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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 12 Jan 2003
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The Perfect Overlanding Bike?

A friend of mine who is presently riding around the world by M/C sent me the following opinion, for me to comment on. He hasn't yet published his view on the HUBB, so I though I'd do it for him:

Does the perfect bike for overlanding exist? -- Not that I have seen so far. I Believe you need power, low center of gravity, ergonomics/comfort, and drive shaft from original R80G/S (non-paralever); along with the electronics and braking from an Africa Twin. Taking it a step further: Not more than 280kg when fully loaded (including full tank), with a strong frame. 21" front, 18" rear, good ground clearance yet comfortable for long days, small turning radius, dual headlights, good sidestand for grass/dirt, centerstand, 2 cylinders, single exhaust (low and out of the way), self adjusting carbs (for altitude), no fuel pump, proper shock, good engine protection, good airflow/cooling, compact/strong luggage, 400km range tank, and easy to work on....

My comment was:
I agree with everything you said... also add: reliable and fixable on the road by a local.... probably means a single cylinder bike... also one that makes the tea in the morning and likes packing up tents.

ChrisB
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  #2  
Old 20 Feb 2003
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Chris, I agree with all you wrote, but why "drive shaft R80G/S (non-paralever)"? Whats wrong with the paralever? I have zero experience with beemers, but i've only ever heard that the paralever is the best thing since sliced bread.

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[This message has been edited by XR Max 600 (edited 20 February 2003).]
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  #3  
Old 20 Feb 2003
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The paralever (up to 1996) is OK but not perfect. They can last between 30km and 80km.
But when they go out it can be as bad as a rear wheel lock up. I replace mine about every 60,000km (40,000 miles.)
I have seen at the HPN site that they are putting the paralever from the R1100-1150 bikes on their rally bikes.
I have not heard of failures whith those.
I think Grant is replacing his non-paralever with a paralever.

[This message has been edited by John Ferris (edited 20 February 2003).]
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  #4  
Old 21 Feb 2003
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If you do a search on 'paralever' on the HU site you will find a fair bit of info. Probably generating more questions than answers. Also visit www.bmwmoa.org and you could spend days discussing this topic.
Enjoy
ChrisB
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  #5  
Old 21 Feb 2003
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I've got to agree with all the needs in the first post. In fact, that's exactly what my bike is turning out to be (see website). The paralevers up until about 1996 were debatable, ran without oil and have 2 couplings instead of one for the monolever (which also runs in oil). Someone kept some stats on failures. I've got a copy if you want it. Not as bad as you would think by all the messages, but certainly raises an eyebrow.

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  #6  
Old 21 Feb 2003
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My shaft has lasted 140kkm, 60kkm in Africa.

Lucky?
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  #7  
Old 21 Feb 2003
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"Definition of the BMW paralever"
an engineering solution for a problem that doesn't exsist!!.....harsh but...true;-)
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  #8  
Old 1 Mar 2003
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Chris,

Yes mate, the perfect motorcycle for long distance overland travel DOES exist. An Aussie bloke by the name of Paul Rooney builds/modifies/improves BMW's to suit any application.He is a mechanical genius and his workmanship is superb.
When I can afford it I will get him to build me a bike. He strengthens and braces the frames (then powder coats them), rebuilds or fits whatever suspensions you require, rebuilds the engine (lightening it as well), fitting whatever heads your fantasy desires, he will lengthen the wheelbase and fit early model drive shafts, fit any size front fork tubes, lace up any size rims and fit 4mm spokes and you get to choose the brakes. The damned things go like a scalded cat and handle on the dirt like nothing else.
Paul is only a one man operation, so only builds a couple of bikes at one time. (you should see what he is doing to a R1150GS, 21" front wheel and all!!!) This is not a paid advertisement. You can find him in a little Northen New South Wales place called Rileys Hill. This is near Lismore in northern NSW. His telephone number is (02) 6682 8557.

With the Aussie dollar how it is, most things down here are cheap for most of the rest of the world!

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Last edited by Chris Cowper; 5 Jan 2014 at 15:47. Reason: Just a tidy up after all these years.
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  #9  
Old 3 Mar 2003
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Sounds like an HPN to me... Check out www.hpn.de

All the best,
Max
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  #10  
Old 8 Mar 2003
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The perfect Bike? Different for everyone! Mechanical designe involves compromise. The objectives of light weight, simplicity, strength, power, price, and features are not mutually exculsive but do push in opposite directions. Some strike the balance best with most people, hence the popularity of certain models over others. A look back in history will show people on bikes that don't even come close to the worst compromise availible today happily cruising the continents. Even recently I recount global trips on unlikely bikes like a Honda 500CX, Helix scooter, or Harley.

My take on it? there is no silver bullet. Buy something you can afford that is the closest fit to your matrix of the above characteristics, and modify what you can't live with over the long run. Don't forget to buy something you actually like, and avoid models with big, known character flaws. Sure you can build a $30000 HPN or other, but then what if the thing gets dumped off a boat somewhere? How will you feel about giving it to a shipping company in India? Do you think your insurence will value it higher then the $5000 bike you started with?

Having said that, if I had the money I'd be giving HPN a ring. I would just see it as a compromise in another direction......
One of the obvious advantages of used over new is that you have a good chance of knowing what the bike's design problems are before you have to test it!

[This message has been edited by Timo (edited 23 April 2003).]
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  #11  
Old 9 Mar 2003
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hola folks,

the perfect overland bike ? you want to travel a long time ? it has to be cheap, and easy to maintain. is a bmw cheap anywhere execept in Germany ?

forget comfort, forget drive shafts, forget strange tyre size, forget anything with to much electronic, forget bmw. get it simple and you can travel long long distance ...

mika

rtw since 1999 on a yamaha 1987 tenere, bought for 1400 USD in 1999 in Germany, now at 200.000km (150.000km on this trip!)

yes, its different for everyone :-)
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  #12  
Old 25 Mar 2003
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Agree totally with Mika, different for everybody!

My Enfield Bullet 500CC (now do not start laughing) has lasted me 61.000 km thourgh 25 countries the last 4 years and is still running fine. And no, I do not stay on roads and take the same rough tracks as everybody else (Northern Kenia, Kagahn Valley Pakistan, Cambodia....)

Okay I do not do 120 kmp but I want to see some of the country so do not want rush anyway. Besides that a ikes like this open doors everywhere you go.

Forget all the techies, just go for it, out in the desert it does not matter if you have a BMW, Africa Twin of Enfield, you are the one who has to fix it. So just choose something you are happy and comfortable with!

Ronald Colijn

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  #13  
Old 4 Apr 2003
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Also agree totally with Mika, different for everybody! Experience, size, preferences...

But as an alternative to all the BMW R80/100/1100/1150 GS, what about a offroad-modified Yamaha XJ900S Diversion?
It has shaft drive, comfort, reliable and easy engine, large fuel tank, is available and inexpensive as second hand...
Heavy yes, but so is the BMW's and they don't seem to be trouble free...
With modifications as for example Ohlins with longer wheel travel and increased ground clearance, cross handle bar, no fairing or clocks (only bicycle computer), offroad tyres (rear 130/80x17 backwards on front wheel and 150/70x17 rear wheel)...
I have made my mind up to go for it, including an increased fuel tank (approx 45 litre) and some other modifications including weight savings...

Dont worry, be happy!
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  #14  
Old 19 Jun 2003
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To see some modifications before it is finished, look at http://www.xs4all.nl/~kimkodde/ydcn.html and click "Bike Picture" and scroll down to "Diversion offroad".

Modifications is for example 45 litre fuel tank, Ohlins with longer rear wheel travel (150mm) and increased stroke on standard fork (150mm), increased ground clearance, engine protection, steering damper, 12 volt plug for GPS and camera charger, cross handle bar, no fairing or clocks (only bicycle computer), offroad tyres (rear 130/80x17 backwards on front wheel and 150/70x17 rear wheel), etc...
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  #15  
Old 19 Jun 2003
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Two words: "Scary" and "Fabulous"
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