10 epic days in Mongolia on a KTM 450

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mastamax
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10 epic days in Mongolia on a KTM 450

Post by mastamax » Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:32 am

We did a 10 days through Mongolia starting from Ulaanbaatar to the southern desert of Gobi. The trip was last year, but since I had to cancel this year's trip to Iceland, I had enough time to make an edit of last year's.

We wanted to do it solo at first but couldn't find a place to rent proper dirt bikes without being part of a tour so decided to book a tour. The tour is very well organized so it's convinient especially for fuel. We slept at ger camps in typical mongolian tents and had local food every day.

It was a real blast, I was impressed but the amount of different scenery we encountered along the way, I was expecting it to be more monotone. But we rode through a mountain pass, vast plains, sand dunes, even went to a glacier with snow!

So here is the edit, I'll post a few pictures as well later on:

[youtube][/youtube]

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daveuprite
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Re: 10 epic days in Mongolia on a KTM 450

Post by daveuprite » Mon Aug 31, 2020 7:36 am

Awesome. Great video. Really liked watching that.

Looks very well organised. What tour company did you use?

minkyhead
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Re: 10 epic days in Mongolia on a KTM 450

Post by minkyhead » Mon Aug 31, 2020 11:20 pm

likin the look of that ..nice video too 8-)
whats the wether forcast ..wheres me map

mastamax
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Re: 10 epic days in Mongolia on a KTM 450

Post by mastamax » Wed Sep 02, 2020 1:56 am

daveuprite wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 7:36 am
Awesome. Great video. Really liked watching that.

Looks very well organised. What tour company did you use?
Thank you, we used motorcyclemongolia, they are a few KTM / Husqvarna tours in Mongolia. Ours was very well organized, some times I would even so too well organized and not enough room for change, for example one day we rode fast and arrived around 2pm at the camp and that was it.

We would have loved to have ridden more but they were sticking to the schedule and plan, even when ahead by large margins. But other than that nothin negative to say, bikes in perfect condition, a doc and mechanics in support vehicles just in case, fuel support vehicle etc.

daveuprite
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Re: 10 epic days in Mongolia on a KTM 450

Post by daveuprite » Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:07 am

mastamax wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 1:56 am
daveuprite wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 7:36 am
Awesome. Great video. Really liked watching that.

Looks very well organised. What tour company did you use?
Thank you, we used motorcyclemongolia, they are a few KTM / Husqvarna tours in Mongolia. Ours was very well organized, some times I would even so too well organized and not enough room for change, for example one day we rode fast and arrived around 2pm at the camp and that was it.

We would have loved to have ridden more but they were sticking to the schedule and plan, even when ahead by large margins. But other than that nothin negative to say, bikes in perfect condition, a doc and mechanics in support vehicles just in case, fuel support vehicle etc.
Yeah, that's what occurred to me when I watched your vid. Very well organised - perhaps too much so. Excellent for those less used to visiting far flung places, but maybe a bit too regimented for independent-minded travelers. However it must be nice to know that any fall or injury can be dealt with quickly on the spot, with medical support, a land rover to scoop you up and a good bed prearranged for the night. That would make me want to 'go for it' a lot more than riding solo in those remote environments.

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Re: 10 epic days in Mongolia on a KTM 450

Post by MotoCP » Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:53 am

daveuprite wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:07 am
mastamax wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 1:56 am
daveuprite wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 7:36 am
Awesome. Great video. Really liked watching that.

Looks very well organised. What tour company did you use?
Thank you, we used motorcyclemongolia, they are a few KTM / Husqvarna tours in Mongolia. Ours was very well organized, some times I would even so too well organized and not enough room for change, for example one day we rode fast and arrived around 2pm at the camp and that was it.

We would have loved to have ridden more but they were sticking to the schedule and plan, even when ahead by large margins. But other than that nothin negative to say, bikes in perfect condition, a doc and mechanics in support vehicles just in case, fuel support vehicle etc.
Yeah, that's what occurred to me when I watched your vid. Very well organised - perhaps too much so. Excellent for those less used to visiting far flung places, but maybe a bit too regimented for independent-minded travelers. However it must be nice to know that any fall or injury can be dealt with quickly on the spot, with medical support, a land rover to scoop you up and a good bed prearranged for the night. That would make me want to 'go for it' a lot more than riding solo in those remote environments.
Indeed, and that’s the trade off.

What a fantastic feeling to be able to ‘go for it’ in that remote environment on a perfectly suited enduro bike instead of a heavily laden trail bike that you are conserving for the long haul and riding well within your limits as you might not see another person all day if you screw up.

mastamax
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Re: 10 epic days in Mongolia on a KTM 450

Post by mastamax » Thu Sep 03, 2020 3:13 am

daveuprite wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:07 am
Yeah, that's what occurred to me when I watched your vid. Very well organised - perhaps too much so. Excellent for those less used to visiting far flung places, but maybe a bit too regimented for independent-minded travelers. However it must be nice to know that any fall or injury can be dealt with quickly on the spot, with medical support, a land rover to scoop you up and a good bed prearranged for the night. That would make me want to 'go for it' a lot more than riding solo in those remote environments.
That's the trade-off. If I were to go again, I would still do it with a local company (to have good bikes and not care about finding fuel) but pick a different one, and make sure they offer more flexibility and longer days with more difficulty. Like going to special places people usually don't go.

That's what we learned with that trip, and last month we were suppose to go to Iceland for 10days as well, but that didn't happen because of current situation... But when we contacted the organizer we said we want long hard days, every day! If you're going to visit a special place just once in your life, might as well do it properly :D

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Re: 10 epic days in Mongolia on a KTM 450

Post by MotoCP » Thu Sep 03, 2020 9:46 am

If you find such a company then please let us know as I’m sure there will be folk on here interested (myself included).

What your basically after is a degree of flexibility to tailor each days ride to suit the groups pace however that requires a large amount of local knowledge.
I imagine you would only get that on day rides where your guide is taking you around their ‘back yard’ so they can easily add in a few extra loops before returning to base at the end of the day.

Logistics on multi destination tours would make that more difficult as the itinerary has to be more rigid, achievable for all levels of the groups ability and factoring in enough ‘down time’ for extra breaks, mechanical issues (punctures etc).
Additional limitations would also apply in more remote locations to maintain predetermined rendezvous points with the support vehicle for refueling, access to spares, medical needs, broom wagon etc.

Another major factor are the tour operators running costs. They need to keep these to a minimum to remain competitive yet still return a modest profit.
I became very skeptical on a day ride in Spain a few years ago when our group experienced multiple punctures due to using shite inner tubes and two tubes ‘nipped’ by the guide whilst refitting the tyres!.
They were effectively saving money during any down time due to mechanical issues (changing worn brake pads on the trail) numerous breaks and a long lazy lunch which reduced the amount of running time the six KTM’s clocked up by a collective 24hrs that day.
Imagine the saving in wear and tear/fuel over a year of trading.
We even returned to base early after we ran out of tubes and a customer had to ride the few miles back on a front flat!
I’m sure the companies you book with are more professional but they all have to operate within a set budget.

Good luck with tailoring your future trips and please keep us updated with any trip reports and recommendations.

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Re: 10 epic days in Mongolia on a KTM 450

Post by daveuprite » Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:25 pm

Interesting discussion. I think you're on a hiding to nothing running these highly organised off-road bike tours. Large fixed overheads plus many possible surprise costs and the potential to be sued by litigious customers at any moment. The bikes are all depreciating assets, repair costs can be high, and it takes a lot of time to clean and maintain them, often in less than ideal conditions. Changeable weather, local rules and the difference in riding abilities will also conspire to make running a business like this a bit of a nightmare. The customers will have high expectations of their 'trip of a lifetime' which must be hard to satisfy.

I've only ever been involved with one of these organised days out, very briefly, as a back-marker, helping the organiser at the front. I managed to 'lose' a customer within a few hundred yards of leaving base! After that was sorted out, it became an exercise in constantly picking up the guy and his bike as he fell again and again and again at the merest sniff of a rut. His mates up front had more experience and he became a liability. Luckily he volunteered to call it a day at lunchtime, with multiple bruises, and severely pissed off at his own inability to ride on dirt. Things got better after that. But it was telling that even at the pretty modest pace the remaining group needed, when we returned they were all whooping and buzzing at how many 'close scrapes' and 'near misses' they had had. Better riders would have been very frustrated by such a slow pace. You just can't win as the leader of a tour made up of really mixed skills.

mastamax
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Re: 10 epic days in Mongolia on a KTM 450

Post by mastamax » Fri Sep 04, 2020 2:30 am

It's definetly not easy as a tour operator to satisfy everybody. We were under the impression that their primary goal was to finish the tour with everyone in one piece and no broken bikes. A proof of that was that the last day was mostly road (the exact same way we came offroad, so we knew there was a trail).

Fair enough, but as an experienced and fit group we saw many ways to add a few extra km, for example a hill on the side of the main trail. We asked the lead rider a few time if we could just go to the top of that hill take a few pictures, he always replied that he would love to but was instructed to keep to the plan.

About punctures they had spare wheels in the service truck so it never took more than 5-10minutes to fix (they would then fix the punctured wheel in the evening).

For our next destination, Iceland, we chatted with 2 companies, rideXpower and RideWithLocals. Both look amazing but this time we made sure upfront there would be a good level lead rider and the days would be long, we don't want a "classic" package, at least 6-7 hours of riding time every day.

We'll see how that works out once covid has decided to let us travel again :D

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