Best Bike to ride Europe?

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Boredsurfer, Oct 24, 2019.

  1. Boredsurfer

    Boredsurfer Been here awhile

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    So I am going to buy a bike in Europe and leave it there for vacations. I LOVE ADV riding, but I don't know how much of that type of riding is still available in Europe? I would be storing the bike near the Italian Alps ultimately.

    Consequently, I am torn between a used 701 (assuming there is tons of off-roading like the TET all over the place) OR just get a used GS and putt around taking in the views (and the occasional hard pack/double track road). Spain looks to me like its ADV country, but I am unsure about the rest of Europe. Morocco looks cool too.

    Anyhoo, I know there are many variables to this, but I just thought there are probably some others here who share in this dilemma.

    Also my budget will be $8k US

    Any thoughts welcome. Thanks!!
    #1
  2. b4thenite

    b4thenite Been here awhile

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    GS is a good bike for Europe. Or 701 should be fun too. Good luck, neighbor!
    #2
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  3. Boredsurfer

    Boredsurfer Been here awhile

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    hey neighbor - I just looked through your European ride report - I know you have more opinions than that :)
    #3
  4. b4thenite

    b4thenite Been here awhile

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    90 % of road I've been to, GS is doable. There were moment on autobahn in Germany, I wish I had the GS instead. So I learned. Everything ,life is compromise
    #4
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  5. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    Just choose the bike that match the kind of riding you prefer. You can find all kinds of riding on offer in Europe.
    There is plenty of options for riding outside the tarmac as soon as you leave west/central Europe - both the south, east and north has a lot to offer.
    #5
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  6. kickstandsup

    kickstandsup Long timer Supporter

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    I'd be happy to ride my for sale GS to you, and you can ship it with Stefan Knopf... :lol3

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/2011-r1200gs-triple-black-tucson-az-now-7850.1411601/

    Seriously, there are a couple of advantages to having a US plated bike: 1. great conversation starter; 2. you are "invisible" to speed cameras.

    Either way, you'll have a great time riding Europe, I can't wait to go back this summer.

    Good luck!
    #6
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  7. DantesDame

    DantesDame Ridin' Fool Super Moderator

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    I have an F800GSA and think that it is the perfect bike for Europe. It handles pavement well - although the Autobahn isn't all that much fun, but then again, who comes to Europe to ride a motorcycle on the Autobahn?

    [​IMG]

    I just took at two-week tour through countries east of Switzerland and I was really goad to have the suspension of the GS - there are some really "shitty" roads over there. Not to mention the section of the Transaplina that isn't even paved... The GS also handles the corners well and can carry all of the gear that you need. And of course, there is a wide BMW support network, "just in case" you need something along the way.
    #7
  8. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer Supporter

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    What kickstandsup said. A US plated bike is the way to go and Stefan is the guy to make it happen.

    IMHO
    #8
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  9. Bill 310

    Bill 310 Poser Emeritus Super Supporter

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    We had a KTM 990 and now keep a Tenere at Stefan's. We are two up.

    We do great rides and visit major cities for 2-3 day stretches. We go for a month at a time.

    Don't discount the Autobahn advantage as you ride more of Europe. If you want to get to the farther destinations in Europe the combination of Autobahn and overnight ferries ( you are sleeping and making forward process while not riding and burning gas) simply swapping stationary hotel room rates for constant movement towards your destination.

    Unlike North America there are BMW Shops everywhere it seems.

    Stefan rents bikes at really reasonable rates. You might consider going for a month and rent a bike from him to see if you really enjoy riding in Europe.
    #9
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  10. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

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    There are stunning roads around the Italian Alps, and you might actually wish to have a more road biased bike - I don't know how long your Europe trips will usually last. You can have fun on almost any kind of bike here.
    If Europe is new to you, I'd either start with a rental or get a bike which could easily be sold again, if you change your mind.
    #10
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  11. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz Long timer

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    Wise words, that!
    #11
  12. PomInOz_

    PomInOz_ Adventurer

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    GS is the best selling bike in Europe for a reason, it’s a great bike for Europe’s roads.

    It’ll do two up down the Autobahn, it’ll carve up alpine roads, unless you are doing the TET specifically where the 701 may be better the GS is fairly capable for the average European trail.
    #12
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  13. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

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    just came home last Friday, and based on what i saw for 2 1/2 months in 9 countries..... BMW GS/GSA 1200 is the most popular. there are also dealerships and services in many cities, which is a peace of mind that help is available. the dealerships bailed me out twice and satisfied with their service.

    i ride a BMW 650cc thumper in 2018 and 2019, fun in all B-roads and capable of doing 70 mph all day, but when there's a need to get from one place to another in a hurry, a few times i wished i had a bigger bike. very seldom i see a thumper. will continue riding the same bike for 2020; which makes riding in country roads the perfect bike (forces me to go slow and enjoy the scenery).

    a bike with tubeless tires would also be good to have.
    #13
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  14. MotoMigrant

    MotoMigrant Been here awhile

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    Depends on if you want to ride more trails/dirt or more road. Once you start to meet locals and explore more, you'll find lots of offroad options, 90% isn't posted on this or other websites and they like it that way! The further east you go...the more fun it gets! Just be honest with yourself, if you want to ride trails it will be harder to find but lots of fun. I manage with a DR 650 :D
    #14
  15. Bill 310

    Bill 310 Poser Emeritus Super Supporter

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    I have always found this to be helpful if you are budgeting and it sometimes pays to fill up before you cross or wait until after you cross a border

    https://www.globalpetrolprices.com/gasoline_prices/

    Last year Visa was struggling with the currency conversion at gas pumps in Norway, Finland and Sweden.

    For example gas in Norway was 1.85 USD litre (2.42 cdn/litre) So we were buying 20 litres in Norwegian Krone @ 17.10 /litre = 342 Krone. Most days we filled up twice times and Visa was often charging us $342 cdn per fill up instead of 48.40 plus exchange costs :lol3:lol3

    The first time my wife checked our Visa bill on our trip we had "spent" over $3,000 cdn on gas in 8 days .

    Once we got it fixed and Visa made notes on our file I just called visa every few days and got things adjusted. It was random by station and country and there was no pattern. It is much easier to deal with visa on matters like this when you are in your 60's than when you are 25.
    #15
  16. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    One inmate determined that he wanted a big torquey bike for touring in the Alps. He rented/chose from his tour company one of those 6 cyl BMWs. Had a hell of a job in the twisties. Never got used to it. Ruined his experience.

    Alpine hairpins can be tight. The well known passes are busy in summer and particularly weekends so you can't just take the "racing line".
    If you are including lots of Autobahn bashing, then one of the big GS's will do that. Everywhere else a decent mid-weight bike will be a nicer experience. And maybe cheaper, if that's an issue.

    Being old, I find my guzzi is getting a bit heavy to shuffle around. A day of that, enjoyable as it is, and the old shoulders know they have been working.
    Not all European parking is nice smooth and level asphalt. Tilted, gravel and pot holes are not unknown, heavy bikes can be hard work in those conditions.
    #16
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  17. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer Supporter

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    Even tighter, for some.

    [​IMG]

    I rented an F750GS this year. Lovely! It had no issues with a few hundred kms of Autostrada and was definitely less of a handful in the tight stuff. And it was significantly less expensive. Not an issue, but welcome nonetheless.

    [​IMG]
    #17
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  18. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    Either bike would do but you will have different experience and would have to pick different roads. TET is doable on big bike; well some sections and until you come to water crossings.

    Personally I would go for 701 if you want to do TET; if you need 2up then GS good luck.
    #18
  19. dooby

    dooby aka Frgich

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    Hi Boredsurfer,

    Spain, Portugal and then the wild Balkans these are TET paradise. Norway track has stunning scenery as well.

    I am the linesman for Croatian TET and my company Lobagola MotoTours is providing a full framework for such idea as yours.

    Through us you can buy a motorcycle on Croatian licence plates, get it insured through us as well, store it in our warehouse, and we will sort all the needed paperwork, tax and provide support, service, tires, mapping and routing.

    We are looking for the bike for you, finding it, buying it and storing it in our warehouse of 300 m2 until you arrive to pick it up.

    We also rent motorcycles so if you first want to test and explore you can do that as well.

    We're located 1,5 h from Alps, 1,5 h ride from TET in Croatia and 1,5 h ride from the Adriatic coast.

    From us and supported by us you can reach Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria by ferry in 24-36 h. We can transport you and your bike during the winter in Europe to the city of Split on the coast where you can catch a ferry to Ancona ride across Tuscany and then from Genoa catching ferries to Spain or Africa.

    You can email us at: mototours@lobagola.com or borderinsurance@lobagola.com

    BR
    Dooby
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  20. Boredsurfer

    Boredsurfer Been here awhile

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    So good to message with you today. Thanks for this information. I will be in touch!
    #20
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