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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 26 Jul 2009
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Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Posts: 2
Criteria - low fuel consumption, easy to get going?

So, I've been soul searching for the last couple of months. I got a girlfriend now, living together....and to cut a long story short, I, Frants Combrink Jnr, son of a South African Airways Captian, now retired, needs to either get busy living, or continue making with the the day to day grind of going to work and going home and wishing my so called live over.

And after reading the posts of Nathan the Postman (advrider) who so kindly shared some of his trip with the rest of us.....I came to realise that I don't live life, I am merely existing. This also came from trying to figure out, that me, at age 27, do, not, want, children.......ever! My girlfriend does....very much so.

And I started to realise that my so called life is exactly the life I vowed myself not to live about 9 years ago. SO! What is the point of this post then? Surely the title does not match the content.

Seeing Nathan ride his Honda CT110 made me realise that I want to go on a ride.....to nowhere and everywhere that I wanted to go. I live as far south in South Africa as conviniently possible...the city is great. And I want to get on my bike, and ride north. Ride north till I get to the ocean and have to decide left or right.

My current bike is a 1981 R80G/S. Great bike...really great bike. One short coming if you want to travel for as long as possible....its not great fuel consumption. I do not want to set off on this trip and find myself turning around at Windhoek cause my funds are running low due to fuel. Fuel is not a cheap consumable anymore.

So my thoughts turned to the Honda E Storm. 50km/liter. Wow, now that wil get me really far. Simple bike....unleaded.

Then, thought turned to my first dual sport horse, the Suzuki Djebel 250 XC. Great fun little bike....loads of suspension.....about 25km/liter......I would compromise that 25 kilometers for it. Very simple bike as well, beaing unleaded suddenly doesn't bother me. But, the Djebel does not have a subframe to hang stuff from. And since the Djebel will be imported to South Africa as grey, they don't always come cheap.

My buddy, 2005 KLR 650. He says he gets the same fuel consumption as the Djebel. Great bike as well......subframe you can hang a moose from. A very well traveled bike around the world.....might even run into Mike on his way up Africa. And I can get one for a really good price, given I need to replace the rear shock at a very conservative price if I choose the manufacturer in Johannesburg.

Then there is the TW200, one of which I can get for a little bit more than the KLR (that is before buying the new shock), touring ready. I know they get about 35km/liter.....not fast but my point isn't to go fast. The bike even has a rack that can hold and is included, two red 5 liter metal jerry cans with locks. But can you find that tire in africa? I hardly see that tire in local shops.

But now we might...who am I kidding, I am possibly now missing the point again. Is it the bike or the trip. If I really wanted to, the E Storm will work perfectly.

So I need some advice, and I do understand that the advice will be sprinkled with some bias as to which bike and why. But for the most part, when it comes to fuel and packability and longevity...what would you suggest? I know its the rider and not the bike that makes any bike great and its the going there and not the bike that makes the trip.

If I can choose, I would like to go for the KLR because its a good buy from any angle. I would REALLY like to use my G/S, but the low fuel consumption bothers me as it might hamper my freedom for this trip. The TW bothers me due to that tire. The Djebel for me fall right next to the KLR, only, I know I can pack the KLR. Both allow me the trip, and both allow me a little bit of playing if I do wish to....that is with out luggage. And I suspect I would be able to get a KLR in general for the same price as a Djebel landed and registered in SA.

So I ask thee world travelers, those that has been there, those that know......does it really matter or does it only matter that you get on two wheels, the one that offers the most bang for your little bit of buck, and ride?

Sincerely yours,

EDIT: What I forgot to mention is that I love the G/S as well cause it is smooth. With my option listed, they are all thumpers. What small twin would you suggest? I saw some people here mention the CB200. I think those are really my top priority....low to acceptable fuel consumption, low on vibration.

Frants

PS. I am tired of my day to day existence, I want to live a life. We only get so many days on this earth, when they are done, what do we have to show for them?

Last edited by Inprogress; 26 Jul 2009 at 08:28. Reason: Started surfing the posts on which bike and realised I forgot the vibration issue that bothered my with the Djebel.
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  #2  
Old 26 Jul 2009
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Derbys
Posts: 19
I surpose reliability of the machine you choose is a main factor ,and having confidence in it , not the latest GSA plus all the gubbins that go with it .

My first trip anywere was ozzie , bought a bike threw a bag on it ,did 21 thousand miles while i was there bit of camping gear for the bush nights ,
kept it basic , i mean a tube of tyre weld / plug spanner , did service along the way.
i think thats the trouble, folks are talking too many possessions / gadgets ,
and this was long before mobiles and satnav,

and if you say your not interested in the kids yet, do what you,ve got to
now your young enough , get it out your system.
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  #3  
Old 26 Jul 2009
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Posts: 2
Hey Alpmonkey.

I've been reading the posts and come to make my mind up....I think. Ride cheap. One thing I know is that I don't want to feel like I have a cap on this trip. I don't quite know where I am going yet, so I want to go as far as possible.

I saw a local ad for a CB250....or is it 200 now.....whatever....for about R6000. That is the price of a brand new chinese copy CG125, only the CB is a twin. I came to like twins for their smoothness.

Yes, I need to see the places that are so far just in my imagination. Taj mahal, Piramids, Eiffel Tower, Mongolia, Moscow, Alaska.....and I desperately want to experience Antarctica ever since I read Sir Ralph Fiennes book...actually even before that.

Although I don't think this feeling I have is so much something I need to get out of my system...I think I need to get something into my system....life.

I hate working for a boss. I hate not feeling fulfilled with my work. I hate that with everyday that passes I'm moving further and further away from my dreams.

And...sadly I am starting to think that even though I have rid myself from purchasing items to make my daily existence bearable, I think I might have gone into this relationship with a wonderful woman thinking that it will make me happy.

BUT, I have push this far for no reason and I'm am pushing this box no more. It is time to stop blaming my past for my future. It is time to stop searching for replacements in my live for the things that will truly bring me happiness. It is time to draw the line again and look life square in the eyes and tell it to bring it on. It is time to scream at the top of my lungs to a society that sells feelings and not experiences that I will fall for it no longer.

I would love to do this trip on a 1200GSA. It is a bluddy awesome bike.....but I just do not see, not even remotely, where the all that money goes. All the 1200GSA is an engine, two wheels and a handle bar, very much like CB200. They both go forward.

But what the CB200 gives you, the 1200GSA only shows you. The 1200GSA makes you think you are on an adventure, but you can't afford it anymore, but at least it looks like you are on an adventure.

Thanks for the reply though. I should get everything in order and go. It is time to live a life, not an imitation of it.

Happy Trails.
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  #4  
Old 26 Jul 2009
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Derbys
Posts: 19
Hi frants

Yes you can easily sell your life off cheaply to other people / work before you know it .

personally i,d look for twin cylinder , a little bit heavier but a bit more reliability i think depends on whats available in SA
transalp is a good work horse , a little bit of mechanical sympathy helps the bike go a long way ,
revving the arse off it nor stamping on the gear changer , which i have seen recently doesn,t help the bike much .

you seem to have the spirit and hunger for it, an good on ya .

looking forward to my next trip out at the end of this month to norway ,
can,t wait .


cheers ,chris .

Last edited by ALPMONKEY; 26 Jul 2009 at 14:12.
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  #5  
Old 28 Jul 2009
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,500
I have traded in my old 1985 R80rt for this 2005 Enfield. Having fitted a right side shift kit to it. I made a trip last week back to the UK to visit. In all I did 894 miles and used 43.1 litres of fuel, which works out at about 94mpg (Imperial). I found its natural cruising speed to be a tad less than the BMW, but not enough to change transit times over the ground. For half the miles I had pouring rain, and this is my first experience of road biking without a full fairing since 1961. I am currently trying to locate a full touring fairing for it. I had the pizza box on the back, plus throw over saddlebags from crampster ( good but not waterproof) plus two large holdalls strapped across the pillion. It ran without missing a beat, or leaking any oil.
The handling is a delight, very quick response and will run on any surface from wet grassy fields to tarmac without any problems. When I got it it had 6,800 miles on the clock, and I had to replace the rear tyre. I fitted an avon sm in place of the am26 original. The front tyre still has plenty of tread and is not cupping or favouring either side for wear. My BMW wore front tyres significantly faster than rear tyres. I think the odd tyre wear is due to modern bikes being heavier and different steering geometry to the older bikes, as I never had uneven wear on any old bike. The trials heritage of the Enfield frame showed itself when it came to disembark from the ferry. I was able to exit the bike lane and turn 180 degrees back down in the width of one car. None of the dozen or so modern bikes could do this, and had to wait for the row of cars to exit before they could leave the ferry.
I have now realised that not all of my problems with the bmw were due to the left hand shift, although I blamed that for the general feeling of awkwardness with the bike. In fact I got on well with the Enfield even when it was left shift, but it is more natural to me now I have converted it to right shift. Gearchanges just happen and I dont know I have done them, and the bike slows seemingly by itself as I instinctively use the left hand brake lever. The brakes on the bike are very good. I would not like to say which had the best front brake, but the Enfield rear brake is an order of magnitude better than the BMW's.
I am not crticising my BMW for anything, just it was not the bike for me. I realise now it was too big, too heavy and just unergonomic to me.
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