Yesterday Radu brought the bike to the garage. Romanian style hauling.
Just found this bike at a local dealer. Has some front end damage, however the rest looks OK. Only 6k miles. We agreed on $2150 for the bike plus a new battery. The cost of fixing should be under $1k. If nothing else comes up, we think we might get this one.
Today I got the chance to test our duplex communication device. I got from Amazon.com a Scala Rider Q2 Multiset manufactured by Cardo for $250. A really fun thing to have and a must for longer trips. We can now share impressions about scenery, traffic, route and so on. Plus, it plays music/radio (from a stereo jack input), it can be used to control a GPS and it can act as a telephone headset. The Multiset can be used to communicate rider to passenger or between two riders, while the Teamset is a cheaper alternative that permits communication between rider and passenger only.
Whire riding in the mountains, I was able to hear my companion loud and clear when he was even 500m away from me. However, if the peer goes out of sight, the sound quality became poor or is interrupted temporarily. After 1hr charge time we were able to talk almost continuously for 4-5 hours without depleting the accumulators.
The next question was which kind of bike to use. A guy i know, Marcos, (we used to go off road-ing together in Romania) used his old 1987 Yamaha XT while rallying in Northern Africa. But he got into trouble several times because of various problems with the bike, so i decided i need something newer. I decided to spend $4k to $5k on the bike itself, plus $1k on extras. Some people i asked suggested Suzuki DR, Honda Africa Twin, others said Yamaha Super Tenere. But my friend here in Los Angeles was riding a 2004 BMW F650GS and after test riding that i finally decided that will be my bike. Bullet proof reliability at an accessible price, with a good payload and still not very heavy and with tons of after market accessories readily available, that seems to me like a reasonable choice. I am also considering the big brother, BMW R1200GS, but at $10k it is a little over my budget. I am right now not sure what might happen to the bike once i get in Mexico, Colombia or other unsafe countries, so i don’t want to invest too much in a motorcycle that might be stolen, wrecked etc. In addition, it seems very difficult to find an insurance company that will insure the motorcycle for such trip. So i have to bear all risks 🙁