A Month on a Bike in Colombia - 2019

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Champe, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. Champe

    Champe Been here awhile

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    Yes - thank you Quindio for the references to Ed, the hostel owner. I will be making it a point to stay there at least one night.
    Bogota has some advantages, being the largest (cheapest ?) airport and very cheap long term parking - $20/month. But the coffee region is surely a nicer place to be.

    Just for fun I wanted to look at different bikes for Colombia. In reality, motorcycles come in a lot of flavors, and all of them will get you around. Most types have been used for long distance travel, too. So I looked at a range of possibilities, mostly focused on the budget (cheap) end. One of my favorite contributors here (WileyRTW) has done long distances on a 250cc Chinese bike .
    He was happy with it, and it still ran at the end.

    But his trip was a few years ago. He paid only around $1500 for it, new. So I checked out a few similar ones for myself, starting lower on the pecking order, in order to rival that price. Here is my top (bottom) pick. For $1000 you can have a brand new 125CC AKT: https://www.aktmotos.com/motos/street/nkd-125

    AKT is a Colombian company that imports parts and "kits" from China. They do assembly and sales. Currently they have about 15% of the Colombian motorcycle market. If I was riding primarily in town and had a dealer nearby, I would consider one.

    The best deal ? The least expensive all-rounder (can do highway with authority) would be the Bajaj Dominar. It has a similar motor as the KTM Duke 390, but is priced way lower at about $4000 new. Used, not abused, for $3000. You get a detuned, heavier, more touring oriented, more comfortable, bike for super cheap. These are built in India by the same company that makes certain KTMs. The quality is there. The power difference is 40 hp for the Dominar vs 43 hp for the Duke. The Duke is about 60 lbs lighter as well.

    I think Bajaj is the most popular brand in Colombia. Their top selling models are 180 and 200cc. I would prefer one of them to anything Chinese, at this point. If you do not do much mountain riding, one of them would be fine. The 400cc Dominar is rare - I never saw one - but it should do fine in the mountains.

    The cheapest bike you can rent would be the Royal Enfield Himalayan. The best known rental agency (Motolombia, in Cali) has one for $50/ day. There is another one in Bogota for $90/day. I would tend to stay away from them based on another ride report here by JoeMotocross, the Utah moto-fundamentalist. He rented two of them in India and had a lot of issues. At least he didn't own them.

    The next step up from the Himalayan are good bikes. Suzuki 650 DR can be had for $80 a day and a bit above that are the BMW 650-800s.
    Quindio, NSFW and Davidprej like this.
  2. Quindio

    Quindio Been here awhile Supporter

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    You know the old saying you get what you pay for. This is just my opinion but the only reason Colombians buy the Chinese bikes is because they are cheap to buy and they cannot afford to buy a Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha or Kawasaki. From my experience of riding with friends who own AKTs is they slowly fall apart. I remember riding with a friend and at 12,000 feet and he was in 1st gear only able to ride 15 miles an hour. You need to keep in mind that if you are going to explore Colombia you are going to be riding at altitude not at sea level. Even where I live here in Filandia I'm at over 6500 feet.

    Any imported motorcycle here will hold it's value and bikes over 500cc will even get a better price. The Chinese or South American bikes loose value fast.
  3. Champe

    Champe Been here awhile

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    Unfortunately i think you are right about the present state of Chinese motorcycle technology. It is still mostly junk - but watch out - they are going to start putting out some good stuff soon. Especially if they get quality control from KTM like they got from Apple.

    I was bottom fishing some more, checking out low price rentals. I had missed going over Medellin in detail, and find that they have the lowest prices and are more local oriented. There are three places to rent in Medellin.

    One is Motolombia , with Kawasaki and Honda 300s, and Suzuki DR650s Prices $80-90 per day.

    Another is Odyssey, with modified Himalayans (411cc) for $70, Honda XR150s, Apache 200 and AKT 180s. The AKT is 50 a day while the Honda, Apache are a little more.

    And finally, Medellin Scooter Rentals, with a very broad range. Cheapest is a TVS100 for $17/day. And it is not Chinese.
    TVS is Indian, and a strong competitor to Bajaj, which now owns 49%of KTM. TVS makes a 200cc Apache, which is very popular. And now they are going to produce their version of a big bike using the BMW 310 motor. They are taking a page from the Bajaj play, of using a KTM motor. So MSR (Medellin Scooter Rentals) covers the low range with Apache and Pulsar 200s for $50/day. Midrange is the Bajaj Dominar 400 for $80/day. High end is BMW700GS for 140 per day.

    I want to try out a Dominar. I wonder if they will just trade me bikes for ten minutes ?

    The Himalayans or AKTs I would also like to ride, but not any further than I would be happy pushing them back.

    So altogether, there are only seven places you can rent a bike in Colombia. Three in Bogota, Three in Medellin and one in Cali.
    For some reason I had counted Epico Adventures (Cali) as a renter but I see, they are doing just guided tours (bikes included) for now. Also checked Cartagena, where there was a bike rental business last year, but it seems to be gone. If anyone knows of other rental places or how to find them - I would love to add to the above list.
    Davidprej likes this.
  4. manshoon

    manshoon Been here awhile

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    Champe, now are you still on this ride ? or are you back Stateside planning the next romp to the jungles of Columbia. Awesome ride report just the same.
  5. Champe

    Champe Been here awhile

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    This ride is on ... pause, think and recalibrate.

    I am in the frozen north of New Hampshire tending to my three family farmhouse. Gotta keep the pipes from freezing. and the tenants happy.

    Am doing some planning for round two. The first month went great so I am building on that for a second trip in March. Now only two months away ... yippee. Next time will be longer - at least 6 weeks. And plan another trip after that ... longer still.

    The last loop was from Bogota to the North coast and back, which was great but rushed. The next trip will be West and South. That will include some deserts, extreme high mountains, the coffee region, the Trampoline of Death, Cali and Medellin. No point in going fast because you will actually miss it all. I may miss the Caribbean entirely because it is a long ride and worth spending more time. may save that for trip #3.
    roadcapDen and 95Monster like this.
  6. Champe

    Champe Been here awhile

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    Who can help me with posting video ?
    I tried posting some from my camera and got an error message. It doen't like the .MOV format. Works on facebook, but not on advrider.
    Will try a gopro shortly - think that has .mp4 format. Will that work ?

    I do notice that links work well. Like links to a utube video. Is that what I need to do ? Store my video with a third party and provide links to it ?
  7. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

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    Dude where do you get all this info you post, this thread has so much great stuff! Having a list of rental options like that is fantastic.

    Knowing nothing about Bogata rental options I think Medellin and Cali are the best options, but did you look into Santa Marta at all? I do not know if they limit where you can go or what size bikes are available, but there are several rental and tour companies up there. Could be another option on the list for people in the North.
  8. Tripletreat

    Tripletreat Long timer

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    Great ride report! I need to visit Columbia before I get too old to enjoy the ride! Thanks for posting this. It's loaded with valuable info, and very entertaining as well.
  9. Champe

    Champe Been here awhile

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    WileyRTW is right again. There are three rental companies active in Santa Marta. They primarily specialize in smaller bikes well suited to the coast. The first one will even rent one way to Medellin or Bogota.

    Adrenaline Addicts Honda 110 for $34/day
    Honda 150 49
    Honda 300 XRE 80

    Colombian Riders ATK 125 $20/ day
    Honda 110 30
    ATK 125 25
    ATK 200 36
    Honda 150 42
    Honda 190 52

    Motorent Kymco 125 23
    ATK 125 27
    ATK 200 30
    ATK 250 55

    And there is another in Cali: Rental Motorbikes
    Yamaha XT660 99
    Suzuki DR650 80
    BMW 850 153
    BMW 700 100
    BMW 800 115
    BMW 750 135
    Honda Africa Twin 153
    BryanQ likes this.