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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 14 Jan 2007
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Definitive bike choice

Im doing a Pan America trip and going nuts with bike choice. Iv shortlisted a few so please tell me what you think.

I know this has been done to death so apologies.

I have a budget of about £2500-£3000 for the bike. Options are:

Yamaham XT600E : Cheap, reliable & trustworthy but underpowered & not great handling (I own one now)

Kawasaki KLR: Same as above but even worse handling

Transalp: Tell me about it ?

Dominator: Tell me about it ? I hear its kinda fragile and drops valves, burns oil etc

BMW F650: Seems popular but I hear alot of reliabilty issues and its expensive

Africa twin: Iv had 2 but they're getting rare and rather big & heavy

KTM Adventure: Unreliable & impossible to get parts ?

Honda XR650L: Seems perfect but subrame is weak and very rare (import)

Honda XR650R
: Great but subrame made of chocolate and very vibey (I had one)

The big GS's and KTM's dont really interest me. I dont want to look like a rich gringo plus they cost too much.
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India 2012
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  #2  
Old 14 Jan 2007
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Are you going to bring it over or buy in the USA ?
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  #3  
Old 14 Jan 2007
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Get the KLR and you'll be happy. That was easy, eh?

Buy a new one in the states (£2,500) & kit it out there, too. You've left the DR650 off your list - that'd be the other bike I'd consider for doing my SA trip again.

Have fun,
James
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  #4  
Old 15 Jan 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesCo
Get the KLR and you'll be happy. That was easy, eh?

Buy a new one in the states (£2,500) & kit it out there, too. You've left the DR650 off your list - that'd be the other bike I'd consider for doing my SA trip again.

Have fun,
James
The KLR was at the bottom of my list Popular but kinda lame aint it ?
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Ushuaia - Colombia 2007/8
UK- South Africa 2010/11
India 2012
Yukon 2012
S.E Asia 2014
U.K - Magadan 2015
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  #5  
Old 15 Jan 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodger
Are you going to bring it over or buy in the USA ?
The plan is to buy and prep in the Uk and fly it over. I considered buying in the USA but i cant really be bothered landing without a bike and having to make a base to search and prep for a bike.

I wanna ride out of the airport
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1994 XR650L
2001 NX650 Dominator.

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Ushuaia - Colombia 2007/8
UK- South Africa 2010/11
India 2012
Yukon 2012
S.E Asia 2014
U.K - Magadan 2015
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  #6  
Old 15 Jan 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum
The plan is to buy and prep in the Uk and fly it over. I considered buying in the USA but i cant really be bothered landing without a bike and having to make a base to search and prep for a bike.

I wanna ride out of the airport
Then bring your XT .
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  #7  
Old 15 Jan 2007
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Hi Ted,

The KLR's on my short list. There's a crap load of relatively inexpensive stuff on this side of the pond to make it a reasonably well handling and an immensely reliable overlander.

Cheers
Al
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  #8  
Old 15 Jan 2007
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you forgot one,
how about a real basic easy to fix at the side of the road with minimal tools, tour all day at 65mph and return 80 mpg and remarkably reliable if you prep it properly before you go.cheap tyres, cheap chain sprockets etc and never likely to get nicked?
don't laff - a royal enfield 500.
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  #9  
Old 15 Jan 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikerz
you forgot one,
how about a real basic easy to fix at the side of the road with minimal tools, tour all day at 65mph and return 80 mpg and remarkably reliable if you prep it properly before you go.cheap tyres, cheap chain sprockets etc and never likely to get nicked?
don't laff - a royal enfield 500.
If you not in a hurry might work out, but I think your 65mph all day is slightly optimistic. more like 50-60 from memory . for about £150 you can up the fuel tank to 20 litres from the 14.5 that comes standard. This gives an easy 300 mile range.
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  #10  
Old 17 Jan 2007
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If you purchased a KLR 650 in the UK wouldn't it be a C model, not the A model sold in North America? I've never ridden, or even seen, a C model but from what I've read they are much inferior to the A model as an adventure bike (see Chris Scott's "Adventure Motorcycling Handbook" for comments on the two).

I must disagree with your statement that the KLR handles poorly if you mean the
A model. I have two friends who are ex road racers and ride theirs incredibly quickly and often comment on how well they handle for the type of bike that they are.

IMHO, the KLR 650A is an excellent adventure bike - reliable, handles all types of surfaces and terrain well, simple and easy to work on and repair, pleasant to ride for a single cylinder dual sport bike, and inexpensive to purchase. They do need a few upgrades for improvement in reliability and performance but there is a large aftermarket for this here in the US and the finished bike still won't be costly. I would recommend not exceeding the bikes GVWR or using it for two up adventure riding.

After much mental agonizing about it I chose a KLR for my rtw ride, had no problems with it whatsoever except for an aftermarket chain breaking, and would make the same choice again. Just my 2 cents worth.

Mike
Idaho
www.rtwrider.net
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  #11  
Old 17 Jan 2007
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Most trips are on asphalt or dirt roads how about a Susuki DL 650?
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  #12  
Old 18 Jan 2007
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I agree with Surf Dude. If you don't plan a lot of technical dirt exploration then the DL650 could work. It handles like a sport bike, is faster than anything on your list, tough as nails and easy to load up. Gets over 50 mpg and can cruise at 80 mph and is practically maintenance free. It will do dirt roads fine, just slow down a tad and avoid half meter deep pot holes.

You'd save a bundle buying it in USA. Same goes for KLR, DR650, XR650L. All decent choice. In this part of the world the KLR is King. I just spent the day yesterday working with two young lads from New Zealand who've bought near new KLR's and I gave a hand kitting them out and doing a bit of service.
They spent about $3000 per bike. Another $500 for bits, tires, riding gear. They head south on Saturday.

You could pre-arrange a sale with a dealer (in, say L.A.). Pre pay it so Title is waiting when you arrive. Either have dealer order after market kit ahead or bring it with. (cheaper if you buy here...due to incredibly weak Dollar vs. Pound) But hey, its only money. Your choice. You can do it all online and have the stuff sent to the shop or ask the dealer to order it and make sure you get
near online prices.

My guess is you could buy a set up new bike here for what you'll pay for a good low mileage used bike in the UK. Then you've got $1200 (700 UKP) or so worth of air freight charges on top of that. 700 pounds will see you right in Mexico for a month or more.

You could set up a deal where the dealer meets you at the airport, takes you to his shop, you load on your crap and go. In fact, there is a shop in LA that specializes in doing just that. Honda-Suzuki place, don't remember name.

Hey Ted, you've been screwing around asking about bikes and travel for over a year.....are you ever gonna take off?

Cheers and good luck....if you ever make out of the UK!

Patrick
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  #13  
Old 18 Jan 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog

Hey Ted, you've been screwing around asking about bikes and travel for over a year.....are you ever gonna take off?

Cheers and good luck....if you ever make out of the UK!

Patrick
Dont I know it mate, dont I know it.

I was meant to set off in September 06 for South America but my partner pulled out at the very last minute with no warning (nice). It put things on hold for a few months (financially). In that few months I was seeing a lady who screwed me out of 2 grand (smashed up my flat and valuables) so that really set me back.

Instead of 3 months in South America I thought **** IT, i might as well do the whole Americas for 6-12 months so having to save save which is hard when your paying back debts too

Fear not... iv got the plan in gear and nothing is spoiling it now ! Iv already got a prepped an XT600E so im probably just going to use that. Im just considering alternative as iv got over a year till i depart.

I like the look of the DR650 so gonna research that a little too.
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Ushuaia - Colombia 2007/8
UK- South Africa 2010/11
India 2012
Yukon 2012
S.E Asia 2014
U.K - Magadan 2015

Last edited by *Touring Ted*; 18 Jan 2007 at 13:18.
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  #14  
Old 18 Jan 2007
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum
In that few months I was seeing a lady who screwed me out of 2 grand (smashed up my flat and valuables) so that really set me back.
Ted
Just be thankful she didn't boil your bunny... See you on the road. Stephan
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  #15  
Old 19 Jan 2007
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Do It In Th USA

Your nuts not to-

Hypothetically speaking here is how the scenario could work—

I know of a 2004 KLR650 with 2500 +/- miles on it that can be had 1650 GBP. Fly to the states pick up the bike call happytrails order a set of panniers and rack for 400GBP have them sent to your campsite/ hotel what ever and you are done and on your way in less than 10 days. Total investment 2050 GBP plus airfare and you are on your way.

Believe it or not there are any number of yanks that will be more than happy to assist you in the accusation and outfit of a bike here in the states. I am one of them. Happy to help in anyway from this side of the pond. Seriously, save the cash for the trip. You will be surprised how easily and economically you could put together a bike here.
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