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.

AMERICA’S PREMIER MANUFACTURER OF MOTORCYCLE SUSPENSION

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 9 Aug 2006
Fletch's Avatar
Contributing Member
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: South Coast, UK
Posts: 51
Smile Experienced Traveller – Virgin Motorcyclist

I’ve been a lurking!! (For quite a while…). Must say I’m very impressed with this site, it’s community and the information available, so thought it might be time to say ‘Hello’ and just ask a few questions of you kind people… (Well just a couple for the moment anyway ;o) )

Hello

OK Question Time… Which Bike? With a little twist (I’ve read some threads here, I know this is a Political Hot Potato )

The Twist? I know nothing about Motorbikes! OK not quite nothing, but it’s been nearly 20 years since I rode one.


First and foremost I am a traveller, I like to see and to watch, and a motorbike to me appears as just a means to and ends to get me into the backwaters of the middle of no-where, a tool to take me where I wanna go, just like a train or bus, but with the distinct advantage that I can turn off the route (if there is one), and stop when ever I want. (and the bike maybe bringing some interaction with people I wouldn't of done previously).

So the route, ride out of Blighty, down through Europe, across to the Middle east, over to India and South-East Asia, up through China to Russia, then across to Alaska and North America, before returning home. Time scale, 18 to 24 months, so no ‘Hard’ riding required, just chilling out.

Assume the bike selection has a lot to do with the roads conditions to be travelled, and the roads in Vietnam, Nepal etc. aren’t exactly great, but I don't really indend to do any voluntary 'Scrambling'. Also to consider is that, as I imagine it is for us all, ‘Cash’ isn’t in an endless supply. Looking at a Bike Budget of about £4K, which I’m hoping will get me a reasonable second hand unit, then another £3K to equip her (are all Bikes female?), for the trip, aluminium luggage, protection, spares etc.

The other major factor I assume has gotta be weight, going 2 up (OK so the Mrs is only 50Kg, but with her ‘Girlie essentials’ you could double that ;o) )

So… where to start, I’ve been playing with the research, I seem to have arrived at four options, 4 Bikes that might make the trip without breaking to much. The GS, AT, V-Storm and the Varadero (OK so I’m sure there are others ).


My initial reaction was an Africa Twin, but 2 up? The BMW appears to expensive and to much aggravation to fix when it breaks, (U can’t just swap the chain and I’ve never been a BMW fan anyway). So that leaves the 2 Jap 'V' offerings (Jap... I assume spare and repairs are more readily available over the world than a BMW?), and in every reliability review I’ve read comparing the V-Storm with the Varadero the Suzuki comes out in front.

I’m not looking for an exotic exciting sporty ride, just something reliable, comfortable and capable of ‘taking the load’ with minimum agro. Also as I assume I’m gonna have to buy a Haynes manual and learn how to do a lot of this ‘Messy’ stuff myself, so easy to understand and fix has to be a consideration. Yeah I know, I’ve got a lot to learn about motorbikes (For instance, who makes a tyres that can carry up to 300Kg (Hey, I’m a big guy), with the bike weight and have a speed rating of 100mph, if such a thing exists or do I have to just adjust with tyre pressures?. And wheels, does it really make that much difference, alloys or spokes?)

So, there u have it, looking to buy the Bike next month so I can start preparing her and get used to riding again for a departure May 2007.

A Penny for you thoughts? Your advice, thoughts and or direction would be invaluable, thank you
__________________
Ciao Ciao
Fletch


“Life is not about how Fast you ride, or how Far you travel, but about how well you Bounce. ” ;o)

I BLOG There4 I Am

Last edited by Fletch; 9 Aug 2006 at 23:00.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 9 Aug 2006
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: SE USA
Posts: 28
Solo, the KLR650 should be close to your price point new. At least over here (US) I could buy a new KLR and equip it for $7900 (about 4000 pounds).
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 9 Aug 2006
Fletch's Avatar
Contributing Member
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: South Coast, UK
Posts: 51
Thank Grimel, but as much as I might wanna do SE Asia on my own again, I can't really see her letting me

Gotta be a 2 up machine...

Ciao Ciao
Fletch
__________________
Ciao Ciao
Fletch


“Life is not about how Fast you ride, or how Far you travel, but about how well you Bounce. ” ;o)

I BLOG There4 I Am
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 9 Aug 2006
Robbert's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Gent, Belgium
Posts: 486
BMW 650/ V-strom 650/ AT

The Africa Twin is not a bad choice I guess.

Also the 650 BMW's and V-strom 650 cater for reasonable pillion comfort I think,
but try to get a ride with your girlfriend to check whether she's comfortable enough to spend a few months at the back.

looking at the big bikes, there's also a triumph tiger, or second hand CB 750?

;-)
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 9 Aug 2006
maria41's Avatar
The franglais-riders
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: South West London
Posts: 853
Smile BMW 650GS 2 up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbert
The Africa Twin is not a bad choice I guess.

Also the 650 BMW's and V-strom 650 cater for reasonable pillion comfort I think,
but try to get a ride with your girlfriend to check whether she's comfortable enough to spend a few months at the back.

looking at the big bikes, there's also a triumph tiger, or second hand CB 750?

;-)
I have a 650GS. I've ridden it up pillion once, with panniers and top box on and hubby doing the riding (he is tall but rather slim). My impression is that I would NOT like to ride pillion there for a long period of time. My husband gave same feedback, it is too cramped! You can't move. So 650GS 2 up I would not recommend it!
Cheers,
Maria
__________________
Maria

www.franglais-riders.com
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 9 Aug 2006
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: SE USA
Posts: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletch
Thank Grimel, but as much as I might wanna do SE Asia on my own again, I can't really see her letting me

Gotta be a 2 up machine...

Ciao Ciao
Fletch
Like a moron I stopped in the middle of my thought and posted.

2 up - Vstrom 650. The size of the 1000, the fuel economy of the 650 AND the reliabilty of the 650. Gotta like a lightweight twin (100+ less than a 1200GS, 40? less than the 1000). Cheaper than a F650, again you should be able to get a new Wee Strom at your price point.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 9 Aug 2006
Kevinb99's Avatar
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Ireland
Posts: 45
I can't image any 650 would be too clever 2 -up and fully loaded, covering anything other than the best fairly flat roads.You'd have to struggle up any decent hill, let alone mountain.
There is reason most people chose the beemer 1100/1200.....................
__________________
"Crashing's just proof that you're trying"
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 9 Aug 2006
Fletch's Avatar
Contributing Member
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: South Coast, UK
Posts: 51
Smile Eloisa ;o)

Thanks people for your replies…

Ummm… Hairdryer & Laptop! … OK Patrick how did you know I’m having a big issue consoling the fact that my Lappy is staying behind! (I’m in IT! ) But we're roughing it, tent, bags, single stove etc. (OK so we all know Mrs. is going to bring at least 3 pairs of shoes and 2 handbags, but hey )

The V-Storm is still looking like the front runner… Why, well for reasons as discussed in the posts, but what also is useful to me (and I failed to mention earlier!), is the location of a Suzi Main Dealer just down the road. (So when I’m learning all my stuff from the "Suzuki" manual before we leave, I can get some local help if I break/need it.)

So 1000 or 750… I kinda agree with Kevinb99.. Gut reaction is for a bigger bike… I’m a big guy… 6’2” and 135Kg, with the Little Missy, fuel and luggage I can’t see the addition weight being less than 250Kg. The bikes got a long way to go and the Tibet/Nepal Himalaya/Alps/Rockies bits are going to be hard work and the extra power might just be required? I think that might also effect the suitability of the KLR or AT 2 up, maybe?

As for ‘Off roading’, only as required though there is not a great deal of Tarmac in some of the destinations, I can’t really see me volunteering for boulder hoping unless essential!

Pricing, a new DL1000 over here come in about £6K (10KUS$) but the availability very low mileage (<10000Km) machines just a few years old over here is extensive and comes in around £4K.

As for accessories (Luggage, protection etc.) I was looking at the Tourtech range, they seem to get gud reviews and the availability of ‘used’ Ali panniers over here seems very limited (I can't find any!). Tourtech can supply all the guards for the DL aswell, so thinking about a bulk buy, see if they take a bid ;o) . (There prices seem step compared to yours Patrick, is everything cheaper your side of the Pond? Maybe they’ll give me more discount if I slap one of their Sticker on the Side of the Bike? ). Any other optional suppliers out there that could do the full job as well and cheaper?

As for rear shock upgrade, I was looking at upgrading to Öhlins shock and springs,. The best? Got a lot of weight to carry! Am I been obsessive about this power and weight thing?

Oh Patrick… 4 wheels… Only option there would be the Caterham 7, but I can’t see her making past Paris (That’s Paris France )

Ohh.. and if anyones interested, the Bikes name (It’s a Guy thing ) is goning to be Eloisa

Thanks for your help people
__________________
Ciao Ciao
Fletch


“Life is not about how Fast you ride, or how Far you travel, but about how well you Bounce. ” ;o)

I BLOG There4 I Am

Last edited by Fletch; 9 Aug 2006 at 23:33.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10 Aug 2006
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: SE USA
Posts: 28
Quote:
I can't image any 650 would be too clever 2 -up and fully loaded, covering anything other than the best fairly flat roads.You'd have to struggle up any decent hill, let alone mountain.
There is reason most people chose the beemer 1100/1200..
Grant's R80GS has about the SAME hp as the F650. The DL650 has MORE. I can only assume you are a younger person. I can remember the time when a 350-500 was a medium size bike and it wasn't uncommon for couples to 3 up on 350/400's all over the US. Honda had the 500cc Silverwing touring bike. 650/750's were considered light-heavy weight bikes. Literally millions of miles have been ridden 2 up with a Vetter fairing and bags.

People choose the BMW 1100/1200 because everyone is bound and determined to buy the biggest, heaviest, most expensive bike they can find for any given task.

If you'll look up the hp figures for say the Goldwing series I think you'll find the Suzuki 650 compares quite favorably (less than 10hp difference with at least 100 extra pounds on the 'wing). Let's not forget the fuel injection on the Wee vs carbs on the older 'wing; that means at altitude the Wee will be a good bit closer to sea level performance than the 'wing unless one stops to rejett the carbs frequently.

In conclusion, if you are on a 650 V-Strom and are having issues with power I'd suggest you start driving a bit closer to the legal speeds.

No place is as wide open/high speed as the US/Canada/western Europe.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10 Aug 2006
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Montreal, QC,CA
Posts: 107
Taller Gearing = More power

For those who are worried about missing some power when riding 2 up on a 650, there is a solution: You just need to change your gearing (one tooth less on the front sprocket or 4 more teeth on the back one! Your bike will run maybe 500rpm more for the same speed you were riding before. But why not ride 5 or 8 km/h slower and you will not compromise your bike durability.

Patrick
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10 Aug 2006
Fletch's Avatar
Contributing Member
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: South Coast, UK
Posts: 51
Ohhh

Just thought I’d mention the Mrs thinks the V-Storm is the prettiest of the Bikes in discussion… Well that’s it then! sorted!
__________________
Ciao Ciao
Fletch


“Life is not about how Fast you ride, or how Far you travel, but about how well you Bounce. ” ;o)

I BLOG There4 I Am
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 11 Aug 2006
Fletch's Avatar
Contributing Member
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: South Coast, UK
Posts: 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog
Hey Fletch,
Just a few things to set you on the right track.
First: given you haven't been on bikes in 20 years....ah, well....how to put this? Well, basicaly,you don't have a clue. Your perception of bikes is akin to me thinking a modern computer being something like the first version Mac Classic (I owned one!!)

Patrick
Ecckkk You've got a 1986 Mac!!! Was that the 'Plus' with the double double sided 800K floppy drive? (I did mention I was in IT didn't I )

Your right though... I haven't got a clue about modern Bikes and what there capable of... So I guess best thing might be to Visit the Suzi dealer and test them side by side, strap the little lady on the back with about 40Kg of Dumbells and see how I feel about each of them. (OK OK I'll leave the Mrs and the weights off)...

Thanks for the advice on the Springs, (that saves £500)... and I'll check out the Tourtech compition you gave me to.

Gonna be an interesting (and expensive), next 6 weeks.

Thanx
__________________
Ciao Ciao
Fletch


“Life is not about how Fast you ride, or how Far you travel, but about how well you Bounce. ” ;o)

I BLOG There4 I Am
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 2 Sep 2006
rhinoculips's Avatar
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Dillon, Colorado USA
Posts: 73
2007 V-Strom will have ABS Brakes!!!

Fletch,

Not sure if this is coming in to late and you have already bought a bike, but thought I would chime in.

I own a V-Strom 650 and love it. Being a big guy just like you, I have had no problems with its power. I live in the Colorado Rockies at 9,400 feet. 7 miles east is Loveland pass that tops out at 11,990 feet. I did an experiment one day to test the power of my Wee-Strom. I loaded up 200 lbs in my panniers and top box and took a ride to the top of the pass. Keep in mind, my big arse weighs in at 290 lbs and I had no pile-on. The Strom rode very well up the "hill" at 65 mph and that was in 6th gear, churning 5,000 rpm's and the throttle nearly maxed. I never bothered to kicked down into 5th gear and twist the throttle harder. I have no desire for speed, but it's nice to know theres a little more umph (an additional 5,500 rpms) in her to be able to pass someone when needed. This leads me to conclude that a V-Strom 650 will be adequate for you, your S.O. and gear. Not sure about in the UK but here in the U.S., the 2007 V-Strom 650 will have an ABS brake option for only $500 more. What a deal!

The best mods I ever did to the bike was exchanging the front and rear OEM springs with much stiffer Wilbers springs. My pre-loads are set "soft" when its just me and I am left with the full adjustment to work with when I load her up. These bikes right off the showroom floor are set up for a single rider that weighs a mere 180 lbs. and no luggage. Before my spring swap, my preload was maxed and it was still to soft. Big guys like us are just not in the scopes of motorcycle engineers.

Other mods and additions I made:

--Wolfman Explorer Tankbag - Excellent! Looks like it was made just for the strom's tank!
--Happy Trails Panniers and top box
--Motech Skid plate (piece of sh*t) - get an Adventure MotoStuff plate or a Pat Walsh
--Motech crash bars - I like the looks of these, but have not "tested" them yet and hope not to anytime soon!
--Scott re-useable oil filter - none better!

The Wee-Strom is not an Interstate bike and its not an offroad bike either. Its best suited for the speed of paved 2 lane highways, the back roads and mountain passes. More the speeds that you are likely to encounter on a long trip that is not in the USA or Western Europe. Gravel is fine, but I would consider better tires than the trail wings. If you are going for long stretchs of the loose stuff, maybe TKC's?

You received great advice from everyone above! Good work guys! I second the notion of avoiding Touratech, to pricey!

If you go for the Strom, good sources for info. and outfitting her are -

www.twistedthrottle.com
www.amotostuff.com
www.stromtrooper.com
http://11109.rapidforum.com/
http://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com/VStrom.html

Last edited by rhinoculips; 2 Sep 2006 at 09:01.
Reply With Quote
Reply


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
HU Traveller Meeting UK Gung_Ho Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road 3 24 Jan 2006 05:03
Traveller from Germany in Vladivostok Shustrik Northern Asia 1 5 Nov 2005 07:41
First time long term traveller Helena Which Bike? 4 11 Aug 2003 10:41
Need Help from Experienced Travellers! GreatGuy Route Planning 5 27 Apr 2003 01:57
Virgin rider seeks advice on which bike for Africa! bakhante Which Bike? 5 19 Mar 2003 16:49

 
 
 

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.



Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!


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

amazon

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 00:14.