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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 18 Jul 2011
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Best Bike for USA- Somewhere South

I have had over 60 people stay at my place with a variety of bikes and I started to look at their reliability. Here is my list of bikes and some of their problems. I will try to be as objective as possible.

2 BMW R100. 1 had problems with a small spring in the gear box which was fixed very quickly. The other had a stud strip in the cylinder which was also replaced easily.
5 BMW 1150 GS. 3 had final drive problems
5 BMW 1200 GS at least 3 had final drive problems
12 650GS most had no probllems but some had rear shock problems and water pumps
2 Aprilia 650 pegasos 1 had a rear shock problem
1 Buell Uly It hade no problems
3 Honda Transalps 1 had no serious problems. The other 2 are somewhere in South America and have had some minor problems}
1 AfricaTwin. As far as I know no problems
1 Kawasaki 750 Sceptre from the 80's . No problems
8 Kawasaki 650 KLR´s. 1 had it's engine rebuilt 3 times
2 KTM 640. 1 had problems with valves.
4 V-Stroms only minor problems
1 Suzuki GSXR750 with Jesse Panniers- No problems apart from the rider suffering from a sore butt
1 DR650 No serious problems
1 Suzuki ts185 No problems
2 Ural with side cars No serious problems 1 of them is somewhere in Central America
1 Yamaha 125 Lots of problems but lots of miles. It had been from England to South Africa and was a little the worse for wear. Since replaced with a Honda 125
1 Yamaha 500xs from the 70's Lots and lots of problems
1 Yamaha Seca 600 It had several problems but all easily and cheaply fixed
In conclusion I would say that any bike will get you there and back but that all of the Jap bikes (with the exception of the Yamaha 500XS which was in bad condition and I think was a POS in its day) do it relatively easily and cheaply. The 650 BMW seems to be a very good bike although the rear shock and water pump are a problem. The big BMWs are great if you have the money and the warranty. They are great 2 up and the BMW dealer gives you free coffee.
I will take a long trip in the not too distant future and am almost sure I will do it on a Jap bike.
Your experience may vary depending on rider's ability and mileage.
If anyone is interested in a place to stay in Mexico City our door is normally open.
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Old 18 Jul 2011
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Another point I forgot is fun. There seems to be not connection between how much the bike costs, the value of the bikes in the list goes from about 750 dlls to 20 thousand, and the amount of fun people have. In fact the Australian guy with his 750 dll Yamaha 600 Seca seemed to be having a great time and was as unworried as anyone could be.
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Old 21 Jul 2011
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Originally Posted by garrydymond View Post
5 BMW 1150 GS. 3 had final drive problems
5 BMW 1200 GS at least 3 had final drive problems
Only 6 out of ten?? You´ve got to be kidding !!

They are great bikes in many ways, I really like them, but this shaft thing I just don´t understand. It´s not even such a complicated part, and one that should go on just about forever on a bike like this, simple as that.
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Old 21 Jul 2011
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If I ever get the opportunity to tour down to South America, unless I'm carrying a passenger or have a ton of camping gear, I will likely be on a Japanese bike in the 125-400 range. Cheaper on gas and maintenance, and generally easier to get parts.
Bruce Clarke --- 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R (black)
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Old 21 Jul 2011
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I think it may actually be 4 out of 5 of the 1200's had final drive problems. 1 of the 1150's had work done before the trip to avoid the problem.
I think they are great bikes to ride but way too expensive to repair and not as reliable as some other bikes.
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