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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 Apr 2010
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The OP will have a far better sense of what will work once he's had his gargantuan machine out in the mud, sand and loose gravel, as promised. If that works for him, maybe that's the answer he's hoping for.

The following hit home for me:

"He spent everyday tearing the bike apart, living in mechanics garages while his girlfriend worked the internet to find parts, help and advice. The bike would run OK for a few days, then something else would let go and the whole thing would start again"

For the second time in two weeks I'm waiting in a place I'd rather not be (in this case Curitiba Brazil) while stuff gets fixed....I hope. Yeh, there are stories of crazy mileage on all sorts of bikes, but my KLR has a lot more stuff wearing out now at 70,000+ miles than it did a year or two ago at 30,000 miles. The days when I could fix a bunch of stuff and replace some obvious parts, then cruise carefree for a month or two without doing much more than oil changes and maybe some tires are over and done.

This doesn't have to put you off your older bike....but at the moment it's really interfering with my trip. Worth noting: I've been meeting other people in more or less the same position. The ones with the Urals seem to get there a lot more rapidly than the ones with the Japanese singles.

YMMV.....but you knew that, right?

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Old 3 May 2010
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The ural is a fun bike, rugged and simple. But I get maybe 10k Kilometers out of a rear tire...maybe...and 30mpg at the best of times. I've fiddled with some stuff to get the mpg better, but even the gentlest riders report noting much better than 35. And oil changes every 2500km, 5000km at the outside. Toss in the newer Urals (mine is an 07) don't have the spare parts pool of the older ones (There doesn't seem to be a valve cover gasket anywhere in the USA at the moment), and I worry a lot about traveling on it.

On the other side of things, I took the sr250 for a 400+ mile ride this weekend. After 200 miles or so I really wanted my day to be over, the 250 miles I did today was about my current limit. I can extend that a bit, with more riding, but the seat will need something. More concerning, my available luggage space was just a bit short of what I need. I don't pack much, but there was no room for liners or food (I did have space for fuel and water though). Again, this is something that can be adjusted, but it was disappointing.

The xs1100 is getting new brakes and tires before I try off-roading it. I have the area picked out, and am deciding whether or not to try it alone. I probably will, because I am stupid like that.
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Old 3 May 2010
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Location: Bassett, Nebraska
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Hey xsPain,

With a name like that you might be a glutton for punishment. XS1100 yammie, SR250 yammie, or Ural Patrol. Hmmmmmmmmm.

In the end you'll take the one you want no matter what anyone says. The Ural Patrol would provide major xsPain. The SR250 would be my choice, although it would provide plenty of xsPain. The XS1100 would provide minor xsPain.

I am not made of money, so took my 250 Kawasaki Super Sherpa to Panama and back last month. It gets 70mpg which saved me a lot of money on gas. Gas is expensive once you get south of Mexico. I believe the SR250 gets about the same fuel economy. Plus it has a bulletproof motor similar to the XT250. Also there are plenty of ancient 250 Yamahas running around Latin America. But you have to travel light on a 250. Which requires a lot of discipline. Forget about hard luggage and top boxes. I don't know if minimalist travel is your style, but it is worth a thought. You'd have to limit yourself to throwover soft bags and a small duffel on the back rack if you want to avoid killing the suspension on a little bike. But it is way more fun for splitting lanes in the big cities.

The XS1100 would be fine from Wisconsin to Tierra del Fuego. It can handle gravel roads okay. You'd have to stay away from the fun muddy stuff, but there are paved roads and packed gravel all around the world that big bikes can handle okay. And people are helpful around the world if you happen to drop that pig and need some help picking it up. It would certainly be more comfortable to cruise the long lonely highways that stretch to the horizon occasionally. It doesn't get great gas mileage, so it would be out for me. But I believe it has like a 6 gal gas tank or something, so range of over 200 miles I reckon. I imagine that's the bike you'll end up taking with your name and all.

You will thrash whatever bike you take south of the border or around the world. It will take a total beating. Which is why I prefer a lightweight dirt bike.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=831076
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Old 6 May 2010
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The 'xs' in xsPain dates back to when I had just one motorcycle, and xs1100SH (special). If I still had that bike, I would be riding it on this trip without hesitation. Unfortunately it suffered a catastrophic engine failure in August of last year, and since I am working on saving for this trip I decided not to fix it. Yet, anyway.

The 'current' xs1100(H) a standard, has a few advantages, like a kick starter, that the special lacked. Also longer travel suspension. It was also the heaviest xs1100 ever made, 640lbs dry weight, without the vetter fair and luggage that was added before I got it. So it is very, very heavy. But I have over 100,000 miles on xs11s, (mostly the special), and know the bike very well.

I took the SR250 (and sr250 was my first ever motorcycle, and I rode it all over the USA, before getting the xs1100 special and selling my first sr250, something I still regret doing. This is a replacement I bought for $65) on a longish ride this past weekend, with a test pack. The available luggage was just a bit short of what I wanted (really only a couple of liters), but over 200 miles a day was pushing it. Mainly I think it was the seat. While 200 miles is a good average, I want to be able to do more if I have too.

The xs1100 is getting it's brakes done this weekend/early next week. My mechanic gets to do it, since I don't have the time with work. I really need to settle on a bike soon, so I can start taking it apart. Getting a tad nervous.

And reading some guy got a GL1800 all the way round didn't make me feel any better
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