Two Letters Re: Motorcycles as Bugout Vehicles

James;
I too have consider the motorcycle-for-TEOTWAWKI option. E.M.P. covered the pros and cons pretty well and I can add just a couple of thoughts. I have a family, which means while there are a number of possible TEOTWAWKI uses for a motorcycle, actually bugging out isn’t one of them. This is obviously viable only for the single, unencumbered prepper. But I can see other, perhaps invaluable uses.

A [high field strength EMP event – A motorcycle is small enough that it could actually be kept stored in a protected enclosure. Or failing that, it would be far easier to keep a spare ignition module in a protected enclosure for quick swapping out versus dealing with similar repairs to a car or truck. I live in a suburban environment and the ability to quickly retrieve a child from school or a spouse from work at the outset before things had a chance to start to come unhinged would be priceless.

Fuel shortage – Any scenario where fuel is hard to get or priced beyond reason would make the economy of these bikes shine. The leading candidate, the Kawasaki KLR650, gets in the neighborhood of 50 mpg and would make the most of any available fuel in any circumstance where a bike could get the job done. The maneuverability and on/off road capability would also be priceless in avoiding crowds, traffic jams, etc.

There are other terrific choices in the dual sport category, but most run almost twice the cost of the legendary KLR. It’s shortcomings are few, most notably being slightly underpowered [versus large displacement road bikes], but they can haul a tremendous amount of gear, and have been ridden from one end of the planet to the other. Their utility serves well in good times and bad, with the normal caveats about safety of course.

There have been some diesel versions built for the military, and while there have always been rumors, even recently, a civilian version is sadly still just rumor. What an awesome bike that would be!

The limitations are so substantial that I cannot condone it as your only option in place of another vehicle, but if you have the means to have one around as an option it might pay big dividends.

God bless, – Arizona Slim

 

Jim,
As a former off road racer,I’d like to add my nickel here. First and foremost,all bikes are NOT created equal! You won’t bug out on a Harley, I promise !If the roads are congested,you can ride on the shoulder, until a broken down car blocks the way ,then you have to off road…not even an idea on a Harley or big road bike!

Second point: 2 stroke or 4 stroke? Do you know the difference? If not, do not get a bike, period! A 2 stroke is a lot faster and lighter ,but gets lousy mileage. My 500 2 stroke race bike got around 8 mpg in a good race, maybe 5 in deep sand. A 500 4 stroke could do 30 mpg in the same race, easy.

Third point: Can everyone in your party ride? My ex-wife can twist a throttle, but can she handle sand? Nope.

Fourth point: Got parts? Sure,you can buy one of the cheap auto part store bikes,but try to find parts for it…been there, done that, no you can’t. Stick to a brand name.You will never find Husqvarna or KTM parts, either.

My recommendation is: Buy a 200cc or perhaps 250cc, 4-stroke dual purpose. Strip the turn signals off, just keep it barely street legal, to save weight.Find any type saddle bags you can find on the seat,even horse bags! And they make packs that fit on the tank.Hang a pack on the bars over the headlite.Keep the weight as low as possible,or it will wash out in a turn.

An interesting side note: My parents had a little Honda Express, barely a step up from a moped.They were camped out in a forest where they didn’t allow me to ride my 500 Husqvarna. I took the little Honda for a ride down some little goat trails, and with a little practice, I was doing things on it that I’d never try on my race bike! A lot slower, but it amazed me how far and how many places it got me!

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