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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 22 Mar 2007
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Opinions: bikes & strategy RTW Part I

I am heading off on an extensive tour of the worlds greatest mountain ranges. I like to trek, hike and climb a lot.

I am planning 15 months of travel. The first phase will be Moscow 5/15 then east across Russia. A quick tour around Mongolia (optional) & then most of June & July head south down the mountains through the stans, Kazak, Kyrgyz, then Tajik through the Parmirs. Trekking and hiking as much as I can. Next, I intend to cross to Kashgar and head south towards Pak before veering East to Tibet over the months of July & Aug, again more hiking and trekking and finally on to Nepal in Oct & Nov for more of the same.

For this leg of the trip, I hope purchase & travel on a local bike (likely a Ural). I'd likely take the train out of Moscow and start looking for a bike in Kazak. After Tajik I will attempt to ride to Kashgar. If I am allowed to cross, I'll try & head for Tibet. I figure a local bike would be better becuase if I can't get across the border cheaply w/the bike I can sell it cheap in Kazak & look for another in Kashgar or head off in a with a truck driver. I don't want to take an expensive bike becuase I am more fond of completing the the route than having to detour thru Afghan & Pak. I also am not so sure about soloing on such an attention getting bike as a GS or Trans in these areas.

I figure a single/series of local bikes will be best. What chances will I have a being able to buy a cheap local bike in the stans? Can I cross stan borders on a cash paid bike out there w/o papers? What papers will I need to get about with few hassles?

Any idea about getting bike in Kashgar? I know that crossing into Nepal from India w/o papers is no real prob. How about from China?

I have a fair bit of travel experience and an up to try something kinda ambitious. What do you think?
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India Himal, 3mo,2x; Kazak/Krygyz/Tajik, 3 mo; Kashi-Lhasa, China 219! 6 wk; Nepal, 4 days/trekked 55; Santiago-Ushuia-Cusco, 7 mo; Peru, 3 mo; Chile-Medellin 3 mo; Medillin-Arica, 3 mo
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Old 25 Mar 2007
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Arrow

I haven't done this route so I can't offer best advice, but it is clear from reading this site and talking to overlanders that getting in and out of the stans with a vehicle is hard work indeed. Lots of fees and border hassle. Now, this may be a worthwhile investment if you are taking the bike on a big RTW trip or similar, but you don't seem to have this in mind.

Second, buying and selling anywhere other than home can be frought with problems; and then crossing borders with a foriegn bike, that is registered in a country other than your own, with papers you can't read, negotiating without a common language... hmm you are making life difficult for yourself indeed.

Sorry to be so negative, but it is best to have an idea what you are getting yourself into. Perhaps someone with more detailed knowledge can be more specific. But my impression is that the stans are not the most straightforwards of places to travel with a vehicle. It is a serious logistical undertaking.

As for China, well I wouldn't - have a look around this site for the info. In short: difficult and expensive.

You might be better off hiring local bikes for a few days/weeks at a time to get up into the best spots. Mix this with local transport.

If you are keen to up the biking content, then spend more time in Nepal, where they have the glorious combination of bikes, a tourist infrastructure, familiarity with English and - last but not least - lots of big mountains.

Just my thoughts - maybe some help.

Simon
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Old 25 Mar 2007
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Cool

ahh, I just see that others have responded on other parts of the HUBB to your plans... well maybe I should have looked around first.

S
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  #4  
Old 29 Mar 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Kennedy View Post
...getting in and out of the stans with a vehicle is hard work indeed. Lots of fees and border hassle. ....

....Second, buying and selling anywhere other than home can be frought with problems; and then crossing borders with a foriegn bike, that is registered in a country other than your own, with papers you can't read, negotiating without a common language....

... my impression is that the stans are not the most straightforwards of places to travel with a vehicle. It is a serious logistical undertaking.

As for China, well I wouldn't - have a look around this site for the info. In short: difficult and expensive.

You might be better off hiring local bikes for a few days/weeks at a time to get up into the best spots. Mix this with local transport.

If you are keen to up the biking content, then spend more time in Nepal, where they have the glorious combination of bikes, a tourist infrastructure, familiarity with English and - last but not least - lots of big mountains.
Thanks for the advice Simon.

I think w/a local bike I won't be as scrutinized as westerners on a GS or equiv. I'm thinking I can both buy & sell the bike in Kazakh as long as I can get it across the stans boarders. If not, oh well. I know one guy on this site was able to cross from Kazakh to China on an old Ural w/o any special papers. I think if I just said I was going to Kashghar for a few days & then returning I might get through. Then I'll just head off to Tibet & see what happens. If I can't get the bike into China I'll just turn back & go sell it.I figure my chances are much better on a local bike and if I spend less than a 1000 usd on it, I can dump it for half price if it doesn't work out.

I know Nepal and it's easy for bikes, I am up to try something a little riskier, besides, I can always go by bus,trains and hitching.

Wish me luck.
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India Himal, 3mo,2x; Kazak/Krygyz/Tajik, 3 mo; Kashi-Lhasa, China 219! 6 wk; Nepal, 4 days/trekked 55; Santiago-Ushuia-Cusco, 7 mo; Peru, 3 mo; Chile-Medellin 3 mo; Medillin-Arica, 3 mo
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  #5  
Old 29 Mar 2007
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Talking

Ahh....a true adventurer. I misjudged my post, thinking you might be a timid overcautious Honda-owning, check-the-oil-every-day type like myself.

Truly, best wishes - with the right spirit overland biking is always a full experience.

Simon
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