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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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Old 5 Apr 2006
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Long Way Round Scooter Style

Following in the Footsteps of Giants

Hi everyone.
Me and an Aussie friend(Hi Bec), are currently planning to follow Ewan MacGregor and Charley Boormans RTW trip, next April 14th 07 on a couple of Gilera Runner 125s. Ok so it wouldn't be everyone's first choice of bike to take that kind of distance, but like I keep trying to convince myself, we are riding light bikes that are reliable and well built and there is no reason why we won't be succesfull. When the roads get tough which of course they will, we slow down just as Ewan and Charley did, and the benefit we will have over them is being able to just glide over all the mud, sand and slosh rather than having to plough through it and falling every ten feet. It's only the big open roads that will be slower and that just means we start a little earlier and finish a litle later in the day. We are hoping for my dad to fly out with servicing parts and new tyres somewhere along the route. I plan to remove the helmet storage under the seat and fit a purpose made second fuel tank, change the exhaust to help the bikes breath a bit better, fit some small panniers and source some knobblies(any help would be great f14 in r13 in) and waterproof the electrics and fit a snorkel. It would be nice to hear what everyone thinks of this idea, whether you think I'm crazy or not. Thanks all x.
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Old 5 Apr 2006
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My wife and I will be riding two classical Vespas from Cape Town to Nairobi this summer. This will be our first leg in our goal of cape to cape, and maybe some day an rtw.

In 2003 two guys rode from Hamburg to Cape Town on two classical Vespas. An Italian fellow, Giorgio Betinelli, did an RTW on a classic Vespa, and is now spending four years doing every single country in the world. Besides you and us, I know of atleast two other trips that are planned in the near future, riding scooters. Also, scooters have competed in the Dakar rally (in 1982 with four Vespa P200, no one placing, and in 1986 with two Vespa PX200 with one French fellow actually placing). So in short, you are not crazy.

As for mud and sand, you are wrong, your scooter with all your gear will have a tougher time than a motorcycle (smaller wheels, less power and less traction). On poor surfaces with wash boards, large bumps and pot holes, your scooter will be going much slower than a motorcycle. The small wheels and the short shock absorbers/springs simply can't cope. On semi good roads you will keep up with most motorcycles as fear of potholes, wild and domestic animals, etc, will slow them down to about the same speed as yourself. The really good roads, they will leave you far behind (but then, whats the fun in travelling fast on really good roads?).

Before I'd leave, I'd make sure I knew how to fix most things on my scooter. In Europe, North America, and much of south east asia, scooter mechanics are readily available. In Africa, the middle east and much of South America, finding someone to work on an automatic might not be as easy. If you don't have the means to repair stuff yourself (tools, parts and knowledge), be prepared to have to transport your scooter long distances on the back of a flat bed and wait for parts delivery Europe.

Get to know your scooter and bring along those critical parts which are most likely to fail or wear out quickly on your model, plus the tools to fix them. Parts and specialised tools can be difficult to come by in many places. Although you might not be able to fix it yourself, there is allways someone that comes along who can.

Worst case scenario is that you will have to have you and your scooter transported to the nearest metropol, order parts from Europe and wait for delivery (with your scooter, most parts should be readily available in European web shops such as http://www.sip-scootershop.com ).

You may think your scooter to be reliable, but it wasn't designed for such work. For instance, in Africa I will need to carry an extra 20 litres of fuel, plus an extra ten litres of water (under ideal conditions my scooter uses 3 litres/100km, but with the heavy loads it uses 5 litres on good roads and 8.5 on really poor roads). With all my extra gear, parts, tools, etc, the load becomes significant. Add to that an underdimensioned engine for theload and riding condtions, small wheels, underdimensioned shocks and clutch, poor road surfaces, extreme heat, steep climbs, long days, poor fuel, etc, and you've got yourself a ride prone to break down. Further, the scooter is not designed to carry any heavy loads. Even with serious modifications, your handling and performance will be greatly reduced.

You should ask yourself why you want to ride a scooter. A scooter is not a very practical choice. The only reason for choosing a scooter are emotional. You want to make some sort of a statement or acheivement by riding it, or the scooter has some sort of sentimental value to you. Now, if you are more or less only concerned about seeing the world from two wheels with wind blowing in your face, and you would prefer not to have to deal with all the hassles the scooter will give you, then choose something else.

Cost wise, you can get a brand new street legal 125cc offroad bike for the same price as the Gilera. Strengthen the sub frame, add some panniers and off you go. For the same costs still, you can get a used 350-650 cc off-roader (the ideal size in my opinion). But maybe you only hold a license for a 125cc?

In short, any bike and rider can make it to any place on the face of this earth. This is not the same as to say that each bike serves the purpose equally well. With some bikes, under some conditions, you may be carrying the bike rather than the other way arround.

My wife and I will be riding two identical Vespa PX200E EFL, modified with stronger clutches, saddle seats (to be able to bring rear top case more forward to distribute loads better), H4 lights, light grilles, new exhaust, stronger- and adjustable shock absorbers, specially made front and rear racks, luggage hoops, aluminum top case, 12v sigarette adapter, and much more. We will also, between the two of us, carry spare parts, tyres, etc, worth about 1.200 Euro + lots of tools (our scooters are not that reliable, and we can't afford any delays waiting for parts, etc). One scooter is today kitted with a 210 cylinder kit, which will be reversed to the original 200cc to increase fuel range and engine reliability. Cost wise, we could have chosen a far more practical bike. For me, this ride is as much about making a statement as experiencing the world from two wheels, as well as the nostalgia of classic scooters. For the trip I've got planned, in my opinion, riding a fully gadgetized KTM Enduro bike would be the equivalent of going duck hunting with an RPG7 rocket launcher. If you allready have one, great, if you don't, then use what ever fits your taste and wallet.

I'm very interested in hearing about what you ultimatly choose. Keep me posted.
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Old 6 Apr 2006
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Why ride a scooter round the world when a perfectly good off roader could be purchased for a few quid more, have a couple of panniers thrown on the back and riden into the sunset? To show that it can be done. How many times has a Gilera Runner, or Peugeot Speedfight, or Yamaha Aerox been heard of making a circumnavigation of the globe? quite possibly more times than I have been to the moon! That's exactly why I have chosen something like the Gilera Runner. Of course we are not going to go to the nearest bike shop, pick up a couple of scooters and hope for the best, we are going to have to do our homework, just like at school! Fail to do your homework and you will probably fail your test!!! We need to find out what will probably break and where, what will wear out and when etc.. and who says RTW was going to be a walk in the park? A great man once said "It's supposed to be an adventure after all" (Ewan MacGregor). As I'm sure Bec will agree, when we are out there in the back of beyond struggling with the roads, the elements and probably each other, I want to be there, riding the Runner shouting "Who said we couldn't do it?" and I truely believe we will make it to New York on time with huge smiles on our faces. Like everyone says; anyone can get anywhere in the world on any bike, if they really want to. We just need a little kick up the butt to get out there and get on with it!!!
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Old 6 Apr 2006
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I am not great, just a media tart. Anyone searching this site will know how esteemed I am among this audience. May the force be with you rich tea. You dont have a friend called strong coffee do you? As you may know I am looking for freindship and all I have found is some Ducati rider in LA. See you on the space highway dude.
I had survival training but couldn't use a petrol bowser, let alone ride a bike. Claudio! Claudio!
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Old 11 Apr 2006
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Read this link. It might be of some interest to scooter riders...

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Old 13 Apr 2006
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Scooter rules! Am planning a trip from SE Asia through middle east to Europe in the near future. Hopefully I wouldn't chicken out. Good luck with riding on your Runner, it's fun on a scooter. No doubts why i'd prefer to travel on a scoot.

maybe you could purchase a set of off-road tires for better traction on dirt-road?

"Look at me, I’m not you."
- New Order Republic
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Old 14 May 2006
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Go for it

Before I left on the trip I am on now (stuck in Siberia trying to get valve shims for a Ducati - what a twat) I tried to organise a trip with two friends doing 'the slow way round' with Honda C90s, as far as I could tell it would have worked fine, but my freinds had no money so it was reliant on being media funded in the same way as the Long Way Round - and this fell through.

You might want to check out spare parts availability for Gilera Runners - or at least check that they can go 50,000 km (add a lot of extra mileage for the state of the roads out here - they kill forks)

Am still thinking of trying to enter the 'alternative Paris-Dakar' on a C90, anyone up for it.....
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Old 26 May 2006
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Scooters rule, just go for it. I have a dragster 180 (just about the same engine) and bits fall off every week. I defenetly think you are going to need spares on the way, but that's all part of the trip.

I'm sure you know:http://www.italjetdragster.com/
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Old 27 May 2006
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If you want to do it on a scooter, it'll be fine as long as you're not on a strict schedule. Most places you go slow anyway, just to look around.

Plus when you're on something weird, people come out of the woodwork to talk.
Not Ted Simon since 1970!
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Old 2 Jun 2006
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If your following their exact route then i think your really going to struggle. How are they going to be able to carry luggage ?? Iv worked on a few Runners, and they're very brittle and seem to break down alot.

I have to admire you madness though.... Nice one
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