BMW R80 G/S
Which motorcycle? After deciding the trip is a "go", the next dilemma is the process of choosing a motorcycle for the trip. Reliability needs to be weighed against ease of maintenance and the availability of parts. As well, it can't be a "black box" to the traveler. The bike will need service and most likely you will be the only one around knowing anything about the bike or have the right tools. For all these reasons, I chose a mid-eighties BMW R80G/S.
I found the bike for sale on-line. It was located in Arizona. A few phone calls later we came to a mutually agreeable price, I booked a one-way ticket and accepted the invitation of the owner to come pick me up at the airport in Phoenix. During all this time, I had not seen the bike. The owner, however, had also restored a few older bikes and this G/S was one in a "cluster" of 2 wheeled BMW's he maintained. For this reason, I decided to take his word on it.
First picture of the G/S:
Shortly after I came home a few weeks later (I picked up the bike and rode it back at a leisurely pace), I figured the bike needed a few upgrades for the trip. To start, I took off all the bits to see what I wanted to keep and what needed to be replaced. After two days of enthusiasm, and ample use of properly labeled ZipLock baggies, you end up with this:
Unlike the small transistor radio you took apart as kid and then promptly discarded, this actually has to be reassembled. The end result looks more like it is up to the task of going around the world.
For those of you who are not drawn to the details of what went into creating the bike, the rest of these pages may be of little interest. For those who want all the details, click "Next" to continue. If you have any questions, just send me an email.