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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 24 Jul 2007
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KTM vs. BMW

For a novice rider who currently rides 250 dirt bikes and is thinking about more of an adventure dual sport bike, I have looked at the KTM 450 exc but now it seems the KTM 640 or the BMW f650GS might be more suitable. I am hoping to start taking long desert rides and progress to cross country, world travel. Any thoughts on these bikes?
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Old 24 Jul 2007
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Having owned a f650 I will offer this advice. it is extremely heavy
and would be a pig in deep sand and such -- for world travel
it would be OK -- very comfortable plenty of power, pretty reliable
reasonably enough BMW dealer garages worldwide - strong sub frame
to load, it but It is restricted when it comes to more technical off road
tracks due to the weight and suspension would need work. For the money and alternatives involved - I wouldent reccomend this bike.


The KTM would be excellent for the sand and off road but I would not choose KTM for world travel mainly for the reliabillity issues
and sourcable parts.

I have just been making similar enquiries having sold my f650gs for a new bike.

and I have narrowed it down to DR650 and DRZ400 both great bikes
solidly realiable easy to maintain etc..
also worth taking a look at would be honda's XR range.. again very solid bikes.


I'm sure some one else will chime in with better advice
but until then..
Good luck with your choice!
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  #3  
Old 24 Jul 2007
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BMW F650? Long desert rides??.....no..., cross country, world travel??.. yes. I have an earlier Funduro and a later F650GS, and I really like them, but there are many reasons that these bikes are not trail bikes. Too big, too heavy, too wide at the seat. But they are very nice comfortable bikes to ride, on the road or on moderate 4WD tracks. They can carry a big load, and the ones I have had have been as reliable as a stone. The Funduro has done 144,000km, with the only maintainance being oils, filters, wheel and steering head bearings, 1 cam chain, lotsa fork seals until I fitted gaiters and a waterpump. The later F650GS seems to be as good or better in every area (especially the motor in terms of smoothness and economy). http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...s/thumbup1.gif
If that's the sort of bike you want, then I would also look very carefully at the DL650 Wee Strom. Personally I think that's probably the bike that would take my money in this market.
Having said that, if you're more into a trail-friendly bike, take a good look at the DR650/400 Suzukis, and the XT600/660 Yamaha range. Also very strong, reliable and more trail-ready but perhaps a little less comfortable on the open road.

Kind regards

Nigel in NZ
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Last edited by Nigel Marx; 24 Jul 2007 at 07:08. Reason: Forgot to give an up to the Wee Strom!
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Old 24 Jul 2007
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trevel lite

riding a LC4 640 my self.... my advice... travel lite... as you are know from scrambling... a liter bike is easier to handle in sand...

well the BMW are heavy, the 650 Dakar is heavier than a LC4, a XR650 about the same as a LC4 but you can get a 2nd hand XR650 cheap for about £2000 in very good condition with a 28L tank on it a KTM that size will cost you twice as much. My mate is riding a XR250 with a big tank and he is very well on the road and off road his body weight is 110KG and a short ass consider beefing up your seat with a lot of padding on any bike you go for, just recover it with new vinyl and lots of foam and you are as comfortably riding as the big heavy bikes, have a word with your local car trimer. And you may upgrade the rear spring for heavier load one grade up.

OK yes the service parts for a XR is may easier to get than for a KTM, one more I don't know any thing about the DR650 but will do as many bike travelers recommending it, know not much about the Honda XR650 but get your self the one with kick-starter as well is it the XR650R or the XR650L
On my LC4 the electric starter gave up working so I'm very happy to be able using the kick-start. Put it like that, a electric starter is nice, but a kicker always works.
on the other hand forget any bike with a dry/empty weight of more than 120KG if you have to pick it up in the heat with a extra load of may 40Kg or more.... well unless you are Arnold consider traveling as lite as possible, spread every thing you think you want to take with you on the floor, and start meditation on what is a toy and what is worth having, do that a few times over the next few weeks again and again and you can drop the weight of your gear by half by finding the minimum you really NEED only !
At my last trip I started with a gear list of 45Kg and ended up with 30Kg, when I came back I was able to drop it down by another 5Kg for gear I didn't need on the trip. try to drop that thought: "oh yes I may can use this and that" you probably wound.

Well small bikes do the job but the 600-class is better for long hauling roads

spooky
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Last edited by spooky; 24 Jul 2007 at 11:37.
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  #5  
Old 25 Jul 2007
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KTM 640 LC4's saddle height are much more higher than F650. F650 is better for height challenged people. (Like me. 5'10" and 31"-32" inseam and my KTM's saddle height is ~36") But the ground clearance of F650 is nearly 5" less.
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