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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 27 Jun 2010
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Question Which bike for a petite learner with dreams of riding across Africa?

Hi guys!

So here's the thing - I have a long-held dream to travel across the length of Africa by motorcycle, and finally I'm taking the first step: I'm getting my Motorcycle Learner Permit this week, yee ha!

I'm doing my initial training on a Suzuki 250, but as soon as I have my permit I want to buy my own bike so I can get as much riding experience in before applying for my Licence in a few months' time.

I'm a petite gal (5'2) and really need advice about what bike to buy. I've been looking at 125cc and 250cc machines so far, as I don't fancy anything that will crush me to bits when (not if!) I fall off! There are some nice bikes around but a lot of them have high seats and I'm not sure I want to get into the whole seat-lowering thing at such an early stage of my motorcycling career... Given my plan to ride across Africa once I get my licence and feel competent on a bike, I ideally want to practise on something not dissimilar to what I may take to Africa - something that's good on the road, but off-road too.

Really keen to get advice on this, as my bike knowledge at this point is zero and you guys all seem like a very knowledgeable lot!!

Jeanie
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  #2  
Old 27 Jun 2010
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I would consider the Honda CRF230L, or the kawasaki KLR250, or whatever kawi calls it anymore. they're fairly low, but still respectable bikes. the Honda is better in my book, but I'm biased to Honda and Yamaha bikes.

Then again, I'm also a short person, much like you, and I'm on an XT600. I can nearly flatfoot a KLR650 too. in the right work boots I actually can. its more a matter of knowing how to shift your body position to get one foot firmly on the ground than both in my book.

I'd avoid any of the chinese stuff like the plague. never seen anything good about them, and the fit/finish, as well as build quality, are sub par with Jap standards to which I'm accustomed.
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Old 28 Jun 2010
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Hey thanks for your advice, bobthebiker!

I'll certainly check out the Honda and Kawi models you mention. And noted re avoiding Chinese stuff - a couple of other people have said exactly the same thing!

Still unsure, though, whether 125cc or 250cc at this stage - from a learner's point of view, I wonder if it would be better to start first on a 125, to gain confidence on the bike, then progress up to a 250 if I decide I want something bigger. My biggest worry (apart from seat height) is being able to control the machine and not feel it's too unwieldy while I get to grips with my riding skills - but then again, some of the 250s I've seen are actually quite light...

Jeanie
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Old 28 Jun 2010
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Hello Jeanie, check out xt225.com I've never met anyone whose got a bad word to say about them(apart from the seat!), soft power,low seat,easy to ride and reliable
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Old 28 Jun 2010
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My wife is 5'2 and only a sml frame and she has 2 bikes, an XT 250 & F650gs
She loves them both.
Cheers
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  #6  
Old 28 Jun 2010
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Im 5'2 too!!!

I rode a Honda XR250 from Bangkok to Moscow two years ago, and Im about to leave again from Brisbane Australia bound for Africa overland. This time im on a DR350.

Before I left last time, I had only been riding for 6 months max! You just have to get out there and do it! Its the best thing ever. Dont to be too shy on a having a smaller bike. A 250cc is the smallest you should go for - i really like the light weight dirt bike style- especially if your good at traveling lightly.

If you have any questions, feel free to PM! GOOD LUCK!
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  #7  
Old 28 Jun 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobthebiker View Post
I would consider the Honda CRF230L, or the kawasaki KLR250, or whatever kawi calls it anymore.
Definitely NOT the CRF230, I have one for green laning and you would find it very uncomfortable for longish distances, and Honda recommend oil changes every 600 miles! This is probably due to there being just a gauze filter and no proper one, this is no problem for myself due to relatively short distances covered.
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Old 29 Jun 2010
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Hey thanks, guys, for all your advice so far!

I must say that I'm very drawn to Yamahas, purely as an aesthetic thing, and the XT250 really looks the part in terms of an "adventure bike". My initial research seems to suggest that the XT225 Serow is harder to come by, at least in this part of the world (Melbourne, Australia) - or am I just looking in the wrong places?!

And maximondo, I'm really encouraged by your post and your advice to just get out there and do it! I was a little worried that I might not have enough riding experience under my belt by the time I head off towards the horizon, but what better than to learn on the road, eh?! Good luck with your upcoming trip to Africa and travel safe!

Jeanie
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Old 29 Jun 2010
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Hi Jeannie,

an XT225 or XT250's the way to go!

In Oz the 225 model is sometimes badged as a 250.

The highlight for me at the HUBB meeting at Ripley was a comment made by Austin Vince, who said 'there was no better machine for adventure riding than a Serow'! Great praise indeed!

Regards

Reggie
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  #10  
Old 29 Jun 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Cameraman

The highlight for me at the HUBB meeting at Ripley was a comment made by Austin Vince, who said 'there was no better machine for adventure riding than a Serow'! Great praise indeed!

Regards

Reggie
This was said by the same man that said Ural only make sidecar outfits!!
In the words of Thin Lizzy....'don't believe a word'

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Old 29 Jun 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave ede View Post
This was said by the same man that said Ural only make sidecar outfits!!
In the words of Thin Lizzy....'don't believe a word'

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Morning Dave,

I am right in saying that only Ural offer a sidecar option direct from the factory, rather than using after market providers?

Reagrds

Reggie
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Old 29 Jun 2010
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Hi Reg, I was hoping to see you this weekend, but on Sunday morning was in a big rush to get myself and ybr125 back to South London for the England game!
Am sure we will catch up at some point!
It appears that Ural do solos but have not passed certain Euro tests to be sold here. If I am wrong play this one !!

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Old 29 Jun 2010
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Hi Jeanie, Ive not got any experience of these machines but have been informed the Beta alp 4.0 is a fine machine for smaller people, fairly inexpensive using i believe a suzuki dr engine.
I shall be looking more in depth at them as my partner is verticaly challenged.
Good luck Jim
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  #14  
Old 29 Jun 2010
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his wife made him say it. she rode a serow with much success from alaska to argentina and again on the Africa trip as well i think.



Quote:
Originally Posted by The Cameraman View Post
Hi Jeannie,

an XT225 or XT250's the way to go!

In Oz the 225 model is sometimes badged as a 250.

The highlight for me at the HUBB meeting at Ripley was a comment made by Austin Vince, who said 'there was no better machine for adventure riding than a Serow'! Great praise indeed!

Regards

Reggie
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  #15  
Old 4 Jul 2010
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Hey Jim,

Thanks for the heads-up about the Beta Alp 4.0 - looks like a good bike for the more petite rider like me. Do you know what they're like weight-wise? Maybe it's just because I haven't spent much time on a bike yet (still learning!), but I'm doing my training on a 125cc Honda and it feels very heavy - so I'm keen to find a first bike that's light as a feather if poss!

Jeanie
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