08 April, 2008

What's a Burgie and why are you riding it through the vast wastelands of Siberia?

Right, well as we all know, the star attraction of this blog is the Burgie itself and it's time I told you all about it.

The Burgie is quite a different bike to my usual crop of large capacity sports-touring bikes, and is a midrange 2 cylinder maxi-scooter tourer. It features an electronic Constant Velocity Transmision (CVT) , with manual electronic gear selection over ride - the first of its kind on any bike. The amazing thing is that for such a heavy bike (240kg unloaded) with massive slipstreaming and wind protection it offers a great combination of speed (180kmh+) and economy (23km per litre on the open road or 65mpg). Most of all though, it is incredibly comfortable and versatile - quicker than many sports bikes around the twisties when the roads get interesting.

Here's a shot of the Burgie taken 4-5 months back at the start of summer - no it's not a preview of Siberia in mid winter, instead it was taken at the top of Mt Hotham in the Victorian Alpine region.

I'm not anticipating too many days as wet and cold as this one was, but in order to stay dry I've bought myself a set of fishing waders - guaranteed waterproof. :)

For those of you reading this who are unfamiliar with bikes, staying dry is the biggest bugbear. Although clothing manufacturers advertise their gear as waterproof, it never stays that way after hours in the saddle at 100kmh.

As well as the waders I also have a rubberised sailing jacket, 5 pairs of gloves and rubber kitchen gloves to use as waterproof liners. The Burgie has tremendous weather protection by comparison with most bikes, and together with all my riding gear, it will hopefully help me avoid the curse of riders everywhere - the dreaded wet bottom disease!

A bit of history......

Well, it's not hard to see that I've left out a bit of history in getting this far, so I'm going to use this opportunity to fill in some of the gaps.
Firstly, a few pics of the Burgie itself getting prepped and ready for crating (excuse the messy garage!). Here's a ful frontal of the Burgie in complete touring regalia, all kitted out with air horns, GPS, extended windscreen and Givi topbox. Apart from these modifications, and a thorough mechanical lookover, the bike is pretty much an off the shelf 5 year old Suzuki 650cc maxi.

Here's another from the back, and one of the Burgie sitting up in its crate with the seat, windscreen and top box removed so that I can work out how best to fit it all in. You can see how much my dear wife Kimie is looking forward to reclaiming a bit of garage space now that the bike and crate have moved on.

Unfortunately, due to the very strict regulations imposed by the Chinese government (which requires all foreigners to have a military escort at a cost of $500 per day whilst using their own vehicle in China) the first stretch of the journey, from the South to North of China and into Mongolia - around 8,000 km on back roads - has to be done on a local Chinese bike as the Chinese government rules for temporarily importing a bike are far too stringent and expensive. I'm intending to purchse a used bike in Nanning then either sell it or give it away when I'm ready to leave China for Korea.