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  #1  
Old 26 Jun 2014
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Older bike/person ride

I'm planning to do longer trips in 2015 once I have my bike fettled. The machine is a 1953 Ariel,year I was born. I've had a lot of experience of these bikes and decided this one needs to be more ISDT style to do the trips. It's got rear springing and plan a sprung saddle as a token to comfort. So far things like valves and seats haven't been altered to cope with modern fuels but like to hear if anyone else has done trips on older machines and their experiences. thanks
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  #2  
Old 26 Jun 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svliker View Post
The machine is a 1953 Ariel,year I was born. I've had a lot of experience of these bikes
Good for you (and the bike)

Welcome to the 'hub'.

The older bikes tend to be light, simple, easily fixed and have common parts that can be found most places that have parts! If you know the bike, can take the time for 'mechanical diversions' and have the right attitude you'll have heaps of fun. As long as there are no 'special parts' of unobtainium or unfixablity. Go for it!

I know one fellow who runs 2 old bikes .. the velo is nice and clean and only goes on small civilized trips. The other thing is covered in oil, battered and dented. About every week he cleans the generator ... or dymo .. whatever it is .. I think that thing has been every where I've been ... in my home country at least. Those places include stuff requiring miles of deep sand, corrugations, river crossings etc etc.It runs on the cheapest bits he can find. Oh .. it has a sprung saddle. It goes a bit slower than me, but then I sit and wait, worth it for the company.
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  #3  
Old 26 Jun 2014
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Depends what you mean by older bikes / people. I born two years before the Ariel and have done trips using 1960's bikes - but they weren't that old when I rode them, they've just aged since.

At the moment I have a few 70's bikes that I've done trips on. The chief one is a mid 70's Suzuki 125 that I've posted about here before. The main advantage of the older stuff - and probably even more so with the Ariel - is the stone age simplicity of them. If you've prepped them well before you go and ride them within their limits it's great fun. Just don't expect to be overtaking GSs on the motorway.
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  #4  
Old 27 Jun 2014
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Older bike/person

The model of bike is Red Hunter and I use all the same post 1938 iron motors that have enclosed rockerboxes and valvegear. Lovely things like same crankcases from 250 LH thru' 350NH,500 VH and even the sidevalve VB 600,so things can be swapped,similarly not too many gearbox options. Like all good old tugs they've been raced,trialed,scrambled and ridden to work. Diverting a moment I had a BSA M21 ex-RAC for 9 years and just rode it everyday; 1 puncture and 1 dynamo falure, a real round the world bike.
However times and kit change and not being a purist I appreciate other peoples experience in making my choices. For example; 6 volt bulbs in other countries? How practical,or is 12 volts the rule,guess it depends on my route.
As I live in France most of the time I don't have to worry about ferries to start with. Initially I have ideas to visit friends in Bulgaria and Greece . I've driven my van to BG a few times and only fly in the ointment I would say is Romania;least at night as no law is evident and lorry drivers go nuts,never even slept there,just kept going,what are the pro's and cons of camping near your bike versus motel ?. On bikes do you need a Vignette as we did on van ?
Questions about fuel problems in other countries along this route ? Once again,any thoughts,thanks.
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  #5  
Old 27 Jun 2014
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I have bimbled my way around most of Europe on my Enfield.. rides were all pretty enjoyable. Not and old bike but same technology without the quality .

I avoid toll roads where possible, and from preference will use country roads avoiding as many cites or large towns as possible. thankfully most have ring roads.
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Old 28 Jun 2014
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Wink old bike/person

Sounds about right,so any issues running the Enfield ? Eventually I hope to venture further East,two targets; China and Ethiophia .Thanks
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  #7  
Old 28 Jun 2014
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Originally Posted by svliker View Post
Sounds about right,so any issues running the Enfield ? Eventually I hope to venture further East,two targets; China and Ethiophia .Thanks
Truth is the quality varies, some bike are perfect out the factory , many aren't. Basically if you keep it a while and fix the things that go wrong on -your- bike properly they can then be reliable. The good thing is the avl engined bikes such as my own are very fuel efficient and typically average 95mpg. I calculate range as being 20 miles to the litre. I carry a spare litre in a one litre fuel bottle, the only useful thing that I got with my optimus multifuel stove.
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Old 7 Jul 2014
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I've done a couple of trips in Africa on classic Vespa scooters (including the budapest to bamako enduro rally).

Old stuff is less reliable than new stuff and require lots more service, period! People go on and on about the voodoo of electronics, but forget that the electronics have spares like any other bike part, and prone parts for braking on your model can be brought along on the trip... they are put in place to conserve your bike, conserve fuel/emissions, and offer easy diagnostics. Newer bikes are designed using computers, errors of the past have been dealt with, and they have been constructed with the best tools, tecchnologies, alloys, etc. On the other hand, old stuff, when it is hurting, doesn't have a computer telling some vital part of the bike to just shut down... and they are easier to do bodge repair.

There is one thing you ought to conscider when opting for an old bike, and that is how fast and hard you plan on riding. By fast I mean how far, how long, and within what time constraints. How hard I mean the terrain, weight and speed. The faster and harder you plan to ride, the more self reliant you need to be in terms of spares, tools, and how to fix things yourself. If you've got all the time in the world, then you can allways throw your bike on the back of a truck until you reach civilization and can get help and/or parts shipped in.

On the enduro rally, which was campleteley unassisted, my team (three riders on three scooters) had to bring LOTS of tools and about half a scooter in spare parts. In two weeks we replaced three clutches, a piston, a shock absorber, several tires, a couple of clutch cabbles and throttle cables, some spark plugs, and a few other bits and bobs... If I had taken my Yamaha wr250f I would probably only have had to deal with the occational puncture, and with my f650gs maybe some lost fasteners and a fuel pump and bodge repairs that I could fix with gaffa, etc.

I think the number one benefit of riding something old and less suitable is that it evokes åositive feelings among everyone you meet, opening up to experiences you otherwize would have missed.
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Old 8 Jul 2014
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Those of us at the older end of the age spectrum who have been biking since their teenage years will have started out on bikes hardly distinguishable from steam engines and will probably be comfortable stripping things down at the side of the road - because if you didn't know how things worked and how to fix them you'd probably spend more time at the side of the road than you'd like. Reliable in that context probably only meant having to fix something once a day rather than three.

With modern machinery - F.I., Canbus electrics etc you may never have to exercise those skills. It'll just keep on going, day in, day out. In fact you may never have to break out the spanners at all. Someone with no mechanical skills at all could set off and not worry. Why would you need repair skills if the bike never goes wrong? I can understand that. A reliable, modern bike that I can depend on. I set off, I ride, I get there. That's what I expect, that's what I want. Isn't it?

So why would I choose to go off on a long trip on a bike that stands a good chance of going wrong. Isn't life complicated enough? Well, I do it because I can. Fuel injection and don't touch it - fine, carbs and strip them down when I'm sold a white spirit and vodka mix instead of petrol - equally fine. The only "not fine" bit is when vapour recycling means I've never smelt petrol so can't tell I've been sold creosote instead and I don't know how to clean the mess out of an injection system because I have no background in bike mechanics. Or (more likely) when I drown the thing in a river and can't get the water out. The fact that an old bike is more likely to suffer some problems en route because of its design limitations doesn't put me off - I've spent years fixing the things and have a reasonably good knowledge of how things work and what can and can't be done.

Old bikes may be a bit of a nostalgia trip but they can also be interesting, anachronistic and challenging (even if many of them now are not particularly cheap). I'm not saying the bike makes the trip but there has to be some bike - rider interaction otherwise you might as well take the car or fly.
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  #10  
Old 1 Aug 2014
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this chap went to India on his enfield and it was also a 53!

http://www.overlandtoindia.co.uk/

Last edited by brendanhall; 1 Aug 2014 at 11:31. Reason: url didn't copy!
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