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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.
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  #1  
Old 25 Nov 2008
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250cc Yamaha or Suzuki?

Hey guys,

Four of us blokes down here in New Zealand are lining up a big motorbike trip for May 2010. We're aiming to head from Vladivostok, Russia to London, England (via Mongolia and the Stans). We're in the process of deciding which bikes to buy at the moment, and I was just keen to get some other perspectives, as we've heard so many different stories from various dealers. The main bugger is that some of us are on our learners licences, and will be until shortly before we leave to go on the trip. Because of this, we're keen to buy 250cc bikes and give the trip a crack on those. I realise 650s might be better, but if at all possible at least some of us would like to do it on the smaller bikes.

We're currently tossing up between a Yamaha XT 250 and a Suzuki DR 250. They seem like pretty similar bikes, at least on paper. If we go with the Suzukis, then at least one of the boys will go for the 650 version of the DR bike. There's also a 400cc version of the DR, but I've heard this might not be so appropriate for long-distance trips. I'm not sure that Yamaha has a suitable 600cc model.

Real keen for any feedback on these options. Thanks heaps.
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  #2  
Old 25 Nov 2008
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I would rate

Yammy TTR250; lecky foot, comfy(ish) seat, decent headlight.



Honda XR250 better off-road, kick only (but mine was a one or two prods)

Both air-cooled and pretty bullet-proof.

For 400cc;

XR great off-road but kick only
DRZ E great off-road, lecky foot and can add kick for $150usd
DRZ S Better on road but will still cope with rough stuff.

All buy the same bike if you can. So much easier on the spares and repairs. Also, fuel range, cruising speed and fatigue will be equal.
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  #3  
Old 25 Nov 2008
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I second the Yamaha TTR 250. Its a bike that would be perfect for the trip. The only problem would be its small tank. There is (or was) some longish dirt sections between Khavarovsk and Chita where you will need a longer range.
I did the same trip on a Suzuki Djebel 250 in 2002. It had a big tank and was a great bike, no problems at all. Maybe you can get your hands on these in NZ... I bought mine in Japan, sold it sadly in Barcelona.
Another is a twin headlight Honda Baja 250. Big tank and a great offroader.

Pack light.
All of you should have the same bike, honest!

A great journey.
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  #4  
Old 25 Nov 2008
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Hi Robbie. You have come to the right place for advice eh? Already, someone who has done the same trip, on a similar bike to what you are looking for has offered his advice. And you message had only been up 12 hours! Thanks Nat.

The most important advice I could give you, after traveling and hosting travelers for 10 years, is all get the same model if you can. I have had travelers reach NZ and sell or send bikes home, and re-buy in NZ just so they could have the same bike. Buy and read or watch Austin Vince's books and DVDs, about their trip around the world on 6 DR350 Suzukis, called Mondo Enduro. Ripping Yarns sell them on line.

And don't worry that a 250 will be too small. Plenty of people have done more ambitious trips on smaller bikes and found them completely suitable. There si a thread running now about some people who have (and some people planning to do) a similar trip from the opposite direction on Honda CG125s. These are push-rod single road bikes! Simon Gandolfi old man on a bike Rode the South American version, the Honda Cargo for about 50,000 km through North and South America. Also look for a DVD African Odyssey, put out this year by the self-described "Four Fellas From Whakatane".

Nat's advice about the Suzuki Djebel 250 is good. They are available in NZ, as Jap imports. It may be hard to find four good ones, but you do have time.

My last advice at this time? Travel light, consider soft pannier (look at Andy Strapz Expedition Bags), and meet and talk to as many travelers as you can. Why not come down to the HU Travelers Meeting 20,21,22 Feburary? The link is at the top of the NZ/Aussie section here on the HUBB.

You are going to have some fun.....

Regards

Nigel in NZ
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  #5  
Old 25 Nov 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieNat View Post
The only problem would be its small tank. There is (or was) some longish dirt sections between Khavarovsk and Chita where you will need a longer range

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Marx
My last advice at this time? Travel light, consider soft pannier (look at Andy Strapz Expedition Bags
Maybe something along these lines then
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Old 26 Nov 2008
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I've took influence from the Mondo Enduro boys and have a Suzuki DR350 I'm planning to ride over to Siberia from the UK.

It's a nice light bike, but big and high enough to handle rocky terrain and deep ruts. What appealed to me about the bike is its simplicity. SOHC, aircooled, single slide carb. I've got the off-road spec model that doesn't have a battery, just kick and go.
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  #7  
Old 8 Dec 2008
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Awesome, thanks heaps for the responses. I appreciate the feedback on the bikes - the TTR looks like a really good option. Unfortunately it soundsl like they've stopped importing them new into New Zealand, and there don't seem to be many decent used ones to come by (I've seen one on Trademe). We'll keep our eyes out, and otherwise will go with the Suzukis. Will definitely try and all get the same bike.
Cheers for the suggestion re the HUBB meet, Nigel - I reckon we'll try and head down for that. Would be good to meet some adventure bikers in NZ.
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Old 8 Dec 2008
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Old 8 Dec 2008
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Is this the Dr250 you are talking about ??

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  #10  
Old 8 Dec 2008
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Are you Buying NEW or USED?

If you can find used DR350's in good shape, they would be a great choice.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 20:08.
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  #11  
Old 10 Dec 2008
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Yes, Big Yellow Tractor - that's the 250 we've been eyeing up. It looks like the off-road version though.

At this stage we're aiming to buy new. Seems to be worth it as the difference in price between a decent used bike and a new one doesn't seem to be that much. Thanks for the tip with the KLX - I've seen the model, but haven't pursued it much further than that. I'll check it out!
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Old 10 Dec 2008
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Not sure on what your bike availability is like there, but you also mentioned the XT250, I take thats the newer version of the 225 Serow, which is a legend. If your mate want a bigger bike no harm in going with XRs 250 400 and 600s are all good but think about gearing for road work.
I think its good advice though to go with just 1 bike for all, does one of you need bigger when your all travelling together???
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  #13  
Old 17 Dec 2008
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sounds like a great trip!
i would like to do something similar in the future only the two big questions on my mind were fuel (can they take poor grade and also do they have the range) and whether they could carry all the luggage?
thanks matt
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  #14  
Old 22 Dec 2008
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thanks for all the advice - really appreciated. we've ended up going for suzuki DRs - two 250s and two 650s. we chucked a proposal to suzuki's head office and they gave us a pretty sweet deal, so we ended up taking that. i think the bikes will be fine to take all our gear - we'll be packing light, have pack-racks + will get soft side panniers. the 650s can always be loaded up with a bit of extra gear if necessary. i'm not too sure on the fuel issue - i know the optimal fuel is 96 octane, but i assume if you take octane booster you can use poorer quality fuel?
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  #15  
Old 22 Dec 2008
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Great choices! Good luck on your prep.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 20:08.
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