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Old 11 Sep 2013
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525 or F800

Hi all,

I am faced with a dilemma and need, some input from the more experienced overlanders out there. Please,your comments are most welcome!

I am fortunate enough to have a choice of two bikes to use on an overland trip to Africa following the West coast route from Morocco to Cape Town. One is a 2005 KTM 525 with almost 15000km on the dial that has a big Acerbis 23 litre tank. It's in great condition. The other is a 2013 brand spanking new BMW F800GS with no more than 10000 km on the dial.

Things I know already:

The BMW is new, it is less likely to break down.
It's more or less a proven machine and capable of the trip
It's heavy and will make you sweat in the mud and sand....you will drop it and you will curse it.
It's expensive and a the Carnet will be pricey though how much I don't actually know yet.

KTM 525
It's an older machine and will need more maintenance on route but probably no more than an oil change every 2000 Km or so if you don't keep the throttle open on full revs all the time. Oil should be available anywhere there is a mechanics work shop.
Has a carb and no electronics which is an advantage in Africa.
Uncomfortable on the black tops.....in fact uncomfortable all the bloody time.
Very limited room for luggage. Best solution: Giantloop bag strapped to the pegs.
Will glide through sand and mud and I will not mind dropping it.
8 year old bike worth not much more than a couple of thousand Euros should be easier on the wallet for a carnet.

I guess my real query is: has anybody embarked on an overland trip with a 525 out there for what could potentially be a 6 month trip? If so, has it been ok or a total and utter disaster ?

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Old 22 Oct 2013
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Location: San Dimas California
Posts: 47
It's a hard call. Yes the F800 is a beast, but so is my 990 adventure and I take that everywhere. But, when I get stuck in a pile of rocks, going uphill I am cursing up and down and wishing I had my 690 R under my butt.

98% of the time, you will most likely be in F800 country. 2% you will wish you were on the 525. So with that logic in mind, take the F800 and suffer 2% of the time.

I am assuming that you will be taking the lease difficult path. If not, then take the 525.

IMHO as always
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Old 23 Oct 2013
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Location: Victoria, Australia
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Your mad thinking about doing it on the 525! I briefly (VERY briefly) considered doing Africa on a WR450 and I even spoke to Gary Benn who builds the desert racing/adventure bikes for a Yamaha racing team. When I put it to him could he make my bike into a machine to do the trip there was a silence..... then a "why would you want to do it on such an uncomfortable bike?" I then went and bought a DR650. I agree with the above comment that 98% of the time you will be in BMW800 country. Also since its already got 15,000 on it, thats going to finish up being A LOT of Km's for an Enduro engine. Im expecting to get 20,000km out my WR engine before it needs any major work, but not much more.
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