Christmas is close and we too have a present for you. Our first long-form challenge and this will be the first of four episodes. We’ll start with the preparation.
I have a couple of friends who would never go on a motorcycle trip with another bike but the BMW GS and the best gear. I’m sure you know that kind of person. Of course, I’ll admit that the big beamer is the best when it comes to long distance travels. The problem is that it is not really what you call “cheap.” We at Gasolirium are convinced that you can have that adventure feeling for much less
Thus, we would like to welcome you to the “Cheap Trip Challenge”.
We were on a budget, so we immediately excluded fancy or expensive places. So Italy and Sweden were out. Going east was the most reasonable idea. So we decided to explore the eastern countries like Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
The route we had in mind starts from Berlin, crossing Poland stopping in Wroclaw and Krakow, then heading to the Tatra Mountains also known as the Slovakian Paradise. Finally, reaching Brno and Prague, which is the last stop of our journey. More than 2,000 km in a week. There was just one problem with all that. We had to find a bike that could do the job.
To go through this challenge we couldn’t spend €20,000 on a big new adventure bike. And this is because our budget was a bit smaller than that. Actually a lot smaller, it was tiny. A thousand euros to be precise. Obviously, we wanted the best equipment we could get for our money. Not too old and not with a ridiculous mileage.
The Hyosung GT 650
We looked around and we were desperate. Until we found the Hyosung GT 650 Comet. It fitted our budget and we decided to give the Korean bike a try. It has a 650cc V-twin-engine that develops 80 HP along with a great voice. The look is sporty enough to make you look cool. The big brakes and the upside-down fork lets it look still modern. While Hyosung built the whole bike, they took the engine from the Suzuki SV650, which made me feel very confident, at least about the engine. For €1,000 we even got a new set of brake pads, and we were good to go. Well, almost…
The BMW R 1100 GS
Meanwhile, Martin will ride our BMW 1100 GS we tested earlier this year. It’s twice as old as the GT 650, has three times the mileage, and it still costs four times as much. This sounds like a bad deal. I know the BMW pretty well and although I know it’s one of the best adventure bikes ever made, I think it’s unnecessary here. Yes, it will take you to Timbuktu and back, but you don’t need it on such an easy tour at this. It’s like going to work driving a tank because you’re scared of tissue sellers at the traffic light.
Not really an encouraging start
During the first week, standing at the traffic light, the Hyosung started to leak gas. Actually “pouring” is the right word. In that moment Martin was on the Hyosung and I on the BMW. Martin looked at me with big wide eyes like he couldn’t believe what was happening.
“Let’s go to the workshop” I said, trying to sound as normal as possible.
“Is there the possibility that it’ll burst into flames on the way?” he asked in an emotionless tone.
“No… No…” then I had a second thought “Well, yes. There might be a possibility…” I was trying to sound as reassuring as possible.
He got suspicious when I started to gain some safety distance from him on the way to the workshop. He was riding like he was sitting on a time bomb. But eventually, we got there and inspected everything. We cleaned the carburetors, changed the gas pipes (which were the cause of the leak), the brake pads, motor oil and bled the brakes.
After a day of work, we were able to stop the leak and the Hyosung was running smoothly once again. The 650cc V-twin engine sounds full and for its size, and it’s also pretty torquey. It has 80 HP and despite the fact that it’s a cheap bike, it doesn’t feel like a toy. At this point, I started to really like it and I couldn’t wait to set off on this new adventure.