What type of Motorbike is best to ride the SILK ROAD?
What-ever bike you are most comfortable with, that’s the bike that will make the journey it’s most adventurous and rewarding for you.
Motorbikes that have rode the SILK ROAD with Motoexplorers include:
YAMAHA TENERE 660
Several of these rugged Teneres have completed rides to China with us. No problems what-so-ever. (we’ve also rode one straight across to ALASKA from China)
It likes most oil types, fast and easy to maintain. Tall dark and slim, can do anything you can!
Perfect engine and gear set up for the Silk road expeditions, cruises comfortably at the Silk’s regular ride speeds, 50-75mph / 80-120kph.
SUZUKI VSTROM 650
An equal to the Tenere, with a slightly more road bias, also makes it very sell suited to the modern SILK ROAD, with enough ruggedness to handle a few of the bumpier sections. Worth fitting radiator guards, that’s about it!
BMW GS650 & 650 DAKAR
Proven endurance machine, RTW, what more can we say! fit new battery, brakes, good chain and older models can still soak up the Silk Road routes.
Our own scout bike back in 2009. Later models have improved a lot since the 09. Fit a few protectors, crash bars, plus a good chain (early BMW’s were a week point) These 800’s have a very good balance between on/off road, cruising speed and traffic manoeuvrability. If anything, they’re actually higher powered than you really need nowadays! In reality, most of the nice torquey Harley-Davidsons are just as well suited to the SILK66 today.
TRIUMPH TIGER 1050
Very good strong rugged bike, in the right hands! A little heavier than the 800’s but all of these duel-sport-road bikes are equally well suited to RTW rides if that’s what suits your ride style.
YAMAHA TENERE 1200
What a bike! These bikes eat up the Silk road to Thailand. A little top heavy, likes it’s 1200 Explorer cousin, but it’ll go anywhere you dare! As with most of these duel-sport-endure machines, it has a load of electronic, so make sure the battery and electrics are all well checked. Batteries under 3 years old if it’s had a hard life. Change spark plugs and carry a spare set (they’re hard to get to, we know!)
SUZUKI BANDIT 1200 (Yes, it’s true!)
Not our first choice, needs to take a little extra care around the pot-holes. Strong engines, bikes like this can comfortably cruise the Silk Routes. Those roads are far far better surfaced (in fact some of them weren’t surfaced at all back when this Bandit made the ride with us!) Most of these larger CC bikes, will soak up the miles, effortlessly.
SUZUKI VSTROM 1000
Strong bike, reasonable costs. The bikes good, we’d just say watch out for older bikes, any electrical and feeling issues. Well serviced and they’re fine. We had one buckle a wheel and it still continued, un-effected!
The bikes are really a bit overpowered for what you need on most sections of the modern Silk Road! A lot of over-complicated electronics and switches can be a weakness. Good bikes, but read up on all the forums to search out any electrical issues, fit protectors, carry a few extra KTM or improved spares! Lots of various models, most are fine.
HONDA TRANSALP / AFRICA TWIN
If you own pretty much any Honda, we’d say you’ll be just fine! You won;t need us to remind you of their legendary reliability! Never seen a bad one! newer Africa Twins, like many bikes are becoming over-reliant on electronics. Tend to run tubed tyres as well, so carry a spare set of good quality tubes.
TRIUMPH TIGER 800 XCA / XSA
Good bikes, nice size and power for the ride. Service with fresh fully synthetic oil, new chain sprockets, brakes and filters and you shouldn’t need to touch it between London and Thailand!
just fit a decent chain lube (we can advise)
BMW GS1200 AIR/ AND LC’S
If anything, this iconic bike has probably got the duel claim to fame for: A/ Most RTW rides in modern days, reliably (quite) bullet-proof AND B/ Most recalls, issues, things that can go wrong.
Certain earlier 1200’s had all kinds of issues, in varying degrees. If you own one, you’ll have been to the BMW garage for a couple of recalls we’re sure! Later bikes – fine, we’d say keep them almost standard, no need to mess with it. BMW changed their minds (or oil-sponsors!) about which oil those boxers like, more times than Ewen cashed his royalty cheques (‘cheque = old fashioned instrument that often bounced) 1st BMW ‘insisted’ the boxer could only run on thick red mineral oil. Later, they insisted semi-mineral, nowadays they’ve wizard’d a new fully synthetic brew, which appears to work just fine.
1200 LC: Good bike, as ever it seems with BMW, check you’re up to date on recalls! (2017 was potentially snapping front suspension stanchions) ours all had the modification fitted (looked like a think sort of jubilee clip to us, strap it round the fork to help stop it breaking) think we’d also be tempted to look at some of the other nice strong rugged machines ourselves! like;
BMW GS ADVENTURES – Usually perform just perfect for the Silk Road!
VTWIN ‘s Road bikes for riding the Silk Road
. . . Harley, Indian touring?, Ducati, Triumph Scramblers Beckham style! all of these V-twins will make a fantastic ride (and sound) along the Silk road. Those bigger V twin bikes will benefit from some extra on-road support, carrying more back up kit, extra fuel etc – meaning that you can ride these bikes, more like they were designed to be rode!
Smooth cruising along the new VRTW SILK66 route to China, or if that rugged Scrambler style is your thing, we can support you with that also. See our new partner site VRTW.WORLD where we can assist you organising your very own world expedition.