Yamaha SECA II Touring

1992 Yamaha XJ600 with touring bags ready to roll.

Who said you need a big bike to tour? I just took this little 600cc 1200 miles across 5 states and back again from Baltimore to Boston. I got the Joe Rocket tail and tank bags from Ebay for about the cost of the tank bag ($120), and the soft expandable saddle bags are Nelson-Rigg brand - not as heavy duty as the Rocket bags but did the trick just fine.

I found a factory rear rack (eBay $30) and installed it on the tail of the bike - not very big, but handy for the tailpack bag and bungee cording extra stuff.

I could have easily carried camping gear as well but opted to stay in motels. I did bring both my openface and full face helmets, plus clothes for a week and other gear - all without expanding the saddlebags!

I also added a set of handlebar risers from GENMAR - they raised the bars without need for changing any of the control cables - it made a BIG difference in long distance riding. I also put on new grips, and had the front forks rebuilt - they were leaking oil due to old seals.

The other big change to the bike was the removal of the lower fairing - which looked very cool but did not help in the running of the bike as it's an air-cooled bike and the fairing just kept the engine from getting full air flow over the fins, plus made roadside repairs a real pain.

Instead I opted for a factory new set of engine guards I found eBay for $40.

In fact - with the sale of the lower fairing I was able to get a new Corbin seat - which is awesome for distance riding as well.

Below is the bike parked at a Scottish Inn just past the Poconos in PA. Nice place and great parking spot.

I added the bungee cord to take some of the strain off the saddle bags..seemed to help a bit. That's my fullface Helmut stuffed into the tail bag. I went from full face, open face, to no helmet at all as CT, RI and PA have no helmet laws.

I also had a handheld GPS mounted on the handlebars along with a map in the tankbag for reference.

Below is a picture at a rest stop a motorist snapped for me. I wear a riding jacket, gloves, and full face helmet when cruising on the highway - even when it's hot. It was cooler in these mountains - but when I left Baltimore it reached a record 100 degrees!

The Seca II did just fine - would happily speed along with all the gear at 70mph all day - and was getting over 60mpg to boot! For the next trip I'll upgrade the windscreen with something a bit taller for wind protection. Aftermarket parts are easily found for the XJs - it was very popular and aftermarket stuff is still readily available.

Here is the bike with the magnetic tankbag off it, (left in the motel) - SO handy how it comes off/on so easily and once you have one it's hard to imagine touring without it.

With all the hoopla about $15,000 sport tourers and 1200cc plus cruisers - my little 400lb 600cc 14 year old cycle toured just fine thank you very much. On the back roads it was a blast to zip around on - and on the highway it cruised just fine. I took a whole week off for the trip - and the bike with all the gear cost about $2000 bucks. I do my basic maintenance like oil & filter change, adjust the chain - and my local shop knows the bike and is there to help out when I'm stuck. Its a solid, basic 4 cylinder air-cooled motor on a tried and true frame and suspension.

I stopped at a local filling station on a back road in Rhode Island on the way home (12 hours in 1 day) - and struck up a conversation with a fellow rider. He looked up and down my bike - loaded for touring and said, "Yup I'd go cross country on that bike any day". Turned out he was a Moto Guzzi owner - but was riding a late model Yamaha 200 single. He added "the bigger bikes are sure nice to cruise on - but they so much heavier and just plain hard to stop in a panic - if I see a deer run in front of me I'd want to be on a lighter bike any day. That's all you need right there," he grinned as we sipped some early morning coffee and talked bikes.

SURE I saw allot of bigger bikes on the road (many great looking cycles) - but I have say when I saw a big cruiser, say in Rhode Island - it sported RI tags...and pretty much the same in every state. My little ride w/ Maryland tags made it through PA, NY, CT. RI, and MA - and back again.

My smile would have been no bigger had I rode on a proper "Sport Tourer" or big "Cruiser" - but my wallet would sure have been lighter. $2k bike plus 60+mpg = REAL FUN RIGHT NOW.

or another way to sum it up...

1200 miles, 600ccs, 5 states in 7 days: $2000 for bike & gear.
Smile I can't get seem to wipe off my face: Priceless


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