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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  
Old 8 Jan 2011
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Which bike, but with a twist, I hope.

There are hundreds such threads and no doubt some are groaning at the prospect of looking at the same question.

So hopefully this is a little different.
I have 3 simple criteria and I have some ideas about which bikes fit the bill, but I am a bit out of touch with the market.

I may use it for overlanding, I may not. I may venture off-road, I may not. I can say, I doubt I'll cross the sahara on it!!

So I am looking into bikes that
  • Are reliable
  • Are comfortable
  • Are economical (65 UK mpg or more)
No customs, no race-reps, no scooters
Preferably over 125.

That is it:
what do you reckon?
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  #2  
Old 8 Jan 2011
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I would think BMW. I don't have a lot of experience of very small bikes and some of these might be better still but I can say my G650 single delivers around that mileage, as do the earlier F650gs singles. The F800gs range get pretty close too but in my experience do not have the reliability you expect from them. Singles are probably more reliable in general and better for more all-round use, especially if you venture off-road.
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  #3  
Old 8 Jan 2011
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Yamaha XT660Z Tenere
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  #4  
Old 8 Jan 2011
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It's a good bike and I'm seriously considering one but it doesn't deliver 65mpg. Around the mid 40s is what can you expect and from my experience with the Yam 660 engine that sounds about right. The Tenere is a comfortable bike though. The details are a bit rough around the edges. Even dealers will tell you it's not built to last. Worse still the UK dealer network does not supply free coffee.
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  #5  
Old 8 Jan 2011
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How about a Kawa versys? I really like the looks of that bike and the engine is a peach, my mate has the road version the ER-6f and it's deceptively quick. I'm not sure about the mpg but it should be somewhere in the ballpark.
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  #6  
Old 8 Jan 2011
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XT660Z, £3-3.5K for a low milage one, you can get 60-65 mpg cruising at 65mph, very reliable (a few early ones had problems but only a few). Andy B
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  #7  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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Superbike wanted

Hi Warthog,

that's been discussed forwards and backwards and up and down many times. My contribution is only out of personal experience. Had Honda, BMW, Kawa and Yamaha's before. Ended up with a Suzi VStrom DL650. Very reliable, fast and agile, can go to places and roads where quite a few can't. Easy to lift her up,when things go wrong.
Bought her 1 1/2 years old, 4000km on the clock for 7 grand $ AU. But took me a while to find her. So vey reasonably priced. Bought an airhawk cushion, very comfy to ride with, as well as a few more gadgets.
Big tank gives you a range of 400 to 450km. Fuel consumption is, as long as I stick to the speed limit of 110 kmh, what I, just like all of us always do, app. 4.25 to 4.50 ltr. per 100 km. Always use only standard unleaded 92 oct.petrol.
Sorry we don't work here in gallons any more.
Lot's of members have ridden all over the world on these bikes, the HUBB is full of it. Take one for a test ride and do the same thing with all your favourites, than make a decision. Sure it will be the right one.

Cheers Rusty
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  #8  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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Hi Warthog

Same as above i've had many bikes and they've all had their strong points but as an all rounder none of them can touch my DL650 Vstrom ,it does everything with ease and now I've put a custom gel seat on I can ride all day in total comfort .
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  #9  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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Mornin' Warthog,

I must admit the DL650 V-Strom takes some beating. Very comfy, and economical. There are various models available already fitted with all the goodies like panniers, top box, hand guards and sump guard.

I've owned the BMF F650GS and loved it, replaced it with an R1200GS, which turned out to be a lemon but have ridden several V-Stroms, and the later generation models are superb.

Currently I ride an XT225 and it suits me to perfection but, if I wanted something bigger, quicker, road orientated, then the 650 'Strom would be at the top of my list.

Regards

Reggie
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  #10  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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IMHO you don't need a trail bike. Pick something road biased with the right tyre sizes and you can do all the above. Personally I'd suggest a Bonneville Scrambler. If you want more work and less cash involved lighly "Scramblerise" any basic Japanese 500, CB500, ER5 Etc. Much as you'll laught at me for running in reverse to our usual sparing on the subject, how about a Ural solo? You know the things, you have bits to hand, it meets all your needs except maybe the fuel consumption.

Andy
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  #11  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
IMHO you don't need a trail bike. Pick something road biased with the right tyre sizes and you can do all the above. Personally I'd suggest a Bonneville Scrambler. If you want more work and less cash involved lighly "Scramblerise" any basic Japanese 500, CB500, ER5 Etc. Much as you'll laught at me for running in reverse to our usual sparing on the subject, how about a Ural solo? You know the things, you have bits to hand, it meets all your needs except maybe the fuel consumption.

Andy
Ah, the consumption....

A rig struggles to break 40mpg, so a solo wouldn't be much better.

Fuel may be thrid on the list but in reality I place those three criteria at an equal level. I'm even vaguely considering getting some sort of FI for my rig to improve the consumption as much as I can!! Otherwise, they'd be a laugh.

I get your point on the road biased bikes. In fact, as good as all the other bikes listed are, I am surpirsed that they are all quite big! In my OP, none of it was written tongue in cheek: I meant it - any riding style (bar those listed) and any cc, even 125, although that is maybe bit small.

And it certainly needn't be a new or current model, either!
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  #12  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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The Bonneville lugging the Ural chair turned in 40-45 mpg. Solo I've squeezed 70 mpg out of it. I don't think a Ural solo would achieve this difference as the Bonneville had the gearing changed via the front sprocket (or do they change the final drive?). 70 mpg involves a lot of motorway at 55 mph, so is pushing the point a bit.

FI needs to be a modern system. I had BMW R1100's that never differed my more than 1 MPG either side of 40 regardless of running light and solo at 50 mph or fully loaded with a chair at 100 mph. It was pointless trying to save fuel as the system defeated you. The Brick seems to be similar. The Bonnevilles with FI I've had as loaners and the Tenere I test rode were mapped differently and weren't as smooth, but I'll take the 60 mpg performance in exchange for a bit of lurching at low RPM and cold engine weediness. I think if you want FI you need to be specific about efficient FI.

Andy
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  #13  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
I think if you want FI you need to be specific about efficient FI.

Andy
Truth is that right now I know FA about FI.

The one I was looking at was Megasquirt.

Is it efficient? Who knows?! I don't...
And I suspect the complete conversion would be more a case of Megabucks.

Looking at that, it seems that I would still need to source injectors, mainfolds O2 sensor, pressure sensors etc!! (no doubt countless other bits)

But how cool would that be?
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  #14  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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The V-strom is probably good enough if you're not planning any serious off-road use, same with the Versys and they do make a bit more power than a single. They do not deliver the fuel economy you're looking for so if that's a genuinely important criteria then you do need to look elsewhere. I have done the homework myself, I have owned Yam 660s, KLR, Vs, Parallel twins, etc, etc. No modern EFI bike other than the BMW singles and F range are capable of that and they only manage it because of some clever electronics. At a set rev-range they lean out so they burn the absolute minimum fuel. In practice I went to the isle of wight with a pillion and luggage on my G650 and did 240 miles for £15 which was often done at higher than legal speeds to make our crossing. No other bike I've ridden can manage that. My XT660 powered bike was less economical than my BMW R1200gs on a run but slightly better in town. It delivered 90 miles per £10 while my current BMW single delivered 140 miles to the same money at the same time. That was tested every fill up for around 6 months. My brother still rides an XT660 and still gets the same mileage although we no longer calculate by cash as it doesn't go far enough but by tank the BMW is far cheaper to run. To put things in perspective I get virtually the same mileage from my 9.5l tank as he does from 16litres. Worth mentioning that among the most economical big bikes I have had was a 99 Honda CBR900 Fireblade with dynojet kit, K&N, etc. That still made 70mpg unless I was brutal with it and the engine was a work of art. Not much good on the rough though.
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  #15  
Old 9 Jan 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warthog View Post
Truth is that right now I know FA about FI.

?
Honestly, same here. I was in the other end of vehicle electronics (stopping rather than going) for a few years and I'd be less worried about hardware than software. The hardware is going to be a pile of off the shelf components and a bit of fabrication to make them fit. Finding someone to programme the box for efficiency rather than race performance, now that could be fun. As the aim would be to lean off the mixture in the right places, it could get expensive if not done correctly.

The Megasquirt looks programmable, the EFI equivalent of an AMAL and a thousand bits of brass and rubber. I don't see why it can't be set for economy, I just think more people will know how to get noise and horse power.

Andy
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