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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 20 Aug 2012
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Lightbulb Round the world with a pillion. Help please.

Hi all,

Rather major decision here that I politely request your help with.

My girlfriend and I are planning a RTW trip at very short notice. Due to international disruptions, whether and previous destinations that we have already seen we are taking a bit of an unorthodox route.

I have 13 years of riding experience from commuting, touring, track racing in Super sport races to motocross races and enduro riding but could definatly do with any tips from previous experiences.

The route in short is basically;
Uk to USA by freight.
New York, Down the eastern coast to Florida, across the southern and central states, Nevada and Texas, to the West Coast, up to Portland and into Canada. Maybe divert to Alaska and then through southern Canada, Calgary to Quebec, Nova Scotia, Maine and back to NY.

Then we will meet the bike back at UK and proceed through
France, Swiss, Italy, Croatia, Austria, Czech Rep, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China ( Visa permitting ), Nepal, India, Bangladesh ,Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and back to Australia, then think about never coming back.

Now with America, Europe and most other places, with enough money to buy 2 bikes in succestion, I would easily settle with a nice big, comfy tourer by Honda or BMW and buy another trail/adventure bike when hitting Asia, however I am not Donald Trump so I need to pick a bike that will do the business not only with Emma as pillion, but handle the gear and the terrain that ‘off piste’ adventuring allows.

I have done some research and there are a few questions I could do with some insider’s knowledge on;

1 – Big or small. Is a smaller bike capable of what I’m intending to do? I back up the idea that more is always better and will run the engine under less strain if a bigger engine is the choice. We are talking 600-800 or a more preferable 1000-1200cc.

2 – I understand that Honda’s can be fixed by anyone, anywhere, anytime so this is obviously a benefit. I have had a few Honda’s and as everyone knows they are solid, probably only bettered by BMW, however how do the other manufactures get on?

3 – The big one. BWW, BMW, BMW (GS1100 etc….. I can afford one, I’d like one, however they are £2-4000 more than other makes, they can’t be fixed as easily and are expensive if anything goes on it.

Fuel tank size and MPG is another obvious big one with 100's between fuel stops.

Any experience or advice is warmly welcomed.

Thanks

Rob


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  #2  
Old 20 Aug 2012
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Quick and honest answer:

Get yourself the DVD series from this forum (either directly or via amazon: Achievable Dream - Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - Collectors Set: Amazon.co.uk: Horizons Unlimited, Ted Simon, Austin Vince, Lois Pryce, Simon Gandolfi, Sam Manicom, Simon Roberts, Peter and Kay Forwood, Gregory Frazier, Grant and Susan Johnson, ). I own a full set and you will not regret the money spent as all of your questions and those you have not even thought about will be answered.

Secondly, get your pillion a driver´s license and an own bike, if at all possible.

Regards from Tokyo
Chris
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  #3  
Old 20 Aug 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keks View Post
Quick and honest answer:

Get yourself the DVD series from this forum (either directly or via amazon: Achievable Dream - Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - Collectors Set: Amazon.co.uk: Horizons Unlimited, Ted Simon, Austin Vince, Lois Pryce, Simon Gandolfi, Sam Manicom, Simon Roberts, Peter and Kay Forwood, Gregory Frazier, Grant and Susan Johnson, ). I own a full set and you will not regret the money spent as all of your questions and those you have not even thought about will be answered.

Secondly, get your pillion a driver´s license and an own bike, if at all possible.

Regards from Tokyo
Chris
+1.

I think you need to research this whole idea a bit more.
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  #4  
Old 20 Aug 2012
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More is not always better. If your big, fancy bike happens to get stolen in some faraway country, for example, and it is uninsured. Not a big possibility, but it happens, and there are alternative ways to lose or destroy it on a trip like this.

But for two-up, I would get a bike with 2 or more cylinders.

Small low-tech bikes, that locals use, can be fixed anywhere (where they are common, that is). But what they ride, differs from region to region, country to country. Big, modern bikes are rare, as is expertise (and parts) to fix them, definitely a good idea to familiarize yourself with the bike, that you'll go with.

Last edited by pecha72; 20 Aug 2012 at 20:17.
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  #5  
Old 21 Aug 2012
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I'd say forget the branding too, when the locals ride Minsks or Heros it doesn't matter what it says on the tank, if it's broken you are phoning home and DHL. The main thing is a bike you understand, it might be an airhead BMW or a KTM or a Harley so long as you know when some roadside grease merchant is trying to sell you oil for a lawnmower that'll clog the filters. The bike salesmen havn't a clue once you get past the local coffee shop, so ignore the , any fool can photograph a 2 tonne monster on road tyres at the back of a Moroccan hotel, but they didn't ride it there from the south.

Forget western ideas on size a 125 can do this. What will keep you off US freeways will keep you mobile on dirt roads in the monsoon. 600CC with a 19 or 21 inch front tyre is more typical as a compromise, but you need to read and decide yourself.

Andy
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  #6  
Old 21 Aug 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keks View Post
Quick and honest answer:

Get yourself the DVD series from this forum (either directly or via amazon: Achievable Dream - Motorcycle Adventure Travel Guide - Collectors Set: Amazon.co.uk: Horizons Unlimited, Ted Simon, Austin Vince, Lois Pryce, Simon Gandolfi, Sam Manicom, Simon Roberts, Peter and Kay Forwood, Gregory Frazier, Grant and Susan Johnson, ). I own a full set and you will not regret the money spent as all of your questions and those you have not even thought about will be answered.

Secondly, get your pillion a driver´s license and an own bike, if at all possible.

Regards from Tokyo
Chris
+1, you are not the first with all those questions
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  #7  
Old 22 Aug 2012
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Looking at your route, its sounds like you'd be far better off buying a bike in the US then selling it when you are leaving the US, it's expensive buying in UK and shipping to and from N America, so save yourself about £2,000 in shipping costs (for one bike).

For 2 up, a big fat GS or whatever with a standard 22L tank is fine, you could pick one up in the US, sell when you are done Or even better, your pillion gets a licence and you each buy single cylinder 650s (or 400s for Asia), soft luggage etc and have more fun on the rough stuff.

Also forget about Burma/Vietnam on bikes.
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  #8  
Old 22 Aug 2012
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Well there is another way.

I see you are shipping to the USA so you have a bike now. If not you may be able to buy used in the USA and ride it there then sell it used loosing little on the trip. Or ship it home import and sell there. I have not priced shipping for some time but it was going fore $800 to $1000 each way last I looked. It may prove a better deal to not use your bike and "save it" for the rest of the trip. You can easy put 20,000 miles or 32,000 kilometers on the bike on that trip in the Americas. A sport tour will do well if you are gust looking to laying down miles. Most mid states are good to give a pass on. You will want watch the temp in the south and south west it can get hot.
You can do Mexico to Panama with out much problem as you are right there.

If it was me I look in to renting in Asia as getting you bike in and out may prove a bit much. A smaller bike is well made for the riding you will be doing there any way. But 2 up may not work well.


Now for the Qs

1) A small bike can ride the world a 50cc has done it with some one with no little time riding. I like a smaller 650 but I need the speed for freeways.
2) Honda or not unless that bike is sold in the place you are going and selling a lot you are still going to be shipping parts and hope the repair man knows how to fix it. Better bring a repair book with you.
3)Yes. BMW big and a price to match. But if you must go 2 up it still may prove a good idea. Others are in the running and if look at the rider storys you will see may others. Thing is about the size you do not feel it at speed. Not till you slow down 100 miles from any help and drop it on your leg oh then you feel it.

MPG is grate with small bike and still not bad on big ones I like to get 300 miles on a tank. I also do not pass may gas stops in the more remote areas. Get a little jerry can to get pass any big spans. Pushing a over loaded overland bike in 100f, 38c only looks fun.

As others have posted 2 up has it down sides. Less you can take, if the bike brakes no one to send for help, no way to get way from each other and on and on. In the least you need to be able to pick up the bike and hope you can with all the gear on it. Can Emma and you get it up? how bout if one of you get hurt? I have a problems with 650 if it is loaded up that big BMW R falls I will need to repack it.

You may want to see If you can pack all the gear you want to take with you on the bike. Get a tarp lay out your gear and look to see if there is any way to get that on a bike. You may want to see how much you and the gear is and how much your bike can take. This in not going be like a short ride around a track on a bike that is little more hefty than you are That bike can be way over the load limit. Think pregnant rhino less jet fighter.

You want to get the DVDs and get to meeting.
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  #9  
Old 22 Aug 2012
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Everyone is different, but me and my mate are going through a similar dilemma at the moment. We decided we didn,t want the big bangers as they are a handful when the going gets rough. We felt that about 800 was right for us as the bikes are physically big enough to be comfortable but not too big when the going gets tough of course they are too big for really serious offroad but for fire trails and tracks they are just fine. So with that decision we rode the bmw gs and the tiger 800 xc. Both bikes have pros and cons but we decided to let the pillions choose. Unfortunately for us one pillion liked the gs and the other liked the tiger. Go figure. Anyway i think we are going the tiger way. Hope this ramble helps. But i think comfort, comfort and then comfort..
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Old 22 Aug 2012
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Dazzerrtw is on a XT660 and doing very well 2up on his current RTW trip
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  #11  
Old 22 Aug 2012
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The right bike is the one that your happy with, lots of good advice here , the lighter the bike the better. Some roads are marked on the maps but when you arrive the "road" can look like a bombsite. You are going to be big, heavy and slow, thats fine if your comfortable with that.
I went RTW on a GS1200 solo, no problems at all , the bike took everything in it's stride, but saying that i am looking on a return visit with a G650gs, it's lighter and lower so be easier to "dab" when off road.
As for the route , why not do the western european and the Balkans first as a shake down tour, the roads vary and will give you some good insight into your bike , equipment, being lost, dealing with langauges, border crossings and yourselves and you will not be a million miles from help and to get back home if needed.
It will be cheap to get there and back and when your happy move onto North America (Ro-Ro Shipping from Germany ,Holland and the UK ) and then ship to Korea or Russia .
There a lot of "what if's" but get out there and enjoy
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  #12  
Old 22 Aug 2012
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2up just fine

We travelled from San Francisco to Ushaia 2 up on a 650 Vstrom and had no problems getting parts and fixes. Main reason for our choice was that either one of us (with the help of a little adrenalin) could pick it up if dropped which is always comforting to know. We didn't do much off road but when we did we were fine.

I would read up on some of the books and dvds advised here then just go for it

tina
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  #13  
Old 23 Aug 2012
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Greetings Rob and Emma

I don't know if you found this link on the HU site yet but I think its well worth reading.

The Bike: Choosing and Outfitting it | Horizons Unlimited

As Grant says any bike can do it, it's all up to you.

Good Luck

Ian J
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Old 3 Oct 2012
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Rob, I'm replacing an BMW 1150 GS Adventure and a KLR 650 with an BMW 800 GS. I will have the both the 1150 GSA and the KLR 650 for sale soon.
They both have been set up with all the goodies for RTW Travel including after market suspension( very important for two up) and Luggage.
If you decide to buy in the US and are interested send me a pm. I am located in Texas.
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