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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!
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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!
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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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With the AT you might want to change the fuel pump upfront or at least make sure it's not making any funny noises - this is a common fault on the AT - also the Reg /rectifier is prone to cooking - replacements for both are available.
The AT is an old design and you'll be restricted on the weight you carry more so than the BMW (which is a good thing as you won't be tempted to take the kitchen sink)
Maybe at least refresh the fork oil (and change the springs and look at the rear shock too.
Lastly the wheel rims are prone to rotting check around the spoke nipples - sometimes rot can hide on the inside of the rims leaving the outside nice looking.
best of luck
Thanks for all the advice, lots to think about.
Thanks for the prep thoughts on the Africa twin.
If I was to buy the AT then I'd have to buy some luggage.
Buying an alu set will probably cost almost as much as the bike itself!!!
(Hard to justify.)
That's why i'm tempted towards the cheaper lockable Givi type luggage ( I have a very handy practical E52 back box on my CBR1000 and swer by it).
I would go for the even cheaper soft panniers but security is an issue.
Hhhmmm it's a very personal thing. Some people will swear by soft liuggage and with a pacsafe type thing will make it a bit more secure - although maybe a bit awkward to get in and out of (?)
I got some Hepco and Beker alu boxes off ebay for not a lot of money - cheaper than new so second hand is an option ( assuming you can get hold of them where you are) and there are plenty of manufacturers making pannier frames for AT's SW Motech do detachable ones
Of course the plastic givi types are just as good - so it's down to personal choice and cost.
Have you looked on the UK Africa Twin owners site? Do a search for panniers - there's loads of info on there about luggage and general tech know how - will help with your prep Honda Trail Bike Forums
I am with the others - the AT has a good reputation for reliability, and is a whole lot cheaper; it's tough and simple. The BMW wins hands down on all the performance criteria - all of which are no concern to you.
There are a thousand luggage solutions - don't let yourself miss out on the agony of this pre-trip problem. It is an essential part of the experience.
I'm impressed by the number of people who travel on well used, reliable bikes. I suppose when you've broken down somewhere far from a big city, you could do without the complicated electronic gadgetry that some of these new bike have, but rather have a simple bike that most mechanics could get their basic tools to.
I have a 1200gsa and am prepping it for a RTW trip 2009, I am very happy with the bike and for such long trips it is awesome. I have been offroad through wadi's and up mountains on the bike and it continually surprises me on what a capable machine it is. Yes it is heavy and expensive but for a bike that is comfortable and can last a good 500km + on one tank of petrol, its great. I have met alot of people who are either on the RTW or travelling from europe on 1200gsa and have sworn by them. Another thing is that BMW have alot of dealers all over the world and getting parts sent across to them is pretty straightforward!
But whatever you decide to go for, all the best and maybe see you around!
We had an 1150GS for our trip, but we were two on the bike.
If I were alone, the AT would be my choice. For RTW, you want simple, and the staggering difference in money really would make it an easy decision for me. You have stacks of ATs to choose from out there. If I am not mistaken, the AT is alsoa 21 nch front wheel. More tyre choices, as well as cheaper, and better off road.
A fraction of the saving would allow you to buy good, reliable, lightweight and compact kit such as tent, sleeping bag, stoves etc as well a whole plethera of entry visas!!
Also, how easy is it to get tyres/spares in the places you are going? BM dealers are spread a bit more thinly outside the western countries, given their chosen customer base: We had hassles getting a specific GS tyreand that was only in Chile.
As for the ally cases, I think these are a great option. They will not crack if the bike drops (and it will: another thought regarding the shiny BM), and having big panniers, actually already gets the bike the first 30 degrees off the horizontal! They are also secure and if you choose carefully, you can use them again for the next bike, with only a bracket change.
Ultimately, its your choice, but the bike should really be one of the tools that allows you to do the trip. I get the feeling from you last post that you are already tempted toward the BM. This is fine but, playing devil's advocate, I would ask if you choose it as the best RTW bike with its complexity and price, or because you fancy owning one. The question is, which will allow you to get the most from your trip?
Apart from it's reputation, i don't know much about the AT, but i own both a 1200GS and an '89 GS. Personally, i find the 1200 un-suitable for around the world travel. This is due it it's limited crashability and parts availability. Sure, it's a great bike! Comfy, very powerful, but it lacks in simplicity which is paramount for ATW travel. Trying to find the un-usual size tires can be very difficult and limited in choice. The 19" front really plows off-road but feels nice on the highway. Personally, i think i would take the TA, based on it's reputation alone. BMW has had many issues with their new bikes, including the AWS key-ring antenna which immobilizes the bike, weeping final drive seals which ultimately result in total failure, weeping in-put and out-put shaft seals and warped brake rotors. All are covered under warranty, and all are a very small percentage which means it probably won't happen to you. That being said, it really sucks when your in the middle of the Altoplano in Bolivia and your keyring antenna dies and leaves your bike immobilised, bring a spare. i know of a guy in Peru who crashed his bike, pushed the fairing up into the immobiliser antenna and destroyed it. He was waiting a long time for the parts. Just because there is a dealer in the country your in doesn't mean they will have the parts you need, or the knowhow to properly service your bike. Although my bikes in the shop in Mexico getting its second set of out-put shaft seals and clutch plate replaced due to oil contamination, i still love it...but i wouldn't want to go far from home with it.
Thanks Stephano for the infos on bike 4 sale in Dubai. I shall look into that.
I agree with you Warthog, my mind says AT but my heart says GSA.
The trip is going to be a once in a lifetime trip, and I'd love to have a beautiful looking machine alongside, but then again don't want nightmarish flashbacks of breakdowns to haunt me for years to come.
The other side to this is that I thought I was old enough to be past that stage when you long for a vehicle, but settle for something else cause it's cheaper, then you spend the next few years tarting it to up to look like the bike you wanted in the first place. Some years ago I decided to stop doing that, and work a little harder, for a little longer, until I could afford the vehicle I wanted, with the full options.
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