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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 21 Apr 2008
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Quads better than bikes for traveling???

Three years ago I did an around the world trip on the industry standard BMW 1150GS, I loved it for North America, Europe, and Turkey but when I reached Africa I hated it. I was so limited on the terrain we could ride, if there was mud it would take a week to pass, if there was sand we would fall all the time. I missed so much scenery because I was focussing on the road.
So when we decided to do Africa again my wife came up with the idea of Quadbikes. It was the best idea ever, all of sudden we could travel the worst roads in Africa, we could ride up the dunes in Algeria, river crossings no problem, and I spent more time looking at the scenery than looking for potholes. Not to mention we could carry much more gear and take enough food and water to last us a week. We traveled 17 countries in 8 months and never regretted being on a quad a single time.
Quads are the best of both worlds for africa, you get the adventure of a bike but the stability of 4 wheels. But with that said I still have my BMW and I will never sell it but I will never bring it to Africa again.
So alright all you hard core motorcyclists lets hear it.

For the info from my first trip WELCOME TO JOURNEY TO ESCAPE REALITY
For the Quad trip Welcome to www.quadsacrossafrica.com
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  #2  
Old 22 Apr 2008
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Quads are not leagal here on public roads....
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  #3  
Old 22 Apr 2008
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May need a old school dune buggy or sand rail, quads are not legal most places in the USA. Some quads are more like a buggy now. but not legal on road most places.
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  #4  
Old 22 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuadsAcrossAfrica View Post
Three years ago I did an around the world trip on the industry standard BMW 1150GS, I loved it for North America, Europe, and Turkey but when I reached Africa I hated it. I was so limited on the terrain we could ride, if there was mud it would take a week to pass, if there was sand we would fall all the time. I missed so much scenery because I was focussing on the road.
You're not the only one with that thought...

http://www.brainsweb.co.uk/uploads/the-wrong-bike.wmv
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  #5  
Old 22 Apr 2008
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Wink 4 wheels are 4 wheels

When I take the thought process of switching from 2 to 4 wheels to its full logical conclusion it points toward a Land Rover or Cruiser et al.

With a quad, you give up all of the advantages and attraction of 2 wheeled transport with not much gain.

In a post a short time back, there was a very good argument and summary about why a quad in South America is not very suitable.
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  #6  
Old 22 Apr 2008
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Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
When I take the thought process of switching from 2 to 4 wheels to its full logical conclusion it points toward a Land Rover or Cruiser et al.

With a quad, you give up all of the advantages and attraction of 2 wheeled transport with not much gain.

In a post a short time back, there was a very good argument and summary about why a quad in South America is not very suitable.
As someone who chose three wheels I can see the advantages. You are still open with a 360 degree view, so people treat you as a biker and talk to you. You have power to weight ratio's 4x4 drivers only dream of. You have a fairly simple vehicle you can keep up to. In addition snow, sand. mud etc. holds no fear and you can carry a massive amount of gear. Diesel quads have ranges that'll have the chairman of Touratech/Acerbis running for cover and unlike the latest crop of CAN messaged, catalysed, overweight, overpriced bikes, they are designed to be used.

It is a different vehicle entirely, not a landcruiser, not a bike.

That said I'd stay clear. I mean, they turn the same way in both directions, boring or what!! Seriously, the legals will be frightning and probably make a RTW impossible. In some markets they are treated just like a 4x4, in others some are light cars others are off road only and in other markets still they would count as a 4x4 for type approval/certification but fail on crash protection and are so totally illegal. You could argue that what's legal at home is allowed transit under the UN charter. This works for having the wrong headlights or even a chair on the left in a right hand country, but a vehicle where they can't even tell if you have the right license? If you try this you'll need an extra quad to carry the lawyer and his/her books and an extra ten or fifteen years to spend in jail while the cops come round to your way of thinking

Sorry to rain on your parade. Put a chair on the GS and simply fly it when you fancy two wheels, problem solved

Andy
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Old 22 Apr 2008
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Why not a more sensible choice of bike, I don't think for a north africa trip a GS would even make the short-list, especially if you want to ride through some dunes. As you have ridden a GS in bad conditions you should appreciate the difference even more (am still recovering from taking a big traillie through some dunes years ago).

I could rant for England about the disadvantages of quads, but to be fair a lot of that is personal prejudice against the people that ride them so I'll try and leave it in the bar!

If you want the open-ness of a bike and the stability of 4 wheels then I would also say a sand-rail would be your best bet, either buy one or get an old VW beetle, take the body off, uprate the suspension, weld a roll-cage on, add extra oil coolers to the top or side, whack in a couple of seats with 4-point harnesses and you're good to go. In the UK you wouldn't even have to re-register the vehicle - it would be a VW beetle still.

You still wont get past the "4-wheels move the body and 2-wheels move the soul" issue!
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Old 22 Apr 2008
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Why not?

Odd hé.

QuadsAccrossAfrica shares his positive experience with quads in Africa, and we get an avalange of legal nightmares and other disadvantages.

Seems to my those guys just proved they are a viable option for Africa. If not for you, sure for someone else. What about Siberia in winter?

Cheers!
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Old 22 Apr 2008
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I wouldnt do it for a few reasons however if (for whatever reason) a lightweight/sand and mud worthy 2-wheeler were out of the question then the next logical step would be a quod!
Ive seen a few have some truly spectacular accidents though.
Not for me, heavy is the wrong direction.
Why hasnt a quad ever won the Paris-Dakar?


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Old 22 Apr 2008
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for the siberia winter....

Russian motorcycle manufacturer Ish make a crazy bike for the siberian winter (actually a trike), massive massive balloon wheels, about 3 foot wide for staying on top of the snow. The look insane but are probably a bad way to travel compared with a truck (warm) or snowmobile (fast), anyone ever ridden one?
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Old 22 Apr 2008
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Why hasnt a quad ever won the Paris-Dakar?

We werent in a race so that really isnt a relavent reply, we traveled 8 months covering 17 countries.
I agree that a small bike, a 250, would be the best bike to travel Africa but on a small bike the amount of gear you can take for an 8 month trip is very limited. Like I said we carried food and water for a week, this made us very independent and we could go pretty far out into the back country.


As far as paper work Quads are street legal in Europe so no problem their and in Africa we never had a single problem with our paperwork as far as the rest of the world cant say. In the US some states they are not legal but several people have crossed the US on them doing back roads. So where there is a will there is a way.

I refuse to travel by landcruiser or a VW bug, the difference being that you are sitting in something and on a Quad you are riding. A quad still has all the same adventure of a bike if not more because of the places that can be accessed.

I love when people make arguements that they have seen horrible accidents on Quads. Uhhmmm go talk to the local policeman and ask him how many motorcyclists they have scraped off the highway, way more than quads for sure.

Finally
You still wont get past the "4-wheels move the body and 2-wheels move the soul" issue!
I am a die hard motorcyclist, as soon as I got home I couldnt wait to take my BMW out and I am jonesing for a track day on my sport bike. But after 8 months in Africa when you hit the hard the roads trust me moving the body is just as important as moving the soul. Plus Quads arent this boreing souless vehicle they are a blast and do have character of their own.
Like threewheelbonnie said "It is a different vehicle entirely, not a landcruiser, not a bike."
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  #12  
Old 22 Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbert View Post
Odd hé.

QuadsAccrossAfrica shares his positive experience with quads in Africa, and we get an avalange of legal nightmares and other disadvantages.
Yeah, I'm on the positive side of this argument too, as to me they do look like a great "third way" which gives you a lot of the plus points of a bike, with some of the extras of a 4x4.

Quote:
What about Siberia in winter?
Well oddly enough, that's just what we're thinking. We've been pushed back on leaving for China so there's no way we'll get a summer trip so inspired by Tobias's adventures Trans-Siberian in winter we thought, why not?

Mind you we're shifting one step further from bikes and looking at the latest crop of UTVs or Side-by-Sides like the



It's got a 700cc EFI engine, full/part-time four wheel drive.... well you can read the rest via that link. I reckon it gives a lot of the perks of a quad (small size, good power/weight ratio, manoeuvrability) but with the added safety perks that some people worry about with quads (the whole roll issue)

And it has plenty of space for all the gear, thousands of accessories available from Polaris and loads of others.

As for the legal issues, a European quad or side-by-side or buggy is classed as a "heavy quadricycle" which you need either a full bike licence or a full car licence to drive/ride. From the research I've been doing it many countries seem to say if you have a licence to drive it and it's registered for the road in its home country then you can drive it on the roads or off-road no problem. The US appears not to allow this as the Quadtrek team found out with their drive from Canada to Mexico. I don't know about South-America or Australia though.

I'll shut up now before I sound like an infomercial
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Old 22 Apr 2008
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I have limited experiences with quads, but they seem to be a sensible alternative to a motorcycle, if one was to ride strictly, or as much, off road as possible, such as riding across the US on the back country dirt roads/trails/etc. I have to agree with Quadsacrossafrica--who cares if and why a quad has not won the Paris to Dakar? Or the Baja 1000? They can do the route, and for 99.999% of the people, can do the route better than a 2 wheeler as far as when the terrain gets ugly for two wheels. Much can be loaded onto them. The only real downsides I can see (again, considering the intended route) are the thumb throttle, and the appetite for fuel.
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Old 22 Apr 2008
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The short answer - NO!

Quads are only better in limited circumstances. No one has made the case that quads are recognized/legal in all places where motorcycles can operate.

So there's some people who happened to use them in special situations - as in Africa - where there wasn't a restriction on quads. So they perform better in soft stuff - a reason for the things to exist in the first place. But hit pavement and the motorcycle will be a better vehicle choice. Try negotiating through congested city traffic, and I'm willing to bet the motorcycle will get you through traffic better.

Around the world, motorcycles can go anywhere its legal to operate a motor vehicle, and although there are situations when they may not be the best vehicle, they'll still get you there.
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Old 22 Apr 2008
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But is anyone say "thou shalt not use your motorcycle"? "thou shalt not use a car"?

No I think not, all that's being suggested is that in some circumstances they can also be considered as a suitable long distance touring vehicle. I wouldn't dare tell anyone what vehicle to use, all I'd do was suggest alternatives.
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