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Discussion Starter #1
Have decided to begin planning a trip to Europe for July 2011 and I'm looking for advise. Route will probably be Munich to Barcelona, at least two weeks long. I'll be riding two up with my bride. Options are:
1. Tour company all the way...
2. Rent a bike and plan my own route
3. Ship my bike and plan my own route

I currently ride an 08 GT. And would rent the same. I HAVE to ride the Autobahn if for only an hour! Want vast majority to be in the mountains. As long as it's paved, I'll ride it... I'm over 50 and have had my share of camping in a tent... 6-7 hours a day in the saddle are about right for us. Prefer secondary roads.

I've "heard" you can ship your bike and fly on the same plane and numerous other tales, but all second hand. I'm looking for advice from those that have "dun it"!

Thanks!
 

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GunnerT... I've rented overseas often, typically following a business trip and having permission from the bride to stay over :). Instead of hiring a tour company I save major $$$ and have the flexibility to go where I want, when I want. It isn't hard. It also isn't hard to know where to go, what to see. Sometimes I stay in a different place every night, sometimes I make a place gound zero and go different directions every day, not having to haul all the gear or find a hotel every night. Here's one of the trips )Swiss/Italian Alps)...

http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthread.php?t=11890

With your departure not until '11, you have time to consider your options. Would note this, with a companion I might be more interested or willing to consider connecting with a tour group. I'm less picky when I'm on my own, and a bride might like a little more pampering, social options, and seeing the sights. Guess it depends on the "bride" :)
 

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I've been all over west GE, its real nice.

But..having been all over Saxony county (?) or region, whatever its called, in East GE, you would be missing a lot if you didn't consider checking out some towns there and the roads/countryside is real nice.

I like Meissen a lot, where 'white gold' was concocted by a german a 1000 yrs ago (the chinese had it first and wouldn't give up the secret). They invented the first trademark that you still see today on the stuff they make, ie, crossed swords.

Lots of cool castles, one of which has an unbelievable motorcycle museum in it (between Leipzig and Frankfort somewhere).

good luck in your travels.
 

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I have heard of many people shipping their bikes in/out of Canada but not many from from the states. Not sure why. I just did 2 weeks in Germany,France,Switzerland, Italy,and Austria. My brother and I did a last minute deal and rented bikes in Munich. The new 650 GS'S and I thought it was a perfect bike for the tour. (My normal ride is a 2007 GT) I brought my gps and paid 180 bucks for the European maps for my garmin. We had no plan other than staying up in the mountains and riding twisties. Hotels on the fly were no problem at all. We did a lot of the same passes as Steve did. His videos were great but no video could capture the incredible experience. The GT is a big bike for the alps but very doable. I saw a couple of Harley dudes and they were hurting. So many tight turns and lower speeds than you are accustomed to here in the States. The roads and people were first class all the way. Food and beer too! I could get you some more info i you like. Two weeks to do
Munich to Barcelona and back would be a stretch. I normally average 500-1000 miles a day here in the western USA, We averaged 200-300 in Europe. The Autobahn was great or making time and the experience of it. But the Alpine roads and towns are the only way to go.
 

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Hi,

Make SURE you check out Viaden, in Luxemborg (the country). It is a nice wee town, with the best biking roads in, and out of it I have ever seen. A European biking mecca. The roads are better condition than most race tracks, the cops friendly, and the corners just awesome.

It's "in the middle", so if you do your trip there is no excuse... :D
 

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For me and the Mrs it was a tour company, Edelweiss. When I'm on vacation now I want to relax and not end or start my day deciding where I'm going, stopping, staying, messing with loading the bike, etc. These guys would lay everything out for us. We could ride with a group or go our own way and meet up at the end of the day at the hotel. Nothing more stressful than what to drink and order to eat. It isn't the cheapest way to travel if that is a consideration. We are thinking about doing a tour of Spain later this year if all goes well. :)

Oh, I did live in Germany for a couple of years in a different life and have done the spontaneous travel thing in my trusty Audi. Lots to be said about just hitting the road and going. You'll have a great time when you go.
 

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Europe

I actually am in the early stages of planning a rent/ride of Europe . The length of 2 weeks.
Sanjaun2 where did you rent the 650 in Munich?
Anyone have a suggestion for time to go?
I am considering last wk of Aug/1st week of Sept.
I would like to camp but at this point I haven't finalized that.
You know hauling all the gear from US to Europe might be more trouble than worth.

Thanks
Billy B.
 

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Billy_B57 said:
You know hauling all the gear from US to Europe might be more trouble than worth.
Check out your local Cycle Gear store. They have some large carry-all cases for air travel that have rollers and a handle. I think they have a 9900 cubic inch Olgia (sp?) bag for about $200 or less on sale. Stores helmet (it's padded and waterproof internally too), jacket, pants, boots and a lot of other junk. Just leave it at the rental place until you return. Looks like a small hand-truck in size (mine's in front of me now).

Mack
 

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europe

Thanks Mack the bag is OGIO MX 9900 and looks to be THE REAL Deal.
Weight of 15 lbs is a concern just due to the fact airlines will charge me a fee for weight when it is full of Bmer stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thanks for all the posts. Please keep them coming. I posted here at to the MOA forum. Based on responses I've all but given up on trying to do Germany - Spain. And I'm STRONGLE leaning towards renting a bike and planning my own trip. I agree with a tour company would be a lot easier, but the "barefoot style" better suits us.

Vast majority of comments advise to rent a bike a plan my own trip. After grunching the numbers, if I do my own thing it will move the trip up a year. I'm really getting excited about doing this trip. My best friend and his wife may even join us on the trip.

My wife things 10 days riding would be plenty (12 days total).

How did the maps for the Garmin work out? I have a Zumo.
 

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Billy_B57 said:
I actually am in the early stages of planning a rent/ride of Europe . The length of 2 weeks.
Sanjaun2 where did you rent the 650 in Munich?
Anyone have a suggestion for time to go?
I am considering last wk of Aug/1st week of Sept.
I would like to camp but at this point I haven't finalized that.
You know hauling all the gear from US to Europe might be more trouble than worth.

Thanks
Billy B.
Billy,
I used a rental outfit called Motogreek. WWW.motogreek.com They are on the south side of Munich, Just where you want to start off for the Alps. They were superb to deal with and had no surprises. They also had a least one GT for rent also. I was very happy with the 650 GS though. I would recommend touring during the 2nd to 4th week in Sept. Most of the tourists with kids are gone and finding hotels are a breeze. With the exception of Munich during Octoberfest! I found that the best experience and cheaper hotels were up in the alps themselves. We never had to look long at all for a suitable room. Usually within a half hours ride from when we decided to start looking for a room. We thought about camping as well but carrying all the necessary gear put an end to that. I am glad we didn't camp. Hanging out in an alpine cafe having a couple of cold brews with the local riders were one of the highlights of the trip. Excellent source of info for tomorrows riding also. We met really cool people from all over the world, and not one bad apple. In Sept the mornings are a bit cool, We would ride out around 9am or so and then the weather would be fine all day. I brought all my own riding gear and left the empty suitcases at motogreek when I picked up the bike. I even brought my heated jacket and wired it up in the motogreek lobby. (They supplied the tools and most of the labor free of charge!)
 

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europe

Brian thanks for the information. I may contact you at a later date.
I have delayed this trip 2 times (07&08) due to employment , if all goes well I will make it in 09.
Billy
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the info on Motogreek. My time frame is pretty limited. Wife works in the public school system... Late June/early July.
Question, for those that have toured the Alps two up, what did you rent? + and -?
 

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Slowflyn,
I've done a bunch of the Edelweis tours, and enjoyed most of them. But if you are considering the "Royal Spanish Castle" tour, talk to me first.
Don Goldberg
 

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If I were to tour the Alps two up and wanted to rent a BMW, I would go with a GT or RT and in that order.
 

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When the wife and I did the Alps tour we were 2 up on a 1200RT. Riding the RT had me doing a lot of 2nd and 3rd gear and banging into the rev limiter frequently, both up and down hill. ;) That was not a problem for me and I wouldn't hesitate to use a RT again. If you don't like wringing everything out of a bike when riding, a GT might be a better option.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
You guys are making feel better about wanting to rent a GT vice a GS/RS. I've posted the same topic in the BMWMOA forum and almost all are saying at GT is way too much bike for the Alps.
I'd like to hear more from others with experience two up in the Alps. We are looking to do 5-6 hours a day, for about 8 days on the bike.
Thanks to all for the comments wrt to going through a touring company. But I'm pretty sure I'll go the "rent my own....route".
 

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GunnerT said:
You guys are making feel better about wanting to rent a GT vice a GS/RS. I've posted the same topic in the BMWMOA forum and almost all are saying at GT is way too much bike for the Alps.
I'd like to hear more from others with experience two up in the Alps. We are looking to do 5-6 hours a day, for about 8 days on the bike.
Thanks to all for the comments wrt to going through a touring company. But I'm pretty sure I'll go the "rent my own....route".
I kinda agree with the BMWMOA guys, The GT is a little big and heavy for the Alps. But the smaller bikes are not as comfortable for your passenger. Its all a compromise. The GT is comfortable for both of you and your familiar with it, So I would go with the GT. Some of the switchbacks are very tight and will get your attention for sure.
 

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I did the Alps, Dolomiti and Schwarzwald on my GT'06 / both solo and 2-up/ and did not notice the bike was "too much" for it. Saw some HD ElectraGlides there and GoldWings.:)
The Garmin maps are OK - I use BMW Navi III - very comfy and detailed. Did not go off-road though.
Enjoy your ride !
 

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Nice to hear about your trip. I have done several trips in the last 10 years and I can also confirm that riding in Europe is fantastic and riding in /france is the best as the drivers are excellent.

I would like to suggest a great web site that lets you know where the best roads are along the route you are planning.

The web site is www.bestbikingroads.com

A great site that we use all the time for planning our trips as we only go where its very very twisty.

Good luck on your trip and hope you have an excellent time.

Peter K1200S
 
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