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Northern Asia Topics specific to Russia, Central Asia (also known as "the 'stans"), Mongolia, Japan and Korea
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  #1  
Old 5 Feb 2009
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Mongolia 2up

Many of you guys done this? The route to mongolia via europe and russia will obviously be alright but off road in mongolia might be a different story.

We are wanting to do a loop of mongolia, going along the "main" central route to UB and back via the northern route. Im assuming the northern way will be more difficult.

Just wanting anyones recommendations/experiences as it would be helpful.

P.S. ive never been off road before on a bike so ill be buying a cheap moto x bike soon to practice hehe

Cheers, Dave
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Old 5 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
Many of you guys done this? The route to mongolia via europe and russia will obviously be alright but off road in mongolia might be a different story.

We are wanting to do a loop of mongolia, going along the "main" central route to UB and back via the northern route. Im assuming the northern way will be more difficult.

Just wanting anyones recommendations/experiences as it would be helpful.

P.S. ive never been off road before on a bike so ill be buying a cheap moto x bike soon to practice hehe

Cheers, Dave

Hey Dave,

Keep in mind the maps of Mongolia are deceiving. What is posted as a "main" road on the map just means that it is a large dirt track as opposed to the "secondary roads" which are smaller dirt tracks.

Pretty much the only paved road in the country is the one running north from Ulan Bataar to the Russian border. The remaining roads that branch out of UB are asphalt to begin with but then shortly (sometimes 10, sometimes 100 km) eventually degrade into broken unmaintained asphalt and then gravel/dirt (or depending on the season mud).

From your description, I'm guessing that you are considering riding into Mongolia through the eastern border crossing with Russia and then across to UB. Pretty much the whole way is unpaved with multiple tracks branching off the main rutted track. Look around the site, there are some pictures that show what they look like.

They are rideable, and fun for most as it's like dirt track riding. But there are a lot of potholes and riding two would be a challenge at times. You'd certainly want to get you off road skills practiced and your passenger may not be to happy with you. Good adventure, just make sure you are prepared for it. If due to passenger reasons, size of load etc., you decide against it, many people shoot down the paved road straight south to UB, leave some of their gear in UB and use that as a base to explore. Your choice.
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  #3  
Old 6 Feb 2009
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Exclamation

Dave: MountainMan has it all correct. Going around Mongolia it will be 99% off road riding (dirt tracks) and it can get tricky if it rains: very slippery and muddy. Two up along with all the gear means that you might be carrying a total of well over 400 KG on two wheels over rough dirt tracks.

Certainly not impossible, but it will need care and even some luck to come through unscathed.

Practicing with a cheap dirt bike is a good start to work on your skills, but I highly recommend you also spend some serious time riding some dirt and unpaved tracks 2-up with the bike loaded with everything you will have with you. Hopefully you have some places nearby where you live where you can practice. Riding a light dirtbike can build some skills, but it could also give you a very unrealistic idea of what types of riding or maneuvers might be possible 2-up on a bigger, loaded bike.

Scott
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Old 6 Feb 2009
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airplane?

If you don't want to ride the whole way to UB two-up, you may consider having your passenger take an airplane to UB from somewhere in the west.
That would make the ride a lot less stressful on you and your bike!
Eznis Airways seems to offer fairly frequent flights, at least once a week.
Travel agents in UB offer all sorts of excursions, so your partner won't have to wait in a hotel for a week for you to arrive.
Just a suggestion...
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  #5  
Old 6 Feb 2009
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Cheers for the replies folks. Looks like i may have to have a rethink bout this, and possibly look into the gf getting her own bike, tho she has no riding expereince whatsoever.

I have lots of places local to me within 30 miles where i can go off roading so will most certainly get as much practice in as possible.

Id most likely be using a bmw 800gs/650gs or something similar in size and weight to make it easier.

Dave
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  #6  
Old 15 Mar 2009
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Dont know if anyone has seen this site before but its basically a group of people go around mongolia in their camper vans, and judging by the pictures they have shown the roads look to be reasonable.

Siberia 2004.

Certainly dont look too hard for a loaded motorcycle. Is this a true representation of the road conditions or is it missing out some key crap areas? hehe

Saying that, if a front wheel drive camper van can make it surely a bike can

Cheers again, Dave
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Old 16 Mar 2009
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Those picks are from 2004...I was there in 2007...and the roads were rough...not impossible...but a long ways until you see a paved road.

Part of the reason is that more vehicles are passing through than in 2004...and the dirt tracks are not maintained.

Rough means a couple things...but the heavily rutted sections are just not escapable...in some stretches...

If you haven't done any off-road riding, this may not be the place to try...

Not impossible...but don't expect your bike to make it in one piece especially the suspension.
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  #8  
Old 16 Mar 2009
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Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
Many of you guys done this? The route to mongolia via europe and russia will obviously be alright but off road in mongolia might be a different story.

We are wanting to do a loop of mongolia, going along the "main" central route to UB and back via the northern route. Im assuming the northern way will be more difficult.

Just wanting anyones recommendations/experiences as it would be helpful.

P.S. ive never been off road before on a bike so ill be buying a cheap moto x bike soon to practice hehe

Cheers, Dave
Dave, I recommend you take a off-road training course. Professionals teach you the basics. Once you are riding you'll be more confident, have more fun and enjoy the ride a lot more.

Wheeldon Off Road Motorcycle Adventure Centre Using Suzuki Motorcycles - Totnes, Devon

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Safe ride

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  #9  
Old 20 Mar 2009
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I think the main pain of riding two up in Mongolia is that you won't be able to stand. Standing is a lot more comfortable over rough stuff (90% of Mongolian roads) and gives you more control in loose stuff (surprisingly, also 90% of Mongolian roads).

As for your girlfriend, mine had had very little (<6 months) riding experience and she made it through Mongolia ok.

Hen
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Old 25 Mar 2009
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Thumbs up Two-up off road

Hi Dave
If you are riding to Mongolia in the first place two up then you will develop many of the skills to negotiate the trickier bits as you progress; as generally the roads steadily deteriorate the further east you travel.
I did my first trip two up with no off-road experience (and only 2 months road experience) and made it to India- two women on a BMW R80GS, we learnt as we went along and then also crossed Africa. When you get to the really dodgy bits, just get the pillion rider to walk for a bit- especially the river crossings - they walk through first and then they can tell you how deep it is.
Having said that, it is probably better to get some off-road training under your belt first if you can.
Thee are quite a lot of people who have travelled two-up across Mongolia - read Simon and Georgie McCarthy's book -
Sorebums-Rattling around Asia

Good luck with your trip - when are you going?
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  #11  
Old 25 Mar 2009
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Cheers for the replies folks, good advice there!

Will be 2011 now before i have the funds for the trip but im sure it will come around the corner quicker than it seems.

Concentrating on finishing my professional training and clearing debt first hehe.

p.s. the other half is called tiffany, a rare and special breed you women must be

Cheers, Dave
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  #12  
Old 30 Aug 2009
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I would carry a spare suspension. Or use a rebuildable one with all the necessary spare bits and the knowledge to do it yourself as the mechanics won't probably have the experience.

I'm in a hotel room in UB now. Waiting for a new one to arrive at the DHL office. And I ride solo.

Don't know the central or the northern routes as I did the southern one. But I don't expect the conditions to vary tremendously.

There are endless stretches with huge washboarding. I lost and replaced a subframe bolt, welded a pannier rack, dented the pannier itself, killed a suspension beyond rebuild etc, etc...

I'd advise to be well prepared if you want this to be a pleasent journey for you and your partner.

It's beautiful by the way...

One more thing:
My average speed without suspension was about 20 km per hour. I did 12 hour rides daily and covered 200-250 kms.
There are river crossings. You may be OK with two people holding the bike. But it would be a good thing to know how to drain water from the engine.
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Old 8 Sep 2009
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I rode the northern route two weeks ago (f800gs) and ehhh, have exactly the same experience, its rough on the bike (and you ), everything rattles loose, breaks down, and well.. river crossings.. the air intake of the 800 was luckily high enough :




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  #14  
Old 8 Sep 2009
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leaving your motorbike

if you wouldn't know what you do with your motorbike leaving formally in Mongolia or buying cheap motorbike in Mongolia please contact me. i can help you making all arrengement.
zozo_1031@yahoo.com
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Old 9 Sep 2009
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if you wouldn't know what you do with your motorbike leaving formally in Mongolia or buying cheap motorbike in Mongolia please contact me. i can help you making all arrengement.
zozo_1031@yahoo.com
Hello zoljargal,

Are you offering your help as a business? Or do you just want to help out traveling motorcyclists?
I am just checking, because unpaid business advertisement is not allowed on Horizons Unlimited. But we always can use helpful information and assistance if you just aren't trying to make money off travelers.
Please tell us about yourself and how you can help travelers.
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