I’m in the early stages of planning a highland tour on a motorbike which will include - obviously - some SOTA activity. I am looking into the prospect of buying an ‘adventure’ bike.
I know you lot are a resourceful bunch, and are a whole more worldy than myself, so I ask for any advice you may have.
Having watched some adventure tours on YouTube covering various countries and off-road trails there are definitely opportunities to combine the two, but my sole bike for 23 years is a 1999 R1 so I know very little about such things. It may be I ride the bike on the roads, camp, and walk the hills entirely separately.
Thanks in advance!
I am fairly new to SOTA but have managed two activations this summer by bike (triumph ST955) as day trips. I have previously done runs throughout the Highlands and Islands with a group of bikes (Old Gits on Tour). We have tended to stay in Bunkhouses and Hostels, it avoids having to carry a tent but sometimes need a sleeping bag. I am planning some trips up North myself next year with the SOTA gear. Previously I have just taken a receiver for SWL and weather satellite reception. If you would like some info on bunkhouses and hostels PM me (email from QRZ).
Hope this helps.
Hi Mark, There are (unfortunately) no green lanes in Scotland, so there are limited opportunities to use your bike on tracks and trails. I still see plenty of adventure bikers on the “snow Road” route which isn’t too far from my home. They’re mainly BMW 1200GS with hard luggage. You have to look the part, after all!
I forgot to add that we go to some length’s to avoid the A9 between Perth and Inverness !
I’ve never had a motorbike but having watched that ionic film Electra Glide in Blue (back in 1973) I’ve always fancied that Harley-Davidson for touring.
Plenty of storage space to stow SOTA gear.
DEET resistant wet weather gear?
Ignoring motorbikes for the moment, for those who have activated the Scottish Highlands, or camped there, what is the best time of year to avoid the friendly locals?
I’ve never had a problem with midges at Easter, but have met snow instead! …and Ticks….
We stayed in a couple during our NC500 tour this year. A good experience that I would happily repeat. The staff at Inchnadamph were particularly friendly.
take the bike if you can i regret not taking a rig on a trip from texas to alaska
KC5BG Mike 35 days 8000 miles
Regarding bikes, the Royal Enfield Himalayan Scram seems a popular, relatively cheap, capable touring bike. Although nowhere near the horsepower of most of the adventure bikes on the market at the moment. Personally I would go for the new Triumph Tiger 1200
Check out https://www.youtube.com/@TheMissendenFlyer he does lots of good reviews including touring bikes.
Looking forward to hear how you get on.
Thanks everyone. It’s worth pointing out for those who don’t know, Sjaak Lucassen rode an R1 pretty much around the world between 2001-2006, the same model I have, so I don’t really have an excuse not to use it (apart from being a grumpy, creaky old git).
Know what you mean - I was running a 98 Blackbird but advancing years meant I needed an easier riding position. I looked at the “adventure” options but they all weighed more than the 'Bird !
So I modded it - flat bars, higher screen, gel seat, 25mm lower footrests - that kept me going for another 4 years, but I have finally renounced bikes this year and sold both it and my VFR400
I did a couple of bike activations but the problem for me was - as always on the bike - switching from bike kit to hill walking kit and having somewhere safe to stash the leftover bits …
Mark, You should be midge free between September and the end of May. West is worst, north west can be evil. Cairngorms not so bad.
Maybe something like that… Activation of SV/MC-002 Profitis Ilias on island of Thassos during vacation. Rented, of course. Sota gear in rucksack.
Here’s a photo of my ST955 at the foot of GM/NS-082 just before I activated it yesterday. I’m on a tour of some GM/NS summits this week. It’s been dry so far apart from last night when I got wet on the descent.
Hi Mark, from the sounds of it more a case of getting around to the summit access points rather than getting the bike up the summits themselves? If so, would have thought pretty much any touring bike would be suitable although an adventure bike would be handier in small muddy lane ways or on poor roads (and a damn sight easier to pick up if you drop it).
In VK3 I have ridden up a number of the summits on bikes (pre SOTA dangit), but unfortunately here in nanny state VK1 there is minimal opportunity to do so (the majority of places are locked off preventing access). Besides, my XR400 is no longer road registered and needs a bit of work on the frame (too much riding in salt water and on beaches when I was living in Darwin) before I would want to take it too far afield.
Many years ago, Torridon in August was sheer hell due to the flying teeth…
Good luck, 73 John
You can hear them sharpening their teeth in Torridon, the most vicious I’ve ever experienced.
Got to keep your speed up ! Honest officer.
I’d almost forgotten I’d posted this, and then we have a sudden burst of activity.
Thank you very much.
Having watched youtube videos all winter, and when the opportunity presented itself I dropped all the bonus money I’d hived off from my last redundancy situation on an 18 month old BMW Motorad R-1250GS Adventure.
It took me about 4 weeks to get used to the size of the bike over what now seems like the toy that is the R1. Since March I’ve put about 2.5K miles on it. I bought Alex my wife a whole new biking outfit (her kit like my original kit being best part of 20 years old) and she has slowly become a convert.
Here’s a photo of it today having ridden to Roa Island from Windermere for the SOS Lifeboats special event station that FARS were putting on:
Some folk will have noticed that I’ve posted already about using this bike and the ATAS-120A mounted on it for some long distance 15m activity to New Zealand last week.
It took me a long time to really start enjoying the bike, but I’m sold now. Will be looking to make use of it in Autumn for some touring into Northern Scotland taking in some SOTA summits.
I had a pre-covid plan of getting up to the Shetland Islands and I’d still very much like to do that, but in somewhat more comfort now!