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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.
A Suzuki DR800 -90 or a Triumph Scrambler for a future X Africa trip????
Hi all I am planing to get another bike beside my main bike Yamaha FZ1 for a future trip from Eu to RSA.
The trip is planed for 2010 and it will not be through jungle and swamps but a fair bit of sand, gravel and probably mud
I don't want a new expensive adventure bike so I am looking at two outsiders which I both like.
A Suzuki Dr800 1990 with 35000km on the clock for around 1500 euro
Or A Triumph Scrambler 2006-2007 for around 4000 euro around 5000 miles, the carburetor version
If I go with the Suzuki my plan is to take my time and take it apart and renovate it and update wheel, fork, brakes and look at doing a light tune to the engine.
If I go for the Triumph I will look at suspension and wheels.
One thing in favor for the Suzuki is the cost and for a moderate fee i will get it in a nice condition for the trip, on the other side it is not the most common bike around and to get parts send out in the middle of no where can be tricky but there are a few Dutch and German suppliers.
The Triumph on the other hand is more expensive and I will be limited on extras but I will get a "modern" bike in the sense that parts will be availble from Thriumph dealers
So what do you guy´s and girls out there think. Am I crazy or shall I get a Beemer like the boy´s in LWD
I would not get a DR800, rather the DR650. The somewhat more powerful engine is not worth the trade-offs. Big difference in weight, fuel economy and parts availability. Price for the 650 should be the same as long as you stick with a used model, they are very reliable so that won't be a problem.
First of all remember that someone has in the past gone round the world on a flippin bycycle and a Honda C50 or Puch Maxi moped. So literally anything can be used for this purpose. Of course some do it better than others -
The bikes you have identified are (how shall I say it without causing offence) - at best questionable...
As Luka says you can dispense with the larger DR and get yourself a DR650 which will do everything the larger one will and more...
The Triumph Scrambler is not normally associated with hardcore RTW although it's quite possible to use one for this purpose. Bikes like these are normally used on a Sunday afternoon and are often polished more than they are ridden.
If attempting to cross sub-Sahara Africa I'd recommend you look at a simple bulletproof single of about 600cc. My personal choice would be a Yamaha XT600E or another XT varient. The XT is probably the No1 African Adventure bike ahead of the vastly more costly BMW's. As you can see I own one myself.
Forget taking a vastly expensive huge beast like Charley and Ewan did - you can do so much more on a smaller lighter simpler bike.
Get yourself a copy of Chris Scotts excellent "Adventure Motorcycling Handbook" and take his advice. This book will answer most if not all of your questions...
I can only presume from your question that you are not a very experienced biker (which is fine cos we all had to start here).
Did you read the same post I did?
Very little idea about the DR, but the Triumph I'd rate (had mine for four years, the longest I ever kept a bike). I wouldn't worry about the Scrambler specifically, it has little over a Bonneville Black in terms of off road use and the insane exhaust costs you 10 hp. Any bits like seats or Metal Mules or AM shocks can be made/got to fit the Black or T100.
The only thing I did to my Bonneville before fitting the sidecar was get some semi-knobbly tyres and fabricate a bash plate. It'll cruise at 90 on the tarmac and the only off road conditions I know that have stopped it was a blizzard and four inches of snow in Germany. Range can be an issue, you'll only get about 140 miles with the standard tank, the solutions vary from a £3 can to an £800 tank. These are simple, solid, go anywhere bikes and don't let the old boys polishing them outside cafe's fool you
There is a thread on this in the Triumph Tech area with posts by various people doing various trips on Hinckley Twins.
No one NEEDS an R1200GS, some people just think they do and others still think everyone does. Don't worry about them , do your own thing.
I read between the lines and thought i8lusaka just liked both bikes and was looking for some input.
Personally I'd get the DR and use the money saved to make it meet my personal needs (in terms of renovating/modifying the bike). Easier to work on than the triumph I'd imagine, but a pictures of the triumph in unlikely places works for me too.
Upon reflection perhaps you are both right... But I was only trying to be of help. Until my post hardly anyone had bothered to reply.
I did clearly acknowledge that the trip could be done on anything - even a flippin moped. I also stated the Triumph would do it too...
It seems there is always someone offended when you try to give a constructive negative opinion about an idea or particular bike. I do however believe my comments here were constructive, respectful and polite.
I'm merely stating the obvious here - that most Triumph Scramblers are polished more than they are ridden these days. There was a time when they were used for this purpose but there are many other bikes available now which do the job much better and that is a FACT.
It is NEVER my intent to offend or upset. If I have done so then I cheerfully apologise.
Easier to work on than the triumph I'd imagine, but a pictures of the triumph in unlikely places works for me too.
The Triumph is a piece of cake to work on and pretty bullet proof (although the silencers would give an XT one a run for it's money in a rusting race). In 4 years I've had one breakdown, a rubbed through cable under the tank. Took about three hours to find and three minutes to fix! One advantage of the Scrambler or DR over the Bonneville Black is not having to take the silencers off to change a tyre. That said, I can change a rear flat in about 20 minutes, so I'm happy. The Bonnevilles have 6000 mile service intervals which is useful.
Is the DR watercooled? After my experience with the BMW F650 in the desert I'll be staying aircooled until they ban them!
In terms of performance, it's very similar to an R80GS (I borrowed on for a week to kill that hankering). Both the R80 and Triumph in my experience are superior to the XT600E (I had that for just over a year) on the road or two up. I never tried a DR, but suspect all trail style bikes have some road issues. Off road, I'm sure the XT (or DR) would be superior eventually, but in terms of getting places I always made it through in a time I was happy with on all three bikes.
I went for the Triumph over getting an R80GS of my own for the simple reason I wouldn't pay £3000 for a twenty year old 50,000 mile bike when I could get one at zero miles for £5000 (and a ****ed salesman made an insane offer on the XT). The BM's service intervals were a factor and as an en ex-Ural owner I was (probably unjustly) put off by carb balancing and push rod adjustment, I prefer my Japanese style shims (which you never touch) and carb block (ditto). I was selling the XT due to the pillion seat and motorway/high wind performance with the experience that something more road styled will get everywhere I wanted to go so long as the right tyres fit.
Obviously I do not have huge experience with non-Europe long distance travels, thou I ride bikes for 15 years I can not say anything about other 2 choices, but my few cents about 650 and 800 DRs, mostly technical for what it worth.
I personally can not agree with one of opinions - DR650 will not do just everything DR800 do with same ease as well as DR800 will not do everything DR650 will with same ease. Weight/engine is a key to both scenarios.
Well set up DR800 will have almost same fuel consumption as 650. And DR800 have 24 liter tank. But still 650 will use marginally less fuel.
DR800 will be more of hard work in tight offroad than 650.
DR650 is quite less comfortable in long hauls than 800.
Seats just do not compare at all, size and riding position on big DR let you fall asleep while riding. A bit hard-ish seat.
Not much of wind trouble (of course comparing to 650).
On pavement 800 extra ccs allow you to cruise 140 kmph quite easily and even overtake hitting top speed of 160-165 kmph even loaded and with passenger or cruise with up to 120 kmph for whole day almost non-stop.
Off motorway DR650 will be easier in really tight twisty bits (weight, size).
For luggage capacity - well, DR800 won't notice 50 kg on the back DR650 will, but not critical I think.
However, the most valid point is spare parts availability. Obviously DR650 would be easier on that when it comes to global approach. In Europe (all WE) parts for DR800 is totally no problem (any dealer of Suzuki and quite few stock parts shops will sell you parts for DR800), but other countries - can not tell.
I am a bit biased ending my own tests with buying DR800 as company to my sportbike and loving that bike more and more every day, specially after some offroad experiences, but I also had few test drives on both customized and stock 650s so I am trying to be objective. Also I would recommend to get SR43 (post-92) DR800 as per reasons mentioned in my reply in this tread:
i bought a drbig several years ago (now in the process of being supermoto'd) and it is the best fun ive had. people do say the electrics are a bit dodgy (ive had no probs) and it is quite heavy. BUT it goes well, brakes are good, is manageable offroad (not had luggage on it) looks heaps better than the bm gs copies and makes me smile. decent suspension, ground clearance and good riding position too. get to know your lokal suzuki dealer and theyle post you parts. you may want a metal bash plate though. and some tank protectors. i personally think the triumph is not off road orientated enough for africa (judging by the roads i took.) buy what your heart desires and it will work. whatever.
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