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  #1  
Old 9 May 2009
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2 up on one bike vs 2 smaller bikes - real world costs

Hi Guys,

The missus and I are planning to head off from London to Oz in 2010 and are looking at biking options.
Now this may well be an impossible question to answer (how long's a piece of string?) but not including the cost of the original purchase, what would the real world difference in cost between travelling 2 up on a bigger bike (i ride a 990 adv at present, but would probably get something cheaper) and riding 2 smaller, cheaper and more fuel efficient bikes such as an XT660's.

I know that the cost of trips in general is massively dependent on how luxurious/frugal you want to be but I'm guessing the actual 'biking' costs are fairly set regardless....

If anyone can shed light on the realistic cost of such a trip that would also be great. We're thinking that £10k should see us through but maybe we're being totally unrealistic.
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Old 9 May 2009
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From purely a cost persepctive, I'd say that one bike is a no-brainer. Far cheaper to buy, fill-up at fuel stops, spares, tyres, customs charges at borders, insurance, any shipping etc. The list goes on.

Other points that do not relate to cost tell a different story: you can both enjoy riding your own bike and experiencing the road for yourself, if there is a break down you are not stranded, you are not forced to ride a very heavy bike due to all participants and their kit being on the one bike that tends to be a larger engine size due to the extra weight, and so some paths may be more manageable for you.

That is when you need to weigh up the points with no attributable cost against with clear costs, and that balance is ultimately up to you!
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Old 10 May 2009
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2 up on one bike vs 2 smaller bikes - real world costs

Thanks Warthog

interesting that you say that. I assume (rightly or wrongly) that 2 small bikes aren't twice as expensive as one larger bike on a trip. If that's the case how does the cost differ?

I think I put this thread in the wrong section, and should have put it in 'What bike?', so hopefully a moderator will let me know how to move it!.....
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Old 10 May 2009
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Take my old solo and my present solo (I use my Ural as an overlander most):

We travelled two-up on a R1150GS. About £6500 to buy, and about 48mpg economy, with a 6000 mile service interval).

It got mashed by an inattentive driver and I bought an XR400R with half the money I got back: £2500. Admittedly the XR was over-priced. I got it from a mate, it also had SM wheels, so that and the piece of mind of buying from a Honda mechanic friend made it worth the expense, so say £1800. It does about 75mpg

OK, so your quids up to begin with, but then you have two sets of bash plates, two sets of luggage, two sets of oversize tanks, two sets of tyres and sundry spares to buy to buy etc. The margin is still there but not so big any more.

Shipping. XRs for example are light and two are about the same as one GS in kg, but shipping is the volume more than the weight when bikes are concerned, so put two bikes in a crate and its about the same length and hieght and perhaps a might larger, so your shipping will go up by as much as £500 IMO.

Then you have insurance: no idea how much, but I doubt its half the price of the GS, so how much of you initial money saved do you have?

Petrol. 100 miles on a GS was about 2 gallons or 9 litres. 100 miles on 2 XRs would be about 10 litres between them. Multiply that by a factor of 100 and its more fuel.

Servicing en route: If you pay someone its the labour hours not CCs that cost you and so its twice the cost. The XR needs a service every 2000 miles tops: sothat is 3 times as frequestly for 2 bikes.

Carnet de Passage and Customs charges admittedly the carnet is linked directly to the cost of the bike, so perhaps here, in the case of the XR, you'll save money, but cusotms: probably not.

All this is fairly conjectural, and its based on an XR that is not the first overland choice: most go for a 600 or 650. In that case tyres, fuel, insurance etc and inital cost to buy may wouyold probably go up, making it still less econmoical IMO. On top of that you can easily buy a 2-up capable bike bike for half the price, be it a V-strom, an airhead Beemer, or an 1100 oil-head....

Other may actually done both and may be able to correct me if I'm wrong...

I have nothing against going on two bikes: don't get me wrong. I thknkit would be cool, but I certainly don't think it would be cheaper so I'd have to be happy to cover those extra costs for the experiences it would give me and my other half. In this respect, it would be worth it!
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Old 11 May 2009
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Smile how much???

it´s a tricky one, I´ve always been two up on one bike and it´s surprising how many people we have met who have managed to lose the other members of their group
However, I know riding pillion is not to everyone´s taste (I love it, get to see the sights and have an afternoon nap). I think that might be your main sticking point - or am I wrong in thinking that your other half will be riding if you are two up? and if she is not riding, then will she be happy to be pillion all the way?
the main expense (apart from the shipping) on my trips has been fuel costs, which with higher prices might have some bearing.

someone who would be good to speak to is Simon and Georgie McCarthy, who started off on one bike, got to the far east and then rode back on two.
Good luck.
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Old 13 May 2009
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Hi Tiffany?

I assume from the title of your reply that you're shocked at my cost estimate??!!!! Am i being optimistic or pesimistic?

Your assumptions are half right. It's either my partner and I 2 up on a larger bike or each of us riding a smaller bike (XT660 most likely).

She does like riding pillion but whether that would remain on such a big trip i'm not so sure!! I can't help think she might get more out of riding herself and ultimately that will be the deciding factor.

I just need to make sure I'm aware of the budgeting requirements for either option.
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Old 13 May 2009
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Red face whoops

no, that was not a reflection on your estimation of costs, just a general "how much". sorry if it seemed otherwise, I am useless at guessing ahead of time how much a trip is going to cost so would never dream of commenting on other people's costs particularly as there is a huge number of variables.
So it sounds like your partner would not be keen on riding the bigger bike 2 up? so it would be a question of her being happy on the back as you said.
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Old 14 May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobduro View Post
She does like riding pillion but whether that would remain on such a big trip i'm not so sure!! I can't help think she might get more out of riding herself and ultimately that will be the deciding factor.

Everyone's different, but I'll chip in with our experiences:

My other half, although she knows the principles of riding, is not a rider, and so being pillion was the only option, so that did affect her perspective somewhat. However, I must say, when on more challenging sections (i.e. for me that is anything with a few bits of gravel on it!), my eyes were firmly fixed on the next 100 yds of road/track, when my other half was enjoying the view.

In a nutshell, she saw a lot more of our surroundings and took far more interesing pictures for being on the back.

Yes, riding it has its appeal, and as a rider I can't imagine being pillion for a great deal of time, but being pillion has distinct advantages too, when you are travelling in new places!
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Old 14 May 2009
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Personally, the only thing I hate more than carrying a pillion, is being one !!

Overland bikes weight a ton and handle terribley as it is. Throwing another 50-70 kilos (I wasnt going to ask how heavy your better half is lol), makes it even worse.

You have to think if you will enjoy riding 2 up WITH luggage. Especially as the bike you will have to pick will be big and heavy anyway to cope with the weight you're carrying.

With 2 up, you also and REALLY stuck for space. You have to carry clothes and gear for 2 people rather than just your own. (I have nightmares about arguing the fact that tyre levers and a spare tube are more important than a hair drier lol)

On the flip side, the cost will be less, shipping more simple, maintenace is halfed etc.

I just think you should think long and hard what you will enjoy more.
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Old 14 May 2009
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When I go on my 'trips' with camping gear, I do not have room for a passenger. I can only assume two up you will not be camping. Fuel costs are more related to speed than anything else, so maybe you might want to equip with fuel efficient bikes that will cope with low speeds and low revs.
There does not seem to be a definitive answer, so I suggest you try it both ways for a weeks' trip and see which you prefer. ( borrow/hire the bikes if need be) It will be better and cheaper than making the wrong choice for you.
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Old 15 May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
Personally, the only thing I hate more than carrying a pillion, is being one !!

Overland bikes weight a ton and handle terribley as it is. Throwing another 50-70 kilos (I wasnt going to ask how heavy your better half is lol), makes it even worse.

.
-
I would think the cost of taking two smaller, cheaper bikes would be 60% to 80% more than on one expensive big machine.
I would say the biggest factor of taking 2 bikes would be the final carry capacity whith your other half perched on the back.
Sure 2 bikes do incur more costs, there is just no way it could ever be any thing else, but the 70% additional cost, in my opinion far outweigh (pardon the pun) the choice of just going with a single bike.
I would load the lead bike with more gear, allowing the other half to ride a reasonably light bike.
Then there is the 'breakdown' factor, 2 bikes put you significantly at an advantage.
Bite the bullet and go with 2 bikes.

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Old 15 May 2009
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When I go on my 'trips' with camping gear, I do not have room for a passenger. I can only assume two up you will not be camping.
No necessarily the case...

We were two up and camped regularly as did a number of other 2 person one bike set-ups that we met. We had a tank bag, topbox, two panniers and two rollbags, one on each pannier. Made an armchair for ly other halkf and a tank for me but it was doable...

You have to be pretty ruthless when packing but its entirely possible. Having said that, one month in we still managed to eliminate 1.5 rollbags worth of stuff that we did felt was not needed!
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