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-   -   Total Novice Needs Advice On USA Trip (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/which-bike/total-novice-needs-advice-usa-31594)

7strings 12 Dec 2007 14:34

Total Novice Needs Advice On USA Trip
Hi there,

My name's Steve and I am in the middle of planning a 6 month cruise around the USA for 2011. As I said, I've only just started riding and my knowledge of bikes falls very short of what I need to know.

I'm 6'4" and my riding style is very relaxed. It's not about the speed for me, just cruising. My problem is that I don't know which bike to choose! I'm on a $20000 budget for the entire trip. $7000 of this is for the bike, $3000 is for equipment (GPS, tent etc etc) and $10,000 for the actual trip.

So if you need $7000 to spend on a bike what would you do? Get a second hand BMW? A new Honda? I would like to get a cruiser style bike, just cos of my riding style, but then I don't want to come up against any dirt roads I can't go along if I want to...

All in all, I'm pretty much lost. Any ideas guys?

MotoEdde 12 Dec 2007 15:22

Steve...i'd choose a cheap bike and ride it for 2 years before you embark on the trip. That way you become more familiar with the bike mechanically, etc...

As much as I'd like to refer you to a Jap bike as they make some amazing machines, unfortunately most of their 750s aren't sold in NA...so old BMW F650 or 1993 K75 s or c...

Also keep in mind the following costs...

1. You will spend 50-75 per day for gas, food and camping...minimum.
2. Riding gear($1000 jackets, pants, boots, gloves, etc.)


HendiKaf 12 Dec 2007 15:37

Bike in the USA
If you want to buy a bike able to cruise at 70 MPH, do some great off road, easy to maintain, reliable , cheap to buy with tons of accessories. the KLR650 is a great choice or the DR650 .you cannot go wrong with any of these two. In the US there tons of places to ride offroad and you will seriously miss the best part of the country if you don't.

Used KLR with less than 7000 miles(2003+) $3500
gear to make it a RTW bike $3000 max (if you want to do it without hard luggae count maybe $1000 to make right)

My last KLR650 last me 80000 miles and was loaded with a good 40 pounds of luggages most the time, ton a accessories available here.

Good luck

yuma simon 12 Dec 2007 16:48

I would also consider the V-strom as it is not a dual sport nor a street bike, but rather both. The new competitor for the V-Strom from Kawasaki could be a good alternative. The Honda XL650/Suzuki DR650/Kawasaki KLR650 are all great bikes for around the world/around the country but are more dirt bike than cruiser.

Bill Ryder 12 Dec 2007 17:49

See the USA
Hello from Montana USA. In this state they say only 25% of the roads are paved. Don't wait four years....travel now. The dollar is cheap the USA and the world have not had a economic depresion...yet. A Monday Ride Along the Continental Divide - ADVrider Here is a short ride we did this summer. I was riding my $400.00 bike. I had lot's of fun.

MotoEdde 12 Dec 2007 17:54


Originally Posted by 7strings (Post 163197)
So if you need $7000 to spend on a bike what would you do? Get a second hand BMW? A new Honda? I would like to get a cruiser style bike, just cos of my riding style, but then I don't want to come up against any dirt roads I can't go along if I want to...

All in all, I'm pretty much lost. Any ideas guys?

If you're looking for a bike that is a 650/750cc cruiser and 90% of your time is on tarmac, the BMW K75 s or c is much cheaper than a Vstrom and will do the highway/back road miles very well...it will handle very well off road when necessary.

The DR/KLR would be nice choices if you plan to do more than 40% off road...unless of course you enjoy the enduro look anyways.

Hornet 12 Dec 2007 19:25

Hi Steve

I plan to spend 6 months in the USA next year. Faced the same dilemma you are facing. My advice would be to test drive as many of the 650's as you can. I test drove them all and finally settled on the Suzuki DR650, which was the last on my list. A really nice bike and fun to ride. You need to ride them all before you make a decision. Search on this site - there is much information available on the various bikes.

Good luck


DLbiten 13 Dec 2007 04:35

4 years from now
If your going to get the bike in the USA it may be cheaper for you. (you dint fill out where your from)

The K75 BMW, R100s, F650 are old and a reliable but not the best choice IMHO. Good ones can be hard to track down some times and a other bike may no run you as much. Most of these have a "sit up" riding position.

The KLR 650 is a grate bike but roads, even dirt roads in the USA are in good shape. The KLR vibrates A bit more than most new riders like. The

DR 400 and DR650 are made like the KLR but are different in some ways. They have a "sit up" riding position.

The DL line fast and smooth but is no off road bike. They do run dirt roads with no problim. (I have a DL650) they have a "sit up" riding position.

All the above will get you all most any place on any road you want to go.

The "cruiser style bike" gust are not my thing. They tend to have little ground clearance and even less cargo capacity. I dont see many used for any real traveling. There riding position can be layed back to ungodly. One thing to wach out on them is how low there set up some will drag there parts off in even slow turns I see this time and agen.

Go to a moto dealer and put you bottom on the bikes before you decide try and take them out for a ride.

For the ride In the USA the camping is grate and can be free to more expensive than a hotel. (ran in to KOA "kampdround" that ran $40 a night I did not stay there)

Here are some camping links
Bureau of Land Management (4.2) BLM land free to cheap
National Park Service - Experience Your America National Parks some of the best places to go. get a pass here U.S. National Park Service America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass save you lots of money in the long run.
There are also state parks but Im not going to link.

If you get a used bike in the states and sell it you can save your self a bit
$ and can spend more on kitting out the bike. (seems a bit low to me)
$1,000 on gear just for you is a good start.
Panniers, top case, dry bags, tool kit, tank bag. You dont need them all but you will something to keep your stuff in. easy $1000 are so (I used saddle bags, and dry bags about $300 so you can get around it)
Another $1000 for tent, bag, sleeping bag, stove, cooking kit, and clothing. A bit less if you careful.

GPS well I want one to but with all the posting on the roads and a cheap road map of the area I dont see a grate need for one.

Look up some ride reports of the USA and get a better Idea of places to go how and gear. Heres one to get you going The Oasis Of My Soul ยป My Archives

7strings 13 Dec 2007 14:58

thanks for all the information guys. I guess I've got lots to look into.

I forgot to mention I was from England. At the moment I'm leaning towards buying a used bike when I get over to USA, probably a v-strom. My only worry is that I might have trouble finding one. I'm thinking of starting my trip in new York. Do you guys think it would be easy to find a vstrom second hand in NYC?

jkrijt 13 Dec 2007 15:47

The Dollar is cheap now so a bike like a Harley Sportster 883 is not very expensive.
Ride it and ship it home afterward.
When I had a Sportster 883 some years ago, I did more then 20 km on a liter so your fuel expenses won't be to high. Get some saddlebags and a backpack that you can tie to the back of the bike (a sissybar would be nice)

For touring the US, a Harley is nice and modern Harleys are much more reliable then some years ago. If you are into relaxed cruising a Sportster is fine.

Before you buy any bike, spend some weekends renting a bike and ride it for two days. Try a bike like the Suzuki V-Stom 650, a BMW F650, a Harley Sportster and maybe a Yamaha Diversion 600 or a Suzuki Bandit. Then you can find out for yourself what suits you best.
Better spend some money renting bikes then buying a bike that you don't like after two weeks on the road.

Sjoerd Bakker 13 Dec 2007 19:35

US trip in 2011
If you just started riding then my suggestion is not to get yourself all wound up in too much overcomplicated and detailed planning for 3 years hence.Of course keep your eyes and ears open for all possible info .
Go out there next summer and ride whatever bike you have around England and on the European mainland first to get yourself sorted out. Find out about basic bike maintenance now, it will be the same when you get to the States.Then in a year or two you can think about what bike seems suitable to you and check out their availability in the US .Your budget should be enough for the whole trip, but economic conditions can change in 3 years. Currently figure on an average of $60 to $70 per day for normal expenses

erik350 13 Dec 2007 22:19

My 2 cents: don`t wait 3 years fot travelling, just buy anything with 2 wheels and ride. Many things can happen while planning, I mean, planning is OK, but too much planning.....
As someone once told: Adventure begins when things don`t go as planned.

Bill Ryder 14 Dec 2007 06:03

Used bikes
To get an idea of prices go to craigs list dot com and look under motorcycles they have listings for states and citys.

NorCalTA 15 Dec 2007 03:07


Originally Posted by 7strings (Post 163374)
At the moment I'm leaning towards buying a used bike when I get over to USA, probably a v-strom. My only worry is that I might have trouble finding one.

If the new BMW 800GS arriving at US Dealerships in Spring of 2008 is the major hit a lot of people think it may be, you should have little problem finding a good used VStrom, KLR, F650, etc. when you do your trip in 2011.

Mr. Ron 15 Dec 2007 18:45

If your looking for an already set-up adventure bike, go here:Adventure Rider Motorcycle Forum and go to the flea market. For your budget you could consider a used and farkled BMW 650 Dakar.

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