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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I wanted to go through the different configurations of camping gear I've tried to maybe help people out who are having handling issues. It may not be your main suspension springs, steering bearings, tires, or the color of your mirror. I've been towing trailers most my life and commercially for the last 20 years. There is definitely a right and wrong place to put cargo. First off, the top plate is only rated for 22lbs. That’s important. Exceed that and it will affect the bike just like a tail heavy trailer behind a car. In picture 1, I did an overnight trip with light gear. Maybe 50lbs total. It handled pretty decent, a bit light on the steering. Later that summer I loaded up to around 80lbs with the same configuration as pictured 1 for a four day trip. On my test ride It was so light on the steering it felt like if I sneezed, the front tire would slip off to the side. Handled poor in ruts too. I changed the setup so the top bag was inline, as in picture 2, hoping to get some weight up front. The three inches hanging over the back REALLY changed the handling. Under 5mph the front tire would wobble scary bad. To confirm my thoughts that it was position and not some suspension problem, I took off everything except the panniers and took my 140lb teenager for a ride(picture 3). Handled fine even with the stock spring and front suspension. I gave up and took the Goldwing on that trip, but I kept at it. I eventually found a big curved top bag from SW-Motech that had a lower profile and curved down to the panniers (picture 4). The smaller top bag is my tent and sleeping pad. The tent bag is 7lb, big main bag and panniers are 22lb each for a total weight of 75ish pounds. The setup also allows me to move everything forward into the passenger seat, picture 5. Haven't done a real trip yet, but tonight I rode it down the highway to a lot full of soft, wet, rutty gravel and made a couple slow passes. Handled great. Felt like a small kid behind me that knew how to lean with the bike. I have also upgraded the swing arm spring to one rated from 240-290lbs. This did not change the handling other than I didn’t have to tighten up the shock spring tensioner to keep the bike from falling over while on the kickstand.
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