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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 6 Mar 2006
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: London, London, UK
Posts: 2
Need a little advise

I'm in need of a little advise on whitch bike to chose for my trip from England to Cape Town (South Africa).
I'm Currently thinking of Buying a Honda Transalp, but seeing that I haven't ever actualy owned a bike bigger than a 250cc 2-stroke (TZR), I'm not quiet sure what to get?
My budget isn't very big eather, around a 1000 pounds or so for the bike.
So if someone can give me a little advice, I would be very greatfull.
Thank you,
and hope to hear from someone
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Old 6 Mar 2006
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Location: London UK
Posts: 6
Hey Charl,

I have the same idea. I'm taking the tranafrica route home too! I cant comment on the transalp but people on this site reckon you coudl do it on just about anything. All I can suggest is keep it light and easy to handle. I got a Yamaha TT600r for those reasons exactly, its light and has a great engine. Might be worth checking one out....

What's your intary look liek at the moment? I plan to leave in July to cross europe in summer.

Mail me for a chat, be good to hear from you.

All the best,

Who opened the door to know where? Did anyone see myself?
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Old 6 Mar 2006
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oslo, Norway
Posts: 457
The Transalp is an excellent choice. Make sure that the engine turns over easy (starts easy).

All types of bikes, new or old, will get you where you want to go, but that is not the same to say as all are ideal.

In general, I'd go for a one cylindered bike of less than 650 cc, less than 10 years old, and with less than 50.000 kms on the axle (ideally less than 30k). Some will tell you that older bikes will be just as good, but in general parts will be more readily accessible to newer models. Low kms is not a guarantee of a good condition, but it is a benefit. These bikes often need major work at 100k. If it looks great and only has a few k, this is often a good indication.

Other bikes to concider in the same price range as the transalp:

Honda Dominator

Honda Africa Twin (a bit big, but still good)

Yamaha XTZ Tenere (this is a great bike, the king og its class during the 90's). The later Super Tenere is a bit big, but still a good bike.

Even cheaper bikes (but usually a little bit older): Honda XL, Yamaha XT

Service the bike before you go.
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Old 7 Mar 2006
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Location: A Brazilian couple living in Cambridge, UK
Posts: 168
Suzuki DR650...They're going quite cheap here these days, worth a look!
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Old 7 Mar 2006
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Location: London, London, UK
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Thanks to everyones advice! You realy helped me, gave me some options I would never have thought of!
I would realy appr. any more help/advise you can offer me for my trip, for I am young and stupid....
and still have allot to learn.
Thanks again, and hope to here from all you guys/woman again.
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Old 7 Mar 2006
Grant Johnson's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 1997
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
Posts: 4,567

the BEST way to learn is just to read the HUBB and the websites - there's an incredible amount of information already here.

Reading the Travellers Stories will also give you a load of inspiration and ideas about what does and doesn't work, in all respects, form equipment to travel methods.

have fun, Grant

Grant Johnson

Seek, and ye shall find.


One world, Two wheels.
Grant Johnson

Seek, and ye shall find.


Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997!
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Old 8 Mar 2006
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Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 305
I would reduce the recommendation of the Suzuki DR 650 to the later (after 1996) SE model. They are bulletproof and very simple to service. The coated aluminium barrel / piston combo is good for well over 100000 km (I have two around that mileage and they are both fine and don't use oil).
They have (very rarely) problems with the tensioner of the timing chain (I saw the same problem once on a GS 500 which uses the same tensioner) If the engine starts rattling replace the tensioner. (Don't wait until the chain snaps). A said very rarely.
Some DR650SE develop a funny noise from the starter when the engine fires and overruns the starter. This is absolutely harmless but a good argument to push the price. I had this on 2 out of 6 of my DR's. Starts around 10 or 15000. Never fixed it and never caused anything (one of the bikes is on 104000)
The DR 650 SE can even cope with occasional abuse by idiots (in my case as hired bikes) and takes most crashes with no or next to no damage.
The earlier DR's are a lot heavier and inferior looking at suspensions and brakes and the engines give lots more trouble than the SE.
The fuel range with the original 14l tank is not sufficient but you can get long range conversions (or jerrycans)
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