with touch point worked fine. Even through rain case. Using GMaps also allows you to record your actual route (dies it automatically and you can use any web browser to review and output to GPX)

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by BansheeBiker View Post
    Cheaper to buy an unlocked phone and get a SIM card and plan for here. Use google maps. You can import planned routes from Google’s My Maps (not the same as google maps). Works bloody well.
    This used to be possible and I did it often, but I've not been able to do it recently.

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    Thanks for all the info!!

    I've been reading the posts as you put them up, and then doing some research. The open maps projects looks really cool, but only seems to work on older units.

    With Google maps I've had a lot of trouble sending them to my phone. I get them looking great on the computer, send them to the phone, and the only points that get transferred are the begging and ending. It recalculates the entire route. So pointless!

    I may have found a bike! I really need to check in with John.

    Is there a place in the Tokyo area where I can wrench on the bike? I'm going to need some time to set it up, and get it ready for all the riding action.

    I can't seem to find it now, probably because I've just been boring the candle in a furnace, but there were a series of videos of a Moto Cafe in Japan where the owner would come out and video his customer's bikes. He'd have them start them up and then zoom in an the exhaust to record the note. I really want to go visit that place as it seems very much like a rite of passage. These were videos on YouTube. Anyone know about this cafe?

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ToraTora View Post
    I can't seem to find it now, probably because I've just been boring the candle in a furnace, but there were a series of videos of a Moto Cafe in Japan where the owner would come out and video his customer's bikes. He'd have them start them up and then zoom in an the exhaust to record the note. I really want to go visit that place as it seems very much like a rite of passage. These were videos on YouTube. Anyone know about this cafe?
    You're talking about the Mach III curry house? https://www.youtube.com/user/watanabehifumi/videos

    It's in Osaka here: https://goo.gl/maps/13Sh2LsmXqn

  19. #19

    Default ロブの旅—Summering in Japan

    “Google a Maps”: go to My Maps by Google. Slightly different product and a pain as you can’t just use your saved places. But, you can drag and drop a route, add legs / dats, then export as KML gpx file, and access directly in Google Maps (under My Places / Maps). I travelled Hokkaido-Tokyo and Tokyo-Kyushu-Tokyo with this. Other apps like Furkot also allow this, for free, with a website for desktop planning.

  20. #20
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    Thanks Banshee I'll check it out!

    I finally called John today, and had a great conversation with him. I am even more excited than I was previously. While I've still got so much to do I feel like things are finally starting to come together. ;)

    John mentioned an iPhone app that I think was called Motion GPS. I've found one in the US App Store called MotionX GPS. Is this the app some of the TwistyButt riders are using?

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