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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
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  #31  
Old 9 Jul 2010
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Originally Posted by Matt Cartney View Post
Hey Ted,

How about a more 'holistic' approach? With your experience you could have a sort of 'Adventure Motorcycling Consultancy'.

You could offer advice on getting paperwork etc. sorted, getting a bike prepped, ancilliary equipment, sourcing that equipment, fitting that equipment, and even, at the top end, buying and preparing a bike for someone. The latter could be done in conference with the customer, so even though you would be prepping the bike for them, they would feel like they were having some kind of input.

I think a lot of people love the idea of an independent trip but are intimidated by the amount of preperation - and yet don't want to go on a package tour on a rented bike.

The heavier your involvement in the work, the more of a fee you charge. You could offer a basic introductory "What's your plan?" meeting for free and go from there...

Maybe a daft idea, but there you go...
I think there was a bloke a couple of years ago who set up an overland advice consultancy after he travelled in South America. Can't remember his name or website (I think there was some green colour on his home page...). Possibly not very memorable or successful and not much marketing as I usually have my ear pretty close to the ground. People who haven't the time or inclination to sort their own trip join a tour, IMO.

If you were to organise trips for other people in return for payment, you'll only end up leeching information from fellow HUBBers for your own monetary gain: I don't think you'd be very popular in medium and long term.

It's already been mentioned before: What's is an "overland bike"? There has been plenty of discussion on the topic elsewhere on the forum. Ask 100 people and you'll get 70 different opinions. Hence if you prep, say, a DRZ400, you'll probably be excluding 85% of your already very small potential customers. (All statistics made up: No empirical data available...)

Cheers
Chris (off to the US on Sunday, should be packing, but on work avoidance strategy)
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  #32  
Old 9 Jul 2010
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Originally Posted by Matt Cartney View Post
Hey Ted,

How about a more 'holistic' approach? With your experience you could have a sort of 'Adventure Motorcycling Consultancy'.

You could offer advice on getting paperwork etc. sorted, getting a bike prepped, ancilliary equipment, sourcing that equipment, fitting that equipment, and even, at the top end, buying and preparing a bike for someone. The latter could be done in conference with the customer, so even though you would be prepping the bike for them, they would feel like they were having some kind of input.

I think a lot of people love the idea of an independent trip but are intimidated by the amount of preperation - and yet don't want to go on a package tour on a rented bike.

The heavier your involvement in the work, the more of a fee you charge. You could offer a basic introductory "What's your plan?" meeting for free and go from there...

Maybe a daft idea, but there you go...
I appreciate the sentiment Matt but I don't think I am THAT experienced compared to some.

I've travelled Europe, South America and about to emabark accross Africa. Africa is more stress and hassel than anything I've done yet and I haven't even left yet ... I would of paid someone a £200 to hand me back a stack of paperwork and visas and instructions.

I don't think anyone would pay for consultancy when it's so readily available on the HUBB or internet. I think I would feel very cheeky selling that anyway.

Do you know about Bernard Tesch ?? The German buy who makes panniers and holds traveller meetings. He invites people to his house to talk about travelling Africa and then asks them for money. They think he was just being friendly lol.

Although I think you're right about people maybe paying for the whole package aspect.. Kind of like the package tour without all the rules and modycoddling !

Id love to have a few bikes ready to go in my workshop and always availble for sale. I don't think i want to get bogged down in paperwork and visas applications.

Does anyone remember a guy called BOZ ??? He travelled South America and tried to set up a consultancy business. Doing all the paperwork, giving you the routes, maps etc etc !

As far as I know, it fell flat on it's ass. No one thought it was worth paying for the info or paperwork. Although, I think South America isn't the right place to sell info. It's incredibly easy to travel with no carnets, visas etc etc.
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  #33  
Old 9 Jul 2010
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Originally Posted by chris View Post
I think there was a bloke a couple of years ago who set up an overland advice consultancy after he travelled in South America. Can't remember his name or website (I think there was some green colour on his home page...). Possibly not very memorable or successful and not much marketing as I usually have my ear pretty close to the ground. People who haven't the time or inclination to sort their own trip join a tour, IMO.
You beat me to it ! I think his name was Boz.

He also wrote a book which no one seems to of ever bought or heard of. He certainly didn't try and sell it at any meetings.
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  #34  
Old 9 Jul 2010
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You beat me to it ! I think his name was Boz.

He also wrote a book which no one seems to of ever bought or heard of. He certainly didn't try and sell it at any meetings.

That's the one. I believe he also used photos in his book for which he didn't own the copyright.

Interesting what you said about Burnt Toast. I can recall a conversation I had with an American m/c traveller about BT a long while ago (before the internet in general and the HUBB in particular was such a mine of information). After the American guy tells him all the useful stuff he needs to know about m/c travel in South America, BT says "Great, now I sell it to people who visit me"...

As far as sorting people's visas and stuff: There are agencies in the Smoke that do that already.

As far as people turning their passion into a business (mentioned earlier): From my "generation"/ friends of mine, there's at least 2 couples who seem to be running successful m/c tour businesses: Kevin and Julia of Globebusters and Rob and Dafne of Ride On Mototours

cheers Chris (still procrastinating)
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  #35  
Old 11 Jul 2010
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CCM certainly were aware of the overlanding market some years ago when I was building my 604 based bike. It was discussed at length on the owners group website, somewhere the factory contributed to occasionally. Whether the knowledge gained from their Paris-Dakar experience ten years ago was enough to make them run a mile who knows but a lot of their stuff had the makings of a good overlanding bike.

It was just the lack of add ons like tanks where they fell short. I was on the point of giving up with mine and buying an XT before I managed to get one of the ex P-D 23L tanks second hand. None of the other tanks I could find would fit. Most everything else I've had to make or adapt.

The main prob with it and most of rare brands is just that: they are too rare. Can't find any on sale (2d hand). and as we would need 2 (one for me one for the husband...) - and then as you said the problem of bigger tank adn other equipment etc...

BAck to Ted idea, not everyone has the time, workshop space and talent to get their bikes ready for overlanding. Finding someone trustable, competent who could set up and equip the bikes according to owners specifications could make a small business. For us last time we had someone, but he went into higher education and now don't know where to turn to, to get our next bikes prepared. What those bikes will be, no idea yet
But I'd rather buy the bike and hand it over rather than buy one already made up. As someone said, each one has their own idea of what an overland bike should be.
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  #36  
Old 11 Jul 2010
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Ted, I have done 5 long-distance international rides, and a multitude of intra-national rides, over the past 35 years. I am also fortunate in that my career choice has also given me many opportunities to live and work internationally for extended periods

The only modification I have made to any of my bikes has been related to luggage carrying capability, whether it was racks or pannier mounts.

Tyres, suspension, etc. ... keep it all stock as far as I am concerned - I even rode a bog standard Yamaha RD350 across 4,000kms of the Sahara with the only mod being a beefed up rack.

I suspect there is a market for what you have in my mind, but I doubt if it sufficient to make anything more than pocket money out of. As many posters above have pinted out, we - the international motorcycle travelling community - are individuals, and are the exception rather than the rule.

That is why we choose to do what we do instead of wasting our hard earned buckaroos at the 'Thistle and the Thirkin' or its equivalent. most evenings, and only dreaming of (and finding excuses why we don't) travel to pastures plus verdant.

Unfortunately, if you set out to provide a service as you have outlined, I can only see the risk of you becoming a slave to it, and becoming more of a dreamer, rather than a dedicated traveller.

Get out there and do the rides Ted, and focus on those instead of excuses to stay at home.
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  #37  
Old 11 Jul 2010
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Originally Posted by maria41 View Post
BAck to Ted idea, not everyone has the time, workshop space and talent to get their bikes ready for overlanding. Finding someone trustable, competent who could set up and equip the bikes according to owners specifications could make a small business. For us last time we had someone, but he went into higher education and now don't know where to turn to, to get our next bikes prepared. What those bikes will be, no idea yet
But I'd rather buy the bike and hand it over rather than buy one already made up. As someone said, each one has their own idea of what an overland bike should be.
Cheers,
Yeah.. That would probably be my plan. The punter could deliver me the bike(s) in whatever form, give me a few weeks or months with a list of what you want and I'd sort it for you.. To whatever bespoke specification. Could also do repairs, engine work etc etc.

I wouldnt be asking mega bucks...

Quote:
Originally Posted by farqhuar View Post

I suspect there is a market for what you have in my mind, but I doubt if it sufficient to make anything more than pocket money out of.

Get out there and do the rides Ted, and focus on those instead of excuses to stay at home.
You're probably right. But pocket money is only really what i'm after. Maybe a way to build up the travel fund so I can do the trips more frequently. Im not looking to be tied into a long term business plan. That was never the goal. I have other plans

Currenly I work for 2 years and travel for 6 months. Thats a cycle iv been in for a while now. Unfortunately, 2 years is just too long. It's very hard to get a decent paying job when you're always leaving town and living in my mums spare room is getting less cool every time lol.



David Lambeth does this kind of thing too. He specialized in XT's and doesnt really market himself very well. I think its a side line as he does overland rally support.

His problem is that he is a rip off merchant. charging £1500 for overwelded scrap metal. Charging you for things he says he's doing for free etc.

I don't know anything about his business though or if he's still doing bikes.
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  #38  
Old 11 Jul 2010
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Ted
I'd be fairly careful about using the written word, even on the Internet, to rubbish somebodys business that has been built up over twenty years.

David Lambeth is still working and has done a couple of big jobs for me. He recently rebuilt my 34L and the end result is amazing. The engine on it is now an absolute peach, no question. Strong as an ox now, beautifully carburetted and smooth as a babys bum (ish - it is a single )

But I can see why he chose a career as an engineer rather than in public relations - he is not the easyist of characters to deal with but if I was doing a realy serious unsupported trip, deep into the Sahara, then I would get him to prep an XT600. He has a knowledge and experience that has been built up over 20 years and I think he is entitled to charge a rate that probably earns him above the average wage. Anyway that's all

But as has been said above, in all honesty, the most preparation a decent bike needs is an inline fuel filter, a support over the exhaust to keep the panniers from burning and a full tank of petrol and that's the lot. But people like playing and for loads, it seems like the preparation is more than half the fun.

Still it's not as bad as the 4x4 world - boy do you see some ridiculously overloaded Land Rovers tarted up with all sorts of crap following the locals around Morocco as the locals happily tootle round in 20 year old Toyota Corollas.

As for your business, if you are prepared to deal with BMW GS explorer wanabees, then there certainly seems to be a lot of money wasted, sorry spent in that department
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  #39  
Old 11 Jul 2010
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Ted
I'd be fairly careful about using the written word, even on the Internet, to rubbish somebodys business that has been built up over twenty years.
I'll say it to his face. Im not rubbishing him. Just sharing experiences. There is no exageration or personal vendetta here !! I have no problems sharing personal exeriences of mine and my friends.

Crude square section luggage rack.. £10 worth of steel, probably 4-5 hours cutting and welding. £1500 !! OUTRAGEOUS

Serviced my mates Dommie and ran like a pig until the work was undone. Also "adapted" a set of TT bars for softbags and charged £700 for the welding. OUTRAGEOUS !!

I bought a shock spring off him. He said if I posted him the shock, he'd change it for free.. "nice guy" I thought.

He sent me the shock back, kept my spring and then charged me for changing it.. Only when I kicked off big time did he refund the money but wouldnt send the spring back.. DEFINATELY not what we agreed on the phone.

Not someone i'd ever do business with again or recommend... You're right. I'm going off topic here. I just get mad thinking of people being taken for a ride.

Anyway, that was 3 years ago now... Things change. I'm glad you're happy with the work.
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  #40  
Old 12 Jul 2010
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Maybe he charges that amount of money as it is the rate he needs to in order to make a living doing that stuff.....which might tell you something about the market.....
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  #41  
Old 12 Jul 2010
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Maybe he charges that amount of money as it is the rate he needs to in order to make a living doing that stuff.....which might tell you something about the market.....
No doubt !! Maybe that's why it would probably be best done as a side line "pocket money"

There's no amount of Horlicks in the world that could make me sleep at night if I charged that
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  #42  
Old 12 Jul 2010
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Not someone i'd ever do business with again or recommend... You're right. I'm going off topic here. I just get mad thinking of people being taken for a ride.

Anyway, that was 3 years ago now... Things change. I'm glad you're happy with the work.
Ted, I don't think you're off topic at all. Totally appropriate to be aware of who is out there doing this sort of stuff, what they charge and who likes them, who doesn't. But I would not go after potential competitors so directly/publicly out of the gate.

I've heard of Lambeth before, pretty well known in the UK overlanding community, no? So you risk offending potential customers (especially the ones who paid the big bucks to him) before they even know you or what you could do better, cheaper than Lambeth.

Best just quietly move forward with your plan and try to get some good feedback of your own by providing good, useful services at fair prices. I think it's a brilliant plan. (See my other post on your other thread for my details as to what all you could provide)

I'm thinking you'll need to specialize serving relative beginners who are NOT all experts (like everyone here! ) No point trying to convince guys who already have their own machine shop, own 5 bikes and have 20 years experience rebuilding engines, and have pulled a Nanson sled across the Antarctic that you are better or worse than Lambeth or Tesch or anyone. Your people are the humble beginners who are brave enough to come forward and ask for help. The good news is that there still seem to be a steady flow of punters out to travel the world on a bike. Most can't even change a spark plug or a flat.

If you're fair and do decent work that holds up ... word will get around quickly. I think you can make a few pounds and have some very happy clients .... who hopefully will pass on their experience here and elsewhere.
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  #43  
Old 12 Jul 2010
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Fair enough, you are probably right about the consultancy - its too easy to get info off here!

Something that I just remebered is a friend of mine who knows a guy who buys people cars at auction for a small fee. He used to be a mechanic, I think, and really knows about cars. There are a lot of people out there who don't have the money to buy new or under warranty, but don't know much about cars. They pay this guy what is essentially a consultancy fee to buy them a car. That way there is far less chance of them getting a 'dog'. He just does it for pocket money - essentially because he likes doing it!

I know this was an issue for me when I bought my XT. It's so damn easy to clock a bike (esp. an XT!) that you've no idea what the mileage is except by looking at the condition. In the end I paid over the odds for a customer part exchange bike that was gathering dust in BMW Motoradd in Glasgow. It came gauranteed and the shop had a good rep. so I figured it was worth it to pay over the odds.

If you felt you possessed the knowledge, you could offer (as part of a range of services) a service where you accompany a customer to purchase a bike, give it a thorough check over, test ride, assess its worthiness as a tour bike. A bit like an AA car-check but with with the emphasis on adventure touring potential. Then you could fix any issues, equip. the bike with gear to the customers spec. fit the bike to them etc.

I know I would have paid someone I trusted, who had the knowledge necessary, a reasonable fee for this service. I reckon a lot of people's concern is not just that the model of bike they have chosen is right but that the specific bike they have bought is a good 'un. Nobody wants a dog that has been thrashed by some eejit when they are setting out for the third world, but many riders are not mechanics and can't tell a dog from a peach. You could possibly also offer a bit of basic mechanical instruction (tyre changes, chain tensioning, fault finding etc) on the customers own bike. That's quite hard to learn off the net and remains connected to bike preperation and not paperwork etc.

Anyway, probably another daft idea - feel free to pour scorn! ;-)

I think the point made above, about the fact that most decent bikes need virtually nil preperation, is worth keeping in mind. You could certainly fit an inline fuel filter and soft bags to an XT and ride it round the world. Having said that, how many stock bikes do you see travelling the world? ;-) I suppose the desire to add kit to a bike that probably doesn't need it is part of the bike traveller's psyche, and that is what you need to exploit!

I laughed at your story about Berndt Tesch. Sounds like he picked up some sales techniques on his travels!
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Old 12 Jul 2010
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OK !! No more DL bashing... I didn't want this thread to turn into that at all. I got carried away.



It's not be about my being in any type of competition with him as i'm not doing anything at the moment or near future that would even be considered so.

Anyway, moving swiftly on........

Thanks so much for your fantastic ideas and some great "reality checks". It's good to hear all your ideas and feedback. It's been great preliminary research.

I have a few ideas about turning a hobby into an income (Full & Part time), this idea just being one of them or maybe just a part of a bigger picture.

My ultimate dream is setting up a place in South America very much like Dakar Motos (but far enough not to be in competition). I've got a few contacts and location ideas.

Ride safe guys !!
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  #45  
Old 13 Jul 2010
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OK !! No more DL bashing... I didn't want this thread to turn into that at all. I got carried away.



It's not be about my being in any type of competition with him as i'm not doing anything at the moment or near future that would even be considered so.

Anyway, moving swiftly on........

Thanks so much for your fantastic ideas and some great "reality checks". It's good to hear all your ideas and feedback. It's been great preliminary research.

I have a few ideas about turning a hobby into an income (Full & Part time), this idea just being one of them or maybe just a part of a bigger picture.

My ultimate dream is setting up a place in South America very much like Dakar Motos (but far enough not to be in competition). I've got a few contacts and location ideas.

Ride safe guys !!
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Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!




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