Which bike should someone take on a travel adventure is one that seems to generate a lot of passion, and sometimes contempt, among motorcycle adventurers. Just check out the Horizons Unlimited Bulletin Board on the topic. I understand explaining the pros and cons of motorcycles, but I don’t get the derision for differing views on the topic. Whatever motorcycle you choose, don’t let others put you down over it.
People have traveled the world on a Vespa, Honda 90, Honda 250, KTM 690, KLR 650, Suzuki GSX-R 1000 sport bike, Harley Davidson Electraglide, and of course the ever-present BMW GSs made famous by Long Way Round. There is even a person who wants to ride the world on an electric motorcycle. Basically, any motorcycle is an option!
Questions to ask Yourself
There is no such thing as the perfect motorcycle to take around the world. There are pros and cons to every bike. Your choice depends on a lot of things like:
- What motorcycle do you love?
- Where you want to go? Some countries do not permit large motorcycles.
- Do you want to set a speed record or wander around?
- Do you want to ride trails, dirt roads, paved roads or freeways?
- Do you want an easy to fix bike no matter where you are at?
- What motorcycle do you have now?
- How much money do you have?
- How strong or big are you?
- What is your skill level?
- What is your vision for the trip? Do you want to do something never done before? Or perhaps you envision being Easy Rider.
- How much gear will you be bringing?
My Motorcycle and Why
I am taking a 2013 BMW 1200GS for my around the world trip. So why did I choose this bike?
I bought this bike in 2013 to do a six month around the USA trip. To be honest, I chose it because that is what I saw all the adventure motorcyclists riding and I wanted to be cool like them! It has been a good bike and I have had only few problems with it, mostly switch problems. Although sadly, BMW service is not as good as I expected it to be. Long story.
Perhaps the two biggest reasons I am taking it on this trip is because it is the bike I have, and I would rather spend money on the adventure than buying a new motorcycle like the new Honda Africa Twin, which I would love to ride around the world with!
You will often hear the phrase, “You will never wish you had a heavier bike.” In my case there is some truth to it. After riding the USA it would have been nicer to have something lighter. On technical trails it was a bit difficult for me to control the sheer size and weight of the bike at my skill level, age, and strength. On the other hand, the motorcycle performed amazing well on the roads and navigating the curves and corners.
I intend to ride mostly on roads and perhaps 40% of the time on the dirt. So I wanted something that could handle both well. A dual sport is a good option for this.
I will also be carrying more gear than many people. For example, I will have a week’s worth of clothes and have to carry a fair bit of medication with me. A larger bike will accommodate the load easier.
Having said all that, I love my bike and I am looking forward to riding the world with it.
Now the Answer to the Question
The answer to which motorcycle you should take on a around the world adventure is found in my travel philosophy.
I believe we should transcend judgments and simply support and encourage people as they fulfill their life’s purpose and adventure. This includes which motorcycle someone decides to take.
Your adventure is anything you want it to be. Don’t let others define this for you. There is no right or wrong way to have your adventure. And there is no right or wrong motorcycle to do it on. It is your adventure and no one else’s.
People have ridden the world on large BMWs, Harley Davidsons, Vespas, sport bikes, and motocross bikes. It doesn’t matter the make, model, or size of your vehicle. Since it is a motorcycle it is awe-inspiring by definition. But that is me. If you prefer a Unimog, Toyota or Range Rover, I’m also behind you 100%. It is YOUR overland adventure!
Some like to ride the dirt roads, while others prefer pavement. Some carry lots of gear and others barely a change of clothing. Some like to stay in hotels or hostels, where others like to bush camp.
Whatever your chosen path, your trip is the artistic expression of your life. You are the master of your own destiny. And my motorcycle journey is my own expression of life. Both our expressions are awesome! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
So my advice is to express your life through your overland adventure in the best way possible. Take in what others have to say and learn how to do YOUR adventure better. But never compromise on your dream. Take the motorcycle that fulfills YOUR dreams.