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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 23 Aug 2008
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Question Honda Twins?

I've got a good old XTZ660 which I'm very happy with, but a mate of mine is dead against singles (he thinks they're lumpy, rough and noisey) and is keen to get his hands on a Honda twin (which he thinks are the business). I've never owned a Honda or a twin so I'm not much help to him. I understand that twins are generally smoother and better for road cruising, but must be heavier and thirstier. Does anyone know the major differences between the Africa Twin and the Transalp? Which is the better bike, and are there any other good twins that he should consider for a rugged overland trip of at least 50% dirt?

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  #2  
Old 23 Aug 2008
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I have just come down from an AT which I liked very much, to the old XTZ660 Tenere, because the Tenere being a single is much lighter and because of that is much better offroad than the AT. I offroaded the AT very much, I had two Tunisian desert trips on it. If you fix the fuel pump and have a spare rectifier with you, than you can be pretty shure that the AT will bring you home from everywhere. In comparison to the XTZ it is much better build and the engine being a very unstressed twin can make more Km's before rebuild. The engine of the AT also pulls stronger and with an aftermarket exhaust it sounds really great with no strannge rummors from the engine. It also have the service intervals for changing oil at 12.000Km, which is very good for long distance travelling. Mine on the road with no agressive riding did almost 400Km to the reserve and it did almost 500 till empty. If you are skilled offroad, the AT will go everywhere, but the weight won't let you have so much fun as on a lighter motorbyke. I was spending more and more time offroad, so I just went for something lighter and simpler and the XTZ660 was there at half the price of my AT with none offroad Km's on the clock.
Before the AT I had the TA, it could be classified as the smaller sister. It is smaller in every piece on it from the engine to the diameter of front forks... It also have components which are not so good quality as on the AT. For me, the only advantage the TA has over the AT is less weight.

At 120Km/h in terms of vibration for me all the three are the same comfort, but the TA has the worst wind prottection. At higher speeds all the three are not comfortable for longer rides, but if I have to pick one for higher speed, the AT have a slight advantage.

If I have to pick one for the "Long way round" type of trip I would defenitely choose the old XTZ660. If I have to pick one for more road oriented trip I would defenitely choose the AT.

Hope it will help. If you need additional information, just ask.
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  #3  
Old 23 Aug 2008
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Originally Posted by butchdiamond View Post
are there any other good twins that he should consider for a rugged overland trip of at least 50% dirt?
Butch
Suzuki Vstrom 650 does practically everything an Africa Twin / Transalp does, and has more power than either of them. Even the new 700 Transalp is no match. Older Transalps and all Africa Twins had carburetors, so they are more thirsty than a Vstrom. The Suzuki will also carry more weight without problems, as its frame is very sturdy, something that cannot be said of these Hondas.

None of these are great off-road bikes, though. Africa Twin could be the best in those conditions, but not by any big margin, and its still a heavy lump. One-cylinder thumpers will be better there as theyre much lighter.

I´ve had 5 Africa Twins myself, and I still love the bike. But now I love my DL650 even more, as its more modern and just as reliable. And better for 2-up touring. It offers great value for money.
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Old 23 Aug 2008
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My friend own a DL650 Vstrom and i like it a lot, but when it comes to offroad, you just can't compare it to the AT. It is more like a Yamaha TDM type. With my AT I was exercising for Tunisian desert on motoscross circuts, I was jumping smaller jumps etc. I just can't see the Vstrom in this role, but it is for shure better on road.

He need a twin for a trip with 50% of dirt. I would rulled out the Vstrom and eaven the AT if I was doing this kind of trip.
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Old 24 Aug 2008
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I have a 650 V-Strom which comes with road biased tyres and find that it can cope with hard pack trails but not soft sand, the rear wheel just spins.
When these tyres wear out I will try some more off road biased tyres.
On road it is great for me, it being the best compromise of all the bikes I have tried.
I have raced motocross and used the RM,CR 250,CR 500 and XR 600 in desert conditions which were great but even the full knobby tyres can get stuck.
The main thing is to define off road, dirt track, sand, mud or gravel or all and then pick the bike that will do all of these and be happy on the road.

Cheers
Ian
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  #6  
Old 24 Aug 2008
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If the 50% off road part does not get too technical

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 19:08.
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Old 24 Aug 2008
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The AT does have more ground clearance and in stock form and is fitted with bash plate and such. So fit knobbies and a bash plate to DL650 along with some side crash guards and go riding. Pick your off road sections carefully.
The AT is pretty tough:
YouTube - How to handle a Africa Twin
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Old 24 Aug 2008
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Thumbs up

The AT has many good points - reliability, ground clearance and so on.

But it's very tall and is also heavy.( I nearly dropped mine today on a rocky farm track in France). You can lower it a little but the weight is a factor to consider. Some think it underpowered, though the question is, how much power do you actually NEED? Some consider it quite dated, though this doesnt bother me in the least about any good bike.

You really need to get a printout of the specification for the bikes which interest you, and spend some time doing a comparison. It will be a compromise in the end - it always is. There's a lot of good bikes out there now.

The advice you get on this thread may be conflicting, but useful nevertheless.

I really like my AT, but I suspect I'd really like a few other bikes too. (GS 1150?)

PS I've just seen Ali Baba's U Tube link on handling the AT - those guys are GOOD! If you see this and the other related videos of the Africa Twin being handled very well, you might just get one!

Last edited by Caminando; 24 Aug 2008 at 21:52.
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Old 24 Aug 2008
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That sand riding had a pretty good rider on board

Last edited by mollydog; 25 Mar 2009 at 08:27.
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Old 25 Aug 2008
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Excellent info

Thanks for all your input. The AT seems like the one he wants but it's a shame they aren't still making them new. I have recently seem the new BMW F800GS which looks like a nice option, is that an equally capable twin?

Butch
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Old 25 Aug 2008
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Originally Posted by butchdiamond View Post
Thanks for all your input. The AT seems like the one he wants but it's a shame they aren't still making them new. I have recently seem the new BMW F800GS which looks like a nice option, is that an equally capable twin?

Butch
I guess that’s a bit early to say…

Personally I don’t think that the new 800GS will be as reliable as an old AT, but when it comes to performance and handling it’s far better.
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Old 25 Aug 2008
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I never drived the F800GS, but on the paper, it seems like the motorcycle to go after the AT. It have less weight, better suspension and just enough more power. All the stuff I missed on the AT. I'm really looking foward to try it.

On the forums there are mixed reports on the torque on low revs, some say it is ok, some say that it don't have enough torque at low revs for offroad.

Another think is as AliBaba already mentioned the reliability, which is still to be prooven.

On the paper the only think that boother me is the small tank.

If he is after a new bike, he should try the new Tenere XT660Z. It's a single, but he should give it a try. I think is the best new adventure solution right now.
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Old 25 Aug 2008
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On the forums there are mixed reports on the torque on low revs, some say it is ok, some say that it don't have enough torque at low revs for offroad.
The engine has a lot of torque, more the any other bike in it’s class(?)!
But the gearing is absurd, so you will need new sprockets for serious offroading.
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  #14  
Old 25 Aug 2008
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Test ride

Thanks folks. I'm going to see if I can arrange a F800GS test ride in the next week or so to see what it's like, but as you understand, there's only so much you can find out about a bike by a 30 minute blast!

If it's worthy of any comment, I'll put up another thread.

Butch
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