Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

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-   -   One girl, one world....... (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/which-bike/one-girl-one-world-33112)

Charlotte Goose 14 Feb 2008 13:49

One girl, one world.......
 
Okay, so first - introductions - I’m a 5’6’’ tall girl in her mid twenties, with a plan to ride round the world on a motorbike (this sounds like some sort of advert!), to commence sometime summer 09. I have a new found, and at times questioning love for off-roading, and do not intend to shy away from it on the trip, although am still very much a fledging in that regard………..

So……I need a bike…and I need to get as much input as poss……….I need to get together a definitive list of bikes for girls! (apologies if this already exists somewhere on the HUBB – I did scour for some time):confused1:

Having already pondered, bought, tried and now sold the following bikes as possible contenders -F650 / DR650 / XRL650L (can anyone tell me who the hell the Japanese had in mind to ride XRL’s, at a standard seat height of the average family house!) - I am reckoning on a small bike – height and cc:

When I was in South East Asia last month I travelled around on a Serow, an XL and Baja. The Serow really had no guts (I really wasn’t taken by it), and it wasn’t even that ladened up, but the height and weight was pure confidence inducing. No problem picking it up, no problem manoeuvring. The XL became by little baby, and I loved the Baja just as much (both of which are not exactly ten to a penny over here)….. and generally I just adore Honda.

This is as far as my bike experience stretches.

I will be travelling with a male friend for some of the journey, but certainly do not want to rely on a bigger stronger person always being there. For the last 6 months we have made charts and tables and checklists (blah blah blah) of bikes, initialling deciding to both take the same bike - he is 6’4’’ and that idea has gone out the window. He is set on his XR650L
So in order of priority (if such a thing is possible when planning to spend your foreseeable life on bike) is:
1) My confidence with height and weight.
2) Keeping up (to be honest, currently without any mods the XR650L really lacks any poke)
3) Off-roadability
4) Mpg
Help! Please!
Ta very much!
Char :D

Lone Rider 14 Feb 2008 13:54

If the 225/250's don't excite you, I suggest a lowered DR650.

palace15 14 Feb 2008 13:58

Char, Why not consider a Yamaha TTR250, take a look at both of Lois's trips, one by Serow and the other by TTR250.

Lois on the Loose

Charlotte Goose 14 Feb 2008 15:28

Lone Rider, hey. I am not saying at all that the 225/250's dont excite me (just may be not the serow) - I loved the Baja and the XL, but wonder what else is out there (and whether I am stupid for wanting a small cc bike). Having only just about managed to pick up a DR650 from the ground, and without any luggage, I am not so sure it will suit the independence that I seek. I must admit however that the DR was my favourite from the three bigger bikes that I have tried.

Dave, thanks for the input - I'll check out the TTR250.

Char :mchappy:

Walkabout 14 Feb 2008 15:44

Good experience already
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Charlotte Goose (Post 174479)
So……I need a bike…and I need to get as much input as poss……….I need to get together a definitive list of bikes for girls! (apologies if this already exists somewhere on the HUBB – I did scour for some time):confused1:

Having already pondered, bought, tried and now sold the following bikes as possible contenders -F650 / DR650 / XRL650L (can anyone tell me who the hell the Japanese had in mind to ride XRL’s, at a standard seat height of the average family house!) - I am reckoning on a small bike – height and cc:

When I was in South East Asia last month I travelled around on a Serrow, an XL and Baja. The Serrow really had no guts (I really wasn’t taken by it), and it wasn’t even that ladened up, but the height and weight was pure confidence inducing. No problem picking it up, no problem manoeuvring. The XL became by little baby, and I loved the Baja just as much (both of which are not exactly ten to a penny over here)….. and generally I just adore Honda.

This is as far as my bike experience stretches.

I will be travelling with a male friend for some of the journey, but certainly do not want to rely on a bigger stronger person always being there. For the last 6 months we have made charts and tables and checklists (blah blah blah) of bikes, initialling deciding to both take the same bike - he is 6’4’’ and that idea has gone out the window. He is set on his XR650L
So in order of priority (if such a thing is possible when planning to spend your foreseeable life on bike) is:
1) My confidence with height and weight.
2) Keeping up (to be honest, currently without any mods the XR650L really lacks any poke)
3) Off-roadability
4) Mpg
Help! Please!
Ta very much!
Char :D

Hi,
I think that there is a thread in here, somewhere, about recommended bikes for short riders: however, you are not particularly short as it happens!
(Mind, inside leg length is not the same thing as overall height, of course, and there are loads of other variables to do with the bike & its' seat).

It would be interesting to hear of why you rejected that list of bikes - you have obviously tried a few already and that takes a bit of time in itself, so you probably have some good ideas about those bikes for others to consider.

I think that Dave has a good suggestion in the TTR250: There is another thread about bikes that identifies which have both a kick start and an electric starter - the current TTR250 is one of them and I reckon that is worth considering as a worthy advantage for long distance riding.

TTR250:-
1) My confidence with height and weight.
The bike is pretty light and you will get riding time with it before setting off?
2) Keeping up (to be honest, currently without any mods the XR650L really lacks any poke)
Get out in front and let the others go at your pace
3) Off-roadability
Always a compromise, needs good tyres but the bike is up to most things apart from hardcore motocross.
4) Mpg
A 250cc has got to be an optimum on that front + you can see about an acerbis tank if you want to "pack" more fuel.


As Dave posted, see the mods that Lois made to the bike.

Good luck and keep posting about those other bikes!

kentfallen 14 Feb 2008 15:55

Suzuki DRZ400S
 
I think you should look at this bike, a Suzuki DRZ400S -

Suzuki GB Motorcycles/ATVs: DR-Z400S: Summary

Brilliantly competent dual-purpose bike that’s as happy pottering through the gridlock as it is bouncing over a paddock. It’s tough, durable, simple to service and spares are cheap and plentiful. The DR-Z’s bit heavy for true off-roading but greenlaners love it for its indefatigable charm...

396cc, single, 39bhp, 90mph, 45MPG,
Insurance group 10, weight 132kg,
Colours Blue/white, Yellow

It's not too tall and I think it's often used by ladies as a good reliable RTW/African adventure bike. It's pretty good off road too... Anyone in the know will be able to tell you just how good this bike is. Don't make the same mistake as our LWR/LWD friends in picking huge massively overloaded BMW beasts either! A 400cc bike is light enough to be able to pick up and has the power to move heavy loads. :scooter:

Dakota 14 Feb 2008 16:06

I'm the same height as you, almost old enough to be your mum :( and I ride an XT600 which practically goes anywhere. I do lots of off road riding and can pick the bike up if I drop it.

kentfallen 14 Feb 2008 16:10

I agree that a XT600 will do the job well but is there really a need for so much weight? I own an XT myself and can't speak too highly of em but if I were planning a RTW trip I would look at cutting size/bulk/weight down and get something like a Suzuki DRZ400S....

El Aleman - Jens 14 Feb 2008 16:11

Not easy....
 
Hi, here are some nice Bikes:

Suzuki DR 350, a little bit older, but there are still some nice bikes around!

Some of them had E-Starter, just add the Acerbis Tank and ready for everything!!! Good Offroad too! I have a friend(girl) who rode the bike Alaska - to Tierra del Fuego! Bike is still running here in Germany - now 100 000 km!!!

Other good bike is Honda NX 250, or XL 250 Baja(South America/Asia) or the XT 600 from 1990-2000, still cheap. DR 650 SE is the best Suzuki I guess....

So check them out! Good luck!

Jens

You want to come to the 1st HU Meeting in Germany??? May 2008!

Warthog 14 Feb 2008 17:01

How about one of these?
 
Honda XR 400R. 2004 Honda XR 400 R specifications and pictures

Simplicity is a boon and reliability a blessing when on the road for that long, and IMHO, this little Honda has it all, as well as being far lighter than most 650s.

It has enough grunt to match my old Dominator 650 off the lights, too and that was no slouch.

The only issue to consider is height. I'm 5'10, and its OK for me, certainly once I'm sitting the suspension gives nicely.

116kg dry weight

Air cooled so no radiators to puncture

Kick start, so no battery to go flat, no rectifier to fry

You an pick up a tidy 22ltr tank for it that could up your range to about 250-300 miles (mpg said to be about 60)

Well built (You like Honda, so do I)

Only other mod I would definitely recommend is change the headlamp for a KMX unit. Bolts straight in and can take an H4 55/60W bulb, instead of the weedy bosch 35/35watt unit. I got a second hand KMW headlight from ebay: £10 and another £6 to buy some wire to reconnect it.

Finally you easily get an indicatoir kit, too.

Charlotte Goose 14 Feb 2008 17:34

Thanks to everyone so far! :clap:

Okay, so a few have mentioned the DRZ400s, and I did briefly entertain this bike (after realising that the DR350 went out of production around 2000) but then quickly went off the idea, when I saw the seat height - according to the specs its 935mm - thats almost as tall as the XR650L, and even with a lowering link only about half my foot will be on the floor (I may be 5'6'' but I think I may have short inside leg!!:()

The XT certainly was a consideration, but again once I really starting thinking about how independent I wanted to be, the idea of having a bike that weighs around 150kg without luggage started to scare me. But thanks Dakota, I wonder whether I shouldnt dismiss the slightly bigger bikes - but then again all I can think about is fesh-fesh and getting myself out of sticky, or rather sandy situations.

XR 250 or 400 are definite maybes, but guess what then I stumble across another one of my personal issues - kickstart! Which I should have put down on my priorty list. I havent been riding all that long, and some of my worse memories have been sitting on my bike in the pouring rain trying to kick start a bike (including a monstrous bruise on my calf) - maybe its just a fear I have to get over?! In fact is simplicity the key here? No rectifier to worry about?

Wathog, cheers for all the info on the 400. If it was a tad too tall I reckon a lowering link, or/and muddling with the preload may do the trick - it cant be anywhere near as tall as the 650L

I'll check out the XL (which I loved when I was in Cambodia!) and the NX 250 (which I know nothing about). Cheers Jens.

The list is growing and cheers to all of you....my eyes and options are widening! Keep it coming

One more thing, and this is because of my curiosity with a DR 350, can you get good, old bikes (maybe too general a question) - I wouldnt be concerned if I was planning say a two month trip, but I'm aiming to be away for around two years.

Muchos Gracias

:thumbup1: Char

Brian E 14 Feb 2008 17:52

Have a look on the American Suzuki web site at a bike called the DRZ250. a good bike IMHO they have been in produnction since early 90's in virtually the same form and where grey imported into the UK as the DR250 they had metal tanks rear pegs digi speedo.

Warthog 14 Feb 2008 17:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charlotte Goose (Post 174545)
XR 250 or 400 are definite maybes, but guess what then I stumble across another one of my personal issues - kickstart! Which I should have put down on my priorty list.

Wathog?!?! Who is he?...sounds like a wierdo. Don't trust a word he says, that's what I say...

If its any consolation, I did not like kick starts either, but once you get the knack, its really not too bad, and provided you have the carb is set up properly (mine has an Edelbrock aftermarket carb, so needed tweeking. Should be needed if the carbs and exhaust are in standard trim), and the valve clearances are correct (not a difficult job: once you've done it once or twice... 20-30 mins, job done) it kicks into life very easily.

Gently push the kickstart down repeatedly until it firms up, pull in the decompression lever (just below the clutch lever), push the kickstart another 1/2 inch, release lever, and give it a hearty kick....brapp, brapp, brapp will ensue, much to your glee....

Don't worry: you will not end up with a disproportionately large right thigh muscle, which I understand is not de rigeur amongst young ladies....

Big Yellow Tractor 14 Feb 2008 18:16

Hello Charlotte,

I spent eight days in Morocco riding with ten other blokes. The bikes were XR650R, KTM530, KTM450, CRF450, KTM400, XR250 and.........TTR250.

We rode everything from Tarmac to Sand Dunes and rocky goat tracks and not once did we end up waiting for the TTRs. If most of us lads could get over the macho-bullsh*t, the TTR is, in my opinion an ideal trail bike.

Quick enough.

Small and easy to control.

Easy to pick up; grab handles in all the right places.

Lecky boot

Comfy seat

Better headlight than most of the other bikes put together.

Yeah, OK, you won't do MX on it and it won't pull you up the face of a 300ft sand dune but I see them regularly doing hare & hounds races and they certainly don't finish last.

I do have a soft spot for Honda XLR / XR 250 if only they had the electric boot:(

Good luck with choosing

mollydog 14 Feb 2008 18:36

Wow, girls really get a lot of attention on here!


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