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South America Topics specific to South America only.
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Old 24 Feb 2004
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Scootering the planet


I'm a 24 year old Englishman who is riding his 49cc Yamaha Vino from the Arctic circle to Tierra del Fuego. Mad you may think but ultimately possible. I've recently hit 10 thousand miles and am currently in San Pedro de la Laguna on lago de Atitlan in Guatamala. I do have issues though and l suppose things have been far from plain sailing. My current issues are no power at altitude, questions about shipping from Panama to Venuezuela, the question of a road from Venuezuala to Manaus in Brazil, it's usability and also it's availability of gasoline. Does anyone know how to make my scooter faster at altitude or even move. Yesterday l had to walk uphill with the engine revving to just move. Virtually all power is wiped out. I still go on the flat but only about 20 k's max. As for getting to Venuezuala from Panama. Do l have to go via Cartegena and then along the coast and is this safe if this is the only option. Finally if there is a road from Caracas to Manaus, is it paved and is it passable in early April. All replies would be much appreciated. I know l'm not your usual biker guy, me being a scooter boy but l share the passion for the road. My happiest times are on the road living the dream and avoiding those bloody backpackers and tourists.

Yours Rup Wilson-young.
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Old 9 Mar 2004
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Caracas Manaus Info,

Is all paved, no problem lots off fuel. In the Gran Sabana, from Cuidad Guyana onwards fuel every 300 k´s Road is in perfect condition. The footprint south american guide has all the detailed info.



[This message has been edited by MillsRoadsurfer (edited 09 March 2004).]
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Old 10 Mar 2004
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Join Date: Dec 1997
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
Posts: 4,547
As for riding a scooter - I could care less - it has two wheels and that's all that matters - more power to you for doing it on something unusual!

Re more power:

There is up to a 40% loss of power at altitude that is NOT recoverable, (depending on the altitude of course.)

First understnad the problem - there is a lot less air, therefore the engine is running very rich. So you have to lean out the carburetion.

Standard things to do for high altitudes:

In order to ensure you have the max amount of air getting into the engine in the first place, make sure the air cleaner is very clean, even remove it if needed - just don't do any dirt roading.

Put in smaller jets/lower the needle in the slide. Since on a 50 you will be at full throttle all the time, just a smaller main jet is all you need. Bigger engines benefit from lowering the needle a notch or two in the slide.

And that's about all you can do. Be VERY sure you reverse the changes BEFORE you get to a lower altitude or you WILL destroy the piston and cylinder. Take note of the altitude you had to change settings at and switch at about the same point, or as soon as you notice an increase in power.

For Panama to SA see the shipping section - loads of info there, link on left.

Basically you have to fly the bike and you to SA from Panama. No big deal. DON'T try to save money and ship it. You won't, and you could end up in big trouble with smugglers.

As for Colombia, there is lots of info here on Colombia and safety. A search will find tons of info.

Also, have you thought about doing a blog of your trip? See the Travellers Stories pages - link on left - about having your own page here on HU.

Grant Johnson

Seek, and ye shall find.


One world, Two wheels.
Grant Johnson

Seek, and ye shall find.


Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997!
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Old 22 Mar 2004
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the good thing about vinos and zumas...new pistons are $10, heads $14...everything is CHEAP. a person can run a 70cc kit(about$250), no jetting changes necessary, thats puts WAY more lower end power and a slight increase in top speed. i have seen 10K on a zuma engine b4, they are reliable as can be.
good luck
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