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Old 21 Sep 2008
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Rideing 2 up

Hi New to this i hope this is the right site for question like this ??? we are looking to travel the States, Canada and then on to Europe and poss Africa over the next 2 years starting early 09 i would like to talk to some one who has done extensive travel 2 up on dirt/ gravel roads or bad roads in general and what tyep of bike is best suited to this i am looking at a BMW 1200GS. Is there any one out there ??

Andrew Lush
New Zealand
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Old 21 Sep 2008
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What's a BMW?
Not Ted Simon since 1970!
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Old 21 Sep 2008
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For two up travel I would say nothing less than 600-650. Closer to 1000 would make the tarmac stretches that bit easier to negotiate: better cruise speeds, and more torque for lively overtaking.

There are plenty of models from the Japanese "four", BMW, KTM, Aprilia and Guzzi also have dual purpose bikes of GS ilk...

We toured around Argentian and Chile, two-up on an R1150GS. It handled everything very satisfactorily, indeed. Off-road was not a breeze, but then it was a heavy bike, with two people and I was new to dirt. So it may not have been pretty, but it did the job, and of the two, I was the limiting factor not the bike!

Note, however, that I have seen Yamaha Diversion 900s doing dirt, as well as a H-D Road-king electra-something, so it's all possible.

I would firstly say, don't restrict yourself to current bikes: buy second hand: you'll save a packet that you can spend on getting stuff, or getting to places!

Also, don't limit your choices on paper, either. Get out there and test ride as many new, or used bikes as you can. See what feels good, what gets your juices flowing etc, so don't just think specs.

As for the 1200: many people have embarked on long journeys with these, but it is a lot of cash which is a lot of tankfuls and hotels stays. Personally, I bought new a long time ago: never again! If you do go that way, look for used models: they may already have half the bits yiou want bolted on for you!!

Now go test-ride anything and everytthing that looks remotely like an option: you may be surprised by what revs your engine!!
Adventure: it's an experience, not a style!
(so ride what you like, but ride it somewhere new!)
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Old 22 Sep 2008
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Bikes in USA

Beware Dave Smith those single cylinder vibrations might of affected his neurons a bit. If you want to travel around the US and canada buy something big and used, there are some incredable distances to cover and bikes are relative cheap here.
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Old 22 Sep 2008
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They make bikes with more than one cylinder?! When did that happen? The world is changing fast!

Buying used is a good choice. Check out jaxed. It searches through Craigslist (great site in the US, not so good in India).

for sale : : combined classified and auction listings
Not Ted Simon since 1970!
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Old 22 Sep 2008
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I've ridden an R1100GS off road and would say it had two issues. On proper slimy mud it really didn't want to play even with TCK-80's. On anything else it was fine until it got out of shape, then you simply had to pick the thing up there were no second chances. It's big enough to get to be a pain. I wouldn't fancy that seat height and weight two up, but I'm not build to ride PD replicas either. If you go for the big GS find some sand and mud and practice as much as you can.

I've ridden an F650 two up and the power was adequate but not stunning. The 650's will get anywhere even two up, you just end up using all the performance a lot of the time. Seats on trail bikes were invented by the Spanish inquisition or someone, so expect your passenger to ask for a replacement!

I rode my Bonneville without the sidecar, two up, up trails that would worry a few green laners. Snow doesn't stop it either, but you'd wonder just how much of this it will take before a sub-30 mph average gets boring. On the road it's nicer to ride than either BM and between the two in performance. Naked road bikes with rims that'll take a semi-knobley are cheaper than BM's.

Can you live with half a ton of rather tall BMW?
Can you live with very little luggage and a 60 mph tarmac cruising speed?
Can you live with something that might be down to walking pace off road?
Can you get your passenger to ride another bike?

I'd take the 650 two-up anywhere I knew I'd need to do over 100 miles off road, otherwise the road bike. For a big trip I'd want to know the passenger really could live without heated rollers and a spare ball gown, or they were carrying there own on there own bike. The compromise is the difficult choice, you need to pick which bad bits you can live with. Personally I fitted the sidecar and solved the whole luggage/weight/stability/dog/heated rollers thing, but that's just silly!

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