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Old 29 Dec 2009
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First Trip

Hello All,

I'm currently in Southern California.

After reading Jupiter's Travels, and seeing heavily laden bikes cruising up Highway 1, I've decided I would like to either:
1.) Go around the world
2.) Make it to Patagonia, or
3.) Just as far as Guatemala.

Now, I don't have a bike, and only $8000.

I can really rough it, if it means completing the mission. I suppose I should get a cheap bike, and not one of those lovely KLR650s with the nice panniers.

1.)Any reccommendations for a good cheap bike?
2.) Any idea of gas costs or travel times from the US border to the Guatemala border? And to Patagonia? How quickly can it be done comfortably?


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Old 30 Dec 2009
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Well have you ridden a bike before?

A KLR can and has went RTW as have many bikes. But $8000 and no bike will not get you there. There is the bike, gas, flying you and your bike over the Darien gap (you can put it on a boat as well) tires, food, hotels, camping, paper work return trip and all the bits you will need.

You will need think about how much of a bike you need to make you happy vs. how far you want to go.

Now for the $ we will stay on the cheap end what you can get, think Wallmart not REI
For the bike a good used KLR will not run that much more than a 250cc bike. But a little 250 will do a grate job. You will some bags and a rack. you can build a small rack out of almost anything seen some out of copper pipe did the job and a tank bag. But small and light are key on a small bike.
Then there is the riding gear If you love to ride spent the cash if not how much is you skin and life worth to you? say we go on mid range on this the helmet prices will kill you but you do not the "best" there not much better than just ok.
Then there is "ruffing it" tent bag stove food kit and other crap we all bring.

2000 for the bike you never know you may get a cheaper one
500 for bags and the rack
1000 for riding gear
500 for kit we go on the cheap end here

4000 half your money and we have not put any miles down thats not good. Good news is all rest of the money will give you more than that 4k.

let us for now drop South America you can ride all the way Panama with that. Getting back may be a problem. Your gear will be shot you bike if it makes it will need repairs with all the gear you got on it. but you can do it.

As far as prices for getting across borders you can look that up online and call on prices now. Not that is what you will be charged they all want a bribe but you can set up a tent and sit them out.

You can drop the camping gear stay in cheap hotels eat in street stands dropping $1000 for the kit and bags using a dry bag strapped to the seat. that will drop the beating on the bike and need to look for out of the out way places to camp. If need be you can sleep in your riding gear use a cheap tarp and you will be good. The food may be a wash if you eat cheap may be a bit more but soo much better.

You may want to go a HU meeting we are having one this summer in northern California . It will give you time to get a bike and do some short run trips

As far as speed it is not a good thing burns gas much faster eats tires up and on poor roads will pound the bike and you. 200 miles a day is a good day lets you stop and see things. 6 months seems the norm. 3 to 4 weeks if you hammer down and do not nothing but ride.

To save time and cash fly the bike down then fly once it gets there ride back up. But as you seem not to have done this riding before you may want to try in the USA say ride to Maine or Florida, hate to see in Agentina hating the idea of another day riding.
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Old 30 Dec 2009
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Thanks for the advice, man. I'm afraid I'll have to dream on till I make some real money, I guess. If I want to make it to Patagonia, it would way be cheaper to make it some other way.
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Old 30 Dec 2009
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I made a trip from Denver, CO to Lima Peru on $5000. I wasn't very frugule with my money either. I could have done a lot better and saved money in different ways. But if you can buy a bike for $1500 and go away leaving with about $6000-6500 in your pocket you can make it to Patagonia, but you might not have a ride back. I could have made it Tierra Del Fuego but I wouldnt have had money to get a plane ride home. I wouldnt have been ringing the folks back in the states asking to get me home. I think you should go for it. Look for a good deal on a bike. A KLR 250 would work too! Good luck!
keep your front wheel ahead of your rear wheel
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Old 30 Dec 2009
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I'm in Belize right now, and i left from LA about 2 1/2 months ago. I've spent about 3000 dollars so far, and I'm not being very conservative with my money. I generally eat cheap, but make up for it at the bars. And I've spent alot of money on hostels as well. If you keep to the coast you can usually set up your tent on the beach for as long as you stay away from the tourist towns.
The motorcycle is definitely cheaper if you can buy used and do your own repairs. In mexico, there are no shortage of on/offroad bikes, but most are 250cc's and smaller. So if you get yourself a used 250, there will be tons of cheap mechanics, and cheap parts along the way. Go for it.
Also, I spent about 30 dollars on my bags. Go to the Army surplus, and get yourself a couple musette bags and sew them together to make saddle bags. And I've got a duffle bag strapped to the sissy bar. But make sure you get something with backpack straps. This duffle bag is a pain in the ass to haul around.
It's not pretty, it's not waterproof, and it's pretty much a pain in the ass. But it's cheap.
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Old 31 Dec 2009
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You can do the trip but you may need a little more planing. Flying down and riding back will get you there and back. Riding both ways may be a little tight. Too tight if it is your first trip and no bike. It is the bike and gear that will eat in to your cash, it is not a problem if you have one or add a K or two to your cash.

You are jumping in to deep end of the pool with a ride like this (deeper still if you want to go RTW). You can get a small bike and ride Mexico for a week or two then back to work this will get you the bike and a feel for this riding. Adding $ to your riding account (make one if you do not have one and add to each check)
If what you are looking to is ride Patagonia fly down rent a bike and ride all over the place down there. You can stay in a posh hotel one night and outside the next you will have more money than you will need. Fly home when your done and have done something most people will never do. If you save say 5k you can try some other cool places like SE Asia rent a bike at each contrey fly back when you run low on cash.

Your 8K can get you a lot you just need to plan a bit and think out side of the box.
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Old 31 Dec 2009
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or...Idea 1...bus to mexico, buy a new 125 or 150 Honda Job, bring a rucksack with you forget the tent, moto down to Panama and back to Mexico, sit on the beach somewhere in Mexico while you sell bike - bus back to USA.
Honda is about 1700-2400 new and you can sell for 1200 maybe...cost you a 100 or 2 for (rent) per month then. Driving slow is nicer than blasting along -imho- if you fall it is close to the ground and easy to pick up.

or..ride a 250-500 down to Panama and return. Any bike will work. I met a woman last year at Paso Canoas Panama border riding a 20 yr old Honda 550 she bought for 500 bucks in Texas.......riding alone she was coming back from Texas-TDF.........
if you want to go all the way you are faced with a 700 dollar or more sailboat ride from panama to colombia unless you want to try the coastal pongas for maybe 250 bucks..and then your bike is unsaleable except maybe in Peru or Paraguay.
worried about a small bike ? read Simon Gandolphi's soon to be memoirs at

Don't worry, ride it.
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Old 7 Jan 2010
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Thanks for all the excellent advice guys. I still have to decide what to do, but your info and encouraging advice is well received.
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