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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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  #16  
Old 13 Jun 2012
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Safety Aspect

I realize it's anecdotal but I've heard a number of stories about trailers causing accidents and I did come across an example on a gravel section (under repair) of the Alaska Highway. This fellow was towing with a Wing when the trailer began to fishtail in the gravel and pulled the bike down. He was fortunate to be lightly injured and to be reasonably close to a lodge when it happened.

Towing off pavement seems to have some issues.
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  #17  
Old 13 Jun 2012
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I've never pulled a trailer but I had 2 Goldwings in my distant past. The first one I rode all over Mexico (where I live) and put about 150,000 miles on it. It was a big bike at the time but looks quite small now. It was a first year model, unfaired and with no luggage. I then had an Interstate which I didn't ride a lot but it was also a good bike. My brother rides a Goldwing in England and pulls a trailer with it. The roads there are pretty narrow and he says he doesn't even know it is there.
You can always unhitch the trailer leave it somewhere for a couple of hours, days, weeks and explore the country side.
If you make it to Mexico City, which I am sure many people will tell you to avoid like the plague because of the mad traffic, you are welcome to stay with us. We have had 2 couples visit us on Ural sidecar outfits which to me seem more of a challenge than a Goldwing pulling a trailer.
Good luck and travel safe.
Garry
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  #18  
Old 13 Jun 2012
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Peter & Kay Forwood toured through all countries of the world on a Harley ElectraGlide (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/forwood/) and Sjaak Lucassen toured around the world on a Yamaha R1 (http://www.sjaaklucassen.nl/index.php?lang=en) because these were the bikes they liked.
Not the most obvious RTW bikes but they did it.
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The bike I ride is a Honda GoldWing GL1200 Aspencade and sometimes a 1978 Honda CB400T
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  #19  
Old 31 Jul 2012
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You will regret it! Did South America Nov and Dec of last year (on a BMW 1200 GSA) and I would say the following;
- if you are expecting only to ride on tramac you will have to leave a lot out. Many of the major routes through many countries (Peru, Bolivia, Columbia etc) have frequent and long stretches of unpaved road - at best that awful corrugated surface or gravel, or at worst sand!
- Even decent tarmac roads have surfaces and potholes like you wouldn't believe - potholes that will drop you if you hit them. Navigating such surfaces requires agility and max manoeuvrability. That idea that you could get that with a trailer behind you!!
Get yourself a decent mid size adventure bike and pack light
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  #20  
Old 1 Aug 2012
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Thanks Brian for taking the time to reply. Seems there is much to consider for touring South America. On one hand, there is the idea of riding in comfort and packing in a secure locked trailer so nothing is left out for someone to consider taking, and then on the other hand, going light with little to carry and more dependent on staying in hostels and towns worrying about anything that is not secured in panniers. There's also the concern of riding on a loud hard seating bike that will get you around the potholes and rough roads. Lots to consider...

BTW, how was the ride on that big 1200 GS? Smooth or rough?
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  #21  
Old 2 Aug 2012
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Riding a GoldWing in South America with a trailer

Qui Que

If riding your Goldwing through South America towing a trailer is your dream go for it. Everyone has advice, but the only choice that's right in the end is the one you make for yourself.

In '79 my wife and I rode our 1976 LTD Wing towing a 6ft x4ft trailer from Alaska to Brazil. We spent 3 years on the road and covered 200,000kms. That bike took us through rivers, deserts, mountains & non existent roads...and we carried the kitchen sink. In that time all we had happen was a hole in the oil filter and a burst airline. I patched the oil filter with a coke can and scrounged an aerial off a passing truck driver to fashion a new one. A GoldWing might not be everyone's idea of the way to do Sth America but I sure as heck couldn't fault the machine for comfort or reliability and we had the best experience of our lives.

If I had the time I could give you more details, but most of what you need to know you'll learn on the road. I'm currently riding my 1910 FN motorcycle from Nepal to Belgium. 10,000kms so far through India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania & now Hungary. Plenty of people said the FN wasn't built for this kind of travel either, but I'm having a ball proving them wrong and I'm only 69!

Men do not stop playing because they grow old, they grow old because they stop playing - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Ron
Old Bloke on a Bike | Travels of an old guy on an old bike, from one side of the world to the other
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  #22  
Old 2 Aug 2012
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Ron, you are one impressive old bloke! Thank you so much for giving me hope. I just browsed through your latest travel blog and have to say that I am blown away at what you are doing and the bike that you are doing it with!

I just know you are having the best time of your life and that you are someone all of us older geezers can look up to.

Thanks again for the encouraging words.
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  #23  
Old 2 Aug 2012
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Big, big machine, QuiQue ...

Hello, I live in Argentina, your moto is very nice, and you can go for all the countries in South America without problems, but only in Highways, national routes, and not too much more. You cannot go to a lot of very nice places with that moto. Probably you can´t find motorcycle parts for your moto !!! I have a 1800 GL , I love it .... but I used it only in Europe, here I used GS ´BMWs, or RT .
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  #24  
Old 3 Aug 2012
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Pulling trailer with Gold Wing in South America

See here's what I mean - everyone has an opinion. Maybe some people feel comfortable only riding Highways and National routes and that's okay, but to say someone else can't get to other nice places on a GoldWing is pure speculation. I remember parts of Central & Sth America being incredibly challenging but these also were often the most rewarding. Yes, there's gravel and corrugations and there's sand in many places, but your level of skill and confidence will dictate what you're comfortable doing and what you're not.

True, it's helpful to know spare parts might not be available, but you can have them sent DHL to any part of the world. If you get to know your bike, practice riding in all conditions with a trailer and learn a few useful mechanical skills before you leave, then there's a good chance you'll find the ride isn't as hard as you imagined. Being given advice can sometimes be a godsend, especially when it's given in the spirit of helping a fellow rider, but other times it's a pain in the butt because it just gets in the way of living our dreams.

QuiQue do your own thing and enjoy it. How does anyone know "you'll regret it" because they did? Lynne & I loved it and I'll bet there's plenty like us, so who gets to decide? Even if your trip through Sth America turns out to be not what you expected, it's been a life experience. Sadly there's not enough people having them these days. I didn't even pick up a map this trip til I hit Europe and now I spend too much time looking at the map instead of enjoying the scenery. My wife meanwhile is following me on buses, trains, & hitching rides from one country to another while many her age are playing lawn bowls. Nothing wrong with bowls, but it doesn't happen to ring her bell.

Ask yourself, will your experience be the same as the next guy even if you're on the same bike, on the same road, with the same colored tent? At the end of the day will you give a rusty nail if it is or it isn't? The best person to give you advice is yourself. Listen to your instinct and if it feels wrong it usually is. Otherwise just go for it.
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  #25  
Old 3 Aug 2012
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1 + for the opinion here above (oldblokeonabike)
variety is the spice of live!

Good Luck and saludos.
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  #26  
Old 3 Aug 2012
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I appreciate the feedback docrafita, but I'm wondering if you realize the difference between your 1800 GL and my 1100 GL. You have a much bigger goldwing my friend! One of the things I like about this older 1982 bike is that it is smaller and much lighter than the newer GoldWings. My biggest concern right now is the air suspension and am seriously considering replacing both front and back shocks with manual controlled shocks. The other thing is to put better tires on it. Maybe something between off-road and street tires?

I haven't done the research and will likely go to one of the Goldwing specific web sites to see what the classic goldwingers have to say about the subject. Anyone here with recommendations for shocks and tire mods for the Goldwing will be greatly appreciated.

In weighing all the different situations for this trip, and realizing that I have no desire to do "off-road" trailblazing, I've come to the conclusion that 90% of my biking experience will be on tarmacs and gravel roads. I believe that if I'm going to be on this bike for 6 months or more that it will be important to travel with as much comfort as possible.

Please realize this is an older Goldwing. One that does not have all the modern electronics and fancy looks. That is why I really like my 1982 Goldwing Interstate. Its solid, light for the power it has (1100cc) and proven as a low maintenance bike. I know parts will be virtually impossible to find, but that is nothing new because it is the same here in the states. Thats were the beauty of the Internet comes in. The key is prepping and knowing what the bike is and what it can do before taking this trip.

It's a mechanical love relationship that I have with my Baby Jane. I know her inside and out ;-)
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  #27  
Old 4 Aug 2012
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For more then ten years I had a GoldWing GL1200. A nice bike that I also used on dirtroads. No heavy off-roading but it was doing fine.

After some other bikes like a Sportster and a BMW F650GS, I bought a GoldWing again. Now a GL1500/6 but after a year I sold it again. It was perfect on tarmac but for me it was to big to ride dirtroads. I'm sure some people will do it on a 1500/1800 but I'm not that good.

Now I bought a BMW R1100GS and I am very happy with it but I know that with a GL1200 (or a GL1100) you can do a lot more off the tarmac then on the bigger 1500 and 1800 Goldwings.
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The bike I ride is a Honda GoldWing GL1200 Aspencade and sometimes a 1978 Honda CB400T
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http://www.krijtenburg.nl/HU_BoZ/ (The HU Motorcycle Travellers Community in my area)
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  #28  
Old 4 Aug 2012
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Wow Jan, I just went to your blog and toured all the bikes you've owned. I'm quite impressed! Of all the bikes you've owned, which would you say is your favorite for long tours? Which one is/was the most dependable?
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  #29  
Old 4 Aug 2012
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trailer with 82 Gold Wing Gl1100 in South America

QuiQue - because our GoldWing had spoked wheels and not a comstar which I assume yours has, I spoked a Volkswagon rim for the rear wheel knowing I could pick up these anywhere in SA. My suggestion is stick with the tyres you have – our front tyre never gave us any trouble whatsoever. We had an onboard compressor that I fitted S&W rear air shocks to and also had air caps on the front forks, but this was in the early eighties and I’m sure there’s better gear available these days.
In response to the poster whose suggestion against taking an expensive bike & trailer because it leaves you vulnerable to thieves, is that in my experience of three years on the road was only a pair of sunglasses left on the bike seat one time disappeared. And yes people ask questions, “what’s the bike worth, how old are you, where are you from, where are you going, do you like our country” – that’s called curiosity.
I have to confess that as well as the kitchen sink (quite literally), we had a tank carrying 30 litres of water fitted under the trailer, along with a 12 volt refrigerator, and on top an EM500 Honda generator, 2 jerry cans with 40 litres of spare fuel, spare front & rear tyres, an awning that made our camper trailer into a 12ft x 9ft 2 roomed tent. The camper had a double bed always set up. I suspect many of you will think I was totally daft hauling bike and equipment that weighed all up ¾ ton, but we were planning on being on the road for years, rather than weeks, so comfort above all else was our criteria.
My point is, there is no right or wrong way to travel. I’m now on a much lighter bike, have a fraction of the gear, but it’s a totally different experience. It’s not half as comfortable for a start. I have fabulous memories of my GoldWing & trailer adventure all those years ago, including that we were the first motorcyclists to travel the newly opened Carraterra Austral in Chile. QuiQue, you sound like a guy who is well prepared and open to the challenge of whatever South America has to offer. Buena suerte amigo!
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  #30  
Old 5 Aug 2012
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Muchas gracias amigo! I love what you did on that trip. Sounds like you had one heck of a comfortable trip. I don't think I will go to that extent, but I'm feeling much better about the idea of taking the trailer now.

You mentioned you set up air shocks for your Goldwing. Mine have them built in stock, but I was under the impression that air shocks are not as good as having a manual adjuster. I've noticed that I must have a very slow air leak on my rear shocks because I have to add air every couple of weeks. It's not a real problem, but I was thinking that it may get worse as I travel on rough roads on a daily basis. I did buy a 12v portable air compressor that plugs into the lighter thinking it would be a valuable tool to have to keep the tires and shocks properly inflated. Do you have any recommendations on shocks? Maybe I'm okay with the ones I currently have?
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