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!
Gear Up! is a 2-DVD set, 6 hours! Which bike is right for me? How do I prepare the bike? What stuff do I need - riding gear, clothing, camping gear, first aid kit, tires, maps and GPS? What don't I need? How do I pack it all in? Lots of opinions from over 150 travellers! "This DVD will save you a fortune!"See the trailer here!
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!
We're not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown a hobby into a full time job and a labour of love.
When you decide to become a Member, it helps directly support the site. You get additional privileges on the HUBB, access to the Members Private Store, and more to come as we roll out new systems. Of course, you get our sincere thanks, good karma and knowing you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. :-)
Travel BooksMotorcycle and travel books to inspire and inform you!
DVDs - Watch and Learn!
Horizons Unlimited presents!
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.
Collectors Box SetAll 5 DVDs with a custom printed slip case. "The series is 'free' because the tips and advice will save much more than you spend on buying the DVD's."
Advertisers- Horizons Unlimited is well-established as the first source of reliable, unbiased information on all aspects of motorcycle travel.
We reach a dedicated, worldwide group of real travellers, and are the only website focusing exclusively on long distance motorcycle travellers.
If you sell motorcycles or motorcycle accessories, riding gear, camping equipment and clothing, transport motorcycles, organize motorcycle tours, or have motorcycles to rent, you should be advertising with us!
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.
Just finished an RTW tour on the 800. 21000 miles two rear flats and a headlight bulb which can hardly be blamed on BMW. The rocker cover leaked intermittently but this is a known issue and a tube of silicon cures the problem.
Some intermittent starting / cutting out probs which could have been fuel.
Roads in Mongolia and Siberia are non existent/deep gravel/ pot holed, rutted, washboarded and nothing fell off! Checking nuts and bolts regularly helped as did lubeing and adjusting the chain which lasted 17000 miles before repalcing it as a precaution.
Absolutely brilliant bike as long as you use an Air Hawk seat. Its a bit on the tall side and the "instant" throttle response can get you into trouble off road but beats the GS "Tractors" hands down in all departments.
i just part exed my f800 for a 1200gsa , mine was one of the first released and although i loved it to bits it had a few problems and a quite a few recalls ,it only had to sniff cheap fuel to develop a habit of stalling(and thats here in the uk)at 60mph it had a vibration enough to loosen fillings ,the seat was a recycled park bench,and yet i stilled loved it.
one of the only reasons i exchanged it was the price my local dealer OFFERED me, i lost about £500 pounds on it and came out of the deal with a 08 plate fully kitted gsa
the F800GS is a great bike and i will be looking for another one in the future, just the 1200 serves my needs better at the moment,im sure once the piggy bank is full again there will be another one in my garage
Great to hear peoples opinions on which bike to choose !! I've only been riding for 15months, with sole intention of swapping my usual methods of travel to that of a bike..............
I researched loads of bikes, but kept coming back to f650gs, being female with short legs, good entry level bike for new rider and the various seat heights seemed perfect ! Sept '08, the new twins were marketed so decided to buy one - not knowing where i'd end up in the world ! To start with i chose to have the lowered suspension - gave me more confidence - but unfortunately i couldnt have the centre stand.
A few months ago it went in for service and i asked how much it would be to have suspension and centre stand - 'not possible' was the reply, it's now 'factory set'...............
HELP..............I'm off round africa in sept and could really do with one !!!!!!!! Any solutions ?????????
PS fuel sensor problem was a model recall, had mine done back in nov, i also attended the BMW mechanics course and Simon mentioned the hoses coming 'off' was a problem and to replace with jubilee clips - not sure whether that is a better solution
OK just generic advice here as I'm not familiar with your bike .
Option one = fit the centre stand ,[now assuming that the reason BMW won't fit a centre stand is because of lack of leverage with lowered bike ] ,run the wheel of the bike onto a short,thin plank of wood to increase the height .Bike is now higher and you should be able to lever it onto centre stand .
Option two , fit a centrestand and have the stand shortened by an appropriate amount.
Option three , carry a length of wood so that you can prop up the rear of the bike .[Employ sidestand ,then lean the bike over on the sidestand and ,on the other side of the bike ,place the length of wood under a suitable place on the frame to prop the bike up and keep the rear wheel off the ground ].Secure sidestand with a strap so that it won't flip back on you .
Proper hose clamps like Jubilee clips are usually better than original fitment ,because you can get them tighter -what's surprising is that the originals are so poor .Bad BMW !
I am nearing the end of my Canada-Argentina trip on my F8. I feel I have learned greatly from my experiences along the way and perspectives have changed too.
I figured should quote this as it is probably the most educated and valuable posts in this statistical BS spewing thread and deserved not to be forgotten.
Originally Posted by MountainMan
Here's my unsolicited two bits.
The 800GS will become the defacto bike of choice for RTW and long distance riding.
There's a lot of reasons behind this but every year new people get interested in the idea of a big trip and for many, a primary form of exposure is Ewan and Charlie on TV and also the BMW marketing juggernaut, historical and current. As a result, ask the average guy at a bike show what bike to buy for "adventure" touring and most will answer BMW.
Many have been buying the 1200GS because it's natural to think that more is better and usually you don't find out that most of the riding doesn't require that size/power etc. Most of these people will wisely turn to the 800 as it is still in their comfort zone of brand recognition. As the ride reports grow, it will be what most people think of first, and for good reason.
The bike is good at almost everything, but not great at any one thing. Most international touring requires just this, a bike that can handle diverse road conditions and terrain. The image that we have of the trip and the reality are usually two different things, flexibility is key as no matter where you think you will go and what you think the riding conditions will be like, they will usually be different.
I rode one for about 35,000 km from TDF to Prudoe last year. The best thing I liked about it was that it handled very well on the tarmac and the gravel roads, and off road. For parts of the trip like in Patagonia or B.C. where the road can occasionally transition from good to bad to worse and back again, in a fairly short distance, this is where it shines. It'a actually a bit dangerous as it's easy to outride the conditions as it's not giving you the strong feedback signals that it can't handle the terrain that a different bike might when transitioning. A few times I found myself cranking along too fast for the variable conditions and had to slow down before you round the inevitable corner and the soft, deep gravel pitches you into the bush.
There are inevitable tradeoffs, in stock form it's not as comfortable for endless highway stretches as the more 'street' orientated bikes also in the loosely defined category of dual sports. I would put the DL1000 in this category, which I rode a similar distance through Europe and Africa. Very fine bike, excellent value and probably meets the needs of most riders. Not as good off road obviously, the 19" front means that you spend a bit of time occasionally rebending your skid plate, but it goes pretty much everywhere. (Note: Prices overseas though are higher than in the US for the DL).
In comparison to other bikes in the 'dirt' orientated side of the dual sport category, the 800 may not provide the high-high end performance levels of say a KTM, but close enough for all but the most discerning rider. So far it seems less finicky to maintain than the KTM, which for us lazy people is something to be aware of.
And comparing it to the thumpers is not totally fair because it costs more so should naturally be better in a few different ways, but the one discerning difference for me is that having two cylinders makes your days more enjoyable and much easier to ride longer days if you so desire. I rode a KLR in Russia/Mongolia and loved the value and utility of it, great bike for many things, but the vibrations can bother some more than others, more so if you like to ride longer days. Many however, don't notice it at all.
At the end of the day though, all bikes are perfectly fine and the choice you make doesn't really matter that much for a few seldom mentioned reasons:
a. The image in your mind of the hard core adventure that your trip will be is usually not the same as it is in reality. Many reasons for this, but you are getting a lot of adventure traveling in foreign places and many miles are filled with varying bits of adventure, like trying not to get run over by the crazed mini bus drivers or getting food poisoning. Your need to go off and push you and your bike to it's limits on way-out there trails fades pretty quick.
b. Your bike is loaded with a bunch of stuff that any sane person would take on a trip when you are far away from anything familiar. The weight of your luggage and panniers is pretty significant and any performance advantages of specific bike models are severly curtailed and they all end up handling pretty similar, or at least in a close perfomance band.
c. You have opposable thumbs, some semblance of intelligence, and are adaptable. If your bike is uncomfortable on the highways, you will adapt and ride shorter days. If it doesn't handle well in the gravel, you will adapt and ride slower. You'll be surprised that whatever bike you have, almost everyone rides the same route and ends up at the same place in a similar amount of time.
There are so many great makes and models out there now that the bikes you see on the road will be incredibly varied now and into the future. The days of only seeing only BMWs out there are gone, but in the future the most commonly occuring bike on the far away road, is going to be this one, and for good reason.
If someone asked me what bike to recommend for long distance touring on variable condition roads, for riding in developing countries, or if they didn’t actually have a clear idea where they were going and wanted the flexibility to do almost anything, I would recommend this bike. As people rack up more overseas miles and their needs and interests evolve, people can migrate to cruisers or classics or dirt bikes or side cars. Or stick with the same bike.
Seems more and more riders are heading out there now and despite Ewan & Charlie's BMW promo films, are not all choosing new BMW's. I think old Air heads might be more popular now? How come? Two reasons:
1. More are doing serious research into reality. 2. Budget.
The other point to remember is that the Long Way Round films barely made a ripple in the USA. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow! Many riders I know (they liked the films!) commented that Ewan and Charlie were clearly on the wrong bikes, and noted how they blew it with KTM. The fried GS scene didn't inspire much confidence either. Will newbies even get this? No.
And BMW's sales boost in the UK prove this beyond a doubt. People are dumb. Maybe they think BMW road service plan will retrieve them out in Africa?
The F800GS is a good bike, best machine BMW make, IMO. But it still has a few typical BMW issues it seems. I don't own this bike but two friends do. NO problems from either one. The F800 rides much lighter than it's true 490 lbs. wet weight (US MCN test). This makes it only about 35 lbs. lighter than a R1200GS. But feels smaller and lighter by far to me. I got to switch back and forth between a new R12GS and F8GS. I loved the F800GS, a really nice bike! Great road handling, little soft off road but pretty nice. Vibey on the highway over 70 mph.
I don't know about Europe, UK or S. Africa, but in my neighborhood I see more and more travelers heading out riding simple, cheap dual sport singles. The Kawasaki KLR650 still rates close to the most popular choice going among travelers on a budget, especially younger riders.
Older rich guys apparently can afford a new $16K us KTM 990, $15K us F800GS or $17K us R1200GS. If you can afford these bikes, take them!
They are ALL good. (priceless in fact! )
The F800GS costs about $15,000 usd, (and going UP) simply not in my budget and I don't finance motorcycles. I always figure there is a chance of losing the bike outright in the 3rd world. How much are you willing to risk? Does your theft insurance cover in Panama? Mine does not. I'm not suggesting taking a Postie, Moped or 50cc Chinese scooter (although more and more do!) but for me something more middle ground makes more sense. Several recent ride reports I've seen seem to reflect this.
If a ride will be on road only then any affordable bike will do and this becomes a pointless conversation. If going more dirt roads and tracks then any properly set up dual sport single out there will out perform a loaded up F800GS off road anyway. Make your dual sport single comfortable and now the advantage of the F800GS diminishes further. It's a great bike, a joy to ride, but in deep sand? mud? rocks and ruts a well set up, lightly loaded dual sport single will be easier to handle for most riders. It will also crash better and be cheaper and easier to run and maintain. Maybe this is why we even see so many former BMW riders switching to simple dual sport bikes, even 250's.
I don't need to cruise at 90 mph all day. A KLR is good at 70 mph and with a good seat and shield is OK for a 10 hour day in the rain, can hit potholes at full speed and get though sand, mud and slop fairly well with a decent rider aboard.
Was wondering if anyone is using the F800GS to go RTW?? If so how is it taking this type of trip? I am curious to see how this bike would stand up to the riggors of such a trip.
I was in the dealer getting my R1200 looked at and a fellow came in just returned from rtw on his f800gs. I spoke with him for a while, and apart from a few niggling problems, it's worst failure was the rear shock. He had it replaced with an Ohlins, and said he'd start around again in a heartbeat.
Good enough for me, and I traded for one.
My front wheel looks something like yours, bent to hell from a ride in Death Valley. @ 30PSI
Get used to shitty BMW dealer service and warranty coverage denied, it comes with the GS at no extra cost.
Rear wheel bearings and hub failure- denied. cost me about $400
Front end steering head bearing failure- denied. cost me about $350
Front wheel bent- denied.
Broken chain the first day of purchase.
Add in these still unfixed/unexplained issues: two major oil leaks (still had the bent valve cover on it, though I've asked for it to be replaced) , stalling in the rain, random overheating, transmission slipping, stalling when left idling for more than 1 minute, and a gas gauge/computer system that I PAID for as an option doesn't work for shit even after being serviced twice. My bike was at a dealer for 6 weeks, with nothing but a bill and no answers at the end.
No love for BMW NA or it's network of shitty dealers here.
I feel the vast majority of GS owners idea of rough or long distance riding are quite different from mine.
25,000 miles in a matter of 6 months of riding, never holding back on the GS, it's my experience that BMW obviously DID NOT have the kinks worked out on the 09's, and should have supported the bike better, especially for us "BETA TESTERS".
I half expected to have a few issues with the brand new design bike, but the service and support I have had is just plain wrong.
To me it's obvious BMW's Adventure Marketing Department is far more skilled than the Adventure Machine Making Department....
On a positive note, the GS sure is a decent road bike.
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or
to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and
knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.