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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 28 Jun 2011
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travel around Africa bmw 1200 gs or honda xr 650

hi all
a friend of mine wants to do Egypt ,Sudan ,Ethiopia ,Kenya and maybe tanzania and back
he is confused between 2 bikes
1- xr 650 very low miles ,a rallye bike with large feul tank and extra water tank
2- bmw gs 1200 adventure fully loaded
the trip will have some off road if we consider the normal roads like northern Kenya as a road
cheers all
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  #2  
Old 28 Jun 2011
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Id take the XR650... I owned one of these. Even though it's not very comfortable, if he got a better seat, sheepskin etc it would be fine for the job..

He would be happy for it when you get the the "bandit" highway. Also, there are dirt roads where you wouldn't expect them in Africa.. The XR650 is an offroad bike and out of its comfort zone on the motorway (his fillings will rattle out)

Tracks down to campsites, road work detours etc would be nice on it (although only if he keeps his luggage light)


The GS1200 will be more than capable too and WAY more comfortable and able to carve up those LONG LONG distances on good tarmac. Very much the comfort choice.

Although, the BMW will cost three times as much and probably have an electrical hissy fit in the middle of the desert... That's if he gets that far before the rear shock collapses or he gives himself a hernia trying to lift it off the side stand.





Thinking about it, why not forgot both of those bikes and get a Yamaha 660 Tenere which would be a lovely compromise between the two.
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  #3  
Old 29 Jun 2011
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Hello Everyone,
I'm the friend Omar has mentioned, and honestly very confused and got mixed feelings about both, the Beemer as mentioned is so much comfortable, power, torque, yet the weight and risk of electrical failures are worrying me a lot. On the other hand the XR once more as mentioned lovely off roader, but what Omar forgot to mention it's an XR650 R, which is a kick start, and if the carburetor is not well adjusted which needs constant tweaking, starting it from cold can be a nightmare !
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  #4  
Old 29 Jun 2011
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Are you going solo? If so you'd be best off on the bike you can pick up when you fall off.

People continue to travel on bikes as small as 125cc, so if you're on something which can't blast along, then cruise along instead. You'll see more...
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  #5  
Old 29 Jun 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morabet View Post
Hello Everyone,
I'm the friend Omar has mentioned, and honestly very confused and got mixed feelings about both, the Beemer as mentioned is so much comfortable, power, torque, yet the weight and risk of electrical failures are worrying me a lot. On the other hand the XR once more as mentioned lovely off roader, but what Omar forgot to mention it's an XR650 R, which is a kick start, and if the carburetor is not well adjusted which needs constant tweaking, starting it from cold can be a nightmare !
The reason the XR650R is a hard cold starter if because it comes from the factory with a too small pilot jet..

I changed mine for one size up (very easy job) and it would always fire up on the 1st or second kick even in winter..

Still, If I remember correctly it was more vibey than my DRZ and I sold mine for that reason..


I still reckon getting a Yamaha 660R Tenere would be your perfect bike for a compromise.
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  #6  
Old 29 Jun 2011
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Hi,

I would definitly take the honda 650 or even a smaler bike:

Transafrika - Riding on a motorbike through africa part 1

LG, Tobi
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  #7  
Old 30 Jun 2011
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Hi Omar,

I think you are the one who can answer this question easily and the best way as you already did African trip.

I totally agree with Ted and I would also choose the 650.
He needs to make some more modifications for Africa and you know all of them very well.

Take care
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  #8  
Old 30 Jun 2011
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Hi Omar,

The XR is quite a racey bike for this kind of trip (a bit highly strung shall we say) however as soon as you leave tarmac you are far better off on one of these than a 1200GS (better still a different, calmer 650 single like a KLR, 650GS, Transalp, XRL, XT660Z). I have done UK-CT twice and was always VERY grateful for being on a 650 whenever I encounted riders on big BMs!

Lee
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  #9  
Old 30 Jun 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
Id take the XR650... I owned one of these. Even though it's not very comfortable, if he got a better seat, sheepskin etc it would be fine for the job..

He would be happy for it when you get the the "bandit" highway. Also, there are dirt roads where you wouldn't expect them in Africa.. The XR650 is an offroad bike and out of its comfort zone on the motorway (his fillings will rattle out)

Tracks down to campsites, road work detours etc would be nice on it (although only if he keeps his luggage light)


The GS1200 will be more than capable too and WAY more comfortable and able to carve up those LONG LONG distances on good tarmac. Very much the comfort choice.

Although, the BMW will cost three times as much and probably have an electrical hissy fit in the middle of the desert... That's if he gets that far before the rear shock collapses or he gives himself a hernia trying to lift it off the side stand.





Thinking about it, why not forgot both of those bikes and get a Yamaha 660 Tenere which would be a lovely compromise between the two.
Hi Ted
i loved your post cause its the reality ,and very wise ,
specially when it comes from an expert of bikes and travel
thanks a lot
the point is my friend already have both bikes, i don't know if he will sell one and get yamaha 660 or will buy it as a third bike
hahaha
cheers Ted
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  #10  
Old 30 Jun 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samy View Post
Hi Omar,

I think you are the one who can answer this question easily and the best way as you already did African trip.

I totally agree with Ted and I would also choose the 650.
He needs to make some more modifications for Africa and you know all of them very well.

Take care
Hi Samy
well i told hem already ,honda XR 650 ,
is the bike i will take ,
because
- easy to fix no high tech
- you don't need lots of parts to take with -comparing with the big beemer
-easy to left
- nothing going to break when you drop it (stopped counting how many i dropped my Africa twin on cape town Cairo trip )
-comparing to GS 1200 its dons look that flashy specially if you want to social with locals and you don't want them to think that you are a rich tourist on his fancy bike
but if any one think bigger is better so take the GS 1200 and enjoy but watch out for hernia as Ted said
what and xr 650 needs , to tour Africa
large tank
better seat or s ship skin
build a small rack on the rear to carry more gear
perhaps a small wind shield
side panniers and a tank bag
some spare parts
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  #11  
Old 30 Jun 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morabet View Post
Hello Everyone,
I'm the friend Omar has mentioned, and honestly very confused and got mixed feelings about both, the Beemer as mentioned is so much comfortable, power, torque, yet the weight and risk of electrical failures are worrying me a lot. On the other hand the XR once more as mentioned lovely off roader, but what Omar forgot to mention it's an XR650 R, which is a kick start, and if the carburetor is not well adjusted which needs constant tweaking, starting it from cold can be a nightmare !
Hi Alaa
so happy to see you here on Horizons unlimited you cant ride and travel around without being a member here ,you will find all info you want
and read what touring Ted wrote about the kick starter and how to fix that
and hope to listen to what people says here as they are all real bikers and they travel on it
and again you will make your own mind ,the bike you will feel good with the bike you will travel with
good luck
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  #12  
Old 30 Jun 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morabet View Post
Hello Everyone,
I'm the friend Omar has mentioned, and honestly very confused and got mixed feelings about both, the Beemer as mentioned is so much comfortable, power, torque, yet the weight and risk of electrical failures are worrying me a lot. On the other hand the XR once more as mentioned lovely off roader, but what Omar forgot to mention it's an XR650 R, which is a kick start, and if the carburetor is not well adjusted which needs constant tweaking, starting it from cold can be a nightmare !

Hi,

That route has been done countless times by many different bikes, including both models that you are currently deciding between. Either way, your choice will be perfectly fine. Just keep the tradeoffs firmly in mind.

One main consideration should be how much actual off highway riding are you planning on doing.

If you are going to be sticking to the main road and only venturing off road when forced to, then the issue of weight and size become less important.

If you plan on venturing off onto side roads or less commonly taken routes (eg. Lake Turkhana) then it becomes more beneficial to have a smaller bike.

In most cases, the reality is that most people tend to stick to the better roads whenever possible. A fully loaded bike is heavy, whatever the size, you are already getting plenty of adventure and bike riding, and therefore the need to go off ride the really rough tracks disappears pretty quick. Sticking to the main route eliminates a lot of the big differences between medium sized versus large bikes.

Having said that, in general the southern part of Africa (Kenya to South Africa) is where the larger bike advantages would be felt as the roads are better and there are more options to ride. Since you are sticking to the more northern part of Africa (Egypt to Kenya/Tanzania), you wouldn't have as much opportunity to use the advantages of comfort, etc. you would get with the larger bike, but you would experience the disadvantages on rough roads such as northern Kenya.

From what information we know about your trip, the XR would likely be a better choice IMHO. (And if you do go with that bike, you may also want to consider taking the Lake Turkhana route in nothern Kenya.)

Either way, have the trip of a lifetime.
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