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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 4 Dec 2008
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What bike?

Hi Guys n girls,

I'm just looking for a bit of advice. I'm planing a trip from uk to oz with my gfriend. I'm looking for a bike that is upto the task but i'm not sure what is needed.

I did a small stint, 5000km, around west africa 2up on an XT500 which seemed to handle it OKish. Top speed was a bit of a problem when you found a piece road that was good enough to open it up on but we were happy enogh plodding along. One problem that did come up was in Ghana were the roads are good and the drivers aren't. The problem was due to dodgy over taking not giving us as much room as i would have liked.

For this reason i'm looking for a bike that can keep up with the locals and have a bit in reserve to get out the way if/when needed. The problem is i don't know what the roads are like and what speeds people travel at.

Can anyone who has been there or is there let me know what to expect from the Middle east and Asia. i'm looking at the 'stans, india and China route.

Thanks for any help.

Sam
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  #2  
Old 5 Dec 2008
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Rule of thumb is the higher the population, the slower the average speed on the roads. India, you are lucky to average 60km/hr while your bum is on the seat. You don't need much horsepower there. That's why they still sell Enfields.

If you don't get many replies, it's because this is about the most often asked question on the HUBB. Use the search function, read all the old posts you can find. And then ask some more specific questions.

Regards

Nigel in NZ
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  #3  
Old 5 Dec 2008
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Yep, it all depends on your preferences. I had the same quandary with everyone telling me you needed dedicated off road potential - utter rot as far as I am concerned. I did Asia and Africa, including a Sahara crossing, 30 years ago two up on a 2 stroke RD350 road bike - interestingly enough I met a Frenchman on an XT500 and we rode together from In Salah to Tamanrasset which was all sand, not bitumen. I had no problems at all staying with him off road. Unfortunately, being a 2 stroke meant I had to keep speeds down to under 90kmh if I wanted to get half way decent fuel consumption (thirsty buggers those RDs once the revs hit 5,000 ).

I just recently did China on a local 125 road bike and then did Korea to Italy (Russia/stans etc.) on a Burgman 650. I recommend the Burgman, plenty of space and comfort for a passenger and VERY capable when you need to cruise at higher speed (130kmh cruising and 4.5l/100km is a breeze). Using the auto mode, rather than manual mode, in the gearbox means you can concentrate on the road and other traffic rather than ensuring you are always in the right gear.

In my experience, no matter which country you are in, whenever the road allows it, most traffic, including trucks and buses, will travel at 120kmh+. The vast majority of roads you will be travelling on enroute to Oz allow those sorts of speeds so make sure your bike is capable of it.

Garry from Oz.
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Old 5 Dec 2008
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Talking What bike

I travelled a lot in Asia from China,Cambodia Thailand Laos vietnam to mongolia and this year all arround India. Like many of us we have tendency to think that we need a fast powerfull bike for travelling when in reality you will only increase the risk of serious accident, most of these country are fun to cross at 60KM/H but at 120 when a pig cross the road ,a bus is on the wrong side of the road and not slowing down coming at you or a pot hole jump at you in a curve you will find that speed was not a good idea. It is more fun to have a bike that you can take on gravel/dirt road just to visit some local beauty,I found with the exception of Europe and North America the speed is not necessary, I have been run off the road few time and thanks the fact that I wasn't doing 130 at this moment , better let the local kill themself than trying the race game with some creasy which beleive in reincarnation ( no ofense there)
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  #5  
Old 5 Dec 2008
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Hey Sam,
Going two up can pose some limits on the bikes you have available.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 20:16.
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  #6  
Old 5 Dec 2008
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Some years ago took my girlfriend who was new to bikes on the back of my XT500, we managed about 10 miles and it took ages to persuade her onto a bike again but we eventually managed a few short trips on the Guzzi Le Mans. I bought a R80ST and we did several 2-3000 mile trips around Europe but it was very cramped so we tried a Guzzi Spada Royale which was definately the best for 2 up comfort but reliability was a bit suspect so next came a K100RS which was declared almost as good as the Spada after several long European trips on both. The ultimate (IMHO) for 2 up 'overland' travel is the BMW R100GS which we rode from UK to Cape Town - 30k miles with 90kg of luggage, 155kg rider and passenger, handled all the dirt roads brilliantly and happily cruised on paved roads at 65-70mph.

All of the above are available at budget prices these days. Newer BMs may be as good but also the KTM 990 is supposed to be reasonable for pillions as well
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Old 6 Dec 2008
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Thanks for all of your replies.

Unfortunately money is quite a big consideration, especially with the carnet added on top. I’ve been looking at a lot of the bikes mentioned old R80/100 g/s (haven't seen many up for sale), Africa twins, Transalps and DL’s as these would make great bikes 2up on good roads.

I’ve also been looking at cheaper xt600/660, DRs, KLRs etc. I know these would be more uncomfortable day to day but with the money saved we could afford to slow the pace and do shorter stints. We would look to be self sufficient with tent, pots and pans etc. Going off of memory our kit was around 35kg on our last trip with us adding a combined weight of around 130kg (when we left), so 165kg altogether. Add to this the tools needed for the bike/spares etc and I’m guessing 180 kg (400lb) as a top figure. Will these smaller bikes be able to cope with this? I know it’s down to the way you ride but as in my last post I’d like to be able to keep up with traffic 60mph (100kph) cruising with a bit left over if needed 80mph (130kph). I also appreciate that these speeds are unrealistic/unsafe for a lot of places but were required/possible I would like to know the bike is up to it.

Thanks once again for your help/advice

Sam
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Old 6 Dec 2008
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The most popular single, apparently, in the UK seems to be the XT600.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 20:16.
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  #9  
Old 6 Dec 2008
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Thanks Patrick thats exactly what i wanted to hear

Looking back on my last trip it's hard to recall if the bike was as good as i remember or if I'm just looking back with rose tinted glasses.

When you talk of Old Boilers do you mean something like this
Name:  WestAfrica.JPG
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belive it or not that started life as an xt500, found it in Banjul (the gambia) for £240 sold it in ghana for the same. I'm not sure i would make a rear rack again, all our weight was over the back wheel.

I've got some time till the trip so i may get and old bike and give it some TLC.

Sam
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