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Motorcycle travel in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, India...

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  #1  
Old 24 Mar 2009
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Kathmandu to Istanbul on a 150cc Indian Honda Unicorn

I have been living in Kathmandu for the last 3 years and I am ready to leave the country next year. The ultimate way home would be to take my trusty ol' 150cc Honda Unicorn (yes they named it a Unicorn, but it's not as bad as the Hero Honda Hunk). Thinking it will be much more reliable and getting parts for it mid-route would probably be easier. I have seen the same bike in Turkey and I think it was called a 150CBF or something.
I am also in no rush to get back home, so the bike will do around 130km/h and have great milage (think it's 60km pr liter, but I might be wrong).
I am planning to drive down to Mumbai, catch a ferry over to Iran and then make my way towards Turkey.

Is it possible to get an IDL with a Nepalese drivers licence? Will my little unicorn stand a chance?

I am looking for any information I can get. Searches didn't yield anything useful and I am not able to pm people who seem to have some knowledge until I post some threads. So this is me getting my finger out and researching my next adventure.
My hopes were to drive all the way home to Norway, but I am not sure how much that will cost me in import tax.

Any feedback is highly apreciated.

-Robin

Last edited by RobinClimber; 30 Mar 2009 at 12:49. Reason: Change title to better reflect content of thread
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  #2  
Old 24 Mar 2009
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carnet

The thing that is supposed to protect you from import taxes etc is a Carnet which is usually available from national Automobile Clubs.

On the assumption that there isn't one where u r try browsing in India.I am sure you will be able to get one in Mumbai.
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  #3  
Old 25 Mar 2009
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Honda Unicorn! I have one, well sort of, I live in China it's called the SDH150A CBF150 or something, the ones they export from China to Turkey, they are made in the same factory as mine, but we get a rev counter in China. Take your hero to Turkey see if any of the parts fit They'll probably be wondering what the hell the sari guard is!

Personally a long journey like that I'd do on an injected 250 doubt there are any in India yet?, The CBF150/unicorn is in it's element on low altitude super twisty roads, cities and large go-cart tracks! So bring some spare different sized jets for the mountains, and do not curse the bike if it seems gutless going up a mountain road at 2000 plus meters, it will be pretty tedious on highways too!

Mine gets 122kmh that's the red line, could get more but risk engine damage. Yours must have different gearing to get 130Kmh.

Good luck happy travels, don't bother with China too much red tape, although I recommend it after they disband the bureaucracy, some great mountain roads here.
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  #4  
Old 25 Mar 2009
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First, check out the carnet info here in the menu on the left. You get yours in Nepal, you can't get one in India, unless you are a resident.

You can ride through Pakistan, but there are no ferries from India anywhere.

There is a ferry from Iran to UAE.

Try to get your Pak and Iran visas before leaving, as you may find it difficult on the road.

Cheers,
Peter.
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  #5  
Old 25 Mar 2009
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Hi Robin,

I drove the other way around (Holland-Istanbul-Nepal) end 2008. You can find some small movies and perhaps some usefull info on my website: Going East - Home
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  #6  
Old 27 Mar 2009
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Thank you all for posting.

I'm not sure if I want to go through Pakistan yet, and still opting for the Mumbai - Iran route. I've been told by veteran travelers that there'll be no problems finding a ship going from Mumbai to Iran, pay the dudes a bit for a place to sleep, food and storage/freight of the motorbike. Might not be a ferry then, but at least some kind of freight ship. - What do you think?

As for the Unicorn; I'm sure it's a tedious ride on straight, flat roads. However, I have driven around in Nepal along with friends with Enfields and I am not very excited about the performance of Enfields. My Honda climbs better than Enfields and keeps up with them on the highways of the Nepali hills, which of course are very curvey and a lot of fun. The Unicorn seems to be very reliable as well as being engineered in a very simple way, making small repairs easy to do - even for a noob like me. Since there are not any other Indian motorcycles with more power, I feel that the Unicorn might be my best shot. But the Enfield might be more comfortable on the countless kilometeres of long straight highways.

Have you had any breakdowns/malfunctions with yours ZMC888? Thanks for the tips on spare part btw - and I'll probably take the sari guard off once I leave Been keeping it on for now just in case.

Cheers!
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  #7  
Old 27 Mar 2009
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I think the Unicorn and the Chinese CBF150 are about 80% the same bike, mostly structurally in terms of shocks, frame, engine, wheels and seat, but the tach, bars and tires bear little resemblance!

I have done 20,000Kms on mine in a little over 2 years, other than a tiny oil leak where the clutch cable enters the engine, no problems, plus I've been riding it around the red line its whole life. It is actually quite powerful for its size, but the best thing about the bike is its handling, you can almost put the brakes on anywhere in a corner, and it just forgives you, perfect first bike and can keep you entertained on twisty roads for hours. I've also lent the bike right over and have ground down both pegs and gotten my knee down on it too.



I'd prefer it to an Enfield, but the Enfield's torque could be an advantage if you are going to lug lots of stuff.

I would recommend ritchening the carb a little, and leave it standard.
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  #8  
Old 30 Mar 2009
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ZMC - Thank you for your input. I'm going to look into the jets - seems like I'll take the unicorn through the hills before I leave for Turkey. That'll be a good opportunity to test different jets. I have to admit though - I cannot conceal my noobness and I need to know what kind of jet kits I will need for the mountains. Also am not sure where to get kits, but I'll start with asking my mechanic. Just need to know what to ask for.

Also, to give me an indication on your gear setting: Do you have to shift gears when overtaking someone in 1st gear? That's when I always miss some extra power - hate changing gears when overtaking. Apart from that, when the revs are high, the unicorn gives steady acceleration throughout all 5 gears. Just haven't managed to get it on red in 5th yet - need to find me a loong straight stretch of highway.

You're the best source of specified knowledge I have - would appreciate your help. Cheers.
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  #9  
Old 30 Mar 2009
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The way my bike is geared 1st is really only for speeds up to 15-20Kmh, after that you use 2nd, so 1st you really don't need except for pulling away or to get some bite out of unusually tight uphill hairpin. Also if you overtake on the bike you shouldn't usually need to shift gears in an overtake. Start the overtake in whatever gear you are in at in the torque band at 5,-6,000 rpm and then wind the bike up to 8-9,000 to pass the vehicle, should be OK.

Also jet kits sound complex, in reality if you understand a flush toilet and a water pistol, you understand a carb. Use a narrower jet at higher altitudes, or a lower octane number. Don't let it stress you out unless you are above 1,500 meters plus all the roadside mechanics probably have jets that you might need. Pull out the jet look for a tiny number, and on the net find the number for the one that is one less for above 1,500 meters.
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