Choosing a bike for a RTW trip
I am from Colombia and i am planning a 1.5 year RTW trip with my son in two bikes, we would like to ride on country roads as much as we can (avoid pavement whenever is posibble).
The trip will be something like this (Still planning):
- Sudamerica: Colombia - Buenos Aires
- East Africa: Cape town - Spain or Italy
- Europe to Vladivostock: Russia, Kazajastan, Mongolia.
- Alaska to Colombia.
We have been thinking about these bikes:
1) KTM 1190 adventure R (I fell in love with this one)
2) BMW R 1200 GS, I have a GSA and i am concerned about the reliavility for a long trip.
3) KLR 650
4) DR 650
5) BMW F 800
Which one would you recomend and why?
If you are financially better off than I am, then maybe you don't really care, but I'll mention anyway.... I would not take any big, new, shiny, expensive bike for RTW, because:
- it won't be too shiny any more, when your finished the trip, so its resale value will plummet;
- if your big new shiny bike smells like money a mile away, some people are gonna treat you like you're a walking ATM;
- expensive bike could affect your carnet costs (if you plan to get a carnet);
- very hard to get comprehensive insurance for all countries, so if you lose the bike (stolen, sinks in a river, or whatever) then that shiny expensive bike's loss will hurt you most;
- you don't really need the latest technology for that kind of trip, and it might in fact become a burden (too complex to fix in 3rd world countries, no spares widely available)
- a lot of weight is usually a disadvantage, especially when you go off the tarmac, same goes for lifting onto boats, etc, that you might sometimes need to do. Also when shipping by air or by sea across the oceans, smaller and lighter costs less than bigger and heavier.
Funny but the bikes, that mostly get advertised as "the ultimate Rtw-machines" almost all fail badly on those aforementioned points. Maybe their manufacturers never meant, that they'd REALLY be taken round the world.
Of the bikes you've listed, the only one I would recommend for such a trip, as limitedly described, would be the DR650.
Do some research and make the best call you can for your expected needs.
Good riding to you...
About the dr
I'm pedro son by the way
Hey, or what other bike do you recomend? I just listed some of the Bikes i think could do the Job, but for sure i am missing some.
Any bike from 50cc to a Goldwing will do the job. Well. the GW might be a bit much off road. It really comes down to what you want in a bike and where you really are likely to go.
My own current opinion is that something in the 650 class is about the best all around bike. Enough power for the highways in developed countries (read boring) and light and nimble enough for the less developed roads in other places. Anything less is not as comfortable being smaller, lighter, less power and potentially higher maintenance schedules. Bigger bikes like the GS are less off-road capable, especially when loaded down with a bunch of gear. But they have done what you're proposing so if that's what you want then go for it.
In the 650 class are: DR650, KLR650, BMW F650 (single) or G650, KTM 690. You might have access to others like that we don't get here. Also, the BMW 800 is close in weight to some of these so I wouldn't rule it out if you already own one.
There is no wrong bike for travel, it is not traveling that is wrong.
I would suggest either the DR or KLR 650's or the Honda NX 400 Falcon, the latter of which friends of mine have used for a RTW trip and found very good bikes, you certainly don't need the bigger bikes I think they will just be an expensive encumbrance.
Having ridden some of the routes you plan I would allow at least 2 years for this trip or make it shorter, it might not even be possible in the time you allow simply because the seasons won't permit it let alone the high daily mileage.
It really depends on what kind of riding you want to do, and how hard you want your path to be. If you're going to be hitting the desert sand dunes in Namibia and off roading in Cambodia for hundreds of miles, you probably want to get the smallest, lightest bikes you can get away with. But if you're taking paved, bigger roads everywhere, it doesn't matter much.
It all depends on (1) the riding you do, and (2) the riding skills you have.
You probably already have the best RTW bike in your garage right now, because the best bike is:
1. A bike you feel comfortable riding.
2. A bike you feel comfortable fixing.
After that, you want to get a bike that has good dealer support and it is easy to get parts for it. (IE: forget the KTM.)
When you find yourself in front of those Namibian sand dunes, it is a lot easier to have fun if you know that a minor spill that breaks your clip-on doesn't mean you will have to trailer it 1000 miles to some dealer who in turn has to wait 4 weeks for the parts to get to him so they can fix your bike. The trip will be a lot more fun if you are comfortable in knowing that you can fix your machine without too much trouble.
Get something familiar. Ride what you know.
Forgot to add: the big KTM or GS is at the high end of the ADV bike "spectrum"... and DR/KLR650 is closer to the low end. There's a lot of good choices in between, too.
But I agree with previous comments: many many bikes could go RTW, and in the end, it's really important to go with the bike, that YOU like (and can afford, naturally). It's your trip, not someone else's!
Having two similar bikes on your "team" does bring some advantages, like being able to carry tyres & spare parts, that both can use.
As a DR650 & V-Strom 650 Owner, I'd recommend the V-Strom Any day of the week. The V-Strom is a lot heavier(170lbs), but more balanced once you load it up. If this is your first long trip & you don't have a ton of off road experience you may find yourself spend more time on the dirt roads/tarmac. The DR's rear tends to squat once you get your tools, tent, & clothes on the bike. I'm not going to mention the 2x4 seat, mine is old, so I have the comfortable seat. If you're on the highway on the DR the Tach is going to be pegged at 70-89mph. The smoother-ness of the V-Twin in the V-Strom is much easier on your arms on long trips.
The other thing you'll want to consider is parts availability.
From what I hear the KTM is an awesome bike, but can be time consuming to get parts for it.
I don't have any experience with the BMW's, but it looks like the 800 is a good balance between weight, road, and off-road ability.
I chose my bike with a few must haves.....a larger comfortable seat......a larger fuel tank.....a radiator( cooked an aircooled Honda and swore I would never have a bike without a rad).........easily repaired without special tools or skills.....spare parts available almost anywhere.
I wanted a 650cc machine and looked at them all......cost was a big factor also. Some of the bikes were as much stock as I could load others up with equipment.
In the end I bought a KLR650....it has carried me across Canada twice and far up into the Arctic twice as well. All without much trouble at all. It's simple to repair and cheap to maintain.
This is just my experience.........I'm sure other bikes will do the same thing for other people.....your needs lets say could be different from mine or other peoples.....To each their own. Just go on your adventure and ignor what others say about your choices.
- Southamerica: Jul, Aug, September
- Africa to Europe (East africa): Oct, nov, dec, jan, feb, march
- Europe to Russia (Kasajastan and mongolia, Vladivostock): Apr, may, jun, jul, aug, sep
- Alaska to Colombia: oct, nov, dec
That is our main idea: And make the most off road we can (Pavement just the necesary).
I'd do it in a six cylinder Ford or Chevy pickup truck with a standard transmission and four wheel drive with a camper cover on the back.
Depends on what type of roads you want to travel.
If you want to get off the paved roads, then your bike will be a compromise. To what degree you decide to go off road and on-road, is your choice.
I'm a big fan of air-cooled bikes. That's just me. Simpler and less complicated, and better able to take some big hits, imo.
If I was planning to stay on the roads, I'd choose a DL1000.
If I was planning to go on bad roads much of the time, I'd choose what I'm currently riding, a DR350.
What windscreen protection you decide to have (if any), regardless of bike and cc size, will very much determine what highway speeds you can comfortably run for long miles. This is key. :deal
Take whatever you can and go have fun.
Alaska in that time year may just be cold, no? It's cold enough riding through the BC rockies at that time.....god knows Alaska???
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