New bikes

Nieuwe motorenThe wish to travel on a motorbike already existed some time, whether for a ‘short’ holiday of three weeks within Europe or a longer trip around the world. The motorbikes that we had chosen to take were a Honda Africa Twin and a Honda Transalp. One of the questions we often heared was; “Is it not too heavy?” Yes, heavy they are, but we had already chosen to go a certain direction. We had already spent so much time and money to prepare the Twin and the Alp, that we did not just want to switch bikes. That changed, especially for me, in Morocco.

Africa Twin and Transalp

Peter had bought his bike in 2008 and was enthusiastic about the history of the Africa Twin. Some models of the Africa Twin had taken part in the Dakar Rally. So it is a legendary bike, which was very beautiful at the same time. An ‘oldy’ of which we could maintain the engine ourselves (with the garage workbook next to us), without having to use a laptop to search and correct the errors.

I thought that the Africa Twin was too big and had chosen the Transalp. At the time we also looked at the Honda Dominator, but -according the the information we got- that bike used oil and needed regular oil changes. Therefore I decided to buy the Honda Transalp as my travel bike. Since 2010 we prepared the Africa Twin and the Transalp for a long trip. We added all sorts of accessories, like new shocks and springs, another saddle, crash bars, other mirrors, a luggage rack, etc.. In the end we had great travel bikes.


The trip to Morocco was a final test for the round the world trip. We packed all the gear we also wanted to take on the big trip. This would be the ultimate test to see whether gear or spare parts had to be replaced. On day 5 I had a crash. One big one and, on the same day and the days after that, several ‘minor’ crashes. I especially struggled with the sand that had been blown on the road. On difficult parts, Peter first rode his bike and than came walking back to drive my bike through the sand. The Transalp, or at least the bodywork, fell to pieces and was kept together by gaffer tape and cable ties. The engine was purring as it had been, so we did finish the entire trip. However my confidence in the Transalp and my own driving skills had dropped drastically. Each morning I hesitated to get back on the bike and I thought about cancelling our big trip.


After a difficult time at home in our family, we again started thinking about a longer trip. In Morocco Paul (Owner of Camping Zebra) advised us to consider switching to the lighter Honda CRF205L. Nieuwe motorenThis was the newest street-legal light offroad motorbike that was introduced by Honda. A 250cc engine with a steel (sub)frame and good maintenance schedule, which seemed to be very good for travelling. At the end of November 2012 Peter called me from the car and told me he had visited a local bikeshop. He had studied the Honda CRF250L from all corners. He predicted: “If you see this bike, you will be sold”. And he was right. A week later I stood on the food pegs of a CRF250L to test whether I would be able to drive it standing, while Peter and a salesman held the bike. It looked tough, it was light and it could be transferred into a travelbike.

At another bike shop we were able to make a test ride. On a very cold day we took turns riding the CRF on dikes and along the polders around Hillegom. It felt like a strange moped with six gears, but it was a great drive, especially its manouavrability was great. A it was so light! I could park the bike wherever I wanted and could easily move it. For Peter it would be a big step from the Africa Twin to the CRF, mainly because of the power the bike would lack. Nieuwe motorenAt home we made two lists of ‘pro’ and ‘con’, which were both equally long. Eventually the CRF won and we decided to enter into negotiations with Motoport to acquire two CRFs.

In the beginning of December 2012 we made the deal. The bikes were delivered to us just before the holidays, with succeeding plates and a crate of wine. A great Christmas present!

Click here for all the pictures.


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