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Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
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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.
I like that one, strange intermediate world between hot and cold! Ha ha. Oh yes, I know it well!
Ok, stock tank= the original tank that the bike comes with which is usually fairly small on off road/dual sport machines. A few companys (IMS, Acerbis) make larger tanks for some bikes to give better fuel range. Usually bigger tanks are around 19-22 litres but you can go crazy and get 30+ litres!
Frame bracing= Many bikes aren't designed to carry panniers or boxes on the rear part of the bike. Putting weight on these parts and riding over rough terrain can cause these rear sections to crack or break away from the main frame (met a guy in Iceland that had the rear section of his KLX almost break away from the main frame due to the weight and rough roads).
Usually, the pannier rack is made to spread this load and re-inforce the rear end. Also bracing can be welded on to the frame to reinforce the points that are under stress! Riding on rough roads with luggage will give your bike a hammering, things will break, drop off ect unless properly secured or braced and also checked reguarly. Loctite (sort of glue that you put on threads to stop them coming undone) is useful to stop bolts coming undone with vibration ect. There are other ways of locking bolts ect, wire, washers, locknuts, some better than others.
Seat= Enduro style bikes a' la TTR250 tend to have narrow and un comfy seats as being off road bikes you're gonna be standin up on em a lot.
Riding RTW, you'll do well to have them padded a little more. There a few companys that do this, they can offer lowering it a little (which means less padding) or adding more foam or gel inserts ect. A popular thing is to put a lambswool cover over the seat! Yep! Cooler in the warm and warm in the cold and a bit comfier.
I got hold of a sheet of 1" memory foam which went on the XRL and has worked well!
I'll be putting the DR350 (electric start don't ya know) on here for sale shortly but my email is firstname.lastname@example.org for those that are interested.
It has the standard tank and the larger acerbis job, 2 sets of chain/sproc, 2 spare tyres!
It's an electric start only at the moment but I have fitted an electric start version with a kick start before as backup and it's fairly straightforward to do.
Well, I'm a mechanic by trade so If I can help let me know.
Not sure of you are interested but another version of the DR250 is the SH model, which has handlebar mounted adjustable front and rear suspension. May be added complexity but I found it brilliant as you can build confidence on the low setting and then raise it up as required.
I've even got one thats going to be for sale in the next couple of weeks with a fresh MOT.
Reasonable comfy seat and pillion pegs so the sub frame may be strong enough for some light luggage.
Adjustably small and nimble, only selling as I want to buy an enduro bike to go racing.
Thanks guys for the info and explanations!!!
Dave, I have PM'd you about the DR -definitely interested, and thanks for your time to explain the concepts/speccy things in your thread!
After all this, I fear that a spreadsheet of bikes and pros and cons maybe the only way forward for me!
Charlotte glad to see you're getting good advice - I think most of us really just want to ask if we can be your pillion... joke!
Once you are riding, contact TFL who offer knock-down prices on rider training, 3 hour lesson with them will keep you alive much longer, which is definitely a good thing. I still have to formalise my UK licence but will be going in for a course when I do.
btw thanks to those who commented on the tank range.
Well..... "mi pillion seat est su pillion seat"!
Off road experience is a must, and once I have purchased the baby (I have had enough of trying by F650ST off road with road tyres on! ha ha!) I will be off to Wales (not to BMW) to get in some mud, stone and water action!
Patrick, indeed, test riding is far more important than a spreadsheet - I think I just got bogged down in all the figures and techno speak - wise words - if it was all heart, I think I would try and get hold of an XL, because I absolutely loved riding that sweetie in Cambodia, ladened up and covering plenty of miles on different terrain.
I think I am about to purchase a DR350 - and I'll see how long it takes me to decide that it isnt the one either.....
Thanks to all!
I have access to a decent workspace and tools and a few guys who have better mechanical knowledge than me who've travelled further than me... and less scars than me. It's in London but if ever you feel like popping down before you leave- my friends aren't condescending and put up with my dubious knowledge! Just use the 'send an email link' in HUBB
I don't have a pillion seat or even a bike at the moment but am saving up and hopefully this summer will be back on two wheels.
I know I will be getting GRIEF from other die-hards out there... but here goes...
I will admit right up front that I am (1) a Honda fanatic (having ridden almost everything off-road) and (2) I am 6'3". Lots of things to think about when choosing a RTW bike besides sixe, weight, power, etc....
I owned and raced an XR250 for many years, recently have an XR650L in Peru (yes, it is a bit head-heavy in the soft stuff) and an XR400 in the states, but when I took a small 10,000 km trip in SA (Peru/Brazil/Bolivia) with my 17 yr old son, Around the Block 2007 | we chose the Honda XR250 Tornado. It is Brazilian made and parts available EVERYWFHERE south of the US border.
I know that may not apply to your RTW trip, but the reason was: (1) both on same bikes (2) parts everywhere (3) Did not draw too much attention. (4) good gas mileage
I prefer a bigger bike... but there are other details in the choice..
So, to sum it up: Go with the XR250. It is the most known (and common in most respects) of all the 250's in the world. (here comes the GRIEF !!) It has the best record for durability of the 250's. It is plush enough (and light enough) for the rough stuff, but can cruise too.
If you get a new one, change out for the old style seat, the new narrow ones will kill you on a long trip. And when possible, travel light! Ditch the panniers and the camping gear and stay with folk or cheap hostels, a small soft pack on a rear rack and small backpack strapped on the tank... is really all you need.
If you are in SA summer 2009, 12 of us (guys and gals) will be doing Peru for 35 days on dirt bikes...
DRZ250 Suzuki (the sleeper in the group! A great little bike!!!)
I'm interested in doing a similar trip and I'm not a big guy so this this thread seemed to be the answer of my prayers. Unfortunately till I looked for the specifications of the bikes. Both TT250 and XR250 have the seat heights above 900mm, which quite much rules them out both for Charlotte and me.
Also, I've looked a bit for second hand ones. On mobile.de, I could find 315 Yamaha 600 XTs but just 1 Yamaha TT250 and this one was priced the same as a 600 XT of the same age. 2004 is the year of the TT250 and there are 185 XTs of the same age and newer there. A similar situation with the XR250 and no at all DRZ250s.
To me this means that these bikes are very hard to find in Europe. Might not be the same in the rest of the world though. Secondly I have big doubts regarding the confort of these small bikes. It's true, I haven't riden one but can anybody confirm that he/she has been going 400+ / day for a few days and that 1 cm thick seat was doing a good job?
How are you suppose to take any luggage on such a bike? ??!! The tail won't probably hold more than 15 kgs. And if you go RTW and you are not on a high budget to sleep every night in a hotel/motel, than you need at least a tent/matress/some tools for the bike/sleeping bag/so on. However to the minimum you are trying to keep it.. it won't be enough. I've checked Louis's website and it seems to me that that Serow has a harder tail that the TTR. She could actually put a topcase on it. Or maybe she had reinforced the tail, in which case the weight was affected. Our colegue is going to ride just a part of the road with a companion, so she'll need to be able to carry all her things after they set apart.
Now... I see that the TTR is 120kg; why not put 27 more kg and get a Suzuki DR650 SE, which is 147kg! It has double the power, you can put proper panniers on it if you need to and you can find many of them for sale in Europe and at half of the price of a TTR (but yes, of course, 5-6 years older than the TTR). And the seatheight is between 845-885. And it might have the gravity center lower as well since it's not that high. That's what I would recommend. Just take one for a ride Charlotte and see how you like it.
The Big J - ta very much for the invite to meet your mechanical not-condescending friends! They may come in handy!
Similarly, Toby, thanks for the heads up and invite for the Peru dirt experience! Unfortunately I will probably still be in Canada at that time, trying not to spend money to ensure that I have enough for the rest of the two years. Thanks for the fortright opinion, and info (and your PM!). No grief yet I see!
Good luck with finding a bike Maguest. I am in the process of getting myself a DR350, to just give it a go, which the spec says has a seat height of 900mm, and am getting rather nervous about what lowering I can possibly do - but you say that the XR250 was too high for you, yet when I rode one in Cambodia and Thailand, which must have been lowered I had almost both flats of my feet on the floor - there must be ways and means.......I am extremely hopeful!
Patrick, you say that the serow is a sturdy little moutain goat . ..or rather renown for it, but if anything my experience of them is completely the opposite - which is weird - maybe just the particular bike I had, but it felt flimsy and not did not inspire any confidence off road - or maybe that was just the rider!
You've generated a good thread here during the last week by "dribbling": gradually releasing information and opinion about recommended bikes to ride and getting some good responses in other posts - good going!
How about explaining a bit more about why you rejected these bikes (from your first post)?:-
F650 / DR650 / XRL650L
If you don't want to, no worries, I guess it will all become clear in due course!
You were relatively complimentary about the Serow a week ago - OK, it is not powerful but it does have a low-seating, confidence-inspiring stance?
Anyway, it will be interesting to hear what you think of the DR350, compared with say its' bigger engined version that you have owned previously.
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