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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 Apr 2012
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dl650 vs everything arrgghhh too much choice

Hi folks,

Im planning a trip to northern africa (through europe into morrocco and maybe further). I'm hunting around for a bike that will cope with tarmac and dirt tracks. the dl650 is coming up as reliable but as i may venture further into africa (maybe even all the way down) im no longer sure if its what i need. would i be better with something more dirt track orientated like a big single? im travelling solo and am well used to travelling light as ive done plenty of touring on a push bike.

i thought i had it sorted untill i started looking at bikes, now i want them all!!!
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  #2  
Old 26 Apr 2012
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My DL is able to manage easy dirt, gravel, etc. It's not fun, but it's perfectly do-able. It's got enough clearance to handle rough roads, including potholes, ruts, speed bumps and more. Mud or soft sand are extremely unpleasant.

My KLR handles all that stuff better, and makes most of it fun--not merely tolerable. Soft sand and mud are the exceptions--it renders them manageable, but not fun.

The DL is way superior on pavement--faster, more comfortable, more fun. But on a 90/10 trip, the KLR is the one I bring because of that 10%.

Decide what kind of trip you're really going to take--not the one you dream of, in which you're floating endlessly across softly-sculpted sand dunes in the evening light, but the trip you're actually contemplating. If there's substantial mud or sand involved, bring a single. If not, you'll be pleased with the DL.

Hope that's helpful.

Mark
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  #3  
Old 27 Apr 2012
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Yamaha XT660Z Tenere.
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  #4  
Old 27 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
The DL is way superior on pavement--faster, more comfortable, more fun. But on a 90/10 trip, the KLR is the one I bring because of that 10%.
I totally agree with this sentiment. if you are planning on going off tarmac for any proportion for your trip you're better of with a big trail bike than an "adventure bike"

I went down to morocco on an mt350e last summer and although I wanted a bit extra on the road going down, it was worth it once the tarmac ran out.

Take a look at 600cc + trail bikes such at the yamaha xt600/660, I know there is a fairly sorted MT 350 for sale at the moment as well.

If you want to do a lot of off tarmac then look at DRZ400S or WR250R

Just my my 2 pennies worth
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  #5  
Old 27 Apr 2012
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Just sold my DL650....

It's so big and heavy. I felt it was too heavy for the power and comfort it provided.

It will 'handle' light dirt roads but it feels way out of it's comfort zone.

I would go for something like a 660Z Tenere if you've got the leg length for it.

A DR650 SE would be a perfect compromise if you can find a nice one in the U.K.
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  #6  
Old 27 Apr 2012
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I'm riding a dl650 - often 2up with gear - around the back roads of the Kimberley (remote NW Australia) at the moment, and have put 26K KM's on it across lots of different roads across the country in the past year.

The roads here in the Kimberley have plenty in the way of corrugations and sand - we're yet to hit anything we can't make it though though (apart from a month back when we went had to get towed by a 4WD after getting bogged, with the bike resting on the bashplate) and have made our way through mud, sand, water and the rest. We spend plenty of time on roads marked '4WD only'

It is a heavy bike - so if you are planning on spending a decent amount of time off road, go elsewhere. But it would have to be a fairly large amount of your trip off off off road or on sand to rule it out. It will get anywhere, and on tarmac or gravel it is super comfy and fun to ride. If you are somewhere that could conceivably be called a 'road' most of the time, you'll be fine on the strom
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Old 27 Apr 2012
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Thanks for the thoughts folks, I know this is an endless debate.......

Any thoughts on the Transalp?
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Old 27 Apr 2012
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Originally Posted by Bluebus View Post
Thanks for the thoughts folks, I know this is an endless debate.......

Any thoughts on the Transalp?
If you go for a Transalp, you want the 600 or the 650. The 700 is a tarts road bike, IMO...

They're both lighter than the Dl650 and have similar on-road capabilities.

The XL650 has a smaller tank which gets you about 180-200 miles but it's a fine bike with great reliability. The 600 has a larger tank and I think they average about 230 miles to a tank.

Very simple to work on once you get through the plastic.

They also have longer travel suspension than the V-strom and 21" spoked wheels which are much nicer on bad roads.

I've owned both and I'd take a Transalp over a V-storm any day.

However, the V-storm has FI which can give you up to 280 miles on it's tank which can save a fair few £££££ over a long trip.
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  #9  
Old 27 Apr 2012
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Thanks ted, useful thoughts. its the age old problem of trying to get one bike to do everything!

The transalp is top of the list at the mo but that said ive just been on ebay looking at the beemer f650gs, although i hear reports of various problems with these.....
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Old 27 Apr 2012
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Originally Posted by Bluebus View Post
beemer f650gs, although i hear reports of various problems with these.....
I'm not even going to comment on this. They're like Marmite.

Some really love them and some blame these bikes for every problem they've ever had on the road.

Just search the hubb and make your own opinion.
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  #11  
Old 27 Apr 2012
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I gathered that. I'm gonna try and get test rides on the 3 in my short list being the dl 650, transalp 650, and the f650gs (759cc version).

I'm coming from pure road bikes (currently a zx6r) so reckon theyll all feel a bit strange but im looking forward to a bike i can be master of rather than a bike thats master of me.....ive had enough screaming speed and aching knees to last a life time...

thanks for the advice ted, i'll let you know how i get on.
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  #12  
Old 27 Apr 2012
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I have a dl650 it is a grate bike but not a off road bike. I had a 1999 f650 grate bike much like the DL but had problims bit hard to good people to work on them. I was not able to get the Transalp and the KLR did not do what the DL will do on the road as well and I use the bike on the road most of the time.

So I will give my take on the DL.
If you will be spending most of your time on the road the DL may be a good bet. A new seat and windscreen will help to make it a much better road bike, some work on the shock and frunt end will make even better. I can ride a 1000 mile day on mine if need be. But like any "jacks of all trades" you will giving up something.
With the DL is is off road. It gust is not made for it. From the shocks to tyres and wheels to the lay out and build of the bike. It is to havey, bigger spoked wheels are need, the shock is under built, it is built as a road bike with oil cooler and filter neer the ground and pipes that run under the bike. Then there is that fairing, all that plastic gust looking to brake. All of this can be helped most can not be fixed.

If you are going to spend your time on road a DL is hard to beat for the price. If going off road is your thing you may want to look at a more off road bike.
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Old 27 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
If you go for a Transalp, you want the 600 or the 650. The 700 is a tarts road bike, IMO...

They're both lighter than the Dl650 and have similar on-road capabilities.
The Transalp could be marginally better off-road than DL650, but it´s still too heavy, and frankly its suspension isn´t up to much either.

On-road DL650 has way more punch than Transalp 600/650, in fact it has more than the Africa Twin 750, or the newest XL700 Transalp (which has FI, but is about 10 hp down according to the dyno tests I´ve seen)... and sure you don´t need a lot of power to do big trips, but especially if you´re going two-up, or have to cover the distance on the motorways, it certainly does no harm to have a few ponies in reserve. For me, the 600/650 feels exhausted in that kind of riding (surprisingly even the Africa Twin did sometimes). And to indicate how much they were struggling, fuel consumption went sky-high, especially on the Africa Twin.

Besides, for me it´s FI all the way, even for RTW-trips these days, fuel consumption, range and coping with altitude being the main reasons. Also seems to actually work better than carbs ever did, never really had a fuel system issue in any of my bikes or cars, that had FI.
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  #14  
Old 28 Apr 2012
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What bikes have you been using Pacha?
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  #15  
Old 29 Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluebus View Post
What bikes have you been using Pacha?
If by using you mean owning, of the big trailies I've had over the years an XL650, a total of five Africa Twins 650/750, an older Tiger 885, and now on my third DL650. Also ridden more than just a test ride, at least a few hundred kms on the XL600&700, and F650GS(single/twin).

Especially the AT was such a great allround&touring machine in the 90's, and of course in a way it still is. It's just that it wasn't significantly updated after 1993, so the competitors have gone past in many areas (with FI, way more economic, more power, better lights, and not so bothered with lots of weight on board - fully loaded the AT's handling suffered).
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