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Old 10th February 2014, 18:25   #1
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Default Anyone been to South America on a Motorbike?

Im not a common poster, but i have used this site often to read up and plan my journeys, from the invaluable insight provided here.

Last time i was planning to go to Leh from Delhi, that was back in 2007-2008, ended up doing the trip closer to 2010, however heading out on a motorbike was epic and i loved the trip, i would do it all over again.

now i am planning something a bit more extreme, in terms of distance, endurance, time, and most likely solitary confinement. ( the delhi -shimla-manali - spiti- leh- kargil - srinagar - chandigarh and delhi trip was with a mate.)

This plan however has been brewing since 2010, so i figure it should be within the next 2 years that i just pick up my bike and head for the open road.

I live outside of india, so saving up for a trip like this, is a bit difficult.

1) taking 3 months - 100 days off, to do a bike trip in south america, is not exactly ensuring the employer, you will come back in one piece.

2) there is the question of the wife...although she knows what she got into when she was given the option of running the other way ( i offered my bike to help the run)

3) the question of buying a motorcycle, living with it, preparing it and being confident, that if anything was to go wrong, you can roll up your sleeves and get working on it, and fix it.

while i was on the trip to Leh, my enfield was constantly giving me issues, it would cut off everytime i pressed the brakes...figured it was the battery, but it did not make sense, realised later the alternator was working but not working, so utilized my friends battery to keep the bike going for the rest of the trip, and his bike charged my battery.

so possibly some help in regards to bikes, info if anyone has done this trip, and just general discussion.

Cheers
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Old 10th February 2014, 18:47   #2
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Default Re: Anyone been to South America on a Motorbike?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronaldfurtado View Post

I live outside of india, so saving up for a trip like this, is a bit difficult.

1) taking 3 months - 100 days off, to do a bike trip in south america, is not exactly ensuring the employer, you will come back in one piece.

2) there is the question of the wife...although she knows what she got into when she was given the option of running the other way ( i offered my bike to help the run)

3) the question of buying a motorcycle, living with it, preparing it and being confident, that if anything was to go wrong, you can roll up your sleeves and get working on it, and fix it.

while i was on the trip to Leh, my enfield was constantly giving me issues, it would cut off everytime i pressed the brakes...figured it was the battery, but it did not make sense, realised later the alternator was working but not working, so utilized my friends battery to keep the bike going for the rest of the trip, and his bike charged my battery.

so possibly some help in regards to bikes, info if anyone has done this trip, and just general discussion.

Cheers
RF,

Fellown forumite - Haroon - is your man as far as I know. Last year he did a trip of Columbia - which is in SA

You can get an idea about the man and his wife from his blog in the link below

http://www.rideforpassion.com/

You can continue to ask yopur questions, and many of who has touring experience can answer you as well

All the Best Mate

Best Regards & Ride Safe

Ram
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Old 10th February 2014, 20:09   #3
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Default Re: Anyone been to South America on a Motorbike?

Much appreciated for the response...have checked out his blog, and it seems very interesting indeed.
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Old 11th February 2014, 12:10   #4
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Default Re: Anyone been to South America on a Motorbike?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronaldfurtado View Post
so possibly some help in regards to bikes, info if anyone has done this trip, and just general discussion.

Cheers
Quote:
Originally Posted by ronaldfurtado View Post
Much appreciated for the response...have checked out his blog, and it seems very interesting indeed.
For what you have in mind, as per me the bset options would be a BMW GS1200 or a Triumph Explorers XC.

I just noticed that you are based in London. Ia m sure there are enoungh of adventure biking groups there, who can help you with planning etc. In comparison with what you had with RE in the Leh Trip, the experience with the bikes I mentioned would be a cake walk.

But then again with RE you could improvise and go on, but with any modern bike a less than fully functional alternator could mean - garaging the bike.

Best Regards & Ride Safe

Ram
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Old 11th February 2014, 16:34   #5
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Default Re: Anyone been to South America on a Motorbike?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ronaldfurtado View Post

I live outside of india, so saving up for a trip like this, is a bit difficult.

while i was on the trip to Leh, my enfield was constantly giving me issues, it would cut off everytime i pressed the brakes...figured it was the battery, but it did not make sense, realised later the alternator was working but not working, so utilized my friends battery to keep the bike going for the rest of the trip, and his bike charged my battery.

so possibly some help in regards to bikes, info if anyone has done this trip, and just general discussion.

Cheers
Awesome stuff! My dream ride

But I had to pick on the point in bold - hehe, we guys in India can't even contemplate saving up for a trip like that with salaried jobs here. Anyways, that must be a discussion thats off-topic

Well, where are you planning to get the bike from?

Another awesome forum that can provide you with all the right information is advriders - simply spectacular.
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Old 11th February 2014, 19:05   #6
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Default Re: Anyone been to South America on a Motorbike?

I met these guys at IBW. They arrange for all kinds of around the world biking trips - http://www.vintagerides.in/
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Old 11th February 2014, 21:18   #7
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Default Re: Anyone been to South America on a Motorbike?

Hi ronaldfurtado.
This seems like a wonderful & hardcore adventure you are going for. Good wishes.

As Ram mentioned, I hope you have seen my Colombia ride in the Touring page on my website as well as my Resources page for some basic information. Again, my rides are more the fly & ride, whereas yours is going to be something entirely different.

Regarding South America, first & foremost, if you want a really complete experience, please do learn some basic Spanish. Although not a necessity, but makes the trip so much more enjoyable when you can interact with the locals on a whole different level (ofcourse Brazil speaks Portuguese). Me & wife managed with google translate, but when you are looking at staying 3 months you will definitely need more knowledge of spanish. The people in general are very simple, very friendly and hospitable. Its surely a lot safer than how the media portrays, ofcourse, as long as we use some measure of common-sense and dont end up at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Dont know what your ride plans are, but if you plan to ride from Mexico down to the extreme bottom at Tiera del Fuego, there are lot of border crossings and getting a foreign registered bike on Carnet thru some of these crossings some times can be time consuming and definitely spanish talking skills will be a major advantage. From what I have read, bikers are generally advised to avoid central America with exception of Costa Rica. Even in Mexico there is a recent case last month of a US rider missing. Not discouraging you but just putting across some of the facts.

As for bike selection, if you are doing a solo ride, although I am a big fan of BMW, for south america, I would ideally select a KLR650. Firstly, if you plan to camp etc, you will have a lot of luggage so its going to be a handful even with a KLR650 as there are lots of non paved/bad roads which get really treacherous when it rains (and that happens very often in that part of the world), so riding or picking up a dropped fully loaded KLR in slush is a lot easier than the BMW 1200GS. Besides, with all the new electronic gizmos on BMW bikes (incl the F800), its going to be a long shot in some of the countries in the event of a break down. Whereas the KLR can be serviced by most good mechanics and parts would be a lot more easier to source or substitute from some other jap bikes. You should be good to go carrying some basic parts like spare set of chain/sprocket, spare brake/gear lever and regular other stuff. Ofcourse if riding 2-up the 1200GS would be a better option, but you will need some basic off-road riding capabilities as that bike is a different ball game with a passenger and luggage in slushy roads. Again bike choice, whatever floats your boat.

Maybe you are aware of the following. For such a project as yours, you can dig for lots & lots of information on the following websites:

www.advrider.com
www.horizonsunlimited.com

The inmates there are more than eager to help with any information. The answers on advrider are quicker, but HU takes a lil longer, so be patient. Also for country specific queries, instead of putting your query in the 'Trip Planning' section, you can put your queries on the 'Regional Forums'. The local riders will check more often in that section and you are more likely to receive better responses there.

Anyways, for a start these are the only points I can think of but should you need any other info, pls do let me know.

Regards,
Haroon

Last edited by Haroon : 11th February 2014 at 21:21.
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Old 18th February 2014, 00:09   #8
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Default Re: Anyone been to South America on a Motorbike?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haroon View Post
Hi ronaldfurtado.
This seems like a wonderful & hardcore adventure you are going for. Good wishes.

As Ram mentioned, I hope you have seen my Colombia ride in the Touring page on my website as well as my Resources page for some basic information. Again, my rides are more the fly & ride, whereas yours is going to be something entirely different.

Regarding South America, first & foremost, if you want a really complete experience, please do learn some basic Spanish. Although not a necessity, but makes the trip so much more enjoyable when you can interact with the locals on a whole different level (ofcourse Brazil speaks Portuguese). Me & wife managed with google translate, but when you are looking at staying 3 months you will definitely need more knowledge of spanish. The people in general are very simple, very friendly and hospitable. Its surely a lot safer than how the media portrays, ofcourse, as long as we use some measure of common-sense and dont end up at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Dont know what your ride plans are, but if you plan to ride from Mexico down to the extreme bottom at Tiera del Fuego, there are lot of border crossings and getting a foreign registered bike on Carnet thru some of these crossings some times can be time consuming and definitely spanish talking skills will be a major advantage. From what I have read, bikers are generally advised to avoid central America with exception of Costa Rica. Even in Mexico there is a recent case last month of a US rider missing. Not discouraging you but just putting across some of the facts.

As for bike selection, if you are doing a solo ride, although I am a big fan of BMW, for south america, I would ideally select a KLR650. Firstly, if you plan to camp etc, you will have a lot of luggage so its going to be a handful even with a KLR650 as there are lots of non paved/bad roads which get really treacherous when it rains (and that happens very often in that part of the world), so riding or picking up a dropped fully loaded KLR in slush is a lot easier than the BMW 1200GS. Besides, with all the new electronic gizmos on BMW bikes (incl the F800), its going to be a long shot in some of the countries in the event of a break down. Whereas the KLR can be serviced by most good mechanics and parts would be a lot more easier to source or substitute from some other jap bikes. You should be good to go carrying some basic parts like spare set of chain/sprocket, spare brake/gear lever and regular other stuff. Ofcourse if riding 2-up the 1200GS would be a better option, but you will need some basic off-road riding capabilities as that bike is a different ball game with a passenger and luggage in slushy roads. Again bike choice, whatever floats your boat.

Maybe you are aware of the following. For such a project as yours, you can dig for lots & lots of information on the following websites:

www.advrider.com
www.horizonsunlimited.com

The inmates there are more than eager to help with any information. The answers on advrider are quicker, but HU takes a lil longer, so be patient. Also for country specific queries, instead of putting your query in the 'Trip Planning' section, you can put your queries on the 'Regional Forums'. The local riders will check more often in that section and you are more likely to receive better responses there.

Anyways, for a start these are the only points I can think of but should you need any other info, pls do let me know.

Regards,
Haroon
Haroon,

much appreciated for the response, yes i do have a basic understanding of spanish, and i also speak portuguese, so i would not be the worst foreigner to land on their shores.

In regards to my trip, i do not plan on riding down from Central America, my plan was to ship the bike from London, but the shipping rates, along with the cost of a bike for that sort of a trip would mean i would be spending a cool 20,000 GBP without even blinking an eye.

in regards to the route, it was to land in buenos aires, ride down to pantagonia, via the east coast, then ride back up via el calafate, and into chile, then ride into mendoza argentina again, then back into chile, atacama desert and then head to bolivia, the salt plains, try out the yungas road to cocoroi, then lake titicaca, before heading to peru, cusco and lima and flying back from Lima.

I have been researching and alot of travelers have been heading to Chile, getting a resident card or RUT, and buying bikes and riding all over south america, so that's an option i don't mind looking at as that means, i can cancel out shipping costs, but buying a brand new bike like a BMW or KLR will be expensive in those regions.

This trip is still awhile away....i would need to buy Head cam gear from Go pro, as i plan to take video footage, and most likely this trip will be a solo one, from the looks of it now.

on a side note if anyone is in europe, Smyril Line is doing free MC transport from Denmark to Iceland with a 2 day stop over in Faroe Islands...Mid June to Mid August this year...something i am planning on doing before South america....

Later guys
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Old 18th February 2014, 01:43   #9
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Default Re: Anyone been to South America on a Motorbike?

Wow. Since you already have Spanish on your side, thats half the battle won

If you are looking at buying locally in SA, probably you should give a call to Mike at Motolombia (we had rented our bike from him). He does rotate his rental fleet in 1-2 years and his bikes are maintained very well. He also has a sell & buy back facility. Besides he has his network in many of the countries you are looking to travel in. A very friendly & helpful guy. You could discuss your plans with him and he can give a lot of local insights and suggestions also. His contact is +57 2 3929172 or +57 3146523976 web: motolombia.com

BTW, in SA like India the customs tarrif is high on new big bikes. So I was given to understand that typically they cost twice the US price in many of those countries.

Iceland is indeed on my bucket list but a lil later I guess. Hoping to explore the Balkans soon!

Ride safe

Last edited by Haroon : 18th February 2014 at 01:47.
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Old 2nd March 2014, 00:36   #10
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Default Re: Anyone been to South America on a Motorbike?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haroon View Post
Wow. Since you already have Spanish on your side, thats half the battle won

If you are looking at buying locally in SA, probably you should give a call to Mike at Motolombia (we had rented our bike from him). He does rotate his rental fleet in 1-2 years and his bikes are maintained very well. He also has a sell & buy back facility. Besides he has his network in many of the countries you are looking to travel in. A very friendly & helpful guy. You could discuss your plans with him and he can give a lot of local insights and suggestions also. His contact is +57 2 3929172 or +57 3146523976 web: motolombia.com

BTW, in SA like India the customs tarrif is high on new big bikes. So I was given to understand that typically they cost twice the US price in many of those countries.

Iceland is indeed on my bucket list but a lil later I guess. Hoping to explore the Balkans soon!

Ride safe
I am aware of the price, have been doing more and more research, and the option most tourists go for is a 125cc and ride that across the continent...not that im against it, but it would be a challenge on the roads which are difficult to walk on, bar the riding bit.

well the search goes on, i am going to look into motorbikes which have high end torque, more enduro than dual purpose and can do about 70mph...if it meets those 3 requirements i can do this a bit better.

i now have a friend who is interested in joining me on this 100 day adventure...may buy the bike in the UK and ship them to SA...prob pick one up for close to 1500 and do some work on it over time to get it ready...lets see what the future holds but the info was invaluable...posted on horizon utl, adv riders and some other forums, its back to the brothers that supply the info in the best possible manner.

be back soon...stay safe trippers.
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Old 6th March 2014, 09:03   #11
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Let me at the outset congratulate ronaldfurtado for initiating this thread. It got me hooked to Team-Bhp as a member. I saw this and incidentally, I am presently doing my MS in US, so it reignited my dream to plan this trip.

I have a question to the informed seniors here - didnt want to initiate any new thread and wasn't sure if I am allowed one still - Can I take a motorcycle which can serve my work commute in US and can also satiate my riding needs to far off areas?

I would be glad if somebody could guide me. I am a potential Latin American rider by the way.
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