Which bike?? That's the question.
Very early on in my planning, the obvious question comes up, which bike is the best choice for such a long ride. One thing is clear, it needs to be a machine that can handle off road conditions, like mud, gravel, sand, pot holes etc and is super reliable. Besides, if something breaks, and trust me, something will break, I need to be able to fix it roadside. Immediately the BMW R 1200 GS comes to mind. A 570 pound beast with 125 horses and a 7.9 gallon tank. Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor, stars of the TV documentary "Long Way Round" and "Long Way Down", each rode BMWs on their journeys. The R1200GS has standard ABS, adjustable suspension and heated grips. It performs well and is comfy on long distance rides, however, proofs to be a bit heavy for hardcore off road conditions.
Another option is the BMW 800 GS Adventure, 500 lbs in weight and a 6.3 gallon tank, a real contender. Other choices:
- Triumph Tiger Explorer XC
- Aprilia Caponord 1200
- Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX
- Ducati Multistrada
- Yamaha Super Tenere
- Suzuki V-Strom
- Kawasaki KLR 650
There are several used BMW R 1150 GS for sale on Craigslist, the forerunner of the 1200 GS. Probably a good possibility, if the bike is reasonably priced, has low mileage and no previous damage. Unfortunately, the bike is very heavy.
Another important factor is luggage space. Most bikes are equipped with 2 panniers and a top box, which should accommodate most of my stuff. But planning what to take and what to leave home is another matter all together. More about that later...