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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 17 Feb 2004
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East + West Europe, maybe North Morocco on a Suzuki BLOOP?

Hoping to do my Direct Access Test in March / April, but if time and money don't allow I will be stuck on my little monster!

I'm therefore forced into thinking about travelling on a Suzuki B100 - P (the Bloop) at easter maybe down through France, Spain and Portugal maybe even to N. Morocco (on roads only), and / or later in June Sailing from Scandinavia and riding down Eastern Europe to Greece. Have driven cars round most of these routes before, so only really help with bike / licence issues.

First and most inportant questions are to do with regulations (licences required for certain countries, what roads wil be allowed on with a 118cc, any other complications relating to this bike and my licence, etc...) and the avaliability / legality of 2 Stroke oil? (is it illegal in Scandinavia?)

Second Questions relate to mechanical issues? I know these ideas might be slightly mad, but will be travelling light in the extreme and think the bike is quite tough? Has been very reliable in day to day use round london, and between london and liverpool so far, so is there anything to watch out for or think about on longer trip?

Any other tips / advice very welcome.

Thanks.

James.

[This message has been edited by ManxScamp (edited 03 March 2004).]
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  #2  
Old 17 Feb 2004
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RE Bloops! - Brings back memories... I'm quite familiar with them - used to wrench them occasionally - VERY reliable, almost indestructible if given a modicum of maintenance and not ridden flat out ALL the time.

Two-stroke oil is ideal, but they'll work ok on anything. Carry a couple of spare plugs, especially if not using two-stroke oil. Should be available no problem in Spain / France and most of Europe.

Stay off the motorway of course, other than that shouldn't have any problems on the roads.

Make sure you have your green card for insurance, and your UK licence is fine. That's it.

Have a great trip!


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  #3  
Old 18 Feb 2004
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Thanks Grant!
When you say they'll run on anything, but two stroke is best, what exactly do you mean? Do you mean you can put just about anything in the oil can? like engine, light or vegetable oil? Mines only ever had Castrol TT, does this mean I'm being to sensible, or I can rest asured I'll always find something to run it on?
Also what are the problems you have found / or expect with running them for long periods at high speeds? I run mine between Liverpool/Heysham and London which is about six hours at between 50 and 60 (top speed) mph. It gets serviced regularly but is there something which I should be keeping a particular eye on with long distance runs? Should I be waiting for it to blow up?
And you don't think I would experience any problems for instance trying to cross borders with only a full car licence (a strange looking Isle of Man one at that) which only gives me provisional cover for a sub 125 bike? I would get and international licence before I left but it will only say the same thing in more languages. Once I get into the countries everything should be fine, it's just crossing the boarders that concerns me?

Also on the same lines, would I still need my L plates in most coutries or something else? It seems that in a lot of the coutries I might visit the law relating to these smaller bikes is a lot less stringent than it is here, like pretty much anyone can ride one, whenever, wherever, whoever? That's kind of the impression I got from driving round Europe, when you see, get run over or run into by gangs of "death-wish" kids hairing round on scooters, and old people on mopeds all riding without helmets, any form of learner identification or seemingly licences?

I'm guessing from what you said that under 125's are actually illegal on most motorways in Europe, or was that just some free common sense advise?

Sorry to ask more silly questions. And thank you for the very encouraging words, it's nice not to be told you are crazy when talking about this idea.

James.


[This message has been edited by ManxScamp (edited 18 February 2004).]
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  #4  
Old 18 Feb 2004
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Regarding finding engine oil, as far as Portugal and Spain is concerned, you won´t find it hard, since every other service station, small garage and big supermarket has got them.
As for highway driving, it is illegal to ride smaller than 125cc bikes in Portugal.
Best wishes and luck with your travels.
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  #5  
Old 18 Feb 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by ManxScamp:
Thanks Grant!
When you say they'll run on anything, but two stroke is best, what exactly do you mean? Do you mean you can put just about anything in the oil can? like engine, light or vegetable oil? Mines only ever had Castrol TT, does this mean I'm being to sensible, or I can rest asured I'll always find something to run it on?
They WILL run on any motor oil, BUT GOOD stuff is definitely best - it will last much longer and foul far fewer - if any - spark plugs.

Quote:
Originally posted by ManxScamp:

Also what are the problems you have found / or expect with running them for long periods at high speeds? I run mine between Liverpool/Heysham and London which is about six hours at between 50 and 60 (top speed) mph. It gets serviced regularly but is there something which I should be keeping a particular eye on with long distance runs?
The only real problem is exactly what should be expected - run a small two-stroke at high speeds for a long time the piston and rings wear out, and possibly sieze. 50-60 should be fine, and your experience bears that out. So long as you don't run it harder than that it will probably run forever - with the occasional rebuild.

Quote:
Originally posted by ManxScamp:

Should I be waiting for it to blow up?
No.
Quote:
Originally posted by ManxScamp:

And you don't think I would experience any problems for instance trying to cross borders with only a full car licence (a strange looking Isle of Man one at that) which only gives me provisional cover for a sub 125 bike? I would get and international licence before I left but it will only say the same thing in more languages. Once I get into the countries everything should be fine, it's just crossing the boarders that concerns me?

Also on the same lines, would I still need my L plates in most coutries or something else? It seems that in a lot of the coutries I might visit the law relating to these smaller bikes is a lot less stringent than it is here, like pretty much anyone can ride one, whenever, wherever, whoever? That's kind of the impression I got from driving round Europe, when you see, get run over or run into by gangs of "death-wish" kids hairing round on scooters, and old people on mopeds all riding without helmets, any form of learner identification or seemingly licences?

I'm guessing from what you said that under 125's are actually illegal on most motorways in Europe, or was that just some free common sense advise?
In the EU no one is going to look at your drivers licence at the border. Other areas yes, and I don't know the answer, sorry. Europeans can answer better than I.

Quote:
Originally posted by ManxScamp:

Sorry to ask more silly questions. And thank you for the very encouraging words, it's nice not to be told you are crazy when talking about this idea.
No worries, we all started somewhere. I expect you to be answering similar questions from others in a year or so!


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  #6  
Old 18 Feb 2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pedro Rocha:
Regarding finding engine oil, as far as Portugal and Spain is concerned, you won´t find it hard, since every other service station, small garage and big supermarket has got them.
As for highway driving, it is illegal to ride smaller than 125cc bikes in Portugal.
Best wishes and luck with your travels.
Thanks for the interesting post Pedro - I'm not surprised about the oil, but VERY surprised about the minimum size of bikes. Is that EVERYWHERE illegal, or only highways?



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Grant Johnson

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  #7  
Old 18 Feb 2004
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Smaller than 125cc bikes are only forbiden in highways and express-ways, or as they call them in England, Motorways. Crossing the country by secondary roads is very much possible on a 125cc bike, but it wouldn´t be my first choice, i would rather go for a 4-stroke 250cc. Assuming that all gas-stops on a 118cc are going to be on secondary roads you won´t even have to carry oil with you, as 50cc bikes are very popular amongst litle villages or towns all over Portugal, and as such, 2-stroke fuel is available, but i don´t vouch for its quality, as i´ve never used any.
The reason for wich i wouldn´t choose a 2-stroke is mainly for my personal taste in engines and riding, but also because Portugal(Northern Portugal mainly) isn´t a very pleasant country to cross being able to ride only on "National roads" and secondary, mainly near urban centers, where you´ll be absolutely lost out a main road.
I´ve driven in Brasil, England, from Portugal to Norway and Finland and in my opinion Portugal is the worst country to navigate like this, hence a 250cc.


[This message has been edited by Pedro Rocha (edited 18 February 2004).]
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  #8  
Old 19 Feb 2004
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A word of warning.

Most provisional licences in Europe(as far as I am aware) only permit the holder to ride in their home country. This means if you take the bike out of the country your insurance company will deem your insurance as being void, on the grounds that you are riding outside of the conditions of your licence.
It may well be the case that you will not get stopped at the borders, but if you get stopped for any other reason and the police realise the situation, you are very likely to get your bike impounded.
Personally I don't think it is worth the risk

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  #9  
Old 19 Feb 2004
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PS: If you have a Portugal road map, roads named like AE (toll), IC and IP aren´t legally rideable on a 118cc, hope this helps.

[This message has been edited by Pedro Rocha (edited 19 February 2004).]
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  #10  
Old 19 Feb 2004
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I imagine you'll get a sore bum riding the bloop for long distances. How about an inflatable cushion, like the one that you can buy at www.aerostich.com?
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  #11  
Old 4 Mar 2004
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Well, thanks for all the replies and sorry it’s taken me so long to get back. It’s been a very hectic time, and I had to cover over 700miles last weekend on the back roads of Britain in the freezing cold, which kind of brought a few things into perspective, especially as one section took 10 hours when it would have taken just over 4 on the Motorway.
So yes, if I do manage to pass my test I will be trading up before I go anywhere, but for the moment the Bloop is my trusty steed.
Thanks for the comments Pedro, just out of curiosity do you mean that you can ride up to 250cc on normal small roads in Portugal with only a car licence?

And the question again about the licences, mine is a full car licence from the Isle of Man which covers me for the UK and doesn’t say anything about only being provisional for the UK (I could get a UK one as well no problem if anyone thinks that wise). I’ve got an international car licence at home as well, which I will check, and I could phone the DVLA I suppose, but why would it only be valid in the UK? Surely these countries must have some sort of provisional licence system, else how are there so many kids knocking about on scooters? I think if I’m not wrong the directive that brought in the Direct Access test to the UK is an EU wide scheme, which would mean that provisional licensing, similar to full licences, are being standardised? Also, how is it possible for so many British tourists to go abroad in the EU and hire scooters without bike licences?
Does anyone have an authoritative answer to this one?
I might open a new forum for it actually, provisional UK licences in Europe East and West?

I have another question now as well.

I was wondering about insurance for Eastern Europe, Romania, Bulgaria, etc… mine only seems to cover Western Europe, any tips?

Cheers for all the advice.

James.
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  #12  
Old 8 Mar 2004
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Actually, let me correct myself, not all Ic´s and IP´S are forbiden on a 118cc, but most are.
Regarding riding with a car licence, it can only be done with a under than 125cc limited bike.
Congrats on your choice of steed, i believe a bigger bike will make your trip a lot more enjoyable, by the way, in wich kind of bike will you make it?
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  #13  
Old 12 Mar 2004
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Thanks again for the info Pedro, like I said, if I pass my test I'll upgrade to a 500 or something, but if I don't then I'll be on the Bloop.
I'm going to post a new topic to ask about the licences and insurance.

Thanks again.

James.
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