Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/)
-   Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/travellers-advisories-safety-security-road/)
-   -   KUDU Expeditions gone to the hay or here to stay ? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/travellers-advisories-safety-security-road/kudu-expeditions-gone-hay-here-54228)

stuxtttr 11 Dec 2010 08:36

KUDU Expeditions gone to the hay or here to stay ?
 
Just nothiced that Lee of Kudu is selling off lots of expedition truck,bikes etc on ebay, it mentions that he has sold the company.

So before you comit to an expensive trip you should maybe check them out further.

I know there has been some nightmare experiences in the past with other companies where punters lost all their money.

I did check their website and all seems to be ok so maybe he has just sold the name to someone else.

It may be nothing but check it out before you pay out ! :scooter:

Dick 11 Dec 2010 12:06

Just out of interest, what is he selling ?

I can't find any Ebay stuff of his

stuxtttr 13 Dec 2010 01:57

Toyota Landcruiser all kitted out and then lots of spares etc.

kuduexped 23 Dec 2010 12:09

Kudu Expeditions still chewing the cud and here to stay
 
Just to advise Kudu Expeditions are still up and running after I purchased the company from Lee Mears this year, Lee has successfully run the company for 5 years and it is my intention to take it on to another level, Kudu now has the support of Yamaha with a fleet of 660 Teneres ready for the 2011 season which is filling up fast.
I can't speak for other tour operatours but let me assure you that Kudu Expeditions has always abided by the Tour Operators Regulations and all monies are held safely in a Client Account.
Thank you all past present and future Kudu customers for your support we will be at the MCN Motorcycle show 3-6th Febuary 2011 Stand N223 please feel free to come along and have a chat.
Jeff Kill
Kudu Expeditions Director.

lager88 18 Aug 2011 02:05

The new Kudu? - use someone else
 
I recently completed a trip with the new Kudu. It was from London to Mongolia.

The group of travellers were great and the support team were excellent but the owner not so much.

I cannot recommend to anyone to use this company. I understand that under the previous owner it was slick operation but not anymore.

The new owner has no business being in the industry. None.

He had no idea of the distances. Most days they were wrong. The waypoints for the end of the day were wrong most days. He planned the trip using google earth! Seriously. He had not been there before.

A few times we were riding off-road until well past midnight. Very dangerous.

The food was appalling. His attitude was appalling. There were very few spares. He made a mess of visa dates for a few of the riders then blamed them. He was rude and truculent. Generally he was offensive.

There was no satelite phone!

He carried very limited spares. The support trucks were so slow the significantly held up the trip so much so we missed a few nights in hotels.
When after 5 days we did get to a city we stayed at this dump with one working shower between 18 very dirty riders.

I could go on and on but it just makes me angry thinking about the money I wasted.

Go with someone else.

Oh and I almost forgot. This a message for Yamaha who supplied the bikes. Mine did 12,000km from brand new on the original oil. The owner refused to change the oil on any of the bikes. He stated that they will last long enough and then he will get rid of them. Just keep that in mind if you are thinking of buying a Kudu bike. The engine will have been destroyed.

Regards

LDRider 5 Feb 2012 10:53

I also took place on the above trip from London to Ulaanbaatar. Undoubtedly there were a number of issues with the logistic support on the trip but given the change in ownership I think that we were effectively used as guinea-pigs. Had this been fully disclosed up-front (and appropriate rebates allowed) then I think the owner would have come out of this much better. Choice of support vehicles and size of the group both contributed to the issues and should be checked-out by future potential participants.
Group riding always involves some compromises but ultimately if it had not been for Kudu I am unlikely to have made this particular trip.

  • Am I glad I went on this trip? Absolutely.
  • Was it the ride of a lifetime? Yes.
  • Are all my motorcycling colleagues eaten-up by jealousy? You bet.
  • Will the images I saw on the trip remain with me for the rest of my life? Oh yes.

Travelling across Siberian Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia is never going to be an exercise in luxury travel. These countries require hard-core riding and an willingness to react positively to events as they unfold. Let's face it even Ewen and Charlie-boy had their ups and downs despite their gold-plated logistic support. Quite frankly the ability to ride vast sections without the need to carry all the gear on the bikes was a real advantage to being able to enjoy the ride.

There is no doubt you can do this cheaper on your own but for me the safety-net provided was an acceptable trade-off.

It was far from perfect but it was still a blast.

Walkabout 5 Feb 2012 17:37

Just a thought
 
There is a fascinating contrast between the last two posts about Kudu.
Having taken the very same trip, they have very different feelings, and conclusions, about the experience.

IMO this stems from the expectations of the participants; one man's meat is another mans' poison, in summary.
It reminds me of the second-hand information I have heard in conversations about Nick Sanders various "expeditions" - people seem to either love it or hate it, with no middle ground.

Maybe there is scope in the HUBB for considered feedback about organised tour operators? Could be based on fact or simply on the individuals' perceptions??

Oh yea, and they are both first time posts spread over a few months.

motoreiter 5 Feb 2012 18:32

Tour operators have to cater to a clientele with an impossible wide range of tastes and appetite for "adventure". On any trip you can probably guarantee that half the people will be complaining about the crappy lodging, with the other half complaining that they are staying in hotels and not camping. I could never run one of these tours...

Threewheelbonnie 6 Feb 2012 07:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by motoreiter (Post 366085)
... I could never run one of these tours...

It's about explanation and having the confidence up front to tell a potential customer that this trip isn't for them. I did one club trip and will never do another. I felt sorry for the organiser. The trip was clearly set out with miles to cover each day and details of the accomodation at the end. The fact that one rider in particular couldn't get out of bed at a decent time, needed two hours to fill up with petrol and kept falling off was where it went wrong. As a club trip I basically quit and rode my own ride just meeting up at night to hear about their hassles. If I'd paid for more than someone to book the hotels and ferrys and couldn't walk away due to feeling the need for a support vehicle it would be different.

I wouldn't feel sorry for a trip organiser who didn't explain in detail or one who didn't fully vet the participants, which is where I guess the two posters differ. The vetting must be hard for these small compabies. Likewise they aren't going to name the stopping places up front people will just copy the itinerary.

Andy

motoreiter 6 Feb 2012 10:15

Threewheel, I also did one organized trip and will never do it again, for the reasons you outline.

I don't think it is really feasible for these operators to vet their customers, especially in today's economic conditions--if they start turning away customers, chances are good that they will have to cancel the whole trip. Moreover, unless the organizer knows them personally, it could be awfully difficult to figure out who would enjoy the trip and who would not.

cgvaughan 8 Feb 2012 05:01

doing the trip this year 2012
 
Hi All, to give my two cents worth here.

I was all for this trip actually, until I read some of the posts above. 2 months later I was still thinking about it and decided to contact Jeff at Kudu last week for feedback and an explanation. I did this because most people are likely to complain rather than praise so wanted to get Jeffs side of the story.

He was very honest actually, in no way did Jeff try and spin any bullshit. He has done these trips many times (solo), but this was his first trip since taking over Kudu and admitted to making some mistakes for sure. He did dispute some of the comments above (well explain the situations), but admitted that somethings could have been done better. One of the things Jeff confirmed is that from this year group sizes will be limited to 12 so that will fix a few things up.

My opinion has always been that if you join a group led tour and you have to be somewhere in 3 weeks, then of course you are going to have to give up some of your freedoms and stick to some sort of timeline.

You are also going to get people who expect that its some sort of tarmac touring company where everything goes to plan. To quote Ewan McGregor from Long Way Round, "this is an adventure afterall" - things dont go to plan, but from my experience in traveling, thats the best times - may seem like shit then but those are the times you talk about to your mates when you get back over a Beer.

For me, the bottom line is (and as stated above by another poster), most people would never be able to do a trip like this without a group tour scenario. Thats me, I could never get the time out of work or life to organise a trip like this for anywhere near the same cost. As such, ill be doing the trip this year and will repost here my comments of the trip here.

Hope to see some other riders this year on the trip. Cheers

*Touring Ted* 8 Feb 2012 05:41

I think it rather ironic that people would pay for an "Adventure" holiday then complain when they got an adventure...

Too much of an adventure perhaps ????

I feel some of the posters should of gone to Thomas Cook and got their feet up next to the pool an hired a scooter for the day.

Big Yellow Tractor 8 Feb 2012 08:04

Quote:

Originally Posted by motoreiter (Post 366195)
Threewheel, I also did one organized trip and will never do it again, for the reasons you outline.

I don't think it is really feasible for these operators to vet their customers, especially in today's economic conditions--if they start turning away customers, chances are good that they will have to cancel the whole trip. Moreover, unless the organizer knows them personally, it could be awfully difficult to figure out who would enjoy the trip and who would not.

I think there is a real need to vet customers for a long trip. A mixed group is great but one can't have a too extreme diversity. The enduro-riding god will quickly get hacked-off waiting for the newbie who is nearly killing himself to catch up. It shouldn't be too dificult to come up with a multiple choice application form to get a rough idea of people's ability, expectations, personality.

I have organised a few short group trips but have been lucky that I know most of the participants very well. We normally have one or two newcomers on each trip but I can normally judge if a rider is up to the challenge and will fit in. Only had one that didn't work out (so far)

The other option that works very well is to split into two groups that take slighly different routes to the same daily stop. I find that these groups change from day to day as the odd nutter needs a rest and a slower rider gains confidence.

mikeyzed3 16 Feb 2012 13:54

Pros and Cons
 
Many valid points made about the pros and cons of 'organized group' travel.

I, too, was on this trip and now looking back with somewhat rose-tinted spectacles, it was undoubtedly a fantastic 'experience'!

Prior to signing up for the trip I spoke to Jeff at the NEC show and he said there that the group would be no more than 12 people and that if there were more than 12 people interested, he would probably split the trip into two groups. As it was there were 18 participants, supported by two large trucks (too big, too slow - and one with trailer!), a medic/driver, a mechanic/driver, expedition leader on bike and Jeff (Kudu owner).

I am glad to hear that Jeff now acknowledges a few of the problems encountered on the trip. We all knew that it was supposed to be 'an adventure' - and could all accept situations that occur that are beyond anyone's control - discontent only occurred over situations that were well within the organisers control and his apparent failure to acknowledge these and his inability to enter into any kind of dialogue until it was almost at mutiny point. .

If you want a better idea of what the trip was like from my perspective, have a look at my blog - Mikes Mongolian Madness | The wanderings and wonderings of a motorcycle traveller

Bottom line - it was a fantastic trip (fantastic memories and fantastic people) - but I wouldn't do an 'organised adventure trip' again - go on your own or with a few selected companions.

Walkabout 16 Feb 2012 14:38

Quote:

Originally Posted by mikeyzed3 (Post 367636)
Many valid points made about the pros and cons of 'organized group' travel.

I, too, was on this trip and now looking back with somewhat rose-tinted spectacles, it was undoubtedly a fantastic 'experience'!

Prior to signing up for the trip I spoke to Jeff at the NEC show and he said there that the group would be no more than 12 people and that if there were more than 12 people interested, he would probably split the trip into two groups. As it was there were 18 participants, supported by two large trucks (too big, too slow - and one with trailer!), a medic/driver, a mechanic/driver, expedition leader on bike and Jeff (Kudu owner).

I am glad to hear that Jeff now acknowledges a few of the problems encountered on the trip. We all knew that it was supposed to be 'an adventure' - and could all accept situations that occur that are beyond anyone's control - discontent only occurred over situations that were well within the organisers control and his apparent failure to acknowledge these and his inability to enter into any kind of dialogue until it was almost at mutiny point. .

If you want a better idea of what the trip was like from my perspective, have a look at my blog - Mikes Mongolian Madness | The wanderings and wonderings of a motorcycle traveller

Bottom line - it was a fantastic trip (fantastic memories and fantastic people) - but I wouldn't do an 'organised adventure trip' again - go on your own or with a few selected companions.

Interesting that feedback is still coming in about this particular organised trip. That is now 3 out of 18 providing comment.

Mike,
Was there clear reason why this particular trip exceeded the intended number of 12 by 50% (apart from the obvious of maximising profit), and why didn't it split into two groups?
I've taken a quick look at your blog and I see that you entered Russia twice: what type of visa did you use and did Kudu assist with this or was it a self-help thing to do?


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