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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 19 Jul 2008
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Any manageable/short bikes for weak bloke trip around Africa?

Hello hubbers I hope you can help!

It's a new slant on an old question - I'm after a bike that is easy to handle (possibly short) for a trip around Africa.

I'm looking for a bike with the following requirements:

1) Easy to handle
2) Low (if possible)
3) Big tank
4) Enough grunt to keep up with 650s
5) Electric Start

Two years ago I was diagnosed with an illness that is like arthritis but affects the muscles. It made my muscles waste away a little and I have not since regained full strength. Although I'm now strong enough to handle a bike I am looking for something that will make my life a little easier. Despite this I have decided to upset the doctors by embarking on a trip around Africa - what can you do?

I used to ride an XT 600 tenere ('89) - i took her to india! She was a beauty but was very tall. Although I would love something that tall again I don't think i could manage it.

I am looking for a bike that can keep up with my friends. They are on Suzuki Dr 650 and honda Xr 650.

I would consider lowering any of the above if suggested and would consider any engine size - if a 250 could perform then that would be great.

I will be using soft luggage and will not be taking much! (just Panniers and tent!)

I hope you can help and will let you know how i get on.

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Old 19 Jul 2008
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I'm on the market for something similar, although the criteria is based mostly due to the lack of desire to go fast. However, the Suzuki DR-Z 400 is very nippy, weighs just over 100KGs (130kg dry weight)... Took a 30 minute test ride on one, it's probably lighter than the CG125 that I had, has fantastic acceleration, holds the ground well, and stops very well too. Tearing away down a country lane at 70mph was fine and took a cattle grid in the rain at 60 and nothing, very well behaved bike.

Another few selling points are that there is so much written up about how to modify the damn things... and so many compatible mods available for it that you can see why others do RTW on them. You can get upto a 28Litre tank for it, and a lowered comfortable seat. Maintenance is easy based on the fact it's not got overly complicated technology

However, I've heard (not tried), the Serow is fantastic too, although only 250, I'd rather settle for a little bit more weight and more power. My advice is to try both and see how you feel. They're both favourites for that sort of thing.... (which translates:)... there's plenty of stuff written about modifying it for your needs.
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And let's not forget: The Suzuki DRZ Repository (a side project I'm working on)
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Old 19 Jul 2008
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I've had a 250 serow for 9 months now and have covered over 5000 miles. This bike and the 225 before it are stunning and punch well above their weight. It'll do 65 all day although it's happier at 55 for sure. I don't imagine high speed is going to be the main concern really. This bike has a low seat height and weighs nothing so it's easy to pick up. The engine is really smooth and relatively torquey for a 250. One problem though is the short oil change intervals of 3000 miles, or less off road, as it only has 1.3 litres in the sump. Finding one isn't that straight forward either as it's not an official import to the UK. Bill Smiths of Chester, where I got mine, imports a few each year, try him.

I did 2500 miles on a DR650 last month and was very impressed with it. It felt like a bigger version of the Serow. Very smooth and great handling. But it felt twice the weight of the Serow which feels like a powered mountain bike! The DR is happy at 80 though if you're going to do a lot of high speed travelling. Check this report on the XT225 to help you make up your mind.


Also check out XT225/250 Rider's Group for some great info.
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Old 22 Jul 2008
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Location: Lancashire England
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Mornin' whisky,

I'll give another vote for the 250 Serow.

Fabulous and sturdy little bike. If you were at Ripley this year then mine was the bike that everyone was trying out for size!

Last edited by The Cameraman; 22 Jul 2008 at 06:35. Reason: Spelling correction
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Old 22 Jul 2008
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The serrow especially the 250 is a great bike. Also consider the TTR 250, Louise used one for her trip, althought the seat is high you can fit a lowering link and drop the forks in the clamps a wee bit.

I have a TTR 250 and used it for a trip to Africa it performed flawlessley on the trip through spain sitting happy at 60-70 mph all day long.

If you are heading into the soft stuff the lack of weight is always a bonus, just dont load it up too much.

One important factor to consider is how much sand you will be riding in.

If you are crossing a lot of dunes, you may find that they sap the power of a smaller engine meaning its harder to keep momentum.

The Xt 600 is a great all rounder and there is a lowering link available, As above the DRZ 400 is lighter and nearly the same power (lots more than 250's) The DRZ can also be fitted with a lowering link.

If you are riding in a pack then electric start is the way foward with a set of jumper leads between you.

Happy travels another option is the New Tenere plenty of grunt and good weather protection, but physically tall although again a lowering link is available. I've just got one and its great in the rough for a big bike thats also good on the road.

Last edited by stuxtttr; 22 Jul 2008 at 07:01. Reason: bit more
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