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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 9 Sep 2008
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Durability/ mileage of sub-600-ish aircooled single engines

Hi everybody,

although I really like my Funduro, I feel I'd prefer a smaller/ lighter/ less complicated (whatever, can't quite put my finger on it) bike for a serious overland trip. So I was looking at the smaller singles. I came across two comments which left me wondering:

Ingo Mayerhoffer says about the DR350 engine (in German) that it were "robust and long-living, you could even get 40,000km out of it". To which I was thinking "Erm, hello? I'd rather get at least 140,000km out of it, please?" Buying a new bike/ reconditioning the engine every couple tenthousand km is out of my budget.

And Chris Scott says in his "Adventure Motorcycle Handbook" something along the lines of "take a big single, they have a larger oil reservoir and thus last longer [than enduro racers]".

On the other hand there are some people here on the HUBB who traveled with smaller singles, and then there were Mondo Enduro/ Terra Circa...

Many agree that the big aircooled singles (XT600 etc.) are very reliable engines. Now the engine concept is the same no matter the displacement, but the oil reservoir isn't. But is it really an issue (on longer trips, or at all)?

Daniel
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  #2  
Old 10 Sep 2008
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Ask Chris Scott he post on the hubb.

But its more on how you intend to ride it and work on the bike. Staying on top of the oil changes will help as will babying the bike a bit. Seen a F650gs beat it self up a good bit throwing a chain. It was avoidable with some chain maintenance and tightening a bolt or two down. If he had a drive shaft then no need chain maintenance but if you are not keeping up on your chain you wont work on a drive shaft.
Same deal with the oil the bigger sumps give you more time to get a oil change not add 100K miles to the bike if you never do. Adding a bigger sump will not make a bike last longer. That and racers often change there oil vary often flog there bikes and burn them out in a few races (some bike do not last one race)

Ask around at The Chain Gang see how long some of there bike last (think the world record RTW for females was set on a 1999 F650) before you wright off the old F. Or look around for a DRZ400 seems to fit what your looking for.
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  #3  
Old 10 Sep 2008
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I got 14,485 miles out of my Ducati 250 before it didn't want to play anymore. The guy I bought it from did a lot of shifty stuff to the bike. I had it rebuilt by Bob Brown in Melbourne. He used to build Ducati race bikes in the 1980s, came up with the first Duc 4 valve head, and started beating factory Ducati and Japanese teams. I figure it'll take me round the world, but I couldn't get it shipped from Australia to India.

It's an Enfield 350 for India and Nepal now. Don't discount the small stuff because in most of the non-Western world, a 200cc is a big bike. 60kph is crazy fast through large parts of India and Nepal and small bikes are mighty flickable.

My next round might be California to Argentina and possibly up the west coast of Africa on the Duc.

-Dave
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  #4  
Old 10 Sep 2008
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Originally Posted by DLbiten View Post
Ask Chris Scott he post on the hubb.
Good idea, should have thought of that.

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Originally Posted by DLbiten View Post
Same deal with the oil the bigger sumps give you more time to get a oil change not add 100K miles to the bike if you never do. Adding a bigger sump will not make a bike last longer.
Of course, I'm well aware of that. It's just that Ingo's comment made it sound as if the engine would need a rebuild after 40,000km even with regular oil changes. And I was wondering if that was true or rather paranoid

And what about oil changes on a longer trip. I don't know what the recommended interval is for those smaller engines; my guesstimate is about 3000km. For the sake of example let's say I take a DR350 to South America, or North Africa. Would it be a hassle to get oil and filters in regular intervals, or is this just not that much of an issue?
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Old 10 Sep 2008
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Originally Posted by Dave_Smith View Post
I got 14,485 miles out of my Ducati 250 before it didn't want to play anymore. The guy I bought it from did a lot of shifty stuff to the bike.
The bikes I can and want to afford at the moment have run 20,000 - 30,000km when I buy them. With everyday riding and smaller tours I usually add 10,000 km per year to that. The earliest I could go on a long trip is in three years, and I wouldn't want to buy a new bike/ engine right before the trip.

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Originally Posted by Dave_Smith View Post
Don't discount the small stuff because in most of the non-Western world, a 200cc is a big bike. 60kph is crazy fast through large parts of India and Nepal and small bikes are mighty flickable.
Exactly. This is one of the reasons I'd leave the Funduro at home.
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  #6  
Old 10 Sep 2008
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I've done some touring in France and Scotland on my XT250 Serow and feel I could go RTW on it without any problems. As it only holds 1.3 litres of oil in the sump you have to change it often. Yamaha recommend every 3000 miles and the filter every other change. It's easy to do an oil change, one sump plug, an oil level window for filling and the filter is under a side cover held on with three bolts.

I haven't had to do an oil change on the road yet, but how hard can it be? If your on a big trip whats the rush? You'll probably meet someone who'll let you use their garage to do the work or do it at the place you bought the oil.

A couple of weeks ago I met some bikers in Scotland who were on their way back from Iceland on an XT660, DR650 and an XR650. They were all looking at the Serow and said they'd have been better off on it than their Heavier bikes.

The Cameraman on here uses his Serow every day and has over 40,000 miles on his so far.

The biggest advantage is the light weight of a 250. Plus it feels like a bigger adventure on a little 'un.
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  #7  
Old 10 Sep 2008
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Originally Posted by Daniel Klaus View Post
And what about oil changes on a longer trip. I don't know what the recommended interval is for those smaller engines; my guesstimate is about 3000km. For the sake of example let's say I take a DR350 to South America, or North Africa. Would it be a hassle to get oil and filters in regular intervals, or is this just not that much of an issue?
I don't know about South America but in North Africa you can find car-oil of exotic brands most places.
20W-50 dino is easiest to find, synthetic is harder to find and mc-oil can be impossible to find.
Oil filters are impossible to get in most countries (as all other parts), a lot of people change the filter every second time they change oil.

Usually you can extend the intervals when touring.
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Old 10 Sep 2008
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I was religious about changing the oil on my Duc every 1,000 miles (850 miles when I went through a lot of bull dust). I was told by 3 big Ducati mechanics (Brook Henry at Vee Two, Bob Brown, Ian Gowanloch) that was why the bike lasted as long as it did. It's not hard finding a spot to do it where the oil can be recycled. The Duc has a re-usuable wire screen filter that was cleaned with a bit of fuel.
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Old 10 Sep 2008
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Some people increase the oil-capacity on air-cooled bikes, mainly because it will give you longer intervals and it also makes your bike run cooler. The negative effect is that it will take longer time before it gets warm in cold climate (this can often be solved).

Enduro-bikes are not built to last; they are built for maximum performance. Stupid things (in terms of overlanding) is done to decrease rotating mass, total mass and to increase power.
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  #10  
Old 10 Sep 2008
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Originally Posted by Flyingdoctor View Post
If your on a big trip whats the rush?
In my head the scenario is this:

"Hey, let's head to <interesting but remote place>! No wait, oil change is due, must go to <next major city> and find motorcycle oil, then pick up the filter from the post office, then find a garage... "
(three days later) "Now where did we want to go again?"
(repeat every two weeks)

Either I'll curse myself after a couple of those, or I'll never find it a problem because it's just a routine part of the travelling life... probably only one way to find out

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Originally Posted by AliBaba View Post
you can find car-oil of exotic brands most places.
Maybe off topic, but don't you destroy your bike with car oil? You know, with cars having two separate oil circuits for the engine and the gearbox, and thus using oil with lower viscosity for the engine, which would not withstand the pressure in a bike's gearbox...

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The Duc has a re-usuable wire screen filter that was cleaned with a bit of fuel.
Interesting!
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  #11  
Old 10 Sep 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Klaus View Post
In my head the scenario is this:

"Hey, let's head to <interesting but remote place>! No wait, oil change is due, must go to <next major city> and find motorcycle oil, then pick up the filter from the post office, then find a garage... "
(three days later) "Now where did we want to go again?"
(repeat every two weeks)

Either I'll curse myself after a couple of those, or I'll never find it a problem because it's just a routine part of the travelling life... probably only one way to find out
If you want to pick up new filters from the post-office every few weeks you will have a lot of time that you can use to plan the next move :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Klaus View Post
Maybe off topic, but don't you destroy your bike with car oil? You know, with cars having two separate oil circuits for the engine and the gearbox, and thus using oil with lower viscosity for the engine, which would not withstand the pressure in a bike's gearbox...
The biggest problem is the clutch, it might start to slip. If it happens then change to another “brand” and try again.

IMHO reusable filters are not the way to go. The filtration is usually poor and when you clean them it’s hard to avoid that dirt gets to the clean side. I would rather use the ordinary filter for a very extended period.
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Old 10 Sep 2008
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The reusable filter is stock on my bike. Maybe it was the hit gimmick of the 1960s. Basically, I love posting about how much fun an old small bike is to ride because new BMWs don't impress me.

My main reason for posting is I need a break from India so I'm hiding out in a Western coffee shop with wifi that lasts as long as I order the occasional drink. My brain is overloaded with the multitude of ways everyone tries to lighten my wallet. My last straw was just broken at the Burning Ghat. I've got more patience than most and the first time I went through there, it didn't bother me being bugged for rupees while surrounded by dead burning people, but today for some reason, it really bugged me.

The owner loves my Asus Eee PC and keeps bringing his friends over to take a look at it. He's been wanting one for a while and this is the first one he's seen.
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  #13  
Old 10 Sep 2008
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Ok, we have concluded that regular oil changes are a Good Thing no matter the engine

Anybody else with high (or low) mileage experience on these bikes?
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  #14  
Old 10 Sep 2008
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Hi Klaus! If your BMW has been reliable for you so far, then it will probably continue to do well.

Last edited by mollydog; 25 Mar 2009 at 08:33.
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  #15  
Old 11 Sep 2008
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Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
It can cruise nicely on highway at 60 to 65 mph (tall 6th gear means 80 mph top speed) and on rough roads it is stellar with it's big 43mm forks and very well set up suspension. On the dirt it sucks up rocks/ruts really well. Dry weight is 278 lbs /126 kgs.

I've never carried anything on the bike but against all other 250's in this class, it is far and away the best in a wide range of conditions, IMO.
1. it is probably not imported in Europe.
2. why is it so much better than a yamaha WR250R (which looks almost identical on paper, apart from the fuel injection)?
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