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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 16 Jun 2010
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R1200GS alternative..Cheaper

Hello All,

Im looking for a bit of advice. I have been looking at buying a BMW R1200GSA for some time now but cannot justify the price for what I will use it for. Ideally I am looking for a bike to drag me and the girlfriend around europe a couple of times a year with luggage and tent etc! I do not want a full on conventional type touring bike as I am only 24 and not quite ready for that yet. Can anyone recommend something suitable with a bit of steet cred that will do the trick for between £5000-£6500ish?

Any suggestions/recommendation with get gratefully received.

Cheers

Richard
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  #2  
Old 16 Jun 2010
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What are you going to use it for, just pavement, or some dirt roads/trails as well?
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  #3  
Old 16 Jun 2010
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With that price tag you can aquire a decent R1100GS or even R1150GS. But probably you'll get better conditioned late R1100GS (1998-1999 year models, which will last a lifetime if you service them good).

For 2-up, big telelever-fronted boxer series are the best you can get in that price range IMO, unrivalled comfort and handling when loaded 2-up, especially if you intend to do bad roads time to time (Eastern Europe, the best Europe for GS ).

Then again you can get a V-Strom 1000 cheaper, but have to make a lot of costly modifications (stronger springed $$$ aftermarket rear suspension and you need A LOT better springs for the front, strong crashbars to protect all that fragile plastic, better bashplate for the exposed oil cooler, etc for a starter) to make it handle under load and to prepare it for the abuse.

Best try different bikes (besides GS and Strom, also consider Triumph Tiger 955i, Varadero that fit that price range) on a long test drive and choose the one you and your g/f feel the best on the long distance.

Happy testing!
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  #4  
Old 16 Jun 2010
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The BMW GS's are great two-up touring bikes. Skip the ADV model, the standard GS is better and 65 lbs. lighter weight, easier to handle.

Buy a used GS, two to four years old , low miles. Some good deals out there, especially on earlier R1100GS or R1150GS. Don't believe a word the dealer tells you (they lie). The bike won't be cheap to run but a great bike to ride two up.

Also take a look at and test ride:

Triumph Tiger - great bike, good prices
Aprilia Capo Nord ... excellent bike, great two-up
Suzuki Vstrom - DL1000 - most reliable of all, cheap and easy to maintain
Suzuki Bandit 1250/1200 - good standard bike, good value.

In the UK you guys get several cool bikes we don't see in the USA. One is a big Honda 1000 CBR something, forgot model. Basic Sports tourer, not the sports bike. Gets great reviews. Buy a 2nd hand one.

I'd start visiting dealers, go shopping, take some test rides. Take your time, don't be pressured. See and ride everything you can.
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  #5  
Old 16 Jun 2010
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Originally Posted by motoreiter View Post
What are you going to use it for, just pavement, or some dirt roads/trails as well?
Majority of it will be done on pavements although going to cross to Albania/bosnia/croatia next year and not sure how good the roads are! Interested in some of the suggestions made so far...time to start looking I think!
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Old 16 Jun 2010
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if you're only 24 then an old BMW will (hopefully, unless you're a very sensible boy) feel incredibly dull to ride. remember, before the fashionable 1200 GS, these were for the 'pipe and slippers brigade' here in the UK.

if you've got cash, then try lots of bikes. if Albania is a while off yet, maybe pickup an interesting road bike (st2/4, multi-strada, zx9, triumph of some sort) for your euro trips, and then after a while change it for a 1200 GS (they will be dropping in price).

forget the nonsense about having to make 'costly modifications' to a stock bike for euro road riding. you don't, unless you're very pernickety or an elephant. if you can't ride a stock bike 2 up with luggage, then it's probably broken or you need more lessons.

a conventional tourer has more street cred than a non-1200 GS. the most important thing is that your pillion is happy, and isn't experiencing vibes through the foot-pegs (ruled out an older GS for my pillion).
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Old 16 Jun 2010
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Has anyone had much to do with the Triumph Sprint ST with 2 up touring? Like the look of them and they look like they could be quite fun?
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  #8  
Old 16 Jun 2010
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All depends what you want. At 24 I couldn't afford much in the way of bikes but had many a happy Euro tour on my 1981 Suzuki GS1000G, you could pick up one for about £1000-1500. Fine for two up with tent and very comfy for the long motorways in Europe.
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  #9  
Old 16 Jun 2010
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I'd be looking at the Guzzi Stelvio and KTM Adventure. Guzzi importer is not far from you.
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Old 16 Jun 2010
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Originally Posted by Magnon View Post
I'd be looking at the ........... KTM Adventure.
+1

KTM-Adventure-950

Or a 950 Supermoto. Bags of street cred there

John
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  #11  
Old 16 Jun 2010
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With that budget you're spoilded for choice.

How about a VFR800 ?

Fazer1000

Bandit 1250

GSX1400

XJR1300

Blackbird
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  #12  
Old 17 Jun 2010
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Originally Posted by DougieB View Post
forget the nonsense about having to make 'costly modifications' to a stock bike for euro road riding. you don't, unless you're very pernickety or an elephant. if you can't ride a stock bike 2 up with luggage, then it's probably broken or you need more lessons.
He said he wants to go to East-Europe, I reckon he'll turn off the main road to see at least the real face of that part of the world.

Go try to ride with a fully stock 2-up loaded sports-tourer some small trails in East-Europe, endless gravel in the Baltics, dirt in Romania and Bulgaria, everything combined in the Balkans, then come and tell me about not needing any modifications for a fully loaded bike

The bike will be riding like a weak-legged cow (especially the conventional forked front with soft stock springs) that bottoms out all the time and that simply explodes its plastic and radiators into 1000 bits once you go off into the rocks wanting to chase that nice remote area with nice scenery to camp with your wife or g/f.

But I guess it's pretty normal for West-Europeans to consider the word "Europe" a nice-smooth-road place where you only need a stocky (sport-) touring bike for the best ride, since less developed far East-Europe is already considered Asia for them

At least for me, that's the definition of East-Europe:

And we ride 2-up in the same mood, my wife was taking pic.

True, you CAN make East-Europe on more-or-less smooth tar as well, but you don't get even a glimpse of the real experience if you don't take the small secondary roads through the atmospheric countryside.

Margus
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  #13  
Old 17 Jun 2010
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Originally Posted by Margus View Post
At least for me, that's the definition of East-Europe:
And we ride 2-up in the same mood, my wife was taking pic.


Margus
you've made quite a few mods to your GS, it's not exactly stock (including strengthened frame, headlights, exhaust, electrical work, radiator protection, etc).

you're making out your riding a showroom GS, whereas a showroom DL requires 'costly work'. bmw people who spend money modifying their bmw's are always very keen to prove their credentials with tales of fast off-road riding (two-up is an extra bonus). I think, on the Internet, you have to be careful with brand evangelists.

it's about 15 years since I was last over Romania/Bulgaria/Poland/etc. I think the routes down RIM/Mali are far worse. And there are more people than you might like to think about on road bikes down there. my own enfield was 2-up in Ghana for a while.

I accept that you do have to ride a bit more intelligently with stock bikes, you need to preserve their bits. Off-road you have to choose your lines more carefully than you would on a mod'd GS. But gravel ? give me a break...

I just don't think it's right to put the fear into people with talk of impending bike failure unless £££ is spent at TT. Credit the guy with some intelligence that he will assess the surface under his wheels and ride slower or turn back if it's too bad.
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  #14  
Old 17 Jun 2010
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Originally Posted by DougieB View Post
you've made quite a few mods to your GS, it's not exactly stock (including strengthened frame, headlights, exhaust, electrical work, radiator protection, etc).
In fairness, Margus is riding RTW to some very gnarly places.

I've not ridden the DL, so I can't comment on the springs, but one thing that I would have been wary of, had I bought one, was the oil cooler: perfeclty placed to get a stone in the chops on a gravel road.

My take on it is this:
As far as protecting the bike, if either of these were to slip on gravel even at a standstill, I'd guess that, without the boxer engine to keep the bike off the ground, the DL could come off a lot worse, in terms of plastics etc, and plastics are the bane of a biker's bank account.

I have embarassingly dropped a number of bike at a standstill, GS included, and it was barely noticeably on the cylinder head. Where my numerous poor Hondas and a mint Kawasaki suffered for my clumsiness...

Applying the same logic, doing the trip on any of the road bikes that Ted mentioned is equally possibly, on that same understanding that they will probably suffer from any falls to a greater degree...

If Richard86 can live with that possibility, then fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougieB View Post
I think, on the Internet, you have to be careful with brand evangelists.
I think brand orientated prejudice, for, but equally against, is no good thing.
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  #15  
Old 17 Jun 2010
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Originally Posted by Warthog View Post
My take on it is this:
As far as protecting the bike, if either of these were to slip on gravel even at a standstill, I'd guess that, without the boxer engine to keep the bike off the ground, the DL could come off a lot worse, in terms of plastics etc, and plastics are the bane of a biker's bank account.

I have embarassingly dropped a number of bike at a standstill, GS included, and it was barely noticeably on the cylinder head. Where my numerous poor Hondas and a mint Kawasaki suffered for my clumsiness...
You know, I was just thinking about this the other day. Where can one buy the old style full wrap around crash bars like we used to have on most bikes in the 70s. I had them on my little Chinese 125 two years ago and they cost me less than $5 - including fitting!



True, they don't look cool but they are absolutely necessary once you take a plastic faired road bike onto gravel

I'm determined to get a proper set to fit my my next offroader - in the meantime I may even dril a few holes in the bodywork of my Burgman to make some fit ready for my next ride up to Birdsville..
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