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Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  • 2 Post By markharf
  • 2 Post By Scrabblebiker
  • 3 Post By markharf
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  #1  
Old 11 Nov 2023
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Is this a bad idea.

I'm doing a trip from the states to Ushuaia Argentina in about a month. I've had a few people lately tell me I'm nuts for doing it on a more expensive bike. I have a ducati desert x. I know lots of ppl have done the same trip on more expensive and nicer bikes like gs1250s ect. Is this a bad idea am I just looking for trouble or should I be taking a 2000 KLR with 30000kms on instead lol.
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  #2  
Old 11 Nov 2023
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What are you worried about? Damage? Repairs? Theft? Vandalism?

I took a KLR with ~50k miles at the start, and it did fine, I didn't hit anything major and nothing major hit me, the bike was never stolen or vandalized, and it needed mostly simple repairs/maintenance. But the same was true for almost everyone else along the way, so while there are no guarantees that's the general rule.

Now, my personal approach to travel is that I try not to bring anything I can't afford to lose, and that goes for bikes, electronics, clothing, camping gear, peace of mind, and sanity. Others might be better than me at keeping tabs on stuff and conserving scarce resources--particularly sanity.

Hope that's helpful.

Mark
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  #3  
Old 11 Nov 2023
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Mainly just theft. I'm gonna lock it up and I have a good alarm system and I'll just stay at places with secure parking. I'm more worried while I'm out riding from place to place or through cities getting jacked or something.
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  #4  
Old 12 Nov 2023
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Can't speak for the situation today but I'm not aware of anyone's motorcycle being "jacked" in Central America, Mexico or South America. Though there have been car jackings in Vancouver, Toronto and some US cities.

When I did my British Columbia to Panama return trip in 2010 my fairly new BMW bike was almost never unguarded even if it meant the amazing folks hosting me pushing it into the hotel lobby. Not one single time did I feel in danger or encountered anything alarming while enroute. I even parked on the street during the day in some cities in Mexico (with no luggage) and nothing happened. The same applied when I rented a bike in Colombia in 2019 and took some of the more remote unpaved routes.

I simply wouldn't worry about it and I don't believe having your bike forcibly removed is any more likely than at home. But remember that your insurance will most likely not be valid in the extremely unlikely event that your bike is stolen. It can happen anywhere and happens all the time in the US and Canada.

Enjoy your trip and trust the people.
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  #5  
Old 12 Nov 2023
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Originally Posted by Scrabblebiker View Post
Can't speak for the situation today but I'm not aware of anyone's motorcycle being "jacked" in Central America, Mexico or South America. Though there have been car jackings in Vancouver, Toronto and some US cities.

When I did my British Columbia to Panama return trip in 2010 my fairly new BMW bike was almost never unguarded even if it meant the amazing folks hosting me pushing it into the hotel lobby. Not one single time did I feel in danger or encountered anything alarming while enroute. I even parked on the street during the day in some cities in Mexico (with no luggage) and nothing happened. The same applied when I rented a bike in Colombia in 2019 and took some of the more remote unpaved routes.

I simply wouldn't worry about it and I don't believe having your bike forcibly removed is any more likely than at home. But remember that your insurance will most likely not be valid in the extremely unlikely event that your bike is stolen. It can happen anywhere and happens all the time in the US and Canada.

Enjoy your trip and trust the people.

Thanks for the insight! I've been planning this for months and haven't been too concerned but the last week or two I had a couple ppl call me crazy for taking a nicer bike through Central america. I'm just getting last minute jitters.
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  #6  
Old 12 Nov 2023
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Feh. People will be telling you you're crazy all the way to Tierra del Fuego and all the way back. They'll have all sorts of reasons. Try not to take them too seriously, particularly if they've never done the trip themselves. "Concerned" friends are the worst, followed closely by locals who tell you that the residents of the next town/state/country will harvest your organs for profit and drink your blood for fun.

I did skip Sao Paulo, having heard lots of stories of bike-jackings. But I rode thousands of km all over Brazil as a whole, despite the intense swarm of rumors about piano wire beheadings. I made a point of riding through Tegucigalpa during daylight, not at night, but I had no real reason to stop there anyway. I skipped Caracas for the same reason.

I carried (and frequently used) a cover, a high-security lock and chain, and some cables to secure helmets and riding gear when I left the bike for hours on end...which I did a lot of. Once I left it in an unguarded lot for a week while I walked through Torres del Paine, and it was undisturbed when I returned. I wouldn't do that in London or New York, that's for sure--or in my own driveway.
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  #7  
Old 12 Nov 2023
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+1 for all the feedbacks from Markharf.

Many locals told me too it was too dangerous to go to the next town while traveling toward Ushuaia.

The probability to have your bike stolen is very low if you use common sense.
Is it zero? No. I did not hear about bike theft until I was in Brasil. I met locals that had their bike stolen. This was in Sao Paulo. They had expensives bikes not small ones.

If you want to know the typical way they were stealing bike at the time, let me know.

If you speak portuguese, you may be lucky and meet a local biker club. A member did put a sticker on my bike and told me that I did not need to worry anymore about bike theft. Thieves would bring them the bike if stolen and apologies.


Regarding the "piano wire beheadings", the beheading part is too much but having your face or neck cut is true.

The subject was/is discussed on the local news. You will see local bikers with some antennas mounted to their handlebar to cut the wire should they run into one. If you are worried just buy one of those antenna. I did not.

At the time, they were talking about people putting fish wire in glue and glass. Then they would attach the wire to a kite and fly it over the road. When they would see a motorcycle coming, they would bring the kite down hoping to dismount the rider. I never saw any of this and did not worry about that at all.


You will have a fantastic time. Don't worry about anything. Just go ride and have fun. I miss that time.

Patrick
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  #8  
Old 12 Nov 2023
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Personally I wouldn't take a super expensive bike on a big trip anyway. That's subjective of course depending on your means, but to some extent can't be avoided if you want to ride something quite new for the sake of reliability. The advice not to ride something you can't afford to walk away from is good, and includes the risk of theft (however low it may be).
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  #9  
Old 12 Nov 2023
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As mentioned by others earlier on in this thread - «dont bring something with you that you cant afford to lose» Thats the problem with an expensive bike. In case of a breakdown in the middle of nowhere or an accident where you fracture legs and arms and need to go to hospital and stay there for weeks and cant ride for months or years and need parts that might be both expensive and difficult to get a hold of in the altiplanos of Bolivia or the snowcovered Tierra del Fuego….maybe its a better idea to take a bike that one can afford «to lose»
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  #10  
Old 12 Nov 2023
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Dangers

My view:
danger number one: Traffic (Snakeboy's reference to accidents ++)
danger number two: Dogs.


Along Pan American I saw" a lot of" expensive bikes. On the road or in secure parking. Never heard of any problem.


Inland, I saw very few or no expensive bikes. Locals use mainly 160-200 cc bikes. Already a Honda XR 300 or RE Himalayan are considered "big and expensive"
But every hotel and.... understands that you want to have a secure parking. If they don't have one themselves, there is probably one around the corner.

I Chile and Argentina, I was camping. Sleeping next to the bike.

Secure parking comes in many shapes.
See pictures.

=
I do not think that a big and exclusive bike is attractive. What should they do with that ?
I think that wallets,computers, cameras.... are more attractive
Locals many times told me to keep control of my bag.
Have valuable things in a bag. That yo never leave on the bike, when you are away.


Use common sense and enjoy the trip
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  #11  
Old 13 Nov 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T_nuggets View Post
I'm doing a trip from the states to Ushuaia Argentina in about a month. I've had a few people lately tell me I'm nuts for doing it on a more expensive bike. .
Other people knowing better than you does seem to be a constant with overland travel. I was getting it all the time when I first started over 50yrs ago and (in a slightly different context) it continues right up to the present. And almost without exception it comes from people with no experience of what you're doing and who know less than you do.

There is something to be said for taking a less valuable bike on a long trip, but it's not because a new one will stand out like a island of wealth in a sea of poverty. It's because long trips are hard on machinery, and no matter how glossy the paintwork or how careful you've been with servicing etc it'll come back looking somewhat secondhand - particularly if there's any off road riding involved. My rule of thumb way back used to be that I'd write the bike off afterwards. Its job was done. Bikes are better these days but it only takes a few spills on gravel or someone knocking it over in a car park or grit on your trousers scratching the tank (one of my recent problems) or anything like that and the shine rapidly goes. On the other hand using what you have is not a bad principle. If it's a bike you like you'll put up with niggles that would have you cursing something you bought because it seemed like a better choice but you don't get on with.

I keep hearing about piano wire strung across roads; in fact I've been hearing about it periodically for over 50yrs. Back then it was 'common' (I was told) in the more remote parts of Spain or the Balkans, but I've never come across it or heard directly from someone who has. Anyone know it as more than an 'urban' myth? I'd have thought it wouldn't be much use against slow traffic (on foot or donkeys etc) or against cars / trucks who would go straight through it, so only bicycles, horses (if going fast enough) or motorcycles. That seems a bit of a specialist target down some random back road.
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  #12  
Old 13 Nov 2023
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I think it is more important to think about availability of parts if you have a breakdown or even for maintenance. I guess BMW GS of Kawasaki KLR parts are more easy to find in S_America then Ducati Desert X parts but I may be wrong.
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  #13  
Old 14 Nov 2023
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Did it recently and there were quite a few Mexicans and North Americans travelling through Central America on big expensive bikes, when we got down to Chile/Argentina there were loads - I mean loads. Mostly Brazilians and Argentinians, all brand new BMWs and Triumphs.
Just take normal precautions and check IOverlander for dodgy towns and areas.
BTW
Nearly every South American rider we met said they were riding to Alaska in 2024 so be prepared for heavy traffic
Enjoy
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