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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 17 Apr 2009
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TransAfrica - bike for a big guy?

Hi,

Toying with a London to Cape Town trip. Am tall & heavy - 6"5, 220lbs - & am conscious that weight is key.

In that vein, from what I can tell, the KTM 640 Adventure is looking like the best bet to me (I want to avoid a twin). No experience of bikes, so coming at this blind.

Am I way off the mark, or does this sound like my best bet?

Would be grateful for any insight you may be able to offer.

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 21 Apr 2009
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If you can be a post 2003 bike I reckon it would be up to the job , pre 2003 bikes had bearing problems and engine internal problems.

The fuel / compression ratio issue is resolved by the switchable CDI so I reckon it would be ok.

An important thing to do is to being a 9 volt battery and or something to charge it with , as the adventure has a quirk in that although it has a kicker it still needs some power to run the electrics , with a 9 volt battery you can wire it into the CDI and remove it the second it catches.

Also stick some gators on it.
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  #3  
Old 22 Apr 2009
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Any particular reason why you want to avoid a twin ???

An Africa Twin maybe perfect for you. Some pretty small guys have crossed Africa on them, and with your size and build, you could probably treat it like a smaller guy treats a DRZ400 !

Twins are nice on the tar but still have enough grunt for the dirt... IMO, the perfect compromise for an overland machine..

If you're hell bent on a single, the new Yamaha Tenere is a tall bike too and has great reviews.

Other than that, the KTM maybe your bike but its no fun at all on long road rides !! Loads of vibration and spare parts will be unheard on in Africa.
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  #4  
Old 22 Apr 2009
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Quote:
spare parts will be unheard on in Africa.
Hmmm, dealers in Morocco/Togo/Nigeria/Ethiopia/|Kenya/Namibia/Egypt/SA, would parts for the new Tenere be any more available? Either bike would be a decent choice i suspect, but the iffy reliability of an early ktm (newer ones are better i read) would be a concern for me. But the ktm's lighter.
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Old 22 Apr 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pottsy View Post
Hmmm, dealers in Morocco/Togo/Nigeria/Ethiopia/|Kenya/Namibia/Egypt/SA, would parts for the new Tenere be any more available? Either bike would be a decent choice i suspect, but the iffy reliability of an early ktm (newer ones are better i read) would be a concern for me. But the ktm's lighter.
You're probably right, but the bigger citys are much more likely to have Yamaha dealers than KTM..A main dealer can almost always get your part brought in without any customs and postage problems. (although you'll get Royaly bummed for it, cost wise)...

Although I can't vouch for this having never been through those places !
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  #6  
Old 18 May 2009
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I'll tow in and say 1100 or 1150.

I know people don't like them as they're not as underground since Ewan & thingy did LWR but who cares. They are cracking machines, esp for us larger guys.
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  #7  
Old 18 May 2009
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I would second the BMW oilheads (1100-1150) or the Africa Twin.

Twins will be smoother than a single (that is not to say that all singles are very vibby, just more so than a twin). They should have more power and the larger cc should give more torque.

Despite what some might say the oilheads are very relaible in my experience and ditto the AT, from what I've heard.

They can be picked for pretty good money and hold their value.

I would say that the AT has the edge in the dirt but the Beemers are likely to have the edge ion the road: more power.

Stacks of accessories for both, good tank range, decent economy (although singles should do better in this respect...)

I would add the likes of the Suzuki V-stroms, (1000 and 650) and the Honda Varadero. The Suzukis seem to have left good impressions on owners, but I can't comment on them size-wise. Although I have not ridden one, I would avoid the Varadero if you plan to go off-roading ,due to its linked brakes and lateral radiators (as opposed to facing forward like on most bikes). However, they are said to be excellent tourres, very comfy, reliable (honda!) and they are tall!

Biggest down side for all is that they are heavy, but this is only really a considertaion of note if you plan to do dirt riding, and what kind.
How big an issue this might be for you depends on how much dirt you plan to do...

Don't get me wrong. I'm note saying avoid a single, but as someone said earlier "why not consider twins?": just keep your options open until you get the chance to ride a few bikes, so...

Go test ride some!!!... as your height will have a big effect on what you consider a comfortable bike.
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Last edited by Warthog; 19 May 2009 at 19:07.
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  #8  
Old 21 May 2009
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I think you may want to look at Honda XR650R as well.

Tough as nails, power, decent for touring, pleanty of afterparts available, easy maintenance, carb (no EFI), pick a very good one for no more than £4000.

I've seen a few of these in North Africa. They are still king of the dunes and rutty tracks. They make an awesome sound too!

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  #9  
Old 21 May 2009
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Dont Go Big!!!

The KTM 640 in my eyes is the most perfect bike for africa. It is the biggest you would want to go and because of your size..also the smallest.
Yes you will have a problem with parts, but I think you will find that with most bikes. I would take a 2003 model.
DONT DONT DONT go bigger. The roads are not suited for big bikes and where there are no roads, why would you want a big bike?
cheers
Orrin
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