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EarthQuaker 02-07-2007 09:58 PM

Tiny RTW Bike?
I'm considering what to ride for some serious hinterland adventure travel. I'm a schoolteacher, so I've got time, but no money. The cost of gas starts to be an issue with how far I can travel. Also, I am not philosophically someone who needs a large, complex, or new bike. My understanding is that in much of the world simpler, older bikes are going to be preferable for many reasons, including repairability and not looking like a space alien to the folks you meet in the two-thirds world.
Anyway, I'm curious about a bike I see in Mexico a lot. The Honda CB125 is a cute little standard single cylinder with a front disc brake. I never see them in the U.S.A. Does anyone know how hard it would be to bring one into California? I'm not above a litte DMV sleight of hand, either. Comparable machines that are available in the U.S.? Thanks for your wisdom!

Rogue_Ryder 02-07-2007 10:04 PM

Go check out BattleScooters, seriously. I posted a link about a ride a kid took from CA to AK on a Moped. It's called "Crappy Little Dreams" and is a great read.

If he can do it on a Moped you can do it on any bike. There's a group of riders fantasising about doing a big trip on TW200s, check out Loisontheloose she did Alaska to Argentina on a XT225.

ganshert 02-07-2007 10:17 PM

+1 on the Yamaha XTs, no sleight of hand required, bulletproof, and known throughout the world :thumb

Django Loco 02-07-2007 10:45 PM

If you just want to explore one country or region you could just buy a local bike, do your trip then sell it off before you go back to school. Fly in, fly out.

Next trip go someplace else. India, Chile, Thailand, Cambodia, Russia. You can buy a local bike in any of these countries, or rent one. That's what I did but I didn't have much time as I was working.

If you want to have your bike become your whole life and spend years on the road then perhaps a different approach is needed. Then you need to set the bike up for a lot of gear. I would go with a 250 four stroke of some kind.
The Yamaha's are good, but you also have the KLR250, XR250, DRZ250 and more.

Lois is in Africa now, on a new bike, an XT250. See her site for updates and buy her new book.

For more and better information on smaller bikes I suggest you surf over to
More Euro in focus and lots of folks using smaller bikes to do RTW rides.


EarthQuaker 02-07-2007 10:51 PM

If that is the bike called the Serrow, it is the first offroad bike I ever road off road, and it changed me as a rider forever. I had a big BMW roadburner--1979 R100RS--fully faired, many aftermarket mods including a 9-gallon Heinrich gas tank and Staintune conti replical pipes as well as dual plugged heads, steel braided brake lines, aftermarket suspension, etc. With those narrow handlebars it was a handful going up three miles of dirt road to a friends house. We sat around for a while and he offered me aride on his crappy little dirt bike (to my eye). What a blast? The opposite of the big BM. I was bombing across this meadow when suddenly I saw a ditch in front of me at an oblique angle. I gassed it and flew over the thing like it wasn't there! I wanted a dual sport from then on, but nevergot one until a couple of months ago when I purchaed a DR650 (1992), the only motorcycle I have ever paid too much for. THe longer Ihave it the more it needs.

Anyway, it would be fitting for me to have an XT225. Can you get aftermarket tanks? What kind of mpg? Is the stock suspension crap?

EarthQuaker 02-07-2007 11:01 PM

Holy Shite, She ain't Cheap
I wondered what the bike cost new. I've never bought a bike new, but I've always thought that if I ever got one that hand't been abused by its former ownder, I could keep it on the road forever. But that XT225 costs four-fifths of what KLR 650 does! Ouch!

markjenn 02-07-2007 11:23 PM

Back to the CB125, Honda stopped importing them to the US in 1985. I'm not familar with where they are sold now, but I wouldn't think it would be worth it to try and gray market such a bike into the US. It's an Okay bike, but nothing special.

The only new street-legal non-scooter motorocycle sold today that's in this very small size category that I know of is the Kawasaki 125 Eliminator. I know nothing about it, but I was never very fond of the small cruisers when I taught MSF classes (perhaps because my knees kept banging into the handlebars when doing tight turns). I just never found them very much fun to ride.

If you're talking about a bike that you're actually going to ride over long distances and in the states, a 125cc bike is awfully small. It's totally tapped out at 60 mph. I'd instead look for a common, everyday, used 200-250cc air-cooled single of the most recent vintage you can afford that has been well cared for. For a Japanese bike of this size, brand/model isn't very important, but condition is. Certainly $1000 or so would get you a decent machine and you could spend less if you can tinker some and fix minor problems.

You know, Honda has made a great little 250cc twin runabout called the CB250 Nighthawk since 1991. This is a slick little bike and I bet you could find a decent older one for $1K or so. It's a twin so it makes a little more power and is much smoother than the singles. While not a dirt bike, it would go virtually anywhere, be bulletproof, reasonably comfortable, and cruise at 65mph getting 65 mpg.

This thread might be of interest to you.

- Mark

steve gs 02-08-2007 03:15 AM


Originally Posted by markjenn

This thread might be of interest to you.

Though not eveyone here will RTW our intent is cover all aspects of 250cc and under touring from bikes to gear to attitude. Also check out and check out the cost of a carnet. Come on over.:freaky


puddlejumper 02-08-2007 06:33 AM

Have you checked out the MZ125 bikes.
I think they are available in the US and they come in
Street bike, DS and Motard configuration.

beefjerky 02-08-2007 06:54 AM


Originally Posted by EarthQuaker
I wondered what the bike cost new. I've never bought a bike new, but I've always thought that if I ever got one that hand't been abused by its former ownder, I could keep it on the road forever. But that XT225 costs four-fifths of what KLR 650 does! Ouch!

I bought a 1995 model last year for $1300. The model hasn't changed in many years. Some of the 90's models are in fruity colors though.

It is a cheap and easy bike to run.

Ricardo Kuhn 02-08-2007 07:49 AM

EarthQuaker I like your Spirit already and i'm really glad we have a teacher like you around since you live your life by example and that is a great place to start.

I only know about sur america so is not like my vision of machines is uinversal, but i think the basic ballpark is pretty much "Universal".

I can only tell you in many countrys in sur america two strokes still ride aroud, maybe because they are so simple, cheap and easy to mantain (actually not mantain, but ride around until they dye), yes nasty fumes and ineficient but you can thank DOW Quemical and many other Corporations, for far deeper contaminations issues, not like riding a shitty bike is a excuse but is ussually the least of a III world country problems...

maybe you can have a diferent aproach to things. (Yes not your only choice but a idea.)

My aproach is Basically...
don't worry about the bike, figure out a sistem to carry the gear you need and attach to Any bike, backpacks, duffle bags, bungly cords, ropes, things that you can carry walking, or on the bus, yeah it sound wierd, but if you think about it, trying to cover long distances on a country as bast as the USA on a small bike can be a pain, not to mension really slow and expensive wasting yout time and recourses just getting to the border (always the sae border before you can go any farder), so my basic idea is to travel to your favorite destination ussing a plane, boat or whatever gets you to the target destination in a hurry and then find a bike suitable for your needs on the region, Each country has a popular bike you can buy, rent one even do some kind of Monkey business to use the bike just for a few weeks, ride the thing around the country(s) when you are done, sell it, donated, give it back to who ever lend it to you and then come back to your teaching job until you batteries are recharge for the next adventure, this way you are not face with all the issues of bringing a bike back into the USA, paying for the boat fees to transport the bike, the very smart people at the DMV, etc.

Think "Motorcycle diaries" were the Bike is just a medium a tool if you like but not the focus or the main goal of the trip..

another side Topic.

about 25 years ago I meet a little guy riding a single speed bicycle (40 pound "gardener" special) at first he look like a million other dark skin sur american man, exept for the fact of a sign on his handlebars saying, "my first trip around the world" writen in ingles anyway the gentleman was from India and was already on his ten years of riding around the world when I meet him, the last time I ear from him (I have a Indian friend that is in the diplomatic community) he was on his second loop being already about 55 years old..

i tell you this story, just for contrast, if you can ride a bicycle for 30 years around the wolrd, working as a magician to make the little money that you need, any motorbike is already a luxury what will let you travel in style..

best of luck finding your Jorney and also your destination


Sycamore 02-08-2007 10:52 AM

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Don't know if you get these in the US,. but the Honda CD200 Roadmaster (4 stroke twin) is legendary in much of Africa, Pakistan, India and the Middle East. They seem to go forever.

(They are also the Rolls Royce of pizza delivery bikes around these parts...)

Sycamore 02-08-2007 10:54 AM

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Found some pics of a Roadmaster on tour with (I think) an old XL 500 Honda...

dorkpunch 02-08-2007 11:39 AM

That CD200 looks like it has the exact same motor as my CM200 Twinstar... another bike to consider would be honda's TMX 155. Seen billions of 'em in the filippines attached to sidecars carrying 8 people, 6 pigs, and 12 chickens...

edit: looks like this may be only available in the filippines...

Birdmove 02-08-2007 08:52 PM

Maybe a Honda 250 Nighthawk??


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