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Euro Touring Too Expensive? Think Again!


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#1 Just Passing Thru

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 05:15 PM

Beemerdons led me to this forum...so blame him. biggrin.gif

I'm sure some/many of you have seen the following post on another forum, but this is for those loyal to a single forum that haven't come across it. It has also been updated recently.

Updated: January 31, 2010

Alps Motorcycle Tours, Priced Right.

For those that think the only way to go, is on an organized motorcycle tour, no need to stop by; move right along.

But this is for those that would love to go after reading all those tour reports on web sites or in the magazines, but have a heart attack the minute they see what those tours cost. Almost six thousand dollars for two weeks plus airfare and extras not covered would give me a heart attack as well. If you think that is reasonable, like I said, move right along.

What if I told you it can be done for anywhere between a third to half the cost, and the latter would be splurging? Of course, you will always get arguments from those that say the tour is not on the same level with respect to accomodations and meals. Maybe, but I have never been uncomfortable and I am damn picky about where I stay, and I like my food and drink. Besides, I am there to ride and to enjoy the roads, scenery, food and drink and mingle with the natives. If my room does not have satellite TV or if the hotel does not have a hot tub, it certainly does not take away from the riding experience.

So lets get started.

First, currency rates change by the minute, so you are best off using the Universal Currency Converter for up to date rates.

Airfare is always extra, be it on a self-guided tour or on an organized tour. It costs what it costs which varies a bit with the time of year and the location you are flying from.

Motorcycle rental is best secured from a rental company and not from a tour operator as tour operators do not own their own bikes and use a rental company just as you would, with the exception of tacking on their extra fee; money out of your pocket.

The insurance deposit of up to US$3000 is required either way you go; self-guided or organized. Some rental companies give you the option of additional coverage for an extra fee. The deposit is refunded upon return of an undamaged motorcycle.

I would look for a rental company that includes unlimited mileage. Some have two options, for example 200 km per day or 2500 km per week at one rate and unlimited mileage at another rate. Keep in mind, a 250 to 350 kilometer day is a standard day on the backroads of the Alps; 400 kilometers and above makes for a very long day. Remember, most riders stop for photos ops and chats with other riders atop the passes.

Gas is not covered by any organized tour operator, so you are paying either way you go. The cost per liter varies from country to country and generally costs more on the autobahns and autostradas. In June of 2008, gas per liter ran me between €1.206 for Super 95 in Slovenia to €1.709 for Super 100 in Germany. Super 95 is the lowest grade available and some stations have phased it out in favor of Super Plus 98.

Accomodations based on what I have paid over the years ranged from €17 to €54 per night with a breakfast that in most cases can hold you over till dinner. The rates vary depending on the region. Austria is generally the cheapest with Süd Tirol (the Dolomites) usually between €25 and €40, the latter including dinner as well. I have stayed in some pretty fancy modern hotels, you know the type, with automatic sliding glass doors as you enter where I am saying, OMG, this is going to be expensive, only to find out the room rate is €35 with a big breakfast. France and Switzerland tends to be a bit more expensive. Except during the transistion to the Euro where businesses took advantage of the consumer, I haven't found room rates to change all that much since I first went over in 1995.

If your room rate does not include dinner and normally it does not unless you choose that option (halb pension), dinner with usually run above €10 (pizza and a beer), obviously more if you choose to go all out, but I have found that I can get by very well on under €20 (Wiener schnitzel with potatoes/vegetables, a couple of beers and dessert).

So lets crunch some numbers and take a two week tour. The costs are based on a solo rider riding a BMW R1200 GS, staying in a private room with private washroom including breakfast and dinner.

One organized tour company prices their 2 week tour which includes: 14 night accomodation (13 riding days), all breakfasts and some dinners. Cost: US$6150 based on a solo rider on an R1200 GS in a private room.

So what can you do that for?

14 nights at €50/night = €700. BTW, I chose to go high for those who say you cannot find anything at €40. That rate almost always includes dinner as well as the usual breakfast.

2 weeks motorcycle rental from Allround Motorradvermietung in Frankfurt on a R1200 GS costs €1480 and includes 5000 kilometers (Jan 2010 rate).

OK, so what are we up to? €2180 and based on a Jan '09 exchange rate, that works out to US$3020, a far cry from US$6150. So you want to live it up, tack on another €20 per night or US$388 for 2 weeks. You are still a long way under the half cost scenario. Oh, there will be other minor expenses such as transportation between the airport and the rental company, a few maps, but that is about it.

To summarize, you can go on an all-inclusive self-guided Alps tour (airfare, gas and all imaginable extras) for far less than the cost of an organized tour. Still dreaming? Move right along...and head on over.

Where To Stay - Motorcycle Friendly Accomodations

Here is a listing of motorcycle friendly accomodations.

Tourenfahrer Partnerhaus

Motorrad Freizeit Motorradfreunliche Unterkünfte Motorrad Freizeit Motorcycle Friendly Accomodations.

Biker Hotel Guide There are hundreds to choose from, so I think anybody that is going is well set.

By the way, Tourenfahrer and Motorrad Freizeit are German motorcycle magazines similar to RoadRUNNER in the US.

Updated: December 30, 2009

Time for a one-stop listing of maps, but first, a bit of background on what to look for in maps.

Feel free to add your suggestions...with links to the maps if possible.

Scale:
For overall planning over greater distances, scales of 1:300 000 to 1:1 000 000 work well. Which end of that scale you pick will depend on how much detail you are looking for.

For localized touring and meandering, scales of 1:250 000 or better are the ones to go with. How much detail you are looking for will then depend on how many maps you want to pack. I find 1:200 000 ideal. For some areas where I explore, I'll use 1:50 000, but they cover quite small areas and you would need to pack a couple of suitcases to cover all of Europe.

Features:
Different map producers have different looks to their maps and that is a matter of personal preference. I prefer the Freytag & Berndt series of maps. They also make the highly detailed hiking/bicycling maps that I use. Michelin maps are my second choice.

So which maps?

For motorcycle route suggestions, the ADAC has a series of FREE maps that you can download. Read on...

Free downloads of the ADAC Motorradtouren MR 1 to MR 15 map sets.

The ADAC Motorradtouren maps aren't meant to replace highly detailed road maps, but are meant to provide tour suggestions.

The maps are also available at ADAC offices in Germany. The ADAC is the German auto club similar to the CAA in Canada, the AAA in the US and the AA or RAC in the UK.

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These Freytag & Berndt series of maps for motorcyclists have a scale of 1:200 000 (just right for motorcycle touring), are plastic coated and come in a binder so that each can be removed for tank bag use. You'll be impressed with the detail and quality. Each map binder costs €29.95.

Freytag & Berndt Motorradatlas Süddeutschland-Westösterreich-Oberitalien: Southern Germany-Western Austria-Upper Italy.

Freytag & Berndt Motorradatlas Österreich-Venetien-Istrien-Slowenien: Austria-Venice-Istria-Slovenia.

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Motorrad Reisekarten are similar to the F&B maps in the binders, except at a scale of 1:300 000, they lack a bit in detail. They're available from Louis and Polo.
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Motorrad Powerkarten are boxed map sets for various regions at a scale of 1:250 000. They're available from Louis and Polo.

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Die MOTORRAD General Karte are a series of 20 maps of Germany at a scale of 1:200 000. Of particular interest to Alps riders will be maps 18, 19 and 20 along the Austrian-German border. Recently introduced are a series of 5 maps of Austria including Süd Tirol (South Tirol) 5 maps of Austria including Süd Tirol (South Tirol) at a scale of 1:200 000. Included are listings of camping sites, accomodations, motorcycle shops listed by make, etc. They are coated and resistant to rain and tearing. Available at motorcycle shops in Europe.

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MOTORRAD Tourenplaner is a map set on CD similar to Microsoft Streets & Trips, but specifically for motorcycling in Europe. It plans routes, shows where services are, is GPS compatable, etc. The current product goes for €39.95, but last years version goes for €9.95 in motorcycle shops such as LOUIS (where I buy my copy).

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Hein Gericke, Louis and Polo are a chain of motorcycle accessory stores, primarily in Germany, but also in some neighboring countries.

#2 Just Passing Thru

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 05:19 PM

Anyone wishing to see replies and information submitted by others to the above on the originating forum, clicky...

Alps Motorcycle Tours - Priced Right on STN

#3 camera56

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 05:22 PM

Wow. I'm really sorry i saw this.
Read my blog at www.midliferider.com
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#4 FJRPierre

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 07:34 PM

I knew that you were eyeing my FJR Alex. rolleyes.gif Stick around guy and we'll set you up with a nice 08 cheap(er than those BMWs you smoke!)


Pierre

#5 wheatonFJR

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 07:40 PM

Thanks for the info... clapping.gif clapping.gif

Wheaton, SC


#6 Just Passing Thru

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 04:40 AM

QUOTE (FJRPierre @ Dec 27 2007, 10:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I knew that you were eyeing my FJR Alex.


Actually Pierre, I was eyeing Yolande's FJR because its the one I saw most recently. Talk about a great deal she got on her used FJR; nothing on the odometer, factory Yamaha top case...mint and bright silver.

BTW, I prefer the upright seating position of my bikes for my riding style.

Anyways, see you in Italy next June? Are you still thinking about it?


#7 Just Passing Thru

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 12:12 PM

Info and links were recently updated.

Some of the links going to maps take you to my SmugMug site where map covers are shown.

See you in the Alps for a whole 6 weeks this year...also my 16th year in a row! yahoo.gif







#8 beemerdons

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 03:40 PM

Alex-Global Rider: You're definitely "THE MAN" when it comes to Euro touring. When I plan my Euro riding trips, I always double check my itinerary with your advice!

#9 ShinyPartsUp

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 04:30 PM

Wow. Maybe 2011... Don Stanley already spent all my money for this year.


The only difference between intelligence and stupidity is that genius has it's limits.

#10 Just Passing Thru

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 09:14 AM

QUOTE (beemerdons @ Jan 31 2010, 06:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Alex-Global Rider: You're definitely "THE MAN" when it comes to Euro touring. When I plan my Euro riding trips, I always double check my itinerary with your advice!


Well Don, as long as you don't start blaming me for spending your money for you. Its hard to give up riding Europe and the Alps, isn't it? wink.gif

I'll be shipping another motorcycle over to replace the one that was written off during my 2009 tour. One less motorcycle in my garage taking me down to three over here. I had to make room for a new four-wheeled toy. yahoo.gif

I also have a long time friend and his wife coming along for their first time riding the Alps. They are renting a Honda CBF 1000 which is also the same model that they bought here last summer after a long absence from motorcycling. I get to play tour guide for a couple of weeks.

#11 BugR

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 10:30 AM

QUOTE (Just Passing Thru @ Feb 1 2010, 12:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (beemerdons @ Jan 31 2010, 06:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Alex-Global Rider: You're definitely "THE MAN" when it comes to Euro touring. When I plan my Euro riding trips, I always double check my itinerary with your advice!


Well Don, as long as you don't start blaming me for spending your money for you. Its hard to give up riding Europe and the Alps, isn't it? wink.gif

I'll be shipping another motorcycle over to replace the one that was written off during my 2009 tour. One less motorcycle in my garage taking me down to three over here. I had to make room for a new four-wheeled toy. yahoo.gif

I also have a long time friend and his wife coming along for their first time riding the Alps. They are renting a Honda CBF 1000 which is also the same model what they bought here last summer after a long lay-off from motorcycling. I get to play tour guide for a couple of weeks.


Hey Alex
That wasn't the GS which got written off I hope.
If you do get the FJR I have some of the type specific tools, I'm going to be doing my cam chain tensioner soon as well (as well as the subframe).

Oh don't forget to sign up for CFR.

Chris
EOM '05, '06, '07, WFO '05, 06, CFR 07, 08, 09, 10 (Rally Master)

#12 Just Passing Thru

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 10:58 AM

QUOTE (BugR @ Feb 1 2010, 01:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hey Alex
That wasn't the GS which got written off I hope.
If you do get the FJR I have some of the type specific tools, I'm going to be doing my cam chain tensioner soon as well (as well as the subframe).

Oh don't forget to sign up for CFR.

Chris



Hi Chris,

Yes, my 2004 BMW R1150 GS Adventure that I used in Europe was written off. I was stopped in traffic for the car ahead of me that had stopped, and some lame brain 18 year old with a 17 day old driver's licence who was yapping on his cell phone rammed me into the car in front. The back hatch and rear window of the car ahead of me was also smashed. The idiot had been following me since the gas station 1.2 kilometers back, so its not like he didn't know I was there. Also, my max speed was 35 kph as we were in town. Funny thing was, lying in the hospital I started thinking about my riding style. Well my 34 out of 35 year accident free riding style will not change since I really didn't have an accident...I was stopped for several seconds.

A few good things came of it even though my leg isn't 100% perfect yet. You have a different outlook on life and I bought a Porsche Carrera after watching The Bucket List, my 42 year dream come true. Life is short!!!

No plans for any bike as a replacement as I'm not thrilled with what any manufacturer has to offer; maybe an MV Agusta as a toy or an older mid 90s Moto Guzzi Daytona or Sport. My 2003 BMW R1150 GS Adventure is being shipped over as a replacement and I'll use my other GS or KLR 650 here. Its not like I will be missing much...you know our local roads.

What is CFR?

I'm looking forward to this summers tour since I only got a few days in last summer in Europe.

#13 beemerdons

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 11:06 AM

http://cfr.fjrrally.com/ Dear Alex, Very sorry to hear about your accident, I didn't see this over at BMW MOA Forum. Glad to hear you're better. CFR is Canadian FJR Rally being held at Mount Tremblant in Quebec. My Son Seth (13) and I'll be coming from Arizona to attend this. We really enjoy the CFR Rallies. Sincerely yours, Don

#14 Just Passing Thru

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 04:02 PM

QUOTE (beemerdons @ Feb 1 2010, 02:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
CFR is Canadian FJR Rally being held at Mount Tremblant in Quebec.


I would have met up with you, but I'll be half way through my Alps tour at that time. It looks like they are holding it over the Quebec holiday weekend.


#15 Just Passing Thru

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 04:14 PM

I might as well add a few links to on-bike videos for forum members to enjoy.

None of the videos are mine, but they are of roads that I've driven countless times and know all so well.

Rovereto to Schio, Italy on the SS46 (turn down the volume - producer didn't use a mic sock)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


Over the Kaiserjägerweg on an FJR 1300 between Levico Terme and Passo Vezzena, Italy.