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  #1  
Old 31 Aug 2012
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Popular small bikes in Europe

Hi HUBBers

I am an Aussie with an EU passport. I want to do the fairly common thing of going to Europe and buying a motorcycle on which to tour around. (West & East Europe, Russia, perhaps cross into nthrn Africa)

Here are my requirements:
-Reliable
-Small and light, 250-500cc.
-Can take hard panniers without too much customising.
-A make that is popular around Europe so repairs and spares are easy to find
-AUD$2000 budget including all paperwork stuff (but not insurance)

I plan on seeking out the 'back roads' (no highways or even main roads if it can be avoided), as many mountains as possible, and as many beautiful coastlines as possible. This will probably involve some gravel/unsealed roads.

I suppose my question is, what type of bike would you good folks recommend? Even just a make that is popular in Europe (eg. Honda, Yamaha are incredibly popular and reliable in Aus) so I can start looking into affordable options...

ADDED QUESTION: Websites to pursue private motorcycle sales in the UK? I've been checking out Bike Trader UK, is this the most popular site?

Cheers,
Nicola

Last edited by nicola_a; 1 Sep 2012 at 04:21.
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  #2  
Old 31 Aug 2012
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Hi Nicola - Yammie TTR 250 or similar. LIght, easy to pick up, easy to fix etc, cheaper on fuel than bigger bikes ( a real consideration here nowadays in rip off Europe) but pokey enough to get you places on roads or unsealed roads. A Serow if you can find one would be ideal though.

Small bikes are the business. Just done across Europe and Asia on a 110 Chinese scooter and had an excellent trip because the bike was so easy, cheap and basic. But it did the job!
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  #3  
Old 31 Aug 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicola_a View Post
Hi HUBBers


ADDED QUESTION: Websites to pursue private motorcycle sales in the UK? I've been checking out Bike Trader UK, is this the most popular site?

Cheers,
Nicola
You could look at uk ebay as well; there are usually about 25K bikes on there, at any one time.
It is often slagged off by some people but I have noticed that those opinions come from those who are selling at the time.
Gumtree also advertises bikes in the UK. As you say, bike trader (part of autotrader) is popular also.

Broadly, I agree with the earlier suggestion about the small Yamahas - the XT225 for instance is now a XT250 in it's later version and they are all "grey" imports brought to the UK directly from Japan, without a recognised dealer backup service; BUT, there are unofficial sellers in the UK - some advertise on ebay.

If you take a look at the which bike forum in here there is endless discussion about particular makes and models of bikes and the relative merits of "big bikes - small bikes".
You could also find value in the trip paperwork forum which has a load of info about buying, and insuring, in various European countries.

Your purchase budget is tight, so maybe ditch the idea of hard luggage??

I hope this helps, a bit at least.
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  #4  
Old 31 Aug 2012
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Any of the old 500cc twins - Suzuki GS500, Kawasaki ER-5/GPZ, Honda CB500. Plenty to choose from on the used market, they've all been around forever. None of them are especially light, but all pretty low, which might amount to the same thing. Used by commuters and dispatchers, so probably pretty easy to pick up pannier frames, etc.

With any one of the big four Japanese manufacturers, I don't think you'll have much trouble finding a dealer in european cities.

Your budget is pretty tight though, depending where you're buying. As someone with no UK insurance history it would be pretty easy for you to find yourself spending half your budget on the bike, and half on the insurance.


ETA: All these people suggesting Serows, could you tell me where there's a plentiful selection of them for around a grand?
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  #5  
Old 1 Sep 2012
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Hi guys - just made a correction to the original post as it was unclear about the budget.... the $2000 didn't include insurance, just all the paperwork stuff. I don't know how it works in the UK but in Aus whenever you buy a bike privately there are always other fees attached (transfer of registration, registration itself, stamp duty, admin fees blah blah blah)..

Thanks for the tips so far. I've been researching more and it seems that my biggest issue is not going to be actually finding a bike to buy, but the insuring of the bike & myself.
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Old 1 Sep 2012
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Hi Nicola

Sent you a PM re the bike insurance issue, but forgot to mention personal medical/cancellation/effects/etc insurance. The number of aussie companies that will cover you if riding a bike over 250cc seems to be shrinking but HBF and Travelworld still do.

Cheers

John
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Old 2 Sep 2012
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Your biggest Issue when buying a bike in Europe now is being able to register it in your name as you are non-resident.( Your EU passport is not sufficient, you need a provable residential address- perhaps you already have one you can use). If you can't register it in your name, then technically you can't insure it in your name.

A lot of people have tried using things like a cell phone bill registered to a European address as proof of residence, it doesn't work anymore. The European transport system ( registration/insurance/certs of roadworthiness is highly computerised and increasingly linked all over Europe, and addresses are checked against electoral and other registers. Some people have used Hostel and Hotel addresses, Box numbers at private postal addresses etc, but these doesn't work anymore, because they are only temporary addresses.

I know an Australian who has recently completed a three month scooter tour of Europe, but she found it impossible to register a scoot she bought in the U.K. due to non resident status. She eventually did a deal with a resident friend, who registered it in his name, and then borrowed it from him ( with a letter of approval). She also had a very difficult time finding someone who would insure her for her Euro trip.

I wish you luck, and if you have an EU passport, it is possible you have friends in the EU who might be able to help you (as above). It is highly unlikely that an Insurer will cover you outside the EU, you would have to make other arrangements.
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  #8  
Old 2 Sep 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicola_a View Post
Hi guys - just made a correction to the original post as it was unclear about the budget.... the $2000 didn't include insurance, just all the paperwork stuff. I don't know how it works in the UK but in Aus whenever you buy a bike privately there are always other fees attached (transfer of registration, registration itself, stamp duty, admin fees blah blah blah)..

Thanks for the tips so far. I've been researching more and it seems that my biggest issue is not going to be actually finding a bike to buy, but the insuring of the bike & myself.
This company has a wide selection of bikes and prices..
::Arjan Brouwer Motor Trading Putten
Cheers
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  #9  
Old 3 Sep 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
I know an Australian who has recently completed a three month scooter tour of Europe, but she found it impossible to register a scoot she bought in the U.K. due to non resident status. She eventually did a deal with a resident friend, who registered it in his name, and then borrowed it from him ( with a letter of approval). She also had a very difficult time finding someone who would insure her for her Euro trip.
That'd be me.

The registration was not a problem as the scoot was always in my friends name - never in mine. I just needed insurance as an "additional rider"
I eventually found a solution to this problem.
read this
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  #10  
Old 15 Sep 2012
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Instead of starting a new thread, I thought I'd continue on this one.

Originally I was set on a 250cc-ish bike but looking at whats available in Ireland on done deal.ie, most bikes of that cc are true dirt bikes which is probably a bit too extreme for what I'm after. A Serow or TTR would be great but they are rare. Anything available a step up from that seems to be a street bike.

I'm thinking about an older BMW 650 single? I'd have to lift the budget a bit but that's probably OK. They still look pretty light for a 650cc, and have a good seat height for me, and look comfy.

What are your thoughts on the Beemer? What would be the max mileage I'd want on the ODO if I wanted to put another 25,000kms on it? I know what I'd look for on a Honda or Yamaha but not sure about BMWs....
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Old 15 Sep 2012
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I'm guessing you are talking F650GS Funduro / GS model here.
The Funduro model started in 1993 and the F650GS and Dakar followed around 2000.
I've got one of these little beasts of 2002 vintage but reckon you'd probably need to spend around 2,000 UK pounds for a decent one.
A slight guess here as I'm not in the market to buy or sell so not totally up to date with prices.
There's loads of information about them here - Directory contents of /GSFAQs/
I've had mine for 9,000 miles (15,000 ish km) and it's been as good as gold and I'd happily add another 25,000 km.
Weight dry is 175kg.
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