Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > Which Bike?

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.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

AMERICA’S PREMIER MANUFACTURER OF MOTORCYCLE SUSPENSION

Like Tree3Likes

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 7 Sep 2011
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Milwaukee
Posts: 16
BMW GS or cheap Honda for South America?

Hey all,
I've finally had to admit that my '82 Honda CB650 is not up for the run to TDF. As I looked at other options I found a guy getting rid of BMW F650GS for double what I was hoping to spend on another bike, but a lot cheaper then normal.

My question is: if I put the money I was planning to spend on keeping that aged Honda on the road, can I expect the newer BMW to repay me in reliability?

I'm a junky, on the cheap, sort of wayfarer and I like the nods I get for touring on a run down beat up cruiser. What sort of reactions will I get from people when I roll through on the shiney fancy looking F650? Will I get ripped off more? Will the bike get stolen? Will I be able to get it fixed outside of a dealer?

I've never owned a vehicle less then 15 years old and this is new ground for me...advice?

Thanks!
-Cruise
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 7 Sep 2011
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 742
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruise View Post
Hey all,
My question is: if I put the money I was planning to spend on keeping that aged Honda on the road, can I expect the newer BMW to repay me in reliability?

I'm a junky, on the cheap, sort of wayfarer and I like the nods I get for touring on a run down beat up cruiser. What sort of reactions will I get from people when I roll through on the shiney fancy looking F650? Will I get ripped off more? Will the bike get stolen? Will I be able to get it fixed outside of a dealer?
I used to have an early eighties Honda V45 Sabre, those old bikes are great but a 30 year old bike starts to have things go wrong with it simply from age. A newer bike will be more reliable in that regard, but depends on the make and year if it will be more reliable overall. What year of 650 are you looking at? Most common bikes have well known problem areas but you can research and plan around them.

As for the reactions to a newer bike as opposed to an older bike, you are still a foreigner riding an overlanding bike piled with gear and will get treated as such. Mostly, this is a good thing and you will be treated well, for some things, you will be treated worse such as getting charged foreigner prices. Not much you can do about it either way. I once met a couple of riders in Angola that had taken steel wool to their BMWs to make them look more beaten up and less of a target. As you can imagine, people still stand out as the condition of your bike is just one item of many that makes you look like a foreigner.

Risk of theft is pretty much the same, it's high for costly items and the locals pretty much try to secure their bikes inside whenever possible.

Have a great ride.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 8 Sep 2011
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Milwaukee
Posts: 16
Good answers

Thank you. That is helpful advice.
I was looking at a 2005 that only has 5,000 miles on it.

I did see in a few other threads about the shocks giving out and the exspensive computer doohickys, but the fuel economy sounds awfully enticing.

& I suppose that I need to remember that I will stand out no matter what I do.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 8 Sep 2011
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Back home in the UK
Posts: 888
My answer depends on the condition of your CB650, if it is in good order without bits falling off of it then it should be up to the trip, if it is a bit of a wreck then think about something else.
I did a transAfrica trip on a 25 year old BMW R80G/S that had already done 125,000 miles before I started, it had been overhauled before and did not breakdown once, more than can be said for Ewan and Charlie's brand new GS1200s.
Don't worry too much about what sort of reception you will get on a newer bike, that will depend more on your attitude to people.
__________________
Sent from my ageing laptop with a dodgy screen
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 8 Sep 2011
*Touring Ted*'s Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wirral, England.
Posts: 4,521
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruise View Post
can I expect the newer BMW to repay me in reliability?


Thanks!
-Cruise
HAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

That did put a smile on my face.

My friend, I would rather take your battered old CB than the Single Cylinder F650GS. It's a piece of rattly, plastic unreliable terd.

Anyway. I like your cheap style. There are loads of Japanese quality machines that will be way up for the job, cheaper than a BMW and a lot more reliable an better quality.

What is your budget ??? could you not pick up a KLR650 ? They're cheap in the US right ?
__________________
www.TouringTed.com
1994 XR650L
2001 NX650 Dominator.

EX - BMW Dealer Technician
Welder/Fabricator
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 8 Sep 2011
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 1,036
I used to spend a lot of time ribbing my mate PK for having a BMW 650 with it's 'sewing machine' rotax. Until we went away together - me on a Honda Dommie.

The BMW just didn't miss a beat - it handled really well, the fuel economy it got really annoyed me and it was quicker than the Dommie with much better brakes.

The Dommie was, however a lot better for doing wheelies and generally acting like a twat, which it turns out I do really well!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 8 Sep 2011
*Touring Ted*'s Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Wirral, England.
Posts: 4,521
Quote:
Originally Posted by henryuk View Post
I used to spend a lot of time ribbing my mate PK for having a BMW 650 with it's 'sewing machine' rotax. Until we went away together - me on a Honda Dommie.

The BMW just didn't miss a beat - it handled really well, the fuel economy it got really annoyed me and it was quicker than the Dommie with much better brakes.

The Dommie was, however a lot better for doing wheelies and generally acting like a twat, which it turns out I do really well!
If you had a brand new dommie and a brand new (older) F650GS and took them both around the world, doing nothing but routine maintenance, it would be a very different story.
__________________
www.TouringTed.com
1994 XR650L
2001 NX650 Dominator.

EX - BMW Dealer Technician
Welder/Fabricator
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 8 Sep 2011
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Milwaukee
Posts: 16
I guess it all comes down to $$

Well the CB was just about done. Left me stranded with a dead battery one last time..." Bits falling off", you could say.

My price for another bike would ideally be around $2,000. and I'm looking at a newer Nighthawk for about that. The F 650 is about twice that plus some gear thrown in. Which I can afford, but it's cutting pretty deep into my trip budget.
I guess my fear is that if something serious goes wrong and I need expensive BMW repairs, then I'm all out of money. I don't like that gamble.

I've looked at the KLR650s they seem really popular and affordable...but jeeze, I couldn't sit in that saddle for five minutes...let alone weeks or months. And, no offense intended, but I think they're ugly. Which turns me off to most Dual purpose bikes.

Thanks all, glad that I'm giving some entertainment.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 8 Sep 2011
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Bassett, Nebraska
Posts: 277
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruise View Post

I'm a junky, on the cheap, sort of wayfarer and I like the nods I get for touring on a run down beat up cruiser. What sort of reactions will I get from people when I roll through on the shiney fancy looking F650? Will I get ripped off more? Will the bike get stolen? Will I be able to get it fixed outside of a dealer?

I've never owned a vehicle less then 15 years old and this is new ground for me...advice?
Hi Cruise,
Assuming this is a one way trip, my advice is to take a good bike that will make the 12,000 mile journey without too much hassle and will be easy to sell . Riding from Connecticut to TDF is like riding across the US four times on backroads sticking to pavement and nicer gravel roads. It will take its toll on any bike. Some bikes hold up better than others. If you like older bikes and have always owned older bikes, then I am assuming you are a decent mechanic. You also sound like a frugal person (like myself) and the thought of spending 4-5 grand for a one time use bike goes against the grain. On the other hand, taking a 30 year old CB650 in poor condition is not your best option. Nobody likes throwing good money at a beater that will be sold for scrap at the end of the journey and may not even make it all the way.

Hmmmm. What to do. If it were me, of course I would take a smaller bike that got great fuel economy and was easy to find parts for. But that doesn't sound like your style.
I was going to recommend a KLR since they are affordable and nice examples can be had for 2-3 grand, but I see that you don't like the looks or comfort. That's fair. Nighthawk has a good motor and seems to suit your likes. CX 500 or Silverwing 650 would also be a cheap bulletproof motor although they also have looks that only a mother would love (I have owned several).

It is nice to be able to ride up the steps of the guesthouse for secure parking in the lobby in Latin America hostelry, which is why streetbikes are out for me. I prefer a 250 dirtbike for Latin America travel. You may too one day.


Kindest regards,
John Downs
__________________
South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=831076
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 8 Sep 2011
kentfallen's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Isle of Sheppey, Kent, England, UK
Posts: 668
I understand that XT600E's were never sold in America. Pity because this would have ticked ALL your boxes for £1,500 or so.

Second choice (for me) has got to be a Honda XR650 or a Kawasaki KLR650 (above). For something a little smaller then what about a little Suzuki DRZ400? Fantastic little bikes...

Personally I'd forget a costly BMW because you pay a HUGE premium for the badge and not much more.

I'd go with the XR or KLR idea.
__________________
Triumph Bonneville 800 (2004), Yamaha XT600E (1999), Honda XBR500 (1986).

Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 8 Sep 2011
brclarke's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Victoria, BC, CA
Posts: 509
I have used rental F650s overseas a couple of times. I thought they were generally decent bikes, but no better or worse than an equivalent Japanese 650 single.

I've never toured south of Costa Rica, but from what I've read it's easier to find parts for a Japanese bike than a BMW. That said, even the Japanese 650s are not all that common - most bike shops there cater to the bulk of the market, which tens to be 125s and 250s.

IMHO I would get a common used Japanese single or twin, no more than 400 CCs.
__________________
Bruce Clarke --- 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R (black)
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 8 Sep 2011
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Milwaukee
Posts: 16
Thanks guys!
This is like sitting at the cool kid's table for the first time!

I think you're really getting me and I'm getting great advice.
I do like the CX 500s! But I think for the money I'll look at something newer.

Sounds like it's going to be a Honda for me, either a 250 or 750. Fall is coming fast here and I'm back in Wisconsin. I bet I can pick one up for a good deal.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 8 Sep 2011
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Back home in the UK
Posts: 888
A CX500 would be a good choice if you can find one in reasonable condition.

The Road to Moscow - Motorcycle Escape

The cruisers you mention will have more comfortable seats than the trail bikes, just not quite so manageable on the gravel.
__________________
Sent from my ageing laptop with a dodgy screen
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 8 Sep 2011
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Bassett, Nebraska
Posts: 277
Hi Cruise,

Checking Craigslist in your area, and noting your name, I would vote for a small Honda cruiser if that is the style you prefer:

2003 honda rebel

or:

1979 Honda twinstar 185

A little Honda cruiser that costs under 2000.00 will be easier to find and much cheaper than a big bike since it is usually the wife's bike that spent much of its life in the garage. Small Hondas also get amazing fuel economy and can cruise all day at Latin American speeds. No need to worry too much about speeding tickets and easier to find parts for than a bigger bike. Small Hondas are popular south of the border so you will blend in with the locals. Also easier to find oil filters, tires, etc. than a BMW. And easier to fix by the road since they are dirt simple.

I followed some Mexicans on Honda cruisers riding the backroads of southern Mexico last year, and the one thing they needed to remember was to slow down to a crawl on the cruiser going over the many traffic slowing topes (speedbumps) and avoid the potholes so as to not bash the pipes or oilpan up too much.

You will have fun no matter what bike you end up with.

Best luck,
John Downs
__________________
South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=831076
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 9 Sep 2011
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 742
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruise View Post
Thanks guys!
This is like sitting at the cool kid's table for the first time!

I think you're really getting me and I'm getting great advice.
I do like the CX 500s! But I think for the money I'll look at something newer.

Sounds like it's going to be a Honda for me, either a 250 or 750. Fall is coming fast here and I'm back in Wisconsin. I bet I can pick one up for a good deal.
Mate,

As a suggestion, as your planning progresses, make sure you continue to research some ride reports of people that have ridden to TDF and give some consideration to what style of riding you would most likely do. Some folks cruise highways, some meander along backroads, some explore on as much gravel as possible. The ultimate use of your bike goes a long way to determining which make and model is best for you. Initial purchase price is only one of many factors to take into account.

A regular plain jane street bike is less expensive to buy, but you should do a budget to get a full picture of total cost of ownership. For example, unless you are a committed minimalist, you will need some form of racks and luggage, which have to last a long ways and survive a lot of rattling roads. In addition, unless you plan on sticking to only the best highways and promise not to topple your bike even once, the majority of riders have hand guards, skid plate, and crash bars as part of the standard set up.

Most people and trips tend to look somewhat similar, and therefore the bike solutions do as well. Middle weight dual sports are the most common, with outliers at both ends. If you don't like the more dirt orientated dual sports (eg. KLR) you could also look at the more street orientated dual sports (eg. DL). Common bikes also have the benefit of having a large selection of aftermarket parts, if you are lucky, you can find a bike already outfitted for cheap and save you time and money.

Have fun and let us know what you end up getting and how you outfit it.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
f 650 gs, honda cb650


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
South America on the Cheap? ChadNZ Which Bike? 21 28 Nov 2010 18:09
Honda C-90 or similar in South America emmw Which Bike? 1 10 Nov 2009 15:25
to central and South America on a honda amicamg Travellers Seeking Travellers 2 26 Sep 2005 01:53
possible: cheap with plain from europe to south america? niels Trip Transport 0 23 Apr 2005 22:00
Cheap shipping from The Netherlands to South America or Anyw Mark van der Molen Trip Transport 0 30 Nov 2001 20:31

 
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events

 

Latvia to Australia, an inspirational 5 month journey full of unexpected adventures!


Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 01:07.