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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 11 Aug 2010
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Advice for my first bike

Hey, guys, it's great to be here.

I've been interested in doing a big trip on a bike for a long time now, mainly because of my trips in cars across Europe, and I would love to head out on a bike soon. However, I've yet to ride a bike! I have no real knowledge of what I should be looking for, so any tips would be great.

From browsing this and other forums, I've read lots of praise for Honda bikes. Are these the best?

Because of funding, I would prefer to get one from 250cc to 600cc.

Would I be better off with a small bike, as I'm not used to riding?

I plan to head across Europe, sticking to the roads and then go across Africa. I'd love to travel all the way down to South Africa. I would definetly like to go across Asia at some point though, so I'm after a bike which will be able to do all of these.

Any recommendations would be great!

I'm not knowledgeable to ask any further questions, though I'm sure I'll make future threads.

By the way, I'm loving reading all these amazing stories. Its been an idea that's stuck in my head for ages and coming on here and seeing all these fantastic pictures and tales? Every time I come on here, I act like a kid on Christmas Day. It's real pleasure to browse this wonderful forum.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 11 Aug 2010
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As someone who also wants and is planning to do some big trips I can say that the wait, saving and planning can take a very long time. And the bike you might want for those trips might not be the best one for trips across Europe.

So right now I would choose a bike that you can hone your skills on (get too much too soon and your confidence and possibly your health will suffer!) and enjoy the local roads here and over the channel.

Yes, Hondas are very good.

There are bad ones, but there are also some excellent ones. Having said that the other bike manufacturers are also very good and make great bikes....

What would help is knowing what kind of bikes you like, what your budget is and if you have a full licence yet.

O, and welcome to the board!!
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Old 11 Aug 2010
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Welcomw to the forum...

Just a heads up for you... If you use the search function and type in "what bike, which bike etc", You will have more reading than you can digest in 2 lifetimes !!
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  #4  
Old 11 Aug 2010
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Thanks for your replies!

I think that's why I'd prefer a smaller bike. Something that I can handle and if I got knocked off a few times, it's ok, haha. I'd like to get the bike I want to travel on, to practice on too, you know? So I can really get the feel of it and, hopefully, head off as soon as possible.

I like the look of the off road bikes. I think they look really cool and I'd like to get one of those. I really can't offer any more opinions on what bike I would like, though, as I'm so inexperienced with them!

I'd like to spend under £1500. I can go over this but I'd prefer not too. The quality of the bike really isn't important, as long as it is reliable and relatively comfortable. I don't want any extras or fancy equipment. Two wheels and a reliable engine will suit me perfectly.

I don't have any licenes yet, though I have looked into them.

I've spent some time looking at the XR400 and XR250 on this site! So far, I'm impressed with the general opinion. The bike seems good, though if you guys have any other recommendations,I'd really like to take them on board.
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Old 12 Aug 2010
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without putting the dampers on it all go do a DAS (direct Access bike test), before you do anything else.

Then decide the type of roads & bike you will be riding
On or off road, bear in mind Enfield bullets are still used in India on/off road
some off road bikes are un comfey where as a road bike is,
a traditional sit up and beg position you may find more appealing.
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Old 12 Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokin View Post
...and relatively comfortable.

...


I've spent some time looking at the XR400 and XR250 on this site!
D'oh!!

First chink in the armour!!

The XR is a great bike, but NOOOOOT comfortable!!

If those are your criteria, then £1500 opens up a stack of options:

Honda Transalp
Honda XRs
Honda Dominator
Kawasaki KLR
Kawasaki KLE
Suzuki DRs
Suzuki Freewind
Yamaha 600 Tenere
Yamaha Super tenere
Yamaha TDM850

to name but a few.

All are "offroad" styled, the TDM being most road biased and the XR least.

Basically, what I'm saying is you'd be well advised to go and search through old threads and discussions as TT suggested above), research the pros and cons of various models on the net, even just decide which bike you like the look of.

Then come back and ask for advice on a short list if you feel the need.

But just to confuse things.:
Honda CB-1, as a frist bike, would be great!!!

One bike I really regret selling.
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  #7  
Old 12 Aug 2010
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Thanks a lot, everyone.

I've spent a lot of time reading about them and I think I'm going to go for a XR400. It's light enough for me and I'm going to be a nervous rider, so I'm not interested in doing big speeds. because it's lights, it seems like a good choice for the different terrains I'd like to go across.

I just wonder though...I've seen a couple of ex-special forces XR400's on a website. Does anyone recommend them? Are they likely to be a good purchase because they're in my price range and they don't seem to have too many miles. It's definetly intrigued me but I'm not sure whether to go for it so soon or not.

Thanks, everyone.
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Old 12 Aug 2010
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XT600E... One of the best introduction to trail/overland bikes about !!

Simple, reliable, robust, cheap etc etc.
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  #9  
Old 12 Aug 2010
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I envy you starting off. Motorcycling is one of the best ways to waste the time you have left on this planet, enjoy it!

All of the bikes in that list look good. Take someone with you who knows a bit about bikes when you go (always a good idea even if you know about bikes, if only to avoid shiny bike syndrome!)

Have fun out there!

David
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  #10  
Old 13 Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbitson View Post
I envy you starting off. Motorcycling is one of the best ways to waste the time you have left on this planet, enjoy it!


That's an interesting way to look at it! Haha

Thanks a lot everyone. For now, I'll keep on doing my research but I'm glad I have a few models to compare.

Cheers, everyone.
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  #11  
Old 13 Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokin View Post


That's an interesting way to look at it! Haha

Thanks a lot everyone. For now, I'll keep on doing my research but I'm glad I have a few models to compare.

Cheers, everyone.

Hear hear !! Best line of the day !! lol
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  #12  
Old 13 Aug 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
XT600E... One of the best introduction to trail/overland bikes about !!
Simple, reliable, robust, cheap etc etc.
Being in the UK you're limited to what bikes will fit your requirements.
Ted has it right, IMHO. The XT is your best bet by far based on whats available and whats cheap and strong.

Having owned and traveled a bit on a XR400, I would avoid this bike. If you were doing ALL OFF ROAD, then I'd say the XR400 would be OK. But really not a road bike. The XT will be much better. It's also cheap and bullet proof. Check out the Yamaha forum for a true education on these bikes.

Many around in the UK, many already outfitted for travel. So pay a bit more and buy one that is all ready to go. Will save a packet doing it this way.

Plus One on doing the rider training course FIRST!
Then .... practice practice practice!!
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  #13  
Old 13 Aug 2010
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Don't forget Sam Manicom pretty much took his test and headed off to Africa. Buy his book to see how he got on.
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  #14  
Old 14 Aug 2010
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Are you intimating that training is useless ... a waste of time?
Just because a non motorcyclist used a motorcycle as a gimmick to make his writing marketable to make money, doesn't mean it's the best move for a new rider.

Mr. Manicom never rode a bike in his life .... and suddenly he's an expert rider based on his books? How does that work?

Not that riding skills are unobtainable or hard to learn but there are one or two things that can be learned from a course or from an experienced teacher. Who knows .... might save your life!

Manicom survived because he's lucky and made it down the road far enough to learn how to survive. Plenty don't survive. Training and practice merely improve ones odds and better prepare a rider for challenges once out in the wider world.

To extrapolate ... one could say, "why take a test at all? Just go!"

The British tiered licensing system in only valid in the UK. Once out of the country no one cares about your UK license. An Int. DL or passport usually is enough to get you by. I've never once been asked for my DL. Passport, bike papers is mostly what they want to see.
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  #15  
Old 14 Aug 2010
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Now step down from your soapbox and read what I actually wrote: "Sam took his test and headed to Africa. Buy his book to see how he got on."

I didn't say it was a great idea, or a stupid idea. I simply stated the fact he'd done it! Sheesh!
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