The Team Lyle Silver State Roundup rally

Here's my route for last weekend, including the ride on Friday from home to Alamo, and the ride on Sunday afternoon from Alamo back home. I finished 1525 miles in 22 hours, for my second IBA Bun Burner Gold certificate.

The third year of the Team Lyle rallies in Central Nevada

I'm leaving this morning for Alamo, Nevada, a small town in Central Nevada and the base for the Team Lyle Silver State Roundup. About two dozen riders will start out on Saturday morning for riders of 1500+ miles in 24 hours, and for some that + could be as much as 700 miles.

My buddy Doug established the Team Lyle Central Nevada rally series in 2012 with the Team Lyle Alamo Express, and I assisted as the Route Master and paperwork guy. For a first time rally master, the event went very smoothly, and with some good word-of-mouth, demand was there to continue the rally on a yearly or every-other-year basis. 2013 brought the Team Lyle Nevada Stampede, which was also an overall success. There is no entry fee, but a donation to the Eddie's Road charity is required, in any amount.

Riders start out on Saturday morning from Alamo. There is a pre-established Base Route of 1538 miles, but riders are free to ride any route and distance they choose. Beginning last year, we setup a special Open Class for riders wanting to set their personal bests for 24 hour mileage, and had three riders over the mileage that cannot be mentioned. While Base Route riders must document their route by getting fuel receipts at specific locations along the way, Open Class riders use a special Odometer Check Ride to determine the accuracy of their odometers, and are then free to ride any route they choose. The procedures we came up with for certifying Open Class mileage was approved by the highest levels of the Iron Butt Association, who accepted all three of the high mileage submissions last year.

The Base Route starts in Alamo, then northwest on the ET Highway to Tonopah, straight north to Battle Mountain, a brief stint on I-80 over to West Wendover, then south to Ely. From there it's back on US-6 to Tonopah, northwest to Fallon, then US-50 east to the Utah state line at Baker. The final run is back to Alamo.

My plan right now is to ride the 1500 mile Base Route this year. Doug has recruited some new administrators, so I'm free to spend the day as I choose. Other than the 110° heat on the way through Las Vegas, it should be a very fun weekend.

My friend Hal mounted a new set of Michelin Pilot Road 2's on my FJR.

I had been running a set of PR3's, and was generally happy with them. They had 11,500 miles on them, and could probably have gone another 1,500 to 2,000 miles more, but I have a long one-day ride coming up in the Team Lyle event in a couple of weeks, and it's not a good idea to do a long, high-speed ride on the last miles of your tires.

I had some choices for the new set. The bike came with a set of Bridgestones, which I disliked so much I pulled them off at only 3,800 miles. Since then, I've run only Michelin's — first the Pilot Roads, and then the Pilot Road 2's. While there's other tire brands that have good reputations for long-distance motorcycling use, I'm sold on Michelin, so the choices were to stay with the Pilot Road 3, try the new Pilot Road 4, or go back to the Pilot Road 2.

While I was happy enough with the PR3's, they had their quirks. I was also spooked by the catastrophic failures of PR3's on two different FJR1300s at last year's Team Lyle Nevada Stampede. Both bikes had PR3's with less than 2,000 miles on them, and both were down to the bare cords along the center line. One of the riders was stranded in the middle of the night on the ET Highway in Central Nevada, and had to walk 6+ miles just to reach a cell signal — without a single vehicle driving by the entire time.

The PR4's are getting generally good reviews, but they've only been out for a few months, so there's not a lot to go by just yet.

I've run PR2's for 60,000 miles, and I know them really well. They have some quirks — we all do, right? — but I've used them in all kinds of conditions, from long, high-speed runs to gravel and chip seal, and even the occasional dirt road, and they've never let me down. When they're done, they go to junk pretty quickly, and they're useless for high-speed riding, but if you keep it to 5 over the posted limit, they'll get you home.

I've got about 80 miles on the new set so far, and they feel really, really good.

Hal got the bike all setup for the rest of the riding season, and other than an oil change I should be good to go for 12,000 miles from here.

A full description of the aux fuel mounting and configuration follows the image gallery.

Here are more details.

I rode down to Chula Vista with Doug yesterday to meet up with Mike Langford. After some back-and-forth, the consensus between me and Mike was to mount the fuel cell on top of my existing Pelican case mounting plate.

The fuel cell is a 4.6 gallon from RCI. At 6.2 lbs per gallon of fuel, that's 29 pounds when full. and the tank itself is 9.6 pounds, so we're at less than 40 pounds total. The Pelican case mounting plate is a 12"x12"x0.15" aluminum plate, and attaches at four points to the stock rear grab rack on my FJR, which has a Garauld stiffy kit installed to support the rear sub-frame.

Mike fabbed up a set of 1" aluminum rails which bolt onto the Pelican plate. The RCI tank has four tabs about 1.5" in from the corners on the front and back sides, and these are bolted to the rails in the front. In the rear, the bolts extend through the rails, and lock nuts secure everything.

Mike installed a manual valve to initiate a transfer. The valve attaches to the tank and extends horizontally towards the rider's left side. 5/16" fuel line then passes between the front seat and the pillion seat -- my custom seat leaves a noticeable gap there, so there's no kinking. A quick disconnect sits in the tray right next to the CCS servo, with 5/16" line extending to the bung you installed on the bottom of the tank.

Using the existing Pelican plate as the mounting platform provides a lot of advantages. It lets me swap out the aux tank for the Pelican case with a minimum of fuss, lets me keep my seats installed, and keeps the stock rear rack and support members in place. All that works well in my mind.

Here are some potential downsides, which don't appear to be deal-breakers to me, but I'd appreciate your opinions. 1) While I regularly carry more than 40 pounds in my Pelican case, that's still a lot of weight on the stock rear rack, and the 12"wx12"dx8"h tank concentrates the weight in a relatively small area. 2) There's no way to run with both the Pelican case and the aux tank at the same time. 3) It's a little screwy to run the fuel line between the two seats. One alternative we came up with is to drill an opening at the lip of the blue plastic at the back of the pillion seat, and run the line back from the tank into the hole at that point, then route it up to the QD under the driver's seat.

Since the original install, I rode down to Hal's house for some new tires, an oil change, and his advice on the fuel cell. We wound up re-routing the fuel line back to a new hole drilled behind the pillion seat, which cleans things up a lot. We also replaced the clear vent line with some 5/16" fuel line.