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  #1  
Old 16 Jun 2013
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Choosing your travel bike

I haven't had to choose a travel bike for a long time. When I chose a R100GS it seemed to be the obvious and only option at the time.

Getting away from the old versus new, hi-tech versus lo-tech, reliability and serviceability stuff, which are nevertheless important considerations, what other factors would influence your choice, for example:
  • Lightweight
  • Good load lugging ability
  • Off road ability
  • Comfort
  • Pillion space and comfort
  • Fuel capacity
  • Fuel economy
  • Security
  • Fun to ride
  • Cheap to buy
  • Common model all over the world
The list is endless - just imagine you were planning to set off on a long overland trip in, say, September and budget wasn't a problem what would you go looking for?
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  #2  
Old 16 Jun 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnon View Post
I haven't had to choose a travel bike for a long time. When I chose a R100GS it seemed to be the obvious and only option at the time.

Getting away from the old versus new, hi-tech versus lo-tech, reliability and serviceability stuff, which are nevertheless important considerations, what other factors would influence your choice, for example:
  • Lightweight
  • Good load lugging ability
  • Off road ability
  • Comfort
  • Pillion space and comfort
  • Fuel capacity
  • Fuel economy
  • Security
  • Fun to ride
  • Cheap to buy
  • Common model all over the world
The list is endless - just imagine you were planning to set off on a long overland trip in, say, September and budget wasn't a problem what would you go looking for?
Yamaha XT1200 SuperTenere, no question.
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  #3  
Old 16 Jun 2013
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I think that you left off one of the more important ones--that you're very familiar with the bike before taking off. maybe this isn't an issue if you're going to buy it long before your trip, as you'll have a chance to familiarize yourself with it, but if you have less time it might be helpful to get a bike similar to your last one.

another issue is the depth of third party providers for the bike, providing everything from bigger fuel tanks to luggage racks, etc. Just makes things easier.

as far as what to look at; I would probably look at the Tenere 660 or maybe a tricked-out xchallenge if you can find one. but it depends what you mean by "long overland trip"--if you mean a coast-to-coaster on pavement trip in the US I would get an R1200GS, if you're going to Africa, etc., something smaller.
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  #4  
Old 16 Jun 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docsherlock View Post
Yamaha XT1200 SuperTenere, no question.


The first thing in the list is "lightweight"... now a 1200 doesn't seem lightweight to me...

But then, this is such an open question that either nobody will answer it anymore or everybody and you'll end up with the same list almost as you would if you just write down every single motorcycle on the market available.

For what it's worth, after different years of traveling, we decided that any overland trip (after the one we are on now) that would be 2-up will be on a 125-400cc bike. So we can skip the motorcycle gear and it's way more fun to ride and you can do everything with them, they're cheap, reliable, spare parts all over the world (honda...), you don't need any speed above 100km/hr anyway when overlanding (except if you're the highway type)... basically the list is also endless why we would take on smaller bikes than big ones. Anyway, did on a big bike, was fun and comfy, but the €€€ was always on my mind so no more for me... small(er) is way more fun!
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  #5  
Old 16 Jun 2013
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Choosing your travel bike.

When it comes to the bike, take the one your most happy with. While the big trail bikes seem to have most areas covered, big tank, a huge range of accessories etc, I will be riding something quite different at the end of the month, when I head to turkey on my 2009 Triumph Bonneville T100.

Variety is the spice of life.

Tom
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  #6  
Old 16 Jun 2013
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Take the one that you WANT to take not necessarily the one you should take. Your adventure will be full of emotions, you need to be riding a bike that you love. Some people will ride a clapped out moped around the world because it 'does it' for them. You can't ride a 'spreadsheet' after all.
When you're having a tough day and you see your dream bike with you, it'll stir your emotions to get you through the day.
Either that or just by a DR650!!
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  #7  
Old 16 Jun 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motoreiter View Post
as far as what to look at; I would probably look at the Tenere 660 or maybe a tricked-out xchallenge if you can find one. but it depends what you mean by "long overland trip"--if you mean a coast-to-coaster on pavement trip in the US I would get an R1200GS, if you're going to Africa, etc., something smaller.
I'm happy with my choice even though she's an old girl now, I still have every confidence in her ability to do what I need.

As with all these things a 'long overland trip' is whatever you want it to be and I'm interested in how your type of trip would affect your choice of bike.

Some places there is no choice but to take an off road capable bike but some travellers hope to travel round the world on beautiful tarmac road staying in luxurious hotels all the way - which may be possible, I've no idea.
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  #8  
Old 17 Jun 2013
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There are guys taking racers and choppers "off road". It also depends on your idea of off road... If it's just a gravel road, then you can ride anything on it. If it's real off road and you want to make speed, then you will need something appropriate, but then you wouldn't go two up...?!

Like kateandwill said, take any bike that you like. It is the most important thing. We are now on DRZ400 because we do as much as possible this trip on dirt roads or off road. But for the next one we will ride on "normal" roads again, ie. the small ones on a map. And that you can do on anything you want, the locals do it so why can't we? Just remember some wise words: you will never wish your bike was bigger or heavier once you are on the trip. If you like your old beemer, take her!
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  #9  
Old 17 Jun 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnon View Post
I haven't had to choose a travel bike for a long time. When I chose a R100GS it seemed to be the obvious and only option at the time.

Getting away from the old versus new, hi-tech versus lo-tech, reliability and serviceability stuff, which are nevertheless important considerations, what other factors would influence your choice, for example:
  • Lightweight
  • Good load lugging ability
  • Off road ability
  • Comfort
  • Pillion space and comfort
  • Fuel capacity
  • Fuel economy
  • Security
  • Fun to ride
  • Cheap to buy
  • Common model all over the world
The list is endless - just imagine you were planning to set off on a long overland trip in, say, September and budget wasn't a problem what would you go looking for?
hi , it depends on your weight and your size , i am 5ft 11 and normal weight so for a RTW bike i would choose a 660 tenere or a honda transalp , they are light and very easy to work on plus parts can be found all over the world also remember travel light
listen to the hard core travellers they have great tips on packing etc etc .
good luck
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  #10  
Old 17 Jun 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oo-SEB-oO View Post
If you like your old beemer, take her!
I will, but simply because I like her, it is not a reasoned decision. It was your post in another thread that made me wonder how travellers decide. Experienced travellers would make different choices from first timers. If experienced travellers were to explain how they select their bikes this may be of help to some who are planning to set off on their first trip.

From what I see on here and elsewhere many first time travellers assume that the latest thing turned out by BMW/Honda/Yamaha etc. is the best choice because the marketing is cleverly orientated towards them as well as the wanabee 'Starbucks' traveller. They see a bike fully equipped with panniers etc. and all they have to do is add their kit and head for the horizon.

At the other end of the scale some travellers opt for a small old bike just to add a challenge to their trip and their experiences would be of interest to others.

I'm sure budget is a significant factor in most choices but for this hypothetical scenario take it out of the equation.
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  #11  
Old 17 Jun 2013
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Originally Posted by doubledriver View Post
hi , it depends on your weight and your size , i am 5ft 11 and normal weight so for a RTW bike i would choose a 660 tenere or a honda transalp , they are light and very easy to work on plus parts can be found all over the world
Good points
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  #12  
Old 17 Jun 2013
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well if the question is 'how did you decide' rather than 'what would you ride' I'll chip in two cents.....

First big trip I knew naff all about bikes, so I picked up a copy of 'biketrader' and looked for something suitable looking for around 2 grand. I ended up with a Cagiva Elefant. Too big for a solo short-arse, too unreliable for a long trip with a mechanically incompetent rider. It was awesome.

Second trip I had no money and wanted something funny. As I was working delivering pizza I got an old pizza bike for 200 quid. It was awesome.

This trip I wanted something visceral and old-school. I built a Metisse. It breaks down all the time, goes through chains like nothing else but makes me laugh everytime I kick it over. We are having a great time!

Whatever you choose you will have a great time, and there's no point regretting your choice as long as it was YOUR choice, just get on with it!
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  #13  
Old 17 Jun 2013
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For early trips I chose a certain brand based on it's reputation, the fact it was in Chris Scotts book and because I could buy all the bits I just knew I needed via mail order.

Next I went with a Triumph Bonneville and an Enfield because they lacked the exact technology that I couldn't handle myself on the first bike. I'd learned to do without a lot of the mail order bits and but still made a few.

I now ride a Weestrom because the performance is pretty much OK as delivered. I'm concentrating on buying petrol not shiney bits of aluminium or a warm corporate feeling or taking the thing to bits to try and make it perfect. The Wee is an overweight cheapo bike with poor suspension or a decent ranged, efficient, reliable, do-anything type depending how you look at it.

My next bike will be a decision between my urge to just put the keys in and ride (Gleestrom or CB500X) or my desire for something a little more involving (Enfield Bullet or a real Britbike classic). If my aim was serious long term travel, free of annual inspections and time constraints I'd get a 125.

When I started I would indeed spend hours worrying that bike A had a 19 litre tank but a 19-inch front wheel while bike B was 21-inch but only 12 litres. I hope I'm over that and will work round whatever I decide to do with the bike I bought months before. When you find yourself a thousand miles from home with a 40 mph bike, or trying to get a ton of 1200cc behemoth through waist deep mud the temptation is to try and buy a teleporter. I think experience shows that giving in to this just changes what you can do easily.

Andy
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  #14  
Old 17 Jun 2013
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Sadly good bikes don't come cheap! If you're looking for a cheap bike, you'll have to compromise on quality.
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  #15  
Old 18 Jun 2013
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Choosing a bike

For me, being on the taller and larger end of the spectrum I chose the BMW GSA 1200 and no issues other than I should have bought the enduro transmission with the lower first gear.
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