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Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
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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.
I am currently riding an intruder vs800, which is an awesome bike so far, but in no way suitable for my ultimate dream of a trip to central Asia, pamir highway. I plan on learning some off road biking and doing some smaller trips first to Spain and/or Morocco, which will consist of both tarmac and off road.
As a chopper rider I care a bit more about the looks as well. Which I know is not priority in off roading, but it would be nice if I could use the bike in daily life as well
So I came across the triumph scrambler, which in my opinion is an awesome looking bike! But how suitable would a scrambler be for this purpose? Or could it be made more suitable with some slight modifications?
I have no off road experience at all at this moment, so I find it hard to tell...
Also it will be a few years before I graduate and find a decent job to afford all this, so for now it's just dreaming. But it would be nice if you could help me shape this dream a bit more
I wouldn't say a scrambler can go anywhere a more off road focussed bike would go, but it will certainly handle the pamir and the like.
And I wouldnt say off road riders dont care about how their bikes look. The reason you can spend 6 grand on a fuel tank and fairing kit for a KTM 690 is because it looks the mutts ... much better than any scrambler or chopper , thats for sure See below. And yes you can still ride it to work , around town or to the shops as well.
Looks like years before you go. If you want to ride off road ... you should learn it before you leave. Most agree it's best to start on a very small bike at first. A 125 or 250cc bike is more than enough to learn off road riding on.
Try to get help from friends or other riders to learn basic techniques. In just a few months you will be miles ahead of where you were ... and be able to do your trip with more safety ... and confidence. (This means more FUN!)
I suppose a Triumph Scrambler could make the ride but it would not be my first choice if off road is planned. Lots depends on your budget. That KTM Colebatch shows above costs around 12,000 Euro (special race bike). The Triumph is not cheap either ... at about 6,000 to 7,000 Euro used.
As a cruiser guy you are probably used to sitting down low and getting your feet down flat. Also, as a student, I doubt you have 12,000 euro to spend on a travel bike? Once you buy the bike ... you'll need to spend quite a bit more fitting out yourself and the bike. Then you've got expenses on the road.
A dual sport/Enduro type bike is a taller bike and better suited to travel off road, but depending on your height, that could be a factor. But the height gives great advantage off road. A 21" front tire means easy stability off road in gravel, sand or rock. Long suspension means no problem hitting potholes at 100 kms. The overall toughness of Enduro bikes will also help you on a loaded up travel bike. And ... they are not bad on the motorway either.
The Triumph is low ... but it's super heavy and has very poor ground clearance and marginal suspension. It's a great reliable bike for road riding. It's built plenty tough but is incredibly heavy. Off road, weight is your number one enemy. So, if you are doing lots of rough dirt and gravel roads ... the Scrambler is maybe not the best choice. Sorry.
Once you get more experience riding off road on a small bike ... then you might consider a mid size bike as your travel bike ... several good dual sport bikes come to mind. Think LIGHT!
Older BMW X bikes (X Challenge or X Country)
G650 BMW (a bit heavy)
Suzuki DRZ400S - light
Honda XR400 - kick start
Honda XR650R - kick start
Honda XR650L - elec. start
If I had to pick one ... it would be the DRZ400S Suzuki. Inexpensive, tough,
versatile and very easy to maintain. It's also the lightest of the listed bikes and maybe the least expensive used.
If dont have in your mind serious off-roading it will be just fine as i see in the thread above....
Its true that crossing rivers or get out of the main road is gonna be tricky with the scrambler...
An on/off is better in all terains...
But the WimWillemWimbo ask for all road so i think that scrambler will be OK....
I would go for a standard Bonneville T100 not the Scrambler if that is what floats your boat. The extra 10 HP goes some way to offsetting the insane weight. The low exhaust is not really an issue in terms of ground clearance although they do get dinged up on gravel roads, but clears the way for luggage other than the bonkers 1-pannier thing Triumph will try and sell you. All useful Scrambler bits like bash plates fit the T100 as does the most important mod, semi-knobbly tyres.
I think there are better naked/standard bikes out there now though. My 2004 790 (had it for 8 years) on Heidenau K60's would go anywhere an airhead GS would and I would have another tomorrow for the right price but there is no real solution for the weight and short range (Kawasaki W800 is lighter, Guzzi V7 is lighter and has a 22 litre tank). The suspension is cheap and nasty where as the W800 is only cheap. The Kawasaki is reported as reliable while the Bonneville has a poor quality, cheap nasty coil in a stupid place to get damp and wheels that used to snap spokes and the Guzzi is just Guzzi like (and can also have tubeless tyres).
I'm currently riding a WeeStrom but my next bike could well be another naked. I want light, simple and long ranged. This puts the Guzzi joint top of the list with the Yamaha SR400 with the Kawasaki W800 and Enfields following. As a cruiser rider I think you would find the Harley Sportster will go most places although tyre choice will be painful. For me this puts the Bonnevilles down the shopping list.
Enjoy whatever you get, just don't go the route of trying to make a Scrambler do what the Triumph marketing department suggest it will do. It is in the end a nostaligia trip for Steve McQueen fans hiding a now pretty out dated road bike. Throw money at the suspension, tank, luggage, coil and power delivery and you could have just bought a spare trail bike.
@Colebatch: Thanx for that link! Looks interesting, will read that as soon as I finish this post
About the looks... yeah I guess that's a matter of taste. In my opinion there is no way any off road bike looks better than any cruiser (with some exceptions though... there are some horrifyingly customized cruisers out there too )
@Mollydog: yeah I absolutely will try some offroading before I leave As you say it will be some years before I leave, so there is plenty of time to do that
Budget wise: I'm a student right now, but I'm hoping to be able to afford this once I have a decent job. By then there probably will also be some occasions available at more affordable prices as well
That a light bike is an advantage I hear a lot around here. What kind of problems would you encounter with a heavy bike (like the scrambler)? And how serious off-road do you need to go for that to become a big problem? I suppose I will be able to judge that myself a bit better once I start learning some off roading.
Thanx for the suggestions (bonneville, w800, guzzi)
The standard bonneville is also an awsome bike! I figured since the scrambler is placed more towards off road by triumph, it would be more suitable. You say that the bonneville could do the same as the scrambler, with the same mods; but then what does make it more suitable compared to the scrambler?
I'm not the biggest fan of guzzi's though, the placement of that v-twin just doesn't do it for me. I love the look of triumph's parallel twins! w800 is bit of a bonneville copy, which is good in terms of looks and if it's more reliable that's a pro of course.
And a sportster? Not sure if I can picture that going offroad... previous mentioned bikes are all a bit higher instead of the low chopper that a sportster is. It is a nice bike though
Will also look into the links you posted seems interesting!
But all of you seem to think the scrambler will do, if i'm not planning on too serious off-roading.
So what's too serious off-road? The ultimate goal is pamir highway, so if that's too much, then I might need to reconsider the importance of looks :P
Totally depends on what kind of roads you plan to be on. You could easily ride from the English Channel to Magadan on a Scrambler by staying on the main roads--by "main roads" I mean paved or graded gravel.
Heavier bikes become more problematic when you'll encounter: mud, sand, loose gravel, and water crossings. You'll encounter some of each of these whatever roads you take, but it might be a 30-60 minute stretch (as most) in a construction zone, etc. rather than several days like you would encounter on the BAM road or OSR. I don't know about the Pamir, so can't really say.
Why are heavy bikes bad on these surfaces? I'll let more experienced riders provide a better answer, but basically because: (i) heavier bikes sink more on these surfaces and so are harder to control; and (ii) when (not if) you drop the bike in deep mud, etc., it can be a real challenge to pick up a heavy bike by yourself, especially if you are doing it several times a day.
All moto travellers have to choose between picking the bike they like and tailoring the roads to suit it, or picking the roads they like and tailoring the bike to suit them. Neither way is right or wrong IMHO, although I'm sure others have strong opinions about it. If this is your first big trip, I wouldn't sweat it too much, either way you'll probably have a great time.
The Bonneville range has two engine types. The Scrambler and the America use a crank with two throws that means the pistons rise and fall differently and one pot goes off 240 degrees after the other. The SE, T100 and Thruxton pistons rise and fall together on different strokes, so fire 360 degrees apart.
The 240 motor feels like a V-twin (it's meant to do the potato-potato thing to get Harley riders on board), the 360 one like a proper old Triumph with a bit of 2-smoke/split single revviness to it.
Bung up the 240 motor with the twisty high level exhaust and it drops 10 HP over the 360 motor with road pipes. The Scram is down at 50 HP brochure number, the cruisers a bit more, the Bonneville at 63 and the Thruxton at 67. Triumph lie in the brochures about either HP of weight, a 48 HP F650 single has about the same amount of go as a supposed 60+ HP Bonneville. My 30-odd HP XT600E wasn't much slower. A 65 HP WeeStrom is much quicker.
Like you I'm drawn to the Triumph, there's something about the simplicity and back-to-basics nature that grabs me more than the flash-bang of a modern adventure-styled bike. But the Scrambler is a heavy old thing to be lugging about off-road.
You might want to take a look at the Honda CL400
Or the Yamaha SR400
The Honda is a Japanese market only model first launched in the late 90's but readily available in Europe as a grey import. For years the Yamaha was the same but this year saw the European launch. Both are incredibly customise-able with freely available parts so you could follow the examples above and make a bike that was truly your own while still being based on common mechanicals.
Yes they're only 400cc but as they're totally lacking in weather protection you won't be screaming down the road at 200km/h so 400cc should be more than enough. Throw your luggage over and off you go
Wow, thanx for the suggestion Alexle! Did not know of the existance of that bike, but I totally love the looks! Especially with the original pipes on it, love the bends Love pipes that are slightly different than the usual, like virago 535 or honda vt1100 c1 (whish I had bought that one instead of my intruder... oh well)
Might even like it the cl400 better than the triumph, although that engine still looks stunning...
Though, pretty hard to find here in holland it seems...
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