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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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  #16  
Old 4 Mar 2010
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People say you shouldn't learn on a big bike on the road too, but it suited me. Small bike is the way to go defo unless you wanna ride there, then compromise here we come!
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  #17  
Old 27 Mar 2010
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650's

BMW makes nice looking bikes and most of the time they are a marketing strategy, before a bikers need.

My 650 XChallenge, has enough power, fairly light and can do more than i can. I have taken the bike off-road few times now; last time i snapped the valve cause didn't have a rim lock on the rear wheel and almost got stuck in mud/clay for the night (the tire kept spinning in the rim and up hill i couldn't push it). The standard tires on the XC are only good for gravel/fire roads.

Before the 650 i've had a 1200gs as well and it was great, smooth but i would have never been able to do what i've done with the 650, unless i was Simon Peavy.

I have soft luggage, Andy Strapz, one of the smaller velcros melted on the exhaust, but still usable. the large TT tank, 500+ Kms and few extra bits like large base kickstand, headlight protector, hepco & becker pannier rack. The bike needs a fairing or windscreen and the seat isn't the greatest. I think the sitting position isn't as comfy as F650GS. Different purpose bike.

So, why i thought about the DR, in Australia a lot of people use them, they are half the price, need few modifications are air cooled and spare parts are cheap and relatively available everywhere.

You might have heard this but everything is relative to your needs, where you're going, road you take, so even a DR250, CT110 or Vespa can be fun and dropping a "postie bike" will hurt a lot less that a big 650 or 1200.

Falcon Rust.
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  #18  
Old 27 Mar 2010
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I'm guessing the KLR is now out of the picture?

Good DR650 comments. Not many know about the DR in Europe/UK but I see it's popular in Oz. I think the DR will end up being a better long distance travel bike than your X Chal. But for hooning round Oz on weekends, the X is probably better.

Do you plan to keep your X Challenge or sell it?

If you are prepared to do the kinds of mods Colebatch has done on his X Chal, then you've got yourself a good dual sport bike for travel.
Economics favor the DR both for initial buy in and maintenance over the long term.

Besides cost I worry about the Air bladder damper. Might be tough to service on the road. Anyone know how it works?

Fuel economy is better on the X Chal but for $200 you can fit an IMS 19 liter tank which should deliver about 320 kms. tank range or a Safari (too big IMO).

Would seem the DR has advantage in cargo carrying ease and the strength of the sub frame and frame in general. All in a 147 kgs. package (dry) It also will not likely have wheel bearing failures (common on BMW) and weird electrical and battery issues that can be hard to diagnose on the road.

A Set Up DR with better suspension rides well off road, even heavily loaded in sand. Neither bike will give you comfort or speed like a R1200GS but for a single with a good seat, the DR650 is not too bad. Quite a few DR's for sale now in S. America, most having made the trip unscathed.
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  #19  
Old 26 May 2010
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I am also curious about this.

I was initially looking to get a 690E, but have been seriously considering the XC for a few reasons.

1. you can find XC's for a very respectable price 2nd hand, and
2. with proper mods, people have been taking them into RTW situations with good reliability.

There seem to be some niggling issues with the bike here and there, but overall, they seem reliable.

With the KTM, it seems like if you want true reliability in the RTW scale, you need to buy something 2009 or newer. Hence, 2nd hand is almost non existent.

I am also looking for any knowledge from people who have really toured the XC to find out what sort of prep needs to be done on these bikes to have a true peace of mind...

I, for myself, will be keeping my bike on a yacht and travel through the Med mostly, and taking the bike on long photo trips - both on and off the highway.

I comb forums regularly to pick up information that will help me make my decision.
As it stands right now, for all intents and purposes, I believe I will end up with the XC. Sight power deficit or not.....

If you know of a good one for sale... I'm all ears


D
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  #20  
Old 26 May 2010
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I have owned a highly farkled KLR, A DR 650 with all the mods, and now an Xchallenge.
I have taken the Xchallenge from a fairly light and powerful fun bike to a not so light off road adventure bike. It cost a lot more to get it adventurized than either the KLR or DR but I think it will be worth it.



It has gobs more power and much much better brakes!
I get about 38 mpg on the KLR or DR. The X gets at least 50.

We are doing the Oklahoma and New Mexico parts of the Trans American Trail starting tomorrow. I am leaving the shiny boxes home and running Andy Strapz Bags. I just bought the boxes for the racks and steel subframe. I look to have a great time on this bike.
If the bike lets me down I will report back.
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  #21  
Old 26 May 2010
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Steel subframe? I thought it was aluminium? I didn't see a TT replacement subframe.
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  #22  
Old 26 May 2010
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Yes , steel sub frame!
The TT kit comes with pannier racks and new steel sub frame.
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  #23  
Old 27 May 2010
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Yeah, sorry. Saw it in with their pannier frame.

Do you know what the weight of the steel subframe vs. the aluminium is?
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  #24  
Old 27 May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigdon View Post
I have owned a highly farkled KLR, A DR 650 with all the mods, and now an Xchallenge. I have taken the Xchallenge from a fairly light and powerful fun bike to a not so light off road adventure bike. It cost a lot more to get it adventurized than either the KLR or DR but I think it will be worth it.
How many miles on your previous bikes?
How many on the X Challenge so far? The TT Trail should be a good shake down run for your bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigdon View Post
It has gobs more power and much much better brakes! I get about 38 mpg on the KLR or DR. The X gets at least 50.
A well set up DR is about as fast as a stock X Challenge. I've ridden the X and also run side by side with them. Pretty close, with my DR pulling it off the line (wheeling in 1st and 2nd off power) (I weigh 220 lbs.)

Maybe your DR was not working its best? Or maybe your XC has been modified? The Beemer guys always say they get 65 to 70 MPG from the XC and Dakar, surprised to hear only 50, I expected more.

A stock DR650 usually gets 50 MPG ... or better. Most modified ones get between 45 - 50 ... but have better throttle response and power. Agree, X Challenge brakes are better by far than DR brakes ... unless you put on the big front rotor Pro Cycle sells!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigdon View Post
We are doing the Oklahoma and New Mexico parts of the Trans American Trail starting tomorrow. I am leaving the shiny boxes home and running Andy Strapz Bags. I just bought the boxes for the racks and steel subframe. I look to have a great time on this bike. If the bike lets me down I will report back.
Love to hear your feedback when you do 10K miles or so. Have a safe trip!
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  #25  
Old 27 May 2010
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Just got back from a 9 month trip, 28000 miles from UK to India and back including Turkey,Iran,Pakistan.
The mods I made were fabricating pannier racks to bolt to the OE subframe, TT tank and Ohlins shock. The only thing I will change for the next trip is the seat.
Problem wise not a lot to report other than the clutch rack and pinion snapped a tooth. The aluminium subframe stood up well even when I had a big off.

Cheers
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  #26  
Old 27 May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmotten View Post
Yeah, sorry. Saw it in with their pannier frame.

Do you know what the weight of the steel subframe vs. the aluminium is?
I did not weigh the subframe, but just by picking it up, the steel subframe is much more heavy.
The box with the Pannier system in it shipped at 36 lbs. the box the tank kit came in said 31 lbs.
I took an x challenge and made a KLR out of it!
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  #27  
Old 27 May 2010
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When it comes to weight and subframes there is not much gain in using aluminum.

A steel-subframe typically weighs 5-6 kg so it's not much to save. It's also "impossible" to get alu welded in the third world.
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  #28  
Old 27 May 2010
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The only problems i've heard of is the rear end snapping of when the small OE rack (rated a 5 kg) has been overloaded. I welded in additional braces in this area.
I also saw a picture of a guy that had a big of and it snapped the frame lugs not the ali subframe

Cheers
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  #29  
Old 27 May 2010
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"
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey D View Post
How many miles on your previous bikes?
How many on the X Challenge so far? The TT Trail should be a good shake down run for your bike."

KLR 32,000


DR650 31,000



The X only has about 5,000

"A well set up DR is about as fast as a stock X Challenge. I've ridden the X and also run side by side with them. Pretty close, with my DR pulling it off the line (wheeling in 1st and 2nd off power) (I weigh 220 lbs.) "

My DR ran really well. The X will run off and hide from the DR! YMMV

"Maybe your DR was not working its best? Or maybe your XC has been modified? The Beemer guys always say they get 65 to 70 MPG from the XC and Dakar, surprised to hear only 50, I expected more. "

I never get the mileage claimed by others may have a wrist problem!

"A stock DR650 usually gets 50 MPG ... or better. Most modified ones get between 45 - 50 ... but have better throttle response and power. Agree, X Challenge brakes are better by far than DR brakes ... unless you put on the big front rotor Pro Cycle sells!"

I got about 38-40 on my KLR,DR riding loaded on trips.I always run 70 +gps and only check mpg when running tank to tank.
On my only trip with the x ,so far, it got 50 mpg on the highway. I did the math on one tank while out in the boonies and got 60 mpg.
It looks like the x will get about 20% better fuel mileage.

"Love to hear your feedback when you do 10K miles or so. Have a safe trip!
"
I will report back!
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  #30  
Old 27 May 2010
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HERE you can find more info about my RTW XChallenge ...

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