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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 27 Mar 2008
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 4
In Search of a Bike to Explore Southeast Asia

Hello! I really enjoy this site and all of your posts. I've been reading through them the past weeks trying to find the best motorcycle for the job. I could sure use your wisdom as I'm not making much headway in making a decision. I've ridden bikes in different parts of the world from West Papua to Europe and North America on sport and street bikes. I need a dual sport now for this adventure. I'm planning an indefinite motorcycle trip that will take me solo through Southeast Asia through Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia with my base being in Thailand. As an overseas contract pilot I've been living, working and riding motorcycles in some of the most remote and dangerous places on the planet so I am very well aware of the risks especially solo. I live for this stuff. 90% of the riding will be on paved and decent roads with 10% on some of the worst such as in Cambodia. I'm willing to accept limiting my travels in Cambodia if needed. I need a bike that can handle full side and vertical luggage, 1 female passenger and my 190 lb butt on there for long treks. I would keep it to decent roads when two up. My budget is 9K or less ideally 5-8 new. Ideally the bike wouldn't be huge as breaking down means lifting it into a pickup nor too high profile to minimize attention for security and theft reasons. I realize those two points are most likely unavoidable. At this time my top choice is the Suzuki DR650 but looks like it won't take kindly to full load + pax nor the KLR650 thanks to your posts. I'm curious to the DL650 or perhaps even the Versys. I'm willing to minimize the traveling in Cambodia. Any suggestions on possible bikes for the job? Ideally new but will consider older too. I would appreciate any help as this is a mind bender for someone who's used to riding sportbikes. You can check out my travels at A Site on Aviation, Motorcycle and Adventure Travel. I'm a Canadian from Toronto. Thanks for the great posts. Ride Safe! Ian
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Old 27 Mar 2008
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Wells, Somerset
Posts: 237

Welcome to the HUBB Ian,

There has been endless discussion on here about every aspect of bike selection, from just about every angle, so it might pay to have another trawl through the previous posts in this section.

Personally I'd consider the DR650 if you're going to be primarily one up.
It'll take the weight fine, especially if you're not going too off-road. I just spent 6 weeks biking in cambodia, looking for the most interesting 'roads', and I know what you mean about the terrain.

Other bikes that are often considered for this kind of trip are the yamaha XT's, BMW F650, Honda Africa Twin/transalp, and bigger beamers.

Some other important considerations may be where you're going to buy the bike and cost of the carnet.

Best of luck, and enjoy the trip!
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Old 27 Mar 2008
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 4
Thumbs up Thanks

Thanks a lot for the info. I'm happy to hear that. The DR650 is the bike I hope I will get if it can take the load to come. As you wrote I'm sure it'll take it. While most riding will be alone there will be long treks with the full side and vertical luggage sets plus a passenger. I've read in one of the posts the max useful load is around 400 lbs or so. Anyway I'll look into it and mod it if I need to. It's the ideal bike. Light, low profile, simple.. I would appreciate it if we could get in touch on Cambodia. Are you riding solo? How are you finding it? My email address is airbornebaby@gmail.com. Of all the countries I'll be riding through Cambodia is the tricky one. Having worked and lived throughout Asia I would feel safer leaving my bike at night in Indonesia, Vietnam or anywhere else really but Cambodia. A lot of guns and ex Khmer rouge killers in the country and it only takes a desperate few to ruin your day especially if riding alone. I've ridden solo in the jungles of West Papua with drunk men with machetes trying to get me to stop. Now that gets the heart racing. Thanks for the post and it's great to hear someone riding in that country. Must be an amazing experience. Ian
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