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Discussion Starter #1
Good morning all. Looking for some advice from those of you that have taken long distance rides. I'm planning a cross country ride this summer where I'll be starting in eastern PA and heading west thru the northern part of the states, then down thru CO, UT, NV to CA. Then returning east thru the southern states. Depending on how I feel at the time, when I get to FL, I'd like to go down to Key West. However, if I'm ready to come home at that point, I can just skip Key West and head north back to PA and do Key West some other time. My question is this.......For a trip of that distance, I very well MAY need to replace my tires along the way. They are practically new right now, I will no doubt put a few thousand miles on them once warmer weather gets here, and then once I'm on my trip, I'm thinking they may be pretty worn by the time I get to the return leg of the ride. At that point, I figured I would just use the GPS to find the nearest Honda dealer and get new tires put on. Has anyone else had to do that? Are dealers generally sympathetic to long distance riders and willing to fit you in without calling well in advance to schedule service? Thanks very much.
 

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My buddy and I have done a "around in the USA" trip every spring for the past three years so I am aware of your concern.
We start in MA, about the end of March/ early April, head south-west then west and come home a northern route
We are usually gone a month or so and do about 7000 miles.
I know my local shop doesn't stock tires but they can get them in a day or so.
Do other Honda shops do the same? One doesn't know until you stop at one and ask for tires.
If you are concerned that your current tires wont provide the miles you plan to travel, have new ones put on just before your trip and save what you have for the next time (when you get home) you need tires.
I (and this is just me) would never take off on a trip thinking I would need to buy tires along the way.
One thing to remember...
It gets hot down south (by PA standards) early. Remember that when you pick a start date.
Have fun on your trip. I always do.
Oh.. Another thing.
I carry a point-and-shoot Nikon camera on a lanyard around my neck. Quick to pick up with your left hand, turn on and "shoot" something you see without having to stop.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. I kinda figured it might be hit or miss, depending on which dealer I stop at. Probably would have better luck at a larger dealer rather than a smaller one. I had already given thought to the fact that it will be hot in the southern states. I'm actually looking forward to that. Hopefully, I won't find it TOO hot. But I prefer hot over cold.
 

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You can do a search for motorcycle dealers in every state you will be passing through for location and phone numbers. You can save this info to a document and carry it with you. When you get to the point where you may want new sneakers, call ahead and place your order the tires and make reservations so they take you when you get there. Let them know you are traveling..
 

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how many miles

It sounds like you are looking at a lot of miles. A few more details about your miles and timetable will give you a better idea of which way to go. East coasters often underestimate how big it is out west.

Richard
 

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Even if it's not Honda, Some Cycle Gear stores my stock the tire you need and they are across the country, just Google them.
 

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Get a price for your tires on the internet. then contact a Honda shop about a week before you think you'll need tires, and explain that you want to change tires. Ask them if they price match internet pricies on tires, and if they do tell them what you found and ask them to order you a set at the internet price. Win/Win. If not, find another shop that will.
 

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I agree, that you should not embark on your trip with anything less than a new set of tires, because:
-1 set of new tires will easily last you on your entire trip
-Used tires tend to wear much faster towards the end of their lifespan... makes it easy to overestimate how long they will last
-It can be quite difficult finding a tire on the road, much less a specific model that you may want to use.

That said, I've not followed my above-advice several times, with results as follows: (You be the judge)
1) Left on long trip with intention of buying a new front tire along the way, in MT. While in-route, it took me a dozen phone calls via the Gold Book, to find a shop along the way that had the tire and could install it upon arrival. It worked out well, except that it did take many back-n-forth phone calls for arrangements, not fun.
Lessons Learned:
-Put new tire on before leaving.
-No mcycle shops open on Sunday, hence cost me an extra day to wait for normal shop hours to arrive.

2) Had 1/2-worn set of trailer tires, and figured that I could easily order ahead and have a pair of new ones waiting for me at mid-point in trip to Canada... Spent over a month trying to complete the order (JC-Whitney), only to find that it could not be placed... ended up in a pinch, and had to find an alternate source just days before departure, and carrying the new set with me.
Lesson Learned:
-Buy Way early next time.
-A tire in your hand, is worth 2 on-order (eg Just because you placed the order, does not mean that it's going to arrive as planned)




As an alternative, if you insist on departing with used tires, why not just Ship a set of new ones to a Designated Party at your half-way point?... That way you can verify that they are ready for your arrival, and the local source can have arranged with local shop for immediate installation; or install them on-site with that person's shop equipment.
 

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I agree you should put new sneakers on before your trip. You can keep the half-used tires for when you return on your trip. I've been on a trip where someone had to get a tire replaced half-way through our trip. It took 5 shops before we found a tire that they could install. It was not the tire of choice, but an acceptable substitute. Like others said, out west, you could be hundreds of miles between places that will install a tire for you. We started looking in Utah, and finally found the place to install the tire in Denver. Also, shops will be closed on Sunday, and some closed on Monday, so you could waste 2 days waiting for a shop that will install them, and you may not be placed at the front of the line because you are on a long trip. My experience is that most shops will push you to the front if they know you are on a long trip away from home though.
 

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We did 22,000 miles this summer touring all over the country. I put on a new set before leaving Tennessee. Bought another set in Montana. Then bought another set in Florida. Also had to get oil changes in several states. It's not that difficult to just google search for dealers in a state and call ahead.
 

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I needed some service done while in California and was having a coolant leak. We were in the Monterey area. We sat in a Denny's resturant and I called every dealer in the region begging for someone to look at it explaining that we were traveling. The best answer I could get was maybe I could get worked in in one week. Luckily we called a small local bike shop that was 2 blocks from our location and they got me in right away. We also had a rear flat tire outside Kalispell MT on a Saturday afternoon. With no cell service it didn't look good. I finally got the bike towed into kalispell to a dealer. They were closed on Sunday and Monday so it was late Tuesday before we finally got the tire replaced. That was a costly rear flat with tow bill, three days motel bill and a rental car for those 3 days. You can plan ahead as much as possible but sometimes things just go wrong. It's just part of the journey.
 

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It's been my experiencewhen doing trips in the States that there are 4 types of Honda Dealers
1st.There are those that don't care that you are stuck on the road because they are booking app. 2 weeks ahead.
2nd.Those that won't touch your bike for any kind of money because your bike is over 10 years old no matter what condition it's in.
3rd.Those that will help you out and get you on the road,but you better believe that you are going to pay large for it.
4th.The odd one that will get you right in(even though they are booking 2 weeks ahead)get it done and still give you a good price.

If you can't work out something ahead of time on your trip hopefully you'll find the 4th type.

BTW The 4th one is in Ashville,NC and is a large multi-dealer.Couldn't do enough for me.
 

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I would definately start with brand new tires. I consistently get 14,000 miles on E3's doing long distance riding, and they are not to the bars so I feel I could go further (had 16,000 on one set when I got home). So, I would not hesitate to attempt that trip on one set and, of course, check them along the way.
If I was going 11-12,000 miles I would also start out with fresh synthetic oil and do one change mid-trip.
 

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Put a new runflat car tire on it, and go. You will easily see 20000 miles. Check out the darkside forum for more info
 

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disagree-maybe

The reason I wanted to know the expected mileage was, that if this trip is going to need a tire change, even if he starts with new tires, then it is probably wiser to leave the good conditioned used tires on to start. Then change as needed later in the trip. For example, if he normally gets 10k out of tires, has 4k on his current set, and expects the trip to be 12-13k miles, he might as well start off with the older tires. He'll need to make a change during a trip in either case. In the original post, he indicated a trip that could be easily over 10k.

Richard
 

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Start new and not worry about it

I had tires with a couple thousand miles on the bike as we came up on last year's US Four Corner Ride so I planned in advance to replace the tires two weeks before we started out. That way we were riding out of the driveway on brand new tires. Not counting checking tire pressure every morning before continuing, we never had to think twice about it again. After we got home (10,728 miles later), at about the 12,000 mile point I swapped the mildly used rear tire back on. I still haven't replaced the front tire from the trip - probably doing that next month since it's finally starting to cup. I love my Bridgestones.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
When I first started planning this trip, I just figured that when it looked like I needed new tires, I would just pop in at the nearest dealer and get new ones put on. I mistakenly assumed/hoped that the dealer would not only have the tires in stock, but would be able to fit me in the same day, or at worst, the next day. After reading your replies, I see now that I was wrong to make that assumption.


As for swapping out my slightly used tires for new ones right before starting my trip, that would be a great idea if I had the ability to do it myself. However, I do not. And having my local dealer do it, and then put the used tires back on after the trip just sounds like a hassle and an extra labor charge. I agree that it would be nice to start out with new tires and not have to worry about it, though.


I'm starting to think that the compromise is that I should monitor my tire wear while on the trip, and at such time that they look like they should be replaced, I will get on the internet and locate a dealer in a town that I plan to be in in a few days and schedule an appointment to have new ones put on. That way, they will have time to order them, if necessary, and I won't be just popping in unannounced hoping that they can fit me in.


I guess what I was hoping all of you would say was that in your experiences, dealers have been very accommodating to long distance travelers and that getting tires changed would not be a problem. I see now that apparently is not necessarily the case. Starting out with brand new tires would definitely be the most desirable option, but I think just calling ahead a few days in advance is going to work pretty well, too.


Thank you all for your replies. You have been very helpful. And reading about some of your past trips in other posts have really inspired me and made me excited about doing this trip.
 

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Not quite on topic, but related.

Several years ago, we damaged a tire while on the road and the nearest (by far) dealer was a Yamaha dealer. Interestingly they stocked tires for the GL1800 and several other common touring bikes. The were more than willing to insert us into their schedule.

If you find yourself in need of a tire on the road, don't limit your search to Honda dealers.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Not quite on topic, but related.

Several years ago, we damaged a tire while on the road and the nearest (by far) dealer was a Yamaha dealer. Interestingly they stocked tires for the GL1800 and several other common touring bikes. The were more than willing to insert us into their schedule.

If you find yourself in need of a tire on the road, don't limit your search to Honda dealers.
That's good to know. Thanks very much for the suggestion.
 
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