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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 Jun 2000
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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?
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  #2  
Old 17 Jun 2000
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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?

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Grant Johnson

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  #3  
Old 17 Jun 2000
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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
>them?

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.


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  #4  
Old 19 Jun 2000
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Check out Dag Jenssen and Bente Brathen's website:
http://www.rocinantestravels.com/

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.

Cheers,

-- Christian
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  #5  
Old 19 Jun 2000
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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. :-)

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  #6  
Old 18 Jul 2000
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Hello Hugh,
pls find encl two links with lots of comments on a Tri versus BMW test.
http://www.motorcycle.com/mo/mccompare/adventbbs.html
http://www.motorcycle.com/mo/mccompare/advent1.html

heers
Peter
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  #7  
Old 11 Aug 2000
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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...
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  #8  
Old 20 Dec 2000
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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.
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  #9  
Old 7 Feb 2001
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DONT DO IT.
AFTER WORKING IN A TRIUPH DEALERSHIP I WOULD
NOT CONSIDER THE TIGER OR ANY OF THE TRIUMPH
RANGE SUITABLE FOR THIS KIND OF TRAVEL.I'VE HAD NOTHING BUT DISAPOINTMENT WHEN IT COMES TO ORDERING PARTS.SEVICE COSTS ARE HIGH AND THE INTERVALLS ARE ONLY 3000 MILES APART WHICH INCIDENTLY ARE THE SAME AS PIAGGIO RECOMEND FOR THEIR MOPEDS.THE TIGER IS A VERY COMERTABLE MACHINE AND IS GREAT FOR TOURING ON HIGH SPEED ROADS.THE OLD ONES ARE MORE RELIABLE THAN THE LATER FUEL INJECTED MODELS
BEST OF BRITISH
DAI.
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  #10  
Old 2 Nov 2001
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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.
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