Adventure bike riding questions answered by our team of experts
Q I realise you can’t give a specific figure, but can you give me some idea of how much it costs on a daily basis to do a round-the-world bike trip?
A It very much depends on which countries you’re travelling through and how luxurious you want your trip to be. Countries can be grouped roughly together when it comes to living expenses (not including shipping costs or repairs and servicing). Northern Europe tends to be the most expensive so expect to budget around £50 per day for a no-frills trip. The rest of Europe, Canada, and America are slightly better value, so you’d get the same fuel, food and basics for around £35 a day. Third tier countries like South America are cheaper still so you should be able to survive on £15-£20 a day. Parts of Africa and Asia can be done on as little as £5 a day, which is why they make such attractive destinations for many adventure bike riders. Of course, there are always unseen expenses, so make sure you budget for the unexpected too.
Q What are the relative advantages of shipping or flying your bike out to another country?
A Most people assume shipping is the cheaper option, but that isn’t always the case. Port fees can offset any savings you’ve made and because it takes such a long time, you may have to live without your bike for months on end. Sailings are notoriously unreliable for time-keeping, too. Flying your bike out may be more expensive but it can save a lot of headaches; it’s quicker and if one flight is delayed, you don’t have to wait three weeks for another one. Most European, South American, and Asian airlines will be happy to take your bike. American airlines are becoming increasingly paranoid about carrying bikes as they’re classed as ‘dangerous goods’. Most people planning to ride the USA fly their bikes to Canada and travel south.
Q I’m planning a trip to South America and have heard that some countries won’t allow me to import spare parts. Is this true and, if so, what happens if I can’t source the correct spare parts locally?
A It’s true that some countries – including Argentina and Peru – won’t allow you to import used spare parts, so the trick is to make customs think they’re new parts. Ask whoever is sending the parts out to clean them up as best they can and include an invoice stating that they are new parts. That way, if the customs boys get nosy enough to open your package, you’ll stand a fighting chance.
Q What are the main things to consider when choosing a bike for an epic trip?
A Most manufacturers have got into the adventure bike market so there’s no shortage of models to choose from, but the basic requirements remain the same: comfort, reliability, carrying capacity and the availability of spares in other countries. Your choice will also be determined by the type of terrain you’re planning to ride over. If your route has an off-road bias then you’ll want something built for that purpose, whereas a purely road-based trip would be better suited to a full-on tourer. Epic trips usually take in various types of terrain so competent all-round dual sport bikes like BMW’s R1200GS, Honda’s Varadero, and Triumph’s Tiger are among the most popular. Having said that, people have ridden all over the world on almost every kind of motorcycle imaginable – it’s all about personal choice, and how much cash you’ve got!
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