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TwinTours 01-14-2013 01:47 PM

Touring the Alps on an Africa Twin, anyone?
Hi folks,

not sure, how to start and if this is the right part of the forum, but I thought, I should give it a go.

I am now based in Switzerland for the last 5 years, I am a big fan touring the Swiss, Italian & French Alps and also like getting my hands dirty rebuilding (classic) bikes.

Currently, my garage is stuffed with three bikes and it is very likely that another one will be parked there awaiting rebuild anytime soon.

Wrenching along happily recently, it came to my mind that maybe there are bikers out there that would be happy to rent out some classic tourer down here in Switzerland and discover the Alps themselves on a bike, whithout having to go through some long distance journey beforehand.

Over the last few weeks, I could not quite stop thinking about that for more than a day or so and now here is the idea:

- get some 5 or more Africa Twins, fully rebuild them and get them ready for some proper touring
- get gps nav for all bikes with pre-programmed tours, hotels, POI etc
- offer airport transfer to central Switzerland, arrange for first night accomodation and following day, hand over
the bikes
- on request, provide for a tour-guide and/or escort vehicle
- have a spare bike ready

What'd you think? Would you consider yourselve being a potential client one day? And what features would be important to you? Would old Africa Twins win your faith or put you off?

Being a bike fanatic myself, I am seriously tempted to give that idea a go but would very much like to hear your opinions. So just fire away!



TwinTours 01-14-2013 02:01 PM

Hello from Switzerland
Hi all,

a big HELLO from Switzerland.

My name is Chris, I am in the mid 30s and based in central Switzerland for the last 5 years now.
I am riding bikes since the age of 18 and like rebuilding them a lot!

For the last few years, I discoverd parts of the Alps on all sorts of motorbikes.

Have a look at my post: Touring the Alps on an Africa Twin, anyone?
for some more info.



Shocktower 01-14-2013 05:41 PM

Welcome to the fluffy zone :D

the kawasaki kid 01-14-2013 05:47 PM

Welcome,Chris! My Mother travels to Switzerland often and she loves it. I hope to accompany her one of these times as I would love to see the Alps, especially by bike. Not sure how familiar you are with this site, but I have found it to be a tremendous resource filled with mostly great folks.

MichaelJ 01-15-2013 03:40 AM

On one hand, you'd be going against the established guys - Moto Mader and Moto Center Thun/Bern - but these guys are at the high end, price wise.

I think that an Africa Twin would be a great bike. I always rented 1150/1200 GSes when I was renting and now have one of my old bikes over there, but neither of the above were really well suited to exploring some of the smaller roads. The rentals were expensive if you scratched them, and my old Suzuki is really only happy on paved roads.

Your biggest hurdle may be from the insurance standpoint, but it sounds like a good idea. Keep in mind that you will probably need to do more maintenance on the rental bike than you would if it were just yours. I wouldn't want to rent a bike for a week or two and worry about worn tires or chain, for example. Just an item for thought.

TwinTours 01-15-2013 04:16 AM

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your thoughts.

I am certainly with you insurance wise. However, I found a Switzerland based company on the net, renting out old sports cars and also some classic bikes from the 70s, so that proofs that there must be a way to get around that problem.

Also, for tires, chains etc, I would want to get a second set of those for all bikes to either swap or change as required.
This would also be done for spares and maybe a whole bike also.

Just out of interest: At the time you rented a bike down here yourself, did you get a nav + pre-programmed routes and accomodation advice with it?


olionel 01-15-2013 05:25 AM


The Af-Twin is an ace bike. However, when I got mine.. the first thing I did was to go and get the seat cutdown. It is a bigmans bike. And it is a heavy bike. I do love mine to bits and would love another one to bring it up to date (with KTM forks, digi dash, etc etc).

I think you may have a good market in the future, when the bike becomes quite rare, there are still quite a few about (unless you have some Marathon ones from the Dakar). I would say maybe have a selection of bikes in your stable.. for example.. I would love to have a go on a KTM990 for a week or so then return it before I had to pay for the repairs. I would also love to have a go on a R100GSPD.. if I did it I think I'd have a selection of good touring bikes and some classics. If I was a BMW owner maybe I would fancy a go on an Af-Twin or a KTM etc etc...

Also I bloody love Switzerland... it's my life aim to move there.. lol gotta ride the Africa Twin to Australia first though... can't wait.... ow Ich also muss sort out mein Deutsch... Es ist shit und ich bin not sure how I'd get ein Job in Engineering nur mit English :)

All the best

MichaelJ 01-15-2013 01:57 PM


Originally Posted by TwinTours (Post 20487855)
Just out of interest: At the time you rented a bike down here yourself, did you get a nav + pre-programmed routes and accomodation advice with it?

No, I bring my own over (with Euro maps loaded on). I'm more of a general ramble around type of person than a defined route follower - but that's just me. For every major site that I've unknowingly ridden past, I've found two equally nice places that I had never heard of. And, if I miss a few, that just gives me a reason to do another ride :D

A GPS with a database of motorcycle-friendly establishments would be a nice thing to have. Also just having a file to transfer to a customer's GPS Would be a great thing.

I tend to use my GPS more as a means to record each day's ride track (dumping nightly to a laptop) and to find the closest fuel stop when I haven't been paying attention to my bike's consumption :eek1

WeazyBuddha 01-16-2013 08:37 PM

Welcome to the asylum :clap

Switzerland is fantastic, I was there in '97. I can truthfully say that the only time I've skied was in the Swiss Alps. :freaky

roundtripping 01-17-2013 11:56 AM

Alps? No, you need a Transalp.

Sparke 02-05-2013 10:52 AM

Alps rentals
I would be interested.

I have done 10 tours in the Alps in the last 13 years. I have gone with an American based tour company except for the last trip in 2011, when I travels without any professional help.

If I continue touring in the Alps in future years, now that I have retired, I will need to cut costs quite a bit. Your type of service would be of interest. At home in the USA I ride a Honda Transalp ... It is just my taste but I have never been any more satisfied with my rented BMW's then my aging Honda. I am probably not in the majority with that opinion. So your prices will need to a good bit lower than new BMW rates. I hope its possible!

What is very important is the dependability of the rented bikes. Honda are tuff and dependable when well maintained. I would rent one if it was.

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