When you want to prepare a travel, you need to envision the worst cases so that you stay safe.
You will be travelling on gravel roads in poorly equiped and lowly populated areas. So you need to be fairly independant. This means you need :
A bike that you can put back on wheels alone when you fall off.
A bike that you can fix yourself easily or that someone with usual mecanical skills and equipment can fix for you.
A bike with widely available parts or can be wielded without damage.
The vibrations you ll endure on trails excludes recent bikes stuffed with electronics (abs, injection...) since they ll suffer first and you wont find anybody to fix it.
The weight limit gives a natural preference to mono cylinder machines.
Basicly the best choice for your travel would be the 90s mono trail bikes.
I did all the countries you mentioned with 600 xte and never got seriously stuck, always found somebody to repair the machine and the motorcycle was very tolerant to my careless style of driving and maintaining the bike. I sometimes let the oil tank go down to one liter and the machine kept on going. I got the cylinder reshaped several times for cheap and quick. When original parts we not available, other parts would fit in without problems.
No need for liquid cooling, it adds weight and forces to more maintainance. If you can get an optional kickstart and a central stand, you are 100% safe with this motorcycle. No need for a larger tank as well, the original range is about 300 km and a 10 liter spare tank on the back will give you 200 more kilometers to go.
This machine is widely available in Europe, unfortunatly USA stopped importing them in 93 (i bought a second hand one in 94 in Charleston).
enjoy the ride
forgot one thing : not only an older bike not only gives you more mecanical tranquility but also more security regarding thievery and a lighter motorcycle is easier to move around to safer places like the backyard of a youth hostel or even inside your ground floor motel room.
Last edited by Vorteks; 25 Aug 2008 at 21:55.