NEWSFLASH - You do not need a £15,000 motorcycle to enjoy touring... You also do not need to spend 5 to 10 grand getting mobile in fact, and this may be a shock to many, almost any motorcycle of mechanically soundness will make the grade! I first toured on a Triumph Speed Tripe with bags fastened to the bike via bungee straps. I then continued my newly discover passion for bike trips on a ZRX1100, another machine not entirely fitting the touring 'category' but a small improvement as I could throw over some soft panniers and had a little more space for loading up.
So for those on a smaller budget we have found (following a quick scan of the classifieds) 3 machines under £3000 which, with touring in mind, would provide thousands of miles of open road and smiles!
Oh, just note - We Are Not Endorsing Any Of The Bikes Below Or The Dealerships... This is a quick scan of the market to encourage you to put your 'can't afford a bike' excuse in the bin and get some mileage done. Purchasing ANY motorcycle comes with risk so do your research, get a mechanic to check the bike over and check the service history. When in doubt, there is no doubt!
1 - DEALER - BMW R1100RT 1998 - We found an nice example from BMW Motorrad specialist, James Sherlock in South Molton, Devon for the tantalising sum of £2,995. Ok it is imported but with only 33k on the clock the BMW boxer is good for another 200,000 miles. If you purchased and kept it clean you would probably wouldn't lose much when you re-sold the bike later on. Bikes like this find a bottom-price and sit there. Complete with two hard panniers, electric screen, heated grips, radio and (from experience) a superbly comfortable riding portion, the older RT's are staggering value for money! SHERLOCKS do not state what warranty is provided with the bike but as they are a dealer your consumer rights should be respected and a warranty should be included...
2 - DEALER - Triumph Sprint ST 1050 2006= Another dealer bike. We found a 2006 Sprint complete with factory colour coded hard panniers from RiteBike in Bradford. With ABS and 12 months MOT the Sprint fits the sports tourer bikers and is a very capable and quick machine! With 42k on the clock it is worth a decent look over but promising all the same. RiteBIke provide a 30 day warranty on their bikes.
3 - PRIVATE - Suzuki DL650 V-Strom - We couldn't go without mentioning the fantastic V-Strom, or rather the 'wee-strom'. This little 650 is brilliant at solo touring, a little too small in the power department for taking a pillion we feel, but as a nod to enduro's you can't get a more satisfying bike. The big bonus with the Wee, sorry V-strom is that it's good for the newer tourer who is finding their feet. The one we found on eBay for £2250 (or best offer) was a 2005 model, included hard panniers and top box, heated grips, sump guard and was low on miles at 22k but only MOT's til July 2017. The ad is tempting, it looks and sounds loved and the seller isn't letting test pilots ride it unless you can provide insurance... The downfall os private is No Warranty but these an be purchased online privately these days. Check the service schedule and have an open mind. Best Offer means - I need to sell this bike! This little gem is in Burnham-on-Sea and it curious, is item number 183082533898 on eBay.
There you have it, 3 bikes to stop you coming up with the 'I cant afford a BMW-GS' excuse!
It's coming up to tour season - now is the time to get your bargain, but be quick!
Oh, for those who do have a little bit more money to spend, our old RT is now available at Ocean Motorrad Plymouth for a very tempting £10,495. We know this bike doesn't mis a beat.... Ring Ocean and ask for Spencer - Tell him John from Moto Ventura sent you. ;)