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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 5 Mar 2007
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Question Motocycle's climbing ability?


I'm complete newbie in moto world, never ever ridden a bike let alone off road, but I'm thinking doing my next trip on a bike instead of car (I have Defender 90). What I would like to know is how and if bikes like Suzuki DR-Z400S or BMW 650 GS Dakar can climb small hilly 4x4 tracks like these in Kaokoland, Namibia (some pretty steep ascents, I mean these small 4x4 tracks that are not on usual road maps)? I see 4x4 has low gear and it is fun to climb slowly but can bikes generally drive these routes or it is too much to ask? I understand that skillful driver is major asset but perhaps there are still some technical limitations too, or not?


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Old 5 Mar 2007
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Talking welcome to the club

Hi good to hear that you want to start to travel bike, here are some answer, most of any dual sport will climb hill, cross river and do everything you ask them to do. what to choose depends on you , try to find a bike not too tall for you( off road you will need to be able to put your foot down to save your butt), not to heavy and don't overload it with ton of luggages, make sure that the seat are confortable enough for long ride.Here is quick list of some of which I own and took for serious off road.
DRZ400S-XR650R(my favorite but not good for a lot of luggage)XR650L-XR250R -XR250L-KLR650,DR650

if you need more help ask for it and wathever you buy go and ride off road a lot
first without luggage then loaded.

Hendi Kaf


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Old 5 Mar 2007
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It's lovely going with a bike in northern Namibia!

Remember that the distances are huge so beside having a good offroad-bike it's nice to have a comfortable bike with a long-range tank!
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Old 6 Mar 2007
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Originally Posted by Rebaseonu View Post
I understand that skillful driver is major asset but perhaps there are still some technical limitations too, or not?
90% rider

10% bike.

Do one (or more) rider training courses! Not just the ones for road work - you want an 'adventure bike' type course.

Yes the bike has a limit. But you will reach yours before the bike. You can help the bike by lowering teh gearing - usually replacing teh front sproket by one with less (1 or 2) teeth. And reducing the bikes weight. And seting the correct tyre pressure. But still 90% rider!
Regards Frank Warner
motorcycles BMW R80 G/S 1981, BMW K11LT 1993, BMW K75 G/S
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Old 6 Mar 2007
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Tere Ahto,

welcome to the motorcycling world!

Here most of the cage-driving philosophy does not apply, especially offroad.

As Frank sayed, in motorcycling world it's 90% about the rider, it's experience that counts.

First I recommend doing a bike courses and lessons, ride at least one season with a less powerful lightweight bike, i.e. Suzuki DRZ400 as you mentioned - easier to dig it out once you're bed in and much better/safer to learn on. Taking a big powerful bike without having no experiences with motorcycles as a noob can badly hurt or even be fatal, especially offroad, so start it slow and invest more into riding equipment first, a protective equipment has higher priority for any newbie than a bike itself IMHO - better buy a cheap s/h bike and get a quality riding equipment than vice versa if your budget is limited.

But the question is if you want to ride the bike to the place or rent the bike there on the spot? If riding there then things turn out completely different, you'll spend most of the time riding there and then you need a long distance capable bike which usually means it's more powerful, comfortible, bigger fuel tank, heavier and thus has less offroad capability. There's no ideal bike for on&offroad both, everyting is compromised, but as sayed before it's also mostly up to the rider.

Let us know if you ride there from Europe or buy/rent the bike on the spot, then people here can give you much more detailed advice.

Cheers, Margus
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Old 6 Mar 2007
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Because you say you have little riding experience, I would suggest you do some off road ridin on some sort of training course. After you have ridden a bit you will be able to make a better choice as to which bike to get. For offroad I favour lightweight bikes. From an engineering point of view the EVA bike with 2wd seems to offer the most traction. For best fun per £ get a 3-5 years old 350cc Enfield and thrash it around a field
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Old 6 Mar 2007
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Thanks, guys! It is good to know the limit is me, not a bike.
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