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Bike for riding the European alps

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by wentworthmeister, May 24, 2010.

  1. It looks like I'll be spending 3-4 weeks in Germany later this year, probably in August/September. I'm keen to hire a bike and do some riding for at least a week or two of that, likely in the Black forest and then the southern Bavarian alps. I've been looking at bike rental, and to say it's not cheap is an understatement. Here's how the bikes are stacking up approximately (based on AdMo tours):

    Yamaha XJ6 / Kawasaki ER-6 - 75 euros/day
    FZ6 / Z750 - 120 euros/day
    Monster 696 / ZX6R / R6 - 140 euros/day
    Monster 1100 / BMW 1200 - 180 euros/day


    I currently ride an '07 CBR600RR, I've had it almost a year now. I think that if I'm gonna be spending a week or more on a bike then I should probably get something a little more comfortable. The 600 supersports are fun, but maybe too full-on for 7-15 days straight. The little monster looks good, but it isn't cheap. One of the budget bikes could be ok but I'm concerned that they'd detract from the experience (too heavy and lacking in power). I'm keen to ride something with wide bars and a bit of low-down pull for a change. I've ridden an SV650 a few times, and though it's not the same as the CBR I could live with something like that I think. I don't think I'll be venturing off-road at any stage, so the adventure bikes don't really appeal to me.

    Has anyone hired a bike overseas before? What was the experience like? Should I be looking for anything in particular?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Sheesh they're some expensive prices. Say you hired a bike for two weeks at 100 euro a day which will work out to be 1400 euro. You could almost export to Germany and re import your bike to Australia via LCL sea freight for not much more than that.

    Good luck with your choice albeit an expensive one. I'm sure my cousin would rent his R1 to you for your duration for less than above. He is in Munich. Also make sure to get your international drivers permit just in case you wouldn't want to be caught out.
  3. That's the thing, right? Surely there's somebody/some business that rents used bikes? I don't need the latest model, I'd be quite happy with something post-2005. Most places give discounts for weekly rentals. For instance, the Monster 696 is 140 eu/day, but 680 eu/week (97 eu/day). They've structured the pricing models such that any hire up to 3 weeks in duration is cheaper than shipping a bike across. I haven't done much research into that option, but from what I have read it's very expensive and complicated.

    From what I've read I don't need an IDP in Germany, so long as I carry my full Australian license. It might be handy If I wish to cross the border into Austria or Switzerland though.
  4. When it gets a bit closer to the time, we should have a chat about routes...I've got detailed roadbooks of that area from previous tours that I've run that you would probably find useful....there are some awesome places to visit in that area.
  5. Which city in Germany will you be staying at as I can ask my cousins for some details of rental places which you can also hit up.

    See the thing with the IDP is if you were ever pulled over for whatever and you gave them only your Aussie license it may take them longer due to them not knowing what it is, however if you gave your license together with your IDP it tends to speed things up as that is it's purpose.

    Same thing applies in AU for tourists. It's like you're signalling to them you're a legit person and have gone the extra yard in obtaining an IDP.
  6. Sounds good Miraz!

    ResmeN, I don't have an Itinerary or much of a plan yet. I'll probably fly into Frankfurt and do a loop south through the black forest, down to the alps (maybe Fussen) then back up to Frankfurt. I imagine that would take a week or so. I'd also like to travel along the south border (Bavarian alps) to Berchestgaden(?) to see the Eagle's Nest etc.

    I don't plan on spending too much time in the major cities at all, I want it to be more of a tour. At the moment I'm just going by what the maps look like and some things I've read in the Lonely Planet guide books. Rapid bike magazine did a feature article last year where one of the journo's spent two weeks on a bike in the areas I'm looking to go. I've been using that as a rough guide, but I'm not 100% sure how long it will take to cover distances etc.
  7. If you can devote a week to it then I'd suggest starting from Karlsruhre, spending a couple of days around the black forest, then heading round Lake Constance towards the Tyrol. Work your way along the Austrian German border for a little bit, then head over towards Kaprun....head over the Gross Glockner Pass towards Venice, then cut back to the west through the Dolomites towards Cortina and Lake Garda...then head into Switzerland, through the Stelvio pass towards Interlaken, Luzerne and back towards Lake Constance to head back to Germany.

    Day 1 - Karlsruhre
    Day 2 - Tyrol
    Day 3 - Kaprun
    Day 4 - Cortina
    Day 5 - Interlaken
    Day 6 - Return to Frankfurt
  8. You may also need to present the IDP when you hire, it's sometimes an insurance requirement. Certainly when I've hired a car in the US it's made things a little easier in that regard.
  9. <<double post deleted>>
  10. You said you're not as keen on the adventure style bikes, and that's fair enough, but they're really not all that off-roady anyway, and if it turned out you could get one of the BMW ones, for example, and it was cheaper than the alternatives I'd suggest not turning up your nose at it...
  11. Thanks all, this is great stuff. That other forum is a gold mine.

    Fair enough, I'll try to keep an open mind. Now that I think about it, I rode a POS dirt bike when I went for my license and that was a riot. Great fun. The Beemers are pretty expensive though.
  12. Take the ER6 - awesome economy, and as they're all going to have shit plastic tyres on them to save the rental company money, you can't explore the performance of the others anyway.

    The roads are spectacular.

  13. Hmm. What sort of size is the ER6? I'm a tall fella at 6'2", but thin as a rake.
    MotoMader have the 690 Duke for approx 100 euros/day! That is tempting. =P~
  14. If you're not spending a lot of time on the Autobahn, I'd definitely take the Duke over the ER6. Some of the roads are quite tight, and with no suggested speeds.
  15. I had considered that option, but a) I think it's getting too complicated and b) I'd be buying something that's not really what I want to be riding anyway.

    I've since discovered that MotoMader (the place that does the KTMs) are in Zurich, Switzerland. I could fly there instead, but I was hoping to limit the scope of this trip to inside Germany if possible. Rental options in Germany are actually quite limited, and seem to be more expensive than elsewhere. :(
  16. Crossing from country to country within the Eurozone is very trivial, though. We went to a conference in southern Switzerland but flew into northern Itally, drove all around Switzerland and into Germany, trained across France to the Netherlands and so on, no hassles at all. So if it involves crossing a border to make significant savings, I'd do it.
  17. I'm in Germany at the moment (but not riding). Had lunch with a local rider yesterday and she gets around on an er5 with no problems, although she plans to upgrade to a BMW later in the year. Reckon the er6 would do the job (and its what I ride in AUS). They are a very under rated bike. See a lot of riders on the same sort of machines we ride at home: 600 sport bikes and dual sports.
  18. I spent 6 weeks on a R1200RT while doing the alps in 2007 and I mainly ride gixxer 1000's. Our ride had a few dirt roads with 10's of switchbacks. It can be done on a big bike but you would want to be comfortable in riding something so big on dirt (or rocks). If I went a again, I would look at a mid size beemer or from your list a FZ6 or Z750. You may also want to check out luggage requirements for the bikes you want to hire if you are planning on any multiple day trips.
  19. Honda thinks you need a Transalp, obviously.