I wrote some months ago about my plan to use a 1980 Honda CD200 twin for taking a friend and I from North Wales to Rome.
We only got as far as San Remo as I had to spend a week in Evreux due to a health emegency- and we ran out of time.
However the CD 200t performed better than I could have hoped- even though we were pushing it to the limits of its performance envelope.
I gave it new shocks, chain and sprockets, cables andshoes and oil before we left and kept new spare points and condensor in my pocket.
It cruised at 50-55mph, two up, (180 and 140 lbs) with a 30 lbs tank bag and 35 lbs in the saddle bags. Just fast enough to reach minimum speed limits on autoroutes when there was no other road choice, though we usually stuck to secondary routes.
It climbed Cap col Bonnet-Frechamp- the highest road in Europe, over 10,000 feet, much to the revolt of the sport bike riders at the top, only dropping into 1st for the really tight corners near the top. Came down easy to- no sign of brake fade- just left it in 3rd for engine breaking.
We did have soem annoying problems in the 3000 miles we covered.
Head light burnt out, but it's a replacable bulb, not headlight, and hence only 3 GBP.
Rear wiring loom fell out of its holder and was shredded by rear wheel. Spent an hour making a new loom at the road side. One hank of begged for wire, used most of our roll of black tape.
Main fuse intermittent- found it was a house fuse. Proper fuse fixed that- had spares.
Rear wheel came apart. We had done some distance on cobble roads, and over the mountain roads (twice) and we got a plinking near Turin- spokes breaking. Stopped at a Honda shop. Mechanic sent his boy off to another shop to get spokes. Installed all new spokes, rim tape and atube to be safe, balanced and mounted all for 120 euros, and within 3 hours while we drank and ate in the park opposite.
Got a lump of metal stuck between rear wheel and rear fender on 2nd last day, gouged the rear tire tread, but not badly.
I found that the bike rode wonderfully. It's a bit like sitting on a kids tricycle, but we did 700 km one day coming back with no feeling of aches or cramping. And with its low bars, it does u turns in 8 feet, feet up of course, and is VERY agile.
Parts are dead cheap from wemoto.com in the uk- HD chain was 9GBP, pair of shocks 32GBP, cables 5GBP ea, shoes 8GBP. It does 70 to the gallon all loaded. It will do 60 if pushed. It will climb happily at 50, even on autoroutes climbing the massive central.
I am considering using it to do Wales to Istanbul in May.
I think I benifitted by having an old small bike. Cheap available parts, simple to work on, very little to go wrong, cheap gas and insurance, easy to find it a parking spot- it's tiny. And should it have been neccesay, it was small enough to push easily or drag out of a ditch.
I would really recommend considering a small old bike- though I suppose this may fall on CC ego deaf ears.
Justin and Shona