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-   -   Making a Honda Unicorn more touring-friendly? (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorbikes/190540-making-honda-unicorn-more-touring-friendly.html)

blogrboy 19th September 2017 21:12

Making a Honda Unicorn more touring-friendly?
 
Hello all. I have recently bought a Honda Unicorn from year 2011 which has clocked 42K+ KMs and has got a perfect engine (as far as I can understand). I am planning to do the rides ranging from 58 km to 300 km in a day. I need to do some modifications for converting the motorcycle to a touring machine. I am not looking for cosmetic or performance modifications.

Below are the modifications I am thinking about (but not sure how to go about them)

1. Seating - I love the seating on a Unicorn 150. How do I make it better? I have decided on spacers for my stock handle bar to make it a little high. Is there anything I could do with the seat to make it more comfortable?

2. Luggage - I am planning on using 3 of my back packs to carry all my gear and cloths since these would be all small rides. My question is, how much can I carry in KGs just in case of a bigger plan? Can I install metal racks on this bike and carry more weight? How much weight can a 150 cc bike carry?

3. Do I need a bigger windshield?

That's all.

I am 39, live in Nagpur, planning to go to all the jungle locations to start with in next one year. I am 5'11 and 92 KGs. I have done 2000 KM rides in past on 350 cc bullets and not new to riding. I am sure I won't face extreme terrain.

Am I good to go? What else can you suggest?

bB

abhishek46 20th September 2017 10:51

re: Making a Honda Unicorn more touring-friendly?
 
Here are some suggestions.

1. The Unicorn's seat is fairly comfortable. If it isn't to your taste, then experiment with different foam/coir options from local furniture shops or even you could try the "gel" seat options.

2. A Unicorn should be able to carry around 150 KGs gross. Custom side boxes and mounting brackets/points can be fabricated easily by local welders.

3. Custom windshields are not required in my opinion, as the unicorn is not really a speed demon. On highways 80-90 Kmph is "comfortable" for a unicorn. I have not felt the need for a windshield at these speeds.

theexperthand 20th September 2017 11:55

Re: Making a Honda Unicorn more touring-friendly?
 
Let me try to chip in, since I used to tour on my Unicorn a lot.

1. Seat: I added some extra padding to make it more comfy. What i did was, I brought an OEM seat from Honda, cut it to my preferred shape, stuck it on top of the OEM seat using Fevicol SR and got a custom seat cover done. But, I think you can get much better results by opting for gel seats (eg: http://shop.redlineplus.in/10-gel-seats-universal).

2.Luggage: I would suggest you invest in a pair of saddle bags and a tail\tank bag. It is much easier to secure and distributes the weight evenly so that it wont affect the balance.

3. Windshield: I have not felt the need for it personally.

If I may add, please upgrade the headlights by adding aux LED lights. I was never satisfied with the OEM headlight and horn and had a pair of AUX lights and used to have aftermarket twin horns.

Another sore point was the OEM MRF zappers - they were not really upto the mark so I shod my ride with Michelin M45s from the early days. If you plan to take the bike off road or on trails, then you may have to look at upgrading the tyres also.

--Anoop

blogrboy 20th September 2017 14:13

Re: Making a Honda Unicorn more touring-friendly?
 
Abhishek and Anoop. Thanks for the points. I really liked the idea of the gel seat though expensive. For the tires, I was looking to upgrade to the Michelin brand. Thanks for the model number. I will surely check them out.

For the saddle bags, is Cramster (Bangalore) still a good option to buy? I used their bags 10 years back and they were awesome.

aargee 20th September 2017 14:47

Re: Making a Honda Unicorn more touring-friendly?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by blogrboy (Post 4272786)
Is there anything I could do with the seat to make it more comfortable?

Keep it stock; if you're doing 300 Km a day max, keep it stock; however, if you're doing 300 Km day after day, get a hard seat. Trust me, hard seats are real good for your back for a long journey.

Quote:

Originally Posted by blogrboy (Post 4272786)
Luggage - I am planning on using 3 of my back packs to carry all my gear and cloths since these would be all small rides. My question is, how much can I carry in KGs just in case of a bigger plan? Can I install metal racks on this bike and carry more weight? How much weight can a 150 cc bike carry?

If it were 2010, I would've asked you to fabricate, this is 2017...there're plenty of soft luggage options from Viaterra to Rynox to NH4 or what not? Kerb weight of Unicorn is 135, your weight being 95, I'm assuming gross weight of vehicle is 300 Kg, so you can carry 50 Kg safely. This is my assumption, pls refer owner's manual for gross weight carrying capacity.

With a Viaterra Claw, you can easily manage a 8-10 days ride; mini Claw about 3-4 days; with a saddle bag (any brand) about 8-10 days; With both Claw & saddlebag, you can manage about 17-18 days ride. Add a tank bag if you carry camera & that's all you'll need for a month's ride program.

Quote:

Originally Posted by blogrboy (Post 4272786)
3. Do I need a bigger windshield?

Well...a good helmet upwards of 7K is all you'll need to keep off from wind. Safety comes free;

Quote:

Originally Posted by blogrboy (Post 4272786)
Am I good to go? What else can you suggest

Get some good imported riding gears even if you've to shell out more, buy good imported ones; everytime you slip into them, you'll feel proud making you want to stay in it rather than get away from it as soon as you stop.

PS - Keep off from Crapster, buy anything else. Check out the riding gears review thread as why

theexperthand 20th September 2017 16:09

Re: Making a Honda Unicorn more touring-friendly?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by blogrboy (Post 4273165)
Abhishek and Anoop. Thanks for the points. I really liked the idea of the gel seat though expensive. For the tires, I was looking to upgrade to the Michelin brand. Thanks for the model number. I will surely check them out.

For the saddle bags, is Cramster (Bangalore) still a good option to buy? I used their bags 10 years back and they were awesome.

I am not sure if you still get M45 - however, there are other models from Michelin (sirac and others) which are good.

For luggage, I would suggest Viaterra -I am using their tail bag for last one year, every day and I am happy with it. There are many other brands available, but do keep away from cramster - they are not what they used to be.

Quote:

Originally Posted by aargee (Post 4273190)
Get some good imported riding gears even if you've to shell out more, buy good imported ones; everytime you slip into them, you'll feel proud making you want to stay in it rather than get away from it as soon as you stop.

+100, if you already don't have good quality riding gear.

Quote:

PS - Keep off from Crapster, buy anything else. Check out the riding gears review thread as why
+1. There are many other better options now.

--Anoop

The Great 20th September 2017 19:18

Re: Making a Honda Unicorn more touring-friendly?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by blogrboy (Post 4273165)
I really liked the idea of the gel seat though expensive.

My experience with the gel seat has been otherwise. Gel tends to stays hot for a longer period if exposed to sun when parked or on long tours the engine heat, heats it up.

I use rideonair cushion (very similar to airhawk) which works wonderfully well for me.

Quote:

For the saddle bags
Quote:

Originally Posted by theexperthand (Post 4273235)
For luggage, I would suggest Viaterra -I am using their tail bag for last one year, every day and I am happy with it.

I agree with theexperthand and I use the Viaterra Claw tailbag for my rides (which are mostly solo without pillion), the dirtsack thigh bag and the Rynox tank bag. These suffice easily for any tour plus or minus.

Hope this helps.

blogrboy 20th September 2017 19:36

@ aargee - Thank you for your inputs.
I am really surprised to see bad Cramster reviews as it was a breeze dealing with that company back then (2005 or 2006). I still remember their small setup in Hebbal, Bangalore before they moved or opened a new outlet at Ganganhalli.

I have seen the reviews of Viaterra Claw and the mini version looks like a deal.

@Anoop Too bad M45 are not available. Is there any particular model I should look into? Sorry but I am completely out of touch when it comes to Motorcycles.

Totally agree on the riding gear. I will be collecting the gear gradually as I get into touring more.

The Great. Thank you.

I decided to keep the seat stock except for a better and softer art leather upholstery. That made (a little) difference as the seat was cracking at few places due to the heat and sweat. I am planing 250-300 km rides in one day. All I need is a little walk every 100 km to keep my tail bone happy.

I might be wrong.

theexperthand 20th September 2017 22:13

Re: Making a Honda Unicorn more touring-friendly?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by blogrboy (Post 4273344)

@Anoop Too bad M45 are not available. Is there any particular model I should look into? Sorry but I am completely out of touch when it comes to Motorcycles.

Totally agree on the riding gear. I will be collecting the gear gradually as I get into touring more.

Check if M62 is available locally or else Sirac street.

I too have fond memories of cramster and my first riding pants were from them - the pants served me for almost 8 years. But sadly, of late the quality is not what it used to be.

--Anoop

Dodge_Viper 21st September 2017 13:07

Re: Making a Honda Unicorn more touring-friendly?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by aargee (Post 4273190)

With a Viaterra Claw, you can easily manage a 8-10 days ride; mini Claw about 3-4 days; with a saddle bag (any brand) about 8-10 days; With both Claw & saddlebag, you can manage about 17-18 days ride. Add a tank bag if you carry camera & that's all you'll need for a month's ride program.

aargee is right.

Just blindly get the Viaterra claw (only if you intend to ride solo). That one bag can gobble up an entire house. I used only Viaterra claw for my 24 day ladakh trip and it survived everything.

Regarding the seats, see if anyone can modify it to add a custom backrest. Helps a lot on long rides.

LongDrive lover 21st September 2017 16:38

Re: Making a Honda Unicorn more touring-friendly?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by aargee (Post 4273190)

With both Claw & saddlebag, you can manage about 17-18 days ride.

Can Claw be used with saddle bags easily, without disturbing the bike's balance or both bags fitting/stay issues during highway touring?

aargee 22nd September 2017 08:52

Re: Making a Honda Unicorn more touring-friendly?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by LongDrive lover (Post 4273824)
Can Claw be used with saddle bags easily, without disturbing the bike's balance or both bags fitting/stay issues during highway touring?

Yes & No

Yes - Balance is not an issue, if you use it RIGHT. The right is the keyword, will explain why
No - Claw & Saddlebag DON'T go together, it's not a direct fit

Basically, you need to pull the saddlebag away from the grabrails as much as possible & put it closer to the rider. The Claw however needs to be away from the rider right on top of the grab rails. That way, with minor difficulties both saddle & claw can be managed. Balance is not an issue, provided the loading is right. Key is not to stuff too much to the brim of the saddlebags & not too much to the bottom of the Claw.

Option #1 - Get 2 tank bags; mount one on the tank, other one on top of the Claw. You can carry clothing for one more additional day. Only problem will be the tank bag will keep sliding to each sides but will not fall off nor cause balance disruption.

Option #2 - Get Claw & VT Compression bag & mount the compression bag over the Claw using bungees. Since I haven't tried this option, I'm not sure how secured fit this setup will be.

Disclaimer - Except option #2, all the above have been tested on CBR 250R with very short rides to 13 days long rides. Ironically, for a 13 day ride, all I needed was a regular Claw for over 8000 Km.

Like I said before, as long as we ride (or even drive) within India, we don't need to carry entire house; travel light has always been my principle

sharanvenu 22nd September 2017 13:01

Re: Making a Honda Unicorn more touring-friendly?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by blogrboy (Post 4272786)
Hello all. I have recently bought a Honda Unicorn from year 2011 which has clocked 42K+ KMs and has got a perfect engine (as far as I can understand). I am planning to do the rides ranging from 58 km to 300 km in a day. I need to do some modifications for converting the motorcycle to a touring machine. I am not looking for cosmetic or performance modifications.

Below are the modifications I am thinking about (but not sure how to go about them)

1. Seating - I love the seating on a Unicorn 150. How do I make it better? I have decided on spacers for my stock handle bar to make it a little high. Is there anything I could do with the seat to make it more comfortable?

2. Luggage - I am planning on using 3 of my back packs to carry all my gear and cloths since these would be all small rides. My question is, how much can I carry in KGs just in case of a bigger plan? Can I install metal racks on this bike and carry more weight? How much weight can a 150 cc bike carry?

3. Do I need a bigger windshield?

bB

Here are my 2 cents.
1. I used my 2006 Unicorn for extensive touring for 7 years. I found the seat reasonably balanced for long hours on the saddle. The only gripe being getting slippery after every 15k kms. The seat just allows axial movements after it runs out grip. I just used to get new grippier upholstery redone on the stock seat every 15k kms. Now there are a lot of options from the likes of redline plus you can explore which also gives you gel seat options.

2. I used only Dirtsack SpeedBags on my tours and they go very well with the Unicorn. In case of an increased requirement, I used bungee cords on Backpacks on the pillion seat. I would not recommend any welded frame as it will only lower the power to weight ratio. Soft Luggage is the way to go.

3. Windshield will lower your fatigue at higher speed. But at the Unicorn's cruising Speed, I think it will not make much of a difference. Plus, it adds drag.

4. Light Upgrade - Since it's not a dc setup, your options are very limited without affecting the reliability. Go for 2 spot LED Fog Lamps - with Yellow covers - This will help spread the light from the spot and will not scatter as much as many large dia LED fog lamps. Mount the switch close to your switchgear to help you switch off the light with ease when you feel your light is blinding the oncoming traffic.

5. Tyres - Try out the Michelin Sirac Street Range in your stock size. Big fan of Michelin here. Stick to Stock Size. Also check out the Ralco Range. I am using them on my D390 and I have good things to say about them.

6. Try out NGK Iridium Spark Plugs for better warm-up performance. This was a minor issue in my Unicorn.

7. Engine Oil - Shell AX7 20W40 is the best engine oil I have used in the Unicorn - Cost effective, Maintains its consistancy for a full 2.5k kms. Available easily.

8. Last but not least - Invest in good Riding Gear. Helmet (Preferable DOT or better ECE rated), Gloves, Riding Jacket with CE armor, Knee Guards (Or better a riding Pant). This will make a world of difference to your comfort.

I hope I have tried to give you a direction.
Keep riding!!

blogrboy 24th September 2017 22:36

Re: Making a Honda Unicorn more touring-friendly?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by theexperthand (Post 4273411)
I too have fond memories of cramster and my first riding pants were from them - the pants served me for almost 8 years. But sadly, of late the quality is not what it used to be.

--Anoop

Company quality can degrade over time. I actually thought them to be ruling the market in future.

Quote:

Originally Posted by aargee (Post 4274088)
travel light has always been my principle

Totally agree on traveling light. I am planning to make my own Green Chile Soft Rack and use good material to make it stronger. Saddles are in the queue because all I need right now it to secure whatever I carry on the bike. Not sure how I m going to achieve it, but this will be a fun project.

[quote=sharanvenu;42742835.
Tyres - Try out the Michelin Sirac Street Range in your stock size. Big fan of Michelin here. Stick to Stock Size. Also check out the Ralco Range. I am using them on my D390 and I have good things to say about them.
[/QUOTE]

Sirac is the tire I have selected for the rear. I am still working on the front.

Question-

1. I got a message from GTO: Moderator Note - Hello, Please use the EDIT or MULTI-QUOTE buttons instead of typing one post after another on the same thread.

Is this way to answer correct?

bB

ashwinprakas 24th September 2017 23:56

Re: Making a Honda Unicorn more touring-friendly?
 
2 Attachment(s)
Since you mentioned touring I thought I'd share my experience with Sahyadri Moto, Pune of which I'd written an article earlier.

Sahyadri Moto: AdvenTouring Accessorized

This is with all the artillery on.

Attachment 1679456

This is with them off for trail riding and leisure runs.

Attachment 1679457

I also own a ViaTerra Claw and Rynox Optimus which I seldom use for short runs, all the why's are mentioned in detail in the article, I hope this helps. :)


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