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

I haven't been everywhere...
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Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
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  #1  
Old 13 Jan 2020
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Small rider looking for a small bike to do a big trip

Hi all

my girlfriend and I are considering a motorbike trip through the Stans next year. I 'm 177cm, 70kg and she is 155cm, 45kg. I only have an A2 licence, which means that I'm limited to bikes that produce no more than 35 kW or 47bhp. I suspect that this pretty much takes the option of riding 2up off the list. She has a B licence, which means she can only ride 125ccs or smaller bikes.

Now, I know that there's plenty of people who travel long distances on small bikes so I don't see that as a problem at all. However, I don't know what bikes we should use! I was hoping to use my CRF250l and that she could ride a honda XR125l - I know ideally we should ride the same bike but this would mean that I could ride the bike that I already own. I am heavier and would carry most of the luggage so I would hope in the end the two bikes would be equivalent in terms of speed etc, above all on bad roads. However, seat height is a bit of a problem there - she is currently riding a Suzuki van van (770mm seat height) and is uncomfortable riding anything higher than that (anything over 800mm is certainly a no-go).

So, the question is - has anyone done anything like this before? Any advice on a good, small and reliable 125cc for a trip like this?

I know that two guys from the UK did a trip to Mongolia on two VanVans a few years ago, however my concern there would be around spares, above all considering they use fat tires which I guess are harder to find. Just to give you the whole picture - we are based in Spain, so for example machines like a tw125 are harder to find compared to the US.

Thank you!

Andrea
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  #2  
Old 13 Jan 2020
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Have a read of this blog which includes a trip to Central Asia on a pair of XR125s, Maria who is also on this forum is around the same height so should have some good adivce.
https://www.franglais-riders.com/motorcycle-travels/
I also have an XR125 which I have travelled a lot on and am a great fan of, I did an 8,000 km trip in India on one last year with a passenger which went well, they can be lowered with a shorter rear shock absorber.
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Old 14 Jan 2020
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Mark thank you very much! very helpful, I'll get in touch with Maria
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Old 14 Jan 2020
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OK first of all a B licence is for cars, it doesn't entitle her to ride a motorbike. She needs an A1 licence to ride a 125. People on L plates are not generally allowed to drive abroad.

I think it's worth putting in a bit of extra effort at this end to make for a better trip, and getting her an A2 licence like yourself. For one thing it means you can both ride the same type of bike which is a huge advantage in carrying spares. The CRF250L will do the trip just fine if you're not in a hurry and you're prepared to travel relatively light. I know you said she's not very confident on a larger bike but it's worth getting confident, the roads out there can be in "variable" condition and a more capable bike will be a major advantage. If you want to reduce the seat height to make it feel a bit more comfortable for her, drop the yokes down the forks, get a lowering link for the back and have the seat foam cut away. It'll be worth it.
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  #5  
Old 14 Jan 2020
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Hi Tomkat, thank you for your response!

FYI at least in Spain and Italy having a B licence does entitle you to ride motorbikes up to 125cc. I know other people on this forum have done long overlanding trips on 125cc bikes for this same reason (not holding a dedicated licence).

Just to be clear, I am not against her getting an A2 licence. The only reason why I don't want to depend on that is that at the moment due to bureaucracy issues getting a licence here in Spain can take more than a year (we are from Italy so she would be required to convert her Italian licence, which is a pretty time-consuming process in itself).

Regardless of that, even if she does get a licence, I suspect we'd still be looking at the XR125l or similar bikes. Im sure she will become more confident over the next year but the CRF remains out of question. Don't take me wrong, I would looove for the two of us to travel on two CRF250L but man, it's way too tall.
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  #6  
Old 14 Jan 2020
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Why not a pair of scooters?
She would probably be much more confident.

It’s been done successfully many times.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  #7  
Old 14 Jan 2020
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travel

just go to italy and complete the part 2 simple , really you are going on 125 as she is of a very slight build , a 125 will be fine and nice and light have a look an ajp bike . if people travel the world on honda c90, grom anything is ok
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Old 15 Jan 2020
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The crf250l can be lowered if that helps
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  #9  
Old 16 Jan 2020
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Other than the possible tyre issue, the Van van is a great choice. Comfy seat, lovely low centre of gravity so easy to handle off tar or on. Reliable, and you already have one!
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Old 17 Jan 2020
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My GF is only 4ft 10in tall so a powerful scooter was about all the fits her so we just got a Kymco i300 (300CC) Downtown scooter that can fly along the freeway or tour across states. That might be an option for you.
Looks to be easy to work on/maintain and gets great gas mileage. It has some nice sized 13 and 14 inchwheels and tires also!
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Small rider looking for a small bike to do a big trip-i300-2011.jpg  

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  #11  
Old 18 Jan 2020
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Brilliant thank you folks, we'll definitely looking into the scooter / moped option. Recently I started following this guy on youtube, pretty inspiring https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M90QpkLpX94

Still curious to know if the honda xr125l is still an option though? anyone with first hand experience?
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  #12  
Old 18 Jan 2020
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which bike?

Hey there,

good idea to ride to Central Asia and back.

I consider your choice of riding a CRF250 and she is riding a XR150L a very good choice.

I did Portugal, Russia, China, Central Asia back to Europe in 2015 on a DR350. Only on the German Autobahn and on the long long stretches through Russia the 350cc bike was too small and I wished I would have taken one of my bigger bikes. But I understand that riding a 125cc is another story. So my advise is, dont enter any motorway in Europe, stay on the secondary roads and travel slow. Try not to ride on the big highways through Russia. Dont plan on doing more than 300km a day, it will too tiring.

Dont ride long stretches with more than 90km/h, as the XR150L is not made for that and the engine wont last too long doing this.

XR150L. I dont know if you can buy a new one in Spain, but if you can do. Or buy one that is like new. Change the oil regularly, every 3000km or so, and dont overload the bike, as the handling will get a lot more difficult. You will not have problems finding parts for it on your route, maybe you will only get Chinese made parts, but just take in consideration that they wont last as long.

For the CRF250 you will find a lot of info here on the Hubb.

Enjoy your journey and post a ride report here.

mika
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  #13  
Old 18 Jan 2020
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Hi Mika, thank you very much for your response and for the encouragement!! I totally agree with avoiding highways and limiting the amount of kms per day - it'll force us to embrace the slow travel philosophy which IMO is a plus. She'll try to get a xr125l rather than 150 (seat height permitting) but I guess the same suggestions apply Thank you again and happy travels!
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  #14  
Old 18 Jan 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtour View Post
Still curious to know if the honda xr125l is still an option though? anyone with first hand experience?
Definitely yes, apart from my India/Nepal trip mentioned above I travelled from the UK to Azerbaijan on another one, it did require me to keep to smaller roads but I had no problem with that, with over 100mpg the tank was big enough and the seat is pretty comfortable for a small bike.
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  #15  
Old 18 Jan 2020
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and Mark, by any chance, any thoughts on doing it two up on the crf? Im limited to A2 licence friendly bikes (for at least another year and a bit) which is a bit of a pain. The only other 2up option i could think of is the cb500x but I suspect that would turn out to be way more expensive (above all if I was to add the rally kit). I know of a couple who did it on a cb125 so I guess every thing is doable if you really want it...maybe?
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mongolia, small bike, small motorcycle, suzuki vanvan, xr125l


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