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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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  • 1 Post By Mike the Bike

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Old 13 Jan 2011
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Best bike to travel South America for under $4000

Hi all, im going to travel south america starting July and I'm now pondering what bike i should buy when i get there. I will have $4000 to spend and wanted enough change to get some panniers and a tankbag if not already included.

I am thinking a Jap made bike for reliability, cost of parts and availability of parts.

Any comments or suggestions?
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Old 13 Jan 2011
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Try a Harley Davidson MT500e. Former Canadian / American Milatry bike Bullet proof Rotax engine
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Old 13 Jan 2011
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I'm sure you've already looked in http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...r-sale-wanted/

You're limited to what's available. A lot of bikes that start in North America are Jap and about 650cc (KLR and DR). A few are German or Austrian either from N Am or elsewhere in the world. The technology in most of the Jap thumpers is pretty old, but also well proven to be reliable. They are easy to fix by you or a mechanic with a normal tool kit.

My South Am experience of parts and expertise (requiring specialist diagnostic equipment) availability for newer "exotic" German/Austrian stuff is that it's non-existent. My last trip there was 9 years ago, so things might have changed and now every mechanic has a laptop into which he'll plug your r1200gs to tell you what's up with it. I'd be surprised. Even if you know the problem, he won't have the parts.

Then again, you won't get anything European made for under $4k.

Wouldn't touch anything Chinese with a barge pole.

So, go DR or KLR and you won't go far wrong.

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Old 13 Jan 2011
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Get in touch with Dakar Motors in Buenos Aires. They usually have used traveller bikes for sale. It is a good place to start your SA travel. Their site is dakar_motos_index

All the best.

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Old 13 Jan 2011
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Which Bike for South America ?

This is going to sound stupid, so I'll get it over with. The Honda CG125. My home base is UK but I spend a lot of time in Brazil too. I've ridden both Armstrong MT500 and HD MT350 many miles, plus Transalp etc. I now use a CG and 06 Bonneville. The MT's are tough but unknown in South America. Honda's factory in Manaus supplies the continent with the CG, the Falcon 250 and 400, but your budget rules the last two out. The lowly CG can be repaired anywhere in South America. You won't need to pack more than basic spares or tools. You can carry up to 50kg's of personal kit/spare fuel, cruise at 80kph and go a long way on very little fuel. If you drop it, you can pick it up easily. Just pack accordingly and manage your fuel. The CG reels the horizon in just as capably as something big and shiny.
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Old 14 Jan 2011
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for under 4000 dollar ,you will find here in ecuador
new : honda xr125l
honda cg 125
suzuki gn125
suzuki en125
yamaha xtz 125
second hand you will find:
honda tornado 250cc
honda xl200
suzuki dr200se
The most 600cc"s are secondhand are a bit more expensive.

Bikes are expensive because of taxes,
but if you want to sell it you are also going to get a good price.
(only if you buy ,honda ,suzuki ,yamaha....)
good luck.
Freedom is all i need!
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Old 14 Jan 2011
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Originally Posted by Mike the Bike View Post
This is going to sound stupid, so I'll get it over with. The Honda CG125. The lowly CG can be repaired anywhere in South America. You won't need to pack more than basic spares or tools. You can carry up to 50kg's of personal kit/spare fuel, cruise at 80kph and go a long way on very little fuel. If you drop it, you can pick it up easily. Just pack accordingly and manage your fuel. The CG reels the horizon in just as capably as something big and shiny.
Makes a whole lot of sense to me also.
That's probably the same 125cc engine Honda uses here as well. It's a virtually bombproof bike!

I've been thinking about riding my KLR to South America, but this option of buying a small Honda in Lima makes the most sense, IMO.
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Old 14 Jan 2011
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I agree with the CGL125 but was actually coming here to say the XL200.... although this depends really on how off-road you're going? The CGL125 has little suspension and an exhaust that sits just off the ground, not good if you're crossing rivers and the like. I bought an XL200 a couple of years ago and never had a problem, it cost me in Chile $3200 USD (second hand). They also sell them in Bolivia with 0 kilometres for $4100, so just above your price range.

I have also traveled Colombia on an AKT125, very similar to the CGL. The problems I had was the rim denting after hitting a rock and another rock which hit my brake pedal and bent it back, ripping apart the brake light setup as well, neither of these things would have happened if it was a dirt-bike.
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Old 16 Jun 2011
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There's a fellow who bought a CGL125 in Santiago and has rode it 25,000 KM around South America and is now in Panama, headed for the US:
From Chile to Texas on a Small Motorcycle | Ondrej Jurik

He says that Chile is a very easy place to buy a small bike and get it registered and insured. I believe he mentions on his page somewhere that he bought the 125 new for less than $2000 US. I'd have thought a 125cc a bit too small and slow, but he claims it handles most of the riding in S.A. quite well.

Lots of photos with comments here:
Bruce Clarke --- 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R (black)
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