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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 31 Dec 2005
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I can't find the right one...

Hello, just landed here, my name is Daniel, 29, currently living in australia. i have been reading and reading and reading.... all i am interested is in a mid size. this is where i need your help:

I like the looks of the KTM 640 Adventure, i like the friendliness or semplicity of the F650gs Dakar, and the price tag of the KLR. But, i read that KTM seems to be to expensive in repairs and service, BMW is nice but over priced too, the KLR is a nice bike (mind you, the dealer told me that they are waiting for another shipment and no then they will be replaced by the ugly KLE500), but need some extra money to make it up to standard. So, why is it so complicated? and why do you overlanders have chosen what you have chosen? I would really much appreciate your help, if you can. Please advise me,
Daniel
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  #2  
Old 31 Dec 2005
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Hey Daniel, there are some people on this site with much greater knowledge than myself to advice you, however, here are my views. the 1st thing one has to realise (and it appears you already have) is that there is no perfect bike. Bearing this in mind, you have to look at your needs - if you are looking for a competiton orientated bike (which I do not think you are) then few people will disagree that the KTM is the one to go for. I ride a R1200GS, so I am a BMW fan and the Dakar is a nice bike it is capable on off road sections and comfortable when you hit the long road (i think the most comfortable in its class). I have no experience with the KLR or KLE so cant really say much there. To be honost, I am looking at buying a 640 Adventure as a second bike, but it will be used for racing so my reasons are different to yours. I think the best advice is (if you have not yet) to go and test ride all of them and get a feel for the bike, dont know in Australia, but here in SA dealerships are keen to give you a bike for a weekend to ride and that puts you in a better position to get a good feel for the bike. Good luck with choosing your bike, and let me know which one you chose.

Regards

Gus
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  #3  
Old 31 Dec 2005
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thanks to you guys for your replies,
i haven't asked to take the bike for a weekend yet, i need to investigate. i have also seen people suggesting farm bikes, my head can't handle it too much. i would really like to find a solution and start ridinng.

Happy 2006!!!!
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  #4  
Old 1 Jan 2006
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Daniel,

I'd stay away from farm bikes. While they might be reliable and easy to fix, they are really really not very comfortable. Not the kind of bike you want to put in long hours on. And their performance leaves a lot to be desired.

I think you've already worked out some of the trade-offs with other bikes. KTMs and BMWs are expensive, but they are very good bikes. KLRs are cheaper and don't have as many bells and whistles. But, as you said, you will probably have to spend a fair bit on aftermarket parts to bring the KLR up to touring standard.

Anyway, I'm looking for a new mid-weight twin at the moment. So I have similar problems.

You should be able to narrow your search down to a couple of bikes with the right size, power and features for the type of riding you plan on doing. Then do plenty of research and go out and test ride as much as possible.

I can't offer any better advice than that!

Good luck.

Nick
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  #5  
Old 1 Jan 2006
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Hi Nick,
so... what are your choices? i would like to know your options.
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  #6  
Old 1 Jan 2006
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Tossing up between a Transalp and a 650 V-Strom (there is a thread somewhere below on this).

Both are pretty nice bikes. Comfortable for long days in the saddle, wind protection and smooth power. Sporty enough to have fun in the twisties. Competent on rough roads and firetrails. Not proper off-roaders though.

It is usually a case of horses for courses. Vee-twins are excellent on tarmac, but if you want to do serious offroading, a single thumper is probably the best bet.

What sort of trips do you have planned? I'm eventually going to head to London, but probably not until this time next year.

Nick
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  #7  
Old 1 Jan 2006
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Our trip would be from Brisbane to Rome, to go visit my family, but taking the "long way round ". We would like to ride a bike each, but my wife is not very keen. I like the transalp too. I know that something else is coming out soon. Just have to wait,please let me know, if you are planning on buying a second hand or a brand new one.
Ciao,
Daniele
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  #8  
Old 2 Jan 2006
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I like the Transalp too. Its a very nice bike. What do you mean something else is coming out? A new honda?

I'll probably buy second hand at this stage. You can get a fairly new Transalp with low km for less than $10k. Probably have to spend a little more for a few mods like skid plate and crash bars. Then there is luguage...arrgghh!

When are you planning on making your trip?

Nick
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  #9  
Old 2 Jan 2006
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We would like to go early next year, we are still looking and reading at which bike to use, people say the smaller the better, but i still don't know. I would like to use something light, i am not very experienced offroad and do not intend to go speeding. What do you all think and specially you NIck of the XT250? too small?
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  #10  
Old 2 Jan 2006
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Well, as most people on this website will say, nothing is really too small. Plenty of people have gone touring on 250cc bikes and there are plenty of advantages; easy to ride, capable offroad, cheap to maintain etc.

The main problem I have with such small bikes is that they are terrible to ride at higher speeds. They generally have no wind protection, fairly uncomfortable seats and plenty of vibration. I am currently riding a KLX400, and even that is not too good over 100kph. I'm looking for something that is comfortable at highway speeds, and that generally means a bigger bike.

So, it depends on what your touring style is. As much as I like taking it easy, I generally need to spend some time cruising on the highway as well. That means a bigger bike.
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  #11  
Old 2 Jan 2006
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Couldn't help myself...

Recently freinds have done or are doing long overland trips on KLR650's, BMW f650GS, XT225's, XT600E and KTM640's. A few years ago a freind did a big trip across Russia on a DRZ400.

All the bikes were pretty reliable, KTMs needed engine rebiulds from 80,000 Kms and were ridden very slowly.

KLRs solid but had the icky mod. Bits vibrated off occaisonally. The 225's solid but slow especially at altitude.

F650 still going strong but looking a bit second hand after a few drops, BMW panniers ditched for Alu boxes.

Arnt there new T Alps for sale for 9999 AUD at the moment?

I would go a big single road/trail bike because you can get most places, much further than a BMW Twin, you can change gearing for adventure riding in the hills and then go back to highway gearing with a sprocket change.

BMWs are coverred in star head bolts so you need some new tools, they also like to have everysized nut on the planet on each bike! But they are very comfy on the highway and competent off road, they are also fuel injected and fuel efficient although I know of at least one pump failure that has caused grief...limited time on visa and no chance of a BMW dealer...
Think of what spares you need.

In less wealthy countries you are unlikely to be travelling fast, and its always great to go places others dont get to because your on a trail bike.

Mind you when I got back to Europe I wanted a 999s.

happy hunting

alec

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  #12  
Old 2 Jan 2006
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Haven't seen any new ones for that price. All the TAs I've seen have been around $12k. If someone is offering $9999, that would be very welcome news.

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  #13  
Old 2 Jan 2006
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Hi Nick, I think that we might see a new Honda replacing the Transalp, but i do not know when, so we just have to wait.
I have seen panniers for the Vstrom, but the non for the TA, at least not in alluminium. The TA's a carburator and the Vstrom is EFI, what do you think about that? i hope i am not to boring, but i prefer more information, better to have more than being ignorant.

Thanks for now.
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  #14  
Old 2 Jan 2006
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If you buy a first year production bike and take off on a trip beware the lack of spare parts. At least in the US there can be problems with a new model. If one part is bad all the bikes need it and suddenly there is a shortage. I would ask what bike are you riding now? There is nothing like actuly riding to get your perspective as to what is important. You may like to ride on a 100mm wide seat but go try it for a long day and see if it works.
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  #15  
Old 3 Jan 2006
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I haven't heard of anything new replacing the TA. Do you have any more details?

Anyway, Bill has a good point. The current TA is tried and tested and parts are fairly easy to get. I'd be happier on an older bike than a brand new design.

There are plenty of aluminium panniers available for the TA. I'm looking into them at the moment. Touratech/Vega has a setup, as does Metal Mule. Both are good, but extremely expensive! Happy Trails (from the US) has slightly more affordable gear. I'm sure there are other options as well. I just have to start saving my pennies!

I just asked the EFI vs Carb question elsewhere. EFI is generally better, but harder to fix if it breaks. This used to be a problem, but reliability is much better now.
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