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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 15 Sep 2011
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Interesting Bikes

I have done my two short trips on slightly different machines, and thought I would try and spark a coversation.

In 2009 I rode accross europe on a Kawasaki W650 and then earlier this year I went to morocco on a HD MT350e.

On thing i noticed about travelling on slightly different machines is that they provoked conversation from other travellers asking about the uniqueness of the machines (OK the Kawasaki was not that special but a lot of people spoke to me about it thinking it was and old Triumph).

I now feel this is an important thing to consider when choosing a travel bike, gives other people an Icebreaker to talk to you about??

For example on the morocco trip we had a R1200GS with us that was worth more than the rest of the bikes put together but hardly anyone was interested in that but the MT350 was a conversation starter.

There is no question here just wondering if people felt the same and thought it was an interesting topic of conversation. so discuss??

PS I think my next travel bike will be a CCM SR40
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  #2  
Old 16 Sep 2011
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I think there is defiantly something about the bike you ride. I rode a 900 Diversion across Europe. This is not a very exciting bike but quite a few people asked about the beast. Mostly folk that owned one but for sure it pays to be a little different I think.
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Old 16 Sep 2011
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It has been a while since I toured on my 1979 Triumph Bonneville but it was certainly a conversation starter when I did, which when you travel alone is quite important. I hope one day to take it on a longer trip but keep putting it off in favour of the GS which has proved to be more reliable in the past, I must be getting too cautious in my old age.
I have a couple of friends with MT350 and they seem to be good bikes, I am surprised more people don't use them.
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Old 16 Sep 2011
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I've noticed British bikes definately get attention in Eurozone. My Versys 2up fully luggaged drew attention when parked next to fellow Scots on BMWs at Stelvio. They were surprised we would be travelling onto Croatia on the inadequate small Versys
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Old 16 Sep 2011
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Totally agree Mr Fox! I'm looking at the SR400 as an option as well - but am off to look at a Metisse frame next week.

I also like to tinker and the old engien I'm putting in it should satisfy that (it's a 68 Trophy TR6 engine and I'm trying to get what will probably end up in the hundreds of thousands of miles out of it).

My first bike was a Cagiva Elefant and it was a great talking point - and got me a lot of attention in Italy and Holland, where they love the beast.
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Old 16 Sep 2011
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If only you could switch it on and off though. Picture:

Day 1: A guy in his eighties comes to talk to you on the ferry car waiting area . He thought the (Hinckley) Bonneville was old. You have a nice ten minute chat about how he was an army dispatch rider in the Western Desert and had ridden Triumphs, BSA's and even Moto Guzzi's and Zundapps captured from the other side.

Day 2: Anorak from a coach trip rushes over to tell you the Hinckley isn't a real Triumph then just wanders off.

Day 3: Puncture in the middle of a town. Three Harley riders stand and talk about how these old bikes are inferior and this one won't make it past Dover (this is near Milan). They don't offer to help

Day 7: Teenagers up a goat track on their XT125's treat you like a motorcycle god/grandfather (I'm 37!) because you pass them on what they keep calling an "old cruiser" , then stopped to make tea and eat "English" chocolate biscuits .

Day 22: Clutch cable goes. A nice lady in a camper van lends you a knitting kneedle to help you fish the new one into place because "It'd be a shame to see such a nice old bike broken down".

Day 23: Rider of large trail bike (guess which manufacturer) asks while waiting for the ferry if you've been into Belgium. You overhear in the bar that you're a liar because no one can ride a "fake classic" to Turkey, you need a large trail bike to deal with the "rough terrain". He's been to Ostend.

Ok these didn't all happen on the same trip, but all based on real conversations about the Hinckley and the Enfield I had before. The anorak/idiot to interesting conversation ratio is directly disproportional to how well your day is going BTW

Andy

Edit to add: I was also let off a speeding ticket because "It's good to give the old bikes a bit of a run once in a while", but that was Ireland so probably just the usual warm welcome.
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Old 16 Sep 2011
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What I find amazing when stopped on a classic bike is how many of the old duffers who come up to you claim that they once owned a Vincent, they must have been more common than the Honda 90 at one point, I presume the factory closed in 1955 because they could not keep up with demand!
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Old 16 Sep 2011
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Either that or they were such a PITA thata people only kept them for a few weeks!
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Old 16 Sep 2011
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Rather than the unusual type of bike you ride, I believe you will find that strangers are more likely to approach you if you are riding solo and appear less threatening and more approachable. Solo travelers are less threatening than a large group of bikers. I have never had offers of places to stay when traveling with others. Only when by myself. Other things that seem to matter more than the bike you ride would be an ability to speak some of the language when traveling in a foreign country. This allows you to converse and carry on an interesting conversation and learn inside information about the area you are riding through. Smiling and courteousness will break the ice as well.

Unusual bikes can lead to conversation. Alas, mostly with older men rather than young good looking women. Modestly outfitted bikes are less intimidating to local strangers than large expensively outfitted bikes. People make snap judgements about travelers based solely on appearance. I am no better. For instance, the small town I live in the north central U.S. has a Bikers Welcome sign on the outskirts of town so a fair number of bikers stop for the night. It is on the way to the Sturgis Harley Davidson rally. I enjoy talking to the good natured solo bikers riding muddy dualsport bikes heading to Alaska, but avoid the groups of standoffish bikers on shiny Harleys with immaculate and expensive leather riding outfits heading to Sturgis. Am I a bad person. Probably. But I am more interested in learning about the roads less travelled, so tend to approach bikers who look like they've been down those roads.

Cheers,
John Downs
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Old 19 Sep 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Downs View Post

Unusual bikes can lead to conversation. Alas, mostly with older men rather than young good looking women.
After I packed the bike to go to the recent HU autumn rally I made it just over half a mile to the local fuel station before someone came over to talk bike travel! I was putting fuel in when a guy jumped out of his BMW (car) and came over to chat. Turns out he'd been back about two years after going RTW on an 1150GS. I felt almost embarrassed to tell him I was only doing about 100 miles.
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  #11  
Old 21 Sep 2011
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I like to tour on unusual bikes - did the Spanish Med coast on a BMW 650 Scarver, French Med coast on a Suzuki 400 Katana and the Italian coast on my Bimota DB3 Mantra.
The Mantra provoked the most conversation and was easily the most photographed by others, but then it was an Italian bike, and a rare one at that, (mostly) on "home" soil. Also the only bike to have illicited a bid to buy it!
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Old 22 Sep 2011
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I've just completed a trip through Iran on a 990 Adventure, certainly got plenty of attention as the locals are limited to 125cc bikes.

I'm sort of planning my next trip with Boris, my 1960 Dnepr sidecar, to take him home to Kiev via St petersburg and Moscow. Sure it will be slow, but the slower you go the more you see, and yes he will breakdown, but I'm sure a Russian Mechanic can fix a Ukranian Bike!
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