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Long Way Round wannabe - advice please

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Magnum P.I., May 17, 2008.

  1. Hello all, just joined the forum and thought I would throw my dreams out there for you to comment on and point me in the right direction. Here goes:

    Never being interested in bikes until I picked up Ewan and Charlie's book "Long Way Round" at the airport about a month ago. After the first couple of chapters I got the DVDs as well and read in conjunction with the series. I was blown away, inspired even. I have done some long 4WD trips from Melbourne across to WA and up to QLD years ago and their experienced rekindled the fire in me, this time with a bike.

    So where to start for someone who has never mounted a bike?

    I have pencilled in Stay Up for licencing and training including off road training. Plan is to get the learners in mid June after I get back from overseas. It seems that apart from looking the goods they are one of the few that provide off road training as well and I would like to stay with the same orgnisation from learner right up to advanced. Thoughts?

    First bike? Big decision. After spending an unhealthy time on the net and buying mags it seems the Kawasaki KLX250S provides a good learner platform. Suited for a mix of on/off road stuff. Would it be good for a week long trip somewhere in Vic like the high country or would a 250 not be up to taking a load? Other bikes I should consider?

    I figure I will do as many day trips as possible where ever in Vic before tackling a trip throughout Tassie, for example. Should I stick to short trips and after building experience upgrade to a 650 or more to untake week+ trips?

    That's it for the moment. Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. I would advise that you accept that is going to be a fairly long haul to get to the point where you can set off on a trans-global circuit. The good news is that it should be mostly good fun just getting to that point (if things go well).

    Get the licence, get the bike. In your case I wouldn't buy something brand new - get something that may need a little bit of work now and then. You're going to need to get your hands dirty so you may as well start learning now.

    Get hold of Ted Simon's "Jupiter's Travels' (Ewen and Charlie met him in one episode - he more or less started the whole thing!), and The Adventure Motorcycling Handbook. More inspiration than you will ever need. Have a look at the Horizons Unlimited website for more, plus lots of useful information.

    Then just get out there, before the world grabs you by the scruff of the neck and shakes some sense into you! :)
  3. I dunno Wayne... I reckon all you need is a bike and a license. You don't have to be the world's best rider before you set off, if you take it easy you'll be fine. And it's no big deal if a 250 dirtbike falls over. I reckon you'd pick it all up along the way.
  4. Know exactly what you mean, I wonder how many bikes purchases those series are responsible for... :wink:

    Good luck with your course and your bike, I went down the route of the bigger bike (BMW F650GS) under LAMs (which I think VIC will be getting soon as well) and it constantly brings a smile to my face. Most of the people I talk with mention how good the 650 dual purpose bikes are for learners, but don't expect to be ripping up single trails on them, they are bigger than your average purpose built trailie. That being said, they are comfortable, lazy and torquey which means it is not too tiring to get to your next destination.

    At the end of the day though, the best way to do it is just to get out there and see how you go :)
  5. I went straight to the f 650, great bike for commuting or weekend rides, cannot recommend em highly enough.
  6. If your thinking of getting a bike after LAMS comes in, you might want to check out the Kawasaki KLE500. That bike was on my list of "first" bikes, however I never really planned on going off road with it, that and I fell in love with VTR250's. Also check out the Honda Translap, probably more expensive, but from what I've heard it's worth a look. Good luck!
  7. Mate, I suggest you get into it little by little...

    Asia is a great place to start, because guesthouses are like $6 a nbight... and not backpacker slums... it means you don't have to cart as much sh!t with you...

    Have a look at www.gt-rider.com and the associated forum (site down today) about Northern Thailand and Laos... no one says you have to do all of your years riding in one go...

    As for bikes, up to you... if you are confident driving a car, it is much easier to learn to ride, because you only have to focus on the riding angle... you will probably find yourself comfortable on a bigger bike that the KLX within a year...

    BMW might be the bike of choice for long distance tourers, but that doesn't mean they are the best...

    There is also AVDrider and Horizonsunlimited web resources...

  8. That's one way of doing it. Ted Simon had never ridden until a few weeks before he set off. The other way is Ewen and Charlie's - 12 months planning, preparation and training.
    I'd choose to get as much training as possible in a fairly short time, pick other peoples brains for the best ideas, and then just go.
  9. Welcome :) Good plan you have there.

    LAMS is coming into place in a month ish meaning you'd be allowed to ride something bigger cc. Perhaps look at KLR650 or similar :grin:
  10. Thanks for the replies so far.

    For me this is a long term list of goals. First the licencing and some training and then get stuck into some experience building. I use to 4WD up in the high country so I thought I would start there. Maybe some trips up to the north west, south of Mildura for some desert bashing. Then a trip around Tassie.

    I was thinking that starting out with a 250 would be the best way to go with learning the ropes of bike riding on and off the road. Some of you have recommended going straight for a 650 but am I bighting off more then I can chew regarding its weight and throttle response or is more a case of "if I don't know any different"?
  11. Magnum,

    I have come down exactly the same path as you (except for age, media form (DVD first) and er...well that's about it!)

    Just get on a bike and try it - I am now seriously hooked! Got an old Piece Of Shit (POS) which turned out to be a fantastic bike (1981 Honda CB250N with 6-speed box and no problems - there is a lot of real shit out there so go for a bike that works - in every department!)' eBay is great for gear (don't throw money away if you decide that it isn't for you after 6 months!) and go through the training process.....the instructors are generally our age and keen to help us more experienced cynics....rather than the bravado 'haven't been there but can take it' potential road marks (apologies to all!).

    Don't spend any serious money until you get to know what you want.....you would not advise any potential car buyer to get a Suzuki Swift if they turned out to want to travel to Ooodna-whoop-whoop for a camping trip although this would seriously be a great car for someone wanting to commute for 5 alterian dollars a day....

    Get a cheap bike (and be patient) - you will soon find out your niche...
  12. Learner legal 650's aren't overwhelming powerwise, especially the ones you'd be looking at (single cyl), but they do have good torque meaning less importance of shifting, bike will still have drive even in the wrong gear, etc.

    But if you're not going to do the trip on that bike it doesn't really matter what you start on.
  13. I'd recommend a look at the DR650, with a long range tank.

    Also, you're on the wrong forum for the good (Dirt) stuff. Check out ADV rider - that place is a mecca for all those as insane as you are :grin:
  14. The way I see it, you have a couple of options to look at now, and need to really ask yourself how committed you are...

    Do you want to buy a bike to learn on, and then another once you decide to start touring???

    A 250 dirt bike is going to struggle at highway speed... and you will be getting buffeted around like a b@stard... but they really are sooooo simple to ride and forgiving of little screw ups...

    but, they are easy to stall... at least yours will have an electric leg... trying to kick a 25 year old XR over when it was hot made you make sure you never stalled it :) ...


    Once they are going however, they are not really much easier to ride than a bigger bike like the KLR or KLE...


    and only 50kg heavier... which only really matters if you are trying to lift the bike above your head to show everyone how strong you are...

    What is important is the seat height... cause that influences how far out to the side... or how deep into the hole you stopped beside... you can get your feet to keep the bike upright...

    power is only a problem if you choooooose to use too much...

    I picked up a 2006 KLR650 with 6000km on the clock, and a $900 muffler for $6K...

    You also need to look at your REAL Track/dirt/sealed road ratio... that way you can choose the bike to suit what you want to do...

    DR650 - Mostly offroad
    KTM640 - mosty dirt roads
    KLR650 - some dirt roads
    DL650 - mostly sealed roads
    Ducati - Mostly parked outside a cafe
    Harley Dangerous - Mostly parked in a workshop

    Jacket and Boots from the states for a further $350, and you are on the road... join a touring club like ADVrider or Horizonsunlimited and you are go go go...

  15. F 650 GS, it's LAMs approved.
  16. the Honda Transalp is also LAMS approved..
  17. KTM's the best Adventure Bike ready to go and DL650 is not LAMS

    As mentioned above, KLE nice small twin, six speed box, 21" front but small tank, be my choice unless you had to have long range.

    F650GS Dakar be next, try and get an injected model

    Or what about a Husky :cool:
  18. Actually the KLX250S has a pretty wide 6 speed as well. Low gear for terrain. Top gear for highway.

    It could be more than good enough for exploring around.


    From what I've read, the engine is pretty tame stock which is good for a beginner. But you can do really easy modifications like changing exhaust and carb to increase the performance when you're ready for it.

    You can even bolt on the piston and cylinder from an old KLX300.