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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 Post By kentfallen

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  #1  
Old 18 Jul 2013
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I'm dreaming of a long trip

hi
I'm new to this forum, I'm retired and in a couple of years time after a european trip, I hope to set off on a long journey. I have friends in Thailand and my youngest is in NZ. I currently have two smallish bikes a honda anf 125 innova and a 98 cb250 nighthawk. I was hoping the small one would be the one to use for long journeys, unfortunately my back knots up near my shoulder blades. I stopped riding honda 90s in my 30's because of this. Its a bit of a blow, I'm ok just pottering on it, I just wouldn't be able to sustain 200km days, one after another. So my question is, is my nighthawk a suitable bike? I will make aluminum side panniers, the tank is 16 litres, so range is 250 - 300 miles (400 - 500 kms). I haven't read on this forum about anyone else selecting this bike. I personally don't like today's bikes packed with modern technology and I prefer light bikes. Mine is the european spec one, same as the nz/australian one with alloy wheels, front disc, rev counter. Can anyone see any potential problems.
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  #2  
Old 19 Jul 2013
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hi
for those of you who don't know the bike, a photo should be attached. Just wondered if the tyres would be available in most countries outside of europe namely 90/90 18 front and 120/90 16 rear.
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I'm dreaming of a long trip-nighthawk.jpg  

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  #3  
Old 28 Jul 2013
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Oh come on guys - This chap posted this thread over a week ago and no one has taken the time to reply! He's even taken the time to post a pic of his bike...

What you need to remember above everything is that some nutters have toured the world on a 50cc MOPED!

I understand that the Honda C50/C70/C90 has been RTW many many times and that it proved bulletproof reliable.

I read a guy recently traveled from Australia to the UK on a flipping 100cc ex postman's bike.

I very much admire anyone prepared to do such a thing!

This means that your Nighthawk 250cc bike is probably more than capable of taking you this distance. Whether or not it will do so reliably or in comfort is a different thing?

You mention a bad back. I too have a bad back (fractured spine in 3 places, spinal fusions etc... etc...). This is the single reason why I can no longer ride a bike over a long distance. These days I come here to the HUBB just to dream and to remember the good old days when I used to tour round Europe and Africa.

Sorry to deflate your enthusiasm but having a badly injured back isn't a good start bearing in mind your intention (or dream). Perhaps you should instead get a plane there and then simply hire a bike to tour when you get there?

You will need to be rider fit for such a journey. I can't ride longer than 100 miles without 12 hours bed rest.

If you really are serious about doing this then you need to give the choice of bike very serious thought. Not only will you need it to carry you a huge distance, you will need it to carry your luggage a huge distance. A 250cc will NOT do this in comfort unless you are just taking your underpants and credit card.

Personally if I were you I would be reading this forum over and over again. Try and find out what others are doing and have done. Learn by their mistakes.

I don't know much about the bike you mention therefore I'm not qualified to comment in this respect.

Remember the bike you use needs to be bulletproof reliable. Next is ease of repair (and botching), servicing and finally ease of getting spare parts.

Not much point breaking down in the middle of nowhere if the locals have never seen the bike you are riding.

You are probably better using something more akin to RTW travel. Your budget will dictate which bikes to look at. If you have a limited budget you should look at older models such as the Yamaha XT600E which is a legendary RTW trail bike. Other alternatives include Honda XR650, Kawasaki KLR 650...

You can buy a MINT condition, low mileage Yamaha XT600E in the UK for less then £2,000. This bike = outstanding value compared to more modern and expensive options.

If you have a healthy budget to spend then you can look at newer models such as the Yamaha XT660 Tenere (£5,000 plus for a good one).

Plenty of riders have done a RTW on smaller capacity bikes like your 250cc Honda. A few years ago the little gem XT350 was a popular RTW steed (not many left now).

Personally I recommend at least 600cc because it has the power to get you and your luggage out of heavy mud. My own preference is to stay well away from anything over 700cc as these things are super expensive to buy, thirsty, bloated and way too heavy. Forget a huge lumbering beasts like the mega-popular BMW 1200GS they are best used for tarmac touring.

All these bikes above are considered suitable for hard-core RTW travel.

There are many other options and hopefully others will see this thread and give their valued advice....

If you really want to use something small then the Honda C90 step-thru makes ultimate sense. Cheap to buy and run. dependable engine, everyone has repaired one, easy to find parts and it's got a RTW pedigree second to none. But be prepared to do it very slowly and to have a sore back side every day.

I wish you well.
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Last edited by kentfallen; 28 Jul 2013 at 20:18.
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  #4  
Old 28 Jul 2013
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What Kentfall say's has a lot of truth in it. If you are going to carry a bit of kit, to me you will need a bigger bike. It's hard to say if you, have no idea how much money you are going to spend. You are saying you have people in Thailand and NZ. Is that where you are thinking of going?

To give advice can only be done on experience the advice, the giver has from the way he/she see it. Me I tour on a 1 lt bike. Reason, it will run all day, day after day after day. I'm not stressing the engine at speed of 80/90 mph. Will take every thing I load on to her. I stay with in the EU. Reason. Insurance cover is dead easy. My UK insurance cover's me for all EU country. The road's are better looked after than out side the EU. Not every EU country falls in that category, but most do. More or less one currency, Easy to nip across the channel.

What more can you say?

Where you want to go. How much you have to spend. And how long out. Will get you a better set of answers.
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To buy petrol in Europe. Pull up at station. Wait. Get out a 20 Euro note, then ask someone to fill up the bike. Give person money. Ride away. Simple.
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  #5  
Old 29 Jul 2013
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Thanks for the replies, particularly the long detailed one by kentfallen. The yamaha xt600 mentioned looks interesting, I read mcn road test on it, didn't like the sound of 41 mpg. I want to do a long journey not bothered about off roading, I definately want to do it on a small bike, I'm currently thinking of a honda cg125 or my cb250 nighthawk. The ability to do 200 km a day reliably and economically is important to me. My back is only a problem if I ride honda c90/ innova type bikes with low handlebars. I have done a bit of cycle touring so know how to pack light, a small bike would handle my gear fine. I'm leaning more towards a cg125 as I think tyres and spares might be more available in asian countries. Will probably sell my innova and buy one and see how I get on with it. I sat on one once and found it comfortable just like my nighthawk.
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  #6  
Old 29 Jul 2013
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Hi,
I'm sure your CB250 would be absoloutely fine for a long solo journey,that old twin motor was used for years in a variety of machines and proved to be very reliable,looked after and serviced it'll just keep going,it is a Honda after all!
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  #7  
Old 29 Jul 2013
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I wouldn't worry too much about the long trip at present, nor would I sweat the choice of bike too much. My advice would be to use what's left of the good weather over the next couple of months and start getting some experience of life on the road.

Use the 250 and head off to France or Spain for a week or two. Stay in cheap hotels unless you've got a camping background and already have the equipment. Experience of whether you can deal with the problems that always arise, whether they grind you down or motivate you, whether you actually enjoy the experience; that's what'll tell you whether the long trip is feasible. The 250 is easily good enough for that and with a few miles under your belt you'll have a much better idea about the bike's good and bad points and whether your back issue is likely to become a serious problem.

Over the years I've toured on everything from 50cc to 1000cc and currently have an old 125 Suzuki that I'm off to the south of France on shortly. 125s are very light and economical but they do have their drawbacks that you might become aware of after a few weeks on the road - lack of ability to keep up with open road traffic, particularly when loaded and in adverse conditions such as head winds, lack of "life support" electrical capacity, somewhat more fragile build quality etc. By the time you get up to 400cc weight and complexity may be becoming more of an issue.
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  #8  
Old 29 Jul 2013
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hi
thanks for the replies, if I decide to do it on a cb250, will probably buy another and get it up to scratch mechanically, mine is a minter only 2600miles in 15 years so don't really want to sacrifice it. My friend and I plan a trip through Spain down to morocco for next year. If all goes well a much longer trip is on the cards. I've always camped and love it, don't like hotels, time is not on my side, need to get a move on with the planning.
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  #9  
Old 31 Jul 2013
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The HONDA CG125 is a real legend in it's own right.

I rode one when I was learning to ride in 1980. It just kept going and going despite not being looked after....

This little gem of a bike has been RTW on many many occasions = successfully.

125cc is perfectly fine if you intend to stick to tarmac. Just plod along all day at between 40-50 MPH and you won't kill it.

Just make sure you change the oil as often as you can.

The Honda CG125 is well known throughout the world, it's simple, easy to service and fix and above all it's bulletproof reliable.

Just make sure you don't overload it. Take a clean pair of crusties and a credit card.

If I wanted to tour the world on a small engined bike the Honda CG125 would be top of my list because parts are easy to find and third world bodgers know it well.

I'm sure most on here will support my view of this little gem of a bike.

Bye the way, I get up to 70 MPG from my XT600E if I'm careful. Normal riding for me = 60 MPG. This reduces down to 45 MPG if it's hammered (but I don't ride like this with my babies).

Keep us updated on your progress.

If you want any help or advice, I'm always hanging about on the YAMAHA XT sub-forum or PM me. I don't profess to be an expert but I do enjoy giving my opinion.
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  #10  
Old 31 Jul 2013
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small bike trips

I have a 1981 Yamaha SR250 Special - not sure why it is "special" yet. Anyway I would love to do a big trip on it sometime .

The only 2 things stopping me :

1. The wife. She comes with me and is point blank refusing to ride herself ..........so pillion it is for now. It could be done 2up I guess but I don't fancy that on a 239cc bike personally.
2. Its a fairly unknown bike and parts are not easy to source when on the road. That's a trip killer !

CG125 - excellent choice to my mind as long as you aren't in a hurry and travel light.

The first 500miles or 5days will sort out any issues with bike / self / packing and you will still be in "the civilised world" to fix it.
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  #11  
Old 3 Aug 2013
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hi
thanks again for all the advice, its been very helpful. I'm recovering from a knee operation at the moment, had both needs done now. With any luck I will do a long journey to perhaps morocco next year, then who knows. I have decided its between a cb250 nighthawk and a cg125 for the bike I use. Will continue to monitor the forum.
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  #12  
Old 21 Sep 2013
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The Nighthawk 250 is another of honda's bulletproof bikes. Take it where you will. There is a great ride report on the adv forum of a guy who is riding Central America and South America on a 250 super Sherpa. He is having a ball on small amounts of money. The locals are more accepting of a tourist on a small bike.

South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure - ADVrider

Night awk support at nighthawk-forums.com
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