Putting a toe in the water

#1
I'm Steve and, with my wife Fiona, we're just about to stick an initial toe in the water of potential full-timing in our motorhome. We're in our early 50's and Fiona has just finished her job and I'm in the last few days of mine. We're then planning a few weeks of getting our motorhome ready and sorting out various other domestics bits & bobs before heading off for an initial 6-month trip to see how we get on.

We've reasonably experienced motorhomers, having had vans since 2004, but so far have never done a trip longer than 3 weeks. We've toured domestically (mostly in Scotland including the islands) and in Europe (mostly of the time in France and Germany but also up into Scandinavia as well) including some wild camping and Aire use although we've mostly used campsites.

Currently we have a 2010 Autoroller 600G and have decided to stick with that for this first trip. A few mods are planned - solar panel, 2nd leisure battery and an upgraded mattress - but nothing too lavish. It has a large garage as well so we're going to get a small motorbike (probably a 125) and take that with us - in the past we've just taken bicycles (and plan to take our two folders if they can be made to fit).

We don't have a clear view on where we're going on this trip yet. The North Cape was discussed however as we're starting later in the year I think we've ruled that out this time (although it is one I'd like to do now we have the time) so more likely I think is that we'll wander down through France and then maybe into Spain and Portugal with a view to maybe over-wintering in the south of Spain.

Anyway I've already picked up some great tips from this forum but any advice (on route or on "must haves" for the motorhome) will be greatly welcomed!

Cheers
Steve
 

vwalan

Well-Known Member
#2
hi, and lets hope you have lots of fun.
most end up fitting a few solars etc and extra batteries when full timing or long terming . depends how you want to camp. or wild park.
everyone has different ideas and you really do just have to experience it and decide what suits you best.
its a big adventure out there . keeping a diary helps so you have a record of places people etc .
years later you return to some places and folk remember you etc its amazing .
france ,spain are huge ,so many little villages all worth visiting .
you will have to see whether inland or coastal travel suits you best.
you can almost get lost in france and spain . a good compass is handy .
i like mapamax map book of spain and portugal ,i buy off amazon. it shows the little places on the coast others forget to show .
have fun and smile at the locals . better to make friends . cheers
 

BigMomma

Well-Known Member
#3
My tip would be to invest in something like 'Gaslow', other similar products are available, it makes refilling with LPG (Called GPL or Autogas in Europe) a lot easier when touring. It is generally widely available at most Service stations in Europe (Repsol service stations in Spain but there are others). Get an assortment of different sized tap connectors for your hose for filling of water and a watering can can also be handy for the same purpose :thumb:
 
#4
Thanks for that. I had a quick look at the Gaslow system and was thinking that would be a good option, but we might keep one of the bottles as UK and replace the other with a refillable Gaslow one.

I think we're ok for hose connectors and the like as we've got a few of those and so far have managed to get them to work everywhere we've been in Europe (plus we carry some folding water-carriers as a backup) - but definitely good advice!

At the moment the main things we're thinking about sorting out are:
- better mattress
- 2nd leisure battery (I think there will be room under the passenger seat as the drivers seat already has two batteries under it)
- solar panel
- Gas system (Gaslow)
- upgraded security including door-locks and a small safe
- maybe a roof box for additional storage
- small motorbike to go in the garage

Still working on the list though!

Cheers
Steve
 

Sueboo

Active Member
#5
Hi and welcome. Personally we only have basic security If someone wants to break in they will and probably do a lot of damage smashing window in etc.
 

vwalan

Well-Known Member
#6
in spain its cheaper to use repsol or cepsa bottles than fill up with autogas.
portugal isnt that bad if you have a repsol bottle portugal or spain will swap them.
mind i use cepsa and a uk flogas bottle .
if going to morocco i use a moroccan bottle instead of the uk one . i have one here just incase.
only about 4-5quid to change a moroccan bottle . in morocco .
i use a chinese dax easyrider as my camper m,bike its 90cc and can carry two if needed . great bit of kit only had it 17yrs now .
solar panels are cheap on ebay , i use some cheap type regulators
ttps://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/30A-Solar-Regulator-Battery-Charge-Controller-12-24V-Auto-CM3024Z-30AMP-PWM/29252
something like this one .
i do carry a spare just in case .
see how many panels you can actually fit . cant have too much leccy.
there does seem to be many having little snags with refillable bottles . seen several go wrong over the years .
might get some members on here tell you about their refillable gas probs .
i dont use a hose for water ,well only a short one for filling up in basins or taps in awkward places 6ft is long enough . with a rubber push on connector suits most taps if you hold it on .
try and make life easy and simple . complicated things go wrong . hee hee
 
#7
Thanks for the info. How does it work with regulators if using the Repsol or cepsa bottles? I've only used UK bottles in our motorhome but thought it wasn't possible to directly fit other gas bottles.

Just had it confirmed from Rollerteam that the garage in our 600G has a 150kg limit so it's going to need to be a small bike. The only one of my current bikes that'd be ok is the Gas-Gas Pampera that used to be my race bike, but it's not the most reliable of things and needs some work and an MOT - plus it's also a 2-stroke and I'd rather have a 4-stroke for simplicity's sake. It is very light though.

I'm toying with the idea of getting a new 125 - possibly an AJS Cadwell as I like the looks - but haven't decided anything on that yet. Also might consider a 2nd hand Honda MSX125/Grom which I've heard good things about.

Good point on the electrics - I might at looking to get a couple of panels fitted, but need to check a few things before deciding.
 

vwalan

Well-Known Member
#8
the dax as drop down handle bars so takes less height. looks like the old honda dax but is really a jincheng .
mind bob uses a lifan dax 110cc . there are usually a few on ebay.
hamiltons gas sell the adaptors for using spanish bottles . i tend to use adaptors and then either use a uk old butane reg or a uk propane reg . my spanish bottle uses an adaptot to camping gas then a camping gas to old uk butane reg . old butane is the same as some french ,moroccan , and some german bottles . https://gasproducts.co.uk/gas-regulators/cylinder-adaptors-connectors.html
worth having a look.
but ring them and they are very helpfull.
i use regs that connect to a gas hose , dont use them modern bulkhead regs they go wrong too often.
 
#9
Cheers. I can see the attraction of a monkey bike as they're certainly small, light and take up little room. I do quite fancy the idea of having a bit of a bigger bike though, as it'll give us a few more options and the 600G does have the room. The Honda MSX is kind of a half-way house really, and they get very well reviewed. Fairly expensive new though, so more likely I'd go with a 2nd hand one of those.

Fiona has a full bike license (and owns a Honda XBR500 currently) but hasn't ridden for a decade or so - and I was thinking a 125 with conventional gears might be a good option for her to get back into riding. If she does it might give us some options to tour on motorbikes in the future.

I'll check out that side for the adaptors etc. - definitely looks like I've got some more research to do there.
 

chrisjones18

Well-Known Member
#10
Hi welcome.
Guess you have a bulkhead regulator so you will only need different pig tails for the bottles. I have a autogas 2000 refillable system.
Use a 125 ajs modena scooter though it ain't got a lot of power for 2, bit different to a 650.
2 100 watt solar panels work well except in the dark UK winters
Good luck with your choice
 

vwalan

Well-Known Member
#11
my dax has normal 4 gears and a clutch.
here in uk i normally ride a 1500cc kawasaki drifter . but its getting a bit heavy now .
mind i do have a tu250cc suzuki grasstracker . not a real grass tracker as in off road , but its a road bike that looks like a 70,s off road bike .
its a job to know which sort of bike to have , do you really want to leave the m,home and get off on a long m,bike ride?
when i coverted the trailer into a living van i had already decided a dax would be ideal. i copied the hiegth of john speeds merc van he wrote about in one of his books .
i went to buy the vdrifter and saw the chinese dax , didnt know they were available in 2001 so ended up buying the biggest bike in the show room and almost the smallest at the same time . the 250 came 4 years later.
mind i have always had a m,bike of some kind since being 16yrs old. cant imagine living without one.
cant have a scooter thats what mods have . hee hee .
 
#12
I had originally thought about a 250cc but they're mostly a tad on the heavy side - shame as something like a Tu250 would be nice.

I'm not thinking that we'll be doing any really long rides but having a bike we can use 2-up for a relaxed day of riding would be useful - and the 125's I've been looking at should just about be ok for that.

I've got a few bikes in my current fleet but not of them are really suitable:
- Honda CBF1000GT
- Honda CBR600F
- Honda XBR500 (this would be great if it was lighter)
- Gas-Gas Pampera (definitely light enough, but not a great road 2-up option)
- Aprila RS50 (my son's bike from when he was 16 - and which I really need to get rid off!)

Also the AJS I'm thinking about is a nice looking little bike:

 

vwalan

Well-Known Member
#13
its a hard decision . but i can say these days i do tend to use the dax the most.
the kids etc round here laugh at me on it . but i,m laughing the minute i get my leg over the seat.
its like being a kid all over again.
one year we were going to morocco ,i took my dax and a monkey bike i had for my girlfriend to ride . gary my neighbor took my tu250 as he had more height in the man truck he had at the time .it was a change to be on the 250 out there but really the dax works good .
gary sold his man truck to ian and liz members on here and they bought a lifan 250cc i also had . mind that was a few years ago now . they still have the truck and the lifan but only pop back to uk for short trips ,mot etc spend most of their lives abroad.
have you enough height in your garage area for the bike you fancy?
i built mine with just enough room for a dax or monkey bike .
sometimes i think i should have made it taller but then it would pinch space from the bed area above the garage .
 

Attachments

#15
The garage in the 600G is pretty big - one of the biggest I've seen so I think it'll be fine. The only bike I've had in their so far was my son's Aprilia, which isn't as tall, but I'll try with the XBR500 as it's likely to be a similar size. If that doesn't work then I'll probably have a closer look at the Honda MSX because that looks pretty small.

 
#16
We have an XT500 and an XT125 on the back and they get used
I used to have an XT600E but that or the 500 would be too heavy. I was thinking about a 125 trail bike (I'd love a classic DT or MTX) however SWMBO is vertically challenged so something with a lower seat height is likely to be better!
 

vwalan

Well-Known Member
#17
i always fancied one of the mick andrews special ossa 250cc .
my mates had them years ago.
rode a few but never got round to owning one .
used to see quite a few in spain .
not two seaters though.
 

chrisjones18

Well-Known Member
#19
Kawasaki have a new 300cc versys (adventure model) out with a low seat height.
I quite like it,
 
#20
Sadly probably too heavy - I also had a look at the BMW GS310 which is lovely, but not light enough. Almost tempted to consider a trailer - but not quite.

Also my son has taken quite a shine to the AJS Cadwell I'm considering!
 
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