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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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  #1  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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Priority No.1 - Fuel Efficiency

Ive recently been giving a lot of thought to using a lower capacity bike, even down to a modern 125cc, to significantly lower fuel costs. With the price they are now I would save a small fortune by using something like a 125cc which returns 100mpg vs a 600 which returns 50mpg.

I suppose the compromise is speed, but so long as I avoided motorways 60-70mph top speed is fine.

My brother has just passed his CBT and bought a Honda cbf125, which costs him only £6 or £7 to travel over 100miles. My R1 costs way over double that, but I get there quicker obviously.

As a toy the R1 is fine and I don't mind paying the higher fuel for the thrill, but i want to do a long long trip abroad and the saving of fuel would allow me to travel for longer with the same budget.

So what bikes do you guys recommend as a fuel efficient alternative suitable for 200-300 mile days on all terrain?
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  #2  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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many will say F650 GS.

I bought a XT 600 E and it is not fuel efficient bike at all.
Beside this I will prefer it over F650 at all times.

Infact I am wondering 660 Tenere and XT 660 R.
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  #3  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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I would love to use a higher capacity bike such as a 600 like you say, but the MPG would need to be above 60-70 before I would give it much consideration. Ive heard good things about the new 650GS but budget will not stretch to that unfortunately
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  #4  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
I would love to use a higher capacity bike such as a 600 like you say, but the MPG would need to be above 60-70 before I would give it much consideration. Ive heard good things about the new 650GS but budget will not stretch to that unfortunately

Consider any bike that has fuel injection and I don't see the Honda Varadero 125cc mentioned in the HUBB but it is a tall 125 bike that looks good for travelling.

BTW, yes, the F650GS single returns 70-75 MPG running on tarmac (personal experience) and the new G650GS has the same twin spark FI engine. That engine is in the F650 from about 2003/4, such as the Dakar model.

I hear that the parallel twin cyl F650GS which is a 800cc engine returns similar fuel economy.
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  #5  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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I havent tested the new DL650 2012-model long enough to know the exact figures... but I just read, that a Finnish magazine got 4.1 liters per 100kms average consumption (and in the same article it says some German mag had got 3.8 per 100kms). I do wonder, if those could really be AVERAGE consumptions, as bikes usually do get a hammering by the journos! But anyway it teems that there´s an improvement over the old model, which in turn wasn´t thirsty at all.

The new one´s got a 20 L tank, whereas the old one has 22 L. But if those figures are right, then their range could in fact be roughly the same (almost 500 kms without refilling - which is nice for a non-aftermarket tank!) And regards consumption, it would also put the new V-Strom just about on par with the small GS, but with the bigger tank, the DL650 would have a longer range.

Last edited by pecha72; 7 Oct 2011 at 09:35. Reason: added text
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  #6  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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I'd be thinking total lifetime cost. First rule IMHO, don't buy new, the hit you'll take by riding out of the showroom buys a lot of petrol. You can insure a 2007 650cc BMW or similar for less than some new 125's and filters/brake pads/ bits bought on e-bay are cheaper than the dealer. It gets even more worth thinking carefully about when your Chinese or Korean 125 manufacturer goes bust and no one can tell you which model year Honda they'd been copying.

Andy
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  #7  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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Greetings thrifty DaveK,

I have been thinking along the same lines as you for a while now. I made the switch from big BMW for touring down to Honda and Kawasaki 250 dual sport bikes and haven't looked back. In my case, I have limited funds for travel and would rather go out longer on an inexpensive fuel efficient bike. My Kawasaki 250 super sherpa has a top comfortable cruising speed of 65 mph and the XR250 with high gearing about the same.

I was racing a high school kid in the mountains of Mexico last year. He was on a Honda Cargo 125 and had a top speed of 60 mph so I could catch up to him in the straights, although he was pulling away from me in the corners leaning that thing over like he was in a motoGP race . So these small bikes aren't really capable of high speed cruising like your stated goal of 70-75 mph, but riding a slow bike fast is an awful lot of fun. And the small bikes are perfectly acceptable for travel on third world back roads and byways.

I intend to tour South America on a 125 Honda. Have read of others doing the same. You can buy the small 125 Honda in Chile for 800 UK pounds brand new off the showroom floor. These bikes are quite common throughout the third world and finding parts and tires is much easier than for big dual sports. Most people in the US where I live think that a 650 is a small bike, so it involves a different mindset to go small. If you are coming from a large dual sport, it feels like you are riding a fast flickable motorized mountain bike. I pack light and only take the essentials which keeps less weight on the bike. If you can make these compromises then you can save a lot. Everything is less expensive on a small bike, less for fuel, bike parts, initial purchase cost . It all adds up.

With that said, I have traveled with folks on BMW fuel injected f650 and they get excellent fuel economy. The gal I was riding with was getting 60 mpg or better (non-imperial wimpy US gallons) regularly. Not as fuel efficient as a 125 Honda but still quite good.

Honda also is coming out with a 125 fuel injected motor that promises even better fuel economy.
Others may have better ideas.

Cheers,
John Downs
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  #8  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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Im a bit of a fuel economy obsessive and i got my first DS bike with that in mind, i figured the more economical my bike the further i can afford to go touring.

On my Suzuki DR350 I get 64 mpg (US) on motorways at around 70mph (any more is a bit windy for me but she will go to 80+mph) and nearly 70mpg on country roads plodding along at 50 odd mph. If you are happy to go slower i think something like a DR250 or a Yamaha Serow (225 cc i think) will doubtless give better economy but still hit reasonable speeds.

I should point out that it is possible to get my mpg way down, when i ride in the city and race cars off the lights etc. but i guess thats true of all bikes.

I used to do a 100 mile partially motorway commute on a 125 bike (suzuki GN125) and i found it to give back far less than its stated mpg just because i was reving the hell out of it to keep myself at speed (and out of the wheels of the lorries).
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  #9  
Old 6 Oct 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveK View Post
Ive recently been giving a lot of thought to using a lower capacity bike, even down to a modern 125cc, to significantly lower fuel costs. With the price they are now I would save a small fortune by using something like a 125cc which returns 100mpg vs a 600 which returns 50mpg.

I suppose the compromise is speed, but so long as I avoided motorways 60-70mph top speed is fine.

My brother has just passed his CBT and bought a Honda cbf125, which costs him only £6 or £7 to travel over 100miles. My R1 costs way over double that, but I get there quicker obviously.

As a toy the R1 is fine and I don't mind paying the higher fuel for the thrill, but i want to do a long long trip abroad and the saving of fuel would allow me to travel for longer with the same budget.

So what bikes do you guys recommend as a fuel efficient alternative suitable for 200-300 mile days on all terrain?
Well you are getting plenty of responses to this thread but nothing yet about the "all terrain" aspect of your post.

Anyway, I mentioned FI because that is the way things are going, in the UK at least, but not all small bikes are using FI, yet.
I just did a check on ebay and there are more than 2 dozen 125cc Varaderos for sale there right now. Somewhere along the way that bike has switched to FI (an ad for a 2010 bike says this but earlier models have carbs).
Even a brand new one can be got for £4K+ a bit and there are loads of low mileage bikes for £2K or thereabouts.
And, it's a 90 degree V twin 125cc engine - how cool is that?

The serow has been mentioned here. I run one of them and, yes, it is 225cc for the older versions, like mine, and the newer ones are 250cc.
Running this, I don't even think in terms of MPG but miles per tank of fuel. In rough figures the Serow is doing 160 KM (they are all imported with KM clocks) per UK gallon (4.545 litres) on a mix of tarmac and gravel tracks. Yep 100 MPG or thereabouts. But, no way would I ride this bike above 50 MPH for any length of time with the standard gearing!!
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Old 6 Oct 2011
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Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
Well you are getting plenty of responses to this thread but nothing yet about the "all terrain" aspect of your post.
I guess i didnt state it clearly, but the Serow, the DR250 and definatly the DR350 are very capable offroad bikes, probably moreso than most of the more popular 600+ cc dual sport bikes.

They are also all simple to work on air cooled singles, which should save alot of time and costs in maintenance.

I dont know as much about the Serow or DR250, but a good condition, late ninties DR350 will cost between £900 and £1400 depending on mileage and extras.
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  #11  
Old 7 Oct 2011
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economy

Is anyone taking into account price of fuel, maybe if you are going somewhere fuel is fairly cheap, it offsets a bigger, more comfy bike..?
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  #12  
Old 7 Oct 2011
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On tarmac I rate our Innova 125s, they can sustain good lean angle, cope with the weight OK (have taken them on camping trips fully laden with homebrew) and deliver over 100mpg. They are 'interesting' off-road though, ssee how quick the front end goes in this clip
Pizza boy breaks ankle riding off-road - YouTube
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Old 7 Oct 2011
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I have a BMW X-country, the G650. The gearing is slightly different from the X-challenge and X-moto, not as much snap. Anyway, I went around Europe recently 2-up and kept a watch on fuel. At around 100kph (60mph-70mph) we returned 80mpg on average. They were pricey bikes when new but second hand they're now pretty cheap. I had an F800gs as well and that averaged at 65mpg if you ride it carefully.
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Old 7 Oct 2011
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Ride Magazine did an economy comparison a few months ago between different size bikes. When the bigger bike (I think a ZX10R) followed a 125 that was being ridden flat out there was very little difference in economy.
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  #15  
Old 8 Oct 2011
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Thanks for all the replies folks, nice response! If the 650gs can achieve 70-75mpg i will be very tempted by that, but will need to work on my figures as mentioned since £1000 would cover a lot of fuel if i bought an older cheaper bike. I keep forgetting about the varadero 125, it will definitely be short listed!

I had considered doing a trip on a bicycle or a dual sport, so the logical step was a low capacity motorbike as a compromise between the two. I had intended in spending most of my time in places like Mongolia and eastern Russia so will need to find out how much fuel actually is there. If its peanuts by comparison to the UK then the saving will be smaller using a small bike like said.

Cheers again folks, much appreciated
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