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  #1  
Old 4 Weeks Ago
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To tour North America, only HUGE, expensive bikes will do?

This father and son team from San Francisco rode two bikes that would threaten most guy's mandhoods from San Francisco into New York City--proves that not only small bikes can do such a trip, but the trip can be done on roads other than 75 mph interstates...

Scooters Across America: San Francisco to New York - ADVrider

This should provide some good riding ideas for those who always ask "what should we see when we ride through the US?
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Sounds like a good way to travel to me and I look forward to reading about their trip. Ed March and Rachel Lasham have just started an Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego trip on a pair of Honda 90's which should be interesting.
Thanks for posting.
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There's a big difference between "what's possible" and "what's desirable".

In this particular case, I think that the two riders wanted to take their time and go slowly, and in particular, they WANTED to do the ride on scooters.

For the 'average' cross-country rider who does not have a fetish for scooters, I think that 500 cc is about the minimum engine size needed to be able to keep up with traffic when going uphill on interstate highways, or to be able to safely and efficiently pass a truck on a two-lane roadway.

40 years after the event, I still have painful memories of riding across Canada (from Calgary to Toronto) on a Honda CB360. It was fine as long as the road was flat and there was no headwind. It was woefully inadequate, to the point of being hazardous, in a strong headwind or going up hills on the Trans-Canada highway.

Back then, I weighed about 150 pounds, and I had no luggage of any kind with me.

Michael
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  #4  
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Hmmmm... just saw this post over at the "Freightliner Truck Driver's Forum":

There's a scooter stuck in my mudflap - how do I get it out?

Michael
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  #5  
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I must have said this a million times: "It doesn't matter what you ride, only that you like it, and you're having fun!"

Big expensive bikes, little super cheap bikes, doesn't matter - they're all good, they're all fun, they're all perfect for travelling.

Ride your ride and go!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
There's a big difference between "what's possible" and "what's desirable".

In this particular case, I think that the two riders wanted to take their time and go slowly, and in particular, they WANTED to do the ride on scooters.

For the 'average' cross-country rider who does not have a fetish for scooters, I think that 500 cc is about the minimum engine size needed to be able to keep up with traffic when going uphill on interstate highways, or to be able to safely and efficiently pass a truck on a two-lane roadway.

Michael

I mentioned above that this proves one does not have to ride on interstates. The riding on a CT/DAX clone is more motorcycle than scooter, but the 150cc scooter is all scooter. Either way, they proved that it does not need to be done on a KLR650 or BMW to be a good trip. Just takes planning your route to avoid roads that one would NEED such fancy bikes. This ride opened up the possibilities to someone wanting to ride one of the small enduros available in the US such as the CRF250 or the KLX 250 or the WRX 250 or XT 250 or even the TW200 across the country. One definitely does not need a minimum of 500cc's for this ride. These two proved that since the bottom choices could do it, so could slightly higher up choices.
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Originally Posted by yuma simon View Post
...Just takes planning your route to avoid roads that one would NEED such fancy bikes.
Hi Simon:

I agree with you, if someone is willing to take the time to plan a route that avoids roadways with a speed limit greater than (for example) 80 km/h or 50 MPH, then sure, a long distance ride could be done safely, enjoyably, and comfortably on a bike with a small engine (<500 cc).

My concern, which I expressed in my first reply to this discussion, is this: The people who are most likely to be influenced by discussions such as this are not folks who have years and years of experience touring cross-country on motorcycles... they are most likely young ones or newbies who have no prior experience with long distance motorcycle touring. A perfect example of this is the question posted by forum member 'NWY' in this discussion: Travelling EU on Moped.

Folks such as NWY want to enjoy long distance touring, but might not have the financial resources needed to make an elective decision about whether to use a small, low-powered moto or a larger bike that is suitable for long distance highway use. I'm worried that we - the more experienced riders - might unintentionally be encouraging them to do something that is not entirely prudent by saying "Sure, you can have a great cross-country trip on a 50 cc, 150 cc, or 250 cc bike".

By way of analogy: Before I retired, my job was to make intercontinental deliveries of new aircraft, from the factory to the airline that purchased the aircraft. Frequently this meant ferrying the aircraft halfway around the world, in segments of 1,000 to 1,500 nautical miles per flight. The aircraft were always new (therefore generally trouble free) and were always equipped with the "latest and greatest" navigation and communication equipment. On top of that, my full time job was delivering these aircraft, hence I was used to flying halfway around the world every month... it was 'old hat'.

Once, a friend asked me to move a really small aircraft (a little 2-seater) from one side of Canada to the other. My first reaction was "Sure, shouldn't be much of a problem." After making that trip, I realized that it required a heck of a lot more of my skill and experience to move that little thing, with its limited speed, range, power, and navigational capabilities, across Canada in 300 mile legs than it did to move the newer, larger aircraft halfway around the world in 1,500 mile legs.

I got the little aircraft moved, and it was a pleasant and entertaining voyage in its own way, but I certainly don't think it was the kind of trip that a young pilot with limited long-distance experience could have undertaken. On the other hand, a young pilot with limited long distance experience could have safely and easily moved a newer, larger, more powerful aircraft with greater range and navigational capabilities over the same route.

I hope that puts my thoughts in the correct perspective.

Michael
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  #8  
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Then none of you have read sean's blog? try a honda passport from alaska to argentina:

Honda Vs The World | Alaska to ArgentinaHonda Vs The World | Alaska to Argentina

or

Walter Muma's trip to alaska on a moped:
Moped Trip - 18660 km by moped

or this romance true life story:
THE SCOOTER DIARIES
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post

Folks such as NWY want to enjoy long distance touring, but might not have the financial resources needed to make an elective decision about whether to use a small, low-powered moto or a larger bike that is suitable for long distance highway use. I'm worried that we - the more experienced riders - might unintentionally be encouraging them to do something that is not entirely prudent by saying "Sure, you can have a great cross-country trip on a 50 cc, 150 cc, or 250 cc bike".

I hope that puts my thoughts in the correct perspective.

Michael
I do agree with you on the phenomenon a few years ago here on Horizons where it seemed people were trying to 'out-unique' each other as to the type of vehicle they could make a long trip on--people were trying to one up others and I was surprised no one tried a trip on a motorized bar stool or a large motorized cooler (and some of those have been hopped up for speed!)

However, that did not seem to be the point this father and son were trying to make. This trip seemed to be more of an against all (ok, some) odds trip, and in the meantime they proved that one does not need to have the latest BMW or even KLR to travel coast to coast in the US. I am biased here because when I was in fifth grade, in 1980, my mom used to pick me up from my school and my sisters from high school. One day, I spotted a high school girl and it was love at first site! She was sitting upon the most awesome bike I had ever seen up to that point--an authentic (it was 1980) Honda CT-70 Trailbike--sex on wheels!! From that day forward, I have always wanted one, and have resigned myself to the fact that I would settle for a replica (I am not picky) made by Skyteam in 125cc form. This man took my dream machine and proved it will go the distance!!

I am not concerned how experienced someone is or isn't, although I would not suggest such a trip to an inexperienced rider or group of riders--no matter what bike they were riding!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilNerdLord View Post
Then none of you have read sean's blog? try a honda passport from alaska to argentina:

Honda Vs The World | Alaska to ArgentinaHonda Vs The World | Alaska to Argentina

or

Walter Muma's trip to alaska on a moped:
Moped Trip - 18660 km by moped

or this romance true life story:
THE SCOOTER DIARIES
I admit I have not read it, although I intend to. The point of my post was linking a ride which showed several taboos and myths being debunked/dis-proved in the oft-asked Horizons questions of what bike someone 'NEEDS' in order to ride coast to coast in the US.

Personally, I am a big fan of Simon Gandolfo's threads where he rides 125cc bikes EVERYWHERE.
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Originally Posted by yuma simon View Post
I admit I have not read it, although I intend to. The point of my post was linking a ride which showed several taboos and myths being debunked/dis-proved in the oft-asked Horizons questions of what bike someone 'NEEDS' in order to ride coast to coast in the US.

Personally, I am a big fan of Simon Gandolfo's threads where he rides 125cc bikes EVERYWHERE.
It all (i think) boils down to:
1) what do 'feel' comfortable with? (some are intimidated by giant, highway burners like gold wings, road kings, etc...)
2) whats your 'travel style': do you like to 'poke around' and stop at every road-side attraction (the 'world biggest ball of twine' stuff) or do you choose you destination and come hell and high water your going to reach it as quickly as possible or something in between?
3) cost (have you seen the prices of BMW, GW's and harleys lately? )
4) the challenge alone...it's different, going small...EVERYONE is doing it on big bikes these days..
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yuma simon View Post
I admit I have not read it, although I intend to. The point of my post was linking a ride which showed several taboos and myths being debunked/dis-proved in the oft-asked Horizons questions of what bike someone 'NEEDS' in order to ride coast to coast in the US.

Personally, I am a big fan of Simon Gandolfo's threads where he rides 125cc bikes EVERYWHERE.
I followed Simon's ride here, met him once at a HUBB travelers meeting. Funny old guy. Haven't heard anything from him in quite a few years? I followed his S.America ride. His best response when folks asked him why an old man would do this ride?
"What should I do then? Sit home and watch TV"?
Brilliant!

There are several disadvantages to small bikes/scooters sometimes ... remember Simon's accident in Patagonia? I think he was run over by ... or run off the road by a truck trying to overtake? ... broke his leg IIRC, and he rode round with his Cane for a while.

I started on Honda 50's and a Vespa 150 around 1963. Never went round the world ... but did get around L.A.. Both did dirt bike duty!

Smallest bike I've done serious distance on is rented 125cc Honda two strokes in Thailand. Several trips there.
Great fun. I'm glad I did not have a heavier bike when ploughing through
deep mud. The 125cc was great on twisty mountain roads and fantastic in congested cities ... but a bit scary on fast Thai motorways. It topped out at 70 MPH ... and I kept it pinned there to stay out of harms way.

But crossing the USA is a different story. In some regions its just long boring
roads all day long. Even remote two lanes are boring through the plains states. Canada is even worse ... with only one real road.

For me, I need to be able to cruise comfortably at least 70 mph. A 50cc to 90cc scooter or moped would be novel for about 2 days ... after that ... I'm done with it. Superfluous in my view.

Old 350 to 650cc bikes are super cheap and plentiful in the USA ... cheapest in the world. For a novice rider, IMO, they'd be much better off with something in that range ... unless they're doing a project about scooters/mopeds for business reasons, charity or promotional reasons.

Riding a bike Cross USA is not rocket science. Anyone can (and HAVE) done it on any manner of contraption. Basic common sense and basic defensive driving skills are all you really need. The rest you'll pick up after you get out of the hospital!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
Before I retired, my job was to make intercontinental deliveries of new aircraft, from the factory to the airline that purchased the aircraft. Frequently this meant ferrying the aircraft halfway around the world, in segments of 1,000 to 1,500 nautical miles per flight. The aircraft were always new (therefore generally trouble free) and were always equipped with the "latest and greatest" navigation and communication equipment. On top of that, my full time job was delivering these aircraft, hence I was used to flying halfway around the world every month... it was 'old hat'.l
De Havilland? Twin Otter?
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Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
I followed Simon's ride here, met him once at a HUBB travelers meeting. Funny old guy. Haven't heard anything from him in quite a few years? I followed his S.America ride. His best response when folks asked him why an old man would do this ride?
"What should I do then? Sit home and watch TV"?
Brilliant!

There are several disadvantages to small bikes/scooters sometimes ... remember Simon's accident in Patagonia? I think he was run over by ... or run off the road by a truck trying to overtake? ... broke his leg IIRC, and he rode round with his Cane for a while.

I started on Honda 50's and a Vespa 150 around 1963. Never went round the world ... but did get around L.A.. Both did dirt bike duty!

Smallest bike I've done serious distance on is rented 125cc Honda two strokes in Thailand. Several trips there.
Great fun. I'm glad I did not have a heavier bike when ploughing through
deep mud. The 125cc was great on twisty mountain roads and fantastic in congested cities ... but a bit scary on fast Thai motorways. It topped out at 70 MPH ... and I kept it pinned there to stay out of harms way.

But crossing the USA is a different story. In some regions its just long boring
roads all day long. Even remote two lanes are boring through the plains states. Canada is even worse ... with only one real road.

For me, I need to be able to cruise comfortably at least 70 mph. A 50cc to 90cc scooter or moped would be novel for about 2 days ... after that ... I'm done with it. Superfluous in my view.

Old 350 to 650cc bikes are super cheap and plentiful in the USA ... cheapest in the world. For a novice rider, IMO, they'd be much better off with something in that range ... unless they're doing a project about scooters/mopeds for business reasons, charity or promotional reasons.

Riding a bike Cross USA is not rocket science. Anyone can (and HAVE) done it on any manner of contraption. Basic common sense and basic defensive driving skills are all you really need. The rest you'll pick up after you get out of the hospital!
Sounds like thought 1...
using what you feel comfortable with, having had experiences in different sizes, across different locations you've found what your comfortable with.

I bet you have some kick-ass stories.

BTW, I've seen 500cc cheaper than mopeds on places like craigslist!
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Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
De Havilland? Twin Otter?
Yes, exactly. I did the avionics redesign for the Series 400, wrote the AFMs, etc. I did all the deliveries for the first 3 years of production. I retired at the end of 2013.

Michael
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