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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 4 Nov 2011
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DR650 SE or KTM Adventure?

Hi there,
back from my trip, I sold my R100GS and I am already thinking about a new adventure, most probably this time I will ship my bike to Mongolia and ride the road of Bones...I want a much lighter bike this time, and probably a single cylinder.

My mind says Suzuki DR 650 SE, because I only red positive thinks about this bike, it's very simple and easy to work on.

My heart says KTM Adventure 640, because it looks so good, but I know that servicing it is a pain in the ass compared to the DR650.

The problem in Switzerland is that it's pretty difficult to find a DR650 post 1996. They are plenty of old ones, 88-94, for 1000-2000$, but post 96 are pretty rare, and post 2000 not even imported. They are quite expensive, around 3500-4500$. For the same price I could find a DRZ400 as well.

For the same amount on money or less I can have a KTM Adventure 640, or even A KTM Adventure 950, we find now quite easily a 950 with around 50'000km for less than 5000$.

For 2000$ I could have a Adventure 620 with less than 30'000km...

Well, that's the thing... If I buy a Suzuki, then I need to buy a bigger tank s well, better rear shock absorber.. so it will not be cheap. On the KTM Adventure, there is nothing to upgrade.
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  #2  
Old 4 Nov 2011
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The more remote you get the less complicated and more reliable you want the bike to be...

I personally would take the DR650SE, and if you can't find one, take a XT600E or a KLR650 etc etc.

I doubt there are many KTM workshops in Mongolia and those LC4 engines aren't really known for their reliability.

KTM's are LOVELY bikes but I wouldn't trust one in the wilds of Mongolia without a bit of support or at least good mechanical knowledge.
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  #3  
Old 4 Nov 2011
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Thumbs up KTM Adventure of Cause!

Hello to Switzerland from Austria!

Im planning to ride from Austria to India from September to November in 2012 (just right before the end of the world ).

I also had similar thoughts about the right choice of bike for that, but I'm 95% sure that I'll go on a KTM 640 Adventure!

For me it was also the choice "bike of heart" vs. "bike of sanity", and my conclusion is short: If such a trip had anything to do with sanity, I'd go for a ugly like crap Japanese Bike, but, as this trip is a "trip of heart", I will go for the bike of heart!

Other factors were just like you mentioned: You don't need to do many "tune ups" on the KTM, and, if you have some serious trouble with the bike, that could just cause a "special" experience in the trip. I think such a trip is all about overcoming difficulties, so I dont' mind a little pain in the ass with the bike sometimes, if it makes me happy all the time I'm riding it.
At the moment I own a 99 Speed Triple 955 and a 08 Moto Morini Corsaro 1200, and I never regretted getting myself "exotic, unreliable" bikes. Just the pure joy of riding them, looking at them, by far outnumbers the small difficulties you have to face with those bikes from time to time!

And also I'm Austrian, so it's a thing of national pride to be the ambassador of great austrian bike technology in Asia!

See you on the road!

Martin

PS: One of my bike mates is a professional ktm bike mechanic, that will also help a little...
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  #4  
Old 4 Nov 2011
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Hallo Martin,

I know exactly what you mean with exotic bikes, I have a MV Agusta F4 750 from 2001 and a Husaberg FE550 ;-)

I love the Motor Morini Corsaro, it's the best V twin ever made I think! The day I have the money and I find a good second hand, I'll buy one! and as well I dream to have a Benelli TNT, god this engine is soooo exiting!

Well, good luck for your trip, I will keep an eye open this winter to see if I can find a good bargain...

Touring Ted, the KLR 650 are not very common in switzerland and if I don't take a KTM, I want an aircooled engine. XT600E, there's plenty of them, arround 1200-1800$.
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  #5  
Old 4 Nov 2011
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how good is a XT600E 1991 vs a Suzuki DR650 SE?

It's approx 20kg heavier...

there's one for sale with 21'000km km from 1991 in very good condition with acerbis 20L tank for 1500 bucks...
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  #6  
Old 4 Nov 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zimi View Post
how good is a XT600E 1991 vs a Suzuki DR650 SE?

It's approx 20kg heavier...

there's one for sale with 21'000km km from 1991 in very good condition with acerbis 20L tank for 1500 bucks...
It's a little slower and not as smooth. BUT ! It's very simple, very reliable and very forgiving.

I would look for something a little newer with lower mileage. They shouldn't be too much more.

It will cruise at 100km/h all day long and is very easy to work on.
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  #7  
Old 4 Nov 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zimi View Post
Hi there,
back from my trip, I sold my R100GS and I am already thinking about a new adventure, most probably this time I will ship my bike to Mongolia and ride the road of Bones...I want a much lighter bike this time, and probably a single cylinder.

My mind says Suzuki DR 650 SE, because I only red positive thinks about this bike, it's very simple and easy to work on.

My heart says KTM Adventure 640, because it looks so good, but I know that servicing it is a pain in the ass compared to the DR650.

The problem in Switzerland is that it's pretty difficult to find a DR650 post 1996. They are plenty of old ones, 88-94, for 1000-2000$, but post 96 are pretty rare, and post 2000 not even imported. They are quite expensive, around 3500-4500$. For the same price I could find a DRZ400 as well.

For the same amount on money or less I can have a KTM Adventure 640, or even A KTM Adventure 950, we find now quite easily a 950 with around 50'000km for less than 5000$.

For 2000$ I could have a Adventure 620 with less than 30'000km...

Well, that's the thing... If I buy a Suzuki, then I need to buy a bigger tank s well, better rear shock absorber.. so it will not be cheap. On the KTM Adventure, there is nothing to upgrade.
If you go the direction of a basic Japanese single (eg. KLR, DR, XT) make sure you go with a model that is common for your region. For example the KLR here in North America is an A model, which is different from the C model which I believe was the type that was sporadically imported into parts of Europe. I rode a C model from Vlad to Mongolia, it's got a small tank and a brutally weak rear subframe so I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. The A model is much better suited, but I dont think you'll find many of those over in your area.

You mention the DR isn't that common in your area, unless you are a committed Suzuki fan, there's no need to go chasing any of these specific bike makes and models. Find what's common in your area, look at a few of the ones available and pick one that meets your needs. If you have easy access to XTs, go in that direction.

In regards to KTM, for some reason there aren't many KTM riders on this board but you will run into many, many KTMs long distance touring. They all seem pretty happy with their bikes and have figured out a way around the well known weaknesses of some models and years, so I'd keep looking at those as a very viable option.

Might exceed your budget, but prices are a lot better now and the BMW XChallenge certainly got rave reviews on the route you are thinking of riding from Colebatch.
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  #8  
Old 5 Nov 2011
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In Switzerland BMW X series are not comon and quite expensive... We have a lot of F650GS, and especially the R series (R1200 is the most sold bike in switzerland for at least 5 years in a row). Old XT avec tenere are quite common and cheap, but usually with 30'000 to 80'000km on the clock. KLR are absolutely no common here. We have some DRZ as well, but usually the supermoto version, and quite a lot of KTM Adventure 950 and 990, not so much Adventure 640...

I will keep an eye open....
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  #9  
Old 5 Nov 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zimi View Post
Hi there,
back from my trip, I sold my R100GS and I am already thinking about a new adventure, most probably this time I will ship my bike to Mongolia and ride the road of Bones...I want a much lighter bike this time, and probably a single cylinder.
For technical driving I would have chosen the KTM instead of a jap single. There was a major upgrade in 2002/3 (?).
Buy one as fast as you can spend some time to work on it. They do have some issues but at least they are fun to drive!
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  #10  
Old 5 Nov 2011
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German DR's

Hey Zimi,

A DR650SE is a good idea. In Germany there are a several for sale at the moment, take a look at:

www.mobile.de

www.autoscout.de

Last week there was a black 1996 DR with 16000KM sold for 1700 euro's. There is still a white 1997 DR with 14350 km for 2300 euro.

Good luck.
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  #11  
Old 5 Nov 2011
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As stated many times, you'll get there all the way and back on any bike, and certainly on any of your candidate bikes, as plenty of people have gone with far sillier choices ;-) There isn't a universally perfect bike, but there may be a perfect bike for you on a specific day.

Since I know that doesn't help you, I'll root for KTM because

a) it's the bike of your heart, and that counts for a lot
b) KTMs aren't unreliable if you service them a bit (my LC4 went happily 25,000 from Germany to Nepal, and I'd take the same bike again), feel free to PM me about the things that I think need to be done regularly
c) the suspension alone beats the pants off any DR, XT and alike, especially if you plan on doing quite a bit of off-road or bad roads as you would on a trip to Mongolia
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  #12  
Old 7 Nov 2011
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The KTM for sure... 100%

forget all those people saying they arent reliable. We have ridden across Africa on two KTM 990 Adventures and they have been awesome. We even rescued a BMW in Masai Mara in Kenya by towing them whne their fuel pump broke.

precautions and preparations are of course important such as filter fuel before it goes in the tank .. this is most important.

All the information is on our website at www.bigbiketrip.net
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  #13  
Old 7 Nov 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zimi View Post
Hi there,
back from my trip, I sold my R100GS and I am already thinking about a new adventure, most probably this time I will ship my bike to Mongolia and ride the road of Bones...I want a much lighter bike this time, and probably a single cylinder.

My mind says Suzuki DR 650 SE, because I only red positive thinks about this bike, it's very simple and easy to work on.

My heart says KTM Adventure 640, because it looks so good, but I know that servicing it is a pain in the ass compared to the DR650.

The problem in Switzerland is that it's pretty difficult to find a DR650 post 1996. They are plenty of old ones, 88-94, for 1000-2000$, but post 96 are pretty rare, and post 2000 not even imported. They are quite expensive, around 3500-4500$. For the same price I could find a DRZ400 as well.

For the same amount on money or less I can have a KTM Adventure 640, or even A KTM Adventure 950, we find now quite easily a 950 with around 50'000km for less than 5000$.

For 2000$ I could have a Adventure 620 with less than 30'000km...

Well, that's the thing... If I buy a Suzuki, then I need to buy a bigger tank s well, better rear shock absorber.. so it will not be cheap. On the KTM Adventure, there is nothing to upgrade.
Go for the 990 Adventure.... read our website and diary at www.bigbiketrip.net ... cape Town to Shanghai. Fanny, a Chinese former volley ball player, had a licence for just 7 months and road a KTM 990 Adventure across Africa.

www.bigbiketrip.net
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  #14  
Old 7 Nov 2011
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I was commenting on the 640 which is the bike he was initially talking about. The LC4 engine has nothing in common with the bigger bore twins.

With absolutely no offence, you must be dreaming is you think those LC4 engines are trouble free.

Where I would not hesitate taking one travelling, crossing Mongolia on one is a different story unless you know how to fix it.

Obviously that's just my opinion. No doubt Mongolia would be an absolute BLAST on a 640 Adventure.
This is an old but very interesting thread and DEFINITELY worth reading if you are considering an LC4.

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...lems-list-9345
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  #15  
Old 8 Nov 2011
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Thanks for the infos:

to rupertu: 990 Adventure is much to expensive for me, but I might consider a 950 Adventure, sometimes we can find for 5000$ a 950 with approx 50'000km.
I heard their weak point is water and gazpump as well as the clutch piston.

To touring ted: I know this post about the ktm problems, but there is quite a few things that I could check or change before the trip.

I was first condisering a single cylinder because of the weight (the 640 is much lighter than the 950), and because I don't need so much power. I travelled approx 3000km in Mongolia 2 up with 30kg of luggage on a R100GS, it was quite hard in the Gobi, this time I really want to have a lighter bike, especially for the road of bones!
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