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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  
Old 2 Jul 2006
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Bikes for North & South America

Hey,

We are planning to bike around North America (rough itinery is: LA, heading north along west coast, east along border to MA, down to New York, over to Chicago then partially along route 66 before heading south).

We then plan to bike through Central America, down to Peru (somehow avoiding the Darien Gap!), and across into Brazil.

Our question is: what is the best type of bike to do this kind of trip on? We want two indentical bikes.

Is it necessary to have a big trail bike / dual sport? Our thinking is that the US would be more suited for a tourer, whereas South America might be better with a traily. Would a tourer manage in South America? Would a traily be comfortable enough for all those miles in the US?

Thanks,

Si & Ad
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  #2  
Old 3 Jul 2006
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Depends on your time frame and budget....if you want to do it quicker in comfort then yes a tourer would be best - generally speaking you can get most places on most bikes these days - but it will cost you more to buy initially and they are more complicated to service than a trailie.

If you have a little more time and a bit less money then the Kawasaki KLR 650 takes some beating in North America - sure you wont go so fast but you want to look around right ?
lots of them around - and lots of know how with the known problems and fixes with good value parts makes them hard to beat - you also wont be so worried if you drop it.....

You could rent/borrow/swop/beg some bikes in North America, then hand them back, fly to SA and buy/rent/borrow/swop/beg some used ones there too...just a thought........

See Bikes for sale/wanted

Cheers
Grif

Pack light and dont ride at night......
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  #3  
Old 3 Jul 2006
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I'd go for a trailie, its much more fun being able to get off the beaten track & the tracks can be *very* beaten in S.America.

Its also nice being able to laugh instead of cry when you drop it.
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  #4  
Old 3 Jul 2006
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Bike for the americas

Check out www.craigslist.com and see whats out there. How about a V strom 650?
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  #5  
Old 4 Jul 2006
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Thanks for your help people. Having looked at the V-Storm it looks spot on. I think it could end up as a toss up between the V-Storm, the F650GS and the Africa Twin.

After reading a fair few threads it seems these are the fellas to go for if doing a bit of tarmac and some of the rough stuff as well. Now we just need to look at a. how easy it'll be to buy them somewhere near LA and then b. sell them around Rio somewhere! Easy i'm sure
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  #6  
Old 17 Jul 2006
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Well you won't be finding any Africa Twins in Los Angeles mate. But your onto the very best bike out there for what you want to do...that is of course the
Vstrom.

When you see the price in the US of the BMW F650 Dakar that should set you straight! Suffice to say, it won't be a "Toss up"!! ;-)

The Vstrom rocks. Go for the DL650. But used there are more DL1000's around. Very similar bikes really.

Also, I would really really reconsider your N. America route. You didn't say when you are going, but this too is critical. Basically, I would just skip anything east of Utah or Idaho. Just no point on a bike trip. You just have to
trust an American on this! Nothing to see out east. The south is so friggin'
hot and humid it will kill you.

If you are coming in summer or fall then here is your route:

From Los Angeles, head north, do Yosemite, head to coast to Eureka. You could spend a week on these roads. Best in the USA, bar none.

Continue north to Oregon. If early enough consider Alaska, but this a BIG detour. Do NOT do AK after Aug, 15th. Ok, now check out Washington, Idaho, Utah (late fall) Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona. Best time for these S. Western states is mid Sept. to late October. That's a least a month's worth of travel
right there. From Idaho east is wasteland.

By October you should be entering Mexico. Be sure to make HU meeting in
copper canyon. The rest is up to you.

Don't you Brits ****ing read?
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  #7  
Old 18 Jul 2006
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Don't leave out montana

The last post said something about anything east of Idaho being a waste. Come
take a qick buzz thru glacier park yellowstone park and the beartooth pass. Then decide. Oh and about a thousand other great places east of west.
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  #8  
Old 18 Jul 2006
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Stick it to 'em Bill!
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  #9  
Old 18 Jul 2006
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North America vs USA

I don't normaly take offence to items on this site and instead try to put them into the perspective of the person writing the information or posing the question.

You had to recognise that as a disclaimer so here it comes. When you say you plan to tour North and South America and make no mention of Canada I think that you should do a bit more research. Continental Canada is Larger than the Continental U.S. and has some beautiful places to ride.

Back down off my soap box now. Have fun where ever you ride and I'm sure the Vstrom will serve you well.

Rick
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  #10  
Old 18 Jul 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Ryder
The last post said something about anything east of Idaho being a waste. Come take a qick buzz thru glacier park yellowstone park and the beartooth pass. Then decide. Oh and about a thousand other great places east of west.
Sorry Bill, I certainly should have included Montana as part of a Western Tour.
My mistake.

But having traversed the country a few times on bikes I'd have to say that for most foriegners unfamiliar with things, on a schedule and riding on bikes, that things go down hill quick going east from there. Mostly its a whole lot of nothing! Am I generalizing? Sure, but lets look at the big picture here, OK?

I've ridden through Nebraska, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin. The Black Hills are OK but overall I'm not impressed. I've also ridden the mid-west from Eastern Colorado outward. On a bike what you've got are flat, straight, boring roads and cornfields interspersed with thunderstorms and twisters. Been there. No thanks.

In summer much of the South East and the South are way too hot for riding bikes. The humidity is a killer from May to September. The eastern cities are hard to enjoy on a bike with sweltering heat and humidity. I love NYC but NOT on a motorcycle. Spring and Fall are a different story.

Additionally, the east is just way too congested. Even in Vermont or Maine you can't go 5 miles until you come to another town. I hated it.

The south has some excellent roads but the best ones are overrun with cops
and too many bikes these days. (Blue Ridge Parkway)

I'm sure I've missed a lot of the good roads back East but I'd wager I've got
more good roads (with MUCH BETTER CONDITIONS), in 50 square miles out my back door than exist in tens of thousands of square miles in the Mid West or plain states.

The Northwestern corner of California alone has some of the best roads I've seen anywhere in the world.

Have you ridden the area I refer to?
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  #11  
Old 18 Jul 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riq
I don't normaly take offence to items on this site and instead try to put them into the perspective of the person writing the information or posing the question.

You had to recognise that as a disclaimer so here it comes. When you say you plan to tour North and South America and make no mention of Canada I think that you should do a bit more research. Continental Canada is Larger than the Continental U.S. and has some beautiful places to ride.

Back down off my soap box now. Have fun where ever you ride and I'm sure the Vstrom will serve you well.

Rick
I agree Rick. On one cross country trip I was so burnt out with the hot, dry
sameness of the plain states that for the return trip I went from NYC to Quebec. Then I rode across to Vancouver, staying in Canada the whole way. Not a lot of north south road options but plenty of great stuff along the way.

The original poster never mentioned Canada. But I mentioned Alaska in my first post, which certainly includes riding through some of the best of Canada,
no? (Yukon territory et al) . But this is a major time commitment. No idea what this couple are thinking are where they have to be, when.

Frankly, if it were me, I'd skip going east all together and from LA just keep heading north until it starts to snow, then turn around and head to Mexico.
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  #12  
Old 18 Jul 2006
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It's all good

I don't think I would advise skipping any area unless I had a better idea of the time commitment for the trip. If they have a year or two to spend in North America and the same down south they could see pretty much every region.

I personally am planning to take about 8 weeks next summer and blaze out to the maritime provinces and then ship my bike home. I don't see how I could do it in any less and do the trip justice.

Everyone has their own vision and pace. All I can do is wish them well and offer any pertinent advice that I might have.

Rick
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  #13  
Old 19 Jul 2006
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Apropos the route ;
You know when I first crossed the pond to N America , I was just so happy to travel ANYWHERE .I wanted to see it all and it was all an adventure .
So certain areas aren't scenic ,so what !
So another area is flat and [to a native] monotonous - so what !
It was a whole lot different to what I was used to and I was just as interested in what made certain regions "tick" as I was in taking photos of mountains and lakes .
Wherever you go there is always something of merit to be found and interesting people to meet .
Bugger me, where I come from there is only one kind of salad dressing and "squash" is a drink .Imagine that .
I'm still learning .
My advice -ride wherever you want .
Apropos the bike ;
Ride whatever kind of bike you want ,one man's meat is another man's poison .
What did people ride before "adventure tourers" were invented .
If you bought a trials bike and practised really hard , you could ride virtually anywhere and over just about anything , a Gold Wing would be less nimble .
I suspect that the right bike lies somewhere in between .

You might want to trade your bikes for different ones before you head into Mexico and Central America . Or if that's not an option well just get a V Strom like the man says or a Royal Enfield Bullet , 51 years and half a million Indian soldiers can't be wrong now ,can they ?

I'm not much help am I !

Dodger

ps I know a guy who took a Yamaha 650 V Star Cruiser to SA ,painted it a horrible black to get rid of the chrome [ and draw less attention ] and was quite prepared to walk away from it if it gave him any trouble or was stolen .It performed great , although severe off road was never an option .
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  #14  
Old 19 Jul 2006
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Good post Dodger. I guess its because I've seen so many foriegners come to the USA and have miserable trips that I feel I need to chime in some.

But your right in principal, like the old saying goes: "...Where ever you are....there you are" (People's Guide to Mexico" circa 1970)

Speaking of ancient history, in 1971 I was travelling Mexico with some friends
in a camper (surf trip). The truck broke down. We had another guys' 350
Jawa strapped to the front bumper. I bought it from my buddy and rode around Mexico, into Belize, to Guatemala and finally El Salvador where I sold it.Took a bus home.

In '76 I met a guy in Peru from New Hamshire who had ridden his Vespa 150 all the way. Man, he could fix that scooter with a blindfold on. No idea what ever happened to him, last I saw him was in La Paz, Bolivia.

So yea, any bike is good. (Orgri). But why should they (The Stallion's) suffer in the interim?

Is Adventure travel some kind of Zen ritual to enlightenment through torture? ;-)

Patrick

Last edited by mollydog; 20 Jul 2006 at 02:28.
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  #15  
Old 20 Jul 2006
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''= Is Adventure travel some kind of Zen ritual to enlightenment through torture? ;-) ="

Probably ,though I haven't a clue what Zen is all about .
I did read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance "
I thought it was a load of bollocks .

You are probably right ,the Strom is a good bike ,a bit too plasticky for my taste , but then I'm a bit perverse and old fashioned .

Mebbe we should ask the stallions " how fast do you want to ride and on what kind of surfaces ?"
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