I was here just before the moto gp at Barcelona last week. The road didnt disappoint but the police did. Just 5km from the end near Ripoll a car was parked with a camera and then a van was pulling the bikers over. The limit on this road is 60kmh and a speed of 100kmh gets you a 150 euro fine. They are there always around the weekend. You might expect that the limit is higher but its not, luckily they take credit card payments. So enjoy it but be vigilant.
One word. Phenomenal.
Came here back in 2007 and liked it so much that when I went this year I booked a hotel 10 minutes up the road so I be sure I could ride it every day!
Anyway 3 years on and some things hadn't changed. Still 30+ miles of relentless, unforgiving corners, still the same dense forest views and a still the certainty of seeing other bikers en route.
However road surface is not as good as when I was there previously; ice had obviously weatherd the road and tar has been used to fill the cracks. Not terrible, but not as good as the near, racetrack like surface from a few years back. There was also a police patrol parked up by the side of the road near Ribes de Freser pulling over any bikes 'making progress', again something that I hadn't seen previously.
All things considered though, still an incredible stretch of road. Do it and experience what biking is all about.
Done this road two years on the trot both ways, its why i ride a bike,this road if rode hard is like a work out knackered but with a huge smile on your face, can wait to do it again in the future
This road is an hour long roller coaster ride!!
I was relieved to see the straight at the end as we headed for Puigcerda so I could sit up and have a rest! As mentioned in other reviews there were horses in the road at one point, but they were about the only traffic on the road.
Signs at the side of the road now have N260 on them.
Yes! Yes! Yes! And Yes again!!! Just.... epic. Seriously. Epic. Theres a nice little cafe at the Northern end in the old railway station which is a good place to stop, have a cold drink and collect yourself ready for the coming challenge. Traffic is almost non existent, though at least one Guardia Civil car does patrol the route, but its really every riders dream. The surface is almost entirely brilliant, but there are some tar snakes filling surface cracks in a few corners when you get above the snow line, and in the full on summer heat they are like ice - I lost the front on a couple of them even upright in a straight line and on a neutral throttle, so they need avoiding. This is a mountain pass to die for. Literally if you ride off the edge, so be a little circumspect. Others have said that roads like this are the reason you bought a motorbike, and I have to endorse that. Best road Ive ever ridden, anywhere in the world, full stop. Just brilliant.
Helmetcam video here of my run over the Collada de Tosas:
This is simply biking Nirvana. If you
e planning to go anywhere in Europe, go here!
If Carlsberg made roads?
Review of complete N260 route: "The Best Biking Road in Europe?"The N260 Has the most mundane start of any road It starts at a set of Traffic lights at Llanca on the coast road in Northern Spain amongst thousands of white painted holiday homes and apartment blocks with terracotta roof tiles. Here it is travelled every year by countless quantities of camping cars and rubber necking tourists in cars who rarely drive at anything above snails pace, as here, it is part of the famous coast road to France along the Vermillion coast. Yet within half a mile from its start the beautifully surfaced road starts to twist, turn and swoop but giving little away as to what lies ahead along its 311 miles before it arrives a few miles short of Jaca where this amazing road is uncerimoniously terminated having reached its crescendo on the last few miles to Biescas with a waterfall of continuous bends.
The road is in many respects similar to the special stages of a rally where the various “stages” are separated by short lengths of normal road where one can catch ones breath before the next onslaught of bends and hills arrives to play havoc with all your senses. This road is not for the feint hearted, or for the beginner it is best ridden with respect and by riders who keep more than a little in reserve for the unexpected occurrence such as coming across the odd cow or goat or large rock or muck on the blind side of a corner as well as the possibility of coming face to face with another motorist on the wrong side of the road, however that doesn mean that one should not push the envelope just a bit, But be fully aware that in many places there is precious little, if anything, separating you from a drop of up to 500 metres. So in the event that you get it wrong it could take your mates following, a long time to find you and even longer to get you back up to the road if you are sporting injuries.
From the coast the road starts off with some fast sweepers through some foothills, to whet ones appetite, but all too soon these are replaced by a long straight that goes straight into the heart of Figueres (Famous for the Dali Museum) after traversing Figueres the road remains quite benign to Olot, in places it is fast dual carriageway, but then at Olot the road appears to split into two and with the same destination, Ripoll!, signposted in both directions, confused? You will be! at this point we must stay in the LH lane and within 500 yards you will realise that you have started another special section as immediately you are thrown a dizzying collection of twists , turns 180 deg switchbacks which continue for 19 miles to the suburbs of Ripoll this is a baptism of fire but nothing compared to whats coming.
After refuelling one heads north for 9 miles to Ribes de Freser (this road used to be marked as the N152 but has recently be returned to its original name the N260) the road follows a river so there are many fast sweeping smooth corners but one must take it steady and regroup as another special section is not far away.
After leaving Ribes de Freser the road immediately narrows and you come across a large signpost that warns you that the road ahead amongst other things contains N bends for 45kms!!and that’s just to the Col de Toses , there are a further 22 kms after the Col to Puigcerda that is nearly the distance from Oxford to London! with only a car passing every ten minutes or so. This makes the cat and fiddle with its over policed roads simply pale into insignificance. One cannot attempt to describe this road, it is a dizzying collection of every kind of bend and turn, which progress ever upward giving just enough time between bends for a gulp of air. There is no respite at all and just when you are starting to have trouble losing concentration you arrive at the Col de Toses (1800M) where the wise will take a break to discuss what they have just experienced. It is a humbling bit of road and more than one or two get all religious when they describe what they have just been through. Most simply stop, look at the magnificent views along the Serra de Cadi (one of the largest valleys in Europe) and go over and over again in ones minds eye what they have experienced in the last 40 odd kms. After this it is downhill toward Puigcerda but a word of caution! starting just after the Col the local council has repaired cracks in the road with tar overbanding the result is what looks like masses of black snakes on the road these are in fact the slipperiest bits of road I have ever come across, touch a black line is to court a big slide and a tight ring piece so beware! This overbanding continues most of the way to Puigcerda but becomes less frequent and easier to dodge the further you go.
From Puigcerda you can take a well earned rest along the next 32 miles via la Seu dUrgell to Adrall, however the road is full of fast sweepers with plenty of visibility and as smooth as a babies derriere and that inevitably tempts one to push on, so one does! there are one or two speed cameras but these are only for use against the locals, not tourists, but one must keep an eye out for the the local men in blue near the towns as they dont suffer fools gladly and fines can be steep, but hey, unlike the French they take credit cards, that will do nicely sir!.
Once you turn right for Sort at the village of Adrall you must don your concentration cap again, limber up the knees elbows and neck because immediately you are once again under the cosh. This section of a mere 30 miles again throws every kind of turn at you, like Henry Cooper twisting in the ring with Mohamad Ali, bends were coming from every angle some are very slow indeed others can be taken quite quickly but only open up at the last second the speed limit signs near the bends give a good idea of how fast you can take them a general rule of them is use MPH instead of the posted KPH but if you come across a 40 or a 30 sign then it is nearly bottom gear stuff! The views if you can dare take your eyes off the road for a second are spectacular, this particular section of road is used by many of the local sportsbike owners on the weekends. All to soon or not soon enough depending on your numb bum you arrive in Sort where we stop for lunch (there are many restaurants and cafes) and have a well deserved break. Mileage so far? 157 miles, number of bends? Lost count 2 hours ago, number of scares? Oh just a few! Did you get your knee down? The knee sliders bear silent witness.
At this point most people who are not into masochism call it a day but it is amazing what a meal and some renewed blood sugar levels will do. Do I need to remind you we have only ridden half of the road! You want more?
By now you know the form and the next bit of road isn quite flat but it is a bit easier than the last 2 hours. Bear in mind much of the riding has been over 3000 feet high and some of it is well over 5000 feet so water intake to aid concentration and avoid dehydration is of paramount importance.
Approaching Pont de Suert the road once again commences its Jekyl and Hyde manner and really gets back into the swing of it by the time you get to the Col de Espina and when we reach the col de Fadas once again it is time for a break this last section has been another 61 miles and by now lack of concentration is again causing problems. However the N260 has perhaps saved the best to the end the last section another 75 miles of roads has many tunnels , cols over 2000 metres high, amazing lakes, with strange coloured water, and eventually in the aptly named National Park of the lost motorcyclist, (sorry, Lost Mountain ed.), the final act is played out over the last 15 miles to Biecas by which time every muscle and nerve and all other unmentionables are screaming enough! The last 17 miles into Jaca where we have a superb biker friendly hotel with garage reserved, seems to take forever, but after a shower, and over a good meal, and a drink or five, all the stories of the days experience come out.
So there you have it, the greatest motorcyling road! Not convinced? Lets look at the competition take the famous route Napoleon it is less than 100 miles with far fewer bends, yes it has some good sections with good views as well, but its a pussycat in this company. The greatest road as selected by the BBCs Top Gear team? well that was simply pathetic! There are good roads in Italy between Naples and Salerno, in the Alps, in southern Spain the road to Ronda is well known, and in Scandinavia as well there are good roads, in fact there are good roads in most countries but they are only 20- 50 miles long this is the granddaddy of them all forget the Pirbright bends, forget the A-whatever in Wales, forget the Cat and Fiddle, This road is the same distance as the road from Carlisle to London with hardly a straight section worth calling a straight , if that doesn make this the greatest road, what does?, wimps need not apply!.
Amazing piece of road! Lots of local bikers also racing this track!
Most of it has been said by others but this is an exceptional piece of road. Lots of very fast open and flowing bends. Well worth a detour.
Couple this road with the one to Camprodon and on to Prats-de-Mollo-la-Preste
Rode it and loved it! This is truly biking heaven and made my personal Top 5 of best roads in Europe. Almost no traffic, great views, excellent tarmac and great cafe con leche at the end: this is everything you want from a road. Worth a de-tour so you can ride it? Absolutely!!Will upload a few pictures in a minute: the one warning of 45 km of bends and curves says it all!
My son and I did this road last week , it is truely a brilliant run , we encountered only two cars on the entire ride! Be aware of the dangers mentioned in previous comments it is a long way down if you come a cropper! We had snow for most of the run but the road was dry and clear, watch out for granulated salt on the road during snow conditions , its something Ive never come across before. At first it looked like powdered snow but it was white salt without any grit !!
We still managed to get along at a fair rate. We will return to the region in the summer and ride it again!!
We found this route when staying in the area for the 2005 GP .When you see a sign that says z bends for 45KM you know it must be interesting. As we found out later most of the traffic goes through the tunnel so the road was almost empty. It is a route that needs full consentration as there is a steep drop on one side and the mountain face on the other so no run off.When we got to the other side and stopped in Ripoll the conversation was on nothing else.
3 years on my strongest memory of the trip was this route ( the race was good that year as well). I have been unable to get back there but will plan a trip in the next 2 years and make sure I plan time for at least 2 trips along this route .
did this in sept 07 and as i think about it i can feel the grin spreading across my face from the first sign (bends for 45 km) to a coffee stop at ripoll its one road that you,ll want to do again and again and again
I did this route on my R1 with swmbo on the back and a mate that lives locally and knows the road like the back of his hand. Got serious arm pump due to heavy braking but enjoyed every kilometer. The corners come at you at a dizzying pace that dulls your concentration. It is not as fast or open as the N260 from La Seu to Sort but is much more demanding. It is not a road that will suffer fools there are few barriers and big drops if you get it wrong. And should you get it wrong according to my Spanish M8 you have a minimum wait of an hour before an ambulance arrives, something to bear in mind if you are nursing broken bones! and that is after your friends have managed to haul you back up to the road from the valley, so treat this one with respect!
What can I say that hasnt already been said? A truly awesome stretch of road that would punish you if you get it wrong, but make you feel like an hero when you get it right! This is THE road Ive been looking for since I started motorcycling. Just watch for the occasional scattering of horse crap (and horses) on the corners.
If youve tried the N260 and you found it too easy try this. Very challenging, technical and excellent mountain section. As you ascend you are bombarded with various warnings about the difficulty of the road. The road itself is quiet becuase of there being an alternative route via a tunnel peage offered. The width of the road is not much but just enough for two car widths throughout. There are many decreasing radius turns which are tricky.
Overall, this is an exceptional piece of highly technical tarmac although is not recommended for beginners. BE CAREFUL!
As soon as I saw the N152 listed here the hair's on the back of my neck stood up! Having recently completed a round trip from Oxford, through France via Andorra to Barcelona (for the MotoGP) then Alicante and back again to Bilbao this road is still very fresh in my mind. I would say it was the highlight of the whole 3 week holiday. It is that good.
This is without a doubt the most fun and exhilirating stretch of tarmac I have ever ridden. This is the kind of road you wished was on your doorstep. Although sounding like an overused cliche, riding this road really made me feel alive, this is what a supersports 600 was designed for. Where else could you keep the rev needle hovering 2-3000rpm from the red-line in 2nd and 3rd for the best part of 30 kilometres. Where else could you ride in such a manner, and crucially for such a long period of time and yet feel quite safe in doing so?
The tarmac was really quite superb. The only traffic I met consisted of 3 lorries and a handful of bikers, most of whom were british, presumably on their way to the catalan grand prix like myself. And as the road twists and turns around the mountainside you can look across to see far, far in advance what hazards might lay ahead leaving you to decide how fast you want to take that next 90 degree right hander safe in the knowledge the road is totally clear.
It is literally knee down left,right,left, right,left, right with the occasional short straight ( although you are usually still leant over in preperation for the next bend!) thrown in, for a good 30 kilometres! Having never done a trackday to date, I can safely say I have never thrashed a bike like that for such a distance. Not good for fuel consumption and in fact I slowed down towards the end for fear of running out of petrol. But don't worry, you do eventually see a gas station when you come down the other side towards Ripoli!
Although I felt quite safe riding in such a committed manner on such unspoilt tarmac for so long, there were some hazards worth mentioning.
Firstly, as with any road like this if you do get it wrong, without wanting to sound like a doom monger, there can be some quite nasty consequences. You will either stack it into a rocky face or sail off what can be some very steep cliff faces/hillsides, - I wouldn't want to rely on what are sometimes quite unsubstantial looking barriers to save you! It is very easy to get carried away and it takes a lot of concentration to take bend after bend for such a long time safely. This was always in the back of my mind because I was on my own, knowing that if I did bin it, I could be lying there for possibly half an hour before a single vehicle even drove past, that's how empty this road was!
These negative feelings (although important), don't last long though, I mean, riding a road like this is the whole reason you bought a bike. You didn't take out that crippling loan and extortionate insurance, suffer the crippling backache and wristache, get soaking wet and cold in the 'summer', not to mention the earache you had to endure from her indoors (for 'spending too much time in the garage'), to not enjoy every single second of a rollercoaster road like this.
Secondly, although there was barely any traffic to speak of I did see two groups of bikers at the side of the road being spoken to by bike cops. Perhaps this was due to the GP being on, and consequently a higher than normal number of bikers passing through. I don't know, but luckily I saw them both in good time and slid past pretending to be a sunday driver taking in the beautiful scenery, little did they know!
When it came to the next potential hazard I came across, fortunatley, I had plenty of forewarning in the shape of big steaming piles of poo on the road. Had I not seen these I may have been somewhat more surprised at what I saw when I rounded what felt like the hundredth tight left hander. Three horses and a foal were having an AGM in the middle of the road. I was travelling quite leisurely at this point and managed to crawl past them, but had it not been for the horse shit it might have been a different story! So, beware of the wildlife!
My only regrets are that I didn't have time to turn around and do it all over again. And, believe me if there had been no time constraints, I would have gone back again and again and again! Also, because I was on a three week holiday I had a fair bit of luggage, most of which was totally unneccesary, you really don't need half the shit you think you do. On a sportsbike a pair of fully loaded throwover panniers are not what you want on a road like like this when constantly flicking left to right.
Finally my biggest regret is that I didn't have a mate there to share the experience with. To get off the bike at the end of the day and say knowingly to each other "shit! how awesome was that" would have been pretty damn cool. But alas I don't have any close mates that have bikes which is probably why I have just been sat at my computer for the past two hours writing this to an audience who already know!
I read another review of this road on this site by someone who says he has a video of this road burned to CD. Please, if this is you or you know who this is, email me as i would love to re-live this road!
I have travelled on the road " Collada de Toses " on about 6 previous occasions. It is fantastic. Well surfaced, virtually no heavy vehicles and very few cars. There is a sign at the start of the road stating S bends for 40km !! . This says it all. It has to be my favourite road in Spain. One bend after another, after another. Keep your observation well ahead and you can ride this road extremely fast but safely. I have filmed this road from the bottom to the top and burnt it on a CD. I often watch it in my lunch break on my PC at work . Im going back to do Portugal, Spain, Andorra and France this June and YES I will be including this classic road again
We took this road in the summer of 2005. Quite simply stunning. no junctions, no potholes, met 2 vehicles all the way. Going back to Spain in June 2006 and will cross the Pyranees and do this road on our way down to Llorett De Mar. A must do road!!
Absolutely stunning piece of road - one of the best I've ridden anywhere in Europe. Classis mountain twisties, smooth tarmac, no traffic. It's hard to pick out one stretch of the N260/N152 route across the pyrenees as being the'best', but this is probably my favourite of the lot. You can really open up a big sports bike along here, but make sure your brakes are up to the job - they'll take a real hammering on the downhills.
The view back down the route from Hotel, half way point, I thought!
Same again not zoomed
N152 1st Stage
Bends so good they tell you twice