Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > Which Bike?

Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

AMERICA’S PREMIER MANUFACTURER OF MOTORCYCLE SUSPENSION

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 3 Dec 2007
DarrenM's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Coventry
Posts: 126
12 months searching, still confused....

Need advice and help please. Still having trouble deciding on what bike to take on a RTW tour. I would like a bike that will last and I can live with for what may be an indefinite period. As with past travels if I find a place I like I stay there for a while. Rather than a conventional trip around the world this will become my life.

Faults don't worry me as I am a competent engineer. Reliability, ease of service and repair with minimal spares being more of a concern. I use the facilities at small motorcycle shops for service work so tasks like an oil change should be simple.

I love to ride off-road but don’t mind hiring dirt bikes locally if my explorations are to exceed my chosen bikes limits. I’ve had great times in Asia with 250cc machines, a change of clothes and a toothbrush.

Speed is not important as I am happiest plodding along at 55mph. I am not tied to a budget but I wont spend a silly amount of money.

I have excluded bikes like KTMs, BMW R1150 / 1200GS, Suzuki VStrom and Triumph Tiger mainly due to size and weight.

My short list....

BMW F650GSD - Tough little bike but I cant love it. I am put off by reports of water pump failures, electrical niggles and its not the simplest to service.

Yamaha XT600 - Perfect for Africa, longevity of the engine and comfort concerns me.

Honda Transalp - Not pretty but reliable. Fuel range not the best, 35 Ltr tank available but made from GFK (glass fibre) and may disintegrate.

Honda Africa Twin - My hearts desire but heavy.

BMW R80 / 100 GS - Still under consideration but would need major overhaul and are selling for silly prices.

Lots of choice with the 2008 models but I don’t fancy a newly released bike.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as the time to buy is fast approaching. I guess what I am after is tough dependable transport for many years to come. To much choice can be a bad thing.

If I am still undecided then its a Land Rover with a Honda CR strapped to the back.

Thanks.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 3 Dec 2007
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 3,407
Thumbs up two more bikes to consider

Here's what you want:

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...-classic-31284
(get the latest Electra model)

....or a Harley-D MT350.
__________________
Dave
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 3 Dec 2007
DarrenM's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Coventry
Posts: 126
You may be right. I had an Enfield for a week in India.

The tappets worked loose every 150Km.
The forks disintegrated.
It kept jumping out of 2nd gear.
The air box fell off and when I refit it the electrics caught fire (fixed roadside with a knife and tape).
The brakes boiled dry.

All of the above due to a poorly prepared rental bike, but with all these problems it managed a 700Km final day and never left me stranded, they can be easily bodged roadside.

After looking around the NEC the only stand that put a smile on my face was the Enfield stand. There is something about them that I love and with the new ones returning 80mpg they are great for the environment.

Thanks
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 3 Dec 2007
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,514
The electra is an order of magnitude better than the old Enfield, without losing its charm.
best hurry, as they about to switch to a untit construction bike.... mind you that might be even better ( although it has efi )

Nice to see I am not the only convert
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 3 Dec 2007
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Frankfurt/Germany
Posts: 44
Spare parts will drive your decision

Hi Darren,
you have summarized it well...
I had the similar short list and chose for my Panam trip a KTM, not too heavy (packed not more than 200 kg) and quiet o.k. and reliable. The only problem left was the spare parts availability. Luckily there is a good coverage across the Americas (well a fair one).
Now after the trip (I still have the LC4 now equipped for desert rallyes as well as a 450 KTM for Rallyes) and planning a new trip I would most probalby go for a Japanese model with the highest coverage of spare parts all around the wolrd. A litte 250 Honda or Yamaha. These spare parts you get everywhere, in Russia, in Angola, in Mexico, amazing. These bikes are known and easy to repair. Tyres are no problem, engines are easy to fix, bearings are standard.
I guess to equip it for a RTW you will need to adjust a few things like suspensions, Wheels etc.
But as you said, when you have time and you can repair... Why not go for such a smaller option.
If your budget does not have a limit, then I have another suggestion: Go with a Maybach and have a worldwide Helicopter Service (just in case).
Have fun
Ras
__________________
Rasmus
www.panamericana.info
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 3 Dec 2007
DarrenM's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Coventry
Posts: 126
Now a Maybach sounds good.... how much of a premium do you think 4 Wheel Drive would cost ?? Any volunteers to be my Chauffer.

From my experiences small would be best for most of the trip its when I hit the western world I will want more power / comfort. I have toured New Zealand before and the roads are so amazing that it would be criminal not to expliot them if I return.

As I have learnt from the Hubb there is not one bike which can do it all so an idea is something like an XT600 for Africa / South America / Asia. Hire a Harley in the USA, a Camper van in Australia and a Hummer in the Middle East.

Or stick WP suspension on an Enfield.....

I have also considered converting a Transalp into a more retro styled bike. Remove all the plastics, fit single headlight, enlarge the tank to wrap around radiator and upgrade the suspension. See photo, it looks good while retaining some off-road ability and being good on-road. All the mods would save nearly 15 kgs giving it a dry weight of 175 kg.
Name:  attachment-1.jpg
Views: 702
Size:  22.8 KB

Last edited by DarrenM; 3 Dec 2007 at 23:13.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 3 Dec 2007
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sax, Spain
Posts: 919
what a choice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarrenM View Post
My short list....

BMW F650GSD - Tough little bike but I cant love it. I am put off by reports of water pump failures, electrical niggles and its not the simplest to service. yep, i see your point here
Yamaha XT600 - Perfect for Africa, longevity of the engine and comfort concerns me. They run and run with a bit of care, and they R TOUGH! My choice, im biased, I own one

Honda Transalp - Not pretty but reliable. Fuel range not the best, 35 Ltr tank available but made from GFK (glass fibre) and may disintegrate. yep that too
Honda Africa Twin - My hearts desire but heavy. OH yes! HEAVY...

BMW R80 / 100 GS - Still under consideration but would need major overhaul and are selling for silly prices. ALSO HEAVY!!!


Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as the time to buy is fast approaching. I guess what I am after is tough dependable transport for many years to come. To much choice can be a bad thing.

If I am still undecided then its a Land Rover with a Honda CR strapped to the back. PLEASE NO...... Not another Landy!

Thanks.
Bits in Bold my comments.

GO ON, Buy the XT, you know you want to..... sheepskin or Gel the seat so your Bum dont Numb, and you have a tougher than an old boot bike to take you anywhere. Mine is 18 yrs old and has been abused to death yet still runs sweet. wouldnt swap it for any other bike, she instills confidence, (TOO MUCH SOMETIMES) and has more grunt than a shed full of pigs!

Martyn
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 4 Dec 2007
DarrenM's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Coventry
Posts: 126
And I can buy a new one for £3200
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 4 Dec 2007
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Sax, Spain
Posts: 919
or ebay and save 1500?

saw a 2003 recently go on ebay for 1800quid with 6k miles on clock!

the 1500 quid saved would take you a good distance or mostly equip it with the panniers/racks/ etc GPS maybe even some other gear too.... and its had a shakedown run, I personally never trust BRAND NEW bikes anyway, they arent proven,

just a thought
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 4 Dec 2007
cozcan's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Izmir, Turkey
Posts: 101
I know that the problem is to reduce the options, but just out of curiosity I want to ask why KLR is out of the list. After almost ten years of XTing I am on a KLR for a year and it seems like a very good alternative for a RTW trip. Not popular in Europe but it is kind of jack of all hearts master of none, which seems like what you are looking for.

cozcan
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 4 Dec 2007
DarrenM's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Coventry
Posts: 126
A good KLR is not easy to find in the UK and if I go water cooled I would probably take an F650. My first bike was a Kaw KMX, that was tough. Prefer to buy new and ride it for 6000 miles, you never know the real reason someone is selling there bike secondhand.

My problem stems for my need for perfection, an unachievable goal maybe, but I like to get close. As all the veterans say there is no perfect bike so why compromise. I am in a fortunate position so I will take what I consider to be the right bike at the right time.

For Africa and South America I believe an XT600e would be perfect. The next part of the trip will be USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia for that I hope the new F800GS will fulfill my needs, if not perhaps a DL650. What to take through Asia and India I am unsure, maybe a simple Honda 125 or an Enfield.

Decision made, I start on an XT600e and see how things progress.

Thanks for the advice.

Last edited by DarrenM; 4 Dec 2007 at 13:59.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 4 Dec 2007
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Saudi Arabia
Posts: 178
650 V-Strom

I would try one before you discount it. www.vstrominternational.com has loads of info and have a look on www.advmotostuff for pictures of a bike with adventure gear fitted. £5200 new or less in UK and a great bike for the money, I have mine in Saudi Arabia and plan to ride it home to the UK.
Cheers
Ian
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 4 Dec 2007
Steve Pickford's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 1,027
Will have a 2002 F650 Dakar coming in very soon, 14,000 miles, ABS, Heated Grips & Hazards. Comes with tankbag (Wolfman?) & throwover panniers.

Let me know if interested, test ride no problem.

Steve
01865-319070
__________________
My photos: www.possu.smugmug.com
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 5 Dec 2007
stuxtttr's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Lutterworth,Midlands, UK
Posts: 470
Dont know if they still have them but Force Motorcycles had some ex Danish Army 650 BMWs in a while back they also have the older style BM check them out you just may find what you want. Failing that I swear by the TTR 250. Its a great do anything bike but you need to travel light.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 5 Dec 2007
DarrenM's Avatar
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Coventry
Posts: 126
Although my mind wonders daily I am going with the XT600 for Africa and South America then change bikes in the USA for the rest of my trip. Either the DL650 or the F800GS if it turns out to be good.

Will be cheaper to buy and kit out the F800 in the USA than the UK.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
12 months to go michaeltharme Travellers Seeking Travellers 0 3 Apr 2007 22:41
The whole continent in 4 months, is it possible?????? fcasado Europe 43 17 Dec 2005 16:43
I want to travel in the USA for 12 months - How do I get a V MikeO Trip Paperwork 8 10 Nov 2003 09:12
3 Months, California to Chile, 2up lovealive Route Planning 3 12 Oct 2002 22:36
Storing my bike in Chile for 8 months..... jayincanada South America 1 26 Feb 2002 12:19

 
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events

 

Latvia to Australia, an inspirational 5 month journey full of unexpected adventures!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

 

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 16:37.