Bike for RTW

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Sp4Mike, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. Sp4Mike

    Sp4Mike Been here awhile

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    I was thinking about what bike I would take for a RTW trip. So, I wrote a blog post about it.

    Might help some people choose, or maybe I'm just a crackpot. :rofl Either way, it's a good way to kill a few minutes...

    Clicky Clicky :deal
    #1
  2. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    Ok. I bit. You forgot the part where the BMW breaks down 25 times during the trip.


















    :hide

    :lol3

    If range is a problem with the DR---> Safari tank. Problem solved. The WR is great, but id like to see more about how it handles cheap gas- its a high compression motor and is supposed to have premium gas. A guy took his from the US through all of South America, and then ended up destroying the piston and rings by Mexico- could have been maintenance or the bad gas throughout his trip. It has no knock sensor, so... Im really not sure what Id take RTW, and I own a DR650. I know I wouldnt take a KTM or a BMW though..
    #2
  3. Sp4Mike

    Sp4Mike Been here awhile

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    I also own a DR.:clap

    It's not like there haven't been a few hundred RTW trips done on BMW's though! Brand bashing aside, pretty much anything could make it. Just depends on what you want to deal with along the way.
    #3
  4. olionel

    olionel Enthusiastic Member

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    I reckon a DRZ400 (just the fact it has E start and is nice and light) with a cutdown/widened/gel padded/sheepskinned seat, the 28 litre tank and some cloth panniers + a nice pannier rack are the way to go.. however if you have a passenger, then it's either a the GS Beamer or the Africa Twin (they'll both need to be correctly sprung at the rear at least though)
    #4
  5. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Ok, let the slagfest begin... :lol3

    Seriously though, there is no one bike, that is the perfect choice. It depends on the individual, as well as the trip. Where do you want to go, for how long, and what kind of routes do you prefer. One-up or two-up is also one important factor. Or should I put it this way: a long list of bikes would be a good choice, if you´ll ride solo, but if you´re gonna take a passenger, then that list narrows down considerably.

    For various reasons, smaller and cheaper is in theory better than big & expensive, but it does not mean you should take the smallest and cheapest bike you can find. And is the bike´s purchase price important or not, depends first and foremost on how well off you are financially. So some people can afford to go on a more expensive bike than others. Some people are also more experienced riders than others, and also may be physically big enough to handle a heavy bike in tough terrain better than most.

    Opinions really are like a**holes, everybody´s got one, but when you´re planning your RTW-trip, you should only care so much about other people´s opinions. Go with the bike, that you can fix&maintain on your own (that´ll be needed, at least on some areas), and the one, that you feel comfortable going with. Many new bikes are fully capable for big trips, even ones, that aren´t marketed as “adventure” bikes.
    #5
  6. Sp4Mike

    Sp4Mike Been here awhile

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    From the first paragraph...


    It was more thinking outloud about what bike I would take, rather then what bike you should take. All your points are valid though.
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  7. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    I will say this- I think the best RTW bike if money is no object is a heavily modded DRZ400S. It would cost as much as a KTM, but it would be more reliable. The key is a really good seat and a Nova Racing wide ratio gear set (over 3k just for the gearset :eek1). Take care of the primary nut, add all the protection bits, add some wolfman expeditions with cargo nets, take as much weight off the bike as you can (shorai battery, swap reflectors for reflective tape, exhaust, headlight assembly, etc etc), and go. The S has a strong enough subframe, its reasonably light, the gearset would make it easy to gear for dirt and street, carnets would be cheap since the bike isnt worth much, it will run on shit gas, and its a pretty decent dirtbike for a RTW mount. We are prolly talking 10-12k by the time the bike is done though...

    Of course, this setup is a mount aimed at taking whatever dirt roads/singletrack are/is thrown at it, and others would prefer a cushy BMW for tarmac..
    #7
  8. olionel

    olionel Enthusiastic Member

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    agreed. Bloody passengers though.. ruin it for everyone they do.... :D
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  9. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    :lol3

    You can tell im a single guy- I completely didnt even consider a passenger. I really have no grounds to make a call on 2-up. I think Id rather have 2 DRzs farkeled and have her ride :evil Prolly a beemer or maybe a 650 vstrom- i really dont know..
    #9
  10. AteamNM

    AteamNM Wonna Be ADVrider

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    All you need to travel around the world (cheaply), is a KLR and a milk crate. :D:deal
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  11. Mark Manley

    Mark Manley On my way

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    As a matter of interest the two most travelled bikes by number of countries visited are a Harley Electragilde and a Honda Goldwing, but I am not sure I would discribe either as the most suitable. :D
    #11
  12. Sp4Mike

    Sp4Mike Been here awhile

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    Source?
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  13. Mark Manley

    Mark Manley On my way

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    Peter and Kay Forwood on their Electraglide http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/forwood/

    Emilio Scotto on his Honda Goldwing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emilio_Scotto

    I was always puzzled as to how Emilio Scotto came to visit more countries than I thought actually existed and when looking for these links found that others have asked the same question and struggled to answer it.

    Either way epic adventures on an unusual choice of motorcycle.
    #13
  14. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    buy a lightly used DR650
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  15. Sp4Mike

    Sp4Mike Been here awhile

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    The original post was intended for a "money isn't an issue" trip. So it included Europe (i.e. the Autobahn) so comfort and speed would be an issue. I remember getting passed when I was going 125 mph by old guys in Mercedes station wagons. Not fun on a low powered bike.

    I'll do another article about low cost options. I still wont get into used though. Some guys have no problem taking an old pos around the world. But if I'm going to be 20,000 miles from home I want to know the history of the bike. And even a cheap RTW trip is going to push $50k, so whats another $2k to get a new bike over a used one?
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  16. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    What such a trip costs, can once again vary enormously. $50k ?? Yeah, I'm sure somebody can spend even more in a short time. Those of us, who aren't that wealthy, may have to do on a lot less than that. Where you'll spend the time will affect your costs a lot. Europe, North America and Australia are the most expensive areas. You could probably spend a week in some cheap country for what you pay in only one day in parts of Europe, for example.

    Another thing to consider is the fact that the bike itself will most likely be uninsured in many countries. So go with a bike, that you can stand losing completely (even though having an insurance might not help the sad reality, that your trip is ruined, if you lose the bike). This is why I would personally not go with the fancy +1000cc behemoths, too much money invested to sleep well. But someone, who is wealthier than me, may not care so much.
    #16
  17. blues

    blues Been here awhile

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    Credentials? Adventure riding experience? Off road? Engineer or relevant industry experience? Stay at a Holiday Inn last night?
    Not trying to be hostile but according to your profile you've owned one bike, have taken a beginner ride course, and admit to being a terrible dirt rider.
    Am I missing something here?
    #17
  18. Sp4Mike

    Sp4Mike Been here awhile

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    What's the cheapest trip you have heard of that included North and South America, Africa, and Asia? Some people arent candid with their costs, I wish more people were.

    I suspect that it's going to be close to $10k just in fuel. Add another $5k for a farkled used bike. $6k for water crossings. Then say around $2k for camping/boondocking. That's $23k not including food. Either way, adding another couple grand for a nicer bike isn't much. Sure, an American could skip everything and fly their bike to London from their closest airport, then from London they could fly it to someplace in Eastern Russia, then fly it back to their local Airport.

    Yay, you just went around the world on your bike for less then $10k! No thanks, I'll save for another couple years and see everything! YMMV!


    While I do love reading the reports of guys that go around the world on the cheap, something is always missing because money is such an issue. That's a shame. $50,000 is a ton of money for most of us, but most of us can work a second job to make it happen if it's that important:

    $8.00 an hour at a menial job
    20 hours per week part time (some people spend 20 hours a week on this forum!)
    $160 per week
    $8320 per year
    6 years later $49,920!
    Add a year because you got raped in taxes and there you go. And that doesn't include any money you saved from your main employment. Did you want to go around the world 7 years ago? You could be leaving tomorrow if you really wanted it bad enough.

    But because people don't have the money right now that means they can't have it. They have to skip the Taj because they cant afford it. They skip the Outback because it's expensive Down Under. They skip Paris, the Autobahn, England, Amsterdam, the running of the bulls, and many other awesome things because they can't afford it.

    Side rant: The "I want it now" society has caused this in many of us. 14 years ago I wanted to go around the world, but here I am, sitting in my computer chair because I was one of those people that didn't have the money. Bullshit, that's my damn fault. I'm fixing that! I'm working every free second I have to pay for it. Will there be bumps in the road? Sure, but I'll pay for it, and not with a credit card! Could I die next year and have never seen the Great Pyramids? Yup, but when I do see them, I don't want to be stressed about money. If it means I have to save even longer, I will get around the world. I won't skip anything I want to see, Most people only get one shot at something like a RTW trip; why make it stressful? Why make compromises?
    #18
  19. Sp4Mike

    Sp4Mike Been here awhile

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    No hostility taken. And you are right, I've owned one street legal bike (and a few dirtbikes). I've been on a couple long weekend rides, never out of the state. Only taken the MSF beginner course to get the license waiver. I'm not an engineer nor do I play one on TV. My bike has about 6,000 miles on it. I bought it in August. Just to give you an idea of how long I've been at this, my first post here on ADV was 05/03/2012 asking what kind of thumper to get! I didn't know the difference between a WR250R and a WR250X.

    But if you add a couple wheels, and three more of them driving, I have a little more experience. I've driven a 4x4 in 8 countries. Been broken down a few thousand miles from anyone that speaks my language, walked away from more then a couple flipped over rigs, raced across sand dunes, bought gas from a 5-gallon bucket, and spent weeks in a tent. I even got paid to drive off-road for awhile.

    Motorcycles are cheaper, easier to work on, last longer off-road, and are more fun. I made the switch late this summer and will never go back. Both of my jeeps are for sale. I will not own a car after this winter.

    I learn something new every day. I enjoy this sport/hobby so much more then 4x4's. All the car companies are selling junk and calling it "off-road" ready. Maybe the Jeep Rubicon, but that's about it. Land Rover sold out, Mercedes wont import the G-Wagon, Nissan wont import the Patrol, and Toyota made the Land Cruiser into a minivan. I'm done fighting to make a vehicle do what it was never designed to do.

    Ultimately, does it matter? Are any of my points not valid?
    #19
  20. blues

    blues Been here awhile

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    Actually with your experience and attitude you'll do well with Adventure riding.

    None the less seat time on lots of different bikes and circumstances will teach you stuff that words will never accomplish. For example I like big thumpers for a day ride but on longer trips I find them tedious, but others are happy to ride them for months on end. Fully loaded up the difference in weight between a big thumper and a small twin may not be that much.

    Although there are lots of different bikes available you will need to modify it to suit as there are such a wide variety conditions to account for. Also I try to '80/20' my gear which means I bias my set up to the conditions I'll encounter most of the time.

    Electrical output is an important consideration. Heated gear allows you to handle a wide range of conditions without a big pile of gear. If you're planning to ride at night more light is better, and so forth.

    I think about reliability alot while riding in the boonies by myself. A bike that starts right up is high on my list while temperamental machinery is something to avoid ( even if nothing happens the thought will be in my mind, just me I suppose ).

    Weather protection is nice, turbulence is not nice at all. Hard to have both at the same time. Getting our aerodynamics sorted out can take some work and why I prefer naked bikes.

    Lots more of course but these are a few of my considerations. I will be curious to ses what you end up with and how it works out.
    #20