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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 29 Aug 2009
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Question Suggest me some models

Having just come back from a 10 day ride around Sweden (never got as far as Norway!) I can safely say that my XR 400 R is very economical, excellent fun in the twisties (especially in SM trim), very forgiving in the dirt (Even on sports tyres and SM wheels gravel tracks were a doddle and I am no off-road whizz!) and it is completely unsuitable as an overlander....

I had it kitted up: big tank, topbox etc but my back could not cope with the riding position/saddle and it ran out of juice long before the tank did.
In fact my back gave out totally three days before my return and I was left writhing on the tarmac, followed by a few days in a haze of pain, Diclofenac and Paracetamol....

Between the riding position (mainly) and the oil changes I have decided to sell it and move on. So the big question is what next and this is where you lot come into it.

Please offer suggestions, but I don't want this to become a "this bike is better than that bike" debarcle (sp?): just tell me what you, yourself have experienced and I can then factor these first-hand experiences into my own decision making.

Here's what I'm looking for:
  • COMFORT (I have a lumbar weakness: an operated L5 disc prolapse and a general tendency to pull my back if not careful)
  • Reliability
  • Economy (With SM gearing and a steady 80 km/hr, 75 mpg was regular on the XR!! The closer to this, the better.)
  • Scope for occasional pillions
  • Scope for decent luggage capacity (topbox and panniers as well as a pillion)
  • 400-650 Single or twin(big enough for solo riding)
  • Lightweight (ideally, no more than 180kg wet, if possible)
I have considered a couple of models so far:

Honda Dominator. Had one before. Was comfortable when my back was bad and ticks most boxes (no idea about off-roading on it). Relatively light.

Suzuki DR 650. Never owned one, but it is pone of the lighter 650s from what I have seen. I imiagine it ticks most boxes, but would like to know about the comfort level and it's load capacities.

Kawasaki KLE500. Never ridden one and guessing heavier with less torque than the two singles above. Perhaps better on tarmac where I spend 65% of my miles.

Any others worth thinking about?
Adventure: it's an experience, not a style!
(so ride what you like, but ride it somewhere new!)
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Old 29 Aug 2009
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The F800GS?

It's not a single, and it's a little heavier than you're looking for at 185 dry, but it is worth considering.

After all, BMW test rides are free and it might just convince you to widen your search criteria...
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Old 29 Aug 2009
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cb500 may be worth a look at ...a nice twin with a little bit more wieght not too bad power wise either
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Old 29 Aug 2009
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Thanks so far.

Should have mentioned budget:

Probably about €2000 max and off-roading options preferrable, hence the CB500 would suffer. Excellent bikes, that aside.

Keep em coming!
Adventure: it's an experience, not a style!
(so ride what you like, but ride it somewhere new!)
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Old 29 Aug 2009
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I'm a member of a touring club (IMTC - International Motorcyclists Tour Club) and a lot of our members have down-sized to the 650 V-strom. It has some off-road ability, will do continental touring and is comfortable two-up.
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Old 29 Aug 2009
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how about the old style F650GS Dakar?
It has been used by so so many travelers- Jack of all Trades bike that keeps going.
It does have all the bells and whistles of newer bikes but less to go wrong and a solid lump of an engine.

Love mine!

Last edited by Bertrand; 29 Aug 2009 at 21:34.
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Old 29 Aug 2009
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Yamaha XT600E. Superb do-it-all bikes. Tough as hell and incredibly reliable. Dry I think they are something around 165kg. I have a slightly dodgy back (nothing too bad) and never have a problem on mine.



*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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Old 29 Aug 2009
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Nice bikes.

I might find my budget doesn't stretch to a tidy-ish strom or F650, but you never know and I have to research the local market. I knew the UK bike market pretty well, but the Baltics are a different beast!

XT? Excellent info on the ride quality! That is the sor of info that is handy to me. after the op, my back is OK, 90% ofthe time, but when it goes: I am out of action for a week and not feeling good about it: hence why this aspect is so importatn to me.

V-strom/XT/F650: Any economy figures you can offer, guys?

Great stuff: keep it up!!
Adventure: it's an experience, not a style!
(so ride what you like, but ride it somewhere new!)
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Old 29 Aug 2009
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In a budget of 2000€ a pre 1999 Honda Transalp is in my opinion the way to go. Very smooth twin, some off road capabilities, very comfortable on road, and have quite good comfort for a pillion. A lot of aftermarket support. I had an 1996 model which I think it was the last year made in Japan. Very light feeling, very relliable, excellent on twisties.

If you want more off road capabilities and less confort on road in that budget look at the Yamaha XTZ660. Good bike for solo riding, very smooth for a single, good wind protection big tank, in europe they are very cheap. Some confort for a pillion.
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