South korea riders

Discussion in 'Asia' started by Just_P_Dirty, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. Squelch

    Squelch Everyday People

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    Thanks for the heads up - maybe I'll keep the Buell then. It's been a good bike for 7 years, and I know how to fix some of the problems that crop up when it breaks. At the same time, though, I'm tempted to trade the Buell and Daytona in for an F700GS, since it seems that I'd have much better dealer support. It's hard enough to find dealer support in the US, and I'm betting Harley mechanics in South Korea have even less interest in working on a Buell than their American counterparts.

    I just found out I'll be in Daegu, so I guess I'll be south. That's great to know about track days - I will probably be wicked busy, but if I get a chance to spend a weekend bombing around the track, I will take it, even on a 250. Actually, hell, that will probably help hone my pathetic skills... :lol3
  2. Hot Stuff

    Hot Stuff Road Dragon

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    Daegu is a big city, they have a real-deal Harley dealer but not sure of Buell support there. I don't think Buells were ever officially imported to Korea. I'm sure you can find someone to work on it if needed. Use the APO to order parts from CONUS if needed. Daegu has excellent mountain roads nearby and is close enough to the East and South coasts that you can get there in a few hours tops. Not sure about track availablility there, I live in Seoul and only familiar with what's up here track-wise. I think you'll be happy on the Ulysses or on a GS if you decide to go that route.
  3. SR1

    SR1 Back in S. Korea

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    Harleys and GS's are both very popular.

    If I had done it right, I'd have figured out how to ship my GS and my WR250R here (one in my household goods?) I have my GS here. It is probably great for 99% of the roads, but there are times when I sooooo miss my little dual sport. There are some (though not many) good DS areas.

    I think a GS/VStrom/Explorer/Tenere/Adventure is a good all-around bike here. You DO want lots of suspension travel. I'm not sure how the HD guys put up with all the speed bumps. I fuckin' jump 'em.

    There are lots of times you'll be really glad to have a GS style of bike, in my opinion.
  4. Rectaltronics

    Rectaltronics Barned

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    I'm betting they don't care either way. They won't be Americans caught up in false patriotism expressed in the form of blind brand fanaticism.

    Actually I take that back a little. Plenty of H-D Kool-Aid(TM) drinkers in South Korea adorned in leather and fringes and skull bandana masks. It's really adorable to see Asians all dressed up like that. And there is a HOG chapter near Namsan. But I still don't think the wrench monkeys will care either way.

    Enjoy your stay in Korea and thanks for your service.

    -Brad
    http://rebekahcourt.com Luxury Villa near Hannam Village in Yongsan
  5. Squelch

    Squelch Everyday People

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    Would something like a Concours 14 be too much for there? Whaddya think? If the bike isn't allowed on the highway, it may be overkill for the side roads. But it would be better for riding two up when my wife comes and joins me, and I'd keep it much longer too.
  6. Rectaltronics

    Rectaltronics Barned

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    I have seen plenty of Gold Wings, Road Kings, big BMWs, etc. Not necessarily being piloted by expats either. Whatever floats your boat. Normal practice on local roads is to pass on the right. Filtering is encouraged. There is usually room but a bike with side cases may limit your options. Not sure about where you are gonna be but Seoul traffic is a nightmare.
  7. Skitch

    Skitch Riding the range

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    I brought full Givi luggage for my VStrom, but only ever used the top case. I second what is being said here...nice to have a slim bike for manuvering in city traffic (ie lanesplitting).
  8. Skitch

    Skitch Riding the range

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    Even though motorcycles are not permitted on the expressways/toll roads, some of the secondary highways permit some pretty high speeds.
    I think the reason I liked the VStrom in Korea was for the following: small/light enough to be considered manuverable, big enough motor to cover miles comfortably, a little bit of wx protection, and nice upright seating position to allow good visability in traffic. i even covered some umimproved roads every now and then. And as mentioned earlier, this is the land of the speed bump. The VStrom was nice for dealing with these little buggers.
    Consider getting a GPS mounted to any bike you bring. I had an older model Garmin (Quest II), and even w/o map data, it was still nice to leave a "bread trail" when I went out exploring on my own. It took me about 4 months to get really comfortable getting around Korea....learning the roads, figuring out gas stations, where to eat, what roads i could ride on, reading the road signs, and of course, dealing with the traffic/drivers.
    Insurance. This was a pain for me, but I ended up going with USAA. I comment more on this if you like.
    Good luck!
  9. Rectaltronics

    Rectaltronics Barned

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    Everyone in Korea uses a GPS. Even bicyclists. One or two can be found there that are somewhat bi-lingual but if you can learn at least the Korean alphabet you can probably work a Korean one without too much trouble. Street maps can be found for certain Garmin devices. There is also the Open Street Maps project. And yes, the bread trail and dead reckoning value is there even if you can't read the thing.

    Most Korean GPS receivers come with warnings of speed cameras. Nice thing about motorcycles is that the speed cameras take pics from the front, so motorcycles can ignore most of those warnings.

    You can also park nearly anywhere. Unlike cars, where parking is quite effectively controlled by cameras.

    If you stand around looking lost long enough, someone with [variably] basic English skills will try to help soon enough. Most Koreans are very friendly and especially if you're in an unusual area for tourists or service men, curious to know why you came. Best luck is with business men, men old enough to have been adults during the Korean war, and young kids trying out there school-taught skills.

    Another good reason to learn Hangeul is you have a better chance of pronouncing things correctly, which seems unusually crucial in Korea. If you try to pronounce the name of a place the way it looks in the transliteration on a road sign, most Koreans will just stare at you as they ponder what you were really trying to say.

    Easiest way to impress any Korean at all is to be able to say a few basic things in Korean. HUGE additional brownie points if you get the honorifics right when speaking to elders or superiors.

    Most cops there speak little if any English. This can be bad if you're in a pickle or lost. It can be good if you just broke fourteen traffic laws, because it will be too time consuming and awkward for them to bother with you. Though that is my experience as a civilian. Not sure if they will treat service men better or worse. I wonder if they may hold you to a higher standard if they see a high 'n tight when the lid comes off.
  10. Squelch

    Squelch Everyday People

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    Ok, so now I'm thinking if I sell the Buell, Triumph and Kawasaki, I should be able to buy an F700GS outright, and get a topcase for it. From what everyone's said, it seems like that would be a good bike to have. It would be new, so I wouldn't have the maintenance issues that crop up periodically with the Buell. I don't think I'd get enough out of the C14 to make it worthwhile, but the F700 would be a good balance between long-distance rides and commuting.

    Edited to add - I already have a Zumo 6-something that I will take off the Buell and put on whatever bike I bring. I use Dairyland cycle insurance, but if they're not user-friendly for me in Korea I am already a USAA customer for everything else.

    I've already started taking some Hangeul courses online, and it's an interesting language. I've got the alphabet down, and can figure out how words go together. Now I need to move to putting sentences together and increasing my vocabulary.

    I spent a few hours washing the bikes this afternoon, and will spend another few hours tomorrow, then taking pictures, getting them ready to sell. Tuesday I'll head to the BMW dealer to find out about the F700GS. I am wondering about registering it - I don't want to pay to register it for a year, and then leave the country a month later and have to register it in Korea. I assume that the bike needs to be registered over there, right?
  11. Skitch

    Skitch Riding the range

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    I think you are making a good call getting the F700GS.
    You'll register it in Korea as a SOFA vehicle. The process is a little painful, but not too bad. I don't remember any major cost associated with it.
    Your GPS should be able ot accept Garmin map data for Korea. i had several folks offer to help me with map data while I was over there, but I was just too cheep to buy a new GPS (map data would not work with my Quest II).
    As for insurance, USAA is really the only game in town. I think all I had was liability. They said they would only insure me if i also insured a car over there. I told them I was looking, and they wrote me a policy. You'll need proof of insurance in order to register the bike. You might call USAA before you leave to work out the details.
    Check out ROK Riders on Facebook as a good source of local info.
  12. Rectaltronics

    Rectaltronics Barned

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    :clap

    Smart man. If you get good enough to figure out the mean disparaging shit the ajummas say when they see you, don't take it personally. :huh
  13. Squelch

    Squelch Everyday People

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    The funny thing is that I've been in the Army 20 years, and have never been to Korea. Yet, I know a few Korean phrases, just because almost everyone goes there at some point, and things like (and I'm butchering the transliteration of this, Im sure) kom-sa-me-dah have made their way into Soldier vocabulary. So when I read your post, I recognize "ajumma" as a word I've heard people say, but never really knew what it is.

    I'm psyched to get over there and start a new job, and to adventure in a new country. Thanks for all the advice, folks. :clap
  14. Rectaltronics

    Rectaltronics Barned

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    Ajumma is easy enough to look up in Google. ;-) Interesting about the soldier vocab.

    I've been to South Korea about ten times and what with my wife's constant travels to and fro', have actually considered moving. That they don't let bikes on highways really pisses me off tho.

    Also something to keep in mind while you're there... I'm sure USFK has some mechanisms to help improve life for you folks there but the KTO - Korea Tourism Organization - has also been making great efforts. If there is something you need and can't find (and the commissary can't help), or if some taxicab driver decided they didn't want to pick up a non-Korean, or whatever, they can sometimes help.
  15. NPLR

    NPLR n00b

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    Good choice on the BMW. I picked up a F650GS out here and it has been fantastic, though a bit heavy for the brakes with two and stuff.

    GPS... I wouldn't. I have never used a motorcycle GPS but the car versions I have tried in Korea (Hyundai and Garmin) have led me so wrong I have sworn them off. My preference is a good ol map on my tank bag and reading the road signs. If I get lost, the smart phone with naver/daum/google maps is there to save the day.
  16. Rectaltronics

    Rectaltronics Barned

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    Guess YMMV. The Hyundai GPS receiver we have had for several years now had us going in circles once around a construction area but that's about it. The usual drawback of any GPS like picking roads that are direct but slow due to traffic but that's the only issue we have had. That and having to give it to a native to help us get the maps and POIs updated now and then :wink:. Ours has a handy feature where you can navigate by stations on a subway map. You would be surprised how easy that makes some things. It can also navigate by phone number (awesome) and takes English input for a few things even though it's a Korean -only GPS receiver.

    Mis-spellings are not tolerated so using Hangeul input can be tricky for an expat if you're not well practiced. Wanna find a Costco warehouse, round-eye? The first letter is a ㅋ - not ㄱ ! Then you have to remember how they [have to, technically] f up the pronunciation... ko-suh-tuh-ko. Ends up being spelled 코스트코 .

    In and around Seoul I find the GPS receiver indispensable because there's not a straight road anywhere in that city.

    NPLR, what are you paying for your smart phone there?
  17. Squelch

    Squelch Everyday People

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    Right now I have a Zumo 665 on my Buell. I might sell the Buell with the GPS, since it's hard wired into the bike, and I added a metal plate to the top case for the XM antenna, it would look a little strange without the GPS.

    If I do that, maybe I'll wait until I get over there to get a replacement then. I have an old Zumo 5-something, and a couple of handheld GPSs too, that I can use in the interim.
  18. Skitch

    Skitch Riding the range

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    I bought a road atlas in the BX at Osan. It was a little dated (they are building roads like crazy over there), but that and google maps was my friend on long rides. The GPS was really just a backup.
  19. SR1

    SR1 Back in S. Korea

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    Squelch, when are you getting here? You'll be kind sorta on my way to good roads...( I am in Pyeongtaek)
  20. Squelch

    Squelch Everyday People

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    I'll get in country mid-July, but my bike won't arrive until later. I wouldn't plan on having it before end of August, knowing how Army shipments go... :evil

    I have a big exercise in August anyway, so I don't expect to start moto-exploring until September.