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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 22 Jan 2008
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BMW XChallenge vs 08 KLR.

Could anyone please tell me about these too bikes? if you have them add the Pros and Cons.
I've seen a picture of XChalenge all kitted out by TT and seemed good.

Grazie,
FR
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  #2  
Old 22 Jan 2008
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Red face XChallenge

Sorry I can't make a comparison for you, but would say.... when I looked at the BMW I couldn't help but feel that everything is very vulnerable, the engine, electronics and chassis - to get one upto a decent crash proof state, you'll become a good customer at TT….


However in saying that, one was entered into this years Paris Dakar…..
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  #3  
Old 22 Jan 2008
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Interesting comparison

Well that's an interesting choice of bikes to compare.
One of them will be "half the price" of the other, no need to guess which one is cheaper!

The KLR is not showing up in the Kawa range for 2008 in the UK websites; it may be available as a "grey import" but I reckon the feedback that you do get will be from the USA and folk in your own area (Euro 3 emission regulations are stopping the import of some models of bikes, and the nearest equivalent Kawa here is the KLE500 (still available, just) or the KLE650 Versys).

XChallenge: I see more of these in the BMW showrooms than on the roads of the UK. It is not obvious to me who will buy these bikes (still 3 models I guess in a variety of SM and offroad styles) - those who have commented earlier are not too happy with the height of the offroad versions but, as above, price comparisons are always going to be important.
Maybe it is a bit early yet for anyone to have good experience of living with this particular model, but lets see who comes up with the goods.
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  #4  
Old 22 Jan 2008
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Not knowing on where you are planning to ride (RTW?, Europe, local, etc) I couldn't give you an answer based on experience.

However, basing this answer solely on the US (and perhaps if you are planning a RTW through this way) there would be far more places to find repairs/spares for the Kawasaki than the BMW.
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  #5  
Old 22 Jan 2008
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Different planets

In some ways the new KLR and X-Challenge are world's apart. As Yuma Simon sez...much depends on your plan and the what, where and how of your trip.
Your riding experience could factor in too.

Since your in Aussie you have lots of bike choices. The main difference in the BMW and KLR is Price! In the USA the KLR is half the price of the BMW. Typical. So is the BMW $5000 ($USD$) better than the KLR? Depends how you look at it and what you want to do.

Now add up all those TourTech items the Xchallenge will need. Figure "about" $1400 US to outfit a KLR in luxury form covering most ALL it's faults and equipping for RTW travel. The Beemer will be more $$$$ I would guess.

I owned a klR years ago, didn't much care for it, really uninspiring and needs quite a lot of mods to be OK. Rode it through Baja and mainland Mexico, put 5500 miles on it in 6 weeks riding. Turned it back in the minute I got home. Nothing wrong with the bike at all, just not my style.

The '08 is better in most every way. I just rode one (my first short ride on one!!!) this past weekend! Everything is better than the original KLR. But still, it is rather uninpiring compared to the competition....For BMW money I would look carefully at the KTM 690 Dual Sport bike. Also look at the DR650, a very popular bike in Aus, no? The Honda XR-650-L , XT660 Yam...they are all worth a look and a test ride.

As an RTW bike the klR is not a bad choice at all. We don't get Yam's in the uSA, so after the DR650 (my current mount) the NEW KLR would be my 2nd choice in a single.

The KLR is a tool, pure and simple. Cheap, expendable, mostly reliable, tough and can be loaded up nicely. The F650's (either Dakar or GS 650's) would both be better travel bikes IMO than the XChallenge. The F650's have proven good on the road, but not without problems, still a very popular bike, a known commodity. Among US RTW riders the KLR is perhaps THE number one choice.
At the HU meetings you see A LOT of KLR's.

The Xchallenge is an unknown at this point as a long term distance bike. I have NOT ridden it, but did test out the sort of Super moto brother (forgot designation).
It was fast! and nice on the road. But all three of these new BMW's look a bit spindley for hauling gear over rough terrain. Dunno. Jury is out. Same with the motor. How will it do? It's only been out just about a year and a half. I would not want to be an unpaid Beta tester for BMW. I'm sure there are owner web sites where much new info could be learned. Go there, do your homework.


Patrick
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  #6  
Old 23 Jan 2008
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Other 08 bikes

As you are prepared to buy a new bike, you might want to consider the other bikes that are appearing in 2008.

By Mar 08 there will be a Yam XT660Z Tenere for around £4900 and a new F650GS (actually a 800cc bike) for about £5300 here in the UK - either would be a good alternative to the Xchallenge IMO.

Both have well proven engines.
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  #7  
Old 23 Jan 2008
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Ok.

Ok, i must have forgotten something in my message, something really important. I currently own a 1200GS. I am really happy with it, great bike, had it for a year; never been off road with it, though, just light stuff. My biggest concern is the weight. That is the reason for a lighter bike. Always liked the Ktm990, but again, the weight.

I would like to see the Ténéré here in Australia, but there are no news at this time, it's not that light either. The new F650 might be interesting.

What intrigued about the Xchallenge is the weight. I might have not mentioned i am 6"4 (195 cm) and 80kgs. To me the only problem is the seat and windscreen and large tank.

Also, the idea would be to take it to south east asia to test my ability for a longer trip in the not too far future.

Let me know your thoughts.

Thank you again,
FR
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Last edited by Falcon Rust; 23 Jan 2008 at 08:19.
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  #8  
Old 23 Jan 2008
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Well that does make a difference

Quote:
Originally Posted by Falcon Rust View Post
Ok, i must have forgotten something in my message, something really important. I currently own a 1200GS. I am really happy with it, great bike, had it for a year; never been off road with it, though, just light stuff.

Thank you again,
FR
Most of them don't go off the hard surface, so you are right instep there!

It does make a difference as you say - the second bike can be (and should be!) completely different, no problem.

Have you costed that Xchallenge with all of the TT kit fitted? You could be the one to give us all some feedback about this newish model.
Seriously, try searching online for reviews of the bike - there is not much variation in here from the "usual suspects" of popular motorcycles for the task.
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  #9  
Old 23 Jan 2008
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having ridden the 1200gs, 650gs, and x-challenge (and hp2) off and on roadI can say this:-

they're all capable bikes.

the x-challenge engine is ripped pretty much identically from the existing 650gs model (i.e. rotax engine) and we know that its bullet proof.

The bike itself however is not designed for long haul trips. If it were it wouldnt have a 13l (?) tank. There are bits of the bike which I personally dont like - some of the controls look a bit flimsy and delicate - definately not a BMW norm. That said I dont know of any returns due to any problems with buttons breaking etc.

If you're looking at doing serious overlanding on a capable bike, you really ought to look at the KTM 640 adventurer, simply because it combines enormous offroad capability and a hefty fuel tank (22l?), which that too can be upgraded to something rediculous like 40l! The bike is ready for all antics, and just needs luggage.

Not bad for a $15k bike!
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  #10  
Old 24 Jan 2008
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Ktm.

I would really like to know what people think of KTM. i did try the 950 a couple of years ago, it was a 2004 model, it felt nimble and quick. I am not into going fast, though. But the reliability and availability is what i am not sure of.

Any comments? i know there isn't a perfect bike, maybe an AG bike,

FR

Last edited by Falcon Rust; 24 Jan 2008 at 01:56.
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  #11  
Old 3 Feb 2010
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I always wonder what happens to these queries in the end ...

So Falcon, what did you go for?
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  #12  
Old 14 Feb 2010
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xchallenge

i upgraded tank and few other bits. but to be honest, i think a DR650 will be much better, more comfortable and easier to maintain.

it's all up to you.
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  #13  
Old 4 Mar 2010
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I chatted to a Toooooratech man at the NEC bike show in Nov/Dec 09, initially asking the capacity of their large front fuel tank on a KTM 690, which they could only guess at

But, I was thinking of a XChallenge too. I currently have a 1200GS and love it for UK road distance and commuting. I've also spent I think 16 days total at Simon Paveys BMW Brecon school on various off road courses which are absolutely fab for learning, getting knackered and finding what the bike will do. Initially to see whether I should be trying my 1200 off road. (I started on a normal 650 GS, but standing all day with short legs, forced wider at the knee than they'd like because of the fake tanks wide profile, ends up being torture!) This is on fire trails if you want, in which case it doesn't really matter which bike. But, they have play days, still in small groups (4-8), still with a mad fab instructor, but if you want to go as a group and find deep mud and water they will
In these scenarios the weight of a 1200 is a nightmare even without panniers etc, since you will pick the bike up with slippery footing repeatedly (MX boots with a grippy sole please!!!). It is amazing where it will go, and the weight gives more momentum so it bounces over a lot. Any uphill slippery bits are also hard cos the power makes the back wheel spin really easily. This all can be tiring, tired people make mistakes. Last trip, the last bloke in our group was a good rider and on a long steep slippery rutted and rooted descent. He'd had come off a few times, and had been a big help in getting another 1200 unstuck earlier, it was late in the day, all getting knackered. He slid the bike on a steep muddy slope in a rut, his leg twisted underneath so he was in pain and couldn't move the bike. Although we all stopped as soon as the terrain allowed to regroup, and only waited minutes before going to look where he'd got too, he was not happy.
Having "struggled" on a 1200 for most of these courses, I kinda gave up, but also wanted to see what a XChallenge was like. I'm 5'6", 28" inside leg. The saddle on an XC is high, but once you're used to squashing the air shock a bit before getting most of a leg over its fine (side stand up first or you'll just fall off the other side!). Its not heavy, and easy to keep up with only one toe down, but you have to pick the right toe! The engine is a bit rattly on the road, but its fine in other machines as many overlanders have proven. Off road its almost too easy. A BIG part of that is lovely knobbly tyres. 1200cc's needs a very different tyre, so its not as grippy in the mud. The front of the XC though hardly ever lets go, if you do drop it its easier to pick up, so you have more time riding and laughing at the bigger less confident bike riders who have just face planted again! Weirdly, having been on these courses more than most, its interesting to see the nervous ones go for the uncomfy 650 GS's, some middle of the road "intelligent" choices go for the 800, but the people who are there to show off to their mates, think they can ride, wouldn't ever pick the wooooses smaller bikes anyway always go for the 1200. When you ring to book its always the 1200's that have sold out first.
Personally I thought the 800 was crap, the only bike to have a buckled front wheel that I'd seen while there, designed for a marketing gap for people who think a 1200 is too much £? Didn't handle the mud at all well.
When the instructor went back up the twisty muddy rutted slope to see where tail end charlie was he got off his Adventure and borrowed a XC.

The most often broken item on all the bikes, apart from bent handlebars, gear levers etc, was 1200 rocker covers. XC's may seem plasticy but seemed robust. All bikes were no added options as you'd get in basic form from the showroom, so no engine bars etc. Bending that ends up a more costly fix than the rockers covers so they've found over the years.

Back to the TT man at the bike show. He said a big tank is a waste of money. Why start with a nice light easy to ride bike then spend a lot making it into a small GS? He carries a 5l plastic can when he thinks fuel may be a problem. He reckons the KTM comes with a big tank mainly cos it drinks more fuel, XC, 650 Dakar etc don't. He also said a XC doesn't have a metal rear frame (plastic? I can't remember), so although TT do a replacement frame so you can mount their shiny panniers the bike isn't designed for it. A 650 Dakar is. Although I couldn't fault his logic, can you tell what bike he rides yet?!

To get to the NEC or Brecon though I'll still have my 1200 though. Except I spent 3 hours yesterday on a new 4valve Adventure with a low (and bloody uncomfy) seat and couldn't stop grinning!

Just to add that tose days in Wales is the only off road I've doen, I havn't been riding since the age of 6months and am not very good on or off road, so no expert! I'd reccomend those BM courses to anyone though. Not cheap, but wreck the bike and you pay no more. Huge variety of terrain, people, bikes, weather, big smiles all round!
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  #14  
Old 4 Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Falcon Rust View Post
i upgraded tank and few other bits. but to be honest, i think a DR650 will be much better, more comfortable and easier to maintain. it's all up to you.
Back from the dead thread! ?

So you bought an XChallenge! What is your overall impression? Have you done much off road riding with it? How's she go for you? Any problems mechanically? Mods?

I'm sure you've seen Colebatch's X Challenge and his build up. Great stuff.

Why are you considering the DR650? Have you ridden one?
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  #15  
Old 4 Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzly7 View Post
Except I spent 3 hours yesterday on a new 4valve Adventure with a low (and bloody uncomfy) seat and couldn't stop grinning!

Just to add that tose days in Wales is the only off road I've doen, I havn't been riding since the age of 6months and am not very good on or off road, so no expert! I'd reccomend those BM courses to anyone though. Not cheap, but wreck the bike and you pay no more. Huge variety of terrain, people, bikes, weather, big smiles all round!
If you want to learn dirt riding, get a small 250cc bike and get out there. Stay away from BMW, period. Something like an XR250 or XT250 Yam or anything in that range is a good place to start. Also consider two strokes,
like Kawi KDX200 or KTM 200. All great bikes to learn off roading on. Trying to learn on a big bike is absurd and dangerous. Of course you're discouraged. Its no fun at all on a big bike. Even experts struggle on the big bikes.

Start off on easy fire roads or easy two track horse trails. From there you can develop you riding skills. Find a few experienced riders to tag along with. Spain and Morocco is the place to go to really get out there and learn. Or come to my California desert .... where I grew up.
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