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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 22 Nov 2009
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Question Touring africa !?! Help Please!!!

Me and4 of my mates are going to tour africa. The trip will be around 15000km. Two of them have KLR650;s and the other one a 650dakar. Im a honda fan but haven choosen my bike yet. Can anyone tell me if the 700v transalp is rugget enought to complete such a trip. We start in South Africa then move through Namibia to Zambia to Malawi to Mozambique and back to South Africa. I also concern about its ground clearance seeing its only 177mm and the KLR is 244mm. Im concedering a Yamaha xr660z Terene, but don't know to much about the bike.
Any help Please!!!!
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  #2  
Old 22 Nov 2009
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Hey there. You bet, ground clearance can be an issue especially when bottoming out or in water crossings and on some trails. I’ve noticed that low ground clearance on the TransAlp but didn’t realize it was that much less than a KLR. Couple of other things to consider.

If your buds are on KLRs, there’s an advantage to being on the same bike. I rode South America on a 2004 KLR and was pretty happy with it. I don’t care at all for the new 2008 and later KLRs, though. The integrated fairing up front gets busted in just about any spill, and replacement plastic is not cheap.

And Kawasaki increased the weight of the KLR, a lot. The 2008 redesign made the KLR better for pavement and worse for off-road.

You owe it to yourself to check out the Suzuki DR650. It’s about 65 lighter than a 2008-09 KLR (366 vs. 432) and much better off-road, more like a dirt bike. Simple, reliable, and loads of fun. It needs a bigger tank and a more comfortable seat, and a couple of other mods like any bike, and you’re good to go. I rode a DR down the west side to Cape Town and endorse it 100%, beats the KLR in every respect IMHO.

Don’t know much about the Tenere. If you're a Honda fan, maybe the XR 650? Good luck.

Mark
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  #3  
Old 22 Nov 2009
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Defo agree with "Ride Far" re: similar bikes..... Good idea for spare-share, swapping bits to find a fault, etc! KLR's are tough old lumps, well proven & cheap! What more do you want.
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Old 22 Nov 2009
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All the bikes you have mentioned would be more than capable of almost all the roads in the countries you have mentioned.

Obviously, SA is no problem. The biggest problem in Mozambique is the amount of potholes, especially up north - but shouldn't be a problem on any of those bikes. We never encountered anywhere in Malawi where ground clearance was a major problem. If you are entering Zambia from Malawi via Chitipa, the road is pretty shocking. As a footnote, the customs house on the Zambia side is closed, so you have to use another pretty shit road to go north to the Tanzania border to get your entrance/carnet stamps.

The XT 600 would be my first choice out of the bikes you have mentioned though, even as a Honda fan myself.

Birdy
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Old 23 Nov 2009
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Most of the roads you're likely to be on are actually tarred (or once were) or good gravel. Mozambique and Kenya are heavily pockmarked with potholes. I've backpacked in local buses, and hitchhiked through there but not ridden it (yet). Go for the bike with the best chance of being serviced by locals.
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  #6  
Old 26 Nov 2009
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Hi houbie
Go for the KLR. Benefits of using the same bike are already mentioned. Also, if you and your buds ride the same bike, you have the same challenges and the same experience. Its much better for the comradery.
Anyway, the KLR (the old school one) is a great bike and you can't go wrong.
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Old 12 Dec 2009
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Africa loves the DR650...

I know I'm stating the obvious here but the key to choosing a bike for Africa is simplicity and reliability.

I was advised by everyone to go for the KLR, I went for the DR.

Ride Far know's what he's talking about, a trip down West Africa will beat the hell out of any bike.
All I can tell you is that I drove 30,000km from Cape Town to Ethiopia, through 12 countries without any ploblems, not one, not even a puncture.

You'll need to change the seat and tank (as Mark's said) then you're good to go.
anywhere...

Please give it some serious thought.

My DR's resting in Malawi, I've got a few Africa trips planned and then a RTW.
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Old 13 Dec 2009
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africa bike

I agree with other posts , I did many trips in Africa long time ago and the simple tech is always the best , high clearance is plus ,but a light bike easy to maintain is the key . riding in a group with somoene having the same bike should be really an advantage as far as carrying part.
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Old 13 Dec 2009
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Hi Hendi,
Lodie de Jager did South Africa to Germany last year on a KLR He swears by the machine. I did it on a Vespa, jst as good.
See Lodies site www.naboob2germany.co.za
Enjoy the tip
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  #10  
Old 13 Dec 2009
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I'm on a KLR, and I bottom out more often trying to ride my bike up and down stairs into secure parking in hotel lobbies and such than I do while actually on the road. I've had lots of opportunities to be glad I left my Vstrom behind and brought the KLR, but in the end you'll do fine with whatever....as long as you can do repairs and find parts.

hope that helps,

Mark
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Old 13 Dec 2009
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Africa

The KLR is a very good bike and I travelled over 80000miles with mine, if you upgrade the shock and front spring you will not bottom , make sure to do some research and for very little money you will have a great ride.
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Old 15 Dec 2009
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Of course, there are wise people who know a lot about motorcycles and which one could be the best for different conditions, but I think you can do that way and back even on a R6 Yamaha. Do not worry about the bike. I think that is not a race to win, isn´t it? My advice is buy what you like most, do not spend money on panniers or expensive stuff for touratech addicts, do not change parts or put more iron on the frame. Bikes are expensive enough and they are built for ride. If I were you, I would buy a second hand one. Just ride a normal bike and have fun. The worst can be a mechanical failure or get stuck in Mozambican sand, but you are with 3 people more!!! WTF! there is a crowd to help!

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  #13  
Old 16 Dec 2009
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We all Agree..

We're basing all our post's on bike's that have successfully done trips through Africa and will easily manage the trip you intend to make. All of them are more than capable.
It's now about you, we all see the logic in compatible bikes/spares for a long trip but I think you have to sideline that reasoning and match the bike to your: height, weight, driving ability and intended use.

You also have one problem that hasn't been mentioned yet, guaranteed, once you've finished this trip all you'll want to do is start another one...
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