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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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  #46  
Old 19 Feb 2009
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What I had in mind was not wanting to be the slowcoach in the party when riding with mates. Yes, most bikes, including the older single-cylinder 650cc version of the F650GS can cruise at motorway speeds but they aren't comfortable/safe/vibe-free at much over 75mph.

By comparison at 85mph the 800cc F650GS twin is at 5000 revs with plenty more in reserve.

But it's only in Western Europe and North America that we need these motorway speeds, outside of these areas 50-60 mph is the normal maximum and the new Tenere with its massive fuel tank looks absolutely ideal for a RTW bike (if I had it lowered a bit).

BTW I really enjoyed your write-up on Norway and it's got me thinking. Maybe 2010.

Tim
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  #47  
Old 19 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
What I had in mind was not wanting to be the slowcoach in the party when riding with mates.
Motorcycle hell: 12 RxxxxGS's on the motorway, cruising at three figure speeds, taking half an hour plus at every fuel stop. Once I figured this out I just kept the F650 (carbed) at a steady speed and over took them every 45 minutes until I was so far ahead I had to wait three hours for them at Algeciras.

I used to run my XT600E at a nice steady 80 on the motorway and it survived. Horses for courses though, been there, done that, won't wear the T-shirt .

Andy
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  #48  
Old 19 Feb 2009
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No need to be disparaging. And 85 isn't three figures.
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  #49  
Old 19 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Patrick of the nonsense!
LOL, oh Patrick, some things never change with you do they?J

To be specific, when you post comments that disregard peoples opinions by telling someone that “they are out of touch” when they have barely returned, it’s a bit rich to be thin skinned and defensive when they retort the same in return.

And please, don’t bludgeon us with the cut and paste pointless arguments, that does nothing more than give most of us a headache and dilutes what is otherwise an interesting thread.


Ride Reports & On Road Experiences

In short, ah Patrick, many people read ride reports but no one in their right mind would argue that the best experience isn’t actual hands on experience. Prior to the trip, most riders pour over old reports surf HU endlessly to try to gain some clarity on the countries they are visiting and the bikes and gear they will be using. Once on the road, they read less but they still try to go back and refresh their info on the upcoming country, and continue to visit HU whenever they can. Many times they use them to follow people they have met on the way.

And interestingly enough, many, many people keep right on reading reports and visiting HU and other sites when they return, probably the same reports and sites that everyone else is reading. Why? It keeps them connected to great memories, allows to relive it a bit, get updates on places that they have been and seen and give back to the community when it comes to hopefully helping others if they encounter similar problems. Plus it’s always a great way to waste time at work.

Time limits how much one can read, but what is the most interesting is when you can compare the ride reports to actual riding experience. From comparing and contrasting these two, you get a better feel for who is riding and who is actually writing. These two things are very different. Not everyone posts, in fact it is a small minority. If a person is using this as their main source of info of what is happening on the road, they are going to get a very narrow and select view of the world. Supplementing riding experience with ride reports helps make the picture more complete, but the primary source is getting out there and doing it.

And uh, yeah, you do run into a lot of people on the road for many routes. Places like eastern Russia toward Mongolia there is basically a main route (it’s called the Trans Siberian) and most people are on it or stopping at one of a few spots in Vlad or UB. With stops and meeting people on the way that have met other riders ahead or behind, you are roughly one degree of separation from most riders in a fairly broad time frame in the same area. Same goes for east coast of Africa. With the once a week ferry in Aswan, you pretty much meet the guys on your boat, the weeks previous boat you catch up in Khartoum, and the next weeks boaters as you are preparing to leave. After a couple of countries, you have met or again are one degree of separation from people ridng that route within a rough time frame encompassing a decent portion of that riding high season.

Demographics

As to the mystery demographic of young riders, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a bunch of them out there. As they may not post reports much or participate in sites such as this one, a good source would be to ask someone like Albert who meets a bunch of them when they come through. Another source would be StrikingViking as he gets to see a bunch of them as he has a very strong following in that demographic and on ADV in general. This would give us a decent snapshot of guys crossing into Mexico and who make it to South America. A simple data point would be to find out the numbers of people who have shipped their bike over the Darien over the last five years. Numbers probably have grown. ADV has been a great resource for people to post their trip experiences and it motivates more and more mainly US riders to take the plunge as well.

Key point though, it would also be critical to find out what is happening in Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia. This is going to be much harder. It’s a big world, and it is easy to focus on one area like the US and use it to extrapolate, but every market is going to be very different.

Now the bigger questions, is this an expanding demographic or ar we just becoming more aware of this group through additional exposure here and on ADV? No one knows, any projection is based on anecdotal evidence at best. It was hard to track before, it’s hard to track now. Is the percentage of riders falling into this category compared to the overall cross continental and RTW riders greater, less, or the same? Extremely difficult to say. The overall traveller market was growing for many reasons, whether this subset is growing faster or slower in the uncertain future is not something anyone can say for certain.

And to close the loop, if it is growing faster or even staying the same, would these riders consider the 800GS? Maybe not new, but they are looking at a certain price point and can be a little bit flexible. They are not driven entirely by cost though, otherwise everyone would choose the sometimes not as sexy but dirt cheap options out there. Many examples out there but I’m sure Edde wonders why more people don’t choose the K75 the same way that Werner wonders why more people don’t choose the Dominator.

For almost everyone, there is an emotional component to owning a bike and that’s why people pay some premium to be able to do their trip in their own way, hence even the KLR can be considered an upgrade over the bare minimum and people are paying for it. In the future, they will also be able to choose from all the new models as they age and become used. That includes the Tenere and the 800. Will they spend the cash to get to a new model? Likely not. Will they reconsider when there are used options available? As every year goes by and the price comes down as they age, they will more and more. This years new bike model may become a used classic in just a few years.

But meanwhile, the other large markets of value buyers (who seek the best combination of price and performance) the the pure performance buyers (who seek simply the best performing bike) will evaluate the 800GS as one of their top two or three options. Most will buy something else (so many good options out there), but many will buy the 800/650 and this will be enough to become the most common single make/model. Again, this isn’t any grand pronouncement, it’s a pretty common view, especially when you consider how broadly the exact same model is being marketed in Europe, South Africa, North America, South America, and Australia for a pretty focussed target market.

KTM

Last point, but very critical for anyone contemplating a cross continent or RTW ride. A very clear example of how actual riders and bikes are not necessarily all reflected in what some consider our mainstream traveling websites, KTM is a prime example.

When I was in Africa the most commonly occuring bike make going down the continent was KTM. There’s probably a lot of reasons out there for this, race history, manufactured in Europe, etc. but it is pretty common for it’s riders to refer to the bike as the Africa bike. They are a pretty zealous bunch, not put off by the reputation for the bike to be maintenance intensive and would defend their choice extremely rigorously to say the least. They have a strong point as well, as the bikes have seen many a km of usage. More than a few have wandered down to South America or across to Russia as well.

We may not hear much about it over here, but there’s a very solid base of experience to comment from. They came from all over including Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, South Africa, England, Denmark, etc. I’ve often wondered why there aren’t more of them posting or even here lurking on this site to talk about their experiences. Could be there are more reports out there in a different language such as German or Dutch, could be that demographic doesn’t report as much, or could be that this site is most strongly followed in the UK and that’s not as big of a KTM country as other places in Europe. Maybe it is quite niche and the numbers get lost in the relative overall shuffle, don’t know.

Suffice it to say, they are out there, their riders swear by them, and if the what some would consider to be a premium cost is not a major concern for you, this make should be on any short list in particular if it suits your style of riding whether it be Africa or elsewhere. Again, this is not a world shattering view, anyone looking at it objectively will say the same thing.

Peace out.
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  #50  
Old 19 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Why don't you address Docsherlock's points directly as presented? Suddenly you're comparing singles and twins?? .... his point was COST wasn't it? Here is what he wrote:


See any questions in there asking you to compare singles and twins? Point is, the KLR kicks BMW ASS in any financed based comparison you want to come up with. Maybe you work with Ben Bernanky?

And all your comments on fatigue could be reversed if the we go off road.
Now the Twin guys will be the ones getting tired and dropping back while the single guys are having fun.

Mate, you are trolling. This is a post between two other members, not you, very bad form.
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  #51  
Old 19 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by FUTURE View Post
Great responses in this thread. It is great to see how people decide on what bike to use RTW. At the end of the day it would be very much down to where my heart is when it comes to a bike. So costs may not be a be decider for me. Riding and owning a bike is an emotional thing for than a logical thinking thing for me.
Hey Future,

'Tis indeed. I call it the x factor. Rationale evaluation provides information on which bike will meet your needs, add the x to find out what bike a person actually buys. For some, it is near zero, for others, it outweighs the original result
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  #52  
Old 19 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
Yes, I've done the last 120,000 miles on TKCs and have now done 12,000 miles on the F650GS. My criticisms perhaps came over a bit harsh. I have a R1200GSA and was looking for a second bike that could handle all-day motorway rising at 80+mph and still be nimble offroad.

The F650/800GS is uniquely positioned to do both of these well. The obvious alternatives that are widely available in Europe can't do both, though the R1200GS (non adventure) comes close.

It's extremely rare in the UK to see the Kawasaki and Suzuki models mentioned above, so I wouldn't be rushing off to buy one of those.

The older Transalp looks OKish, but the new one is heavier than the R1200GS.

The new Tenere can't handle the long distance motorway cruising and the seat is a bit high for me. A small capacity twin dropped into a slightly lower version of the Tenere would be exciting, though.

The other alternative was the BMW G650 Xchallenge and Xcountry. I was impressed with the road performance of the Xchallenge. Both of these suffer from abysmally poor fuel range but there is now a reasonably-priced add-on rear fuel tank.

Later this year BMW is bringing out a touring version of the G650 Xcountry.

Tim
Hey Tim,

Yes, I remember having seen a picture of the TKCs when you first put them on. I can imagine the 650GS getting a long hard look from people contemplating dual sports. The value is hard to beat. The lower clearance shouldn't be an issue for most except in really rough spots. It may be hard to sway the odd person away from the more aggresive looks of the 800 though.

The G650X sounds like it might be interesting, but not my cup of tea.
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  #53  
Old 19 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Exactly .... here is what I wrote above:


Patrick
Then get to the point and don't contradict yourself...its a waste of bandwidth!
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  #54  
Old 19 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by colebatch View Post
Funny how attached people get to their own brands :-)

The problem is ... not just as Jake says, that BMW isnt really interested in building a proper overlanding bike, its that NO-ONE is really interested in building a proper overlanding bike.

I used to think KTM's 640 Adventure was about the closest someone has come, but then if they were really serious about it, they would have put in a engine capable of going round the world, and not something that vibrates like a bi-atch, has to be serviced weekly and rebuilt every 6 months.

At the end of the day, if you want an overlanding bike, you cant buy one off the shelf. One way or another you have to customise it, cause NO-ONE is interested in building a bike for that tiny market.
There is no money to be made by a factory gearing up a whole production line to make a bike that they would sell to very few people. Lets not forget that bike makers are in it first and fore most to make money. If they have a bike that gets a cult following it is normally after they have ceased making this type of bike.
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  #55  
Old 19 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by MountainMan View Post
Hey Future,

'Tis indeed. I call it the x factor. Rationale evaluation provides information on which bike will meet your needs, add the x to find out what bike a person actually buys. For some, it is near zero, for others, it outweighs the original result
Hence why after more than 20 years of different Jap bikes I have at last bought my dream bike. An Airhead BMW. I waited way to long to fulfill this dream. Yes I am trackie dac wearing BMW tragic.
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  #56  
Old 19 Feb 2009
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[QUOTE=MotoEdde;229732]Then get to the point
Where do you see this?

Last edited by mollydog; 21 Mar 2009 at 22:55.
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  #57  
Old 19 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by FUTURE View Post
There is no money to be made by a factory gearing up a whole production line to make a bike that they would sell to very few people. Lets not forget that bike makers are in it first and fore most to make money. If they have a bike that gets a cult following it is normally after they have ceased making this type of bike.
I dunno...I think I disagree. BUT you're right that the over-landing market is very niche, and profits to that consumer segment are slim.

Nevertheless, that niche adds lustre to any mark(Honda, BMW, etc.) in their ability to claim how tough and tested their technology is.

The facade of an overland vehicle sells VERY well...look at the example of the SUV among autos, the BMW 1xxxGS, etc.
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  #58  
Old 20 Feb 2009
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It is in threads like these that new riders or riders that are beginning their search can learn from experienced people like Mountainman, Mollydog and several others. I have communicated with yourselves personally and respect each of you for your knowledge and wisdom.

At the end of the day though, it is you who will be on that bike for hours, days, months and sometimes years. Your decision should be just that - your decision. You can take the positives and negatives from threads like these and then make your own mind up.

I own both a F650GS as well as a DR650. I have done Alaska and Mexico on the F650 and the DR is the stead for our RTW trip starting next Oct. I had my own reasons for doing this and enjoy riding both bikes as they both have their positives and negatives.

My point being, if you are looking for advice, note it is advice based on personal experiences.

Mountainman, thanks for the last post - extremely insightful.
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  #59  
Old 20 Feb 2009
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Originally Posted by FUTURE View Post
Hence why after more than 20 years of different Jap bikes I have at last bought my dream bike. An Airhead BMW. I waited way to long to fulfill this dream. Yes I am trackie dac wearing BMW tragic.
If it is your dream bike, then that makes it the perfect choice. Enjoy the ride
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  #60  
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At the end of the day though, it is you who will be on that bike for hours, days, months and sometimes years. Your decision should be just that - your decision. You can take the positives and negatives from threads like these and then make your own mind up.

I own both a F650GS as well as a DR650. I have done Alaska and Mexico on the F650 and the DR is the stead for our RTW trip starting next Oct. I had my own reasons for doing this and enjoy riding both bikes as they both have their positives and negatives.

My point being, if you are looking for advice, note it is advice based on personal experiences.
Hey Blackbeast, thanks. Glad to hear you are heading off on the trip. Be sure to post more of your own personal decision making process, usually very relevant insight comes from people just as they are planning or finished the planning process. Many people will be able to relate.
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