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This one goes out to all the financially strapped guys (and girls) who are sitting at home dreaming about touring but cant afford a "proper bike".
Alot of ppl think RTW touring and they go "yeah, i need my self a bmw or a super tenere or a africa twin" only problem is, bikes like that cost a fortune.
I have a japan-spec dualsport Honda Ax-1 250cc which cost me 975 us$ (which is quite a fortune to me). the way i see it theres really no need to get some 600+ trans-sahara thing. what a 600 can do, a 250 can do too if not even better.
a 250 is small and light, great when nipping through traffic, going off-road and when the worst happens ,like burning out a cdi box in the middle of nowhere (it happened 3 times to me!!!) it can be pushed for miles.
Lack of tank capacity is made up by economical fuel consumption. My Ax-1 gets 210-230km on a tankful, which is more than Triumph's Tiger and the ZZr600.
Now the powerplant is quite underpowered for high mileage highway cruising, but if auto-bahn storming is your thing then you'd be better of with a street-bike.i think thats a small price to pay for off-road capabilities. On ordinary roads it can hang in there with the biggest of them. I heard somebody mention luggage capacity...now, being a male im genuinely able to travel light but with a luggage-rack and and empty pillion i cant see anybody having trouble loading up gear for an extended tour.
If you already have a 250 and you wanna go touring dont let that stop you. Just fire it up and run it out. i can almost guarantee youll be pleasantly surprised.
even an old 250 would be a good choice as long as the engine is in mint condition. if you happen to break something thats impossible or too expensive to fix, you can leave the bike in a ditch and fly out.
Try that with your brandnew super trans-continental touring bike and youll have nightmares for years to come.
im from beirut, lebanon and so far ive been to cyprus, greece, italy, austria, france and spain.
although i had some problems with the cdi box (which was fixed with some tv/radio components!), the bike held up allright.
the hard seat which left me feeling like id been gang raped, was the only minus point during my trip.
You're absolutely right, Mace, I took my Honda Elite 250 around the world -- a two-year odyssey (and thanks for mentioning my website and book, Bruce!). My Melawend took on the Alps, a bit of virgin Sahara in the Sudan, the Ngong Hills of Kenya, the "blast furnace" of Madhya Pradesh in India... A real blessing to me because I am not at all mechanically inclined and had never ridden a motorcycle or motorscooter before the journey.
So if you're seriously considering a 250, Noiles, I'd say go for it!
Interesting topic... I'm about to move over to Denmark to live for a while (I live in Australia at the moment), and have been tossing up wether or not to ship my 2000KLR250 over there, as I would like to go on some decent trips around Europe/Scandinavia... hmmm.. maybe I should just keep it - I bought it new just 9 months ago...
Is there much opportunity to ride off-road in Europe, anyone??
An interesting twist on this is to look back 30 years or so, when a 500 was a big bike. Guys like Ted Simon rode these RTW, and I doubt very much if the power, handleing, or luggage capacity of a modern 250 gives anything up. I have talked with many tourers who have 'gone it small'- microtouring, if you will. Lots of advantages: Will you really be able to get that GS 1150 up the stairs and into the hotel lobby in Columbia? I think two up and top speed limitations are the most critical drawbacks. The back roads are better anyway!
Hey mace I've always been on budget on the trips I've done, in fact money, or rather lack of is always the only thing thats held me back and cut trips to a few months at a time. You are right about not needing a big bike as well. I spent 3 months touring(camping and sleeping rough) around Belgium/France and Spain on my 1978 MZ 250 and I had that thing loaded like a camel and even found a reclining sun lounger which I strapped to the top of all my camping gear and carried that along too.
[This message has been edited by mart (edited 11 July 2001).]
I'd definitely send that bike to Denmark. You'll probably find that buying a similar bike in Denmark is way more expensive than it was in Australia due to taxes. Moving into Denmark to live entitles you to import a vehicle tax free as long as it's been in your posession for more than 6 months prior to moving. I'm in Norway myself and we have pretty crazy taxes on vehicles, but Denmark is reputed to be even worse!
Denmark is, however, a fairly densely populated country, and I don't think you'll find a lot of places to go off-roading there. Lots of gravel roads in the Norwegian and Swedish forests, however, and it's not that far from Denmark.
What counts most is that you take the trip.
I agree small bores will get the job done.
Not a RTW, but I did 2 trips about 3700 miles each in the early eighties on a 10 year old honda 100. ( throughly flogged bike,that I raced as a kid). my brother went to with the same model bike. Hell of a lot of fun drafting semi's. Mondo gas mileage too. went over many passes in the US & Canadian rockies, not a problem. A 100cc bike wouldnt be my first choice but if thats all you have......
Enjoy your trip!
I even met a guy once from England in the french alps when I was on my MZ and he was on a nifty fifty! Honda C50, camping gear,tent, the lot. I was impressed especially as his bike was about knackered and would only BARELY do 10 mph up the mountain roads. I had a look at it for him trying to help. his rings had gone although it didn't smoke. 'Got new piston and rings and as good as new.
The Vespa Man is Giorgio Bettinelli. He did 4 trips by Vespa
1) Rome-Saigon 7 mounths 25000 km (1993)
2) Ankorage-Patagonia (1994-95?) 9 mounths KM?
3)Sydney-Cape Town (Indonesia-SEA-India-Pakistan-Iran-ME-Ethiopia....,SA
4) Last trip RTW!! http://126.96.36.199/tuttomoto/00811.pdf
go to page 3 there is the map of his trip. It's different of the other you
have seen. That was the original project. here you can see "the trip"! It's
little bit different: he did not travell into CHINA!
90 countries, 144.000 km.
Ok, I’m planning a trip down the west coast of Africa. The first half would be desert terrain, and the second half rain and mud. If money were NOT an object, how many of the 250 fans would actually opt for the 250? And which kind? I won’t need to go fast, but what I keep hearing is how the 250 engines aren’t great for long distance. Things go wrong. Other than basics I’m not wanting to spend my time tinkering with the engine half way through the trip. I’m also small and don’t want to be struggling to pick the bike up any time it falls.
Which leads me to the next question. If I were to take a bigger bike, I’ve heard there is a device you can attach to the muffler of a Land Rover that then inflates a bellows like device for when you have a flat tire. Is there anything like this made for bikes? This seems like a good option for raising a bike without killing yourself and having to take off all the luggage etc..
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