Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > Which Bike?

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.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.


LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 17 Jun 2000
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Kentfield CA USA
Posts: 1
Triumph Tiger for long trip thru SA - any recommendations?

Does anyone have any experience with the Triumph Tiger as an "adventure bike"? How reliable are they? What are the chances of getting spare parts in South America? Is there any robust luggage available for them? As a Brit I'd rather like to give the bike a go - but for a trip through SA maybe an old R100GS, or something more like a KLR 650 would be better. Anybody got any informed opinions?
Reply With Quote
Old 17 Jun 2000
Grant Johnson's Avatar
HU Founder
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Dec 1997
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
Posts: 4,560
Hi Hugh,

You realise you've opened up a big can of worms here?

You will find that everybody has an opinion on the "best" bike - and they are all different.

What do YOU want out of a bike - are you solo or two-up? Are you going to stick to the main routes only, or are you going to go into the far back-country and do some serious exploring? What is your riding ability and experience?

As a GENERAL guide, here are my observations that seem to be pretty much in agreement with most peope.

If you want to stick to the good main roads, and are two-up - or solo - the Tiger will do fine.

It's negatives - very heavy, and not much of an off-road bike. The Triumph is very top-heavy and doesn't work well off road.

Positive - excellent reputation for reliability.

Negative - not likely to find much in South America in the way of parts or service. However, the internet and airplanes can get you just about anything in a couple of weeks.

Luggage - to my knowledge, and I have NOT researched it, the only stuff available is the factory plastic stuff - not adequate. However, there are plenty of people making alloy bags that can make a good rack for you for their bags. Check my links page for info.

If you want to go the nasty road / backcountry explorer route, the KLR is the best choice, and is a good solid reliable and proven bike.

The R80/100GS's are good allrounders, if you're two-up and want to off-road it a bit, it works well and is cheap. There is a ton of aftermarket gear for them, you can get just about anything you can imagine. Parts availability is very good, even in South America, although much cheaper if you bring it in yourself.

The R11xxGS's are better on-road, much faster, newer, work shockingly well off-road for their size and weight, but are expensive and have to be set up right, depending on which exact one you have. There is also a lot of aftermarket gear for them. Fuel mileage is BETTER - s;ightly - on them than the R80GS.

In the end, you can do it on anything, people have gone around the world on everything from a Honda 50 Cub to a Harley, and one of those was a guy with no legs. A guy recently did Alaska to Ushuaia on a Velocette, and another guy is going around the world on a BSA B31. Two-up.

Decide what your priorities are, and choose accordingly.

Have fun, and let us know what you decide!

Remember, these are opinions - don't anybody go getting all offended now! What's YOUR opinion?

Grant Johnson

Share the Dream!
at: www.HorizonsUnlimited.com
Grant Johnson

Seek, and ye shall find.


Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997!
Reply With Quote
Old 17 Jun 2000
brclarke's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Victoria, BC, CA
Posts: 509
Take a look at Grant's comments - I think he makes some good points.

>Does anyone have any experience with the
>Triumph Tiger as an "adventure bike"?

Yes - though I personally haven't rode one, I've read of guys taking them on some pretty extensive tours.

> How reliable are they?

Very reliable from what I understand.

>What are the chances of getting spare parts
>in South America?

Pretty much squat. I imagine there may be a handful of dealers in all of SA. You'd best take the FAX/phone numbers for a good dealership in the USA so that you can order any parts you need that you don't carry with you or prearrange delivery of.

>Is there any robust luggage available for

Oh yeah. Givi and lots of others make bags, and I'm sure you can get some aluminum boxes with racks made to fit.

>maybe an old R100GS, or something more like
>a KLR 650 would be better. Anybody got any
>informed opinions?

Well, me personally, I think lighter is better. A KLR or similar 650 would be great for such a trip.

Bruce Clarke
Bruce Clarke --- 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R (black)
Reply With Quote
Old 19 Jun 2000
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Newport Beach, CA
Posts: 7
Check out Dag Jenssen and Bente Brathen's website:

They are currently on a NA/SA trip on their Tiger, and have already logged thousands of miles in Spain, Norway etc.

You can email them too. I know Dag likes his Tiger a lot.

Grant, a link is probably in order.


-- Christian
Reply With Quote
Old 19 Jun 2000
Grant Johnson's Avatar
HU Founder
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Dec 1997
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
Posts: 4,560
Hi Christian,

Dag and Bente are on the links page and have been since March. ;-)- and we're on theirs. I just updated the link to reflect their current location. Dag and I corresponded a number of times when they were starting their planning, discussing a number of things.

I did forget about them though, so thanks for bringing them up. There are just so MANY people travelling now it's hard to keep track of them all.

I will be very interested to see how they get on in SA.

As I've said before, you can go around the world on anything, you'll just adjust exactly where you go depending on your and the bikes capabilities - and some people like dragging and carrying their bike through the muck more than others! And I am not saying anything here about Dag. :-)

Grant Johnson

Share the Dream!
at: www.HorizonsUnlimited.com
Grant Johnson

Seek, and ye shall find.


Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997!
Reply With Quote
Old 18 Jul 2000
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Abu Dhabi
Posts: 3
Hello Hugh,
pls find encl two links with lots of comments on a Tri versus BMW test.

Reply With Quote
Old 11 Aug 2000
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Stewart(S-Central) Minnesota USA
Posts: 115
Went to Panama and back to US on R1100GS. had a good trip but bike was too heavey for many remote roads. I still have bike but use for street. Going to Panama again soon and will ride KLR650. Light and trusty...
Reply With Quote
Old 20 Dec 2000
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Vancouver, BC, CANADA
Posts: 6
Having owned and ridden hard both a Tiger and KLR, I would not consider the Tiger for a serious overseas, multi-country journey.

Don't get me wrong its a great bike, well built, and very solid. But, it weighs far too much and is mechanically difficult to work on compared to more simple machines.

Parts for the Tiger are more likely to be an issue, and is the availability to skilled mechanics just in case. As well, don't let the long travel suspension fool you, it is a 100% street bike.

As well, it is a higher compression engine, and now only fuel injected, which means it is very pickey when it comes to fuel quality [unless you get a pre-99 model].

On the other hand, the KLR can be lifted, dumped, and driven through the roughest of the rough stuff without a complaint. It can be repaired quite easily, and the bike has not changed in 14 years, making aftermarket parts cheap and abundant. Its is a proven formula.

Unless you have a decent credit line, a gold card, plan to stick to paved roads, and will have someone with you at all times to help pick up the Tiger in case of a fall, I would not recommend the Tiger. Again, even though it is a great motorcycle, the KLR is much more purpose built for adventure travel....IMHO.
Reply With Quote
Old 7 Feb 2001
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: BRISTOL U.K
Posts: 1
Reply With Quote
Old 2 Nov 2001
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Lufkin, Texas USA
Posts: 2
I ride a 1989 KLR650.

This bike has been pretty much bullet-proof for me.

I'm not nice to it either. I bought the thing for $1200 four years ago with 17,000 miles on the odometer. Since then I've basically just added consumables like oil, tires, and a chain.

I've sunk it in mud. I've jumped it across small streams. I pull wheelies on it at every opportunity. It's fallen on it's side more times than I can remember.

It now has 25,000 miles on it. It's ugly as heck as I've never washed it in four years and is covered with dents and scratches. That said, it starts everytime I get on it and will haul my butt down the long Texas highways at 70+mph for hours on end without compliant.

It's not a Goldwing, but it's a heck of a lot more comfortable than a DR or XL.
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


Latvia to Australia, an inspirational 5 month journey full of unexpected adventures!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.


Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 14:00.