Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > Which Bike?

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.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.


LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 27 Jun 2007
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: London
Posts: 5
Which Bike to take overlanding on the back of a unimog?

Hi There,

I am really hoping i can recruit some experience here to help choose my first bike in preparation for a trip. I am trying to pass my direct access course whereafter i will be using the bike to commute around london. This, however, is all in preparation for a 2 year trip up west africa and south america we are planning.

We are going in a unimog (large 4x4) but after a recent trip i realised what a pain it is to be dependant on a tractor to get you in and out of town and to do small day trips.
It proved great at doing the long distance stuff and carry my cold cheese and s but otherwise we really need to try and carry a bike on the back.

Please could you help me choose the best bike for the job??
It needs to carry 2 with some supplies/luggage comfortably on day trips, cope with the conditions, be servicable by myself and have spares available but be light enough to be able to strap to the arse of a 4x4.

Finally, is anyone aware of a good system for strapping bikes onto the back of a vehicle.

Sorry for the long message. Any help appreciated.

Reply With Quote
Old 27 Jun 2007
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Settling into PE, RSA
Posts: 318
Serow 225. It has a smaller frame but pretty much same umph as a trail 250 so small and light so easy to load up onto the truck yet capable of doing short trips around town. Also nothing beats a small capacity bike as a commuter in London traffic.

Spotted some recently on this website: Home

Ah...just reread your posting: two up will be a bit of a squeeze. Maybe Honda NX400 Falcon. All depends on how far your day trip will take you.
If there's a will there's a way so I will anyway!
Reply With Quote
Old 27 Jun 2007
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: N.Yorkshire
Posts: 338

Admittedly I'm biased, but you cant go wrong with venerable c90, slow 2 up admittedly, but wont go wrong, just put heavy duty suspension units of a cg125 on.
to mount on the back of a vehicle, make an adaptor plate that sits under the footrests on the engine case.
A c90 has relatively narrow bars which also may help.
Harley Davidsons,
The most effective way of turning petrol into noise without the side-effect of horsepower
Reply With Quote
Old 27 Jun 2007
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: London
Posts: 545
I would probably suggest a Honda XR/XL250 or XR400.

Whilst these are a little small for an overland trip, they would make a good day bike in the city, and can also be wheeled out for fun playing in the dunes or off-road. Both are also (just) large enough for two-up and are reliable and also easily maintainable.

Whilst you could go for a more focused 4-stroke enduro bike, this would mean greater maintenance and more hassle. After all, there are very good reasons why the hire bikes of choice in many second world countries (ie SE Asia and South America) is the venerable Honda 250!

As for mounting kits, I have only seen it down twice and both were German overlanders, so i suggest you search some German unimog sites. Both times, it was a "crane" type arm that was used to raise and lower the bike from the ground.
Reply With Quote
Old 27 Jun 2007
Nigel Marx's Avatar
Super Moderator
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 755
MY first thought was Honda CT110. Can you get those in the UK? The Serow was good enough to take Lois right through the Americas so that's one for the short list as Bossies said. Weight is probably as important as anything. Not just for getting it into whatever frame you end up with, but how the mounting system handles the rough roads. More weight=more stress on structures. For the occasional day trips etc, you won't need a big bike or lots of space.


Nigel in NZ
The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with . -- 2200 BC Egyptian inscription
Reply With Quote
Old 28 Jun 2007
Moderator, Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Lancashire England
Posts: 290
Hi There,

I have a 250cc Serow and love it. Fully fuelled and with a fair few bits of extra kit she weighs in at 129kg, easily loaded on the back of a Unimog, great fun, cheap to run, an ideal partner for the big truck.

I remember seeing a mega piece of German kit in Estonia that had a crane on the back and racks for 2 yes TWO R1150GSA's!
Reply With Quote
Old 2 Jul 2007
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: London
Posts: 5
Many thanks for your comments. All very helpful.
Reply With Quote
Old 19 Jul 2007
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 305
Suzuki DR200SE
Tough little bike, probably on par with the Serow in many ways, slightly more power.
Quite small for 2 but if you want some DS capability combined with reasonable passenger facilities you will have to go as big as a KLR650.
A big plus of the DR is the very low weight of 108kg.
Reply With Quote
Old 20 Jul 2007
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Bournemouth, UK
Posts: 51
Hi there,
I can understand the desire to carry a bike with you but really I'd advise some caution and put to you that the best way to get around town might be a bicycle - way cheaper and no paperwork hassles... On this trip I met a couple who carried a quad with their lorry and it gave them lots of trouble and was never used. For starts it needed a crane to lower it, just as you would with a bike. It came loose on corrugated roads and got damaged - you could face the same hassles with a motorcycle. Then the daddy of all hassles was that both the lorry and the quad were registered in the same person's name and they passed theough Egypt which has a ruling that only one vehicle registered in the same person's name can enter the country at one time. Despite it having a carnet they had to put up a deposit on the border (800% of the quad's value) and then have the headache of retrieving the cash at the border they left from.
By all means take a motorcycle but just bear the above in mind and think about how much it might cost and how much you might use it before spending out on a motorcycle rather than a mountain bike.
Hope that's food for thought. Enjoy the trip.
Reply With Quote
Old 20 Jul 2007
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Sydney
Posts: 12
Ah Unimog, my favourite truck! Four years experience driving them in the NZ Army and (if I had the cash) always my dream of owning one for myself and afford to take it RTW.

Sounds like a fantastic trip in the works!

Need another driver?

Reply With Quote
Old 22 Jul 2007
rio_perros's Avatar
Contributing Member
HUBB regular
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 22
Unimog add-on

For a quick city visit from the base Unimog, I would strap on a xl 250cc or a sherpa 250cc.
"The only thing that needs constant adjustment on a motorcycle is, the biological linkage between the handgrips and the footpegs" <*)))>{
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Leaving Chile on Chilean Bike as Foreigner zappalives South America 11 1 Mar 2011 18:22
the BIG Question once again: which bike? wiese Which Bike? 2 10 May 2006 12:20
First Bike recommendations joelcannon Which Bike? 1 14 Jul 2003 01:02
Dirt road riding techniques - your input please. gmarch Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else 4 23 Dec 2002 19:53
Carnet for Indian-bought bike - the options james Trip Paperwork 0 24 Oct 2002 20:40


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 21:59.