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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 28 Feb 2013
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I think I've narrowed down my 200-250cc bike choices for RTW...

I'm a short guy with a 28" inseam and I want a light bike for putzing around the world. So seat height of 30" or less. Also want something with great gas mileage and solid reliability. And the ability to run and charge my laptop and camera batteries while running.

Suzuki DR200SE: 278lb, cruises at 70mph, huge tank at 3.4 gal, great 85 mpg mileage, and range of ~289 miles.

Kawasaki KL250 Super Sherpa: 282lb, kinda high seat height, most power and highway-capable out of the lot, 65 mpg, 156 mile range

Yamaha XT 225: very light at ~260lb wet? cruises at 70mph, 2.3 gal, 65 mpg, 150 mile range

Honda CRF250L: too heavy and seat too high

Yamaha TW200: big tires not good for pavement or having to find a replacement for the tire?

Honda CRF230M: more of a trail bike?

I'm leaning towards the DR200SE. Should cruise on the highway just fine. Amazing range and gas mileage, saving a lot of money. Can it charge a laptop?

Any input?

Last edited by fuzzybabybunny; 28 Feb 2013 at 08:09.
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  #2  
Old 28 Feb 2013
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Are you sure the DR200SE is fuel injected? To my knowledge they all have carbs.
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  #3  
Old 28 Feb 2013
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I don't want to rain on your parade (of bikes) but I'd be amazed if the DR200 (or any of the others) will cruise at 70mph. With 15bhp or thereabouts you might just about touch that on a good day flat on the tank but that's a far cry from cruising at 70. Adding luggage will knock some speed off as well. Laden, somewhere between 55 and 60mph would be around what I'd expect it to be comfortable at.

I freely admit I've not ridden any of them so my opinion is probably worthless but I've had / have enough bikes with similar specs to have some sort of feel for what 15bhp will do
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  #4  
Old 28 Feb 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jordan325ic View Post
Are you sure the DR200SE is fuel injected? To my knowledge they all have carbs.
oops, corrected

Quote:
Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
I don't want to rain on your parade (of bikes) but I'd be amazed if the DR200 (or any of the others) will cruise at 70mph. With 15bhp or thereabouts you might just about touch that on a good day flat on the tank but that's a far cry from cruising at 70. Adding luggage will knock some speed off as well. Laden, somewhere between 55 and 60mph would be around what I'd expect it to be comfortable at.

I freely admit I've not ridden any of them so my opinion is probably worthless but I've had / have enough bikes with similar specs to have some sort of feel for what 15bhp will do
I'm 150lb and will probably have about 50lb of gear. I had a 2010 Ninja 250R and with me and about 25lb of gear I could still scream along at 90mph. 85mph was easy.

Don't know how that translates into dual sports though, if at all.

Right now I'm leaning towards the XT225. There's an aftermarket tank for 4.1 gal and it starts off as the lightest of the bunch, even lighter than the 200cc bikes.
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Old 28 Feb 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
I don't want to rain on your parade (of bikes) but I'd be amazed if the DR200 (or any of the others) will cruise at 70mph ..............
I'm afraid I'm in agreement with backof here.

I've had an XT225 Serow and cruise at 70 is not an option I'm afraid.
My tank range with the bike was 125.

And I've currently got a CRF230 and wouldn't want to cruise at 70 with that either.

Good luck with it all.
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  #6  
Old 28 Feb 2013
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The Xt225 is a brilliant bike
With a bullet proof engine.
My wife has had one for years,
and despite having other bikes always goes back to her trusted XT.
Don't expect 70mph cruising though, 55 is probably closer.
Check out "Lois on the Loose" book she took one from Alaska to South America.

Of all the bikes in your list. the Serow is the one I would go for.

Dog
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  #7  
Old 28 Feb 2013
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XT225 Serow weight is 106kg dry which is 233 lbs, so may be slightly lighter than you expect.

In case you don't know about it there's a mass of Serow information here -
XT225 Serow Riders in the UK/USA
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  #8  
Old 28 Feb 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzybabybunny View Post

I'm 150lb and will probably have about 50lb of gear. I had a 2010 Ninja 250R and with me and about 25lb of gear I could still scream along at 90mph. 85mph was easy.

Don't know how that translates into dual sports though, if at all.
Sounds like I'm about the same build as you - maybe a bit wider but not much, so no human sail slowing things down and neither of my two 600cc single 50bhp dual sports will get anywhere near that. Their max comfortable cruising speed is between 70 -75mph and I'm doing well if I can ever get them over 80mph - sat normally that is.

I've just come back from six days on the German autobahns on a laden 10bhp 125 and it was a cause for celebration if I could get that over 50mph.

Have you done some miles on any of the bikes on your list? The DR sounds like a good choice what what you have in mind but I'm not sure you're going to be waving the trucks goodbye on the motorway on it
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  #9  
Old 28 Feb 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzybabybunny View Post
I had a 2010 Ninja 250R and with me and about 25lb of gear I could still scream along at 90mph. 85mph was easy.
The Ninja has about 28hp ... thus your top speed is a lot more compared to the 15hp of a 200 trail bike.

Trail bikes trade top speed (hp) for low end torque.

If you want a dual sport bike that cruises at 90mph then think of something over 800cc

When traveling in foreign parts you will find your speed limited by
comfortable cursing speed of your bike with luggage
road surface and you and your bikes reactions to that surface.
oh and how often you look at hte view!

How much dirt riding experience do you have?
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  #10  
Old 28 Feb 2013
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Super Sherpa Rules!!

At last a topic to which I can reply with a modicum of semi-wisdom and semi-intelligence--heavy on the semi.

I can speak to the Super Sherpa and can recommend it as a good, long-distance touring machine. My wife and I have a pair of 2009 Super Sherpas and have been more or less on the road since they were purchased new. Each bike has 80,000 km on the clock and they have taken us from Canada to South America and for the last 2 summers around Eastern Europe. I have no experience with any of the other bikes, but will speak to some of your issues as far as the Sherpa is concerned.

Our bikes have home-made racks with Givi side and top boxes. We also use the Wolfman waterproof panniers over the petrol tank and a tank bag. I estimate the total weight of our gear is roughly 35 kg. We carry full camping gear.

Issues:
1) 110 kph (70 mph) cruising speed. No. I have been up to that speed a few times and it is not a comfortable speed--at least not for me. Cruising at that speed would take all the bike has (especially loaded) and could only be maintained on the flat. At that speed you spend all your time keeping the little bike on the road such that there is no time to look around. The bikes are very comfortable at 80 kph. We like the slow roads anyway and avoid the motorways like the plague.
2) Fuel consumption excellent averaging somewhere around 33 km per liter or roughly 65-70 mpg.
3) Seat height. There is a lowering link available from Kouba Link. This will lower the seat by 1 1/2 inches. My wife's bike is lowered, mine is not.
4) Charging a laptop. I am set up to charge my netbook and it works well. We also run aftermarket handlebar heaters and GPS units, all without issue.
5) Maintenance problems. So far none that were not pilot error related. The little beasts are quite bulletproof and easy to work on. I do all my own work. They are easy on tires, chains and sprockets

I do have one recommendation if you go with the Sherpa. Reduce your final drive gearing by going one tooth smaller on the front sprocket from the standard 14 to 13. All loaded down and after grinding along the rough roads of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, there was not much left of the clutches. Too much slippage while getting started on rough roads. After fitting new clutches in Quito, we also changed to the smaller front sprocket. What a difference it made. No more clutch slippage and the low end ability was greatly improved without any noticeable difference at highway speeds since 80 kph is where we like to cruise, not to mention that in much of the world average speeds are much lower than that anyway.

This past summer as an experiment, I changed back to the 14-tooth front sprocket for a week and promptly change back to the smaller one. I found that we were not using 6th gear all that much and spending too much time is 5th and suffering at the low end.

So there it is IMHO. Since the Super Sherpa is no longer made, find a good used one and press on regardless. It would be worth it to buy one and keep it in the garage until it becomes a classic. Maybe when I have finally worn mine out, I will buy it from you.

I am an advocate of smaller bikes. Go small and ignore the posers. I see too many people struggling with bikes that are just too big for them. To quote Austin Vince (I think he said this), "You will never, ever wish for a bigger, heavier bike" (or something to that effect).

Enough semi-wisdom for now.
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  #11  
Old 28 Feb 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzybabybunny View Post
Can it charge a laptop?
Any input?
It depends: on how much power the alternator is making and what else you are aiming to run at the same time.
All small bikes have small electrical power, alongside the small engine power - not often mentioned as one of the factors in the eternal debate between big and small bikes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler View Post

I've had an XT225 Serow and cruise at 70 is not an option I'm afraid.
My tank range with the bike was 125.
Yep, mine is as described here (standard tank), but holding even 55 MPH for any duration is not "comfortable"; "it's all in the gearing, don't you know".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warin View Post

Trail bikes trade top speed (hp) for low end torque.
Yep again, via the design of the engine and the design/choice of the gearing.
Fiddling with the latter is cheap and easy for a chain driven bike, but the engine is pretty much a given unless spending a lot more on internal modifications.
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  #12  
Old 28 Feb 2013
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Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
neither of my two 600cc single 50bhp dual sports will get anywhere near that. Their max comfortable cruising speed is between 70 -75mph and I'm doing well if I can ever get them over 80mph - sat normally that is.
For what it is worth to this discussion, the best cruising capability I have experienced in the 600 category is the "old" single cyl F650GS which can move along the major highways at around 80 MPH for hour after hour, and still with good fuel economy. It's fuel injection of course, as mentioned above.
I've changed over to a twin cyl versys of a similar engine capacity for even easier (on the engine) "cruising".
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Old 28 Feb 2013
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Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
Sounds like I'm about the same build as you - maybe a bit wider but not much, so no human sail slowing things down and neither of my two 600cc single 50bhp dual sports will get anywhere near that. Their max comfortable cruising speed is between 70 -75mph and I'm doing well if I can ever get them over 80mph - sat normally that is.

I've just come back from six days on the German autobahns on a laden 10bhp 125 and it was a cause for celebration if I could get that over 50mph.

Have you done some miles on any of the bikes on your list? The DR sounds like a good choice what what you have in mind but I'm not sure you're going to be waving the trucks goodbye on the motorway on it
Whoa! I had no idea that dual sports were so anemic in the top speed / cruising speed department.

Frankly, this worries me a bit. Not because I want to cruise at 70 mph the entire time, but because I want the ability to if I needed.

I've taken a couple trips down to Baja Mexico in a car and the main road (not even a highway, just a 2 lane road through the desert) has cars routinely going 70mph+. And 18-wheelers. In those instances I would like to be able to keep up with traffic.

I've never ridden any of these bikes before
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  #14  
Old 28 Feb 2013
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Originally Posted by fuzzybabybunny View Post

I've taken a couple trips down to Baja Mexico in a car and the main road (not even a highway, just a 2 lane road through the desert) has cars routinely going 70mph+. And 18-wheelers. In those instances I would like to be able to keep up with traffic.

I've never ridden any of these bikes before
I bet a few of those cars were towing dirt bikes; the whole point with the 6 bikes in your list is slow travelling; relatively slow compared with other modes of transport.

If you haven't seen it yet, have a read of this thread for a considered view about riding distance on a klx250:-
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...550#post413540
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Old 1 Mar 2013
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In defence of the smaller bike, I've got a 125cc Derbi Terra Adventure and it will sit at 65 loaded and that's in sixth with 15bhp. A 250cc should have 20+bhp surely? A lot of it's going to be down to gearing, could it be worth changing sprockets sometime during your journey even, tall gearing for the first part of the journey then a change once you get somewhere with a slower pace of life.
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