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Old 02-27-2013, 03:42 PM   #1
Jonny_Tallboy OP
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125cc Touring

Touring around on a bike with a top speed of 50mph (if there's no headwind!) might not be everyone's idea of fun.
But it is our's, and it seems there are a few like-minded souls on this forum, so I thought I'd share a few of our rides.

There's also a trip in the pipeline for this summer, so the thread is going to be 50/50 ride report and planning.
This planned trip will be our most adventurous so far, covering 3 countries and a couple of thousand miles. On these little bikes it brings a few concerns and headaches… how to carry all our gear for one.

First things first… The bikes.

This is mine - a 2001 Yamaha SR125 4-stroke single


And my mate's - a 1994 Suzuki GN125 4-stroke single.


Not quite R1200GS territory, but should get us where we need to be…

…we hope.


Our first outing was a relatively tame expedition of about a week riding through the Lake District national park in North West England, up into Scotland and then back home via the Lake District once more.

We decided to take camping gear to take advantage of the wild camping laws in Scotland. so we had to find space for this on the bikes. We had no panniers, but the large pillion seats on these bikes seemed to make a good place for stowing the gear. Everything else then had to be squashed into a small tank bag:



We were pretty minimal with everything else… one set of clothes all trip.

Our first night's camping out the way, we woke to a cold surprise. It dropped to around -6 to -7 deg over night. Waking up to this wasn't fun:



although it doesn't look too snowy, there was a hard frost on the bikes and riding in these conditions with no wind protection was utterly bitter. When the numbness passed the fingers, hands, wrists and started towards the arms we had to stop, warm up and then start riding again. The stops were many, and the miles travelled that day were few. It didn't help that passing us the other way on the road were hoard after hoard of smug-looking BMW GS riders with wind deflectors, heated grips and seats. We were pretty envious.

The next few days we were rained off, and didn't ride much - preferring the local inns hostelries.

We also made the most of the bad weather to stock up on supplies:



But then the sun finally came out:



We could finally get some good riding in:

Passing over quaint bridges...


Over mountain passes…


Down deserted country lanes.


There was time to stop and relax by the lakes…


Find inner peace at ancient stone circles…


Stage the occasional photoshoot…

no mountains were injured in the taking of this photo

And sometimes to just stop and admire the bikes…



After finishing the tour it was safe to say we'd bonded with these mild machines. At times we wished for a more comfortable bike, for more BHP, more torque (those hills!) and heated grips.
But on reflection, these little bikes had carried us over a thousand miles, most of them fun, and on the right roads (smaller the better) these bikes become a lot of fun, and the riding sublime.
We realised that by gently thumping along at 40-50mph we saw, and experienced, the whole country and landscape. The times taken to cover moderate distances were long, but this added to the sensation of making a voyage. And the hills and headwinds seriously impeded progress at times, but this only added to the sense of adventure and fun.

So much so that we have now booked the next trip later this year, and we'll be going further overseas, covering a much larger total distance, there'll be mountains 3 times the hight to overcome… but we'll still be on the same bikes.
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:17 PM   #2
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So now we've booked the next trip.

We'll be riding down through the UK.
Getting on a ferry to Spain.
Then the aim is to ride over the Pyrenees into France. Head north through France to the channel tunnel, and then back into the uk.

The ferry is booked, so no going back.

There are a few concerns:

Where to put all the extra gear, tools, spares etc. for a slightly longer trip, and being much further from home.
And how these little bikes will cope with the long slog over the Pyrenees.
And making sure we're able to navigate, avoiding major roads and taking our time on the country lanes. Getting directed onto a 3-lane motorway on these bikes will be no fun.

It's a tame trip compared to some others on here, but to me it still seems like a challenge.

Any tips will be greatly appreciated.

We set off in a couple of months. I'll keep you posted.
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:36 PM   #3
holmes.g
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonny_Tallboy View Post
So now we've booked the next trip.

We'll be riding down through the UK.
Getting on a ferry to Spain.
Then the aim is to ride over the Pyrenees into France. Head north through France to the channel tunnel, and then back into the uk.

The ferry is booked, so no going back.

There are a few concerns:

Where to put all the extra gear, tools, spares etc. for a slightly longer trip, and being much further from home.
And how these little bikes will cope with the long slog over the Pyrenees.
And making sure we're able to navigate, avoiding major roads and taking our time on the country lanes. Getting directed onto a 3-lane motorway on these bikes will be no fun.

It's a tame trip compared to some others on here, but to me it still seems like a challenge.

Any tips will be greatly appreciated.

We set off in a couple of months. I'll keep you posted.
Come on man,what a wonderful plan,we all looking forward it...
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:41 PM   #4
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Come on man,what a wonderful plan,we all looking forward it...
I'm glad you're all still following this thread - it appears you were urging us to go while we were actually on the trip!

To catch up on the other Qs:

@ The Sandman:
we can get around 90-100mpg on the flat when riding carefully, drops to maybe 85mpg when thrashing them all day. If my riding buddy AJT2 chips in he'll tell you what they made on the trip, and what climbing the Pyrenees did to the economy. He painstakingly records his odometer reading and gallons delivered every fuel stop. Me, I'd rather just ride.

@afk40:
The Van Van will be ace to tour Scotland on - My only advice from experience is take the minor back roads where possible. We found, last year, that the big open A roads up in Scotland just got a bit dull and slogged the bikes a bit. When you're limited to 45-50mph top speed, you'll find that you have a much more fun and engaging ride if you hunt out the small, narrow roads with tight turns one after the other.
That way you can experience the same 'feel' at 30-40mph on these roads as the large CC guys 'feel' doing the Scottish A roads at 100-140mph+. Oh... and it won't hurt as much if you stack it into Rannoch Moor on a corner!

It's just a case of matching the road size to the bike size.
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Old 06-05-2013, 08:05 PM   #5
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It good to see the pictures of Britain and Europe. It is about 15 years since I was last there, commuting and touring on a Honda CB250RS through the early & mid '90s.

I worked various places, depending on the time of the year, but my home base was St Johns Arms, a country pub near the northern border of Bedfordshire. It hosted several motorcycle rallies each year, including the Northampton MAG in the summer, and the Ariel Club's midwinter event.

One thing I found refreshing about motorcycling in the UK and Europe is that I didn't detect much of the big bike snobbery that there is in some other places. Own anything with a motor and two wheels, and you are a biker
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jonny_Tallboy View Post
Passing over quaint bridges...
WOW!! This is a really great picture amongst great pictures! Thanks for posting
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:43 PM   #7
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Thanks,

That's my riding buddy heading off.
It's taken in Lake District which, IMHO, is the most beautiful part of England.

The sun came out 'just right' that morning.
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Old 03-01-2013, 02:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UpST8 View Post
WOW!! This is a really great picture amongst great pictures! Thanks for posting
I have to agree with UpST8 on this, it is a great pic!

Nice report. You've got the right attitude, it doesn't take 1000+ cc's and the latest gear to make for a great ride. I wish you the best on your future trips.
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:52 PM   #9
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Very cool idea!!!! Ever since i got my ke100 last year i have wanted to take a trip with it...would be interesting finding a way to carry enough injection oil for the lil 2stroke though...im sure it can be done....LOL and i probably will later this year....
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:53 AM   #10
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Great thread, and wonderful pics! Makes me want a 1/8 liter touring bike
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:00 AM   #11
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Thats the way to do it right fu*king there.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:19 AM   #12
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Great pics there man. I've put more than a few miles on a gz250 myself, little is fun! I bet that would feel pretty luxurious compared to the 125 though, I'm envious of the terrain out there too.
Nothing wrong w/ some oxford heaters and grip deflectors, it's not cheating
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:28 AM   #13
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Great pictures and nice to see you having fun on 125's

I have an RV125 and thoroughly enjoy it.

Here's a ride report I put up from last year, we had similar weather

http://www.pixelled.co.uk/ride/rideout.html
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:46 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Diabolic View Post
Great pictures and nice to see you having fun on 125's

I have an RV125 and thoroughly enjoy it.

Here's a ride report I put up from last year, we had similar weather

http://www.pixelled.co.uk/ride/rideout.html
Diabolic...please could ye help me, Im trying to register or log in to the Van Van uk owners club, i keep getting the message. THAT I CANNOT LOG IN AT THIS TIME, i have re logged in 20 times now saying i forgot my password, an they keep sending me new ones.. but I still cannot log in, they say if this persists, email an adminster...but i dont know how to...can ye help me get onto that site please.. im afk40 in there...sometimes it says im reactivated.. but i still cant do anything..im exasperated with the amount of times i try to log in.... thanks,. john
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Old 06-05-2013, 02:21 PM   #15
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Well - The wait is over...

The trip is done. The little 125s have trekked across Europe.

I'll write up a new thread in the RR section, and also link from here.
It'll take some time to write.

In the meantime, here's a little teaser from the trip!

Crossing the Pyrenees between Spain and France at 1,700m.


Full RR coming soon to an adventure motorcycling forum near you...
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