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Thread: Planning a trip to Europe...

  1. #31
    Biker gunnert's Avatar
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    The videos are awesome. Just the kinda roads I'll be expecting/anticipating. The jury is still out on which bike to rent. I must have a ways to go with my riding, 60 mph ride of the Gap is way beyond my skills and (if you have been there lately) wallet...
    For those that have ridden the Alps two up, what did you ride, + or -?

  2. #32
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    The first time I went, in 1983, my wife came with and we rented a /7 era R100RT. At that time I owned an R65 and didn't know any better, thought it was great!

    More recently, I have give a few rides on the '94 R1100RS I keep over there. It has been completely adequate to the task. There are people there who would be faster than I am regardless of the bike I had, and vice versa. The whole point, I think, is to give yourself enough challenge and have a good time doing it.

    When you're riding some of these small roads, above a certain (relatively small) amount, horsepower is irrelevant. When you're riding up Stelvio, you only get about 1-200 yards of on-throttle before the next switchback requires you to slow and downshift.

    OTOH, you mentioned wanting to go for a blast on the Autobahn. Just keep in mind that regardless of what you're riding, there's always someone coming up who is faster, and you will have to move over. Once again, my R11RS (~130ish mph top speed) is perfectly adequate, and very comfortable cruising at 110mph.
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

  3. #33
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, one other thing, don't get in over your head. Ride your own ride.



    (The sign says, "Give your guardian angel a chance.")
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

  4. #34
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    BTW, Alex, didn't they finally close the Sottogudo completely to traffic?
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

  5. #35
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Horse power is not the key, low end torque is your friend. That is why most favor twins. You will note that in my videos, my speed riding solo at a spirited pace, were 50-70 kPH, in the fast sections that is 30 -45 MPH, hardly a need for 170 HP.

    Riding 2 up you will find yourself in 1st and 2nd gear frequently, and many times modulation the clutch, because 1st is too high a gear.

    What have I ridden 2 up in the Alps? R1100RT, R1100R, R1150GS, R1200GS, R1150R, R1200RT, and F800ST. I am a big guy too, 6'1" 215 lbs. By far the GS bikes are the best tool, and I would highly recommend a GS, if the seat height is not an issue for you. The wide bars make them real easy to ride up a set of switchbacks

    The other issue with the RT, GT and other full faired bikes is the fact that there is a very good chance you will drop it at least once, steep turns, narrow roads, no shoulders, gravel drives and parking spots, steep parking spots, places you will have to back the bike up, etc all increase the chance many fold, even if you have not dropped your bike here in 20 years. And the cost of replacing a cylinder head guard, and paying for an added scratch or 2 on a bag cover is MUCH cheaper than damaging all those painted parts.

    From what I have seen, there is 50/50 chance you will tip over at least once, but don't fret it, it happens to the best riders.

  6. #36
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrylRi View Post
    BTW, Alex, didn't they finally close the Sottogudo completely to traffic?
    Yes the low road was closed a few years ago to traffic.

  7. #37
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    I've ridden there three times: renting, borrowing, and finally flying my own bike over. All three experiences were awesome. The last trip was completely over the top, as I was in the Alps almost a month and my own bike fit me best. Aim for being comfortable; pffog is right about torque and risk. Others are right about the ease of traveling (except for the cost).

    Were I to go again, I suspect I'd rent; arranging and shipping was a PITA although it did work out perfectly. I've also rented from Knopf; his machines aren't new, but they're mechanically sound and his prices are well below the competition.

    DarrylRi's page on riding in Europe contains very good info: http://darryl.crafty-fox.com/motorcy...roperiding.htm
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  8. #38
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbrick View Post
    I've ridden there three times: renting, borrowing, and finally flying my own bike over. All three experiences were awesome. The last trip was completely over the top, as I was in the Alps almost a month and my own bike fit me best. Aim for being comfortable; pffog is right about torque and risk. Others are right about the ease of traveling (except for the cost).
    Hey Dave, tell us about borrowing that /5!



    Were I to go again, I suspect I'd rent; arranging and shipping was a PITA although it did work out perfectly. I've also rented from Knopf; his machines aren't new, but they're mechanically sound and his prices are well below the competition.
    I have recommended Knopf to several people and always gotten good reports back. In fact, yesterday at our vintage group's Xmas party, one of the guys was recounting (again) how much fun he and his daughter had renting K75s from Stefan. He gives you a pay-as-you-go cell phone along with the bike and ADAC (German AAA equivalent) membership coverage.
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

  9. #39
    High & Dry statdawg's Avatar
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    If you are going to be in Pau, France this hotel is highly recommended. It is used by alot of touring motorcyclist as a day or two base camp.

    http://www.kyriad-prestige-pau-centr.../en/index.aspx

    For detailed maps of Spain looking for short cuts etc etc try this map source. It works like google earth.

    http://sigpac.mapa.es/fega/visor/ click on the center and work the controls on the right.

    You maybe disappointed in Andorra but it is worth seeing. If staying near there in any of the hotels the French side is nicer.
    Last edited by Statdawg; 12-07-2008 at 10:21 PM.

  10. #40
    High & Dry statdawg's Avatar
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    http://www.bikecam.ch/ Another Bike Cam site to surf on, accompanyed with google mapping.

    Check out the free biking maps at http://www.uem-online.com/em/index-map.php?nr= Click on the map and it comes up as a pdf / powerpoint. The best roads are marked.

  11. #41
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrylRi View Post
    BTW, Alex, didn't they finally close the Sottoguda completely to traffic?
    Yes they did.

    It was open when I took a video of it back in 2002. It is a one-way, so those trying to enter it from the other end may have thought it was closed even back then.

    I'm sure you can still get away with it if you get there extra early in the morning...like 06:00.

    I drove to the top of the Pfitscherjoch (gravel) which is closed to traffic past the gate part ways up. The Guardia di Finanza let me through when I met them at the gate. The Sottoguda had dozens of pedestrians on it while I videoed it at a few clicks per hour. Take it slow, don't make a bunch of noise and you won't have problems. Most of these nature roads are closed to allow hikers/wanderers to enjoy nature without having to worry about motor vehicles.

  12. #42
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrylRi View Post
    At that time I owned an R65 and didn't know any better, thought it was great!
    Well for the 10 years I used an R65 in Europe & the Alps, I can't complain.

    Taking into account the purchase price, shipping it over, all maintenance costs including tires and then selling it there, my monthly cost was $400 if that.

    Tough to beat, ehhh and it got me over more than 200 different passes, countless great roads and I got to see some of the best scenery in the world.

    I think I can safely say that I've toured the Alps on far less $$$ than anybody, yet stayed in very comfortable accomodations and ate and drank very well.

    Bottom line: its about the tour, not what I'm riding. The R1150 GS Adventure just came along at a great price and I was already used to my other 3 GSes back home, besides, any dual sport is the bike of choice in the Alps (although a 650 single would be far better in places like Corsica).

  13. #43
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    This page has a lot of pretty high quality videos.

    http://www.bikecam.ch/liste.php

  14. #44
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrylRi View Post
    Hey Dave, tell us about borrowing that /5!
    It was absolutely without equal in motivating me to get my own oilhead over there.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  15. #45
    Biker gunnert's Avatar
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    A lot are recommending a GS, but you aren't telling me what your passenger thought of that experience, e.g. 5-6 hours a day on the back for 7-8 days, etc....

    Of course I want to ride a bike I'm comfortable with. I'm pretty experienced with big bikes (I've have put over 120K on my '99 Road King). I'll be ok on whatever I rent, but, as someone has mentioned here, "if Mama ain't happy, NO ONE is happy."

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