Why we chose the little ones
Riding around the world is not comparable to riding back home. Usually there are no familiar spare part dealers and fancy service stations, These facts made it even more important for us to pick proper bikes for a big trip like that. We needed something reliable, as less electronics as possible, easy to repair and to find spare parts allover the world. Furthermore it must be appropriate for on- and off-road riding, of course.
Very common RTW bikes like Suzuki DR650 or DRZ400 would have been a good choice. Unfortunately, due to Europe’s strict emission regulations, they stopped selling them many years ago. You can still find used bikes on the market, but they either had a tough life before, or they are crazy overpriced. So one of these older bikes was not an option anymore.
After some internet research, we finally decided to buy two 2016 Honda CRF250L – the last model without ABS. They were used and came with 600 and 700 kilometers. We found quite some people that have already used the little Honda for big distance rides. Against lots of recommendations, we haven’t changed the suspension and left them almost in original condition.
Still laughing, because you cannot understand why people would use such a small bike for a big trip? Maybe the following can convice a bit more?
These are the services and “repairs” we have done in these 2 years
- oil and oil filter changes every 7000km – 8000km
- air filters 15000km – 20000km, but also depending on the road conditions, of course.
- sprockets and chains 15000km – 28000km
- front tires 20000km – 30000km
- rear tires 10000km – 16000km
- brake pads ~70000km, but Tobi’s front ones are still original after 87000km
- clean the fork seals when leaking
- exchanged fork seals on Tobi’s bike in Thailand, Miriam’s are still original.
We wanted the valve clearance to be checked with ~7000km at a proper Honda dealer in Turkey. Mainly because Honda Germany tells you to check them with 1000km. It was cheap and Tobi was not in a mood to check them by himself in the middle of dusty nowhere. They just started laughing and told us, the engines sound great and they are not opening them with this ridiculous low mileage.
Next time was with ~35000km in Chiang Mai (Thailand) and they told us something similar.
Finally in Australia we checked them with ~55000km – just to be sure everything is alright. The valve clearance was still absolutely fine.
Beside a few punctures, a loose connection on Miriam’s bike and broken rack mounts on the subframes, we never had any trouble so far.
After 2 years and almost 90000km with around 40kg additional luggage on each bike, we can tell you, that the little Hondas are absolute unbreakable beasts. They might not be the fanciest bikes and they could have a little bit more horse power. However we remember only two situations, where we could have needed a stronger engine. You probably also won’t be the first person reaching the target, but you can be sure your little Honda is not letting you in the lurch.