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  #1  
Old 30 Jul 2008
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My Introduction

Hello and greetings from Salt Lake City, Utah, I wanted to introduce myself as a freshly minted member of the Hubb and hopeful overland traveler.

An earlier company in my career made the mistake of allowing me a pension I can start collecting in a few years time. That and a house that has appreciated ~200% doesn’t hurt. Now this princely sum may not be enough for a life in the USA, but life in S. America is much cheaper and some might say better. So the plan is to move to Ecuador in ~2012 all things willing. My wife is from there, so we have family and friends already.

In the process of planning for this future I have come to the realization that I do not want to get on and off of an airplane, as it will not be any sort of transition, no journey to arrive at my destination, no celebration of this change in my life. You think of life’s transitions and the ceremonies that accompany them: weddings, graduations, quinceñaeras, and other cultural celebrations. I really feel the need, maybe even a compulsion to know the road between here and there, a need to celebrate this transition from full time working slave to semi-retired ex-pat. I realize now the importance of these celebrations.

One of the triggers for this event was reading GatoGato’s blog at JourneyRider, as I usually search for and read news and blogs from Ecuador semi-frequently (thanks Google), an entry showed up from his post while riding in Ecuador I subscribed on an RSS feed and read the remainder of his trip. Then the other day I was in my local library and found “Lois On the Loose”, which was devoured in a one-day reading marathon. This has started my mind obsessing on this idea of a journey to celebrate this transition in my life. I have to “connect the dots” between here and there.

Small problem, don’t currently own a motorcycle and haven’t really ridden seriously since college. Prior to that I rode a motorcycle starting when I was 15, borrowing my brother’s Suzuki (please don’t tell my Mom, she still thinks I rode my bicycle) to get to my first job as a dishwasher until I finished at the university and moved here to Utah.

My plan at this point is to take a locally offered motorcycle safety course, actually get a motorcycle license this time , buy a bike, outfit said bike, take more riding courses (Rawhyde etc), many trips to sort out bike and gear, and when the time comes be ready to ride from here to Ecuador (well except for that bit at the bottom of Panama).

I am reading all of the forum entries and I have to give a huge thanks to all of the people who post such incredibly knowledgeable entries. I am in the “What Bike to Buy” phase and really appreciate all of the freely shared knowledge and expert opinion here on this forum.

Thanks for taking the time to read my introduction and I look forward to meeting you on the road.

Saludos,

Martin
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Old 3 Aug 2008
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Hi Martin. Welcome aboard!

Regards the bike to buy; don't make the mistake of buying too big. If you are normal to tallish, go for a DR650 Suzuki or KLR650 Kawasaki. There are other bikes that people rate as good, but it's hard to argue with the price of these two bikes. These two bikes are pretty common too, so once you get to your new home, parts will be somewhat easier tp source than many other bikes such as KTM or BMW.
If you are a bit smaller, your options are more limited. The new Yamaha WR250R is getting such good press that I'm even thinking of getting two for our big trip around the world.

Hope that helps some.

Kind regards

Nigel in NZ
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Old 3 Aug 2008
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Welcome.

What bike, eh? The eternal question.

Depends on what riding you'll be doing and how much/many (stuff/people) you intend to carry.

However, I would aim for something 400cc or over: for a sinlge passenger a 600-650 single/twin should have all the umph you need, whilst still being relatively light and relatively economical to run. Its by no means written in stone, but I think a bike with at least some off-road aspiratiosn will make handling better on the crappier roads you will inevitably encounter whether or not you actively seek them out, especially in Central/South America.

We travelled two up in Argenita and CHile with a BMW R1150GS. Coped with the load and was far more forgiving off-road than I would have thought and more so than I deserved as a dirt newbie! It got mashed back in the UK, so now I have a XR400 that I amy use for short local trips alone given that the seat was initially designed by the Spanish Inquisition to abuse heretics. I have now moved to a Ural sidecar outfit as it is easier to carrya girlfriend and dog with one of those than on a XTZ660!

So you see the world is your oyster. Narrow it down to a style and functionality that you like and then test ride any models that take you fancy!! The best way forward, IMHO.
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Old 3 Aug 2008
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My thanks to both of you for the welcome. At this moment I am planning on traveling solo, with what I need and hopefully not much more (am I funny or what?).

I am fairly tall (6'4" and 225lbs) and would like to stay on a slightly larger bike so the 650 size range seems appealing, much bigger than that and I worry about bad road/off road capability and being able to up right the thing by myself.

I have looked at the BMW's and my inner engineer lusts after them, as they are beautiful machines. However, the price differential between other bikes and the 650/800GS will buy a lot of gas, upgrades, heck it would probably pay for the whole trip. That plus maintenance costs; parts availability on the road, self-serviceability, etc makes them not practical, for me anyway.

From a dealer standpoint a Yamaha or Honda would be a great choice, as they seem to be the best represented between here and there. But you lucky chaps on the other side of the pond get the bikes we don't get in the US, so unless Yamaha announces the introduction of the Tenere to the US in September (no I don't know anything) or Honda does the same for the Transalp, neither a Honda or a Yamaha will do.

The DLR650 is appealing being a twin, it would probably smoother on the road and have more torque but at a weight penalty, 479 lbs v 386 lbs over the KLR. That plus a ~$1,500 price differential makes that unattractive.

Which pretty much narrows it down to the KLR650 or the DR650. The KLR to me wins that battle with long production history, many upgrades available, fairing, and a lot of information out there, it is a bike that has done what I intend to do and has the demonstrated capabilities.

So based on what I know today, I will probably buy a KLR when the time comes. I am just waiting for either the 2009 models to show up in October/November or someone to be selling a 2008 when they realize it won’t fit in their garage for the winter or their wife wants more money to spend for Christmas.

Saludos,

Martin
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Old 3 Aug 2008
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Another thing to consider is mechanical simplicity. The simpler: the less to go wrong or the easier to diagnose/fix be it by you or some garage owner along the way: One reason why I like bikes like the XR 400/ 600: air-cooled and carb'ed etc. That said: I have only heard good things about the KLR, and I don't think you can go far wrong: find a mint one, and its sure that the money you have saved will put a lot of miles behind you and put a lot of kit on your bike/back.

Another thought: ever considered of an older airhead BMW: the R80/100GS types?
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Old 4 Aug 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warthog View Post
Another thing to consider is mechanical simplicity. The simpler: the less to go wrong or the easier to diagnose/fix be it by you or some garage owner along the way: One reason why I like bikes like the XR 400/ 600: air-cooled and carb'ed etc. That said: I have only heard good things about the KLR, and I don't think you can go far wrong: find a mint one, and its sure that the money you have saved will put a lot of miles behind you and put a lot of kit on your bike/back.

Another thought: ever considered of an older airhead BMW: the R80/100GS types?
I absolutely agree with the simplicity argument and I have thought about an airhead, a lot. They are such elegant motorcycles, simple, and incredibly durable. If a decent example were to surface I would strongly consider it. Still dealing with a ~20 year old motorcycle brings issues I would have to be prepared for. Also the prices for those appear to be creeping upwards as well.

Saludos,

Martin
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Old 4 Aug 2008
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Dirt riding skills? / Moab

2012?
Why not come back here then and get some relevant advice in say, 2011?

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 19:23.
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Old 4 Aug 2008
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Originally Posted by SofaKing View Post
Small problem, don’t currently own a motorcycle and haven’t really ridden seriously since college.
thats not a problem at all I had never been on a bike when I decided to go on a small overland jaunt on a 750. After the first two weeks you will have more road experience than most riders.

Good luck, you will not regret it, best thing I ever did!! Has made my feet itchy though so am in the process of ditching my belongings and bikes in favour of a 50cc scooter and a sleeping bag (am trying to clock 30,000 miles on it next year on a RTW)
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Old 29 Sep 2008
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"My plan at this point is to take a locally offered motorcycle safety course, actually get a motorcycle license this time"

Check, first thing taken care of.


Martin - And so it begins
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