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KB555 21 Dec 2012 09:14

London - Mongolia
 
Looking for a buddy to leave London in August 2013 heading for Mongolia, through Europe via Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyztan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.
Would potentially love to include Iran in this but lets see if I can afford the Carnet.
Planning to do this on a Honda XR400 or Suzuki DR 350.
Let me know if anyone plans to do this route at a similar time, as I'm a little hesitant about travelling alone - or if anyone has done this trip on there own, i'd be really greatful for any tips, and do's/dont's.

thanks

stephen.stallebrass 21 Dec 2012 12:40

Mr general advice based on personal experience...
 
Don't underestimate how long it will take you to get to Mongolia, it's a long way, especially as you're going through Central Asia too. It'll be getting mighty cold by the time you get there,

Real Russia is a great service to use to get your visa's, it's all done by post.The little extra you pay is well worth it as it outweighs the cost of visiting embassies. You'll want a double entry for Russia (making up a business letter head will save you having to show evidence of savings)

Your choice of bike sounds good: small and lite, just don't go mad and overload it. Remember there is no such thing as the perfect adventure bike. Most will do anything you ask it but some are just better suited - it's always a compromise. Just ride what you have or love. Nobody ever wishes their bike was heavier. Don't worry about travelling solo, it has it's perks. You'll always meet people along the way and there'll always be people willing to help you out in a jam.

If you are going solo, I would recommend taking the SPOT satellite tracker with the extra search & rescue insurance. It might save your life in an emergency and your friends and family can keep an eye on your progress.

Learn to repair a puncture and change a tyre, if you don't already know how, you're sure to get plenty. Be handy if you can service your bike and carry out basic maintenance too.

A couple of good travel credit cards will help manage the financials, I recommend the Halifax Clarity: no bullshit fees, just pay the balance in full every month by DD.

Wild camp as much as possible, it's not only cheap but a great way to travel. Stop early to give you plenty of time to find somewhere suitable and to set up, and if necessary move locations. Drop any paranoia as soon as you can, you'll enjoy it much sooner. Nevertheless, remain cautious; I try to take at least two turns off the main road and don't camp near townships. Do use Hostels, the Hubb communities, ADV tent space and Couch Surfing websites too. They're great for keeping costs down and meeting people.

Don't try and plan for every eventuality, remember hen things go tits up is when the adventure really begins. Keep tools and spares to a minimum and only carry what you know how to use. Think in terms of what will get you safely to the next town. You'll be surprised how much you can do with a multi-tool, cable ties and gaffer tape.

Take a personal first aid kit and plenty of ibuprofen. Cigarettes can help grease the wheels at borders and break the ice.

Bon Voyage

beer

Genghis9021 21 Dec 2012 12:41

Can't help on the timing . . . did it two years ago departing 3 Aug from Frankfurt. Skipped Turkmenistan and went via Frankfurt thru eastern Europe and Turkey, then Russia and the 'Stans. Battery problems really stung me for time in UZ.

Great trip and can't wait to ride it back. That's a bit late for smelling the roses . . . got to UB on 10 Oct and it snowed HARD the following day. Lots of cold weather from the Altai till UB (~5 degrees C at nite).

uk_vette 25 Dec 2012 05:10

Quote:

Originally Posted by KB555 (Post 404771)
Looking for a buddy to leave London in August 2013 heading for Mongolia, through Europe via Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyztan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.
Would potentially love to include Iran in this but lets see if I can afford the Carnet.
Planning to do this on a Honda XR400 or Suzuki DR 350.
Let me know if anyone plans to do this route at a similar time, as I'm a little hesitant about travelling alone - or if anyone has done this trip on there own, i'd be really greatful for any tips, and do's/dont's.

thanks

.
Sounds very much like most of your riding will be on tarmac, sealed roads.
Will the XR400 or the DR350 be OK for the long ride times on sealed roads?

I would be inclined to take a more road biased bike, also with a bigger cc engine.

Some thing larger like XRV750, TDM850 or Varadero1000 could be considered?

It is a long way to Mongolia, the way your planning, and the seats on the XR400 or the DR350 will not be the most comfortable.

Interesting to know your planned road map.

vette

adam402 25 Dec 2012 16:29

Hi mate

I'm looking to pretty much do the same trip. I am heading from London to Australia, i will be riding an Africa Twin. Originally was planning to go through Russia, Mongolia and then on to Japan and ship the bike to Oz. But would prefer to take the route you are doing but only if i can find someone to go with to make it a it safer. Whereabouts in London are you? I am flexible on timing to leave but want to go through Mongolia before the weather gets too cold. Cheers, Adam

KB555 25 Dec 2012 18:45

Thank you all for your advice. Ok so now I think that that hitting Mongolia in the spring is the best thing to do, maybe a later departure date. Januray 2014 leave London, so arrive into Mongolia in the spring? I like the cold but at -5c i could soon be wishing for a white sandy beach.

Also thanks for the warning about doing it on company headed paper - anything to save on fee's.

Regarding the bike, I think that anything that is any more powerful will be heavier surely, and I wont be able to pick it up - with the XRV750, TDM850 or Varadero1000, are these much more weighty than the XR400?

thanks for all your help and Happy Christmas everyone!


:D

KB555 25 Dec 2012 18:52

Hi Adam.

Amazing, well with flexible timing, what do you think about leaving in Jan 2014 and getting to Mongolia in the late spring/summer?
Are you on a tight time line to get to Oz?

I'm based in Central London, South Kensington area.

Thanks
Katie

Genghis9021 26 Dec 2012 00:52

Mongolia in the early spring . . . April-ish will be likely a muddy bog. That condition could well persist into late May. Earlier means still lots of snow-covered ground. Early spring still means lots of high rivers. If you're gonna do the whole thing on tarmac (ie, ride to, not through Mongolia) you'll just need to watch the road conditions in Russia.

Last year was the wettest summer in 40 years.

adam402 27 Dec 2012 15:05

Hi Katie

I am definitely looking to go this year, my visa is activated Feb 13 so i have to get to Oz latest Feb 2014 at the latest. I plan to get there by Xmas.

Genghis- Does this mean the best time to travel across Mongolia is June- September time before the winter kicks in? Is a 350 mile tank range a sensible range for going across Mongolia? I am looking to take a standard RD04 with additional 10 liter jerry can.

Genghis9021 28 Dec 2012 02:24

Given weather patterns being rather volatile these days . . . last year being the wettest summer in Mongolia . . .

Most people choose to cross Mongolia when the river levels are lower, the mud/bog factor considerably lowered, etc. Snow can come in September - nearly a meter fell in mid-September 2011, but generally it'll pass in a few days. :)

The southern route is considerably less interesting of a ride but also considerably less challenging. The Northern Route is fantastic. :) But any traverse of Mongolia is going to be worthwhile.

If you came in from the North (ie, via Russia) then all of this is moot. If you do that . . . take a back road in the Altai and view some Siberian villages which look little changed since . . . Lenin. Beautiful countryside. In fall colors absolutely spectacular and as a former north American resident I've seen my share of incredible fall colors.

Unless you get lost 350-miles should be plenty. It is fun watching people "follow" their GPS info in a place with so few formal roads. You still have to route find a bit and "read" the terrain. My KTM NEVER needed it's 600km range in Mongolia, not even close though I never had to do any significant backtracking.

It'll be a great ride as long as your flexible, have a backup plan/route and don't focus top precisely on a destination.

zandesiro 28 Dec 2012 09:02

Quote:

Originally Posted by KB555 (Post 405192)
Regarding the bike, I think that anything that is any more powerful will be heavier surely, and I wont be able to pick it up - with the XRV750, TDM850 or Varadero1000, are these much more weighty than the XR400?

For your infos the Varadero weight 270 kilos (full liquid)...

I'm planning a trip to the "stans" with a varadero....:thumbup1:

In your trip there is a lot of straight roads so an XR400 or something similar it will be "pain in the ass"....
But opinions are different in each rider....:confused1:

I think something as a Tenere xt660z or a F650gs will cover the most terrain choises in your trip...

Genghis9021 28 Dec 2012 11:12

270kg . . . wow.

No one ever complains about a bike being too light. :)

Yeah, a thumper would be "un-fun" on the tarmac, from the seat/saddle and the vibration. But it'll be reliable, a helluva lot easier to pick up and far less intimidating, say, in the Wakhan Valley.

"Less is more."

KB555 28 Dec 2012 11:18

[QUOTE=adam402;405351]Hi Katie

I am definitely looking to go this year, my visa is activated Feb 13 so i have to get to Oz latest Feb 2014 at the latest. I plan to get there by Xmas.


Hi Adam, sadly dont think I am going to be ready for Feb 2013.
Best of luck with your trip and send home any tips once you get to Oz.

Zandesiro, if I did encounter a bit of off roading, would the Tenere xt660z or a F650gs do the job? with the Varadero, do you have an enduro thank on that? I guess with lots of tarmac, its good to be comfy.

thanks so much!

zandesiro 28 Dec 2012 17:11

[QUOTE=KB555;405435]
Quote:

Originally Posted by adam402 (Post 405351)
Zandesiro, if I did encounter a bit of off roading, would the Tenere xt660z or a F650gs do the job?YES

with the Varadero, do you have an enduro thank on that?Look in my signature... I guess with lots of tarmac, its good to be comfy.

thanks so much!

Varadero is more tarmac oriented but will not say "NO" to gravel roads the V-twin of Honda is reliable....
I'll take the risk to go to the "stans" with a Varadero because i dont have a lot demands to go off-road with it....If something happends in the road contition i think Varadero could be just fine...

Another option for you is a Transalp 650...More light,cheap,19 liters tank,low fuel consumption(from tdm-varadero-Africa)

Adrian Uk 31 Dec 2012 11:41

Mongolia 2013
 
Leaving middle of August 2013, going via moscow dropping down to Mongolia then back south via Iran and turkey etc. Hopefully avoiding the bad weather coming in.
Ade


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