The Achievable Dream 5-part series - the definitive guide on DVD for planning your motorcycle adventure. Get Ready! covers planning, paperwork, medical and many other topics! "Inspirational and Awesome!" See the trailer here!
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So you've done it - got inspired, planned your trip, packed your stuff and you're on the road! This section is about staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure. And crossing borders, war zones or oceans!
On the Road! is 5.5 hours of the tips and advice you need to cross borders, break down language barriers, overcome culture shock, ship the bike and deal with breakdowns and emergencies."Just makes me want to pack up and go!" See the trailer here!
Tire Changing!Grant demystifies the black art of Tire Changing and Repair to help you STAY on the road! "Very informative and practical." See the trailer here!
Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
"It has me all fired up to go out on my own adventure!" See the trailer here!
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Achievable Dream The definitive guide to planning your motorcycle adventure! This insanely ambitious 2-year project has produced an informative and entertaining 5-part, 18 hour DVD series. "The ultimate round the world rider's how-to DVD!" MCN UK.
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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.
I’ve been a lurking!! (For quite a while…). Must say I’m very impressed with this site, it’s community and the information available, so thought it might be time to say ‘Hello’ and just ask a few questions of you kind people… (Well just a couple for the moment anyway ;o) )
OK Question Time… Which Bike? With a little twist (I’ve read some threads here, I know this is a Political Hot Potato )
The Twist? I know nothing about Motorbikes! OK not quite nothing, but it’s been nearly 20 years since I rode one.
First and foremost I am a traveller, I like to see and to watch, and a motorbike to me appears as just a means to and ends to get me into the backwaters of the middle of no-where, a tool to take me where I wanna go, just like a train or bus, but with the distinct advantage that I can turn off the route (if there is one), and stop when ever I want. (and the bike maybe bringing some interaction with people I wouldn't of done previously).
So the route, ride out of Blighty, down through Europe, across to the Middle east, over to India and South-East Asia, up through China to Russia, then across to Alaska and North America, before returning home. Time scale, 18 to 24 months, so no ‘Hard’ riding required, just chilling out.
Assume the bike selection has a lot to do with the roads conditions to be travelled, and the roads in Vietnam, Nepal etc. aren’t exactly great, but I don't really indend to do any voluntary 'Scrambling'. Also to consider is that, as I imagine it is for us all, ‘Cash’ isn’t in an endless supply. Looking at a Bike Budget of about £4K, which I’m hoping will get me a reasonable second hand unit, then another £3K to equip her (are all Bikes female?), for the trip, aluminium luggage, protection, spares etc.
The other major factor I assume has gotta be weight, going 2 up (OK so the Mrs is only 50Kg, but with her ‘Girlie essentials’ you could double that ;o) )
So… where to start, I’ve been playing with the research, I seem to have arrived at four options, 4 Bikes that might make the trip without breaking to much. The GS, AT, V-Storm and the Varadero (OK so I’m sure there are others ).
My initial reaction was an Africa Twin, but 2 up? The BMW appears to expensive and to much aggravation to fix when it breaks, (U can’t just swap the chain and I’ve never been a BMW fan anyway). So that leaves the 2 Jap 'V' offerings (Jap... I assume spare and repairs are more readily available over the world than a BMW?), and in every reliability review I’ve read comparing the V-Storm with the Varadero the Suzuki comes out in front.
I’m not looking for an exotic exciting sporty ride, just something reliable, comfortable and capable of ‘taking the load’ with minimum agro. Also as I assume I’m gonna have to buy a Haynes manual and learn how to do a lot of this ‘Messy’ stuff myself, so easy to understand and fix has to be a consideration. Yeah I know, I’ve got a lot to learn about motorbikes (For instance, who makes a tyres that can carry up to 300Kg (Hey, I’m a big guy), with the bike weight and have a speed rating of 100mph, if such a thing exists or do I have to just adjust with tyre pressures?. And wheels, does it really make that much difference, alloys or spokes?)
So, there u have it, looking to buy the Bike next month so I can start preparing her and get used to riding again for a departure May 2007.
A Penny for you thoughts? Your advice, thoughts and or direction would be invaluable, thank you
Also the 650 BMW's and V-strom 650 cater for reasonable pillion comfort I think,
but try to get a ride with your girlfriend to check whether she's comfortable enough to spend a few months at the back.
looking at the big bikes, there's also a triumph tiger, or second hand CB 750?
I have a 650GS. I've ridden it up pillion once, with panniers and top box on and hubby doing the riding (he is tall but rather slim). My impression is that I would NOT like to ride pillion there for a long period of time. My husband gave same feedback, it is too cramped! You can't move. So 650GS 2 up I would not recommend it!
Thank Grimel, but as much as I might wanna do SE Asia on my own again, I can't really see her letting me
Gotta be a 2 up machine...
Like a moron I stopped in the middle of my thought and posted.
2 up - Vstrom 650. The size of the 1000, the fuel economy of the 650 AND the reliabilty of the 650. Gotta like a lightweight twin (100+ less than a 1200GS, 40? less than the 1000). Cheaper than a F650, again you should be able to get a new Wee Strom at your price point.
I can't image any 650 would be too clever 2 -up and fully loaded, covering anything other than the best fairly flat roads.You'd have to struggle up any decent hill, let alone mountain.
There is reason most people chose the beemer 1100/1200.....................
Ummm… Hairdryer & Laptop! … OK Patrick how did you know I’m having a big issue consoling the fact that my Lappy is staying behind! (I’m in IT! ) But we're roughing it, tent, bags, single stove etc. (OK so we all know Mrs. is going to bring at least 3 pairs of shoes and 2 handbags, but hey )
The V-Storm is still looking like the front runner… Why, well for reasons as discussed in the posts, but what also is useful to me (and I failed to mention earlier!), is the location of a Suzi Main Dealer just down the road. (So when I’m learning all my stuff from the "Suzuki" manual before we leave, I can get some local help if I break/need it.)
So 1000 or 750… I kinda agree with Kevinb99.. Gut reaction is for a bigger bike… I’m a big guy… 6’2” and 135Kg, with the Little Missy, fuel and luggage I can’t see the addition weight being less than 250Kg. The bikes got a long way to go and the Tibet/Nepal Himalaya/Alps/Rockies bits are going to be hard work and the extra power might just be required? I think that might also effect the suitability of the KLR or AT 2 up, maybe?
As for ‘Off roading’, only as required though there is not a great deal of Tarmac in some of the destinations, I can’t really see me volunteering for boulder hoping unless essential!
Pricing, a new DL1000 over here come in about £6K (10KUS$) but the availability very low mileage (<10000Km) machines just a few years old over here is extensive and comes in around £4K.
As for accessories (Luggage, protection etc.) I was looking at the Tourtech range, they seem to get gud reviews and the availability of ‘used’ Ali panniers over here seems very limited (I can't find any!). Tourtech can supply all the guards for the DL aswell, so thinking about a bulk buy, see if they take a bid ;o) . (There prices seem step compared to yours Patrick, is everything cheaper your side of the Pond? Maybe they’ll give me more discount if I slap one of their Sticker on the Side of the Bike? ). Any other optional suppliers out there that could do the full job as well and cheaper?
As for rear shock upgrade, I was looking at upgrading to Öhlins shock and springs,. The best? Got a lot of weight to carry! Am I been obsessive about this power and weight thing?
Oh Patrick… 4 wheels… Only option there would be the Caterham 7, but I can’t see her making past Paris (That’s Paris France )
Ohh.. and if anyones interested, the Bikes name (It’s a Guy thing ) is goning to be Eloisa
I can't image any 650 would be too clever 2 -up and fully loaded, covering anything other than the best fairly flat roads.You'd have to struggle up any decent hill, let alone mountain.
There is reason most people chose the beemer 1100/1200..
Grant's R80GS has about the SAME hp as the F650. The DL650 has MORE. I can only assume you are a younger person. I can remember the time when a 350-500 was a medium size bike and it wasn't uncommon for couples to 3 up on 350/400's all over the US. Honda had the 500cc Silverwing touring bike. 650/750's were considered light-heavy weight bikes. Literally millions of miles have been ridden 2 up with a Vetter fairing and bags.
People choose the BMW 1100/1200 because everyone is bound and determined to buy the biggest, heaviest, most expensive bike they can find for any given task.
If you'll look up the hp figures for say the Goldwing series I think you'll find the Suzuki 650 compares quite favorably (less than 10hp difference with at least 100 extra pounds on the 'wing). Let's not forget the fuel injection on the Wee vs carbs on the older 'wing; that means at altitude the Wee will be a good bit closer to sea level performance than the 'wing unless one stops to rejett the carbs frequently.
In conclusion, if you are on a 650 V-Strom and are having issues with power I'd suggest you start driving a bit closer to the legal speeds.
No place is as wide open/high speed as the US/Canada/western Europe.
For those who are worried about missing some power when riding 2 up on a 650, there is a solution: You just need to change your gearing (one tooth less on the front sprocket or 4 more teeth on the back one! Your bike will run maybe 500rpm more for the same speed you were riding before. But why not ride 5 or 8 km/h slower and you will not compromise your bike durability.
Just a few things to set you on the right track.
First: given you haven't been on bikes in 20 years....ah, well....how to put this? Well, basicaly,you don't have a clue. Your perception of bikes is akin to me thinking a modern computer being something like the first version Mac Classic (I owned one!!)
Ecckkk You've got a 1986 Mac!!! Was that the 'Plus' with the double double sided 800K floppy drive? (I did mention I was in IT didn't I )
Your right though... I haven't got a clue about modern Bikes and what there capable of... So I guess best thing might be to Visit the Suzi dealer and test them side by side, strap the little lady on the back with about 40Kg of Dumbells and see how I feel about each of them. (OK OK I'll leave the Mrs and the weights off)...
Thanks for the advice on the Springs, (that saves £500)... and I'll check out the Tourtech compition you gave me to.
Gonna be an interesting (and expensive), next 6 weeks.
Not sure if this is coming in to late and you have already bought a bike, but thought I would chime in.
I own a V-Strom 650 and love it. Being a big guy just like you, I have had no problems with its power. I live in the Colorado Rockies at 9,400 feet. 7 miles east is Loveland pass that tops out at 11,990 feet. I did an experiment one day to test the power of my Wee-Strom. I loaded up 200 lbs in my panniers and top box and took a ride to the top of the pass. Keep in mind, my big arse weighs in at 290 lbs and I had no pile-on. The Strom rode very well up the "hill" at 65 mph and that was in 6th gear, churning 5,000 rpm's and the throttle nearly maxed. I never bothered to kicked down into 5th gear and twist the throttle harder. I have no desire for speed, but it's nice to know theres a little more umph (an additional 5,500 rpms) in her to be able to pass someone when needed. This leads me to conclude that a V-Strom 650 will be adequate for you, your S.O. and gear. Not sure about in the UK but here in the U.S., the 2007 V-Strom 650 will have an ABS brake option for only $500 more. What a deal!
The best mods I ever did to the bike was exchanging the front and rear OEM springs with much stiffer Wilbers springs. My pre-loads are set "soft" when its just me and I am left with the full adjustment to work with when I load her up. These bikes right off the showroom floor are set up for a single rider that weighs a mere 180 lbs. and no luggage. Before my spring swap, my preload was maxed and it was still to soft. Big guys like us are just not in the scopes of motorcycle engineers.
Other mods and additions I made:
--Wolfman Explorer Tankbag - Excellent! Looks like it was made just for the strom's tank!
--Happy Trails Panniers and top box
--Motech Skid plate (piece of sh*t) - get an Adventure MotoStuff plate or a Pat Walsh
--Motech crash bars - I like the looks of these, but have not "tested" them yet and hope not to anytime soon!
--Scott re-useable oil filter - none better!
The Wee-Strom is not an Interstate bike and its not an offroad bike either. Its best suited for the speed of paved 2 lane highways, the back roads and mountain passes. More the speeds that you are likely to encounter on a long trip that is not in the USA or Western Europe. Gravel is fine, but I would consider better tires than the trail wings. If you are going for long stretchs of the loose stuff, maybe TKC's?
You received great advice from everyone above! Good work guys! I second the notion of avoiding Touratech, to pricey!
If you go for the Strom, good sources for info. and outfitting her are -
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