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So you've done it - got inspired, planned your trip, packed your stuff and you're on the road! This section is about staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure. And crossing borders, war zones or oceans!
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Tire Changing!Grant demystifies the black art of Tire Changing and Repair to help you STAY on the road! "Very informative and practical." See the trailer here!
Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
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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.
I can't believe that 200kg bikes (dry weight!!) are the best two adventure bikes. I think there is to much of a lean towards 'touring' and not 'adventure'. I have not ridden one of these giant bikes but can you even pick them up if you drop them (without the help of 15 local villagers) ... bearing in mind they have fuel, oil and luggage weight on top of that 200kg?? I am sure 'adventuring' on a nice smooth tarmac/dirt road is fine with these very nice looking juggernauts but as soon as the going gets a bit tough it must be ankle breaking hard work!!
Well, i grab my ancient R1100GS with 41 litre fuel tank and full of luggage up in a matter of few seconds and i'm 75kg myself. I estimate the bike's weight about 260kg with all that equipment on. Probably the boxer's low centre of gravity and landing on cylinder guard counts, but i don't have a serious issue to pick it up even the whole day.
Bleieve it or not i ride it offroad and i like this big pig. It's so good on surfaced road while it can do some offroad (well sure not that good as some 100kg weighting 250cc 2-stroke) and i need serious two-uping capability that keeps me away of any single cylinder bike that aren't real "swiss army kinves" like the big trailies are, especially if carring passanger and/or lot of luggage. It's all about the driver in the end, the technical specs of the bike are secondary - Jimmy Lewis drove more than 200kg weighting BMW R900RR into podium of 2000 Paris Dakar rallye while many Dakar "experts" thinked these bikes will drowin into sand on first second - they were seriously mistaken. Simo Kirssi competed on strict cross track with the new HP2, also KTM 950 SE held many surprises compeating with 80kg lighter single cylinder machines and having the same track times(!) I think this showed the (offroad) world clearly what they can really do.
So please don't underestimate the bikes, it's rather up to you as a driver. Pick the one you're satisfied with but don't bash the bike, stick on to your own driving abilities.
I agree for soloing maybe the big trailies aren't that good choice, but for two uping adventure touring you don't have much choice...
[This message has been edited by Margus (edited 18 January 2006).]
Originally posted by PaulJ: I can't believe that 200kg bikes (dry weight!!) are the best two adventure bikes. I think there is to much of a lean towards 'touring' and not 'adventure'. I have not ridden one of these giant bikes but can you even pick them up if you drop them (without the help of 15 local villagers) ... bearing in mind they have fuel, oil and luggage weight on top of that 200kg?? I am sure 'adventuring' on a nice smooth tarmac/dirt road is fine with these very nice looking juggernauts but as soon as the going gets a bit tough it must be ankle breaking hard work!!
It all depends on how you define "adventure" doesn't it?
"Adventure touring" has come to mean "big trailies" - defined originally by the BMW R80G/S, and expanded somewhat since then.
For those of us heading off fully loaded on a continent spanning trip - they're brilliant! A load of luggage and a passenger on anything less is not fun - remember on most of these types of trips 95% of the time you're on pavement, or good off-pavement roads - and that's where these bikes really shine. Off into the really rough stuff, all 1% of the average trip, they're no motocrosser - but with care and sense they'll do amazingly well.
And you get used to the idea of taking the luggage OFF before trying to pick it up! On our G/S we take off the topbox and it's easy enough, or if we feel particularly strong just lift it as is. The boxers have a big advantage - it's a two step process!
If I wanted to do South America solo, riding into the middle of nowhere on a serious gnarly off-road expedition, and lightly loaded, an XR400 or 650 or similar would be great - but that would be a VERY different ride! Perhaps that definition needs a different name - any ideas??
For what it's worth, I have personally been very impressed by how well both the R11/12xxGS and the KTM work off-road - the KTM I expect to work well, the BMW I don't - but it does - a triumph of engineering. First time I rode an R1100GS I was blown away at how easy it was to ride off-road - if you haven't tried one, do so.
Journo's are a pretty low life form, the lost Mr Walsh excepted. There's no such thing as unbiased road test. "I'm a fast road rider", therefore a slow bike gets slated, "I'm an old-fashioned push-rod kinda guy", therefore a bike with widgets gets slated. If you want to know how a RZXGS-9000 rides you have to ride it. The UK journo's lord it up over the 1200 GS. "This bike is the perfect continent crosser" they say. But are any of them talking from experience, or just dreaming? How can any single bike be the perfect continent crosser when we all cross continents differently?
Journo's have day job, therefore can't tell you what bike you should be riding for a long trip. The parameters are different.
Think about running a marathon. Is a pro telling you a sub 3:30 time is what you should aim for correct? Or does everyone run the marthon for personal reasons?
That was the article about - not to create ideals like you try to make (they don't exist as we all know), but to separate the bikes into different fields to answer those questions. We shouldn't read the article in it's end conslusion - "that bike is the best!" (it's based on the speciefic results the all testers had agreed on not meaning it's the best for your needs), but we should read it's core analysis - how various bikes perform on similar and different fields, what cons and pros did they found, what can be improved etc etc so YOU can decide how any of those bikes meet YOUR criterias and needs.
I would like to point to the influence of the manufacturers on the journalists too.
BMW gives its bike away to any overlander who is going to give them exposure, for example. They have made the image of overlanding their own. These definitions are created and reinforced every time one of the beneficiaries gets on TV.
Maybe it really is as good as they say. I don't know. But just imagine if they put it last! Think of the upset.
They know which side of their bread is buttered, and so of course BMW and KTM come in first. For the same reason British mags invariable put the top seller in the UK first in their reviews: they have to please their readers in order to please their shareholders.
I would take a lot more notice of people on this site and their experiences - however "amateur" - than any magazine review.
Margus what are you doing falling over in the driveway?
Simon I think its chicken Vs egg argument. It is very likely the press influences peoples decisions. If a bike gets rave reviews then its likely to sell well, not that it sells well so the press gives it great reviews. I think most bikers have a reasonable ability to separate the BS from the truth, and it doesnt take long for a complete dud to be outed, advertising dollars or not.
As Parkie says, BMW are excited because they have just invented the TDM850....
[This message has been edited by simmo (edited 18 January 2006).]
I think you are right, the press does influence people, any kind of media coverage does. But only people who aren't relying on their bike on a daily basis for months in hard environments. Since LWR I don't seem to be able to leave the house these days without someone on a BMW with ally boxes whizzing past. Enduro helmet and matching biker duds gleaming in the sun.
I think most journos ( and this comes from experience in newspapers) follow the mainstream media pap like everyone else. They write what they think (and know) will sell. Most of their readership would flick straight past an article comparing agri-bikes or elderly second hand trailies as adv tourers. People (who mostly have day jobs and therefore cash) want to read about the latest, most expensive, most technologically advanced (and fastest/best road handling) bikes available. Because most people are commuting or having weekends away on their bikes. Fair play, that's the readership, that's who you write for. Anyone who gets really involved in a passtime will inevitably find (quite quickly) they know more about a subject than the people writing the 'specialist' magazines.
In my case, I'm still a bit of a punter when it comes to bikes, but I've snowboarded for many years and I stopped reading the pish they fill snowboarding mags with many minus two years ago! When it comes to bikes, like above, I take my advice from the people on this forum, cos they are way more likely to know what they are talking about!
*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
Originally posted by simmo:
Margus what are you doing falling over in the driveway?
You can see the mistake done from first wheel in the soft sand - never underestimate the driveway
Good argumentation guys. I also edited the original post coz it made me think a bit too. I posted the link because not much tests going around for big trailies - especially that much bikes involved and this one's not even big enough - as they mentioned Triumph Tiger missing, also I don't see a Honda Varadero and as sayed here Yamaha TDM 900 (850 is "ancient" model btw) also not involved in the test altough they had 17" front wheelers Ducati Multistrada and Buell Ulysses involved. Well the list may gone forever as there are countless 17" front wheeled bikes and the classification limits get thin, but still you don't see that much bikes in one test to answer those again and again asked questions on the same very bikes and the same very conditions here in the forum and elsewhere - not much to do mainstream media or opinions posted here... - those questions really are simple mostly here in "Which bike" section - á la "Buell vs everything else", "Strom VS GS1100" etc etc here. As i've always sayed test drive yoursef the bike is better than any written word on paper or advice from anyone else.
Hope it makes things more clear.
[This message has been edited by Margus (edited 18 January 2006).]
Originally posted by Margus: Good argumentation guys. I also edited the original post coz it made me think a bit too. I posted the link because not much tests going around for big trailies - especially that much bikes involved and this one's not even big enough - as they mentioned Triumph Tiger missing, also I don't see a Honda Varadero and as sayed here Yamaha TDM 900 (850 is "ancient" model btw) also not involved in the test altough they had 17" front wheelers Ducati Multistrada and Buell Ulysses involved.
I wonder if the reason there was no Tiger in the list could be partly due to the next-generation one due soon, and it looks like it's going to be like a Multistrada (17" front wheel etc) rather than a replacement for the current big trailie style bike.
The Varadero and TDM wouldn't have been in the test because they aren't sold in the US, so Motorcycle.com wouldn't involve them.
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