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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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Old 28 Feb 2008
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africa twin or bmw f650??

hi all im half way through my plans for a trip through latin america.plan on riding from mexico to chille but cant decide between a f650 or africa twin.ive found an AT with 55000 mile on the clock which looks well looked after just had a new petrol pump,exhaust,tyres and in constant daily use but like the look of the f650 but not the reviews.ive read some bad reports on the bmw(some good)but more badcan anyone can give me a push in the right direction ???cheers
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Old 28 Feb 2008
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two very different bikes, the f650 is a bit lighter but doesn't have the power.

Africa twins can be a pig to ride off-road in bad conditions, but are good on tarmac. AT should be more reliable. Go for the middle ground and get an Elefant!
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Old 28 Feb 2008
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Have you considered a V-Strom? That, if it doesn't get out of budget.They seem to be bullet proof. If you'll have a lot of tarmac you might want to give it a thought.

Are you going alone or will you have a pillion? If I would go alone, I wouldn't consider such a big bike as the Africa-Twin.
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Old 10 Apr 2011
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If your looking for bad reports, you will find them.

Both should be good. Far less reliable bikes have been used...

To watch for in the BMW:
- waterpump is made of plastic and seems to go with a lot of bike around 50K KMs. Changing it is easy, except for accessing it. There's a solid oil feedline right in front of the engine casing that you need to remove. So changing the oil line for a flexible one should sort that.
- get new filling on the seat
- steering head bearings are easy to go on an F650. Make sure they are in top shape before leaving
Check The BMW F650 Technical FAQs for further info

To watch for with the Africa Twin:
- fuel pump (chang it for a Mikuni vacuum or Facet)
- regulator/rectifier: change it for a modern MOSFET type, or at least bring a spare and check the connectors and wiring. Bad contacts ruin the R/R
- get new filling on the seat
- make sure the chain has the right amount of slack and the sprockets make a good fit. Otherwise you'll ruin the outgoing shaft and bearing. Not something to repair in the middle of Africa

and for both:
- stock shocks and springs are, well... not the best. Too light for overlanding fully laden. Not undoable though, plenty of people have done so. But most who have changed for proper springs/shocks are very satisfied. Makes your ride more comfy and better handling bike.
- bearings and seals. Make sure they are in good shape before you set of.

Me, myself am using a Twin to ride Africa, but have ridden the F650 in South Africa before. Liked it because its a small bike, though relativly heavy. Very good on fuel economy if you be easy on the throttle. Seats on both bikes are shit though
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