Thanks, glad you liked the pics.
So what is the best bike for Baja?
Like many such things there does not seem to be a definitive answer to this.
One thing is fairly certain: if you intend to get into the more challenging and remote technical tracks then some sort of "real" dirt bike is called for.
A fully loaded RTW bike is not going to cut it .....at least in some places. As Lone Rider always reminds me of : A bike only needs to be a problem for you for a couple hundred meters to ruin your whole day. That short stretch of deep mud or deep sand or impassable rocks or super step up or down can really mess you up ... or .... God forbid ....get you hurt.
If you do take a fully loaded KLR or bigger, bring friends to help through the difficult stuff. Be prepared to ride well in deep sand and to ride in "Attack" mode. If you are super heavy, well at some point, you will pay for this. Keep pressures low for sand .... like 10 to 12 lbs. air back up for rocks.
A little known fact is that Baja sand (like all sand) constantly changes. It's depth on tracks can be Hellish one week and two weeks (or less) later its rideable again. Why? Wind Mostly. Big Buggies or Trophy trucks too. The wind seems to blow desert sand INTO the tracks. The Trophy trucks roost it back out again
But sometimes I think the wind can shift direction and blow sand Out as well.
Don't be put off Baja by any of this. There are plenty of beautiful dirt rides though Baja that are not so hellacious. I've done plenty on my Vstrom (three trips there) on my old KLR and recently on my DR650. I've also done it on my XR650L, XR400 and DRZ400E, all now sold. The more serious off road stuff was best on the DRZ and XR400. The XR400 and DRZ are the two prime rental bikes the Tour operators use. They also offer Honda CRF450X.
But for me, getting on my buddies WR450F was a revelation! The perfect Baja bike, IMO, if not a bit slow on highway. But its pure performance, ease of use and reliability made me grin ear to ear. The thing is not upset by deep sand and seems to float over rocks. It has so much power you can simply loft the front end up a bit ..... and hold it there ....indefinitely until things smooth out. The balance on the bike is excellent, turns great with amazing stability everywhere. My little XR is a great bike in mild woods riding but with its soft stock suspension and my fat ass (200 lbs.) were just too much. Lack of torque from the 17 HP motor was the clincher.
With the WR's and CRF's you cannot pack much onto the bikes. No sub frame. All our guys slung everything in a back pack and small tail and front packs.
We hit Motels every night so we did not need a large wardrobe or much food. We did carry plenty of water, Two liters in Camel Backs and an extra gallon each. And this group really liked to DRINK! We always had at minimum a six pack of
and a bottle of Tequila! I did drink the
but no Ta-Kill-Ya for this old geezer.
I must admit I was pleasantly surprised how the
helped this old Irishman out. Hey, it worked for Joey Dunlop didn't it
If you are riding a heavily loaded bike like a KLR, I would still ride the following places:
Mike's Sky Ranch (near Valle de Trinidad)
Puertocitos to Alfonsinas (dirt) to Coco's Corner to Bay of LA. (paved)
The Missions, San Borje and another .... these are two makeable by dual sport.
Near Loreto you can ride up to San Javier, then to the two Commundu towns
(San Jose and San Miquel) and onto to La Purisma and out to San Juanico at Scorpion Bay. GS's have made all these routes and Vstroms too. A bit rough but no serious obstacles.
To San Javier by Vstrom! !No problema!
Nice camping near Mulege'
Even the big bikes can do plenty of exploring .... this on way to a Mission.
Lone Rider and others can add to this very short list. I don't know the south of Baja well at all. Going into the interior may require GPS.
See The Lizard Ladies books. Or get way points from others.
If one is merely transiting through Baja to the Ferry .... well, all I can say is enjoy it while you can. The peace and quiet is the highlight of Baja. The friendliness and mellowness of its people too. The mainland is a bit frenetic and stressful. BIG cities, LOTS of traffic, even smog. Baja is paradise by comparison. See it while you can ..... it's all in flux.
There have been a few robberies on the road from Tijuana to Ensenada. Most all tourists in Motor Homes. Do this section in day.
Thanks to the USA, the border area is now essentially on alert and in some ways like a war zone. The Mexicans are reacting to the over-blown militarism of US policy via HomeLand security. A pathetic joke of course as this vicious policy mostly affects poor farm workers, women and children trying to get to the USA. These folks are not terrorists, yet they are treated as such. And the money the US is spending for this? Don't get me started.
Baja and Mexico are no longer cheap ....except for those of you carrying UK Pounds or Euros.
Prices are up about 50% within the last three or four years. Still cheap relative to Europe of course. A bargain in fact.
Feel free to post questions or answers or comments here about Baja or Mexico.