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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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Old 3 Sep 2008
Marsipoforo's Avatar
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Considering size

Hi all!
I'm getting my license in October (i know it is a bit early to pose this question but anyway i cannot concentrate on anything else..)and i am trying to choose a bike.I am 1,97m (6,4ft) tall and weigh (normally) between 115-120kg(250-265lbs).I don't want huge engine displacement,anything more than 600cc would be useless since i enjoy country roads and not major trunk roads (even by car) and i am no "speed freak" since my highest speed is around 90 km/h or maybe 100km/h (60m/h).The thing is that i don't know which bike will be able to carry me along with the camping gear etc and also withstand a huge off-road trip (but not a fast one through dirt tracks,i take it easy).To tell you the truth i quite like the Transalp and of course heard and read all about the reliability of Xt's and Suzuki's drz-400s Kawasaki Kle ie...Of course there will be modifications needed and i will do them for my sake and my bike's sake!I guess it is a different thing to have someone riding pillion and having a single heavy person riding the bike maybe the weight distribution is really different.So any reccomendations,any experience on this subject?
Marsipoforo=Marsupial in greek.Maybe it's because of the way i pack everything in my belt bag.True name is Alexandros. version of a rider...
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Old 3 Sep 2008
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Welcome to the greatest RTW/Adventure Biking forum in the WORLD! So good that even the Yanks use it everyday! Makes you proud to be a Brit...

Your question is a common one - a new biker seeking advice on their first large capacity motorcyle which is capable of RTW work.

The DRZ 400 is indeed a superb little bike but for your needs it will probably be underpowered and uncomfortable (cheesewire seat OEM)! Forget carrying a pillion with this bike. It is primarily a specialist offroad bike and will struggle on any other ground. If I were looking for a small 400cc RTW bike then this little gem would be top of my list. But you need to look at a better allrounder -

Well unsurprisingly I would urge you to look at the venerable XT series of Yamaha motorcycles - XT500, XT600 Tenere, XT600 Super Tenere, XT600E and finally the latest versions - XT660 and XT660 Tenere.

All the above bikes are capable of REAL hardcore RTW trips. Their simplicity and reliability make them a first rate contender compared against any other Adventure bikes including it must be said BMW's.

You simply won't find a better "Bang for Bucks Bike" anywhere.
You can still buy a good low mileage XT600E for £1,500 ($3,000). I challenge you to find a better deal - It will be very hard to beat in this respect. A similar good BMW will set you back at least TWICE that amount!

Depending on your intentions you may wish to look at the Tenere series of bikes which have adventure/RTW equipment fitted as standard (OEM). If you want to tailor the bike yourself then look at getting a standard XT600 or XT660.

If money is no object then go for a new XT660 Tenere which can be procured in the UK for about £4,000 ($8,000). This represents very good value compared to other models on the market. The only other new bike worth looking at in my view is the Kawasaki KLE500 which is a superb little bike capable of serious RTW work. Last June I noticed new KLE 500's being sold off cheap at UK dealers at £3,000 ($6,000). Now that really is a bargain!

Remember a single cylinder bike will never be able to compete with a twin cylinder bike on the motorway. A single is happy doing no more than about 60MPH all day whereas a multi-cylinder bike will easily do 90MPH all day. This is the only area where an XT might struggle.

So there you have it - The XT600E is in my view worth a good look as is the Kwaka KLE 500. If you really want to carry a pillion RTW then you need to look at larger multi-cylinder bikes like the BMW 1200G and KTM 990 Adventure but don't say I didn't tell you how expensive this will become!
Triumph Bonneville 800 (2004), Yamaha XT600E (1999), Honda XBR500 (1986).

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Old 3 Sep 2008
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Thanks Kentfallen!Given the weight the bike has to carry and the speeds i like to cruise would you think in general 400cc or below would be a small engine(that is wearing the bike a lot easier?)(i don't consider having a pillion just me on the motorbike alas it would be impossible!).Any thoughts on the Transalp idea?Comparing Xt's and Transalps frame strength and longevity?(maybe too vague as a question really).
Marsipoforo=Marsupial in greek.Maybe it's because of the way i pack everything in my belt bag.True name is Alexandros. version of a rider...
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Old 4 Sep 2008
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well, if you were in North America, the obvious budget choice would be a Kawi KLR 650! It's great for tall people, it has some power (but certainly not too much), it's cheap and it's already ugly so you don't need to worry about crashes! Did I mention it's cheap? However, you have different choices in the UK, and I might consider a Transalp if I were on the other side of the pond. For a big guy like yourself, even though you are a new rider, I would still consider a 600 or 650 (I'm a motorcycle instructor in Canada and that's the advice I would give my students! Normally, though, I'm trying to talk them out of buying a GSX-R 1000 or such nonsense.) The 650 Suzuki V-Strom might be a good choice if you're sticking mainly to pavement.
Jeremy Kroeker
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Old 4 Sep 2008
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Honda TA (TransAlp)

Hi there "Marsipoforo" and welcome to the HUB!

Well, you will receive lots of opinions concerning the bike you should get, I am sure.

I myself ride an old Honda TransAlp (built in 1991 and 400ccm only for the Japanese market due to license restrictions). I must say that I am more than happy with my TA. I am only 187cm and don't have your weight but even with pillion its fun to ride (maybe not that much hardcore off-road?!?!?!). I took the bike on a touring trip to Hokkaido last year, almost 3.500 kilometers and it never let me down. Gas milage is good, maintenance very easy.

Especially since you are a "newbee" in reference to motorcycles, I would definitely suggest to get a cheap(er) used bike than an expensive new one. And which bike - well, you must decide, go to bike dealers, sit on different bikes, take a test ride and you should be able to find out yourself which one will be your "baby"!!
Klaus D. Orth
A German in Japan
1992 Honda TA
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Old 4 Sep 2008
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Not to be calling you fat but seeing as your that size and still want the bike to take luggage and handle off road i would say you are looking at a big single cylinder. The Transalp is a nice bike but i think for off roading something smaller would be better.

My advice would be to look at getting a Yamaha XT660R. Ive one and its great a bike for doing smaller roads with and off roading. Its not a full on motorX bike with lights but its a good in between i find.

Have a look at this forum to get plenty more information about it.

. : XT660.com The #1 xt660 resource : . | The #1 xt660X, xt660R and xt660Z Tenere resource
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