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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 26 Nov 2013
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NX650 Dominator

Hi, I'm planning a RWT and looking at bike options. The Africa Twin and Transalp seem to be within my reach but what about the Dominator? My budget is tight and I don't think spending more money than I have is an option and the Dominator seems like a fairly good alternative. Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Steve
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  #2  
Old 26 Nov 2013
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Hi Steve,

Great bike for the job.

The only drawback is the tank range, around 150 miles. Plenty for north america and Europe but a hassle in several countries around the globe.
It will be a good idea to increase that capacity with bigger tank but it will increase your budget...

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 26 Nov 2013
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Between those 3 bikes Africa,Transalp,Dominator my opinion is go to the air-oil cooled Dominator.

(plus)Dommies are bulletproof bikes,light bikes,with very good handling and runs with low quality fuel....

(minus)The only problem is hard to find a Dommie with low miles in a good condition...
Consumption is almost the same with Africa...
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  #4  
Old 26 Nov 2013
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Four of us are off to Siberia on Domi's next year. The fuel range is the problem as pointed out in the earlier post. We've overcome this by making engine guards that will hold a 5ltr jerry can on either side, effectively increasing the tank capacity from 16 to 26ltrs.
If you want the details or photos - please let me know and I'll supply them.
(we've also made pannier racks and a large rear rack too)
Cheers
Paul
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  #5  
Old 27 Nov 2013
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Acerbis sell a tank for the Dominator. 22 litres. With 50mpg, you don't need anymore>

There is a LOVELY Domminator in the for sale section at the moment I'm sure ...
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  #6  
Old 28 Nov 2013
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I had a Dominator for around 3 years and really liked that bike a lot. Its Honda quality and its many kilos lighter than both the Transalp and the Africa Twin. And less top heavy as well. The only con I noticed was the fuel consumption. 50-55 mpg was the most I could get even at very moderate driving. I also owned a Transalp 600 wich I usually got 60-70 mpg out of even though the bike was many kilos heavier and a few more HP.

Anyway - better suspension and a bigger tank and the usual improvements and it will probably be a great overlander.
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  #7  
Old 2 Dec 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulM View Post
Four of us are off to Siberia on Domi's next year. The fuel range is the problem as pointed out in the earlier post. We've overcome this by making engine guards that will hold a 5ltr jerry can on either side, effectively increasing the tank capacity from 16 to 26ltrs.
If you want the details or photos - please let me know and I'll supply them.
(we've also made pannier racks and a large rear rack too)
Cheers
Paul
Thanks Paul. Photos would be appreciated.

Thanks
Steve
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  #8  
Old 2 Dec 2013
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If I were going to keep my Dommie and do a RTW on, this is what I would do....

Acerbis Tank 200
Dynojet kit 80
Hagon monoshock 300
Progressive front springs 80
Rally pro guards 60
Renthan Dakar high bars 40
Footpegs 20
Sheepskin 19


Total 799



Sounds a lot but it's PEANUTS to completely sort an Overland bike.

So id you bought that gorgeous one in the for sale section for £1800 and spent £800 on prep, you'd be ready to conquer any continent for £2600.

You can't even buy a smoking BMW F650 with half it's engine hanging out for that .....
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  #9  
Old 4 Dec 2013
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The only thing left to do is update the stator and reg/rec. The stock on that bike is very low.. like 150 watt? If you are going to run heated grips or any auxiliary lights, you probably should upgrade the electrics.
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  #10  
Old 4 Dec 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snoah View Post
The only thing left to do is update the stator and reg/rec. The stock on that bike is very low.. like 150 watt? If you are going to run heated grips or any auxiliary lights, you probably should upgrade the electrics.
The stator is well up to heated grips...

Aux lights, you'd go for LED's like the ones sold by Zen Overland.


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  #11  
Old 31 Dec 2013
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I'm a big Honda fan, but nobody seems to mention the Dominator issues?

Fitting a bigger tank generally reduces the airflow to the head and with a bike already known for dropping valve-guides as a result of overheating, this might not be a good idea. And they are known for high oil-consumption (or rather in my case: no oil consumption for a long time and next time you check, there's no oil ). Yes, something that can be managed, but it's a hassle if you have to start carrying oil with you on remote trips. And service intervals on singles like the 650L is about half that of bigger machines like AT's. E.g. I find I can stretch my XR600's services to 2500km, a 650L maybe to 5000km, but with synthetic oils, I can easily do 10-15k on a big V-twin (plenty of reasons, but mainly to do with how hot the oil gets inside a water-cooled vs air-cooled engine and the amount of oil in the sump).

The 650 engine is very unstressed compression ratio of 8.5:1?) and thus very reliable. But the subframe of the bike is cheese. The rear shock too soft and tending to sag. And the standard silencers/exhaust don;t seem to last that long. And I found the 650 motor very underpowered- true I'm a big bloke, but my XR600 has more grunt than the 650.

Good bike and simplistic but look up some known issues with them. And if you've weighed it all up, it might be simpler going for something like an AT. Only 30kg difference anyway

If you're planning crossing dunes, wading waist deep through mud and need to pick the bike up 50 times a day, yes lighter is better. But a bigger bike (like the AT - there's a pattern here) is more comfortable and less tiring to ride if you plan to do long distances or spend many hours each day in the saddle.

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  #12  
Old 31 Dec 2013
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Comparing a Dominator to an Africa Twin is like comparing a Willies Jeep to a 110 Defender...

They're are totally different... I've owned three AT's too. And yes, I love them..

The Dommie does have it's niggles (like every bike), but they're are very easy to live with and very easy to fix before you head off.

However, I could write a list about three times longer about what is wrong with the Africa Twin... I've done full rebuilds/restorations on AT's.. They're a pain in the ass to work on and they're have loads of poor quality fittings.

Fuel pumps, crap undersized brakes, flexing front forks, horrendously top heavy, sticking choke plungers, terrible seat, rotting exhaust studs, corroding/cracking wheel rims, crumbling callipers,.. etc etc

The AT is still a favourite though isn't it ?? And so Is the Dommie.



For those interested in the Dommie, valve seats are only really a problem on the early engines. Oil coolers are available. They will over heat is you run them low on oil. So don't be an idiot and let your oil level drop.

It's not as powerful as a AT but then again it only has one cylinder.. It's WAY lighter, Air cooled, gravity fed fuel, easier to ride and super easy to service. ..

Africa twin 220 KG
Domminator 170 kg

That's about 50kg. But the AT feels about 100kg heavier because it's so stupidly top heavy.

Subframe is cheese ?? It's not designed as an Icebreaker. The subframes are strong enough to suit the bike with sensible luggage. Only a fool buts 50KG of luggage on a small framed bike.

Suspension is SH*T on the Dommie. Hagon do a replacement shock and progressive fork springs. Transforms the bike so I hear..

In a long winded nut shell. They're different bikes with different applications and they both have their problems. I'd say the Dommie is the lightweight simplified version of the AT. Less power but far less weight.



And the GOLDEN RULE 1.01 of Serious Overland travel is ?????????? KEEP IT SIMPLE , KEEP IT LIGHTWEIGHT

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  #13  
Old 31 Dec 2013
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I met a couple on a campsite they own in Cornwall who have done a couple of RTWs on Dominators - Gary and Loo Hillier. Bluehills Campsite neat St Agnes. Loo publishes "The Motorcycle Diaries". A worthy read if she is still doing it.

http://www.motoadventure.co.uk/.


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  #14  
Old 1 Jan 2014
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Not wanting to get into a fight but...

I wasn't trying to compare a Dominator to an AT- Sheffsteve mentioned them right in the 1st post when he posted the question and I have experience of both.

It's chalk-for-cheese and personal preference. I noticed your post before on modifications required and saw the rear shock in there- agree with your list.

BUT...

The wet weight of a Dominator is 181kg. The wet weight of an AT RD07 is 218kg. Plus you're adding weight on the Dom with a bigger tank and more fuel. So it's not 30kg, but it's not 50 either.

As I said- the Dominator is a lot simpler and easier to maintain on bigger stuff, but in my opinion, it needs more maintenance on shorter intervals than a bigger bike (that includes 'other' bikes, not just AT's) and that was the point I was trying to make.

As to weight carrying capacity: Only a fool? Plenty of us out there and not everyone is minimalistic. I weigh 130kg in my jocks. Add 30kg for luggage and where do you end up. Let's break down luggage allocation:

Trangia + fuel cannistor 4kg
Food (dry and wet) 5kg
Spare parts (heavy duty tubes, patch kit, pump, epoxy, pipe clamps etc.) 7kg
Water (we're living remote next to the desert) 4-10kg
Swag/tent 5kg
Spare clothes and bathroomy stuff 4kg


I'm already on 35kg. + my bulk, and it's a recipe for disaster

Not knowing how "big" Sheffsteve is, going for a Dom might require him to brace the sub-frame. - point I'm trying to make

And Sheffsteve never once said how/which route he is planning for his RTW trip- simply talked about expenses. If he's never planning to go seriously off-road, why build a super-dooper desert machine? Why not go for a bit more comfort? It's really his choice isn't it? Which also make me question "And the GOLDEN RULE 1.01 of Serious Overland travel is ?????????? KEEP IT SIMPLE , KEEP IT LIGHTWEIGHT"

Very debatable but depends on where you're going and how. Then also how big you are how easily you handle a/the bike. My Dad always said- 'if you can;t pick up you own bike, it's too big for you.' But that's debatable to.


And as far seat-comfort: horses for courses. I still have the original seat on my AT and find it more comfortable than any of the other bikes I have.

And I don't necessarily find the AT top-heavy compared to other bikes. But maybe again cause I'm bigger and can handle it easier? But you're right, in certain conditions, it's downright difficult to ride, e.g. sand. My AT is not standard anymore. I preferred to modify it and make it more powerful and lighter, rather than go for a smaller machine. This makes it very nimble and nice to ride, but still not as easy as a small big-single.



SOOOOO, after a very long-winded reply, this brings me back to the point I was trying to make:

"If you're planning crossing dunes, wading waist deep through mud and need to pick the bike up 50 times a day, yes lighter is better. But a bigger bike (like the AT - there's a pattern here) is more comfortable and less tiring to ride if you plan to do long distances or spend many hours each day in the saddle."


And again, I stuck to comparing the AT to the Dom, because Shelffsteve listed them. Not because I prefer the AT (which I do). I was not trying to trash the Dom.
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  #15  
Old 1 Jan 2014
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The right answer is...

There is no right answer...

They're all good bikes aren't they... All with their problems and all with their right applications.

I've got an XR650L too. The real off road version of the Dommie. That's a great bike. Even more simple but needs the subframe beefing up a lot.

Or is the Dommie the tamer version of the XR650L ?? Or is that the SLR650 ..




And there is no way I'm trashing the AT... It's in my top three favourite bikes of all time...I've off-roaded and travelled on one... Now I'm looking at Africa Twins on Ebay again


About the weight thought... No matter what the numbers say, the AT feels twice as heavy as the Dommie.. And I move bikes around all day long in my job.. I'm 6', I train a lot and consider myself pretty fit and strong... And I'd never take one RTW. Size limits your options. In many ways..
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