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Old 25 Aug 2004
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Tour of Oz - Which Bike/Costs

First of all, thanks to Grant and Susan for a great resource. Not only does this site provide all sorts of useful information, but it is really good at helping me to keep dreaming while sitting at my desk.

My plan is to spend 6 months to a year touring around Australia with most of my time on tarmac/dirt roads, but don’t want to be stuck to them - would like the ability to go off-road as well. Cost is an issue, but I figure that I can afford about AUD$6000-8000 for the bike, with a hope that I would get a big part of that back on re-sale. Although I like to tinker, I am not a very practiced mechanic so would be hoping for something pretty reliable and easy to fix/learn on. Is there a bike that is better for this than others?

The reason why I am posting here rather than the Which Bike forum is that I am particularly interested in Australia specific thoughts. Like how hard it is to find BMW service, or KLR parts or whatever.

I would also like to know if it is expensive to insure/pay tax on a bike in Oz? I have a US license which will get me through the year, but figure I will still have to pay these extra costs.

Any thoughts would really be appreciated. Feel free to post or email me directly.


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Old 27 Aug 2004
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Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
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Obtaining bike parts is difficult once away from the main centres. You usally have to have them sent to you by mail, and the mail could come by weekly plane! As for locating some one to work on the bike .. well again you need to be in the main centres for this. Most people in the 'outback' work on their own vehicles (bikes to farm equipment) so if you find your self stranded local help will have tools .. but possibly no knowledege of your type of bike. So chose a bike you are comfortable with, have at least some knowledge of and locate the dealer/s in oz that actually have the parts on the shelf (or a wrecker or two) recored their phone numbers, addresses and hope you don't have to use them.

"off road" .. well you will find 'normal Australian roads' enought that you won't be seaking more difficulties.

As for 'costs' - define 'expensive' !

Regards Frank Warner
motorcycles BMW R80 G/S 1981, BMW K11LT 1993, BMW K75 G/S
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Old 27 Aug 2004
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We are currently travelling around Australia on a BMW F650GS and a F650GS Dakar. If you want to do more tracks then I would suggest the Dakar. The bikes have proved very reliable and will cope with all the dirt roads you will encounter in Australia. As for tracks or Off road, I am not sure as we have not been off road. The service from the Dealers has been excellent, (apart from Darwin, see BMW forum) and parts are readily available. Typical costs are: Camping $10-$20/night, Petrol $1-$1.40/litre. We pay AUD$225 for 6 months fully comprehensive insurance but third party is included in the registration so as long as the bike is registered you are insured.

Hope this has been of some help.

Andrew and Wendy

[This message has been edited by llanelli (edited 27 August 2004).]
“… all that is required for evil to triumph is for good men (and women) to do nothing ...”.
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Old 27 Aug 2004
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Mike, here are a few sites where you can get an idea of second-hand bike prices:




Enjoy your trip !

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Old 29 Aug 2004
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Maybe a Suzuki DR 650 ? For the dollars you are talking about you could get one new, then sell it when you're finished. Through in some soft panniers..shrug. Might be nice to see if you can get a bigger tank, other then that it will do what you want IMO. Get a single seat registration to save a few dollars. Our "registration" i.e. road tax includes cumpolsory third party personal insurace. Maybe try Western QBE if looking for a comprehensive insuarce.

Once you get away from the cities, Aussie roads can be fairly challenging in places.

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Old 29 Aug 2004
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I'd go for a big Jap single. KLR/DR/XR650L etc. New they are around 8000AUD on road.You wont have much trouble finding places that will have parts for them in towns along the way..not that you are likey to need any if it is near new.

Camping is cheap if you are willing to stay in the bush. Petrol is now 1.00-1.20AUD per litre in the east, more inland and in the west.

Close to Antarctica and a long way from reality
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Old 1 Sep 2004
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Without repeating info already provided I`d also remind you of choosing where you are touring at which time of year. In the north of Oz during the wet season even sealed roads can be flooded out and off road is virtually no option.
Most tourers tend to spend `our ` summer (Dec, Jan, Feb) in the south and in the north for the winter/dry season.
The inland areas can be very hot during the summer and very cold during the winter. Spring and autumn tend to be a good compromise.
As for which bike? No idea. Do you intend to stay mainly on tarmac and good dirt tracks or a mix of sealed and rough ( sort of 4 wheel drive only) type tracks.

If you are happy to cruise along at 100klms/hr on the sealed roads and do some easy 4 wheel drive tracks I would consider a KLR 650. We have the big tank version now and it is cheap to buy. The XT 600 and DR650 are great bikes but have a slightly smaller tank.
Let us know how you go on.
Good on ya mate
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Old 5 Sep 2004
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Hi there,
The third party insurance you get with the bike registration only covers you for injury liability,not damage to your or any other vehicle.You can buy third party insurance that will cover damage to any other vehicle you might hit but comprehensive insurance will cover your vehicle damage and the other vehicles damage (providing you'r not pissed)As far as bikes go, if you intend traveling alone and getting into heavy sand or boggy country then I sugest you get something thats not too low bulky and heavy.I run a GS1150 which is fantastic, but when it sinks you need a crane to lift it out.At least with a bike like a lighter 650 duel purpose you can always manhandle it alone,drag it sideways ,lift one end up at a time if you do bet bogged.In most bigger outback towns parts can sent by truck from the nearest city, overnight or one or two days depending where you are.Unless you buy some obscure model bike,most parts should be reasnably easy to source.Even in some of the small outback towns there's always someone who knows someone who can help with repairs,ask around at the local pub its amazing how many "bush mechanics" are out there. Hope this helps.
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Old 5 Sep 2004
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hi there, i have been oz fer the past 4months and road bikes r no hazzle. the 3rd day i landed i got a cbr1000f honda which i use to commute 170kms to and fro from work. on the other hand i was pretty set on the klr650 before i landed in oz after loads of research.but here i am told klr is not big as in the us of a.the most popular bikes here i see are the xr honda. wat works in other parts of the world dont count oz. no africa twins/transalps. they just dont sell or r popular. so i got myself a totally redone 88 3aj tenere fer bout 3k.tenere seems very popular in oz as is bmw.i hope to do the dirt roads on the tenere very soon as and when i get time.but i think a used xr is the best bet in terms of resale and honda support. tx choose with care
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Old 2 Jun 2005
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yup, i'd advise an XR - they are everywhere, bomproof, pretty cheap and reliable. XR6 for preference but if u can only get a 400, then that should be ok too.

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Old 3 Jun 2005
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I'm planning on going across Aussie next year, and I've decided to take a Honda XR650L. Mostly I like the fact that it's a simple, air-cooled engine in a simple pipe frame, easy to modify and fix.

I've had my bike for 9 months now and I've got no complaints with the trips I've done 'round NZ. On-road can get a bit tedious, as the 650 isn't the most comfortable tourer but that's just more incentive to get off-trail.

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