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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 16 Jul 2010
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Question new bike - your advice please?

Hi,

So I'm looking at buying something to go more off-road with and not sure what to get, and hoping you good people will share your wisdom and experience please?

I have 16+years experience, although not much off-road (lots of sports bike riding in the first 10 years of riding!) I'm reasonably fit and healthy, 5'6, relatively long legs (32" inner leg) but I do like the reassurance of being able to put my feet on the ground!

I'm looking for something I can go adventuring on - nothing too extreme just yet (so probably not full on dirt bike) but more than a tourer - it needs to be ok with off road, but also the motorways to get to the interesting roads! (some wind protection might be nice?)

I ride 1 up, and am happy with soft luggage, but potential for hard luggage might be handy.

I like to ride something relatively small and light - I've ridden 1100s and felt too much like they were in control - having ridden a 400cc sports bike for years I like something flickable! I can pick up a Tenere comfortably (but not ridden one).

I'm seeing a lot on here (and at HUUK meet) around XT600s, and DR650s, also some of the 400s - DRZ, and the XTZ... I think I'm more this camp than the BMWs, and africa twins just look enormous to me! I'd like something pretty sturdy, reliable and relatively easy to maintain/fix. Budget wise - around £2000 - £3000 (have to finish my tax return and see what's left!)

So - what would you suggest???

Thank you for your thoughts
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  #2  
Old 16 Jul 2010
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I'd advise to go for an XT, newer version 2004+range, as they're reliable, easy to work on and parts accesories are plentiful. They're good bikes for what they are, not too much bother to ride and are good for the fun stuff when you want. Although distance work on motorways can be a bit of a pain after a long while being a single piston engine.

There's a ton for your price range of £2-3,000, especially XTs here the link for biketrader.


Used YAMAHA XT 600cc Bike - Bike Trader
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  #3  
Old 16 Jul 2010
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Thanks Geoff - I figured there's probably a good reason the XTs seem so popular - but just wasn't sure if it would suit me... is there anything I should watch out for with them?

Tori
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Old 16 Jul 2010
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Your welcome,

I've had the XT600e and now have the new Tenere so skipped the 2004-8 models but engine wise etc they're basically the same. If your going to do some overlanding or serious x country then I'd look into replacing the exhaust headers as they go under the bike and replace them with ones that go around the engine. I've met a bunch of people with them and they've not reported any serious bothers with them. Plus it depends what you want to do with it, play on it, commute or travel? As I said before there's plenty of mod options to do on them and the kit available to do it without much bother.
They're also pretty smart bikes to look at and go with a fair turn of speed, a little 'snatchy' but good bikes. The trader has your price range and a selection with low mileage too, ie less than 10,000 for a 4 yr old bike is nothing.
Go onto . : XT660.com The #1 xt660 resource : . | The #1 xt660X, xt660R and xt660Z Tenere resource as they're the boys whole have all the info you need.
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  #5  
Old 16 Jul 2010
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Seems in the 600 Japanese singles class, the UK only get the Yamaha XT, so if you want the solid reliability of a Japanese bike, then I'm thinking the XT is your only choice. It's a good one! Great bike.

In the USA we don't get Yamaha XT's, haven't since 1990. But we do get Kawasaki KLR650's, Suzuki DR650's and Honda XR650L's. We also get KTM, Husqvarna, BMW and others ... all more money than the Japanese competition.

For the money the XT is far and away the best choice, IMO. The Euro bikes are good if careful set up is done. Start reading here and you'll learn lots about all the bikes. No shortage of opinions. I'm quite sure the BMW Cabal will be showing up here soon to do their pitch for the F650 Dakar or the like.

I'd get on a small bike to start and learn off road riding. Maybe do a short trip to the Pyrennes or Morocco? Great introduction.
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Old 17 Jul 2010
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Triumph tiger, easy to find over there, cheap at around 2ooo pounds for a used one.
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Old 17 Jul 2010
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I like Tigers, have owned three, and currently own a 1050. But Tori mentioned wanting something fairly "light" and "flickable". Tiger is great Sport touring bike, not much good off road, very hard to pick up solo.

Also mentioned wanting to get feet flat on the floor.
This is an off road amateurs' mistake and typical lament. Forget about getting your feet down. Not really that important. Mainly you just need to learn to ride a taller bike, get your butt over to one side and slide forward as far as possible. All this helps. Tip toes are fine. Getting feet flat are just a dream for someone 5'6". Forget about it, doesn't matter.

Think about where you park, use the landscape in your favor. Get on and off a loaded bike like a Horse. Much easier when luggage is mounted on the bike. I'm 5'6" also, manage fine, even on tall bikes.

Doing more off road riding on taller bikes makes all this easier with experience. Just takes time on the bike and learning off roading. No big deal ... but a loaded bike can be tricky for anyone, even experienced riders. So travel as light as you can manage. Take your time learning with an UNLOADED bike. Then gradually add luggage, tackle harder sections little by little. Practice Practice Practice!


Properly loaded Adventure Travel bike

Fritz has got his feet flat on the floor ... but 'vhen he falls (which he will!!) he 'vill be like a Turtle!
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Old 18 Jul 2010
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Thanks guys for some really helpful thoughts here..

I can live with feet on tip toes, but I guess I'm going to have to just live with the idea of only 1 at a time! (It takes me back to riding my dad's racer push bike to do my paper-round on LOL!)
Good tip on watching where you stop to help you (not like I did when I was still learning and stopped on very steep camber and fell over! - and that was on a bike where I could easily have feet on the floor!)

I get that things will take practice - and some old habits will probably die hard too - been riding sports bikes too long!.

Love the photo of Fritz - he's well laden!!

Geoff - thanks for XT weblink - have had a quick look around - looks good!

Cheers guys .... now I just need to finish that tax return, clear some space in the garage... find an XT .. and then find me some dirt to play on...
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