Another new bike?! When I started my ride around the world, I didn't think I would buy motorcycle number 5 within three years. I have to admit, motorcycles are my biggest passion so getting to know different motorcycles isn't quite a punishment. But still, if it wasn't for the worldwide pandemic, that made me change plans and improvise all the time, I would probably still be riding on motorcycle number 2.
My choice for my latest motorcycle is largely determined by my experiences with different bikes in the previous years and better knowing what I want. And what I want is simple. A low budget, lightweight, small capacity motorcycle, that is easy to handle on rough terrain on my own, that requires minimal maintenance and that is crazy reliable. These requirements pretty much immediately rule out the two bikes that I currently have in The Netherlands: Royal Enfield Himalayan "Dhanno" and Honda CB500x "Ronin".
In case you missed it, Dhanno, who got stranded with me in Peru, has returned to The Netherlands. It took a painful 8 months to evacuate the bike out of Peru, after I had to flee the country due to Covid-19. She finally returned back alone by cargo ship. When I unpacked her at the port in Rotterdam, it soon became clear that this bike wasn't going anywhere anymore. Eight months in a humid parking garage in Lima, Peru, with filthy petrol in the tank, and some not-so-good crating/transport, pretty much killed this motorcycle.
And how about Ronin, the Honda CB500x, my other motorcycle in The Netherlands? After my adventures in Europe, I was planning to take Ronin back to South America. I even did an entire Rally Raid suspension upgrade on the bike, to make it more offroad suitable. Ronin was basically just waiting for me to go on a new adventure.
And yet, I am not taking Ronin with me on my next adventure. My recent experience with my Honda CRF250L Savannah in Southern Africa made something crystal clear to me. I don't necessarily need a powerful bike, I need a light bike.
Once I returned back from Africa to The Netherlands and got out on Ronin again, all I could think was: “What a heavy, awkward beast.” Great for riding tarmac or light gravel roads around Europe, but not so great for hectic off-roading.
So what then? Fixing up Dhanno? Although the Himalayan only has 24.5 horsepower, it weighs almost 200 kilograms. It is incredibly heavy for a small capacity bike. And well, after experiencing the light and nimble CRF250L, there was simply no way I was going to lug around such a heavy bike ever again.
When I was in South Africa, I had the pleasure to borrow some KTMs from fellow riders. I rode a KTM EXC 450, a KTM EXC 500 and a KTM 790 adventure. I have to admit, I love the sight of these KTMs. Truth to be told, they are some very pretty motorcycles. But....the height is an issue for me as a vertically challenged rider. I suppose you can do things (to the bike that is) to fix that issue, but the 790 adventure I found still too heavy in weight to my liking.
The EXC 450 and 500 are just feather light. They weigh less than 120 kilograms! Perfect. However, there are two big 'howevers', the service intervals are killing for these rally oriented bikes and the reliability is also still an issue for KTM. Over the years, I've just heard too many riders struggling with electrical problems and since I am no mechanic and like to ride in very remote areas alone, these bikes are not the most suitable ones for me. Two of my main requirement boxes, minimal maintenance and reliability, are not ticked by these KTM’s.
My experiences with the very reliable Ronin and Savannah, made me look at a Honda once again. And within the small capacity, light, single cylinder, budget, off-road motorcycles, there is only one option available: the new CRF300 Rally. You could consider it a new and improved version of Savannah. It has all the things I loved about the CRF250L, but has a bigger fuel tank (very important!), some wind protection and a little more horsepower (4 HP more).
I said I was looking for a budget bike, and since the CRF300 is definitely Honda’s budget adventure bike, you can tell there was some compromising on the quality of the suspension for example. It basically comes with a cheap shock. I might upgrade the suspension in the future, especially if I want to compete in another rally, but for now, I will leave the bike with the OEM suspension. A combination of limited time to do upgrades and the money involved in it, made me decide to leave her as she is.
I made a few other small upgrades on the motorcycle which I will show and explain in the next video on YouTube, so if you are interested in seeing that, stay tuned on the channel. For now, it's time to get ready, get geared up and start clocking kilometers with my new best friend!
I'm a newbie here and also to motorcycles world, hence my question: which affordable motorcycle you'd recommend for a 1st timer 1,72m tall rider for travelling from South of Brazil to Cartagena, Colombia? Many internet's comments on RE Himalayan fragility on the lonng run, but I understand you travelled 36K KM on one on your 1st adv (any motor or frame/subframe issue? If not, do you think it was your luck or the bike's toughness?)
I do appreciate your time to answering it! Thank you so much!!!
Hey Noraly you might be interested in the foam air filter from Unifilter for Alaska, available now world wide Aussie, America, Europe. Here is MAD (Motorcycle Adventure Dirtbike) fitting the foam air filter to the Honda CRF 300 R - https://youtu.be/Tovt7S-fBMo
MAD did a series of episodes on the other mods they made to the CRF 300 R in July 2022 suspension, bash plate, muffler etc.
I enjoy your channel lots! Keep up the good work. Safe riding :)
So could you share your pros and cons about Alaska now that you have plenty of time and miles in the saddle.
I'm considering buying my own Alaska because my 2021 Klx230 is having dash speedometer issues. It has stopped working at least 4 times and it's not even a year old..
Hi Metamorphosis, there are many other YouTube channels that do great reviews on bikes. I prefer to focus on travel and adventure in my videos and blogs, that is what I like to do the most. :-) Best, Noraly
I got up this Morning on March 17th, 2022 and by 8 AM Pacific Time You had 1 million subscribers congratulations! In the states it is St. Patrick's Day, a lucky day where people have to wear green or they get pinched, and people go out and drink Green Beer. Hey, maybe they adopted this Holiday from Holland? I hear they drink a lot of Beer over there?
I have never owned a bike in my life but even at 66 you make me kind of want one, I guess I am now an enthusiast. I admire the success you have made out of your life with all the trave and bike blogs and vlogs...
You know you are gaining a reputation and such valuable experience/knowledge that even when you get old like me and decide you had enough you could start a motorcycle school in the Netherlands with your reputation you are sure to be a success there too...you got it made for the rest of your life, just don't get hurt.
Merry Christmas Noraly, ride safe
I know it is paved, but Pacific Coast Highway through California and beyond is a unique and beautiful ride.
I have been watching the new season and your riding skills, technique and tenacity are simply amazing 👏! Your personal journey and growth as a motorcyclist is inspirational. Alaska was a perfect choice and suits you perfectly on this trip.
A new season for you and FRESH inspiration for me and everyone who follows you. I look forward to each new episode through the Americas. Please be safe and know that you are surrounded by kind people who will support you.
Well experience wise you know what you really want. I have a similar experience and that is riding a loop around Mindanao Island. For two years I planned this ride alone and bringing only my son. And so we did ride on that early morning of April 2021. And because of the pandemic, the checkpoints then were very strict. And so at the last control point of Zamboanga city, we were held there for more than an hour and it was already 6 pm. And it was getting so dark. We met an accident on one of the curves and we literally flew off the ground. Fortunately we had only bruises and scratches. We slept in Zamboanga and excitedly went on the next day. We were so confident because the road on the west of the peninsula was concreted but lo and behold, on the middle part of the journey the road was rutted, potholed and full of big rocks. And so from then on I crashed 24 times. It so happened that the locals were so helpful and they even shared their lunch with us. And then came the realization when they asked us if it was our first time to pass this road and why did we bring a 300-kg motorcycle with us. We could have brought an underbone or a scooter. And so now I know that powerful and heavy bikes can never be used in this kind of road. I literally made my cruiser bike into an off-road bike. And though I and my son enjoyed the views, we finished our journey in three weeks and we had travelled 3000 kilometers, a very short ride compared to you.