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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 24 Aug 2007
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the "do everthing" motorcycle?

Greetings!

This is my first post on this site. I've spend hours reading but would like some advice, which I know the people here are not lacking.

I thought I knew what I wanted to buy (2002 or newer F650gs Dakar) but the more I read on this site the more scatterbrained I've become. Here is what I'm looking to do and would like some of your thoughts and experience since I don't have any myself (this will be my first motorcycle). On a side note I'm fond of Jeeps and my 80 series landcruiser. They are the go anywhere and do everything type vehicle - that's what I'm looking for in a motorcycle.

1) I live in Northern Arizona and need a motorcycle that will be able to handle lots of dirt roads and with a little trail riding mixed in.

2) Don't want to be limited to just dirt with frequent excursions on the main highways in the area. With the motorcycle I would like it to be able to cruise at highway speeds (75-80 mph) comfortably to get to some destinations I would like to ride (e.g. Baja or mainland Mexico).

3) When I originally starting looking I was looking for a twin, then decided on a single, now I'm back to a twin. What would be best for a bike that will last me a long time. (forget the Africa Twin or the 650 Transalp. I would buy a used AT in a heartbeat if they were in the US which they are not - fricken honda)

4) Here is what I've been considering:
  • Honda Transalp 600 or NX650,
  • KLR old or new
  • the BMW 650 Dakar (love the styling just overpriced with questionable reliability - if I'm wrong on this please correct).
  • KTM Adv650 or ?? - know a guy that has had two 950s and blew both motors. fluke or typical?
  • Suzuki??? - haven't even looked at. I've always ridden Hondas and just admire the BMWs
5) I don't want to spend more that $6000 USD.

To the questions:
1) Should I go twin or single? For long distances would the singles have too much vibration?
2) Would the 600 Transalp do well offroad? I've ridden a KLR before and found it did well on the trails.
3) What are your thoughts on the above motorcycles?

I know I've pack a lot into this email but just want some thoughts based on experience.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 24 Aug 2007
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I don't think there is a bike built that is comfortable on the highway and will still be good in dirt. I own a KLR and it is not great off road (too heavy/suspension) .... its not great on the highway (vibration/tire choice/suspension)... but it is a good balance if you need to do both. I have modified mine quite a bit, but I have never put more than 600 miles a day on that bike....and that was painful.

I think the KLR is a good choice. Good gas mileage, liquid cooled, easy to fix, good sized gas tank (after market larger size available), cheap, and plenty of aftermarket parts…at least for 87-95,96-2007 models. The BMW’s have always seemed wide and heavy to me….plus I could never quite get around the price and parts costs. Lots of people have driven longs distance on them…just don’t seem to fit me. I have had friends with similar reliability issues with the KTM....in the shop a lot. Saw a 650 on the lot at a dealer with the gas tank leaking..not a hose!!

I think, if I was planning a long trip that was mostly roads (with little off road…. Or gravel and forest roads) I would go with a 650 VSTROM. The bike would definitely be much more comfortable on the roads and handle the twisty bits with flare. If you are thinking of going to Creel (Copper Canyon) or other similar trips, I would go with the KLR.

Last edited by 10R10R; 24 Aug 2007 at 20:41. Reason: KTM
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  #3  
Old 24 Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haolejoe View Post
Greetings!

This is my first post on this site. I've spend hours reading but would like some advice, which I know the people here are not lacking.

I thought I knew what I wanted to buy (2002 or newer F650gs Dakar) but the more I read on this site the more scatterbrained I've become. Here is what I'm looking to do and would like some of your thoughts and experience since I don't have any myself (this will be my first motorcycle). On a side note I'm fond of Jeeps and my 80 series landcruiser. They are the go anywhere and do everything type vehicle - that's what I'm looking for in a motorcycle.

1) I live in Northern Arizona and need a motorcycle that will be able to handle lots of dirt roads and with a little trail riding mixed in.

2) Don't want to be limited to just dirt with frequent excursions on the main highways in the area. With the motorcycle I would like it to be able to cruise at highway speeds (75-80 mph) comfortably to get to some destinations I would like to ride (e.g. Baja or mainland Mexico).

3) When I originally starting looking I was looking for a twin, then decided on a single, now I'm back to a twin. What would be best for a bike that will last me a long time. (forget the Africa Twin or the 650 Transalp. I would buy a used AT in a heartbeat if they were in the US which they are not - fricken honda)

4) Here is what I've been considering:
  • Honda Transalp 600 or NX650,
  • KLR old or new
  • the BMW 650 Dakar (love the styling just overpriced with questionable reliability - if I'm wrong on this please correct).
  • KTM Adv650 or ?? - know a guy that has had two 950s and blew both motors. fluke or typical?
  • Suzuki??? - haven't even looked at. I've always ridden Hondas and just admire the BMWs
5) I don't want to spend more that $6000 USD.

To the questions:
1) Should I go twin or single? For long distances would the singles have too much vibration?
2) Would the 600 Transalp do well offroad? I've ridden a KLR before and found it did well on the trails.
3) What are your thoughts on the above motorcycles?

I know I've pack a lot into this email but just want some thoughts based on experience.

Thanks!
Hi,
I have a feeling that this will be one of the "big" posts with lots of expressions of opinions, quite a few of which have been typed in already in other threads; a question for you then is - have you done a search of the threads in here for any key words that take your fancy?
This "Which Bike" thread is full of information and opinion on just about every bike going, and then there are the technical forums that throw up lots more ideas.
Certainly in the States, the KLR seems to be a "weapon of choice" and there is lots of enthusiasm in here for the Suzi DL650/1000. There again the 650GS has a strong following; you pay your money, and you make your choice basically!! With your price range and the fact that some of your questions are almost answers to some of your other questions you are probably about 1/2 way to making that choice!
But, you have my every sympathy; I go around the same sort of questions eternally - that is part of the joy of riding of course.
Enjoy reading into all the other threads herein.

ps Welcome to the HUBB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  #4  
Old 24 Aug 2007
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Thanks

I have read many of the posts especially those with KLR, 650gs in them but too many of them . . . .how should I put this . . . end up talking about something completely different like a triumph or some other bike that cannot be found in the States. I know this sound strange.

I have looked into the KLR's quite a bit and have two friends that own the 2006 models that I've take out for spins. Had a great time and even got onto some double tracks created by quads. Kinda harry but they handled it really well. A few times it was more of a point, hit the throttle and hold on type of trail but it handled fairly well. I like the 08 model and have heard some good reviews.

I have heard a number of good things about the transalps and know they have a loyal following. I'm just not sure how they'd do on fire roads with some harder fire road thrown in like I know I'd find in Baja from all the traveling I've done down there in my Jeep.

Thanks for the post!
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  #5  
Old 25 Aug 2007
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Hmmmm....first you say this....

Quote:
Originally Posted by haolejoe View Post
Here is what I'm looking to do and would like some of your thoughts and experience since I don't have any myself (this will be my first motorcycle).
Then you say THIS!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by haolejoe View Post
[*]Suzuki??? - haven't even looked at. I've always ridden Hondas and just admire the BMWs[/LIST]5) I don't want to spend more that $6000 USD.
"Always ridden Hondas" ?? Which Hondas?

So, first question is....Which is it? Are you a new rider or not?

I'm moving away from helping newbies on line now but two things to consider.

The Honda Transalp has not been imported into the USA since about 1992.
It was marginal then and buying a 12 years old one would not be wise.

The Africa Twin, (if you could find one) is a 20 year old design. The Vstrom
650 hammers it in every category. The Vstrom is stronger, lighter, has more power and handles MUCH better off road and on. The AT is a poser bike basically, overweight and way out of date IMO. Ride one someday when you're in Europe like I have.

Guess you should have looked at Suzuki since it makes the three most important adventure bikes out there today. But that's for you to figure out.

The other thing is: If you want to be into this bike thing for more than one season...then learn to ride dirt properly before you start buying big, heavy bikes. Start on a 125cc or 250cc dirt only bike and get out there and ride. Do trail riding, motocross, whatever. Learn to slide, learn to crash.
And most importantly...wear all the gear.

After a year or so you "may" be ready to ride a 650 or something in the dirt
and not break your femur. A motorcycle is not a Jeep, and motorcycling is not for everyone. Give yourself the best chance and start small.

Patrick




3) When I originally starting looking I was looking for a twin, then decided on a single, now I'm back to a twin. What would be best for a bike that will last me a long time. (forget the Africa Twin or the 650 Transalp. I would buy a used AT in a heartbeat if they were in the US which they are not - fricken honda)

4) Here is what I've been considering:
  • Honda Transalp 600 or NX650,
  • KLR old or new
  • the BMW 650 Dakar (love the styling just overpriced with questionable reliability - if I'm wrong on this please correct).
  • KTM Adv650 or ?? - know a guy that has had two 950s and blew both motors. fluke or typical?
  • Suzuki??? - haven't even looked at. I've always ridden Hondas and just admire the BMWs
5) I don't want to spend more that $6000 USD.

To the questions:
1) Should I go twin or single? For long distances would the singles have too much vibration?
2) Would the 600 Transalp do well offroad? I've ridden a KLR before and found it did well on the trails.
3) What are your thoughts on the above motorcycles?

I know I've pack a lot into this email but just want some thoughts based on experience.

Thanks![/QUOTE]
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  #6  
Old 25 Aug 2007
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Thanks for the advice.

I spent some time looking at the v-strom today. They are growing on me and seem to be what I'm looking for.

regarding what I've ridden. I grew up riding 3 wheelers in the dunes and deserts of California and Arizona. These ranged from 70cc 4 strokes to 250 tricked out two strokes that would take 350s all day long in the dunes. I know these aren't "motorcycles" but give enough background. I've also ridden my budides KLRs and Honda XR400R both on and off-road as well as a CBR600 around San Diego. I know there will be that learning curve and an future bike for just off-roading will be in the future. I need something that I can take some distance on and off road without a problem.

I think I'll continue researching the v-strom. Seems like a good choice and for the price a used one is not much more than a 17 year old TA.

Thanks for everyones thoughts!
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  #7  
Old 25 Aug 2007
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soon the DL will rule the world.

Good to hear the DL is a good all around bike.

The DR line is not to over looked as well. Much like the KLR.

Id stay away from the odd ball KTM thay are realy tall. BMW need less work but thats not saying much. TA Is about as old as the KLR but dose not move as well. The Translap is almost the same idea as the DL but gust the translap is a better bike all around it seems hard to find in the states or Id have one.

The old F650 classic (pre2000 and FI) is a solid bike I like it better than a new one. You may try to find a old BMW R like a 80, or 100. older BMW have a following and people seem to get in to fixing them.
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  #8  
Old 26 Aug 2007
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v-strom off road ability

Could anyone who has ridden a v-strom 650 sound off on the off road ability?

Thanks.
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  #9  
Old 26 Aug 2007
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V-strom off road

for serious offroad, I think its too heavy. A KLR or DR650 would be much better. I think even the "newer" Africa Twin (RD07, 1993 onwards) could be better, with its 21´ front wheel. But whether its a DL or Africa Twin, surely you would need big muscle to take a 200kg bike to any real bad places, and1-cylinder bikes with 50 or so kilos less weight would have a huge advantage.

I dont think the Africa Twin is a poser bike, it is very, very capable and lots of long trips done with them. Totally bulletproof, too.

Havent crashed a DL650, but Ive disassembled the fairing, and it looks like theres some expensive plastics to be harmed, almost like a streetbike. With crashbars you should be able to get away with minor spills. A bashplate is essential, too, as it could do with some more ground clearance.

But it is a grrreat all-rounder, and if your going on a long trip, you´ll appreciate the comfort, too, and thats where it kicks ass. The engine is a jewel compared to anything in this class, and very reliable, too. And it does not vibrate like some journalists claimed, dont know if they were on drugs, or where they got that from. Mine runs very smoothly, and so do all other DL´s Ive ridden.

If BMW get it right with their 800GS, that could be worth checking out as well.
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  #10  
Old 26 Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pecha72 View Post
for serious offroad, I think its too heavy. A KLR or DR650 would be much better. I think even the "newer" Africa Twin (RD07, 1993 onwards) could be better, with its 21´ front wheel. But whether its a DL or Africa Twin, surely you would need big muscle to take a 200kg bike to any real bad places, and1-cylinder bikes with 50 or so kilos less weight would have a huge advantage.

I dont think the Africa Twin is a poser bike, it is very, very capable and lots of long trips done with them. Totally bulletproof, too.

Havent crashed a DL650, but Ive disassembled the fairing, and it looks like theres some expensive plastics to be harmed, almost like a streetbike. With crashbars you should be able to get away with minor spills. A bashplate is essential, too, as it could do with some more ground clearance.

But it is a grrreat all-rounder, and if your going on a long trip, you´ll appreciate the comfort, too, and thats where it kicks ass. The engine is a jewel compared to anything in this class, and very reliable, too. And it does not vibrate like some journalists claimed, dont know if they were on drugs, or where they got that from. Mine runs very smoothly, and so do all other DL´s Ive ridden.

If BMW get it right with their 800GS, that could be worth checking out as well.
haolejoe,
You have probably read the thread in here about what bikes may be coming along next year; as quoted here, the Beemer 800GS may be worth waiting for, if you can manage that! However, that bike will seriously test your budget!!!

The record of the AT shows that it is not a poser bike but it could certainly do with losing some weight (which bike could not?). The whole of the Honda range in the dual sport arena is well overdue for a "makeover" - lots of people in Europe would love to see a new AT but ........

Personally, I like the specs and the look of the Wee-Strom; the limitations are well discussed in another thread that Mollydog started some time ago - lack of ground clearance, a tad over-weight, exhaust pipes not well positioned etc. but what bike is perfect (maybe next years models!!)?

Your questions and discussion still come down to the choice between single or twin it seems to me - that is where the new BMW may score, bringing another parallel twin contender to the market.
In the meantime, have you read into the posts/threads about the Kawasaki KLE? It is an under-rated bike IMO (may not even be available in the US?). A parallel twin at 500cc with a very good price tag.

Sorry not to address your specific question about the DL650 off-road; no one will lend me one to find out those answers!
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Last edited by Walkabout; 26 Aug 2007 at 14:46.
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  #11  
Old 26 Aug 2007
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the missing link!

It seems from reading the threads that a 650 with a 21 inch front wheel that was set up like a KLR or Dakar or DR with a twin would meet quite a few peoples needs in the states. I don't know why Honda has been so behind the rest in the states - must have to do with emissions or some other Federal regulation.

I agree with the ground clearance and placement of the exhaust on the v-strom - doesn't seem right. The new Ulysses by Buell is the same way.

I hear good reports on the 08 KLR that the vibration has been dramatically reduced over the previous models. A friend of mine has one that rode it from here in Northern Arizona down to Puerto Penasco (aka Rocky Point) and said he was beat up by the time he got there. From what I gather that is where a bike like the AT would be highly desireable in the states.

Is there any truth to the quote on the KLR vs Dakar thread on the Dakar feeling more like a twin?

Thanks for the posts!
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  #12  
Old 26 Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haolejoe View Post
It seems from reading the threads that a 650 with a 21 inch front wheel that was set up like a KLR or Dakar or DR with a twin would meet quite a few peoples needs in the states. I don't know why Honda has been so behind the rest in the states - must have to do with emissions or some other Federal regulation.

I agree with the ground clearance and placement of the exhaust on the v-strom - doesn't seem right. The new Ulysses by Buell is the same way.

I hear good reports on the 08 KLR that the vibration has been dramatically reduced over the previous models. A friend of mine has one that rode it from here in Northern Arizona down to Puerto Penasco (aka Rocky Point) and said he was beat up by the time he got there. From what I gather that is where a bike like the AT would be highly desireable in the states.

Is there any truth to the quote on the KLR vs Dakar thread on the Dakar feeling more like a twin?

Thanks for the posts!
If you can get a test ride or borrow a 650GS then it is well worth riding: my wife has the 05 model (not the Dakar), which has a very easy life by the way with road riding only, and it is the smoothest single I know of - I have done a 250 mile day of riding it with no problems other than a slightly sore backend (both the bike and the saddle are lowered for her) - typical of any bike after hours in the saddle. It cruises easily around 80 mph with a claimed top speed of around 110 mph and it always returns 70 mpg no matter how much the throttle is twisted. I am waiting to see how the new KTM 690 engine compares (reputedly very smooth in the supermoto bike).

Hope this helps (I still go around in circles about the next bike to own!).

As for Honda, they have rather lost their way IMO at present - more concerned with getting higher technology products like VTEC on the market.
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Old 26 Aug 2007
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Kle?

Did you look at these bikes?
(Another one that I want to ride)


http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...e-pics-25296-2

It is rumoured that this bike will be replaced next year with a 650cc \\ twin.
A trail version of this:-
Kawasaki Versys - Specifications
Kawasaki Versys - Features
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Last edited by Walkabout; 26 Aug 2007 at 19:40.
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  #14  
Old 26 Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haolejoe View Post
Could anyone who has ridden a v-strom 650 sound off on the off road ability?

Thanks.
I would read up over on ADVrider Beasts forum for all the info you could want on riding the DL650 off road. Or try here: http://11109.rapidforum.com/
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  #15  
Old 26 Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pecha72 View Post
for serious offroad, I think its too heavy. A KLR or DR650 would be much better. I think even the "newer" Africa Twin (RD07, 1993 onwards) could be better, with its 21´ front wheel. But whether its a DL or Africa Twin, surely you would need big muscle to take a 200kg bike to any real bad places, and1-cylinder bikes with 50 or so kilos less weight would have a huge advantage.
Exactly. If you're doing mostly ON road then the DL or AT would be fine. As soon as you start getting into knarly dirt....these big bikes are a challenge...even for experience dirt riders. I put 50,000 miles on my '02 DL1000 with plenty of it off road. We made it...but not always easy.

Bottom line is, if dirt is in the mix then a single is the way to go, IMO. I have a
DR650 which has worked out really well both on and off road. Ticks alot of the
right boxes for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pecha72 View Post
I dont think the Africa Twin is a poser bike, it is very, very capable and lots of long trips done with them. Totally bulletproof, too.
Perhaps my choice of words is wrong here. Poser really refers more to riders than bikes. But with the paint job of the bike and the look of it,
it is sort of represented as a Dakar dirt bike. Not even close to this. Too heavy. End of story.

I never rode the Africa Twin off road...just on a short 1/2 hour test ride around Oxford. A gutless wonder...with the DL650 giving about 20 more HP easy.

I'm no expert on the Africa Twin....but I can read a spec chart regards weight, HP, and the fact the design is 20 years old. Believe it or not....technology has moved forward since the late 80's when the AT came along. For that era the AT was awesome...but time marches on. Could any sport bike from the 80's even come near a modern sport bike? Same thing
with Enduros.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pecha72 View Post
Havent crashed a DL650, but Ive disassembled the fairing, and it looks like theres some expensive plastics to be harmed, almost like a streetbike. With crashbars you should be able to get away with minor spills. A bashplate is essential, too, as it could do with some more ground clearance.
Yes, it is a street bike basically. You should have seen the look on Japanese guys from Suzuki when I told them where I had taken my Vstrom! Now that was funny! Crash bars only help some...won't protect all that well...things will get broken if you fall a lot. (I was lucky)

DL's definitely need more ground clearance....as you say...bashplate is essential! If it just had 3 inches more clearance, would make a big difference.

My new Vstrom will only see pavement...and only dirt when there is no other option. My DR650 is now my main travel bike.

Patrick



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