Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/)
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-   -   Newbie...madness or good idea? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/welcome-to-hu/newbie-madness-or-good-idea-68065)

Ausian 1 Jan 2013 01:39

Newbie...madness or good idea?
Hi everyone,
Having been looking at this site for some months now I've decided to "do it".
Being 55 I've decided to have a mid-life crisis...didn't feel like one coming along so I thought I'd have one!
After spending countless hours reading all the postings here and looking into the complexities and simplicities of actually doing a bike adventure, whether it be RTW, the Americas, Asia, Europe, etc, and the costs involved I have decided the cheapest for me would be to start in Europe.
After buying bike, shipping costs, air tickets, etc, I would have about 5,000 euro's for what would be an open-ended adventure.
Being in Australia (Sydney) many of you may think this is not the case BUT...being a pom, (English living in Aus) and having UK passport I don't have to consider visa's etc and also because, if necessary (more than likely!!) I could get work to subsidise travel costs AND...if all comes unstuck, would only need 100 pound to jump on Ryan Air anywhere in Europe to get back to UK!
I plan to travel around Europe for....as long as I feel like, I don't have any time constraints.
I have looked at HelpX, a website for travelers where you can exchange your labour and skills for food and accommodation and when necessary, find some (paid) work.
I'm thinking of getting a KLR650 and fitting it out here and shipping it to a yet to be decided port in Europe. Is this a good choice of bike for Europe?

If anyone has any advice or "tips" they could pass on, that would be great.
What I really don't want is people telling me I'm MAD!!....I know I am and telling me so isn't being informative!
I hope to be in Europe by...April??

Thanks in advance for any advice you may give and if you're in Europe after April and you bump into me I'd appreciate it if you don't notify local mental health authorities!!!

ozranger 1 Jan 2013 02:11

YOUR NOT MAD! your just finally opening your mind to (imho) the greatest way to travel! :scooter:
you may be suprised how easy european travel is (unless you start heading way east), and if your not planning to head off road too much, i would actually pick a bit more of a road orientated bike. the roads in Europe are pretty damn amazing (from a world perspective), and you would be more comfortable on something a little less (for lack of a better word) aggressive.
if i was to ride europe i would do it on a bonneville, or old bsa. but if you want comfort and reliability, f800gs, vstrom maybe.
i'm sure plenty of people will have opinions on the bike type...
just think what sort of riding you will be doing then, ride as many bikes as possible, and then find what suits you and your plans.
you will have a amazing trip what ever way you do it, so just do it! ignore the nay sayers who are simply jealous they can't do it.
you will have a ball:funmeteryes:

Drwnite 1 Jan 2013 02:18

Mad Dogs & Englishmen ?
G'day Ian & Welcome,

You may well not be mad, although if you're struggling with it, you're not alone here bier

With a UK passport you're in a good position to source & keep a bike MOT'd and possibly stored in the UK if need be. Hovever getting a bike here and heading off through Asia is a brilliant idea. The choices are endless and it seems you have made the first good choice by joining HU.

If you are considering starting here in Oz and heading off through Asia I found this very low K's, well sorted & priced KTM online the other day and would grab it myself if I diddnt have similar plans and a shed full. Link below.


Decisions, decisions :mchappy: Just ask and you will get & find all the answers here on HU.

Good luck with it all.

Cheers Dave

Ausian 1 Jan 2013 03:05

Hi Dave and thanks for the advice on "doing " Asia.
I thought about SE Asia to Europe but being on a tight budget (although Asia is probably the cheapest part of the world to travel!) I don't have the funds right now to get carnets, "foreign" visa's etc. So that's why I opted for Europe. The plan is...(yes, I sort of have one!!) do Europe for as long as I can, HelpX-ing and working to save up some funds to do a RTW, with or without Carnets.

Ausian 1 Jan 2013 03:14

Hi Ozranger,
Thanks for tips on Bikes for Europe. I thought of getting something like a KLR because I wouldn't be restricted to further traveling should the opportunity arise.
I like the KLR/V-Strom/transalp style of bike...I'm 196cm tall and think I'd be better on a "tall" bike. But your thoughts on trying several types are well noted. Thanks.


mark manley 1 Jan 2013 07:32

Hello Ian and welcome, If you are on a tight budget I would suggest something like a Honda CB500 twin or a BMW F650, either can be had for under £1000 the Honda as little as £600 will buy you a reasonable one, are economical, will cruise at 70 mph and are cheap to insure. Don't forget to get a European health card, the replacement for the E111.

realmc26 1 Jan 2013 10:01

Hi Ian,
From what I have read KLR's are pretty uncommon in Europe so spare parts might be an issue.
You mentioned shipping costs but didnt say if you would be shipping from Oz or the Uk. If you only have 5K euros after initial costs the shipping is something you could save heaps on by buying in the Uk as mentioned above.
+1 on the used Bonneville. Its loves the tiwsty's, has enough grunt and you have a good range of luggage options. Only down size is a smallish tank at 16litres or so.
With "only' 5k I guess your country selection and wether your camping or not will determine how soon you have to work.

navalarchitect 1 Jan 2013 10:17

Definately not mad! I'm in similar group as you, mid fifties, dual passport holder and Australian based. And last year i did atrip like you discuss and used a KLR 650 which I found fine (although within reason any bike you like riding will be fine).

I live just north of Sydney but usually work and stay in Sydney 2-3 nights so if you want to meet up for a beer one night feel free to pm me.

docsherlock 1 Jan 2013 12:56

Insane idea.

Buy the bike in the UK and save shipping costs - also cheaper to buy here.

Ride around Europe and sell when you are done.


rockwallaby 1 Jan 2013 14:03

Hi Ian,
Good to hear of your intent to go for it and do a motorcycle adventure, I'm sure you will get the bug and be wanting to make it a part of your life.

I'm down here in Tasmania just south of you a bit, and I go to Europe each year generally around May, though this year (2013) I am leaving Oz a bit later than usual, and landing in France end of June, mostly because I have found the weather to be better from June onwards, especially if your on a motorcycle.

I guess if you land over there in April you will have time to sort out a bike and do all the necessary paper-work stuff, before heading off.

Like you, I too stand 196cm tall and I really wanted a bike that would not be too small, so I was suggested to look at the Yamaha TDM850 or 900. We really don't see these bikes down here in Australia, but they were quite popular in Europe.

I bought my TDM850, a 2001 model from a French web-site a bit like ebay, called leboncoin.fr. The bike was and still is in top notch, only had 30000 km and paid around 3200 Euro for it.

I like that I can really load the TDM up and it handles very well, it was built for just the sort of touring I do, up and down the Alps again and again and handles the gravel just fine too. I take camera gear, laptop, other electronics, camp gear, including for cooking, a good range of clothes and then there is always room at the end of the days ride for a few beers or a bottle of nice wine and a baguette strapped to the back too.

One thing I like with having bought it in France is that you only do registration transfer and there is no yearly registration like we have in Australia. The transfer cost me 84 Euro and is based on engine capacity.

The only thing I need to do each year is assurance as this also includes third person liability. I have my assurance with AXA and it is about 300 Euros per year, and also covers third party property, fire and theft.

Make a file of any insurance history you have here in Australia before you go. I needed to show a minimum of 13 years of insurance history, just a simple one page statement from AAMI and I was able to obtain the maximum no claim discount of 50%. I was and am happy with that.
Also, with AXA, on the back of the assurance certificate it shows me which countries I am covered in. I was surprised to learn that I am covered in most of Europe, Russia included, so with this I am able to pretty well go anywhere as long as I have Visa's for those countries not covered in the 27 Schengen country list.

All up, the yearly costs of owning my bike in France is a half the cost of owning my Austalian motorcycle.

I'm not sure how things work in the UK in this regard, but I thought it would be worth mentioning just to give you an idea.

Anyhow, keep in contact if you are over there and on two wheels we could catch up some where in Europe for a nice cool beer.

I think you're going to have one hell of a good time, so good on you for wanting to do it.



P.S. The mental health authorities would have caught up with me already if there was a problem.

nicola_a 1 Jan 2013 21:32

Geez Paul that sounds like a fantastic idea, am now considering buying my bike in France!!! What used bike website did you use to find and purchase?

And to the OP Ausian - another Aussie here! - you're not mad at all. As has been mentioned previously, don't ship your bike over, just buy one in Europe, especially if you are going for a long tour. :)

bushman_uk 1 Jan 2013 21:44

Ian sounds a good plan , but as someone else suggested buy the bike in Europe and save on shipping, be easier to get insurance aswell .
If you want to stretch out your money may i suggest you visit a lot of the old eastern block countries , Romania , Bulgaria, Slovakia ,Croatia etc, some fantastic rides around there and as cheap as chips compared to UK, France ,Germany, Italy etc.

Deolali 1 Jan 2013 22:07

As you have as UK passport it is relativly easy for you to buy a 2nd hand bike in the UK and get it registered and insured. 2nd hand bikes in the UK are much cheaper than Australia. I have twice bought reliable low mileage bikes for the equivalent of just over AU$3000 - one a Triumph Trophy 900 and the other a Honda ST 1100. The advantage of those bikes is that they come with luggage and have plenty of power for autobahns and mountains with full luggage and in my case a pillion passenger. One bike came from a dealer and the other from UK ebay. Each time I left the bike in England between trips and over a period of years toured 17 countries.

As mentioned above, take evidence of any no claims bonus. Most UK insurance companies won't insure tourists so I just told them I had moved back to the UK. They will allow you one year to ride on your Aussie licence if you don't have a UK one. If you surrender your Aussie licence to DVLA they will give you a UK one in return, though it will take a couple of weeks to arrive in the post to your UK contact address. On your return to Oz tell the RTA your licence is somewhere in the UK and they will give you a new one for a nominal fee.

rockwallaby 2 Jan 2013 04:33


Geez Paul that sounds like a fantastic idea, am now considering buying my bike in France!!! What used bike website did you use to find and purchase?
Hi there Nicola, the site I used is leboncoin, meaning le bon coin or the good corner.

Here is a link to search for TTR 250 which is what I think you are interested in.
Annonces Motos TTR 250 Toute la France - leboncoin.fr

You can search by department, France has departments, just as we have states, or you can search for all of France, like above.

If you are looking for something a TDM you would see a number of them at various prices.
Annonces Motos TDM850 Toute la France - leboncoin.fr

One thing I noticed about the French is that a lot of them like to have really nice comfy seats and you can see often on bikes there.
My TDM came with one of these seats and I am so pleased as it makes for a much more pleasant day's ride.

The other thing with buying a bike in the UK is that your headlight will be pointed with the high beam in the the wrong direction. The UK are on the right hand side of the road, whereas Europe is pretty well all left hand side of the road. I think the effect is that you run the risk of blinding on-coming traffic even on low beam. Just something to be aware of and can sometimes be fixed by a simple adjustment, others bikes might need a bit more work.


Walkabout 2 Jan 2013 09:36


Originally Posted by rockwallaby (Post 406053)

The other thing with buying a bike in the UK is that your headlight will be pointed with the high beam in the the wrong direction. The UK are on the right hand side of the road, whereas Europe is pretty well all left hand side of the road. I think the effect is that you run the risk of blinding on-coming traffic even on low beam. Just something to be aware of and can sometimes be fixed by a simple adjustment, others bikes might need a bit more work.


The dipped beam of the headlight (daylight running light) is not a massive issue when taking a UK bike to ride on the right hand side of the road.
For main beam, I think it is still legal to simply put a piece of tape over the section of the headlight that could dazzle oncoming traffic; there are also stick-on bits of plastic that can readjust the direction of the beam - these are usually on sale at the sea ports of the UK.
In practice, I ride very little at night, so I do nothing about it in any case; when using a bike with daylight running lights showing I have never been "flashed" by other vehicles or been stopped by the authorities on the continent of Europe.

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