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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 8 Apr 2009
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Question Looking for a small-engined bike to go round the world on BUT with a large tank...

Hi all,

I'm debating between a couple of round-the-world routes at present and whilst that planning is on-going I need to find a bike that works for me. I'm in a slightly strange place following breaking my back a few years ago and having some muscular weakness in my legs. Even though I'm 6'1 I want a bike that would be suitable for someone around 5'4 (so that I can get my feet flat on the ground and in a stable position either side of the bike) and, more importantly, for it to be lightweight... My requirements (in order of priority) are:

- Reliable
- A light bike
- Electric start
- Comfortable (or at least something aftermarket to make it so)
- Decent tank range
- Easy to find spare parts for
- Used or New
- Price

Oh and the route will be both on tracks and off-roading.


The top runners at the moment are:

- Yamaha XT250 Serow.
- TTR250
- Derbi Terra Adventure (125)

Someone even suggested a XR250 BUT that after two weeks on one of those crossing the Pyrenees I can vouch for it failing in the seat department (not comfy for long distances) and its utterly feeble tank range (70 miles when going for it).

So... any suggestions people? I suppose all I'm really looking for is the ultimate list of off-road bikes for short people, but with an electric start.

Cheers,
Charlie
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  #2  
Old 8 Apr 2009
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Fuel range.

Many smaller bikes have admirable consumption so your tank may be small but the range respectable. Otherwise brands like IMS and Acerbis make bigger tanks for a number of models.

Comfort.

I have an XR400 and this is probably no better than the 250 for comfort. However, the trusty old sheepskin utterly transformed it. Its no armchair, but its perfectly acceptable as a place to sit for a couple of hours without needing med-evac!

Another option to consider. Not sure how easy to come by in Europe but may be a few around: the NX400 Falcon. Basically, a 400cc Honda Dominator. A bit more road biased for the tank size and seat aspects. Cheap to run, given my old Dommie 650 managed about 55-60 mpg and my XR, on the road, manages 75mpg!! All the while it should be capable off-road, if not a rally-raid winner.
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Old 8 Apr 2009
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Wink

There's one for sale near Leeds UK, if that is of any help!!


Clicky linky
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Old 9 Apr 2009
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My Serow has a 10 litre tank and I get about 160 miles before I hit reserve. This is on road and riding normally. There is a company in the US working on a 16 litre (4 US Gals) tank. Info here...

Larger Tank From Clarke? - XT225+250 Rider's Group

Another option is the Suzuki Djebel 250 which has a 17 litre tank as standard. Info here...

2005 Suzuki Djebel 250 XC specifications and pictures

At least you'll see where your going with that headlight!!

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  #5  
Old 9 Apr 2009
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Much as I love the Derbi

I love the Derbi, think it's a fantastic bike, but I'm not sure it's the best for RTW. I can get about 140 miles with mine before the reserve light comes with about 2.5 litres remaining, is that enough? Probably OK in a lot of areas and if you carried a gallon of fuel with you you could almost double the range I guess.

Second thing, if spares. Derbi seem to have good dealer support within Europe but once you're outside they're not sold in many markets. That said Piaggio, their parent company does seem to have a far wider distribution network. Have a glance at Piaggio - Gateway and you can see the areas in the different drop down menus.

Oh and thirdly, no you can't I want to be the first person to RTW a Derbi.
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Old 9 Apr 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyingdoctor View Post
Another option is the Suzuki Djebel 250 which has a 17 litre tank as standard.
This is really cool bike but I'm afraid it is only sold in Japan?

I met a lone Japanese chick on it at Turkmenistan border, she was going to Africa.
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Old 9 Apr 2009
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The Serow is a Japanese import too but you can get hold of them if you find someone who brings a few in every year. Bill Smith of Chester is a good bet, that's where I got my Serow and a few others have too. I bet he'd get me a Djebel if I asked.
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Old 10 Apr 2009
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Smile

Thanks all for some great suggestions. I've just finished reading Lois on the Loose and her experiences in the 10,000+foot sections of South America has made me think a fair bit about whether something a bit larger than a 250 would be good. (Well, those altitudes and being able to cruise on great roads at slightly more respectable speed than 60mph!!).

So... I suppose I'm now more curious about the 400s that have been suggested. Are there any great 350cc bikes out there that could work well?

Oh, and I'd forgotten about how much higher mpg small capacity bikes get so the tank size isn't so drastically important (although that 16 litre aftermarket one sounds pretty sweet really!)

Oh, and following the thoughts about the possible lacking of Derbi support around the world (and the smaller-engine size realisations) that's being dropped from the list. And that Honda NX400 Falcon could be ideal really...
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Old 10 Apr 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie_Chalk View Post
So... I suppose I'm now more curious about the 400s that have been suggested. Are there any great 350cc bikes out there that could work well?

DR 350s are said to be good bikes. Although my XR 400 is great IMO, with the sheepskin for the bum and the big tank for the miles, I think the service intervals are restrictive.

So perhaps the little 'zuki and the Honda Falcon are worth investigating....?
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Old 11 Apr 2009
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Service intervals is a very good point. My Serow only has 1.3 litres of oil in the sump. This means it has to be changed every 2,000 miles. If you were riding 200 miles a day then it'd have to be changed every 10 days! Oil filter every other change so every 3 weeks. Although it's an easy job you need to have the oil for the next change with you as well as a good supply of filters. So I'd say that the service interval is an important factor in choosing a RTW bike.
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Old 11 Apr 2009
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My DR-Z400S has official oil change interval of 6000 km + filter 18000 km and it takes only 1,7 liters of oil. I change it a bit more often if possible, though.
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  #12  
Old 22 Apr 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie_Chalk View Post
Hi all,

Even though I'm 6'1 I want a bike that would be suitable for someone around 5'4 (so that I can get my feet flat on the ground and in a stable position either side of the bike) and, more importantly, for it to be lightweight... My requirements (in order of priority) are:

- Reliable
- A light bike

- Comfortable (or at least something aftermarket to make it so)
- Decent tank range
- Easy to find spare parts for
- Used or New
- Price

Oh and the route will be both on tracks and off-roading.




So... any suggestions people? I suppose all I'm really looking for is the ultimate list of off-road bikes for short people, but with an electric start.

Cheers,
Charlie
This will fit the bill niceley on all points apart from leccy start.



or if you want more carrying capacity... add a crate!



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Old 23 Apr 2009
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I totally agree
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Old 24 Apr 2009
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Ct90

I love these pictures! Any more?
Great for inspiration. I have a Cub 50 and a 110cc Wave that I use in Vietnam and I know these things are very strong. I don't know about RTW but why not! I'm sure the bike is capable of it.
Pete
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  #15  
Old 24 Apr 2009
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I love the tanks on those bikes , excellent !

Is that a TouraTwat milkcrate ?
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