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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 Post By VicMitch

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  #1  
Old 7 Jun 2014
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Advice on which bike to chose

Hello fellow riders.....

I am planning a long ride to Asia starting in Europe. Have been reading the blogs and looking at bikes here. Everyone says lighter is best of course, so I was originally thinking of something in the 650cc to 850cc range, but in light of other's experience have decided to go smaller/lighter. I live in Portugal and the bikes available here are what is typical for Europe: Hondas, Suzukis, Kawasakis, KTM etc, but the selection is limited compared to say what is available in northern or central Europe. The issue is there are road-ready bikes in the 500 to 650 range, or enduro/motoX style bikes that would need major modification that are lighter and a bit smaller. Many of the blogs recommend carburetor system Suzukis or Kawasakis, but they are no longer available in Europe.

Therefore, NEW bike candidates identified here in Lisbon so far are: Suzuki V-strom 650 (214 kgs), Honda CB500X (195 kgs), Kawasaki KLX450R (126 kgs), and the KTM 690 Enduro R (139 kgs). Both latter bikes will require significant rear frame modification to enable paniers/saddle bags, as well as turn signals etc. The Suzuki and Kawasaki are in the 8500+ Euro range, while the Honda is significantly cheaper at 6500 Euros, and the KTM is over 10,000 Euros. Any input or advice on these choices is most welcome.

Last edited by Mongo; 7 Jun 2014 at 18:18. Reason: spelling/syntax errors
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  #2  
Old 7 Jun 2014
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There is a dogma that small and light are always best for travelling, and they probably are when travelling to some places. I personally don't subscribe to that. I also don't know where in Asia you plan to go, if your staying on roads (paved or not) or are going off road. I have no experience with small bikes so I'll just tell you what the benefits of a Suzuki V-Strom, which I ride (2012) could be.

Having a bike that is designed to be ridden all day on all sorts of roads is going to be way more comfortable than a bike designed for short off road trips. A bike designed to carry 2 people and some luggage is going to have less issues carrying you and your luggage than most smaller bikes.

Depending on where you are going, there might be long streaches of straight smooth road with nothing to see, a bike that can cruise for 10 hrs at 110kph can be handy.

Tubeless tires make flats a non issue

being able to outrun corrupt cops and bad guys hopefully wont be needed, but having it there is nice.

I have ridden my V-Strom 30,000 km on every kind of road and have only changed 2 rear tires and one front, that's it, no other maintenance besides oil changes.

Whatever bike you decide on, I would recommend getting a slightly used one. You're going to beat the hell out of it anyway, better save a few thousand that you can use on your trip.
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  #3  
Old 8 Jun 2014
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reply to VicMitch

Thanks Vic for the advice. I have to say that the V strom is at the top of the list......precisely due to comfort and the mod cons. I am also looking at the Yamaha 660 Tenere as well.....the route I am planning has a fair amount of secondary and unpaved roads.

cheers
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Old 8 Jun 2014
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I just sold my WeeStrom. Loved it, but at 1.7?m/5'8 it was a top heavy swine with any 2/3 combination of luggage/pillion/poor road surface. As I ride off road only in circumstances where there is little other choice a road bike shape makes more sense as they will surprise you at survival level off road road ability. Having gone from 70 HP to 50 HP and previously toured with 23HP and 18HP (MZ and Enfield) I am used to the travel lighter/slower approach. I know riders who've followed the "light is right" fashion after the "Charlie and Ewan" fashion and now miss their 100HP tourers. Service requirements keep me away from the competition off-road type stuff, no reason you can't tour one, but if it only holds a litre of oil you'll be having more time off to change it.


There are no right answers only compromise. If you are a 6-foot tall prop forward shaped person with a set time table and a need for MX style rides the choice will be different again and may be impossible.


The Suzuki will not disappoint in all round use. In two years mine never missed a beat. Heidenau K60 tyres make a real difference on mud and snow despite the fact this is still really a road tourer, the Deathwings it'll come with are horrible old technology that aren't even nice on a wet autobahn. Ignore the Suzuki intervals (weird 3500 mile things like "inspecting" the air filter, a job creation scheme for mechanics), drop the oil every 5-6000 miles but change the filter every time and the air filter every other time. Iridium plugs go in and stay in.


Andy
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Old 8 Jun 2014
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Depends on a lot of factors. I like small, light bikes, so for a trip like that I would be happy with something in the 250cc - 400cc range... But that's me. I can certainly understand why some riders would prefer something bigger and roomier, faster, more cargo capacity, etc.

I think you should visit different dealerships, sit on a whole bunch of bikes, and figure out which you would be most comfortable with.

Ultimately others can only offer advice: you have to make the decision.
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Old 8 Jun 2014
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I have a 2012(new model) Wee Strom,great bike that punches well above its weight. I was happy until I went for the air filter. What the---------?
Who designs these things ? Admittedly it was the first time but well over an hour just to lift the tank.I ran an extra wire for a lighter socket and closed it up,never actually got to the filter. I will leave it to the shop.
On my 08 KLR with IMS tank,the air filter(under the side cover) & tank can be removed in just a few minutes. Same goes for my R90s BMW and RD350LC,and they never see a shop.
New bikes are loosing the plot.
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Old 15 Jun 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maccaoz View Post
I was happy until I went for the air filter. What the---------?
Who designs these things ?
Wait till you have to do the spark plugs...
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Old 15 Jun 2014
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I wouldn't get too caught up in what bike you 'should' ride, its more important to be on what you WANT to ride.
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  #9  
Old 15 Jun 2014
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my tuppence worth

I have a 650 Transalp and it has been brilliant for the last six years. I am trading it in shortly for something lighter as being only just on right side of 60 I am finding it a bit too "heavy". My criteria for a replacement is can I pick the damn thing up if I drop it. Even slow careful riders come across mud, diesel on the roads and wet grass on camp sites which can catch any one out.


My only advice would be to lay any prospective bike on its side and see if you can get the damn thing upright without causing a hernia, dropped crown jewels, or putting your back out. Admittedly motorcycle dealers do not like this type of test but better you find out before you part with hard cash.


As an aside, when me and my mate went away the other year he was on a Weestrom and it blew me into the weeds on the motorway and used a lot less fuel. It also handled like a dream.


Best of luck with whatever you decide.


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  #10  
Old 16 Jun 2014
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Yamaha wr250r (not wr250f which is a racing bike requiring servie allmost daily).

The bike is cheap, bullet proof, simple to service and repair, gets good mileage, and is one of the easiest bikes to handle... and it is very capable. But, if you'r the type that likes to bring a lot of stuff, you quickly find that you negate the benefits of light and nimble and would wish for a different bike.

Best tip is to pack as light as humanly possible. You don't need to make any mods to any bike to take you where you are going, though some mods could be beneficial. As for the wr250r, the following should be conscidered:

Long range tank
Centerstand
Wind screen and handlebar protectors with wind protection
Strengthening of subframe - though not really necessary if you pack light
More comfy seat
12V socket for charging electronics
Soft saddlebags, waterproof

I personally prefer innertubes, but that is because I sometimes find myself on sand and other loose surfaces where I want to deflate the tires. If you ride tubeless, this is a very bad idea. Changing an innertube on a bike like the 250 is no big deal - promise.
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