Motorbike Overlanding vs 4 Wheels...

Strider

Observer
Good morning all,
I hope this is the correct place to start this thread. If not, I expect the moderators will correct that.

I am in the early stages of creating a small group of high school friends (some from 6th grade) to do adventures with. It would be anywhere from me alone to five of us.

I am trying to determine the practicality, pros and cons, etc. of this, so am asking some questions and am open to suggestions.

I prefer traveling in a Land Cruiser or other 4x4 and have little experience on motorbikes. However, it seems that shipping motorbikes to a place for a trip is far less expensive than shipping a Land Cruiser.

What I am considering proposing to my friends is this:

Each of us buying a Royal Enfield motorbike. I am partial to the Classic 350 (by far) and also like the Himalayan. The Classic 350 has that old school vibe that I love: khaki, canvas, brown leather. And with some more aggressive tires, seems it could do fine off road.

I would put a sidecar on it: looking at the Watsonian International as well as the Platform. The Platform would allow for more versatility: storage container/box... while the car would allow me to take my dogs along. Then again, the Platform could allow for a removable dog box.

I do not like riding motorcycles on freeways. This is for off road/trials and isolated roads.
I live in Arizona, in Show Low/White Mountains.

Considering a trip to Chile, top to bottom, then back maybe through Argentina. Have also thought of Australia, Africa, though those seem better suited for 4x4.

I have a 1980 Land Cruiser HJ45 that I am building to be an overlanding rig, but seems like it would be tremendously expensive to ship around to places. Also, losing a bike in transport etc. would be much less painful than losing a Land Cruiser which has been built up.

Concerns are safety while traveling, range, exposure to the elements, practicality, etc. But damn if the mystique and romance of old school motorbikes with sidecars, khaki canvas, brown leather, and traveling to remote places isn't enticing!!!

We are discussing other options like a Jimny, some other used 4x4s, etc. I have considered Jeep CJs as well. But those will have limited range and payload compared to other 4x4s. 4x4s will also be considerably more expensive.
I guess the advantage over a bike with those small 4x4s even, is really not much more than a little more safety, and being able to drive in more inclement weather.

The new Toyota 4x4 that's supposed to be about $10,000 would be a top contender: Two people per vehicle. But that would have to stay in another country, as I don't think their gonna be coming into the US, at least not without getting a bunch of overly complicated crap on them and the price being jacked up 300%. Maybe, and hopefully, I am wrong.


I know everything has its pros and cons, but just looking for input since I have no experience on motorbikes.

Thanks in advance!
 

renottse

Member
Some resources for research relating to the motorcycle side of things;

Sidecar = Hack


Royal Enfield specific





https://advrider.com/f/threads/royal-enfield’s-all-new-2021-classic-350.1518222/
 

GHI

Adventurer
I applaud the guys and gals who can do thousands of miles on 2 wheels. I just can't do the cold wet rain for days at a time anymore. No problem getting soaked if I have a home on 4 wheels to come back to and dry out.
 

Strider

Observer
I applaud the guys and gals who can do thousands of miles on 2 wheels. I just can't do the cold wet rain for days at a time anymore. No problem getting soaked if I have a home on 4 wheels to come back to and dry out.
I can relate, but I'd be on THREE wheels!!! :cool:
 

Strider

Observer
There's pros and cons to it all. A 4x4 will offer more comfort: hot shower, etc. But then it is likely much more expensive to ship. If it gets destroyed, a 4x4 will be a lot more impactful to replace.
Safety is another issue-I mean while driving. I do not like motorbikes around cars, nor do I like going fast. I would not drive at night. My idea is to take it easy.
Just trying to weigh all options.
I gotta say, again, that the sheer romance of riding a RE with a sidecar, khaki and brown leather, through places like Patagonia, is just an amazing thought.
 

GHI

Adventurer
I get your nostalgia. Enjoy being able to bring a bigger tent with that sidecar. Dang. Does anyone make an attachable tent for your future set up. I’m thinking big rap around umbrella awning.
 

jkam

nomadic man
Putting a sidecar on a motorcycle makes it much less easy to ship.
I used 2 wheels for 4 years traveling the world. At times it wasn't fun, but
overall it was a lot less hassle than trying to do the same trip in a 4x4.
And make sure you have a bike than can get serviced in many places.
Finding tires for odd bikes isn't easy in a lot of places.
Reliability is important and will make the trip much more enjoyable.
 

BritKLR

Kapitis Indagatoris
Sounds wonderful! Lifetime opportunity! Thrilling........but, have you and yours friends done anything local (State side) to determine who actually will commit? Sometimes life interrupts or they simply don't like the lifestyle.

I only add this to your post because over the past 40 years of Jeep, Blazer, Hilux, Land cruiser travel camping and sponsoring a Adventure MotoCamp (7 days in Colorado and Utah) for the past 5 years I've experienced countless friends, family and business associates that were all in, even bought a motorcycle, Jeep, truck, etc....to bailout at the last minute for any number of reasons.

Before you invest to heavily, do some local trips, overnighters and test the waters. Then move forward cautiously, not because you don't have awesome friends it's just sometimes "life interrupts" the best plans and dreams.

Goodluck and keep us all updated!

IMG_6606.pngIMG_6580.pngIMG_6574.png
 
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gatorgrizz27

Well-known member
I wouldn’t suggest riding motorcycles on a long trip unless you all have substantial experience, it’s likely at least one person will crash and be injured. Riding in bad weather, in the dark, while tired and overloaded with gear is much different than cruising around back roads on a nice day.

I am also a fan of high quality stuff like leather boots, but you seem to be more focused on that than practicality of the trip. Modern gear is so much better, safer, and lighter that it would be foolish to rely on “vintage” equipment unless you have a specific reason like trying to recreate something your grandfather did.

I got a quote to ship a Range Rover from Savannah, GA to Reykjavik, it was a little under $5k. Not cheap, but not terrible split 4-6 ways. The most ”budget friendly” route for a longer trip might be to have one of the more mechanically experienced guys in the group fly over there early and buy something.

With the rolling 25 year import rule on Defenders, etc you might be able to bring it back with you and turn a profit.
 

Strider

Observer
I a
Sounds wonderful! Lifetime opportunity! Thrilling........but, have you and yours friends done anything local (State side) to determine who actually will commit? Sometimes life interrupts or they simply don't like the lifestyle.

I only add this to your post because over the past 40 years of Jeep, Blazer, Hilux, Land cruiser travel camping and sponsoring a Adventure MotoCamp (7 days in Colorado and Utah) for the past 5 years I've experienced countless friends, family and business associates that were all in, even bought a motorcycle, Jeep, truck, etc....to bailout at the last minute for any number of reasons.

Before you invest to heavily, do some local trips, overnighters and test the waters. Then move forward cautiously, not because you don't have awesome friends it's just sometimes "life interrupts" the best plans and dreams.

Goodluck and keep us all updated!

View attachment 822427View attachment 822428View attachment 822429
I agree 100%. The plan is to do some local trips first, for sure.
 

Strider

Observer
I wouldn’t suggest riding motorcycles on a long trip unless you all have substantial experience, it’s likely at least one person will crash and be injured. Riding in bad weather, in the dark, while tired and overloaded with gear is much different than cruising around back roads on a nice day.

I am also a fan of high quality stuff like leather boots, but you seem to be more focused on that than practicality of the trip. Modern gear is so much better, safer, and lighter that it would be foolish to rely on “vintage” equipment unless you have a specific reason like trying to recreate something your grandfather did.

I got a quote to ship a Range Rover from Savannah, GA to Reykjavik, it was a little under $5k. Not cheap, but not terrible split 4-6 ways. The most ”budget friendly” route for a longer trip might be to have one of the more mechanically experienced guys in the group fly over there early and buy something.

With the rolling 25 year import rule on Defenders, etc you might be able to bring it back with you and turn a profit.
We are still figuring out how to do this, and local trips will be first. We are discussing the bikes: Royal Enfield Classics, as well as shipping my HJ45 and FJ Cruiser (2 people per vehicle), and also buying something there that can be brought back, like a Troopy.

I used to drive a Jeep CJ7 and then a TJ. The way I camped was treating it like I was hiking, but being able to take a larger tent, better mattress, and more food. The focus would be to go as light as possible, regardless, and avoid driving at night or when tired. This would not be a race.
Granted, one never knows what happens which would require pushing it, but I would do everything possible to make it laid back.
 

epyonxero

Active member
I took a trip to Patagonia a few years ago and loved it, the landscape is awesome. Other than the logistics, one thing that would give me pause about doing a motorcycle only trip is the weather. Its always windy there, so much so that the bushes that grow on the steppe grow at an angle. Add to that the very unpredictable weather and I think being on a bike full time would be exhausting.
 

Willsfree

Active member
I rented a truck in Punta Arenas to visit Torres del Paine, El Chaltén etc. I brought my backpack gear for camping, yet ended up enjoying the wind/rain blocking cab of the truck for sleeping/chilling (I must be getting soft). I also rented a motorcycle in Santiago and did a 1000 mile loop out to the coast and up to the Andes, tent or cowboy camping every night, but the weather was much better in the northern region vs the south. I picked up some bicycle travelers that were maintaining about 5 mph averages heading toward Puerto Natales, they decided to hitch a ride to get a break from the wind. I would definitely consider taking a motorcycle for the awesome exposed experience, but I love playing in big storms and have done my fair share of mountaineering in storms at high elevation, familiar with intense wind tent camping. Flip a coin, the trip will be wonderful either way.
 

Ozarker

Well-known member
Might add the Honda Trans Alp or African Twin, rather be on those than the Enfield. Granted, the Enfield is a sidecar classic but you can put a third wheel to almost any bike.

There are thousands of bike riders between 16 and 30 who tend to bite off more than they can chew and are now dead. Problem with young men; they don't know when to be fearful, know what a good decision might be, or have respect for a bike and the terrain.

I have about 60 years on 2 and 3 wheels, after 12 years of riding I took my first Iron Butt ride, did my Bun Burner in my late twenties and Saddlesore 1600 (KM) in Germany, France and Spain. All as a Lone Wolf, to this day I dislike riding far in a group (mainly because of young foolish idiots being near me).

I always wanted to sail, singlehanded, to circumnavigate the world. After I earned enough money to make it possible, I also gain enough wisdom to tell myself I'm not qualified or experienced to make that foolish attempt.....at least on a bike you won't drown or be eaten by sharks.

Best way to go is to rent a bike, especially in Europe.

Keep the dream, do everything you can to make it happen, but before you take off, that's when the serious discussions need to take place.

As to getting experience with local rides, yes, do that, but build yourself up. Go on a local ride, say in a 200 mile radius but ride for 10 or 12 or 14 hours with quick rest stops gassing up. Keep that up until you can ride as well as you can walk, then you might be ready.
 

craig333

Expedition Leader
Watch an Amazon show called Himalaya calling. Even experienced riders dump their bikes a lot. How old are you and your friends? I'm a long time Jeeper and I thought it would be fun to ride a small dirt bike on basically fire roads etc. Turns out at my age I didn't have the strength or experience and while I didn't hurt myself I realized a motorcycle isn't for me.
 

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