Motorcycle Travel Blog: From NZ to UK to USA (and Two New Bikes)

Here’s why we said farewell to the Yamaha XT660R, hello to two Honda CRF300Ls and what we’ve been up to between NZ and the US…

Honda CRF300L
Where to start?

Motorcycle Travel Blog: Changing Bikes

Nearly there…

We’re now halfway through our round the world trip. We left 1st January 2018 and never thought it’d take this long to get to New Zealand!

Our Yamaha XT660R has had a very hard life since setting out with us. The plan was to take the XT around the world, but the plan wasn’t to do the whole thing two-up. Shipping a motorcycle between countries is incredibly expensive and the biggest budget killer of any RTW venture. So to save money we wanted to do the first section with the most shipping on one bike.

Buy one, keep the other

So, the idea was for me (Andy) to ride the XT and for Alissa to buy or rent a bike in different countries. Which we did, for example Alissa had her own bike for six months through Japan. And we’d keep doing this until we reached the US and would then buy a second permanent bike.

However, while we were waiting for our Yam to ship from SK to Cambodia, we both rented bikes in India to ride to Nepal and Pakistan and Alissa had a severe crash. This meant Alissa couldn’t ride her own bike and so we stayed on the XT from Cambodia to New Zealand.

Motorcycle riding in Japan guide
Alissa riding a BMW G310GS through Japan

Three years on

But now, (three years later) Alissa’s leg is healed and it’s time for her to ride again! Last year we came back to the UK and attended the Honda Off-Road School and absolutely loved the CRF300L. Alissa was sold and that was the bike she wanted to do the rest of the trip on.

This meant coming home after New Zealand, buying a new Honda CRF300L, prepping it and shipping it to Alaska. But, because the XT has had it tough, we felt it was time to retire it and buy two CRFs instead. It makes sense to have two bikes that are the same for spares, parts, servicing, tools, speed and capabilities… plus I just want one.

Honda CRF300L
Taking delivery of the new CRF300Ls

Back home

We left New Zealand four weeks ago and flew home to the UK to collect our new bikes and get them ready (our Yam is still sat at a shipping port in Brisbane ready to be shipped home).

It has been a mad month here seeing friends and family, catching up with life admin, paperwork for the next section, organising shipping to Alaska or Canada and trying to simultaneously prepare two motorcycles for a round the world trip.

We haven’t even had a chance to ride the bikes, let alone do a dry run with all our gear. We’re just going to have to ship them out and sort everything as we go. But we did manage to squeeze in a weekend with our friend Howard who runs Rally Adventure Bike. He helped us with electrical work on the bike like removing the charcoal filter and other modifications. And we got to test the bikes out off-road with him while he gave Alissa some excellent one-to-one training.

We also worked on a new article for the website together, here’s Howard’s new articles for Mad or Nomad.

Getting ready to go

The list of modifications is longer than a long arm and we’ve still got another arm to go. Unfortunately, a bunch of parts we ordered still haven’t arrived and this has now massively pushed our departure date back as we were supposed to ship the bikes last week.

Sadly, we reckon that means we won’t have time to ride all the way up to Prudhoe Bay or Tuktoyaktuk. But never mind. Travel is what it is. Nothing goes to plan and you just have to roll with it. The world’s a big place and there’s a million spots we’ll revisit.

For now, we’re concentrating on getting the bikes finished and getting back out there!

If you’re interested in how we prepared the bikes, have a read of this packed guide that explains it all in detail. 

READ MORE: The Ultimate Honda CRF300L Adventure Bike

Read more on round the world motorcycle travel and adventure bike prep

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11 thoughts on “Motorcycle Travel Blog: From NZ to UK to USA (and Two New Bikes)”

  1. Hi Guys, Great post!
    I’ve moved to a CRF L model too. Please post if you find a way of attaching bags either side of the tank. Happy to share my mods if you need, but the best one is a plastic sump guard that protects all the way back to the rear link, and an enduro windscreen which is tough and provides mounting for accessories, but I still get buffeting.

    • Hi! Thanks for your comment.
      Great to hear you’ve also moved to a CRF300L! Sure, regarding bags either side of the tank – we haven’t fitted any yet but we will do.
      With our Yamaha XT660R we fabricated extensions on our crash bars so they came up higher and then attached Lomo crash bar bags to them. That’s the same plan we have with these bikes. We’re going to go for Outback Motortek CRF crash bars and fit Lomos to that. Well, that’s the plan anyway!

      Yeah, would be great to hear your modifications! We’re posting up an article very soon with all the modifications we’ve made to the CRF, would be good to compare notes! 😀


      • Thanks Andy,
        You may want to consider if crash bars are needed on a CRF L because there’s nothing that gets broken in a fall.
        Also I’ve found it really doesn’t carry rear luggage weight well at all. So I ordered 3 Molle tactical bags for the front and plan to experiment with straps on the thin tank. I think the CRF will work well for overlanding if you’re obsessive about weight reduction.

        • Hi, I believe the radiator brace is susceptible in a crash. I’ve got a brace on it, but think it may be worth it.
          And yes, I reckon you’re right about weight at the rear. We’re going to try Mosko Backcountry panniers and pannier racks, so this may be a bit too much weight on the rear, i’m not sure. Time will tell.

    • Hi Colin,
      Good question! A lot of people have asked that. We just prefer the L, less plastic, cheaper, lighter and faff and we would have replaced most of the off-roady parts it comes with anyway so made more sense to start with the base level L. But you’re right, the R does come with a 12.8L tank, but we’ve now fitted the Acerbis and have a 14L tank.
      Cheers Colin!

    • Hi, we thought it was brilliant! Howard was especially very good at helping Alissa regain lost confidence after her crash. Cheers!


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