On September 10, 2015, I drove to State College Pennsylvania and purchased my 2015 Yamaha XT250. I named him Fred. The bike was finally home after an exhaustive search for the right price. What is the right price? That I will not share, but needless to say, I saved around $1,500 US dollars by driving to Pennsylvania from Worcester Massachusetts. Saving that amount of money enabled me to include a new set of luggage from Happy Trails Products in Boise Idaho. During my summer ride (2015) from Alaska, I made it a point to stop and meet the owner, staff and view the panniers. The racks and panniers are designed and manufactured in the United States. It is very important to support a family operated business, thus the interest to invest in Happy Trails Products. I think I will be very happy with my investment decision.
The luggage system arrived and immediately I realized that the motorcycle trunk box was too large and heavy for the smaller bike. Keep in mind that I am used to a larger motorcycle that served me as a motor home, as my dear friend Arlene called it. My Bonneville 900cc handled extremely well overloaded with all sorts of stuff..... While I enjoyed the ability of carrying all my stuff on the larger bike, I also found it heavy at times. My new smaller 250cc motorcycle is designed for off road and minimal riding distances. Now, a tremendous and welcomed challenge to travel as light as possible. The advantage of this bike is that I can ride on any surface and push it around with ease.
I found myself in love with Fred. I was dying to take him off road and see if I could still ride on the trails. Another welcoming challenge. A month later, my sweet friend Bob extended an invitation to ride with a group of BMW folks in Laconia, New Hampshire. On that day, it was pouring rain, foggy and icy. I did not back off and headed to meet the group. The ride was fantastic, dropped the bike just like everyone else in the group, but did a fantastic job. Yes, my age is not a factor, I am strong and my trail riding skills are quite good. I have to admit, I allowed my friend Bob to help me lift Fred because of the angle he landed. We both pushed very hard to lift Fred on that angle. As Bob mentioned, if I had been alone I would have been able to lift it by turning it. Once I got home, I noticed a the windshield broke on the left right corner. Nothing horrible, Fred just has war scars. He looks like a toothless wonder now. I know there will be many more drops and Fred will handle them all as a hero!!
I continue to prepare the my bike alone. Had a bad experience when I visited a dealership asking them to move back the tail lights and install emergency blinkers. The guys at the service shop looked at me like I was going nuts, they even rolled their eyes at each other as if I was from Venus!!! Then, they commented, "this bike is not designed for it. If you had a BMW it would not be a problem, here is a quote for $1,200 for us to do the work but we will not warranty our labor." What? $1,200 for simple work. After a few days analyzing their attitudes, I realized that those boys are used to perform simple stock installations as brakes, tires and routine maintenance on the bikes they sell the most. I was offended and decided to take it upon myself to do my own work.
I think those boys empowered me with the "roll of the eyes" experience. I realized that I need to learn as much as possible about my bike. Now, that I am deep into the installation, I am loving every moment of it.
Sometime ago Bob mentioned that there was a man riding around the world on a Yamaha XT250. I started following his blog here: http://www.2ridetheglobe.com/
I sent him an email and he sent me the sweetest response. I asked him about the products he is using on his XT250. A few emails later, I receive complete instructions on how to install the power distribution module. Please forgive me for not sharing the product, I prefer that you visit Pat's website and look at his page here: http://www.2ridetheglobe.com/gallery/
My good friend Ara once commented, "Madeleine, together we can move mountains." Pat is doing exactly that while he is off the grid in South America, he still takes the time to help with my bike setup. I cannot wait until we cross paths.
Below are a few videos sharing my experience so far. OMG, I think I missed my calling in life!! I should have been a motorcycle mechanic so I can treat customers with respect!! Hehehe.... I used to teach my students how to build their computers. This little electrical project is allowing me to get my hands dirty crimping cables as if I was doing it on the computer. I am seeing the electrical system on my motorcycle as a little computer with peripherals.... so much fun!!! Now I can do my own, thanks to Pat for giving me the encouragement to do the work myself.