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Old 11-02-2012, 02:48 AM   #136
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Originally Posted by Taelan28 View Post
I dont think I've had a warm day in Gangwondo. When your first time in the province involves scuba diving in Sokcho in January and second time was going to the DMZ in mid october without a jacket in cloudy, rainy weather then one as dumb as me believes Gangwondo and alaska have the same climate.

This Summer in Gongwon-do was fantastic. Hot at times even. I'll plug in the heated gear and go, if there's a warmish and sunny day this winter...we'll see.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:09 PM   #137
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I ride all winter as long as the roads are clear...but admittedly the trips are shorter, mostly due to the reduction in the number of hours of daylight available.

Note, however, just because the roads are clear locally doesn't mean carp out in the country or in the mountains. Also fun in the hills is squelched by the amount of sand that is spread on the roads.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:42 PM   #138
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I know I'm digging up a zombie thread, but it seems to be my best bet to find some answers. I'm heading to Korea this summer, for at least a year (military) and probably more like three or four years. I'll be alone the first year, then my wife will come over.

Right now I have a 2006 Buell Ulysses, a 2006 KLX250S, and a 2009 Triumph Daytona 675. The 675 is my track bike, so I'm going to sell it, (I still have all the street items) since I've heard that there's not much of a track day scene over there. I'm thinking about selling the Buell too, since it's 7 years old, and it will be a bitch trying to get parts over there. From what I've read here, I probably won't get much dirt use out of the KLX, so I'll probably sell it too.

I'm tempted to go to a dealer and find out what I can get on a trade of all three bikes, to buy something new, ride it for a couple of months, and ship it. I'm thinking about a more road-oriented bike - something my wife and I can ride two-up when she arrives.

What do y'all think - keep the Buell, keep the KLX, or get something different?
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:31 AM   #139
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I just got done doing one year in the ROK. I was stationed at Osan AB. Where will you be stationed?
Once you figure out the roads, and where to go, you'll find Korea offers some of the best riding anywhere. There are tons of beautiful mountains over there and few straight roads. You will not regret making the effort to bring a bike with you.
As for which bike.... When I went I had the choice of bringing a DR650SE, a BMW R1200RT, and a VSTROM DL1000. I opted to bring the bullet proof and versatile VSTROM. It proved to be a great bike for the mix of city and open country riding. And it is as reliable as a hammer.
I did have one mx issue with the Strom (it was pushing 35k when i brought it over), and finding Vstrom specific parts/service was a little tough. Ordering parts on-line and sent to an APO box was easy enough. There are plenty of excellent mechanics in the country, and they will work hard for you, at reasonable rates, even if they've never worked on your brand bike before.
I only saw one other VSTROM in Korea the whole time I was there. I saw a ton of harleys and BMWs, and there are good dealerships for those bikes all over the country. Jap bikes seem less popular over there. Might be some lingering ill-will from WWII, but I think Koreans are very brand concious as well.
Given your list of bikes, if you trust and enjoy riding your Buell, that would probably be a fine bike to bring.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:44 PM   #140
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Originally Posted by Squelch View Post
I know I'm digging up a zombie thread, but it seems to be my best bet to find some answers. I'm heading to Korea this summer, for at least a year (military) and probably more like three or four years. I'll be alone the first year, then my wife will come over.

Right now I have a 2006 Buell Ulysses, a 2006 KLX250S, and a 2009 Triumph Daytona 675. The 675 is my track bike, so I'm going to sell it, (I still have all the street items) since I've heard that there's not much of a track day scene over there. I'm thinking about selling the Buell too, since it's 7 years old, and it will be a bitch trying to get parts over there. From what I've read here, I probably won't get much dirt use out of the KLX, so I'll probably sell it too.

I'm tempted to go to a dealer and find out what I can get on a trade of all three bikes, to buy something new, ride it for a couple of months, and ship it. I'm thinking about a more road-oriented bike - something my wife and I can ride two-up when she arrives.

What do y'all think - keep the Buell, keep the KLX, or get something different?


+1 on the Buell. Once you get into the mountains there are some roads that turn in to gravel or dirt and I have missed out on exploring those becuase I have a pure road bike that can't handle potholes and ruts very well. As for track days, there are tracks here but most are located in the rural countryside. Bring some track-day leathers and there is a track here were you can rent a 250cc bike set up for the track (I think they are CBR 250s). There is not enough dirt here to justify the KLX. It would make a good around town bike, but probably too small for serious touring. I've been riding here for 4 1/2 years and it's awesome once you get out of the cities. I have a few ride reports here on ADV if you want to see what to expect, or PM me if you want to see my ride albums on Farcebook.
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:18 PM   #141
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Thanks for the heads up - maybe I'll keep the Buell then. It's been a good bike for 7 years, and I know how to fix some of the problems that crop up when it breaks. At the same time, though, I'm tempted to trade the Buell and Daytona in for an F700GS, since it seems that I'd have much better dealer support. It's hard enough to find dealer support in the US, and I'm betting Harley mechanics in South Korea have even less interest in working on a Buell than their American counterparts.

I just found out I'll be in Daegu, so I guess I'll be south. That's great to know about track days - I will probably be wicked busy, but if I get a chance to spend a weekend bombing around the track, I will take it, even on a 250. Actually, hell, that will probably help hone my pathetic skills...
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Old 04-24-2013, 11:14 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by Squelch View Post
Thanks for the heads up - maybe I'll keep the Buell then. It's been a good bike for 7 years, and I know how to fix some of the problems that crop up when it breaks. At the same time, though, I'm tempted to trade the Buell and Daytona in for an F700GS, since it seems that I'd have much better dealer support. It's hard enough to find dealer support in the US, and I'm betting Harley mechanics in South Korea have even less interest in working on a Buell than their American counterparts.

I just found out I'll be in Daegu, so I guess I'll be south. That's great to know about track days - I will probably be wicked busy, but if I get a chance to spend a weekend bombing around the track, I will take it, even on a 250. Actually, hell, that will probably help hone my pathetic skills...

Daegu is a big city, they have a real-deal Harley dealer but not sure of Buell support there. I don't think Buells were ever officially imported to Korea. I'm sure you can find someone to work on it if needed. Use the APO to order parts from CONUS if needed. Daegu has excellent mountain roads nearby and is close enough to the East and South coasts that you can get there in a few hours tops. Not sure about track availablility there, I live in Seoul and only familiar with what's up here track-wise. I think you'll be happy on the Ulysses or on a GS if you decide to go that route.
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:17 AM   #143
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Harleys and GS's are both very popular.

If I had done it right, I'd have figured out how to ship my GS and my WR250R here (one in my household goods?) I have my GS here. It is probably great for 99% of the roads, but there are times when I sooooo miss my little dual sport. There are some (though not many) good DS areas.

I think a GS/VStrom/Explorer/Tenere/Adventure is a good all-around bike here. You DO want lots of suspension travel. I'm not sure how the HD guys put up with all the speed bumps. I fuckin' jump 'em.

There are lots of times you'll be really glad to have a GS style of bike, in my opinion.
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:49 AM   #144
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I'm betting Harley mechanics in South Korea have even less interest in working on a Buell than their American counterparts.
I'm betting they don't care either way. They won't be Americans caught up in false patriotism expressed in the form of blind brand fanaticism.

Actually I take that back a little. Plenty of H-D Kool-Aid(TM) drinkers in South Korea adorned in leather and fringes and skull bandana masks. It's really adorable to see Asians all dressed up like that. And there is a HOG chapter near Namsan. But I still don't think the wrench monkeys will care either way.

Enjoy your stay in Korea and thanks for your service.

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Old 04-25-2013, 01:30 PM   #145
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Would something like a Concours 14 be too much for there? Whaddya think? If the bike isn't allowed on the highway, it may be overkill for the side roads. But it would be better for riding two up when my wife comes and joins me, and I'd keep it much longer too.
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Old 04-25-2013, 02:53 PM   #146
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Would something like a Concours 14 be too much for there? Whaddya think? If the bike isn't allowed on the highway, it may be overkill for the side roads. But it would be better for riding two up when my wife comes and joins me, and I'd keep it much longer too.
I have seen plenty of Gold Wings, Road Kings, big BMWs, etc. Not necessarily being piloted by expats either. Whatever floats your boat. Normal practice on local roads is to pass on the right. Filtering is encouraged. There is usually room but a bike with side cases may limit your options. Not sure about where you are gonna be but Seoul traffic is a nightmare.
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Old 04-28-2013, 06:29 PM   #147
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Originally Posted by Rectaltronics View Post
I have seen plenty of Gold Wings, Road Kings, big BMWs, etc. Not necessarily being piloted by expats either. Whatever floats your boat. Normal practice on local roads is to pass on the right. Filtering is encouraged. There is usually room but a bike with side cases may limit your options. Not sure about where you are gonna be but Seoul traffic is a nightmare.
I brought full Givi luggage for my VStrom, but only ever used the top case. I second what is being said here...nice to have a slim bike for manuvering in city traffic (ie lanesplitting).
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Old 04-28-2013, 06:40 PM   #148
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Would something like a Concours 14 be too much for there? Whaddya think? If the bike isn't allowed on the highway, it may be overkill for the side roads. But it would be better for riding two up when my wife comes and joins me, and I'd keep it much longer too.
Even though motorcycles are not permitted on the expressways/toll roads, some of the secondary highways permit some pretty high speeds.
I think the reason I liked the VStrom in Korea was for the following: small/light enough to be considered manuverable, big enough motor to cover miles comfortably, a little bit of wx protection, and nice upright seating position to allow good visability in traffic. i even covered some umimproved roads every now and then. And as mentioned earlier, this is the land of the speed bump. The VStrom was nice for dealing with these little buggers.
Consider getting a GPS mounted to any bike you bring. I had an older model Garmin (Quest II), and even w/o map data, it was still nice to leave a "bread trail" when I went out exploring on my own. It took me about 4 months to get really comfortable getting around Korea....learning the roads, figuring out gas stations, where to eat, what roads i could ride on, reading the road signs, and of course, dealing with the traffic/drivers.
Insurance. This was a pain for me, but I ended up going with USAA. I comment more on this if you like.
Good luck!
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:19 PM   #149
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Everyone in Korea uses a GPS. Even bicyclists. One or two can be found there that are somewhat bi-lingual but if you can learn at least the Korean alphabet you can probably work a Korean one without too much trouble. Street maps can be found for certain Garmin devices. There is also the Open Street Maps project. And yes, the bread trail and dead reckoning value is there even if you can't read the thing.

Most Korean GPS receivers come with warnings of speed cameras. Nice thing about motorcycles is that the speed cameras take pics from the front, so motorcycles can ignore most of those warnings.

You can also park nearly anywhere. Unlike cars, where parking is quite effectively controlled by cameras.

If you stand around looking lost long enough, someone with [variably] basic English skills will try to help soon enough. Most Koreans are very friendly and especially if you're in an unusual area for tourists or service men, curious to know why you came. Best luck is with business men, men old enough to have been adults during the Korean war, and young kids trying out there school-taught skills.

Another good reason to learn Hangeul is you have a better chance of pronouncing things correctly, which seems unusually crucial in Korea. If you try to pronounce the name of a place the way it looks in the transliteration on a road sign, most Koreans will just stare at you as they ponder what you were really trying to say.

Easiest way to impress any Korean at all is to be able to say a few basic things in Korean. HUGE additional brownie points if you get the honorifics right when speaking to elders or superiors.

Most cops there speak little if any English. This can be bad if you're in a pickle or lost. It can be good if you just broke fourteen traffic laws, because it will be too time consuming and awkward for them to bother with you. Though that is my experience as a civilian. Not sure if they will treat service men better or worse. I wonder if they may hold you to a higher standard if they see a high 'n tight when the lid comes off.
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:19 PM   #150
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Ok, so now I'm thinking if I sell the Buell, Triumph and Kawasaki, I should be able to buy an F700GS outright, and get a topcase for it. From what everyone's said, it seems like that would be a good bike to have. It would be new, so I wouldn't have the maintenance issues that crop up periodically with the Buell. I don't think I'd get enough out of the C14 to make it worthwhile, but the F700 would be a good balance between long-distance rides and commuting.

Edited to add - I already have a Zumo 6-something that I will take off the Buell and put on whatever bike I bring. I use Dairyland cycle insurance, but if they're not user-friendly for me in Korea I am already a USAA customer for everything else.

I've already started taking some Hangeul courses online, and it's an interesting language. I've got the alphabet down, and can figure out how words go together. Now I need to move to putting sentences together and increasing my vocabulary.

I spent a few hours washing the bikes this afternoon, and will spend another few hours tomorrow, then taking pictures, getting them ready to sell. Tuesday I'll head to the BMW dealer to find out about the F700GS. I am wondering about registering it - I don't want to pay to register it for a year, and then leave the country a month later and have to register it in Korea. I assume that the bike needs to be registered over there, right?

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