Realistic riding speeds in Central and South America

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

  1. empanadaman

    empanadaman Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    75
    Location:
    MEDELLIN
    I had a 250 here in Colombia for most of last year, and part of this year. In the cities it was perfect (for me). But on those rare occasions when I ventured out, I found myself wishing I had a little more engine underneath me. 98% of the time I was in the city, so it really wasn't that big of a deal for me personally. It all depends on what kind of riding you like to do. You will definitely have more time to soak in the journey as you go, since you won't be breaking any land speed records. At the same time, I was amazed that I was usually able to stay ahead of, pass, or what have you, most of the traffic I encountered, even on a 250. Except of course bigger bikes, and the occasional Mario Andretti bus driver.

    But since you're going to TDF, I would vote 650. Your riding preferences may be different than mine, but if I was making that trip, no way in hell I would be doing it on a 250. It has been done before by other people, but no way in hell would I personally do it on a 250.
    #21
  2. El Jefe de Caribe

    El Jefe de Caribe The Boy Ain't Right

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    574
    Location:
    Tropical mountains of Jarabacoa, Dom Rep
    Here in the DR with varying terrain and road conditions, I find our V-Strom DL650's to be the perfect combination of ridability in varied conditions and surfaces, maintenance, load carrying, power...and price.
    #22
  3. markharf

    markharf Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    712
    Location:
    Bellingham, Washington
    Depends on where you want to go, doesn't it? I rode a 200 all over DR and went places I'd never have ventured on my DL--at home or anywhere. A 400 dirt bike would have been almost perfect (e.g., DRZ). A Strom would have suited admirably for any of the paved twisties or open highways, but in soft sand or clay-ish mud? Nuh uh.

    I actually meant to swing by your place to say hello and beg routing advice, but I asked a few people and no one admitted knowing your business, so I kept going.

    Mark
    #23
  4. El Jefe de Caribe

    El Jefe de Caribe The Boy Ain't Right

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    574
    Location:
    Tropical mountains of Jarabacoa, Dom Rep
    Really? We've been here, based in Jarabacoa, four years: www.MotoCaribe.com.

    Agree about soft sand and red mud (aka "red ice.") We mainly ride the open highways, mountain twisties and hard-packed dirt. That is the V-Strom's habitat. There is the correct tool for every job.

    Stop by next time. PM me for my phone #.

    Robert
    #24
  5. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,488
    Location:
    Okie near Muskogee
    +1 for the Tornado over the Pulsar if you are staying with the small bikes and want to ride the better roads, the Honda will do alot better off the paved roads but if your just planning on riding the paved road trying to haul ass to Ushuaia you'd probably want the Pulsar and a good lock, you've almost gotta be more likely to get a Pulsar stolen as I've seen them nearly everywhere in Latin America. I'd be sure and bring along a +1 CS to give either bike some longer legs on those long straights. You can do it on anything but you need to do it on something that makes you happy, as you'll be spending some quality time in the saddle.

    Most of my trip riding down South my average speed is probably 35-45 mph, Guess it all depands on how big a hurry you're in. I like a 650 size and I carry alot of gear.



    John in Cuidad Bolivar, VZ not moving at all for the time being.
    #25
  6. markharf

    markharf Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    712
    Location:
    Bellingham, Washington
    Yes, I know. I saw no directions on your website, and no phone number. I asked in town, but didn't put a lot of effort into it. I figured if you wanted to be found you'd have made it obvious, and I had places to go.

    Sure, next time. Good luck with the business!

    Mark
    #26
  7. BeachGuy

    BeachGuy Lost in paradise!

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    579
    Location:
    Sandy Beaches in Alabama!
    A few thoughts to consider:

    1. At 5 feet 8" and 150 lbs just how much loaded bike can you pick up by yourself with no help. I dropped my fully loaded BMW K75 in Mexico going downhill on a wet rainy road. Had not two nice locals stopped and helped me I would still be there. I am 6' and 245 lbs, I was not nearly man enough to pick it up, it bruised my ego while standing in the rain.
    2. What ever bike you take be sure its fuel injected, altitude and carburetors suck.
    3. Make sure what ever baggage system you use that you can easily remove it at night for security reasons.
    4. Make sure what ever bike you choice, the tire sizes are not something hard to find. Its seems most guys who write about their tire woes do so in countries with the most expense rubber in the world. All because of the odd tire size on the bike.
    5. Not knowing how much in the way of extra parts, tools and or camping gear you plan on bringing makes a difference on bike choices. To me a 250cc bike is too small, try looking at something in the 450cc range and you will have covered all bases. Suzuki makes a pretty good bike in that range.
    6. Look at Throttlemiester's bike, it's a F650 BMW and nobody I know puts their only ride and Independence on the line everyday like he does and his bike is loaded down with everything including the kitchen sink (his nasty old helmet he had in Costa Rica doubles as a sink).
    7. Miles per day or Kilometers per day will all depend on you. In Central America speed will depend on Cop's and boarder crossings. Time has no meaning to these people and it will slow you down. Not so much in South America.

    Have a great trip and be sure and show us photos and few words.
    #27
  8. wanderind

    wanderind kailasv.com

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    437
    Location:
    Hornet's Nest
    Very good tips, BeachGuy! Thanks

    Picking a loaded bike may be difficult, but at least I might have the option of unloading some it before straightening it up. I see that there is a lot of skepticism about the Pulsar , but I would point that a lot of folks in India regularly ride 15000+ feet in the Himalayas with this so-called cheap bike (of course, without much other choices).

    Which Suzuki is in the range of 450 cc? Were you referring to the DRZ400?

    It really seems DR650 is sort of the lead candidate for now, I am also pondering on Honda nighthawk 750 for some reason - possibly because I've heard only good things about it. WR250R is too expensive for a small engine.. and load carrying capacity matters - I may be gone for 4+ months...

    AND, for sure I am going to build a detailed log of my trip...I am not going to miss a thing while realizing this dream :freaky

    #28
  9. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,566
    Location:
    Alaska
    Regardless of what others have said, you dont need a 650 to ride in South America. A 175/250 works just fine. Also, you dont need to carry a lot of crap with you, despite what others may say. A simple backpack strapped to the back will carry all of what you need on a daily basis.

    The Pulsar will do fine, but if you are seeking out dirt roads, rough mountain two track in spectacular areas, the Tornado, being a proper dual sport, is still a better choice than the Pulsar. If you want to venture far into the Peruvian andes or the rough routes of the altiplano in Bolivia, the DS bike is the way to go IMO. If you just want to ride an Indian made bike, then of course go for it. Ride what makes you happy.

    FWIW, Both the Pulsar and the Tornado are very popular bikes with the thieves in LAtin America. I would not leave either model of bike outside overnight. Always bring it into the hostal or hotel.

    Buen viaje!
    #29
  10. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    25,130
    Location:
    out and about
    Well, where do you suck it up - compromise?
    Hey, and what about your skill and comfort levels? There's a biggy.
    Hey, what about your forward path? Wanna follow a viper snake, a Jeep, or a Ferrari?

    You get to choose that compromise. :D Choices and compromises ...are your's to make.

    One hour, you may need a liter SUV bike, and another time a lighter mid-weight 650ish, or a much lighter 250-400 size bike.

    You belly up to the bar, and you order what you like. :D

    It can be done so many different ways - just do it when you can, and do it your own way.

    And you can always do it again, right?
    #30
  11. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,488
    Location:
    Okie near Muskogee
    I met a guy from Portugal IIRC traveling around on a slick looking fuel injected 400cc honda dual sport ( I think he said he bought it in Brazil) that looked pretty good to me, he had a hell of a load on it too. Seemed like a nice sub 650 cc bike to me. I'll look for the picture.

    Some photos, I couldn't remember the exact model but injected single 400-450 cc range, I liked the front end looks
    [​IMG]\

    [​IMG]

    Website might tell more about this interesting bike:
    [​IMG]

    The guy we met while I was staying in Caracas with Silviu:
    [​IMG]
    #31
  12. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    5,566
    Location:
    Alaska
    Yeah its an injected XRE 300. Replacement for the NX4 Falcon 400. The Falcon had the same motor that we had in the states on the XR400, bulletproof. The new 300 motor had a few issues when it first came out and it think they got them sorted Looks like a great bike with a fugly beak. Did some design guys leave BMW and go to Honda?:lol3 The only issue I could see is that it had only 4 inches of rear suspension travel. I saw them all over Brazil and I wanted one bad. I could get in all sorts of trouble on city streets with one of those. :lol3

    [​IMG]

    With 300cc engine, electronic injection and aggressive design, new concept of Honda touring adventure sees any challenge

    Visual adventure combined with a more comfortable driving, both suitable for use in cities and in non-paved roads. It was with this aim that Honda developed the XRE 300, which includes its new model line up of motorcycles nationals.

    To make this idea reality, striking design was applied, with 300cc engine, the driving position more comfortable new chassis and semi-double cradle type. With these characteristics, try to win over users of XR 250 Tornado and NX4 Falcon, and owners of smaller models that seek sophistication and differentiation.

    The XRE 300 meets the expectations of both beginners in the world of two wheels as the more experienced riders and is ideal for those who need a means of locomotion for the day to day in cities and for those who wish to travel by road or adventure land on weekends.

    Aggressive design and impressive

    DNA legacy of off-road XR 250 Tornado is evident in the whole project of XRE 300, the example of suspensions of long, high output with the exhaust from the main dashboard and the high school, which protects against aspersion. Added to all this was based on trend "adventure" in the new motorcycle, which presents modern and aggressive lines, conveying sophistication, magnificence, and therefore large differences in the category.

    In front, the multi-reflector headlamp with polycarbonate lenses of 60/55W, provides excellent nighttime visibility and is surrounded by a textured black careen into which guarantees great resistance to risks. But the main dashboard, integrated careen to the lighthouse and the side deflectors, has forms that convey the feeling of strength and speed.

    The new panel is complete and fully digital. Is integrated into the headlamp and careen marker brings fuel, tachometer, speedometer, odometer total and partial, and lights-spy's PGM-FI electronic injection, flashing, high light and neutral.

    The black exhaust output high, surrounded by protective in silver; raiadas the wheels of 21 inches in front and 18 inches in the rear, with aluminum frame in black, and the mixed use of tires give more visual size and bold.

    In back, the whole is formed by optical light and independent flags, support plate and high in aluminum handles integrated into the trunk of high strength nylon. The wide shoulder straps provide comfort and security for the hip, while the porter facilitates accommodation of cargo, as points of attachment is pre-set for the installation of bauleto (available on the market).

    To consider any adventure

    The motorcycle engine has 291.6 cm3, DOHC (Double Over Head Camshaft), monocilíndrico, four-stroke, Air-cooled with radiator and oil, which in combination with PGM-FI electronic injection, provides precise answers to the command of accelerator.

    It develops maximum power of 26.1 hp to 7,500 rpm and torque of 2.81 kgf.ma 6,000 rpm, providing flexibility and performance in any situation of use. These values represent a significant improvement in performance when comparing the model to the XR 250 Tornado, which developed a maximum power of 23.3 bhp at 7500 rpm and torque of 2.42 kgf.m to 6,000 rpm.

    The exclusive use of the PGM-FI electronic injection, coupled with the catalyst and the PAIR valve installed on the motorcycle exhaust system, makes the XRE 300 meets with clearance, the rates of emission of pollutants established by the third stage of Promot (Program Control of Air Pollution by motorcycles and similar vehicles). While the law allows maximum emission of 2.00 g / km of carbon monoxide (CO), 0.3 g / km of hydrocarbons (HC) and 0.15 g / km of nitrogen oxide (NOx), the XRE 300 emits 0.849 g / km of CO, 0.1 g / km of HC and 0.081 g / km of NOx.

    The XRE 300 exchange has five speeds, with scheduling that allows the use of power and torque, requiring less exchange marches. The model is equipped with electric start, fuel tank with a capacity of 12.4 liters (2.3 liters reserve) and sealed battery, free of periodic maintenance.

    The new chassis, the type semi-double cradle, offers quick and easy steering, and more stable performance in any situation. The XRE 300 shows relationship between length, width and height of 2171 x 830 x 1181 mm and 1417 mm between the axles. Its soil is minimum distance of 259 mm, while the seat height is 860 mm and its dry weight is 144.5 kg.

    The ergonomic seat is secured by two levels, which focuses on comfort and offers great fit next to the tank legs. The handlebars with new positioning, allows the pilot keeps his arms high, avoiding fatigue on long journeys. For croup, comfort is guaranteed by the seat, which leaves the higher position, and the handles in aluminum, with better grip.
    The rear suspension monoamortecida kind of Pro-Link with adjustable spring tension and unique balance of aluminum (Aluminum Swing Arm), provides smooth and enjoyable driving in all situations, always keeps the tire in contact with the soil and increases the ability of traction on any terrain. Have the front of the telescopic fork kind of long, ensures high capacity to absorb impact, strength and resistance to torsion.

    The front brake disk, with 256 mm diameter and double-piston caliper and rear disc also, with 220 mm diameter and caliper piston simple, provide great efficiency and progressivity in frenagens. Golden in color, the visual calipers give the model even more sophisticated.

    Security is enhanced by the presence of the shutter-key (lock enabled with additional hex wrench and magnetic combinations) combined with the comb-lock (locks handlebars combined with the ignition key).
    #32
  13. cliffy109

    cliffy109 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,993
    Location:
    Spotsylvania, VA
    I am NOT any sort of authority on riding in South America but I did recently go on a trip into Chile and Argentina on a bike. It was part of a guided tour that took us on a wide variety of dirt, gravel and tarmac. There were sections of gravel where conditions were very good and we routinely rode at 100 kph. Other sections were not so good and we kept it in the 40 kph range. There were also sections of tarmac where we were up near 140 and our BMW F650 twins were screaming pretty good.

    If I had my choice of bike, I would have opted for something a bit larger. Even the worst roads we encountered would have been fine on a 1200 GS style bike with just a modicum of caution. The bigger, heavier bikes would have been a welcome luxury on may of the roads we hit. But that's my riding style and preference and you may prefer lighter, more flickable bikes.
    #33
  14. Chiriqui Charlie

    Chiriqui Charlie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    441
    Location:
    Panama Highlands
    My advice is probably worth two cents, so I might as well include it here. For years, I drove an 1100cc cruiser all over the Pacific North West. Loved that bike, but there were a lot of places it just wouldn't go, mainly on the many miles of old logging roads. I dropped it once in some snow covered mud, luckily I had a couple guys come by to help me pick it up, otherwise no way.

    When I moved to Panama, I spend quite a bit of time searching for the right bike FOR THESE CONDITIONS.
    I ended up with a Yamaha XT250. At first I was concerned about such a much smaller engine, but no more. In the short time that I have had it, I have put on about 6000 miles, in the mountains of Panama and doing a loop around Costa Rica. On the slab I cruise around 100kph, the bike would do more but this is comfortable for me. I pass most trucks and a lot of cars going up the hills. In towns it is very nimble. I get between 60 and 70 mpg, parts are available all over, and I can pick it up. Would a 650 be better on the open road? Sure, but my Cruiser would be better yet. Because of the mixed conditions of the pavement, the dirt roads and trails in my part of the world, I think I made the ideal compromise.
    #34
  15. oldgringo

    oldgringo Jacked it all

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    149
    Location:
    Lima, Peru
    +2 on the Pulsar, good quality for the price, here in Peru the 180 sells for about $2600, the 220 for $3375. The Honda CBX 250 is $4120 and the Tornado is $5000+.
    I have a Mavila Cavalry and have ridden it all over Peru without any mechanical issues, top end is 60 mph, 50 mph is a comfortable cruising speed. The Cavalry sells for $1750 with plates, two year 20,000 km warranty and the first three services. The negative is riding at high elevations, it still runs well enough at 13,500 feet, I've had it up to 16,000 feet and could barely keep it running.

    [​IMG]

    Mavila Cavalry
    #35
  16. wanderind

    wanderind kailasv.com

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    437
    Location:
    Hornet's Nest
    Thanks for the suggestions...

    I am estimating my pavement to gravel ratio for the whole trip would be about 85:15. This means, for an approximate total of 15000 miles, I would travel about 2000 miles in unpaved roads. I want to stick to good, scenic routes but not very particular to do a major trail adventure in SA.

    Thinking about a honda nighthawk 750 ...great reliability, powerful enough engine, cheap to buy, luggage capacity, but I am not sure how they behave on bad roads (whats their suspension like?), does anyone know of their parts availability? Carburation is another weak point... if I am dealing with the Andes.

    Smaller bike is still in the agenda, though.
    #36
  17. sintegua

    sintegua Principiante

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Guatemala, Central America.
    Well, here In Guatemala, I must say.... it will be hard to find parts for the Nighthawk.
    #37
  18. wanderind

    wanderind kailasv.com

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    437
    Location:
    Hornet's Nest
    Thanks for the info. The Cavalry looks good ...I'd be better off getting the Pulsar from Guatemala, they sell the 220 for about $2400, and of course I want to ride from as north as possible...Do you have any info about how Pulsar has been performing regarding maintenance and high elevation riding?

    #38
  19. wanderind

    wanderind kailasv.com

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    437
    Location:
    Hornet's Nest
    Hi

    Do you have the Mavila Cavalry in Guatemala?
    #39
  20. sintegua

    sintegua Principiante

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Guatemala, Central America.
    No, here in Guatemala we don't have Mavila, but as far as I can see, it's a chinese Motorcycle. We have here a lot of Chinese Motorcycles, with motors between 150 and 250cc. We have a very similar bike with the brand name "Genesis", which is built by Quingui (or something like that) a chinese manufacturer.

    With the altitude problem... those carbs are very easy to work with, just have to open 1/2 turn the mixture and you are done.

    BTW... I'll send tomorow an email with important (and very good) information about the registration of the bike.
    #40