One of the first questions I asked myself when this whole trip was just the seed of an idea planted deep somewhere in my mind was “can I do this on my bike?”
I went online and did some research, and the answer was yes. You can go round the world on pretty much any bike if you really want to go for it. Especially if you have the time. And the money.
People have ridden the world in all kinds of bikes imaginable, from classic Harleys to Honda scooters, as well as an R1 or a Goldwing. Basically, unless you’re rich and famous enough to simply call BMW and tell them to lend you a top-of-the-range GS, you ride what you have.
And in my case, what I have is a Suziki DL650 V-Strom, a trail bike that is a bit too road biased for some sections of this trip, namely Kazakhstan and Mongolia. Not only that, but it is a well-worn bike too, having been bought second-hand and used as a daily commuter and also weekend and holiday tool. That said, in the two years I’ve had it it has not developed a single fault, which is more than you can say of some GSs, so I trust it to take me all the way to UB. However, there is a lot of room for improvement, and I want to make sure that the bike is as ready as I can make it for a trip like this. This includes three main areas:
- Making sure that the bike works properly and its reliability can be guaranteed as far as possible for the trip – I’ll be replacing any parts that are worn or that might wear out and would be difficult to source where I’m going.
- Preparing the bike to give it as much off-road capability as a bike like this can have – I’ll replace the springs and add protection to the body.
- Setting up a luggage system for a a trip like this.
This is how the bike looked like as I bought it, no mods or improvements carried out yet:
And below is the list of all the things I have to do/get:
- Replace the transmission kit – DONE
- Fit in new tyres – DONE (Michelin Anakee 2 for the first and last part of the trip, I’ll take a pair of Heidenau K60s for Kazakhstan and Mongolia)
- Replace all filters – DONE
- Replace spark plugs – DONE
- Replace battery – DONE
- Replace brake pads – DONE
- Replace rear brake disc – DONE
- Check valve clearance – DONE
OFF-ROAD / PROTECTION
- Replace fork and rear spring for stiffer, progressive ones – DONE
- Rebuild rear shock absorber – DONE
- Replace fork oil and inner and dust seals – DONE
- Install bash plate – DONE
- Replace engine protection bars for bigger ones – DONE
- Install BarkBusters handguards – DONE
- Install headlight guard – DONE
- Install radiator guard – DONE
- Install a 12v socket – DONE
- Install a GPS mount – DONE
- Replace GIVI panniers with Touratech Zega panniers plus accessories – DONE
- Get an Ortlieb rack pack – DONE
- Get a tank bag – DONE
I’ll post pictures of the fully equipped bike once everything is done.