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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 5 Oct 2013
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Bike help for complete beginners

Gday Hubb,

Need a starting point. Last year did the ol London to Australia in a 4x4. So have overlanding experience..

Now setting my sights on the next one..This time my wife and I wanna buy bikes in US ride em through central and south and finish in Brasil (where she is from)...

We are both complete beginners. With a budget of under $5,000USD each we are looking for hardy on road/off road bikes. Easy to ride and easy fix for central/south america.

I figure there are the overlanders main stays to choose from. But need a few ideas of what they might be so I can begin research mode.

Cheers
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Old 5 Oct 2013
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Hi:

Firstly

My philosophy on this is that there's no such thing as a perfect adventure bike, so ride what you have, ride what you love, ride light and ride cheap...

Think hard about what you want to do with your steed because every choice you make will entail a compromise of some sort. If you don't already have bikes, try some and see what you do like. If you're doing any challenging off road riding, buy a bike that's light - compromise the least on weight. Even if you're only doing 5% off road, they'll be the toughest parts, so plan for those parts. Remember that nobody wishes their bike was heavier - EVER! (Keep the luggage to a minimum too). Don't let your choice of bike ruin your trip... i.e. don't let the mistake of getting a big bike limit where you can go.

Don't buy an expensive shiny bike, instead, buy cheap and put the money into the travelling. The same goes with modifying, don't over do it, save the money for the travelling. Most bikes can do everything you ask of it, some are better suited to certain things, but as a general rule lighter is better. Try and make a rational choice and avoid the pull of the 'adventure' industry and the marketing designed to sell you heavy bikes and all the must have gadgets.

These are the mistakes most first time moto-adventurers make, myself included.

So, IMO you should consider bikes around the 140kg mark, that have around 60bhp, you won't need any more power, bikes that are in the 250 - 400cc range like the XT250, TTR250, WR250, DR350, or DRZ400...

Bon Voyage.
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  #3  
Old 5 Oct 2013
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a good place to start is Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook : Adventure Motorcycling Handbook | the website for the book

cheers
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  #4  
Old 5 Oct 2013
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If you're buying in the US, then look closely at the Kawasaki KLR650 or Suzuki DR650 (or Suzuki DL650 V-Strom if you're going more road oriented or considering 2-up).

Read http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...nals-can-58648 closely. To see what's about look at ADVrider (you need to sign up to the site to view for sale ads.) Also craigslist > sites

Also on the HUBB at http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...r-sale-wanted/ but a lot less North America stuff than at advrider.
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  #5  
Old 5 Oct 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew White View Post
Gday Hubb,

Need a starting point. Last year did the ol London to Australia in a 4x4. So have overlanding experience..

Now setting my sights on the next one..This time my wife and I wanna buy bikes in US ride em through central and south and finish in Brasil (where she is from)...

We are both complete beginners. With a budget of under $5,000USD each we are looking for hardy on road/off road bikes. Easy to ride and easy fix for central/south america.

I figure there are the overlanders main stays to choose from. But need a few ideas of what they might be so I can begin research mode.

Cheers
There's a whole raft of questions within your outline plan and the multitude of issues are addressed across many threads in here - for instance the paperwork aspects, riding experience of both of you (do you even have bike licences?) etc etc.
It sounds like most of your travelling would be south of the USA - in that case I would start by looking at the blogs of those riding in central and south America.
Just as a RTW case study:-
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...ng-world-60100


Also, for two riders/two bikes you have much more carrying capacity and opportunity to keep things light (and simple!); I would find out what cheap, small bikes are universal throughout Latin America.
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Last edited by Walkabout; 6 Oct 2013 at 00:00.
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  #6  
Old 5 Oct 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen.stallebrass View Post
Hi:

Firstly


ride what you have, ride what you love, ride light

They are the most fundamental guidelines I think.
But you don't have bikes yet, so keep the second and third statements in mind when choosing them.
Look for something that 'calls out to you'.
.
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  #7  
Old 6 Oct 2013
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As a complete beginner, in Argentina, in 2004, I bought a Honda Tornado 250cc, and tour Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Uruguay. It was light and easy to handle on dirt roads, and powerful enough for the speed I like to ride on good roads (90km/hour). It was a new bike, and I had no mechanical problems at all. I loved it. And that trip was a breakthrough in my life...

Honda has come out now with a 300cc, the XRE 300. It looks great: the seat is more comfortable and it is fuel injected, which is good for the altitude when crossing the Andes.

A rack for your gear can be easily fabricated.

We are in Buenos Aires. Let us know when you get over here!!!!
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Old 6 Oct 2013
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Thanks for replys.

Great. So light is better. I anticipate that ratio of 90-95% on road and the rest being off road.. Will check out those models suggested, what about the 660 Tenere? (heard the name crop up in a few hubb threads) So yeah the simplicity factor is key for us. Will check out recommended threads

I realise that its not as simple as "hey! lets by a bike and ride it to Brasil". And quite frankly I dont even have the means to do it at this moment. Still financially sapped from my last overland. But having said that I feel that when someone is conceptualizing an idea, its best to focus initially on the fun side of planning. I mean if started my planning with permits/visas/logistics there's a chance I'd get bored and chuck it. So first on my agenda is route planning and choosing bikes. Once that's established then go to work on the detail (btw nope, no bike licence yet). Im still two years away from doing this trip, but wanna get my goals focused.

Thanks Hubb
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Old 6 Oct 2013
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Dirt riding techniques are the exact opposite to typically tough road riding techniques. On the road you lean your weight into the curve, on the dirt you try and put it all on the outside peg. This means that weight and size are everything and you see manufacturers put lots of effort into this. Reason is that the difference between your weight and the bike's weight has to be as small as possible. Action vs reaction. Can't escape it. The centre of gravity has to be above the tyre contact patch at all times in essence. The limit to what you can do on a bike is how much weight you have to change the bike's set course. Ideally it's lighter than you. This DVD helped me a lot. DualSportRiding

You're probably right on the money along the main routes with the percentage of road. But plans have a habit to change, so 9 out of 10 people wish they had a lighter, smaller setup. Riding on crap roads is very similar as riding off road, so you will still have to work the bike flicking it around.

I'm bias towards 250's but that's because I target off road routes. I think a DR650 would give the best compromise in your plans in my opinion. It's dog ugly and old, but more importantly cheap, light (for a 650) plentyfull and simple (not sure on your mechanical skills).

My main tip for traveling with your wife, ..... buy a bike that suits her (height and weight) and get the same for yourself.
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  #10  
Old 6 Oct 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew White View Post
what about the 660 Tenere? (heard the name crop up in a few hubb threads)
Continue reading those threads about the 660 Tenere I suggest.
The standard seat height = 895mm and it weighs just a few Kg less than my 1000cc twin cylinder bike; but these are just statistics, ultimately.
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Old 6 Oct 2013
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Tenere is not sold in the USA.
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  #12  
Old 11 Oct 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen.stallebrass View Post

So, IMO you should consider bikes around the 140kg mark, that have around 60bhp, you won't need any more power, bikes that are in the 250 - 400cc range like the XT250, TTR250, WR250, DR350, or DRZ400...
Not sure where you are getting your information for the above bikes being around 60bhp, the DRZ400E model has the most bhp from the bikes you mentioned at
39bhp in stock form.

However the DRZ is still a good bike but does slightly lack power at times.
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Old 11 Oct 2013
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Originally Posted by WesleyDRZ400 View Post
Not sure where you are getting your information for the above bikes being around 60bhp, the DRZ400E model has the most bhp from the bikes you mentioned at
39bhp in stock form.

However the DRZ is still a good bike but does slightly lack power at times.
LOL, I didn't notice that - I must read the threads more thoroughly.
Yes, IIRC, my XT225 develops about 19 horses, give or take (that engine has a very soft state of tune).
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Old 11 Oct 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew White View Post
...I anticipate that ratio of 90-95% on road and the rest being off road...
Then make sure you focus on that 5-10% any bike can do the easy 90-95%

Quote:
Originally Posted by WesleyDRZ400 View Post
Not sure where you are getting your information for the above bikes being around 60bhp, the DRZ400E model has the most bhp from the bikes you mentioned at
39bhp in stock form.

However the DRZ is still a good bike but does slightly lack power at times.
I take your point, error on my part. I should have made it clearer that I don't think anything more than 60bhp is required even though these examples are in the 20-30s bhp range, they were more to the point of keeping it light.

Thanks.

PS: I think the 650s are also too big. I accept that they're better for the road portions but it's the off road parts that are going to be the limiting factor and loaded 650 is going to be a beastly burden, especially with no off road riding skills/experience...
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  #15  
Old 13 Oct 2013
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Thanks,
We are not planning on covering huge K's in a day anyway, and will be riding slow. So power is not a priority. Ive looked at those posted and I like the Yamaha XT250 & kawasaki KLR650 but thats been a very general search. Ill continue my research and see whats more readily available on my route. Also ordered Chris Scott's Motorcycle adventure book. I read the 4X4 version before my last overland and found it fascinating. So hoping this one is as good.
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