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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 5 Apr 2007
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Location: Wasatch Mnts, UT, USA
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Opinions: bikes & strategy RTW Part II

After completing my tour thru the stans, western china, tibet & nepal, I'm planning to fly back to the states (from delhi or Mumbai) and then head for Santiago where I will spend several months touing the Patagonian Andes. In south america I'd like to have a nice bike. At first I thought I'd look for a Yamaha XT660r in Chile. I saw one in Peru last July w/10k kms for $4000. After some reading I have begun to wonder if I might be better off to get a bike in the states and ship it down. I can then finance it and keep my cash more liquid. My paper work would also be in order. New bikes are expensive in SA, though the transalp and other adventure tourers are available, and good used ones seem hard to find. I am also a little worried about wasting a month in Santiago looking for a bike & ending up stuck on the bus. It does seem that buying one off another Hubb or overlkand tourist is an OK idea so I'm looking into it.

So I have started looking at bikes here in the USA. The limited choices are pathetic. A few old Alps, the KLR (dirt bike), beamers and wallet busting KTM's.

I'm thinking if I buy something now & store it, then I'll simply need a few accessories & I'll ship it off to SA. Do you think there's any chance of more adventure touring style bikes becoming available before December? I am aware of the new KLR. I'd prefer a twin. I keep hearing rumors of a new transalp, but these have been going around for years.

I've started to think a modified strom is my best bet, but I'd like to here other opinions. At least you can find one in the usa.

I feel the perfect bike for my upcoming South America trip would be a (new school) Transalp with the v-Strom power train or possibly a v-stom with a transalp suspension/clearance and body/wind protection.

My riding style: I don't really go fast anymore, but I will want to be able to "safely" handle difficult 4wd roads in the mountains while loaded with gear I also want it to be comfy for all day highway cruises. I'll also likely unload it from time to time & try to work my way up some mountain trails to some high alpine hikes. I'll likely have a passenger and her gear for part of my trip as well. I'll be carrying camping any trekking/climbing gear so I'll have at least a 70 lb load when I'm solo.

On the transalp I like:
the extra ground clearance,
the longer travel
the spoked wheels (haven't decided if 21" is really an adavantage)
the extra bike protection (skid plates, etc)

I dislike:
the antiquated power plant
five speed tranny

On the the v-Strom I like:
the 65 hp FI v-Twin
the 6 speed tranny

I dislike:
all the mods required to make it a stong adventure touring bike.

I figure these will be at minimum:
Skid Plate
Crash Bars
lower gearing
rear suspension links to raise the rear
anyone know how to raise the front and inch?
new tires
better winshield
hand grip gaurds
center stand

and possibly:
Progressive fork springs
rear suspension mods
spoke wheels (21" front?) opinions

the BMW f650gs scares me, met a guy who'd been stranded in Lima two months w/his busted Dakar. Besides, I don't think the gs is any better a dirt bike than the strom. Same gorund clearance, wheel size, travel geometry and wieght. The klr style bikes seem a little to enduro for long days on the Pan Am.

I'd like some thought and opinions on buy there vs shipping and of course on the bikes I'm considering.

India Himal, 3mo,2x; Kazak/Krygyz/Tajik, 3 mo; Kashi-Lhasa, China 219! 6 wk; Nepal, 4 days/trekked 55; Santiago-Ushuia-Cusco, 7 mo; Peru, 3 mo; Chile-Medellin 3 mo; Medillin-Arica, 3 mo
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Old 5 Apr 2007
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Location: Wasatch Mnts, UT, USA
Posts: 245
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
I think you should stick with the Trans Alp. You've had good luck with it.

The Strom will be a bit tough in knarly off road. In super deep sand and mud...well...you ain't gonna make it. But just about everywhere else you'll likely get through. Read some of my posts to gain more insight into this.

...and I can't stress this enough....the bike is a tough bugger...much tougher than a Transalp....Its built like a tank.
Thx Molly,
I don't currently have a Transalp and have never ridden one. I find it intersting though how many folks say a v_strom is capable of nothing more than dirt roads. The f650 gs is generally considered way more dirt worthy than the strom yet it has nearly identical geometry (clearance, wheel size, travel). It is 40lbs lighter though.

Bottom line, it will be hard to find a newer alp in the states. I've seen 05 stroms for as little as $5000 w/less than a 1000mi, Transalps are going for $3500 for a 1990 w/15000 + mi.

I guess what I struggle with is whether I should buy a strom here & store it for 8 months. Then hassle with out fitting it & finding/paying a shipper or just go to Chile & try to buy a bike there. Common sence says buy there, but I don't want to be sitting in Santiago, bikeless & hemoraging cash in an expensive city.

I also resent all the spending required to make a strom as dirty as I'd like. I cannot afford a new rear shock. I'll be looking at a $1200 in mods before even luggage. If it only came with a strong bash plate & they had moved that exhaust to provived more clearance, I'd be happy.

I'm getting the bug so I might be getting a strom soon.
India Himal, 3mo,2x; Kazak/Krygyz/Tajik, 3 mo; Kashi-Lhasa, China 219! 6 wk; Nepal, 4 days/trekked 55; Santiago-Ushuia-Cusco, 7 mo; Peru, 3 mo; Chile-Medellin 3 mo; Medillin-Arica, 3 mo

Last edited by glasswave; 5 Apr 2007 at 17:10.
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