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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 12 Oct 2011
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F800GS alternatives

I like all the characteristics of the 800GS but it's somewhat out of my budget (even used). What alternatives are out there in the US market? The characteristics I most like are, in order of importance: decent for 2-up touring at ~250 miles per day, more than ~60 or 65 hp, high clearance for rough roads/tracks, thin profile (sidewalk parking flexibility, squeezing through closed gates), less than 500 lbs wet, ideally 19 or 21 inch front wheel. Other things like electrical output, age, ABS, mechanical complexity, final drive, etc are somewhat less important.

I'm open to fairly straightforward customizations too. For example some inexpensive way to add a 19"/21" wheel to a Multistrada 1100 -- maybe a bad example but hopefully illustrates my point.

Thanks for your suggestions and advice. I really appreciate it.

Jeff
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Old 12 Oct 2011
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If the 800 is beyond your means ,then a used VStrom should just about tick all your boxes .Ground clearance will be the only potential problem ,but a raising kit and an upgraded suspension will go a long way to help .
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Old 12 Oct 2011
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F800

My friend Sanjohn build a Dirt ninja starting with a 650 ninja and did over 20000 miles with it , with some very rough off road , great bike to built if you are up to it , he does have build report.
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Old 12 Oct 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodger View Post
If the 800 is beyond your means ,then a used VStrom should just about tick all your boxes .Ground clearance will be the only potential problem ,but a raising kit and an upgraded suspension will go a long way to help .
Thanks Dodger. I was thinking about the VStrom although I haven't examined it closely. As silly as it might sound, I was never keen on the looks. I'd love to get a bike that I like aesthetically almost as much as functionally and mechanically. I will say though that the longer I look the better the VStrom looks.

Any other options?
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Old 12 Oct 2011
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Originally Posted by HendiKaf View Post
My friend Sanjohn build a Dirt ninja starting with a 650 ninja and did over 20000 miles with it , with some very rough off road , great bike to built if you are up to it , he does have build report.
That sounds a bit beyond my mechanical ability but do you have a link to his report?
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  #6  
Old 12 Oct 2011
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My brother had a Strom and it's far, far more comfortable than the 800, more reliable too and only the ride height and fuel economy compromise on what you're looking for. I have to say, it is ugly but then aesthetics mean a whole let less when it's packed up with gear.
Have you thought about a bargain r1100gs? They're pretty cheap now and good machines for travelling. Failing that you're going to have to look towards something like an Africa twin or old model Tenere for the power you're looking for. Do you really need it? I had an 800 and although it has some go at peak its geared awkwardly for economy so ringing the power out is not actually any fun. It rides like a big single with a little bit more go.
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Old 12 Oct 2011
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bike

Here is the link
Sanjohsaki the Build - ADVrider

I had many bmw and now ride DL650 across South America , we change the shock and fork and the bike is now a perfect ride with a better clearance than before ,
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Old 12 Oct 2011
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Originally Posted by Jtw000 View Post
My brother had a Strom and it's far, far more comfortable than the 800, more reliable too and only the ride height and fuel economy compromise on what you're looking for. I have to say, it is ugly but then aesthetics mean a whole let less when it's packed up with gear.
Have you thought about a bargain r1100gs? They're pretty cheap now and good machines for travelling. Failing that you're going to have to look towards something like an Africa twin or old model Tenere for the power you're looking for. Do you really need it? I had an 800 and although it has some go at peak its geared awkwardly for economy so ringing the power out is not actually any fun. It rides like a big single with a little bit more go.
Not sure I need the power but I've tested an F650GS Dakar. While it's a really fun bike I don't know that it has the pull for highway speeds, 2-up with panniers.

I have been looking at the R1100GS more recently. One concern with that is the size. I saw an 1150GS in person and it is an impressive bike. In fact after sitting on it and pulling it up off its side stand, it's so physically impressive that I'm fairly certain I wouldn't enjoy it. That's why I started focusing on smaller, lighter, thinner, but still with some decent power... like the 800.. but cheaper.

How about the Tiger 955i?
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  #9  
Old 13 Oct 2011
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I had a Tiger for just over a week. I hated it. It was very top heavy and it struggled to make progress, it felt sluggish and awkward. I took it offroad and to be fair it wasn't too bad, far better than i expected but on the road it was not for me. It was fairly comfortable but just didn't feel good, it gave me no confidence.
The big R-gs's feel fine after a few days. They are intimidating at first but you soon get used to the size. Even now, no bike looks big to me any more after owning one. I had the 1200 but the build quality lets it down, the older ones are reportedly far better. I've chatted to owners and the story goes you buy the 1200 and replace bearings, batter and shocks, the 1150 and do something else (I forget what) or the 1100 and just ride it. They're not for everyone.
I had the F800gs. now it's a nice bike but it's massively compromised by gremlins. It's a through and through Chelsea-tractor built to seperate you from your cash, not to do the job its advertised to do. I'm off soon on a big ride and one of our guys is using one but his list of failures is comprehensive. I had many of them on mine, my brothers failed and we had a second one which also failed. Also you have to work them hard to get to that hidden power. It was not a fun bike to ride hard but it was a fun bike.
I just got back from Europe. We did a month 2 up on a little rotax powered G650 with lots of luggage. I took a girl so there was a lot of luggage! I'm not going to lie to you, on motorways we managed 65 fine but I would have liked more power, we got to cruise as fast as 80mph when we were running late and made better times than that on occasions but she did feel breathless sometimes. I had to replace the shock and springs and otherwise the load would have been too much I think but the Dakar, for instance, is taller and might have coped even better.
In my experience, if you have a passenger then you need to wonder if you're going to do any offroad work at all. I felt I would have been better off on a purely road bike some of the time. Having said that, I met a guy on the road, he was on a Bandit 600. I got 80mpg on average, he got around 40 so that was a big difference which made up for those slower days... also on occasions where a bike did blast past us we invariably caught them up at the next petrol station, massaging their wrists and back. Different strokes, I guess.
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Old 19 Oct 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jtw000 View Post
I had the F800gs. now it's a nice bike but it's massively compromised by gremlins. It's a through and through Chelsea-tractor built to seperate you from your cash, not to do the job its advertised to do. I'm off soon on a big ride and one of our guys is using one but his list of failures is comprehensive. I had many of them on mine, my brothers failed and we had a second one which also failed. Also you have to work them hard to get to that hidden power. It was not a fun bike to ride hard but it was a fun bike.
Different strokes, I guess.
Everyone has different experiences I guess ... I've just got back from a 15,000 mile eastern europe, Georgia, Armenia, etc trip on an F800GS. 70% good tar, 20% poor tar and 10% dirt, one-up.

The bike was faultless. Never missed a beat, superbly reliable, comfortable (with a sheepskin), powerful, fuel efficient, flexible on all roads, not overly heavy, no gremlins, no cash outlay beyond the cost of purchase. Sold the bike for the cost of purchase, and will definately buy again.

For parts of my trip I travelled with several other F800GSs, and not one had a problem.

The 2008/2009 models were subject to a few recalls (chain, fuel sender), which seem to have been ironed-out now.

To me it was the perfect bike for all roads - it cruises comfortably on highways and can take the dirt. In my opinion the bike does precisely what it's built for.
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  #11  
Old 19 Oct 2011
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Hi,

All bikes are better then BMW F800 GS. Friend of my who did not listen to me now have there engine broken after only 65.000 km. Its unbelievable that BMW is still not able to produce the same quality like honda or yamaha do scince 1980. Google is full of threads with people having engine trouble with this bike.

Even the old AfricaTwin, Transalp or Tenere engines lasted for mor then 20 jears and up to 200.000 km and still where much cheaper. The newer models are not much cheaper as BMW anymore but still much better if you want a trust full, long lasting bike.

I dont understand why people still by BMW or Ducati bikes but its like Apple Products: People these days rather go for design as for function. Sad story...

Tobi
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  #12  
Old 26 Oct 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ta-rider View Post
Hi,

All bikes are better then BMW F800 GS. Friend of my who did not listen to me now have there engine broken after only 65.000 km. Its unbelievable that BMW is still not able to produce the same quality like honda or yamaha do scince 1980. Google is full of threads with people having engine trouble with this bike.

Even the old AfricaTwin, Transalp or Tenere engines lasted for mor then 20 jears and up to 200.000 km and still where much cheaper. The newer models are not much cheaper as BMW anymore but still much better if you want a trust full, long lasting bike.

I dont understand why people still by BMW or Ducati bikes but its like Apple Products: People these days rather go for design as for function. Sad story...

Tobi

Well said Toby

the problem is, in the US they never sold the AfricaTwin, Super Tenere 750, only 2 years the 600 Transalp .... so the choices are limited

As for Northamerica, I would opt for

Honda XR 650
Kawasaki KLR 650
Suzuki DR 650 SE

all these bikes are fairly cheap, easy to fix and tons of farkles available

Happy trails
Thomas
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