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  1. #1
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    2012 Europe Here We Come!

    OK, so a buddy and I are both RT riders in upstate NY and have a close friend who rides and lives in Lille France (Near the Belgium Border). For years we've talked about putting together a riding trip around at least some portion of Europe. We are now seriously talking about scheduling the ride for spring 2012. Having never ventured out of the Northeast US on my BMW before I'm looking for some insight. Suggestions or insight on where to rent a ride from to ideas on how to make the most of our trip would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much in advance, I can't wait!!!

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    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Head South

    Alsace/Vosges region has some great roads, Schwarzwald (Black Forest) area also nice riding, but the best, if you like twisties and views are the Alps, Switzerland, Italy and France offer the dream roads for most.

    Also look at the GS's, the RT's are a little big for the fun roads, they are doable but the weather wind protection really is useless at 25-35mph, which is the average speed you will be going on the fun roads, and if you drop it stopping to take one of your thousands of pictures, the damage to an RT will hurt your wallet more than a GS.

    If solo and tall the F800GS is great, if short, the F650 GS has more than enough power for the task. Both are a lot more fun to ride and will not wear you out as fast as the 1200s.

    Don't plan on more than 250KM/day in the mountains, 300 max

    Pray for the Euro to tank before you go

    I am in western NY if you want to meet sometime for coffee, Next summer will be my 8th trip, and my I will surpass 6 months of touring Europe.

  3. #3
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    If you plan to visit Vienna, please let me know!

    There's a list of passes and their status. If you have an idea where to go, further information should be no problem.

    Greetings from sunny Vienna
    Dave

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    Certifiable User Mike_Philippens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    Also look at the GS's, the RT's are a little big for the fun roads, they are doable but the weather wind protection really is useless at 25-35mph, which is the average speed you will be going on the fun roads, and if you drop it stopping to take one of your thousands of pictures, the damage to an RT will hurt your wallet more than a GS.
    Where did you get that idea? A GSA is almost as heavy as my RT. I can do the Alps on any bike, from a scooter to a HD. I honestly can't see the problem in riding such a bike. I also did 'adventure' roads in Morocco on my RT; gravelroads/dirt roads, twisties...no problem at all.
    -=- if you always see the road ahead of you, it's not worth the trip -=-

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    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_Philippens View Post
    Where did you get that idea? A GSA is almost as heavy as my RT. I can do the Alps on any bike, from a scooter to a HD. I honestly can't see the problem in riding such a bike. I also did 'adventure' roads in Morocco on my RT; gravelroads/dirt roads, twisties...no problem at all.

    Oh you can, I have piloted an 1100, 1150 and a 1200 RT in the Alps at various times, including dirt passes two up. But a GS, although almost as heavy, has those big bars, and narrow tires that make them much more agile. I believe the gear/final drive ratios may be different, biasing the GS's to better slow speed operation.

    My bike of choice currently is the F800GS, even 2 up. Solo riders on RT's is silly IMHO, they cost more to rent, are MUCH more expensive for the scratches on all the tupperware if you loose footing, and it takes a nap on its side. (about a 50/50 chance that it will happen, even if you haven't dropped your own bike in decades) Plus unless you run the big roads the speeds are too slow for any weather protection.

    No give me the smallest lightest GS style bike and I will be fresher at the end of a Longer day. For solo, I even like the F650Gs, in fact it feels faster than the 800, due to tuning and, although I never checked, a quicker (shorter twist ) throttle.

    In fact this is a clip me on the 12RT solo. Yes they are a good tool, just not the best suited IMHO.


  6. #6
    Certifiable User Mike_Philippens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    Yes they are a good tool, just not the best suited IMHO.
    Maybe, but it's not like it's a punishment to do it on a RT. The perfect bike does not exist and you'd need 6 bikes for different circumstances, but that is not to say that you wouldn't enjoy the trip on another bike that would be less suited. Once you're used to the bike you don't notice the weight and size.
    -=- if you always see the road ahead of you, it's not worth the trip -=-

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    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_Philippens View Post
    I can do the Alps on any bike, from a scooter to a HD.
    Of course you can, but everything is a compromise. Both ends of the spectrum that you describe (scooter to a HD) are not the best in the Alps.

    In some areas like Corsica, a 650 single is perfect. My R1150 GS Adventure is not ideal in the Alps, but then I wouldn't want a 650 single on the Autobahn either.

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    Any input on where/how to rent a bike? I was going to contact my local dealership for suggestions and go from there but does anyone have in ideas on this? Thanks again.

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    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    I have rented through Beach's Motorcycle Adventures. But here is a list of others.

    http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthre...ight=beach%27s

    Also do a search for Alps or europe and there are lots of threads and advice.

  10. #10
    Biker gunnert's Avatar
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    We rented through Motogreek in Munich last year. If you comfortable on the RT, I'd stay with an RT. I know many disagree about riding a big bike in the Alps, but I went with what I know (K1300GT) when the wife and I went over. When we go back we'll do the same.

  11. #11
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    If you're looking for the least expensive rental, and aren't concerned to have a current model year bike, contact Stephan Knopf. Knopf provides a lot of services for the touring rider.
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

  12. #12
    On a Ride sfarson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcasscles View Post
    Any input on where/how to rent a bike? I was going to contact my local dealership for suggestions and go from there but does anyone have in ideas on this? Thanks again.
    Many BMW dealers in Belgium rent bikes. It was a 2005 R1200RT rental at a dealership near Brussels that sold me on the wonderful R12RT. I toured Normandy first, then made a circle of France before returning through the Ardennes. Perhaps your friend can arrange the hire from one of his nearby dealers. It is what my friend in Brugge did.

    Then... go see Normandy (moving), or head to Andermatt, Switzerland, make it a base camp, riding the Alps in every direction.

  13. #13
    Certifiable User Mike_Philippens's Avatar
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    You mention spring. I don't know how solid that is, but the first weekend of July is the annual BMW Motorrad Days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It's the annual BMW party which lasts 3 days, free camping with entertainment, bikes and around 35-40,000 visitors. And it's in the Alps (southern Germany, below Munich).

    If you plan on doing Holland, give me a shout. I have a couple of nice routes through the most beautiful places in the country. I'm not a tourguide so I won't show you around the tourist traps, but I can show you nice roads. We don't have hills, but I happen to live very near 'windmill country' (Kinderdijk, world heritage I believe) which is nice to see and a lot of nice scenery. No twisties like the Alps however...but some nice small backroads which show the unique landscapes of the Low Lands...
    -=- if you always see the road ahead of you, it's not worth the trip -=-

  14. #14
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    I just returned from the Ultimate Alps Tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel. 8 days of riding the Alps in Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Germany. I have all of "Route 2" on my GPS as I mapped it out before the ride and rode it with another buddy instead of the group. If you would like me to email you the gpx files, let me know. You simply cannot beat the Alps. World class riding everywhere especially the Dolomites, and this comes from someone who lives in California and rides Highway 1 and the Sierras regularly.

  15. #15
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcasscles View Post
    For years we've talked about putting together a riding trip around at least some portion of Europe. We are now seriously talking about scheduling the ride for spring 2012.
    How many weeks will you be there? Europe may be small, but there is so much to see and you can easily spend two weeks in a very small area and not see it all. It all depends on what you expect to get out of the tour; see a lot in less detail, or concentrate on a zone and take it in. Chances are you'll be back for more; my friend who I was tour guide to in 2010, came in 2011 and is coming again in 2012.

    Spring? Which end of spring; March or June? If you plan on the Alps, I would not go any earlier than mid-May and that depends on the winter they've had.

    Quote Originally Posted by jcasscles View Post
    Suggestions or insight on where to rent a ride from to ideas on how to make the most of our trip would be greatly appreciated.
    Rentals? Google motorcycle rentals in Europe. You are best off getting a rental from a dealer; most others do not actually own any motorcycles and get them through dealers...for more money.

    As for ideas, determine what areas you will tour and buy maps well in advance before you get there. If you will be riding with your friend for the entire tour, then all you have to do is follow.

    See my Alps how-to link below for info on maps.

    Next summer will be my 18the year in a row touring Europe and the Alps. The riding is so good that I haven't bothered riding my local motorcycle the last two years.

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