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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 11 Oct 2008
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comfort vs weight and money

hi all,

bike session has ended and now there are good bikes in the market for acceptable prices.

i'll travel to Morocco on May 2009 and then Iran on June 2010. I am thinking of buying the bike soon and doing some mods during the winter.

options are:
a) 2008 Yamaha XT660R, 1000 km (625 miles) on the clock, cost app 4000 pounds. Brand new cost 5000 pounds (in spacial offer)
b) 2006 Suzuki V-Strom, 18000 km (11250 miles) on the clock, cost app 5000 pound (with bash plate, top-box, hand guards, crash bars). brand new costs 7600 pounds.
c) the reserve option might be pre-2008 Honda Transalp. but it has carb, high consumption, heavy. not in the shortlist tho.

I'll travel from Turkiye to Morocco via Greece, Italy, France and Spain. all round the mediterian coast and back via same route. this is about 7000 km on the european motorways and i want to travel as fast as i can in europa as i have done this route in 2006 with a BMW F650ST. In Morocco I'm planning to do 2500-3000 km, will prefer tarmac, but, also wish to go to remote places. A friend of mine will probably join me in Spain with his DR250 who did Vietnam to Finland last year.

pros and cons:

1) v-strom:
+ two cylinder. good for european motorways.
+ comfortable.
+ good second hand value here in Turkiye
+ got mods on it. just need to buy TT rack and high screen.
+ many long distance riding report with minor problems. Solid bike, solid engine.
+ the bike is where I live
+ no valve clearance needed
+ reports say good power even with low octane petrol.
+ less tax (half of xt annually)

- Heavy (195 kg dry weight without any mods will be about 300kg with liquids+mods+lagguage and i am 1.71cm and 65kg)
- expensive (will spend almost all of my savings)
- less mpg (owner said 16.5 km/lt)
- 18000 km on the clock
- no warranty
- hard to pick up when dropped
- hard to ride in gravel and sand
- more plastic
- red.. to shiny

2- XT660R
+ light (170kg dry weigt will be 230-250 kg with liquids+mods+lagguage)
+ cheap (almost the half of the travel expenses will remain)
+ will be almost brand new
+ better mpg (reported between 20-25 km/lt)
+ will have 1.5 year and unlimited km warranty.
+ better gravel, piste and sand handling
+ cheap to maintain
+ less plastic
+ black looks cool (faster because it is black

- single cylinder, will be vibby on high speeds (on 120km/h (75miles) or more)
- need mods(bash plate, high screen, hand guards, crash bars, TT rack)
- small tank (15lt)
- did not read many long distance riding report. (only one rtw and one UK to S.Africa)
- the bike is 1000 km away from me
- not good second hand value
- need valve clearance every 20000km according to manual.
- better to have 95 octane petrol according to manual.
- more tax.

the main concerns are actually:
v-strom comfortable, xt: light and cheap.
so, i need your opinions or in comfort vs weight and money as i stated on my topic

I have never ridden both bikes in motorways (no test drive in Turkiye), just had a small distance ride when I went to see the bikes. I think yamaha also has as solid engine as v-strom.
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  #2  
Old 12 Oct 2008
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I am slightly confused as to why the V-Strom adds 105 kg with liquids+mods+luggage and yet the XT only adds 60 - 80 kg.
Personally I'd go for the XT simply because I wouldn't want to spend almost all my savings, which you say you would have to in order to buy the V-Strom.
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Old 12 Oct 2008
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hi

thanks for the replies. the reasons of diffeerences in weight are xt's tank is 7lt less then dl650 and also oil, cooling system of xt is smaller then dl650. another reason is if i travel with xt i'm sure i'll take less stuff with me as xt has less power than dl650.
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Old 12 Oct 2008
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I'd buy the Transalp!!

Never owned a Suzuki, so i'm not talking from my own experience, but I do know hondas, and the Transalp will far outlive the others in terms of build quality, and those engines are derived from the old Reveres/ntv's, which were couriers favorites, and bloody indestructible. I have seen suzi's fall of their stands and the footrests/levers are made of chocolate... they just snap. I know this because i've replaced them on my mates sv650.
In a nutshell, good engines and gearboxes, but wont take the punishment of a Honda.
Good luck!
PS. And better on the road than any single cylinder.
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Old 13 Oct 2008
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thanks for advices and comments leevtr.

yes, honda's are solid bikes. many people says 'as reliable as honda". hovever, as I stated in my first post, honda is the reserve options. TA is like an apple, it is not bad, but you see it everywhere and you get bored of it.

enjoy!
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Old 13 Oct 2008
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Ozhanu--were you not happy with your BMW--just curious--since I was considering buying a Dakar 650 for similiar riding
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Old 15 Oct 2008
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hi weaklinks,

my bmw was 1997 make strada model. so, it was quite different from the f650gs models. it was a good bike, many people did rtw with it (even a woman benka pulko). the problem with bmw is, it is expensive to fix when it is broken. and also the parts. it might be cheaper in the US, however in many eu countries and in Turkiye it is expensive.

if you do a search on HUBB there is a deep discussion going on about bmw's reliability. many claims that bmw's are not as reliable as the japanies one where the other claims bmw's are worlds #1. I am not an experienced rider like them. but, for my two sent worth, if you dont push toooo hard f650gs dakars can go everywhere, can do everything.

a friend of mine just complited his trip from France to Malaysia and will continue to Australia and had zero problem on a brand new dakar.

hope this helps


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Originally Posted by weaklinks View Post
Ozhanu--were you not happy with your BMW--just curious--since I was considering buying a Dakar 650 for similiar riding
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Old 15 Oct 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leevtr View Post
I have seen suzi's fall of their stands and the footrests/levers are made of chocolate... they just snap. I know this because i've replaced them on my mates sv650.
In a nutshell, good engines and gearboxes, but wont take the punishment of a Honda.
Had an SV before, now I got a DL, and ridden 60.000+ kms on each one of them. Never had any problems whatsoever with sidestands or levers... dont know, if UK models are fitted with those made of chocolate, though!!

I had a few Africa Twins before, so I agree with Honda´s build quality and durability. The Vstrom, however, is just as fault-free, and matches Honda in taking a considerable amount of abuse. And it will outperform even the new 700 Transalp, nevermind the older 650 version. And carry more stuff on it, the Suzi´s got by far the sturdiest frame, so its handling will not be affected as much. Vstrom´s headlights are also an example for many, of how they should be.

1 vs 2 cylinders, which is better, I think will depend on where you´ll do most of your riding. A lighter thumper is naturally much better when the going gets tough (but you must keep in mind if its heavily loaded, might not be much fun either!) and the 2-cylinder will eat up the better roads and highways much smoother.
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Old 15 Oct 2008
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hi petcha and others..

thanks for the comments. i have found a 07 make black (not the shiny black) abs v-strom. the price is incredible even better than the UK price. it includes bash-plate, top-box, engine guards and new anekee tyres. i just need to get hand guards and TT rack. i'll see the bike on monday. however, the bad bit is that the odometer. he says that, after the changed the front tire with the odo connector was broken and it is still out of use. so, i am worrying about the real km that the bike has done. the owner said it was 25.000 km before the odo broken and he did something like 5000km after that. so it should be total 30.000-31.000 km.
and also it had a minor scratch on the left site because of dropping the bike while parking.

anyway, i'll take it to suzuki service before i buy. i think it should have a service history and the service guy should tell everything.

i am not worring about the cosmatic damage. i'm sure i'll drop the bike in morocco a few times. my only concern is the engine part. i dont want to spent money for mechanic in italy or in spain. if the engine is ok, i would buy it. i dont care if it is 30.000 or 35.000 km. there was a picture on HUBB of a dl650 odometer which shows 200.000 KM!!!

by the way, do you have any tips where should i pay attantion when i buy t he v-strom?

thanks
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Old 15 Oct 2008
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Cant remember how it is on the DL, but on the SV you could easily crack the odometer spindle teeth, unless you aligned them correctly during assembly. Happened to me once, and also happened on a service shop when replacing the front. That should have been fixed right away, though.

But you can never be 100% sure of the odometer reading, when buying from someone you dont know. I would look at other things, the general condition of the machine, evidence of crash repairs, etc.

Here´s a tip: check the steering stoppers located on the frame outside the steering axle. If crashed hard, it is normal the bars hit the stoppers violently, leaving marks on them, that are unlikely to come from anything else. But because of fairings, you probably wont get to see them on the DL, you must feel them with your hand, which is more difficult. (On most bikes with lower pipes, crashing usually also leaves marks from them on the rear swingarm, when the pipes are bent against them, but on this bike thats unlikely). All these components can be replaced of course, but renewing a frame or a swingarm is expensive; more probable those marks have at best been painted to hide them.

Dont mean to scare you off any bike, and most people do not sell a crashed bike without mentioning it.
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Old 15 Oct 2008
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thanks for the comment and tip petcha. and you make me feel better with your experiences on SV odometer spindle teeth. I think he is not lying. He said that he is going to buy a house and his name is on the list on the net. So, most probably he needs cash for the house.

Will check the steering stoppers anyway

Thanks again!!

Did I mentioned it was black so it should be faster then the other DL's
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Old 15 Oct 2008
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Is there a most correct bike for a situation ?



It is all about choice. Light or heavy; one or two cylinders.

A Beemer guy will never give up from his BMW. Others will say, finding parts easily around the world is more important.

There is no maintenance free and indestructible bike. Some prefer simple bikes, some more electronics, etc.

The best is IMHO, the bike which you are familiar and think you will be happy with. A short test ride of several days helps a lot.

To me, it seems a 2 cylinder bike suits more to your needs as you will ride more on tarmac. If you are going to ride to longer distances like TR to east Russia via Mongolia, ok go for XT. If you will ride through dunes, ok XT is the answer. Othervise I don't think that you will be happy with XT.
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Old 15 Oct 2008
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Hi mate ... I would go for the XT660R

1- 95 octane (or higher) is prefered for all bikes. I mean if its not mentioned in VS manual, i dont think its because its not prefered. But both can do without it. You can use octane booster when in Morocco and it will be fine. I rode until Ad Dahkla in 2006 and all was well (fuel wise)

2- XT tank is 15 lt.s but i think whats important is how far it can go... I mean VS full tank range vs XT full range ... if its around 250 km.s, tank will be sufficient, but a 5 lt jerry can make you feel more secure

3- XT is vibby and unconfy but i think it compansates it with better suspensions.

4- Ground clearance is far better then VS (which is always useful in Morocco)


The other + points you already mentioned ... cheaper to buy, cheaper to maintain, lighter, newer etc...

But corious of something ..... why doesnt VS need valve clearance after certain milages or under certain circumstances?

Cheers,
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Old 16 Oct 2008
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My DL650 has a bit over 35,000km on it now. Dont have many problems with it.
Some things to look out for?
1) Vibrations and poor handiling at speeds
2) rear shock
3) the underside of the bike is a bit low for riding hard off road see if there are big dents.
4) front fork seals
5) take the seat off check to see the electric is done right (or well enof)
6) the tools are there and the seat is in good shape
7) see the rims are in good shape
8) It will need a tune up at 30,000 and as its sold and may not have been taken grate care of may not have seen tune up ever (I need to do mine still)

As it is my bike has seen the ground more times than I like and has one tune up still it runs vary well It has been over loaded ran threw snow and ice, desert sand rocks and grass lands from below sea level to over 12,000 feet. I see it as vary good value.

Now for out fitting TT may be the go to rack but there are others out there Id look around before spending all your loot.

Some web pages to get you started
Stromtrooper.com - Powered by vBulletin
Suzuki V-Strom DL 650 Review
V-Strom Forum - powered by Tex Arts

some gear to kit out with
TwistedThrottle.com : ...by What Fits My Bike - Suzuki - DL650 V-Strom -
V-Strom 650 (DL650): Adventure MotoStuff LLC

hope it helps a bit.
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Old 16 Oct 2008
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thanks all for the contribution.

samy, i'm still looking for a rental company who rents v-strom here. couldn't find yet. i may ride a friend of my friends v-strom this weekend. will see. however, dl650 would be better for 7000km tarmac vs 400km gravel+piste. and also i can always trade a v-strom for a xt660r.

usl, dl's tank range is definately longer than xt. reported average km/l is 20-25 for xt (ref: private conversation with xt owners) and 17-22 for dl (ref: pm from petcha, and vstrom Turkiye website). Also, I dont want to do hardcore offroad in Morroco. I'll push the bike a bit but will not race with the KTM guys
about valve clearance: see one of the molldog's dl650 threat.

DLbiten, thanks for the tips and advices. i'll definately check the things you have stated. if we fix the price and if i buy the bike, surely, i'll give her a good service first. including tuning up the valves and other parts.
my alu cases are TT. so, i am thinking that best fit would be a TT rack. btw touratech.de is cheaper then touratech.co.uk. will check the vstrom web site and will do my homework before i buy.

thanks again to all
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