North to South America on a Honda 250

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Joris van O, Apr 26, 2019.

  1. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    158
    Location:
    Netherlands
    I have been wanting to do this for more than five years now, explore North, Central and South America on a motorcycle. I managed to temporary satisfy my appetite for motorcycle travel with trips through Africa and Europe, but the idea of a bigger and longer ride never left my mind. Those trips also gave me more confidence and experience and I realized that if I try real hard I might be able to actually do this.

    So in summer 2018 I was riding on some road heading to Athens and then and there I made the decision to go for it. No more excuses, there will be no better time. Yes it will be difficult, yes I have to give up many things, yes I will be asking myself why on earth I’m doing this, but it will be all worth it in the end. Even if it’s only to get this idea out of my head.

    Back then when I made that decision and when I booked my flight it still seemed far away. In the past months I kept myself entertained by researching kit, improving the bike and ordering all kinds of nice stuff that I would definitely need one day. Now, with only a week left and most lists checked off I am starting to feel nervous. But it is exciting too.

    Last week I delivered my bike at the shipping terminal in Zeebrugge (Belgium). After a lot of hard work (there is always something to fix) it was time to send it on its way to Canada. Its current location is somewhere south of Ireland on a RoRo vessel called ‘Glorious Leader’. If all goes well in a weeks’ time it will be waiting for me to pick it up at the Autoport in Halifax.

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    #1
  2. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
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    Location:
    Coventry, RI
    Bon voyage and ride safe. If you come to Rhode Island, we'll leave a light on for ya!
    #2
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  3. xtmag

    xtmag Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2015
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    Location:
    Rochester, MA
    Same here! I am in Southeastern Massachusetts. If you need tools I can help.
    #3
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  4. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,000
    Good luck and welcome! You would have to figure out how to avoid interstates in US but otherwise would have alot of fun! South of the border 250 would be almost perfect.

    If you have a chance get Rand McNally road atlas it has most of the scenic US roads marked good luck!
    #4
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  5. rockydog

    rockydog just a guy

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    Feb 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,222
    Location:
    okieland
    it's fun tracking your ship, isn't it? great bike for the backroads
    #5
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  6. MYUMPH

    MYUMPH 'Ol Timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    375
    Location:
    Va
    In! Can you share why you have your rear box mounted backwards? Has to be an interesting story for that. Great bike. Safe travels!
    #6
  7. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
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    Location:
    Netherlands
    I'm checking the tracking page every day and hope everything goes smooth when I go to collect the bike. So far it has been quite a stressful process, I've learned a lot about shipping though. I plan to do a loop following the backroads of Nova Scotia to get my feet wet before I venture further west.

    Thanks! I could say it is more aerodynamic this way but it's actually only mounted backwards for shipping. It sticks out quite a lot normally and I was afraid they wouldn't accept it with the dimensions I gave them.
    #7
  8. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    Oh bikes..

    Ever since I thought of this trip there was one uncertainty, well many actually but this one was the most annoying. Which bike to use? I have travelled on Honda Cubs when I was young, and they have proved to be RTW capable bikes but just a little more comfort and speed would be nice. In Africa we used Honda XRV750’s (Africa Twins), brilliant bike but the ones we had did suffer from electronic problems, could have been bad preparation but still. It was also quite heavy. I remember camping alone on a beach in Angola and in the morning I had to roll the bike backwards through the soft sand to be able to ride off the beach. I managed, only just, but it was enough to realize that if I’m going solo I want a bike that I can lift and move around by myself. I did like the engine torque of the V-twin and the suspension travel. So after the Africa Twin and my first bike a Kawasaki ER-5 were gone I got a cheap Honda SLR 650, the road version of the XR650. How I loved to get the front wheel of the ground, that thing was so much fun. But a full tank only lasted about 80 miles, it was fun for a while but not very practical.
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    For commuting to work I got a cheap Honda 250 Nighthawk, which turned out to be perfect. I rode the thing to Montenegro in summer 2017 and it never complained, not once did it fail me. This Nighthawk is now a project bike.
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    In September 2017 I bought the European version called the Honda Two Fifty which has a front disc brake, a rev counter and a center stand. The one I got for 550 euro had only done 12.000km or 7.500 miles in 25 years. It was a good candidate for my intended trip. One and a half year later, many commutes and a trip to Istanbul in 2018 it has done 42.000km (26.000 miles) and it doesn’t feel that new anymore. I was again doubting if a little 250 would be suitable for riding from North America all the way South and so I bought a Honda Transalp 650.
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    Again I liked the engine and suspension but this Transalp wasn’t wat I was looking for, so the choice was made. I would go on the Two Fifty. To get it ready for this trip it needed some work. I did the basics like tires, filters, bearings, brakes and oil. Then the fun stuff of modifying it, heated grips, wind protection, cruise control, auxiliary lights, luggage and luggage racks, charging ports, brackets for navigation and Spot GPS, a chain lube system and many more small jobs. Oh and I changed the color from green to red, I like the red more!

    Cheap Chinese lights, they work very well for the price.
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    Everything is within reach, mounted on the bars.
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    I got a Loobman chain lube system, which works perfect!
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    I made these luggage racks for the Lomo motorcycle panniers I bought. This way the bags are hard mounted but easily removable. On both sides between the wheel and the rack there is just enough room to fit a bottle for some spare fuel or water.
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    #8
  9. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2016
    Oddometer:
    2,516
    Location:
    33.202738 -117.384040
    I'm in...:lurk

    FWIW, from the pics, it looks as if the panniers will touch the exhaust despite that small shelf you've added...
    #9
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  10. rockydog

    rockydog just a guy

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    okieland
    shipped mine from Oklahoma to Dublin, would've bought one in ireland but it's hard to find; 2009 BMW g650 x country. added expenses occurred at the final destination, surprise surprise. and the govt wanted to charge me an import fee, which they finally dropped. I told them over and over i was not importing, registered to me, going to stay registered to me and just riding it. hope your US experience is smooth
    #10
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  11. canadianshark74

    canadianshark74 Adventurer

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    Feb 27, 2011
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    53
    Location:
    Brampton.ON.CA
    Awesome. I'm along for the ride!
    #11
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  12. Astrid - Woerden

    Astrid - Woerden n00b

    Joined:
    May 6, 2019
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    1
    Location:
    Woerden Netherlands
    Enjoy your amazing trip. I will for sure enjoy following you. :clap
    #12
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  13. ballpeen

    ballpeen _______________ Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    558
    Location:
    NJ
    In!

    Years ago I mercilessly beat a '82 CM250 for around 15k miles and the thing never let me down. Cheap fun.
    #13
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  14. satuple22

    satuple22 Adventurer

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    Dec 22, 2015
    Oddometer:
    16
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Following you from Michigan, US. Great choice of bike as far as reliability is concerned. I personally like something larger, but that Nighthawk will take you wherever you may want to go.
    #14
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  15. SOLOKLR

    SOLOKLR Back to work

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    598
    Location:
    Green Valley, AZ
    Love smaller bike rides! Good luck!
    #15
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  16. ThirtyOne

    ThirtyOne I got my wings back. Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2014
    Oddometer:
    835
    Location:
    Honduras
    I'm in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Give me a shout when you're in the area. I can offer whatever help you might need.
    #16
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  17. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    121
    Location:
    VA
    You will have a blast I am sure.

    I have a Loobman on my CB500X and currently putzing around in Peru. It worked fine until the roads got dusty....then the button got stuck in the down position......I was wondering why I could smell gear oil! Dumped about 100ml out over 20 miles.....what a friggin' mess that made. If you tackle unmade and dusty roads just remember to pull the button up, don't rely on the return spring.

    Cheers. T2
    #17
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  18. td63

    td63 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    278
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    In! Good luck!
    #18
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  19. Klinc207

    Klinc207 To PERU!

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2015
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    Walpole, ME
    In midcoast Maine and know some greats routes in the state. Leet me know if you need a place to tent or tools!
    #19
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  20. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    158
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Thanks for the encouragement guys!
    I'll share a bit more about me and the planned route soon, once I'm settled in.

    This afternoon I arrived in Halifax. Left Amsterdam yesterday at 5pm for a one hour flight to London City. I then dragged my incredibly heavy luggage bag to the London Bridge for a quick look and proceeded by train to Gatwick to spend the night somewhere on the floor. That idea was pretty dumb, airport's aren't made for sleeping. I was most fortunate to pick a spot at the customs checkpoint for families. I might have gotten two hours of sleep before the first kids arrived. No earplug ever will stop the sound of screaming children.

    After the 16 hour layover in London the six hour flight to Halifax was a breeze. Plus I gained another four hours today, for a total of five. Combined with the lack of sleep I'm now pretty beat. So after checking in to the hostel and a short wash I then went to the customs office and within five minutes everything was done. Tomorrow I will get the bike from the Autoport (hopefully).

    Now, sleep..

    Haha great If you're still there next year let me know! I already made a habit of pulling the button back to the up position, but will keep an eye on it. Thanks!
    #20