Chocks, Trailers, and My LT (long) - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 22 Old Dec 20th, 2005, 9:15 pm Thread Starter
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Question Chocks, Trailers, and My LT (long)

My family and I are taking a trip to the Outer Banks over Christmas. I'd like to take the LT with me, since I sure can't ride it here in Ohio the past few weeks. My thought is to use a small utility trailer we already have (4' x 8', typical full-width ramp) and use ratcheting straps to secure the trailer, or install a chock for a more-secure tiedown.

My other thought was to pull over and unload the LT as soon as we got into better weather and road conditions, riding behind/in front of my family in the car. On the return trip home, repeat this pattern, in reverse.

I have a good deal of towing experience with a larger, heavier trailer (I sell firewood as a side business), and I've towed this smaller trailer many times. I think all I need is a chock and some quality ratchet straps (already have those). I have towed a bike one time (a Honda 600), from the dealer to home, on this same 4x8 trailer. A picture of a very similar trailer (without the chock) is attached.

The LT will fit, length-wise, on the trailer.

I've checked threads on "chocks", and the HoW for "chocks" and "trailers". Some of those threads pointed to some very, very nice single- and double-bike trailers but I'm not going to purchase another trailer. In the future -- maybe, but not now.

My questions:

1. I'm concerned about security of the tie-down arrangement over a long haul. Obviously I'd check the straps at every stop, and tighten as necessary. Any problems foreseen with this arrangement?

2. I don't have a nice, protective enclosed trailer. Any concerns about road debris, rocks, etc.? Is this idea reasonable, or is it out of the question?

3. Do I *need* a chock? It would have to be more secure, but can the LT be secured solely with straps? (or, would *you* secure *your* LT with straps only?)

4. Where does one attach tie-downs to an LT? Do strap "extenders" help, or make sense? (These are extra lengths of webbed material with loops sewn in them; they let you keep the ratchet mechanism and hooks away from the bike.)

5. Anyone have info on North Carolina weather and bike riding this time of year? I've heard (anecdotally) that the Banks are cold and windy now; doesn't sound like much fun to ride.

6. Will the LT *clear* the hinge point between the ramp and the trailer? I realize this is a function of ramp length; mine is approx. 4'. I can see the bike getting stuck half-way up the ramp as the center of the bike bottoms out on the ramp.

TIA.
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Howard Schisler
2015 BMW K1600GTL
2009 BMW K1200LT - 60k miles
2012 BMW F650GS (sold)
2005 BMW K1200LT - "Gray Ghost", traded at 120k miles
2005 Honda Shadow 650 (sold)
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post #2 of 22 Old Dec 20th, 2005, 9:39 pm
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trailering

I tow my Lt a good bit when on long trips with the family, around North Carolina, and towed it up to northern Toronto a few months ago, with my 4 x 8 trailer.

I use 4 rachets (2 on each front fork) to the front and side of the trailer, and 4 on the back, attached to the underneath of the side cases, to the back and side of the trailer. I do not have a wheel chock. I do check straps frequently but have never had a problem. Never had a problem with road debris as I tow with my ford windstar, though that is to say nothing will ever happen.
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post #3 of 22 Old Dec 20th, 2005, 9:40 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheldan2
I tow my Lt a good bit when on long trips with the family, around North Carolina, and towed it up to northern Toronto a few months ago, with my 4 x 8 trailer.
Thanks.

Center stand, side stand or no stand?

Howard Schisler
2015 BMW K1600GTL
2009 BMW K1200LT - 60k miles
2012 BMW F650GS (sold)
2005 BMW K1200LT - "Gray Ghost", traded at 120k miles
2005 Honda Shadow 650 (sold)
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post #4 of 22 Old Dec 20th, 2005, 9:56 pm
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I do not use the stands, though you have to have someone sit on the bike while you are tying it down, or use the side stand and carefully get all your straps in place before you snug them down, bringing the bike up straight, though this method does create a pucker factor occasionally. I have only done that once or twice. Better to let the shocks on the bike help with the bumps than to use the stands, or else the bike could bounce around on the trailer
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post #5 of 22 Old Dec 20th, 2005, 11:28 pm
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I towed for many years on an open trailer with no problems - until I ran into a road being tarred and chipped, with traffic in the oncoming lane flying low. The front of my R11RT looked like someone had fired a shotgun at it. And if you run into a rainstorm on your trip, the bike will be so filthy when you get to destination that you can't even sit on it to get it off the trailer without cleaning the seat and nearby plastic first. Maybe you'll luck out. I now have a Chariot enclosed trailer.

The LT may be heavy enough not to need it, but in theory, the front wheel may turn while bouncing along on the trailer and cause the bike to flop on its side without a front wheel chock. I've seen this happen, but with a lighter trail bike. In place of a chock, take a tie-down strap from the side of the trailer, wrap it around the front wheel rim and tire, and terminate it on the other side of the trailer. Tighten the strap. This will prevent the front wheel from turning.

Sof-ties (or Sof-straps) are excellent for keeping tie-down hooks away from the bike. As others have said, DO NOT use centerstand or sidestand.

Going to NC this time of year? Leave the bike home! (but I'm a weather wimp).

- Bob

Cowboy Bob Menton
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Greenville SC USA
'07 K1200GT, '83 R80S (nee '83 R80RT)
'86 Honda CH-250 scooter (original owner)
"You can never escape the FOG (Fast Old Guys)"
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post #6 of 22 Old Dec 20th, 2005, 11:50 pm
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A lot of questions here. Let me take a shot at a few.
Trailer size depends on the ramp and what's at the front. I had a 5 x 8 and it was too short, but not by much. Another 6" would have been OK. Upgraded to a 6.5 x 12 so there was no problem. Buying a covered trailer is great if you've got the bucks, that's your call. If you are concerned about the bike getting wet, buy a Harley, cause that's what Harley riders worry about. If you are concerned about road debris kicked up by the car you probably could fashion a plywood screen to block that stuff kicked up. Might affect your gas mileage a bit, but I think a "V" shaped screen 3' high naled with some 2x4's might do the trick.
There has been much written about tieing down. There is the official BMW way and that would be a good place to start. Check the HOW it is there. The equipment you will need are 4 ratcheting straps, not the cam lock variety, they will not hold. Get good quality, this bike is important to you. Go to your nearest Harley dealer and buy web loop tie down straps as well. They should have them since they are experts in trailering bikes. Get long ones. Regarding a wheel chock, I have one and I like it. You will get 82 opinions on this. Mine is a Condor, they have a web site. By the time I finish this post there will probably be 57 opinions on this. You can trailer the bike without a chock, I like it because I can load the bike solo and I think it is more secure. My chock clips on a mounting plate attached to the deck of my trailer.
If you choose to trailer without the chock this is what you do. There are 4 tie down points two on the front fork and two under the saddle bags. DO NOT USE THE HANDLE BARS. Put your bike on the trailer on the side stand. Do not use the center stand. Put the bike in first gear. On the forks there is a cross member just inside the fairing. Starting on the left side of the bike as you face forward, loop the left web loop around the fork above the cross member, being careful not to loop around or damage any brakelines or electrical stuff. Hook one of your ratcheting straps to the loop and extend it down, outward and forward so that it will not impact on the fairing. Now you will need a place to attach the strap. There are lots of way to do this, that's up to you, just make sure these tie down points are secure. Tighten this first strap to take out the slack, but not too tight. This next part is where you should have a helper although you can do this alone if you are good. Stand the bike up and repeat the tie down procedure on the right. If you adjusted the left strap properly the bike should stand up if you lean it slightly to the right, the left strap should hold it upright. When you have the two front straps in place move to the rear. Find the tie down points on the inside edge of the saddlebags. There are metal bars that you can run your other two web loops on. I don't like to hook my ratcheting straps directly to the bike. Now take the straps down and backward and out to the side making sure you do not impact the saddle bags. Attach the straps to secure tie down points in the bed of your trailer. Now you should have 4 tie down straps positioned downward outward and either forward or backward such that your bike has a broad base of support and no strap touches plastic. Do not try to tie these straps to the side bars of a 5 x 8 trailer. Now tighten the straps so that your suspension is partially compressed, not fully compressed. This adjustment is important. Your bikes suspension, if the straps are properly adjusted, will supplement the trailers suspension and provide a nice ride for your bike. A wheel chock obviously simplifies this process, but again is not required. Check the straps as frequently as you can and you should be OK.
Regarding weather, I live inland from the outerbanks in Greenville, NC. Today was sunny 32 degrees and I had a lovely ride. At the beach you will get plenty of wind, but there are still a lot of folks who like the Outerbanks this time of the year. Don't usually see much snow in December especially at the beach, sometimes we get some ice storms, but you should be OK to take the bike. Don't expect to run into many other riders.
If you run into trouble give me a shout, I'm in the anonymous book or drop me a PM and I can give you contact information. Hope this helps. Have a great time. By the way I try my best to keep my bike off a trailer, but I do trailer the Road Warrior to the dealer for service.

Adversity builds character.

BMW MOA #: 115771
My rides: '01 K1200LT Black (of course)
'00 BMW 540i (also black)
'76 Toyota Landcruiser FJ40 (not black)
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post #7 of 22 Old Dec 21st, 2005, 12:01 am
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I forgot the hinge point issue. Unless you are really strong you will need to ride the bike up the ramp. If your ramp is at all slick then you will need to ride up with a little speed and stop fast. A longer ramp will help and if there is any question about hitting the hinge point I would get a longer ramp or use a different trailer. Raising the front of the trailer may help reduce the angle, but I wouldn't raise it very much and this may make it more difficult overall. Unloading can be done simply from the side or from the seat. You can use the clutch like a brake with the bike in gear to lower the bike from the left and this might be better than relying on the front brake.
Good luck. Another note on weather, I guess Greenville, SC has different weather patterns than Greenville, NC, either that or we are just more hardcore here. Sorry, I had to take a swipe. Bottomline weather will be changeable so be prepared, of course I rode to Philadelphia for Thanksgiving, so maybe you shouldn't listen to me.

Adversity builds character.

BMW MOA #: 115771
My rides: '01 K1200LT Black (of course)
'00 BMW 540i (also black)
'76 Toyota Landcruiser FJ40 (not black)
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post #8 of 22 Old Dec 21st, 2005, 12:55 am
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If "hardcore" = "brain-dead", then that explains it.

Boring roads (i.e., interstates), lousy cold weather (NC in Dec. qualifies in my book) are all ripe candidates for trailering to better roads & warmer weather. Don't put up with the crap of bad roads and lousy weather and pretend you're having fun - that shows lack of imagination and intelligence. Enjoy life! Trailer to the good riding!

(I like to 'swipe' too, Peter )

- Bob

Cowboy Bob Menton
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'07 K1200GT, '83 R80S (nee '83 R80RT)
'86 Honda CH-250 scooter (original owner)
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post #9 of 22 Old Dec 21st, 2005, 7:00 am
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Go 4 it

My answers are in blue below.

1. I'm concerned about security of the tie-down arrangement over a long haul. Obviously I'd check the straps at every stop, and tighten as necessary. Any problems foreseen with this arrangement? Not a problem I've hauled up to 9 bikes at a time in my trailer (see pic below) over 15,000 miles and we have never had a problem with tie downs. This is little side business to pay for my bike week trips to Daytona and Arizona.

2. I don't have a nice, protective enclosed trailer. Any concerns about road debris, rocks, etc.? Is this idea reasonable, or is it out of the question? Yes I have seen rock chips happen on open trailers rare but it happens- I know you didn't ask about this but DO NOT use a bike cover to protect the bike while trailering wind flapping will wear off paint faster than sandpaper.

3. Do I *need* a chock? It would have to be more secure, but can the LT be secured solely with straps? (or, would *you* secure *your* LT with straps only?) YES absolutely and I use Slik Chock - no sidewall or rim damage ever. - I have nothing to do with them we have installed over 50 of these in trailers.

4. Where does one attach tie-downs to an LT? Do strap "extenders" help, or make sense? (These are extra lengths of webbed material with loops sewn in them; they let you keep the ratchet mechanism and hooks away from the bike.) Tie-down positions specifically for the K 1200 LT - see pdf attachment. We use strap extensions where they are needed - depends on the type of tiedown being used. Also the front straps should pull the bike forward into the chock and the back straps slightly backward. You can also put a strap around the chock and front wheel to lock the bike into the chock. We try for 2ft out from the sides and 2ft forward or backward. When you tighten the tiedowns compress the suspension about 1/4 to 1/2 of it's travel.

5. Anyone have info on North Carolina weather and bike riding this time of year? I've heard (anecdotally) that the Banks are cold and windy now; doesn't sound like much fun to ride. Can't help here but it's got to be better than it is here in MN .

6. Will the LT *clear* the hinge point between the ramp and the trailer? I realize this is a function of ramp length; mine is approx. 4'. I can see the bike getting stuck half-way up the ramp as the center of the bike bottoms out on the ramp. I can't say for sure about this but if you need more clearance raise the rear of the tow vehicle which will lower the back of the trailer and make the angle less steep. We have also increased ramp length by laying down a 8ft 2x12 and bracing it - not for the faint of heart!

Hope this helps,
Dave

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post #10 of 22 Old Dec 21st, 2005, 7:50 am
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Another trick is to velcro the front brake closed.



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post #11 of 22 Old Dec 21st, 2005, 8:12 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob_menton
If "hardcore" = "brain-dead", then that explains it.

Boring roads (i.e., interstates), lousy cold weather (NC in Dec. qualifies in my book) are all ripe candidates for trailering to better roads & warmer weather. Don't put up with the crap of bad roads and lousy weather and pretend you're having fun - that shows lack of imagination and intelligence. Enjoy life! Trailer to the good riding!

(I like to 'swipe' too, Peter )

- Bob
I guess I deserved a reply on that one. No question western NC has better riding in the mountains, rode (not trailered) there done that, will go again, BUT East Carolina has some nice well maintained country roads as well and I would much rather be out riding here than sitting inside either a building or cage. I'd also rather ride to a great place to ride than trailer to a great place to ride (that's for the HD guys) and for the cold I have one word - Gerbings. So unless there is snow or ice on the road I'm looking to be on two wheels. BTW my brain is very much alive, thanks for asking. Have a good one.

Adversity builds character.

BMW MOA #: 115771
My rides: '01 K1200LT Black (of course)
'00 BMW 540i (also black)
'76 Toyota Landcruiser FJ40 (not black)
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post #12 of 22 Old Dec 21st, 2005, 3:12 pm
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I can second the Condor Lift chock recommendation as well as the PDF showing the "official" tie down procedure. Just in case I were to lose a strap, I also put a Canyon Dancer on the handlebars but the straps are loose -- just enough to keep the bike from falling to the side (That saved an RT that I was once hauling). I trailered this way from Virginia to Denver and back last summer.

I have a 5x8 trailer that is 4" too short if the fold-up ramp is installed. I made brackets that hold it back at an angle just enough to clear the top case. I was not happy with the tail wagging that the tailgate caused and now have a set of Damback ramps that I'll stow beside the bike.

Paul Browne
Reston, VA

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post #13 of 22 Old Dec 21st, 2005, 3:13 pm
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.. and also, put the bike in neutral. You might also put some anti-skid tape where the rear wheel rests.

Paul Browne
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post #14 of 22 Old Dec 21st, 2005, 5:50 pm
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Answer to question #5 Just talked to my bro-in-law in Nags Head. He does commercial charter so he pays attention to such things. Forecast for next week is high of about 60, then cooling off by Tuesday. Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain each day. Wind blows even on calm days. We're headin' down in the F-350 but the LT is stayin' home.

Dave
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and Pawleys Island, SC
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post #15 of 22 Old Dec 21st, 2005, 9:28 pm
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Hi , I have used a 4' x 8' sheet of 3/4" plywood , with a home make wooden tire chock to hall motorcycles on before . I use two pieces of 2' 4"x4" screwed to the plywood , one on each side of the front tire . On top of these I put some 2"x4" , so it ends up being 4"x6" . Then I riped a 2' piece 2x6 to go vertically in the front , of the front tire . I put two pieces threaded rod thru it all to hold it together . And a 1/8x1" steel strap from the top of the 2x6 to the back of the pieces on the side of the tire . Also I put hooks in the front conners of the plywood to attach the tie downs to . I tie the front end of the motorcycle down to the plywood , and also whatever the ply is setting on ( truck , trailer Etc . ) I put two straps near the middle of the bike and hook these the truck ( or whatever ) . I have used it to hall a air head GS to Florida and back for bike week in the back of a S10 before . I haven't used it on an LT , but I did help a guy hall a Goldwing with it last summer . Hope this is of help ...Patric ...

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2010 R1200GSA ...1987 Helix...
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post #16 of 22 Old Dec 21st, 2005, 11:43 pm
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Wow, could you post a picture? That sounds like a really effective and cheap alternative.

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post #17 of 22 Old Dec 22nd, 2005, 8:13 am
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When I bought my bike and hauled it home from NJ, I put the front tire up against the front rail of my trailer then tied it down as BMW recommended. I used 8 straps (2 at each location) just to be safe if one broke. I also screwed 2x4's down on each side of the front and rear tires so that it wouldn't slide out.

4 1/2 hour drive with no problems and there are some real potholes between NJ, PA and NY that had me worried a few times........

It's cheap and worked fine for me. Of course I have a 6x16 trailer with a 4' gate.

As for the gate clearance, my bike just cleared with a slight rub when in the dealer parking lot (pretty level). Once home I used the angle of my drive and street to keep that lower with no rubbing while removing it.

Here's a photo of my trailer, unfortunately I didn't take any photos of it with the bike on it.
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post #18 of 22 Old Dec 22nd, 2005, 10:01 am
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Trailers & Chocks

I use an open 6.5 x 12 trailer with a non skid, expanded metal grate full width deck. It runs on 15" tires, and I have towed it at 70+ mph all day long. I use Baxley chocks, and LOVE them. Once you drive into them, the bike is stable, I drive in, and just get off, no side stand, or center stand needed. I have attached 3 pics of my LT, and my wifes VLX on the trailer, along with a pic of the tiedowns at the front.
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post #19 of 22 Old Dec 22nd, 2005, 4:43 pm
 
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I also have a condor chock on a 4 by 8 trailer, and I have used other simple chocks. The chocks make it easier to load the bike singlehanded, the advanced chocks make it very easy and provide a much more stable platform. Additionally, once you figure the proper position on the trailer for tongue weight you can easily repeat. I got the condor at the bike show for a fair price but I wonder if the "wheeldock" might not be better. With any of the chocks like the condor make sure your trailer is flat or even tail low for unloading, because getting the tire out of the chock can be difficult otherwise.
Another thing to consider is using shrink wrap. My buddy's neighbor "Loud Pipes Larry" uses the stuff for his harley on an open trailer from chicago to daytona for bike week.
Actually since you are traveling with the family, and towing the bike what you really need is another motorcycle, lighter, sportier and sooo much easier to load.
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post #20 of 22 Old Dec 22nd, 2005, 4:50 pm
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Snip ...Wow, could you post a picture?... I'll try but don't hold your breath . I usually get this all messy up ...Patric ... But if it does comes out , for the folk's in a south place . The white stuff isn't cotton , It's snow . It is by designed , the greatest equalizer for us landscapingly challenged people of the north (:-)
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2010 R1200GSA ...1987 Helix...
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post #21 of 22 Old Dec 23rd, 2005, 9:08 am
 
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Thanks for all the good information on tieing down the LT. I'll be using it in less than a week to trailer the new one home...
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post #22 of 22 Old Dec 24th, 2005, 8:20 am Thread Starter
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Thanks

Thanks, everyone, for all the good info in your replies. It's this kind of info that helps us learn and grow with our LTs. Really.

After reading a couple of times through all the replies I have decided not to take the bike with us. NC weather doesn't sound like it's that much better than here and I don't have time to select a chock and install it before we leave. Just a busy time of year as you all know.

Merry Christmas to all.

Howard Schisler
2015 BMW K1600GTL
2009 BMW K1200LT - 60k miles
2012 BMW F650GS (sold)
2005 BMW K1200LT - "Gray Ghost", traded at 120k miles
2005 Honda Shadow 650 (sold)
AMA, IBA, BMW MOA. CCRs: Braselton 2006, Osage Beach 2007, Duluth 2012


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