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  #1  
Old 18 Oct 2003
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Ive tried one, finally

Planning a trip to south africa in a few months and still can't seem to choose a bike, however tried an Africa Twin which suprised me at how guttless it was, I mean even less power than a translap, I was also told thats how they were, they sure look the part but I was not impressed.

This now leans me back to the R80G/S with a fair few mods or modding an XR600.

Does anyone know about the ability of an XR to do long distance without wearing out as it's a 600 single. I also want to do 2 up some of the way, were not bothered about comfort as you get used to it but don't want a bike capable of 6000 miles only without a complete rebuild.

G/S is still an option but off road it is crappy!
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  #2  
Old 18 Oct 2003
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I think there may have been a problem with the AT you rode. I have owned a 600 TA, a 650 TA and two AT'S. The 650 feels more lively than the AT due to its lighter weight closer ratio gearbox, but the AT has more torque and a stronger frame for carrying all the gear you need to take on your trip, especially two up.

I originaly bought a KTM Adventure for our trip, but after attending the 'Horizons' meet last year (a round trip of less than 400 miles) realised that this type of bike would be fantastic on a solo trip, but a nightmare two up RTW. The seat was not suited to taking a permanent pillion and due to the extra weight (sorry dear!) necessitated alot of extra gear shifts. If you only intend to take an occassional pillion though this would be a great bike.

We eventually settled on an R100GS. I wouldn't say it had any more outright power than the AT though and if there was any it was lost carrying all the gear. I've ridden one R80, though not a GS, and if you thought the AT was gutless the R80 is positively pedestrian.

I wonder why you want something with so much more power.

[This message has been edited by mcdarbyfeast (edited 17 October 2003).]
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  #3  
Old 19 Oct 2003
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The XR series are all great bikes, but possibly too dirt-focussed if you want even an occasional passenger.

You say the G/S is crappy off road - I wonder if you've ever ridden an AT on the rough stuff; not a good idea!

If I were you I'd seriously consider an NX650 Dommie or an XRL, depending on where you're going. Both are singles, but they will easily take a 6K round trip.
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Old 19 Oct 2003
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Suzi and Simon may/may not wish to describe their experiences on Transalp and AT, but we all just rode the most monstrous road from the Rovuma up to Dar Es Salaam. I was a day ahead of them on an XR650L and had a blast. they have more luggage them me, but still made it. my L is great off road, but dull on road. their Trans and AT are very heavy with much more gear, but the point is that they made it through sand, a foot of bull dust ... and they're relatively new to off-road riding. ie they're all good enough, but are you? ;-)

PS there was a guy going the other way on a GPz750
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Old 20 Oct 2003
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Any XR should have no problem doing 6000 miles without a hitch, even carrying an extra passenger. But you won't find a new 600 around anymore, so unless you rebuild the engine before you go, it's hard to say how long it'll last. Generally speaking, XRs are among the most reliable dirt bikes ever made.

Remember - all bikes handle like crap offroad with two passengers and gear loaded on them. If I was riding two up, even for only part of the trip, I'd go with the GS.

You'll be really cramped on the XR, so even though it's a great dirt bike, you won't be able to move around and take advantage of its handling with someone on the back, or with gear piled up on the back.

If I wasn't going to ride two-up, it would be a no-brainer - get an XR and find some way to make the seat more comfy.

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  #6  
Old 21 Oct 2003
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Don't sweat the power question. Whatever you choose, it has ENOUGH power.

We and lots of others have ridden rtw on an R80G/S, and they have more than enough power to ride around the world. Not to say we wouldn't like more, but in the third world you absolutely don't NEED more - it's NOT like you're riding the M25! More power will get you into more trouble as a rule. Slow down and relax and you'll be fine. Remember people have ridden rtw on postie bikes - Honda CT110's and many other tiny bikes, sometimes even two up.

As for off-road handling two-up - whazzat? I think that's an oxy-moron. Two up fully loaded with luggage your off-road method is slowly putting along and keeping the wheels vertical, pointed in the right direction and rolling smoothly, and that's about it.

I even run a pure street tire on the back because it lasts twice as long, and it's fine off-road - when I'm two-up loaded with luggage.

Lots of people have done rtw on pure street bikes - R80RT, Gold Wing, Harley ELectra-Glide etc.

re "we're not bothered about comfort as you get used to it " - is true but only to a point on a long long ride - you get tired of it too! Think about LIVING with it ALL the time. Comfort counts.

600 singles generally last very well these days, 6000 miles is easy. The KLR, F650 and KTM will all do rtw nicely. The KLR needs some tweaks to do it, but it's cheap. The only one generally reputed to be suitable for two-up long distance is the F650.

hope that helps a little.

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Old 21 Oct 2003
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Good advice from Grant I think. Ive seen plenty of happy overlander couples on Transalps and Africa twins. A few on F650s too, although it helps if the two of you are smallish.
Being a TA rider I would recommend its reliable smooth V-twin over the F650 single (the two bikes weigh nearly the same so both are equal off-road, which is to say, decidedly average).
I am surpised more people dont choose the DR650 for single-travel overlanding. It is the lightest in its category. If you go with soft luggage to keep the weight advantage then it would appear to be genuinely distance AND off-road capable. Not many like that.
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Old 21 Oct 2003
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I've done a couple of weekend campinf trips, two up on a DR650 RS (fairing, big tank etc) and found that the bike was fairly cramped. It is much happier one up. The same trips have been done two up on my AT and despite the harder seat was a much more relaxing experience.
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Old 21 Oct 2003
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well thanks for all the response and Ive picked up quite a bit from these posts.

looks like a G/s is winning at present but they are a bit old and I think parts may be harder to find for a bmw in africa and asia ( i plan to do a further trip the following year) and buying a good one is hard as most have been to the moon and back so need a rebuild which makes em cost a lot more.

The reliability is also concerning me, they were reliable compared to bikes of it's era but i don't think there comparable to new bikes such as an AT unless totally rebuilt which i cannot be bothered to do.

Off road is gonna be done one up and the passenger will be on road for 3-4 weeks only out of the 3-4 months i plan to take.

The DR650 was a thought but reliability was not there without a lot of looking after, same as th XT, they seem to leak oil frequently.

Power isn't needed I know but hey I like it, I'm not talking a hyabusa but a bit of squirt keeps me awake and I enjoy the journey a bit more
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Old 21 Oct 2003
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I don't know about Asia but in a lot f African countries the police or the army used to ride old BMW's and they have a lot of parts. In Lusaka I got a "new" alternator from a used police-BMW. Most parts are interchangeable between R80GS, R80G/S and R100G/S.

Most countries have some people that drives BMW-cars and the part-ordering system is the same for cars and motorbikes. If the shops order your parts for you then you can use their "proffesionals" channels without having to fight customs and red tape yourself.
Try that on a Honda-dealer, even if you find a motorbike-dealer he will tell you that they don't sell parts for bigger bikes then 250s...

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Old 22 Oct 2003
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good info, i didn't realise this about honda, you just swayed me over to an R80 or 100 GS or G/S.

funny but i havent noticed big bikes in asia, anyone know why they don't sell them?
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  #12  
Old 29 Oct 2003
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Quote:
Originally posted by martync:
funny but i havent noticed big bikes in asia, anyone know why they don't sell them?
No-one local can afford them (to buy or run).
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