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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 25 Sep 2011
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DR650 VS XR650L west coast Africa

I will be doing the West Coast Africa next year and was wondering what will be your best bike for the job , I did it long time ago on a BMW but now I prefer a much lighter and more dirt oriented bike ( easy to fix and care during the trip)
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Old 25 Sep 2011
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I have no experience with a XR; however both our DR's performed flawlessly on our Latin America and Africa ride over the last year. These bikes are bullet-proof, easy to maintain on the road and can take a beating. I added an IMS tank on my wife's bike and added a Safari on mine. Really didn't need the Safari and wish I had a lighter front end at times. I don't think you can go wrong with either bike, however I will take my DR on our next adventure.
Daryll
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Old 26 Sep 2011
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Bike

Thanks for the reply , I went on your site and you guys did a great job , I like your bike and the set up is pretty easy as it is , did you do a lot of off road or did you stay mainly on regular road. I plan a lot of off road on this trip that is why I like both bike.
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Old 26 Sep 2011
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I have a mate who uses a Honda XL off road and he really uses it. He does enduro days up with boys on KTMs and has no trouble keeping up. I've been nothing but impressed at what that bike can do and he's had it years with no hassle whatsoever. The XL is certainly capable in the right hands and a great choice. I imagine though you'd get similar stories with the DR, you should ride both and see which one you fancy, I doubt there's too many horror stories behind either bike.
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Old 26 Sep 2011
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Currently I am in Africa heading for the West Coast with my DR650 (see 'Ride Tales' - "Sydney to Germany ...' ) It's an awesome bike for the job and I am loving every minute on it. However, bike choice is a personal choice and I'd recommend you take the bike along that feels the best when you sit on it. Because you will have much more fun on a bike which feels good than on a bike which is simply recommended by others.
Both bikes are certainly up for the job.
Something to consider might also be that there are not too many Suzuki dealerships in the southern part of Africa and we actually expect it to be the same situation in West Africa. There is many more little Hondas around than any other (non-chinese) brand. On a second thought it's not a big worry though because even Honda dealers don't have parts for big bikes (>150ccm) either. So on any 650ccm bike you will need to improvise. Which is just another fun part of the story.
We'll be in Westafrica around April/May 2012. Maybe see you there?
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Old 26 Sep 2011
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Ridefar

Check out www.ridefar.typepad.com for mark hammonds reports on his DR650 when we went through Africa (west coast) in 2008/9. He raves about the bike and justly so..! We were on 3 different bikes. KTM 950 Adventure, Yamaha XT600e and Marks Suzuki DR650, so it may give you a bit of an idea about the strengths of each. No Honda I'm afraid..!

p.s check out the vid 'lovely day in the congo'. Not my best day in Africa
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Old 27 Sep 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HendiKaf View Post
Thanks for the reply , I went on your site and you guys did a great job , I like your bike and the set up is pretty easy as it is , did you do a lot of off road or did you stay mainly on regular road. I plan a lot of off road on this trip that is why I like both bike.
I added Elka shocks on both the bikes to deal with Ruta 40. Will use Elka again for sure. I don't think the stock shock will handle being loaded + dirt riding. Most of our dirt was covered on Ruta 40 and in Namibia. I won't do hard bags again though. Too much of a hassle to get straightened after a get-off and we had a few of those.
Daryll
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Old 4 Oct 2011
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west Africa

sorry for the late reply but I was on a boat in the Galapagos, my plan as far as bike is to travel light , no hard case and minimum gear . I will change front and back suspension of anybike that I will buy anyway as I plan for a big tank and some rough off road , the DR650 seems a bit better as far as gearing and frame VS the XR wich is a bit more dirt oriented . I drove both but have no special preference , I loved my XR650R but my butt will never do sam emany mile on it ...
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Old 4 Oct 2011
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The seat on the DR will need to be changed. A cheaper alternative would be to add an airhawk with a sheepskin pad.
Daryll
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Old 4 Oct 2011
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Hi Hendi,

Hows is your trip going so far ?, I see you are around Quito...enjoy!

Out of the box both bikes have issues, it goes down to personal preference, if youve used an XR650 before, then you will know what a good engine it is (when jetted correctly), the DR is maybe a bit more civilised these days and theres plenty of aftermarket gear around for it.
The DR gets better fuel economy too, with our best of 75 mpg (2up!)

CS used the XRL for a trip into the Sahara years ago, heres some of his prep and thoughts:

Adventure Motorcycling ~ Desert Riders XR650L preparation

Daryll,
if you guys find yourselves heading across Canada, then you are very welcome to crash here - anytime mate!
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Old 5 Oct 2011
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ride

All is well here , we just came back from the Galapagos and are now in Banos for few days , cotopaxi was too rainy to climb so we moved south .Thanks for the link , I am really hesitant between both bike , the XR has such a great feel off road but the DR seems to be a better long distance beast , the XR look like it need way more prep to be ready for the trip ... Still have few month to get the bike bike but I love to research way in advance .
Thanks again
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Old 5 Oct 2011
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Outside South Africa or Namibia, I expect that you will find parts availability for the XRL easier than the DR.

The dealer network for Honda is definitely better on the west coast, albeit that you may still struggle for parts for larger bikes.
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Old 6 Oct 2011
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bike

I am not too worry as far as part but I agree that part for Honda are more available than suzuki , now which bike will better for the job that a tough one...

thanks
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