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  #1  
Old 19 Sep 2007
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Honda maintenance - which one?

Hi all.

I'm about to get myself a mid-capacity Honda to use during winter. For this reason I need to find the one which is easiest to do maintenance on, as salty winter roads tend to double or triple the need for maintenance.

I have considered Kawa KLR/KLE, Yamaha XT, Suzuki DR, KTMs and even Aprilia Pegaso, but the feedback from seasoned winter riders is that Honda tends to endure winter riding best.

I am new to Honda (apart from a Varadero I had for a short time). Hence this posting.

My shortlist (price-wise within my scope) is as follows:

- 2000 XR400R (kick only)
- 1993 XL600V Transalp
- 1993 NX650 Dominator
- 1987 XL600L

So - which one would YOU choose, and why?

Thanks!

Last edited by indu; 19 Sep 2007 at 10:55.
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Old 19 Sep 2007
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Hi Hans/Indu,
In the UK such bikes are called "winter hacks" - this indicates that no one is too bothered about what they look like (well actually, not at all bothered); the one you own at the time just has to run OK and survive the weather and road conditions for another year -- that is the basic specification.

Any of your list will do that; so the prime criterion is the initial price -- maybe a bike other than a Honda will become available so I would not discount any manufacturer but have a list "in the back of my head" of what I would prefer, given a perfect world!
Another type of bike would be an out-and-out offroader with enough kit fitted to make it road legal; basically an enduro with lots of scratches on the panels etc!

Anyway, I thought you guys do not throw salt onto the roads in winter and you all learn to ride/drive extremely well on packed down snow and ice!!?
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Old 19 Sep 2007
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Thanks Dave.

If only they didn't throw salt on the roads... Then we'd have a decent snow/ice surface to ride on. A lot better than this salty soup they use on the major highways and roads. (There are a few counties that doesn't use salt. A hoot to ride there!)

Ease of maintenance is a prime concern as I want my "winter hack" to survive more that just one season. The price is right for all of these Hondas. And it does apparently matter which manufacturer - or at least which model - it is: I spoke to a Yamaha techie who actually dissuaded me from buying a XT I was looking at as he claimed the alloy on these bikes are far too fragile and "soft" to stand the winter road salt.
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Old 19 Sep 2007
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Ah! So it is done by counties - some do and some don't.

In the UK I think all counties throw the salt around liberally but there have been experiments with something called "Urea" (or similar spelling) - it has the same overall effect on the snow and ice but it does not corrode steel and alloys; it is not done with regard to road vehicles but for the bridges, in an attempt to limit their corroding nature. As ever with these things, it costs a fortune compared with plain old fashioned rock salt. The first application of salt on the highways here is a big indicator to put the bike away for the winter; the "best" bike that is.

I did have a feeling that you had greater detail in mind with your list because you show specific years as well as models; there is no substitute for seeing the bikes but all other things being equal I would like the newest bike and no matter that it is a kicker -- I have a soft spot for kicking over a bike and the satisfaction of starting it that way (it goes away of course quite rapidly when the bike does not start!!).

I agree about Yams in general ( I own one at present and have had a few); any one that I have seen that has been ridden over the winter has much increased furring of the nuts and bolts, never mind the alloy fittings etc.
Strangely, other Yam owners I have spoken with don't seem to mind, but it annoys me!

I have used various sprays to limit corrosion on bikes but, in the end, there is no substitute for regular cleaning!

Cheers,
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Old 19 Sep 2007
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I had a kicker once. An Ural. It's safe to say that I've been there - done that... Even though the Ural can't be said to be representative for the kickers, I'm somewhat reluctant to go down that path once again, finding myself standing in the middle of nowhere kicking and swearing. BUT - it's a Honda and it's fairly new, so that's why it's on my shortlist. Besides, I believe I need the exercise, to be honest.

I agree regarding the regular cleaning. The problem is that winter over here tend to be sub-zero cold all the time, so I won't have the degrees on my side: If I touch the bike with water, it'll freeze over... I tried some Tectyl stuff last year on an ATV I used for winter riding. Did fairly well, I'd say. I'll try some of the same stuff on my "winter hack".
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Old 19 Sep 2007
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Know what you mean! If you are getting exercise, then you are doing it with the wrong technique or, more likely, the engine is flooded.
You will buy the bike with the lowest mileage & the most careful previous owner then?

I've never used this stuff, but some guys I have talked with say it is very good:-
ACF-50


I have used some spray-on stuff made by Scottoiler but there is no way to judge if corrosion would have happened without it in place (any old oil could be used as well of course).

You prompt the thought: If you can get a layer of ice attached permanently on the frame etc then that is a protective coating against salt - yea, OK, get real Dave!
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Old 19 Sep 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
You prompt the thought: If you can get a layer of ice attached permanently on the frame etc then that is a protective coating against salt - yea, OK, get real Dave!
Wouldn't that be neat? Just hose down your bike and keep the ice nice and tidy, and you'll keep the bike protected through the winter??
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Old 19 Sep 2007
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Excellent; hose the bike down, let the water freeze insitu and any chips in the protective coating are repaired automatically!!

Have to be careful of not overloading the bike sub-frame though with too much weight of ice and the bike cannot be allowed to "capsize" by becoming top-heavy with the weight of ice on the topsides (a threat to shipping in the Artic ocean and elsewhere).
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Old 18 Oct 2007
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If you haven't already got one (in which case which did you go for??), I'd say go for the Transalp. Up to the mid-nineties they were VERY well built, and if the one you have in mind hasn't succumbed to 14 years of use, it will handle winter very well. All the Dominators I've know were great bikes, but didn't like the cold.

Also, maintainance on the Transalp is very low; valves are screw and locknut, and don't normally need adjustment (I only check mine every 40,000 miles or so now - they are that good). Oil changes are listed as at 8,000 miles, though I've always changed at 4,000. The pre-1994 fairing seems to be quieter and offers more protection than later ones (or any of the other bikes on your list), and the headlight was better than it looked (although the reflector will be dull by now). The single disk isn't too abrupt (later ones had twin disks) for slimy surfaces, and the 1991 models were relatively 'light' (under 180 Kg dry) despite having the rear disk. Also, you should get 50 mpg + (not sure what that is in litres), and the V-twin allows you to get as much grip as possible on slimy roads.

On the downside.... look at the wheel rims for alloy corrosion and the fairing lugs snap (but can be repaired or taped up). The wheel rims have the same problem on Dominators and Africa Twins of the same age though.

Just my thoughts....
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Old 18 Oct 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LordStig View Post
If you haven't already got one (in which case which did you go for??), I'd say go for the Transalp. Up to the mid-nineties they were VERY well built, and if the one you have in mind hasn't succumbed to 14 years of use, it will handle winter very well. All the Dominators I've know were great bikes, but didn't like the cold.

Also, maintainance on the Transalp is very low; valves are screw and locknut, and don't normally need adjustment (I only check mine every 40,000 miles or so now - they are that good). Oil changes are listed as at 8,000 miles, though I've always changed at 4,000. The pre-1994 fairing seems to be quieter and offers more protection than later ones (or any of the other bikes on your list), and the headlight was better than it looked (although the reflector will be dull by now). The single disk isn't too abrupt (later ones had twin disks) for slimy surfaces, and the 1991 models were relatively 'light' (under 180 Kg dry) despite having the rear disk. Also, you should get 50 mpg + (not sure what that is in litres), and the V-twin allows you to get as much grip as possible on slimy roads.

On the downside.... look at the wheel rims for alloy corrosion and the fairing lugs snap (but can be repaired or taped up). The wheel rims have the same problem on Dominators and Africa Twins of the same age though.

Just my thoughts....

Nope, haven't decided yet. I still have time as the roads still are, and will be for a couple of weeks more, ice free. I've been talking to seasoned winter riders and they all but one recommend the Transalp. And the one that didn't suggested a BMW F650GS with ABS. Way off my budget and not on my shortlist, so I'm closing in on the 'alp. Thanks for you input! I'll let you know how it all comes out.
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Old 19 Oct 2007
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Ah, that's nice to know! I'd heard ABS wasn't so good on snow, where a locked wheel slows faster due to the build-up of snow in front. Perhaps this isn't the case with bikes, however! I have to say, you certainly must be tough where you are - I used to ride a daily 75 mile commute at 5.00 in the morning, all year round. However, I don't think our winter weather in the south of England really compares....
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Old 22 Oct 2007
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Originally Posted by LordStig View Post
I have to say, you certainly must be tough where you are - I used to ride a daily 75 mile commute at 5.00 in the morning, all year round. However, I don't think our winter weather in the south of England really compares....
Not so tough. Only trying to adapt. You know the Darwin phrase: The survivor is not the fittest nor the strongest - it is the most adaptable. So when living in a country where half the year is snowy and/or icy you simply *must* learn to master The White Stuff Riding Technique. If you want to ride year round, that is. And who doesn't?
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Old 22 Oct 2007
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Hi !
Am in a similar predicament to you, and have just bought a 2006 kle500,. i am well aware it will not look as pretty as a honda in 2 years time, but have just smothered everything in wax! that should see it until spring!

Injuries allowing, am hoping to return to the bike rally again in Norway on my old transalp sidecar, are you going?

get those thermals ready!!!
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Old 26 Oct 2007
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Originally Posted by Joe C90 View Post
Hi !
Am in a similar predicament to you, and have just bought a 2006 kle500,. i am well aware it will not look as pretty as a honda in 2 years time, but have just smothered everything in wax! that should see it until spring!

Injuries allowing, am hoping to return to the bike rally again in Norway on my old transalp sidecar, are you going?

get those thermals ready!!!
Yep, three winter rallies are plotted in this season. Maybe four, if time allows. Would be nice seeing you at the Primus Rally, though!
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Old 26 Oct 2007
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Smile winter hack

Ahh the good old winter hack

That has to be an old Transalp - maintenance - just don't bother, it will keep going. ive had loads and olny ever changed oil and filters on them, better than any BMW (F650), bit more fuel but a tenth of the maintenence/breakdowns.

Fancy a Hornet 900 myself, they seem bullet proof and fun if you put a better set of handle bars on them.
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