Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > Which Bike?

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.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.


Like Tree4Likes
  • 4 Post By Frank on AT

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 4 Mar 2014
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Guatemala
Posts: 30
Post Exp. with Honda, BMW and Yamaha in Latin America

I live(d) in Latin America with these three bikes and here is my resumee about the companies - not the models!

1. 1999 Honda XRV 750 Africa Twin
2. 2001 BMW F650GS
3. 2010 Yamaha XTZ1200 Super Tenere

The best bike is from Honda.
The petrol pump of the Africa Twin leaked in Brasil and I made it to the Honda station in Vacaria.
First – there are no AT sold in Brasil, so there are no parts for an AT.
Second – these guys found out that the petrol pump of the Shadow Shopper in the window was equal to what I needed. “Do you want us to uninstall it and put it into yours?” YES!
Best and quickest help I ever received. (Obrigado Vacaria!)

If you can: Buy a Honda!

The worst bike is from BMW.
We had a breakdown in Natal (north Brasil), we had to carry the bike to Rio de Janeiro (around 2500km). Then I had to travel to Sao Paulo (around 300km) in order to get the warranty.
First – bike was bought in Germany, broke down in Brasil, BMW said it is not responsible for it anymore.
Second – Sao Paulo promised to garanty the work of BMW Rio de Janeiro.
The bike broke down again. BMW never answered nor cared. The written warranty of BMW Brasil was without any value. We had to throw a two year old F650GS away. No kidding.
(BTW: We are germans, who officially work abroad. If BMW does not give a dump about representatives of Germany, what do you think they do for a Mr. Smith traveller?)
If you can avoid it: Do not buy a BMW!

In the middle so far is Yamaha.
Right now (march 2014) I am in Guatemala with an in Germany bought Yamaha.
There is a worldwide “calling back” because of light problems (something can overheat and the lights go out – accident danger). Yamaha Germany (thanks for the info!) says, I have to go to the Guatemala Yamaha dealer here to have it done without charge, but these guys have not even heard about the Yamaha XTZ1200 call (but they sell the bike here of course). So far I waited ten days only for the result, that they do not get an answer from Germany…
Well well.
And where did I get the info from?

My advice is: Do not buy the bike only because of the bike.
1. With a Suzuki you can go to Kawasaki, with a Kawasaki to Yamaha, with Yamaha to Honda, but with a BMW you need BMW.
2. There are motivated people, who want to help you NOW and there are talkers who NEVER help. I do not remember one terrible Honda workshop in South America, nor do I remember one good BMW one.
3. Beside Honda shops – I was always happy with the private shops. Sitting in the Argentinia Chaco with a family in the garden while the dad was fixing my bike.
4. Always(!!!) control what the people do to your bike. I just had a simple tyre change here at Yamaha. I asked how much pressure was put in. The answer was, that the tyre has the info on it. There is an info on the tyre??? -> Yeah, an info about the maximum pressure!
Imagine: At Yamaha they do not know the tyre pressure of a Tenere.
5. Buy a bike which was build longtime and use a late model, so that the childhood sicknesses are overcome. It is not so fancy – I know, but it will hold and nobody touches this boring donkey.
6. I had GIVI hardplastic boxes and now I have Yamaha Alumininia ones. Buy GIVI. The original parts from the bike factories are not as solid as GIVI. I admit I am a GIVI fanatic, but there is a reason (i.e. accidents on plastic ).
7. Same is valid for side bar protections.
8. Have a skidplate out of metal. Here in Guate the speedbumper are so high, that even my Super Tenere scratches (I just bought “bones” to higher her 2,5cm up).
9. Last but not least: Today’s people like to think, that the other (i.e. mechanic) is the expert. But responsible for your safety are you – so do not forget to check, what “experts” did to your bike. Are all screws there? Etc.

...to be continued...
Reply With Quote
Old 4 Mar 2014
mollydog's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: california
Posts: 2,260
Excellent words of wisdom!

I never trust the "experts" ... and always re-check the work they have done. I like to hang out in the shop during the job ... not to supervise, but just to "observe" and perhaps offer a tip or two if required.

I have found bolts left loose many times ... (or missing!), once found a rag left between cylinders, brake caliper bolt left loose, Steering head left loose, and even oil drain plug not tightened up.

Sometimes we get the feeling someone is trying to KILL US!!
I always to try to do ALL my own work. (except changing tires .... but I keep an eye out)

The best mechanics are OK with me watching ... the amateurs sometimes get Nervous. Too bad. It's my money!

Amazing story about your BMW! But you are not alone. Quite a few problem reports on F650's here and elsewhere.

The Africa Twin is a classic. We ALL wish Honda would do a "modern" version of this bike again. I still have an "old" bike ... which is past "childhood" sickness. My Suzuki DR650 is a rock. It has not changed since
1996. SO easy to maintain ... a monkey can do it. (Me!). It is not fancy so not too many want to steal it ... it is cheap to buy and goes a long way without problems! Another "Classic" like your Honda AT.

What are you doing now in Guatemala? Living where? (I lived there in the '70s)
Reply With Quote
Old 6 May 2014
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Guatemala
Posts: 30
Part II - Exp in Latin America

I would have bought any Honda bike which they name "Africa Twin II".
The decision was made in Bremen in the Honda dealer there. The new Honda has no clutch anymore....

Boy, these salesman have no idea, what kind of trouble can be on ones way. To have no clutch is no buying argument at all. I looked at the bike and was so dissapointed - it had nothing to do with an AT.

The BMW... no I will never ever buy a BMW again!
The Triumph 800XC - two up and a dog in the tankpack?
I was left to get in love with the fat lady called Super Tenere.

For our time in Africa I informed myself with a Toyotadealer in Berlin. The spare wheel was under the car (not on the backdoor). I lied half under the car on cold ceramics and asked him, how he would get the tyre out on a muddy way.
He answered, that nobody ever asked him how to free the spare tyre.
-> So what we have in our civilisation are bikes and cars which seem to be able to do the job - but are they???

In my first part I wrote about the companies. I have one more unbelievable BMW story for you.
The F650GS needed the 10.000 km inspection and there was no dealer in our country. Where you can find the BMW dealers worldwide is named in a high-quality BMW brochure. All the addresses of garages and behind is a little dark car and sometimes as well a dark bike and then you know that Asuncion in Paraguay is an official BMW bike garage, where you can prolong the (as we know from part one is worthless anyway) BMW warranty.
So what you guess happened, when we arrived in Asuncion??

The garagemanager said, "no we have no bike garage".
And the little black bike in the high-quality BMW bochure behind his address? "...is only there, because we can order you an oilfilter for your BMW, but we do not install it."
**** ME!

The problem with BMW is also, that the info might be wrong and you think "here is an oasis in the dessert" and then you are toast.
But even if they have the same BMW like yours in the shop, they would NEVER uninstall a part out of a showroom bike. In Rio they told us we would have to wait 3 months to receive parts.... and they had three 650GS for sale.

Two months after the XTZ1200 cable problem and the worldwide recall by Yamaha (see part one). What happened.
I got the promise that they would do it for me "although my bike was not bought in their shop".
Lucky me! Yamaha Guatemala makes an exeption for me.

What do we learn?
When Yamaha Central calls worldwide all XTZ1200 back for safety reasons, how on earth can Yamaha Guatemala say, that they make an exeption for me?
Think about it and you understand why I want a Honda.

And did they contact me so far (2 months now) to do the garanty job? NOPE!
Do I think they ever will?

--- to be continued ---
Reply With Quote

africa twin, f650gs, guatemala, south america, super tenere

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Good day ;) Yamaha XTR660R BMW GX Santi henche Ride Tales 0 29 Sep 2013 19:32


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 03:04.