# Realistic riding speeds in Central and South America

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by wanderind, Jun 1, 2012.

1. ### wanderindkailasv.com

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What is the general range of cruising speeds in South American countries? Say you ride about 200-300 kms in non-urban highway+other roads, what would be the range of average speeds?

Speeds can be a combination of road quality, terrain, traffic and weather, so regardless of the capabilities of the bike, what would be the average speed on day-to-day riding? Which countries has the lowest/highest speed?

I am exploring the choice of getting a 200-250cc vs 650cc for the trip to Tierra del Fuego. I know that most of you would recommend a 650cc, but if the realistic average speeds are around 50-60 mph, I think a smaller bike would be sufficient (just the way people in Latin America ride).

Any reply will be useful for me and countless others who are planning this trip
2. ### misery goatPositating the negativeSuper Moderator

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How do you define realistic?
3. ### El Jefe de CaribeThe Boy Ain't Right

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After 85,000 collective miles in the DR, we estimate that 1 mile here is like 3 miles at home, based on the road conditions and mental energy needed to scan for threats.

Not sure that helps. The speeds really depend on the road. 300km is a long-ass day.
4. ### wanderindkailasv.com

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If 300 km is a long-ass day, I am estimating the average speed to hover between 40 and 60 kph. This means, cruise speeds should be around a maximum of 80-100 kph on good sections

I am planning on making 200-250 kms everyday, so a 200-250cc bike should be more than adequate to do the job, right?
5. ### JDownsSounds good, let's go!

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After years of riding in Latin America I personally found less is more so ride a 250 dirt bike. Latin America is HUGE. There are places where you can see the road stretch out to the horizon and you wish you had a faster bike. And there are places where it's raining and muddy and you are glad you have a smaller nimble bike. Any bike is a compromise. Take a bike that's fun to ride.

Is a 250 dirt bike the perfect bike for everyone? No. But for your needs it would likely suffice. Especially if you enjoy twisty backroads and exploring gravel backroads.

While I like riding a slow bike fast, others roll their eyes and think I'm nuts. I'm not rich. I travel light so don't value carrying capacity and top speed. I value fuel economy, low initial bike cost, light weight and ease of finding low cost tires and accessories.

If I had the money I would buy a WR250R. With a Safari tank, I think that bike would be a hoot in Latin America. Fuel injected so it wouldn't choke at altitude in the Andes, bulletproof motor, great fuel economy for expensive gas countries like Brazil, great off-road, electric start making it easy to stop and take pictures often and not have to kick the thing to death at altitude, easy to pick up and capable of cruising at 70mph on the open road.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
6. ### wanderindkailasv.com

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Thanks John. WR250R seems to be awesome, no doubt...but I guess it costs as much as a well sorted DR650.

I am thinking of buying a new 220cc bike from Guatemala that makes about 21 hp and tops 85-90 mph, and ride down. Super low cost and great gas mileage + (a big plus) I know the bike very well (it is made in my country ), I grew up with it. I am sure you would've seen these types in your trip.

Here is a pic..
7. ### misery goatPositating the negativeSuper Moderator

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To answer your question, a realistic riding speed should be the speed at which you can safely manage your bike through the roadways of LA and return home to your loved ones. This is a very personal question and I expect the responses will vary greatly depending on rider ability and the motorcycle employed. Ride your own ride.
8. ### El Jefe de CaribeThe Boy Ain't Right

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One consideration is how big you are, and how much stuff you want to carry.

An overloaded bike can be problematic when you don't need problems. Smaller bikes don't carry a lot.
9. ### El Jefe de CaribeThe Boy Ain't Right

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^^^!Endorse!^^^
10. ### wanderindkailasv.com

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I am not too big....5'8 150 lbs ...But I do ride an R1100RT now and have ridden many other big ones. But I'm sure it will be a different story for me to ride the biggies in S.American roads. I can ride the RT to the end of this world, but I dont want to be stressed by its weight on slow, potholed roads - more importantly if it costs me a kidney to repair it. I also cannot pick it up if I drop it.

I know I clearly want a light, flickable bike, with a simple engine and cheap parts/repair availability... the bike pictured above is made in India and I know the secret that its suspension and ergos are tuned for bad roads - and I am confident it will do the double duty of a dualsport and a street bike. Parts are cheap and available in many Latin American countries ... luggage capacity might be an issue, but more importantly the issue is about sustaining high speeds (read 60 kph) for long..
11. ### crashmasterow, my balls!

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Those Pulsars are all over the place in Latin America, but I still think youre better off with a Honda 250 Tornado, which you will see everywhere as well.

The Pulsar, IMO, is cheaply made with cheap parts. The Honda 250 is a better bike all the way around and will get you in and out any terrain you are capable of riding. It will do 60 mph/100 kph all day long as well. I also think the Honda is more comfortable to ride. When you get down there, you should ride both bikes and see which you like better.

You can ride as fast or as slow as you want in Latin America. The speed is only dictated by how crazy you are. Like MG said, ride your own ride. At times 300 miles can be a big day, it all depends on the route you choose to explore. In Central America and much of northern South America, for the most part, traffic will not be moving much faster than 50 mph/80 kph. In the wide open of Brazil and in the Cono Sur, your balls and your available horse power/suspension is the only limit.

Youre likely not going to be pulling off 700 mile days in Central America no matter what road or bike you are on. Some places in South America its doable, the speed is as varied as the routes and terrain.
12. ### wanderindkailasv.com

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The tornado may be better...but I beg to disagree that the Pulsar is a cheap vehicle. I owned it for two years, nil problems, extremely reliable and robust in bad roads ( please don't even start comparing them with the Chinese, in fact the Chinese made a clone of Pulsar and tried to sell it in Latin America and got sued).

My only concern is about the speeds in open highways, especially the road leading to Tierra del Fuego. DR650 is a strong contender but I have never ridden dualsports before...need to try one soon

13. ### sinteguaPrincipiante

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Hi Wanderwind. I live in Guatemala. I agree with you about the motorcycle size. At least, roads here in Guatemala are not in good shape. That Pulsar is a neat bike, It just have a small problem... it is the most robbed model here in Guatemala, so, If you buy it... be very carefull when you park it. I don't know if you have used this bike before, but I can tell you it is very sweet to ride, it develops good cruising speed (80-110km/h), but it is some "special" in curves, I think the frontal suspension is not soft enough to do a good weight transfer.

As I said above, cruising speeds should be between 80-120km/h in most of our roads, some of them, maybe less.

By the way, the company that sell Pulsar here in Guatemala, Masesa, has representatives in all Central America, so, I think that the spare parts problem is solved with this.

14. ### wanderindkailasv.com

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You are the person I want to talk to ...Please check your PM
15. ### C5!Been here awhile

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Exactly. on the 4 lanes highway between Maracaibo and Caracas in Venezuela for example, you can ride at 120-140 (and a bit more) cruising speed for 600 km....
but obviously you'll miss on the sightseeing...
16. ### ThrottlemeisterLong timerSuper Supporter

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I don't think it is possible to get stopped for speeding in Venezuela outside the big cities, it's like a free for all
17. ### JDownsSounds good, let's go!

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But as they say in Delhi:

&#2348;&#2332;&#2366;&#2332; &#2346;&#2369;&#2354;&#2381;&#2360;&#2352; &#2336;&#2368;&#2325; &#2361;&#2376; &#2332;&#2368; !

If a Pulsar floats your boat and reminds you of home I say ride the wheels off it. Bajaj FTW.

Cheers,
&#2348;&#2366;&#2348;&#2366; &#2332;&#2377;&#2344;
18. ### wanderindkailasv.com

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&#2357;&#2366;&#2361;, &#2325;&#2381;&#2351;&#2366; &#2348;&#2366;&#2340; &#2361;&#2376; ! &#2310;&#2346;&#2344;&#2375; &#2341;&#2379; &#2326;&#2369;&#2358; &#2325;&#2352; &#2342;&#2367;&#2351;&#2366; &#2361;&#2350;&#2360;&#2375; &#2361;&#2367;&#2306;&#2342;&#2368; &#2350;&#2375;&#2306; &#2348;&#2379;&#2354;&#2325;&#2352; !

Some seriously interesting plans are building up...keeping fingers crossed for now.

19. ### El Jefe de CaribeThe Boy Ain't Right

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Consider a TW 200 or WR250X...
20. ### El Jefe de CaribeThe Boy Ain't Right

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We have Pulsar's and Apache's here also. They tend to be fragile and rust easily.