We picked up our Symbas in the third week of May. We got them from Classic Scooter and Cycle here in Portland, Oregon. Justin and Rachelle hooked us up with a great price and seem like good people, too. Pedro (in the service department) also gave us some good info on maintenance and break-in. We recommend them for all your scootering (and Royal Enfield and Ural) needs.
The upside to buying vehicles in Oregon is that there is no sales tax, yay! The downside is that Oregon now makes you buy 4 years of registration with a new vehicle ($$) and also since we live in Multnomah County we get to pay an even higher registration fee to help fund urban bloat, boo! After a lengthy trip to the DMV (is there any other kind?) we are registered and legal. All that and we still have to wait 4-5 weeks to receive our titles in the mail. Hopefully this will not be too big of an issue but we need to have our titles in order to apply for Carnet, which apparently can take up to 7 weeks to be issued. When are we leaving?
We have been riding our bikes between the rain here in the lovely Northwest, trying to get break-in miles on them before we head out. I was able to get the first oil changes done on them last week and also tightened up a bunch of fasteners. I knew from Dabinche's experiences and some of my own that vibration can loosen up fasteners, especially on single cylinder bikes, and sure enough there were a few that needed some snugging up. I had thought of safety wiring some of the critical fasteners before we leave, but I may just make it an every other day routine to check tightness once we are on the road. I also adjusted the clutches on the bikes and it made a huge difference to the smoothness of the shifting. The chains also seem to be stretching faster than I would like, also a known Symba issue, so I ordered a couple of new EK O-ring chains to install before we leave the US.
Another issue that we had to address was how to carry all of the crap that we will need for a trip of this length. We initially looked at soft waterproof sadllebags from Ortlieb and one of their waterproof duffels to go over the top of the saddlebags but didn't like the lack of lockable storage. Looking around on ADVRider and HUBB inspired the idea of mounting Pelican cases as lockable topcases and then throwing a waterproof duffel on top of that. It isn't ideal weight distribution, it will carry the weight a little higher than I would prefer, but it's the best we could come up with without having to fabricate saddlebag mounts. We went with the Pelican Storm iM2600s for the topcases and the large Ortlieb waterproof duffel strapped to the top. The topcase gives us 34L of lockable, waterproof storage and the duffel gives us an additional 49L of waterproof storage. We also decided to go with a Pacsafe bag protectors for the duffels, hopefully they will help prevent our stuff from “disappearing” while we are on the road.
We mounted the Pelicans to a couple of hard-to-find Carter Brothers rear racks. I'd like to say thanks to our friends on the Symforum for helping us track down the elusive second one from Scooters of Louisiana.
Fuel capacity is also a problem on the Symbas. 100 mpg sounds pretty good until you realize the fuel tank only holds 1 gallon. In many parts of the world (Eastern Oregon, for example) it may be more than 100 miles between gas stations. We looked at several different solutions but in the end decided on the simplest. We located a couple of stock front racks for the Symbas and will simply strap 1 gallon gas cans to them. It's not the prettiest or neatest solution but it will give some added weight to the front end to help balance out the giant pile of crap on the back and (hopefully) keep the front tire on the ground!