Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > Which Bike?

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.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.


LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 6 Aug 2010
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 2
which bike for South America?

Planning a trip to travel through South America for a period of around 3 months, I doubt there is concensus (given the number of forums pitting bike against bike!) but which specific bikes are generally well thought of for this sort of journey? Also, not wanting to spend a large amount on the bike, almost certainly a second hand one so fair to say I'll be ruling out the top-of-the-range models. Basically looking for a cheap, reliable touring bike!

All suggestions welcome
Reply With Quote
Old 6 Aug 2010
Steve Pickford's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 1,027
My girlfriend starts a 4 month trip through South America on 17th August, riding a DRZ400S that's been lowered, one off luggage racks, soft luggage inc tank panniers. Planing on 8-10,000 miles, hopefully oil & filter changes are all it will need plus tyres & pads. Bike's got new wheel bearings, pads, tyres, chain & sprockets, stainless brake lines, extra fuel capacity etc. It's light, manoevrable and easy to pick up by herself.
My photos: www.possu.smugmug.com
Reply With Quote
Old 6 Aug 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Australia.
Posts: 675
There is really no right or wrong here. It all depends on what you're used to and what your perceive to be challenging or easy.

From my perspective there isn't a lot of challenging off road bits and a lot of long roads. So with that in mind a V-strom is very suited. Bit difficult in the Bolivian Altiplano but do-able. I you like to take those bits (CA, Ruta 40 and Altiplano) a bit more aggressive than a Dakar is better.

I you're really looking for off road thrills (will take some planning) than a DR650 would be best.

Out of those the Vstrom is best on the road, than the Dakar and than the DR. All those are relatively cheap if you look around. Up high FI is unbeatable.
Reply With Quote
Old 7 Aug 2010
Contributing Vendor
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Tallinn, Estonia
Posts: 973
In South America, particularly if you don't feel compelled to to follow obscure tracks into the heights, then pretty much any bike will do. Whether you are travelling alone or with someone else also factors heavily.

As stated, depends on what you are confident on and what you plan to do. Comfort is paramount whatever you take. A sore @rse and/or back are a bigger motivation killer than road tyres on a gravel track...

Typically, a dual-sport bike ticks most boxes because of it's versatility on different surfaces.

Possibly not the most helpful answer, but then you are best placed to decide which is the best bike for, not other members! Certainly don't be led wholly by what others might say but think of the board as a place to bounce you own ideas and for a devil's advocate perspective!

What bike do you have at the moment?
Adventure: it's an experience, not a style!
(so ride what you like, but ride it somewhere new!)
Reply With Quote
Old 8 Aug 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Everettt, Washington, USA
Posts: 287
Heres something i came up with

I started a thread over at ADVrider, and here's what people have to say about the Honda XR650L, Yamaha WR250R, and Suzuki DR650.

Yamaha WR250R vs Honda XR650L vs Suzuki DR650 - ADVrider

Reply With Quote
Old 8 Aug 2010
Mickey D's Avatar
Moderated Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: California
Posts: 514
Lots of Options ... but not enough Time!

If money is tight then no question .... buy the bike in California and ride down from there. This just one option among many. This saves about $1500 shipping right off the top. Bikes are about half the price as in the UK and wider selection of 650 class dual sports and LOTS of cheap bikes laying around unused.

Don't know where you're from ... you didn't say. But if the UK then buying in the US makes sense. If Aus or NZ, same applies.

A rugged, single cylinder dual sport, IMHO, is a decent choice. They will smooth out the crappy roads and handle dirt and mud sections. They are cheap-iss so if lost, stolen or confiscated .... not earth shattering.

Any bike can make it down ... but for best comfort, best fun and most safety, buy as much bike as you can afford. Read here on HUBB and ADV for about a year, you'll soon figure it all out. 3 months not really enough time for all of S. America.

I would start with Mexico and maybe part of Cent. America. Study Spanish,
leave the bike down there and come back again and continue trip with more time and money.

Or ... Fly into Colombia, rent or buy a bike and skip the border hassles of Cent. America and get right into the heart of it. Shipping a bike trans Ocean is a colossal waste of money.
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Bike storage along North America to South America trip Lemao North America 6 16 Jun 2010 03:54
North america- south america- Africa- South Asia- Middle east- USSR- Northern Europe twinkle star Travellers Seeking Travellers 6 14 Aug 2009 01:29
Wanted...Bike in South America.. outnabout TRAVEL Bikes for Sale / Wanted 11 10 Feb 2009 02:06
How do I buy a bike in South America? Quixote TRAVEL Bikes for Sale / Wanted 5 6 Jan 2003 04:04
selling my bike in South America jason Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else 2 1 Dec 2001 09:08


HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 14:12.