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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 3 Aug 2004
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Reliable, simple, cheap. Which bike?

I'm having real trouble picking a trans africa bike. The priorities are reliability first and foremost (Hondas have a good rep but what about newer XT600s - are they as good as the old Teneres? - and how reliable are DR650s and KLRs?)

Next it has to be simple and easy to work on so does this realistically rule out water cooled bikes? I have an old Tenere now which I find really easy to work on and bodge as required but I'm rubbish technically if i'm honest.

I think KLRs, XTs and DRs are cheaper but is that due to lower build quality and lower reliability?

Am I right to be wary of BMWs? They seem expensive, heavy and difficult to sort out when they go wrong- which they seem to do too much for my liking. So many people seem to love them so are they a viable option?

My current Tenere is just too old and knackered for the job. All musings are very much appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 3 Aug 2004
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depends if your going off road a lot. And then how hard off road. XR600 or the L version with dommie engine, if your going mad but if you doing/planning a bit more gentle going I'd choose a dommie as there still OK off road and give you a far better ride there and back to the hard stuff and won't give you monkey but so soon. Only problem with dommies are the fuel range but a few cans on the back won't irritate you too much.

BMW's, I love em but just too expensive to ditch and there fairly old now and can't compete with newer bikes. still good for parts and easy to fix though well if you know what your doing.

personaly if I had a tenere I go on it as you know the bike, if not then buy a honda.
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  #3  
Old 3 Aug 2004
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Thanks for the input. I don't reckon too much off roading but if I can get through DRC then I will and the roads there can be really bad. Anyone have any thoughts on a Trans-Alp? They just look like an out and out road bike to me. I'm not sure it would take such a hammering too well but they are cheap and they are Honda.
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  #4  
Old 4 Aug 2004
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The KLR is going to be very reliable and most likely your cheapest option as long as you buy one that is either new (or hasn't been too abused) and you don't overload it with too much stuff (see postings about the frame breaking under KLR forum).

I put 19,000 mile on my 2003 through a dozen countries and had minimal problems (a few bolts shook off here and there, but other than that, the bike was bomber). You're gonna want to upgrade a few key components on the bike but once that's done you'll have a reliable RTW travelin bike.

Regards, Steve


Bikers Without Borders
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  #5  
Old 23 Aug 2004
MJC MJC is offline
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Hiya,

In Namibia, just come down from London on my XR650L, for me it was perfect, I love my offroading and the suspension alone will come into its own there, only thing with going for twins is the weight, in africa the lighter the bike the better, I put a sheepskin rug on my seat which helps but you butt still feels the pain but thats only on the boring tar roads. Its been easy to work on, reliable and its simple, did everything and more that i asked of it.

safe travels
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  #6  
Old 23 Aug 2004
POB/London's Avatar
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Ditto.
Sheepskin from Ikea.
Watch the valves!



Quote:
Originally posted by MJC:
Hiya,

In Namibia, just come down from London on my XR650L, for me it was perfect, I love my offroading and the suspension alone will come into its own there, only thing with going for twins is the weight, in africa the lighter the bike the better, I put a sheepskin rug on my seat which helps but you butt still feels the pain but thats only on the boring tar roads. Its been easy to work on, reliable and its simple, did everything and more that i asked of it.

safe travels


------------------
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My XR650L Pan-Med Expedition Site!

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My XR650L Pan-Med Expedition Site!

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  #7  
Old 1 Sep 2004
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You could consider the Suzuki GS500E, too. New ones cost around £2.800 and you have a very strong, simple engine which is air cooled, too.
One of the few bikes you can service with a Swiss Army knife. Well, almost.....

The bad points are it corrodes overnight in damp ( maybe not a worry? ) and the forks could do with stiffer springs ( about £50 ).

You may find this bike much more comfortable on long runs, and it gives between 60-75+ mpg.

I always recommend you take an off-roader on a long ride before making your mind up. Many riders bring them back to our shop after half an hour screaming in agony. The riding position can put pressure on your coccyx ( I think it's called! )and believe me, this will stop you.

Of course, not everybody finds this - you just don't want to finf this out a mile from Dover on your dream trip!!
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