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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 May 2006
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Bike for the Wife - Advice appreciated

Howdy

Didn't really know where I should post this topic, so sorry if its in the wrong place.

Anyway my wife and I are very keen to start exploring the world by motorbike after our daughter heads overseas for a year on a student exchange in August 2007.
But we need to take things a little step at a time.

My wife doesn't really have any motorbike riding experience (except she is a Swinger on a Speedway bike!!) so I need to find her a bike that she will be able to handle on and off the tarmac.
Her build and height is quite small so I am thinking a 250
I have an XR250 trail bike at the moment, and thought about modifying this and then getting another one for her, but with the electric start so we both have the same bikes.
The XR250 is a relatively cheap bike, the one I brought was a 1996 model, but hadn't really ever been used, it was a commuter bike to work and was owned by one owner, it had only done 4,000km and was fully road legal.

Our plan is to initially start on smaller day trips, then progressing to longer overnight trips, before heading out to explore the entire South Island over a few weeks.
Now I anticipate that the majority of our riding will be on the tar and gravel roads, but I do know lots of trails off-road that we need to explore.
This will be allow us to unload the luggage and go off exploring the more adventurous trails here in NZ.
I realise that the XR250 is quite light, and perhaps not quite as comfortable, so will it stand up to the rigors of long travel, and carrying the extra weight? Panniers etc?
I would really appreciate any hints or tips that you may have before I decide one way or the other?
I really want to know things like
Can you get a bigger fuel tank?
Will the frame be strong enough?

For the New Zealand tours I think the bikes will be suitable as I dont expect to be travelling more than 200-300km a day, but I am thinking of a more leisurely pace

I would ideally love the 650 Dakar, but I need to wait and ensure she is confident before we make such a commitment.

Do you think we are heading in the right direction?
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  #2  
Old 8 May 2006
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definitely on the right track!

go for it, and have fun.
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  #3  
Old 9 May 2006
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Thumbs up Wife bike

Another one to consider is the 225 yamaha, here in montana USA it is a XT225. It has also been called a serow. Great electric starting on and off road bike. Tough enough to go from Alaska to tierra del fuego. It is much smaller and feels lighter than the 250 honda. Just got back from a little ride here in montana check out the photo of the rocky bit just after the water crossing.

Last edited by Bill Ryder; 16 Aug 2006 at 06:56.
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  #4  
Old 9 May 2006
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Bmw 650

[quote=Kiwirider]Her build and height is quite small...
I would ideally love the 650 Dakar/quote]

If you are drawn towards the 650 Dakar and height is an issue just go for the standard F650 instead. Same bike really apart from the forks. It's not a light bike but it's not too heavy either. It will also handle the sort of off-roading and trails that I supect you might be doing and it's fun to ride too.
Stephan
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  #5  
Old 9 May 2006
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Try a Yamaha TTR

Yep, there no point having a 650 if every time you get on it you dont enjoy it -tall and heavy isnt much fun in the dirt - especially if you arent so tall.

Another good small bike to consider is a Yamaha TTR 250, ( hope you get the same model over there ?) I racked up 75,000 km on a 1993 with no problems at all, its already got a combo electric and kick start, I had no problems with the rear subframe strength using ortlieb soft panniers and a gearsack rack bag and tent strapped on the rear rack/seat.

The engine just keeps on going and is smooth and powerful, I wouldnt hesitate to use one again even for a long (slower) trip !!! - just pack very light.

Acerbis do a 22 litre tank for it too - but it costs a few bucks.

Cheers...have a good trip.
Grif
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  #6  
Old 9 May 2006
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Hi Grif

Yes you are right!!
I hadnt even considered the Yamaha, and even better the TTR250 is available here in NZ

I like it as you have used it with Panniers etc already, proven on the trails is what I am after

Cheers for you help

Scott
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  #7  
Old 9 May 2006
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Bmw F 650

IMO the BMW F 650 is useless in all versions except to show off in front of a Cafe. The Dakar is very high, very top heavy, too heavy at all, very expensive if you drop it. The suspensions are crap for anything except good tarmac. It takes only a weak battery to immobilize you thanks to electronic motor management and the totally inaccessable battery.
The GS is nice and low but adds on minus by having a 19" front wheel means with the choice of tires you can get you should better stay on tarmac.
The quality of manufactury is a joke, did not get better since Funduro days of assembly at Aprilia in Noale. My Dakars and GS needed replacement of the steering head bearings laterst every 20000km due to crap quality and missing rubber seals to keep dust and water out. Sold them all.

If you want a 650 single to travel and if you want something light and easy to handle and to fix get a DR 650SE. You can get them lowered within two hours by dropping forks and reassembly / reset of rear shock and suspension joints. Only new part necessary is a sidestand or cut and weld. Works for people > 1.65
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  #8  
Old 9 May 2006
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I have read that New Zealand ends up as the "dumping" point of new bikes from manufacturers around the world, when they don't sell in other markets. I think I read it on one of the HU forums, in fact. You should be able to have easy pickings as far as entry level dirt bikes to learn on.
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  #9  
Old 9 May 2006
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Thumbs up Considered farm bikes?

Have you considered something like the CTX200 Honda or the Suzuki DR200 Trojan? They have lower more comfortable seats, large tanks, purpose built front and rear carriers, double side stands, locking hand levers, larger headlight, electric start, engine guards etc, all of which are on many RTW travellers wish list.
http://www.suzuki.co.nz/motorcycles/motorcycles.html Under NZ$6000
http://www.honda-motorcycles.co.nz/o...delID=99&type=
Another grand in hand will get you the Kawasaki Stockman
http://www.kawasaki.co.nz/kawasaki_c...250-J3&do=list
These models have all had really long production runs and are designed to be reliable and comfortable as farmers use them every day for long periods. Any of them would do a Round The World trip. In Asia, Africa, and South America, I'm of the opinion that they would be a BETTER bke than the G/S, and in the developed countries, would still be fine, only not so fast. Where in NZ are you?

Regards

Nigel in NZ (Nth Canterbury actually!
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  #10  
Old 9 May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Marx
Have you considered something like the CTX200 Honda or the Suzuki DR200 Trojan? They have lower more comfortable seats,

Nigel in NZ (Nth Canterbury actually!

Lower ?? as in 34+ inches.... I must be a midget
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  #11  
Old 10 May 2006
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Yep, lower..

Seat hights compared:
Suzuki DR200 Trojan farm bike: 850mm Suzuki DRZ250 (nearest equivilent Dual Sport) 880mm,

Honda CTX200 823mm Honda CRF230 866mm, even the Transalp is 843mm;

Kawasaki Stockman 830mm, KDX200 920mm, KLX300 925mm.

For the NZ market, in every case the farm bike is lower than the off-road or dual sport in the market nearest it.
Regards
Nigel in NZ
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  #12  
Old 10 May 2006
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Hi Nigel

I am in Sunny Hawkes Bay (Napier), umm well it used to be sunny

Where are you?
I am totally new to this touring thing but we are keen to do more of it.
Any advice is appreciated from wise people like yourself as you have been there done that

Cheers Scott
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  #13  
Old 10 May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Marx
Seat hights compared:
Suzuki DR200 Trojan farm bike: 850mm Suzuki DRZ250 (nearest equivilent Dual Sport) 880mm,

Honda CTX200 823mm Honda CRF230 866mm, even the Transalp is 843mm;

Kawasaki Stockman 830mm, KDX200 920mm, KLX300 925mm.

For the NZ market, in every case the farm bike is lower than the off-road or dual sport in the market nearest it.
Regards
Nigel in NZ
All my old Triumphs were 30" or less, and is one of my gripes with my R80RT is the 31.8 " high seat,, 807 mm
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  #14  
Old 11 May 2006
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sl230

Good to have another kiwi on the site!

Another bike to consider is a Honda sl230. I just went through the same thing as you are trying to find a bike for my partner. She tried all the bikes that have been mentioned so far but loved the little Honda I rode all the bikes too and it was definately the most comfortable. It's basicly a crf motor with a six speed gearbox in a more road trail package imported from Japan we found a 98 with 12000 km's for 4 grand. I ride a Honda nx 650 and we have found the sl230 more than capable of keeping up with the pace 100 kmh is fine on the open road and the engine is beautifully smooth.
We have done about 5000 km's since Christmas touring around the south island including one 2 week jolly. The bike carried all her gear plus a bit of the camping gear with no problems including some interesting back country tracks.

You'll get close to 300km's out of the 9 litre tank even carrying luggage.

Don't be fooled into thinking that ging along at 80 or 90 kmh on a small bike is going to be fine it's bloody dangerous on the roads over here with everybody trying to get past you. As much as we try to stick to the back roads we always have to spend some time on the bigger routes. So which ever bike you choose make sure it's comfortable at those speeds.

Try one I don't think you will regret it I have almost (don't tell the NX650) been tempted to get another one for me they are just a great fun all round bike.

Cheers Rich

PS You would be better giving up the whole idea than buying her an f650!!!!!
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  #15  
Old 11 May 2006
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Smile Yamaha XT250

My partner and I spent 1 year on our little Xt250 s. We travelled form Mexico to Moscow.
Laura was brand new to riding and the seat height was perfect. She is no 6 footer.We rode on 80% road and 20% dirt track. It was perfect for her.
It took a while to get saddle fit, the seats arnt the most confortable.

The other thing is we had to really rev em out to do 100kph. But most of time we cruised on 80-90kph.
Laura always lead and I covered from behind as cars gained on us, they would come close to me but then give Laura room.

In hindsight I would have prefered a faster bike to keep up with traffic, but Laura had a couple of offs over the year, so I was glad she was on a slower lighter bike.

We fitted ajerbas tanks on both, 600km between fills all ready for Russia. But we found fuel every where in Russia East to West easily. Mexico unexpectidly
became our drama, having covered just on 600kms twice to get fuel.

Test as many as you can.
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