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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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Old 14 Oct 2004
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Honda XL 1000 Varadero?

Hi all, my first post...

I'm planning an overland run from the UK to Australia starting next Easter. We'll br going two up and I would prefer a newer bike that hopefully I don't have to play with too much!!! - I'm currently trying to decide on the bike. So far I have tested a KTM 950 Adventure which was great but I'm not sure about running two up on it. I've also tried the 1150 Adventure which was great but huge and pretty expensive. One option I have considered is the Honda XL 1000 Varadero. Anyone got any experience? All the reviews etc I can find a are pretty positive and I'll go and have a test but does anyone tried an extended run on one?

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Old 14 Oct 2004
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you may also want to consider an Africa Twin (for two up travel). It's got a proven reliability record, and overlanding capability. Ideal for two people. Cheaper and less 'plastic' than the XL1000. I don't think the extra 250cc make the 1000 any better.

Probably around £3,500-£4,000 for a low mileage AT. Leaving you some money to spend on useful stuff for your journey.

Looking at the Honda 'adventure tourer' range and they are all firmly road biased. Even the TransAlp has been road-ified. TransAlp might also be worth a look.

BMW still seem to be making their GS's with a road/off-road mix. But cost and parts availability are their weakest points.

Stuff that you might want to think about?

If you push the bike over what's going to break?
How far can you go on a tank of fuel?
Can the bike cope with poor fuel?
Has it got a centre stand, and can you get the bike on it?
Do the pillion pegs vibrate too much (GS's!)?
How much are crash bars?

[This message has been edited by DougieB (edited 14 October 2004).]
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Old 14 Oct 2004
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Cheers for that! The Africa Twin is on my list as well, I just need to go and find one! I also tested the 650 Dakar which I thought was quite a nice bike but I would be concerned that two up it would get a wee bit wheezy!

I'm going to go dig for an Africa Twin. All your considerations are relevant. Initally we were going to do this twip in a Land Rover and we have got the whole thing kitted and then changed our minds and decided to go ona bike!
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Old 14 Oct 2004
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try Chiswick Honda (not that far from you), they normally have a few and they have a website. If you see one and want a fair appraisal before making the trip to chiswick let me know. I live up the road from there.

also, xrv.org.uk, there are a couple in London for sale (some prep'd).

I wouldn't be too concerned with engine size (the difference between a 650 and 1000 isn't really worth £2000+). My AT (750cc) pulled 100mph, loaded with metal panniers, a rucksack, a girlfriend and me. You'll travel slower than you think you will though. 50-60mph is our normal cruising speed while away, things move too fast as it is...

Also, BMW Guildford let you take the demo bikes for a couple of hours. So take you pillion with you and see how wheezy it is. Varied roads round there to test it on.
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Old 14 Oct 2004
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By coincidence, I was talking to a Honda Dealer last week about the relative merits of various bikes' build quality and durability. He was of the opinion that Africa Twins were much better made than Varaderos and were excellent bikes. He thought that the Transalp was OK.
So, someone who knows the inside story says: Africa Twin".
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Old 14 Oct 2004
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You tried the 1150GS Adventure & found it huge - did you also try the normal 1150GS?

20mm lower suspension makes a huge difference. My 5'6" tall girlfriend rides my 1150GS with ease. She finds the seat height no problem as it's slightly narrower at the front, so it does not push your legs apart like some other BMW seats do. Only other major difference is a 22ltr tank tank compared to the 30ltr of the GSA.

Since the intro of the 1200GS, 1150 prices have come down considerably. You can buy 5-speed 1100's for £4k & non ABS 1150's from £4.5k onwards. - bit of a buyers market at the moment., there's 19 1150's in this weeks MCN, inc. a few Adventures

I've just paid £1,100 for a very slightly crash damaged 1100 with a plastic tank, so deals are out there if you look.
My photos: www.possu.smugmug.com
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Old 14 Oct 2004
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Cheers for the advice! I'll certainly be trying the Africa Twin. The BMW's size was not so much of a problem, I'm 6ft and getting my feet on the floor etc was fine. It just seems big. At the moment it is still the best of the bikes I've tried but I'm keen to try as many as possible to get the rigt one!
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