Old/ New, German/ Japan
Just a note on the ever heated 'which bike' topic:
A friend and I just returned from a quick winter loop down Mexico's Baja region. 4000 km with goodly amount of backroads and beaches. My bike: recently reconstructed 1982 BMW R80 G/S (hit the road with only 400 kms on the clock) worth about $5000 Canadian. His Bike: 1978 Yamaha XS400 worth about $500 Canadian. asside from much time spent building our own aluminium bags and supporting racks, the bike were not overly well perpared. One would think that the GS would hold the distinct advantage loaded up with gear, given the larger engine, suspension, and a least modestly dirt oriented desigh. Well yes, the GS can be ridden faster, does haul the weight a bit better, and does 120km per hour even when the wind blows the wrong way. however, the 400 was just fine. a bit slower, not a planted in the dirt, and a real effort in high winds, but hey we both had fun. The 400 is also light and low, which makes handling in the soft stuff easier that most.
Given the condition of our bikes, we could have had major problems: in this case the $500 400cc would have been easy to walk away from, not so the expensive lump of Bavarian engineering.
My point is an addition to the age old 'any bike will do' But I see most people turning this to 'any new bike will do'. You can get around on most anything - look what most locals in developing areas drive. If you are really on a budget, fixing up an old used standard might just be the ticket. I still love my Beemer and wouldn't trade it for the world. Still, looking at the pictures now, my friend is right there in every one, and his grin is as big as mine.