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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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  #16  
Old 14 May 2005
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Grant, I was only joking...

With regards to Ks: I have a K100RT and it runs rings around my R75/5 off tarmac. When the R hits deep gravel it tries to throw me off.

I have taken the K on a 4x4 road in NZ where you wouldn't take a car. No sweat, but without pillion. Would be doable with, but not fun. Gravel no problem, it just seems to stabilise itself after a slide. With the R I was facing death. A /5 is no GS, of course...

Tappets are adjusted with shims, but I never had to adjust any in several 10000km. The engine is practically maintenance-free, apart from oil, filter and the very occasional plug change. To me the K is the best BMW has ever built.

If you do decide on an R80 or R100, have the gearbox bearings replaced by an expert before leaving. It can't be repaired on the side of the road. The final drive can't be repaired at all, so have it thoroughly checked. On mine the nut holding the pinion gear assembly together came loose. Apparently, this happened on later models, too. I found out by good chance and fixed it before it caused any damage. Otherwise, you won't notice anything until it fails. This is said to be spectacular, sometimes...

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Salut from Southern France, the bikers' paradise,

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  #17  
Old 14 May 2005
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Beddhist... gotcha!

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  #18  
Old 14 May 2005
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Sam:
Check these guys webpage: http://www.cemacsolutions.com/photo_album.0.html.0.html

It is only starting but they are doing a 2up on a 650 beemer, maybe that could help

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  #19  
Old 14 May 2005
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have a look at the honda 650 transalp. I think there good, same reliable NTV engine, not so bad off road if you have some crash bars and not bad 2 up with luggage. Their price is good too.
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  #20  
Old 14 May 2005
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Sam, here are websites with a great deal of info on two of the bikes that have been discussed above:

For the F650Gs - www.f650.com

For the V-Strom - www.stromtrooper.com

I'm sure a google search would turn up other websites devoted to these bikes. There are, of course, many websites for other BMW models also, but I'm not familier with them.

Doing research for a new bike purchase is tough, isn't it - but, someone has to do it!! ;o) Have fun and good luck.

Mike
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  #21  
Old 15 May 2005
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Hi Sam,

My wife and I are travelling two up on a 2005 F650GS Dakar. I guess we are about 320KG fully loaded (incl of bike) with us on it, maybe a little more. It has a max loaded weight of 380KG so plenty of load capacity. We have taken it offroad a lot so far on extremely rough roads and it copes well. Also the 650 has all the power you will ever need without the weight. By the sounds of it an 1100GS is too big without being loaded up. I am 185 5´11 and the 650 two up is all I want to deal with. I tried the 1100 GS unloaded in the BMW shop and it is far heavier than the 650 fully loaded. Also the new 650 Dakar has teh petrol tank under the seat so very low centre of gravity.

Check out my website and you will see more information. We have just started the site so it is a bit bare bones now but some information there a lot more to come over the next couple of weeks. http://www.cemacsolutions.com

Currently in Mazatlan heading south.

Cheers Geoff

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  #22  
Old 15 May 2005
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Given the choice I'd still pick my 1150 over a 650 but I have to agree the F650 is well worth considering. We rode from Jordan to the UK with an 1150 and a 650 and the smaller bike did just as well as the bigger one.

It's much easier to handle in terms of weight and is more "fun" to ride too.
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  #23  
Old 15 May 2005
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Thanks to all of you!
On on my way to BMW dealer in Sf to check out both bikes!
Long talk this morning with my better half and we are starting planning seriously...
i feel more comfortable hearing that people have and are doing it on a F650...sounds like a more manageable bike for my size...
I used to own a sv650 and power was plenty enough....
Alos I am thinking that If we are two up offroaduing really is going to be kind of difficult, if not avoided...
WE are planning on going from SF to south America, then to Africa, Asia , indonesia and finaly Australia and New Zeland...
How much off road is there really?
since the K sounds so reliable , it sounds tempting...But on the other hand I would love to be abnle to go where ever I feel like going...you know the feeling I am sure...

Thanks again...Keep posting...
On my way to BMW...
Cheers
Sam
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  #24  
Old 15 May 2005
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sfajner:

Alos I am thinking that If we are two up offroaduing really is going to be kind of difficult, if not avoided...
WE are planning on going from SF to south America, then to Africa, Asia , indonesia and finaly Australia and New Zeland...
How much off road is there really?
since the K sounds so reliable , it sounds tempting...But on the other hand I would love to be abnle to go where ever I feel like going...you know the feeling I am sure...
Sam
You CAN do it ALL on pavement - mostly - there's always that interesting spot down the dirt road, or the bridge is washed out etc, or you really don't want to fly over that country etc.

Gold Wings, Harleys, scooters and hypersport bikes have done RTW - it's all in choosing your battles and being aware of who you are and your skills and your bike and your load, including passenger or not. A passenger DOES mean you will usually not want to do the worst roads, and you will usually choose the easier route.

You will STILL have a fabulous time, enjoy a huge range of adventures and countries and people - it will just be a different trip from a 23 year old guy riding solo on a KTM 640 Adventure with full knobby tires.

Ride what YOU are comfortable with, enjoy riding, and your passenger is happy with. Light is good, simple is good.

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  #25  
Old 15 May 2005
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Grant = Wisdom Guru! you gonna here a lot about me...I am gonna be asking tones of questions!


Just came back from SF BMW...

The 650 Dakar Looks like the perfect tool!I did not remember it being this big...good surprise...and i sure can find a used one for a lot less than 10 Grand!

Off course the Sales man showed me the R1200GS! Damn, it looks the shit! it is just about as light as the 650! If it was not for the 17 Grand out the door price tag...it would be very tempting!

No Gs 1100 to see or try...guess people here want only the latest and greatest...

All things considered, although there is quite a lot more to consider, the Dakar is on top of my list, plus it is a Rotax engine, known for their reliability...right?
I will cruise around the sites that Moro, Mike and Geoff gave me...

Geoff, it looks like you will be a great resource for me if I go with the Dakar! and who knows maybe we'll meet down the road...
good luck on your trip!

with all that said I am off for today...

Keep posting!

Cheers
Sam
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  #26  
Old 15 May 2005
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Yeah, probably any model newer than the old R80/100GS is in most cases the better choice. The old GS was designed in the late seventies which is nearly 30 years ago, but there is no black box and other fuzzy electronics or fancy fuel injection to trouble you.

None the less it still is much appreciated by many bikers, myself included ;-)

The main advantage is the simple and (fairly) reliable construction. But as Bedhist states correctly the gearbox is a critical business. Mine was shot at 38000 Kms. Main bearings. The trouble here was that BMW originally had secured the bearing with a lock washer(?) but on later models (mine is a 1993 model) just glued it. The positive side of the repairs was that I had the chance to fit a shorter 1st and a longer 5th gear plus a ceramic clutch.

All in all I spent a small fortune to make a decent bike out of the R80GS. After the gearbox I fitted a dual ignition, had pistons & conrods balanced, improved the suspension and had a more comfortable seat made. Now it nearly behaves like a japanese bike....

For my liking the choice is between the Africa Twin and the old GS. The AT is a very good and very reliable bike with the minor disadvantage that the servicing is a pain in the a*** having to disassemble half the bike. And the centre of gravity is much higher than of the GS. But both bikes have sufficient power even at low revs and are quite comfortable on long trips. The best invention was the kickstarter on the old GS.

Cheers,
Hans
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  #27  
Old 24 May 2005
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Well, no one ever mentions a Harley Sportster. I am 5'7" 157 lbs. wife is 5'1" 112 lbs. BMW GS was just too much bike for me. Drove my '86 Sporty to the Panama border from the US- it had about 100,000 miles,never rebuilt. Single carb, shocks (Progressives) cheap and available from 11" to 15 1/2", no plastic, can alter drive ratios easily if using a chain and sprockets, worldwide aftermarket parts shippers, low end torque, mostly steel so easy to weld on brackets,etc. Bought 7 gal. tanks new for only $153. No lightweight, but not top heavy. I have a klr 650 and it is much more awkward for me to manuver. Wheel sizes are odd but dual sport tires are made for them (hard to get probably outside US). Buy a used one (Evo only) for $3500-$4000, beat to death and sell it for what you paid-or more.
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  #28  
Old 24 May 2005
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Just a couple of comments on this thread. I am currently in the Balkans riding east to Australia and I had very similar questions regarding a suitable two up bike prior to beginning our trip.

Erika and I are travelling two-up on a 1989 Transalp and its working pretty well so far. I am 165 lbs and Erika is about 115 lbs. The Transalp was one of the lightest bikes I could find that was capable of two up travel. It works for us because we both are small and lighweight people.

But one important thing, even with a light bike, with your passenger and all your gear the bike will be really, really heavy. Don't expect to do much off road under these conditions, smooth gravel or smooth dirt roads excepted. Even negotiating the pavement in cities where you have steep and narrow streets, cobblestones, etc will be enough of a challenge. Don't forget that the safety of your passenger will be at the very top of your priorities.

Regardless of which bike you choose, you should also plan on upgrading the suspension for your loads and riding conditions, it makes a huge difference, believe me. Our fully loaded Transalp can blast down the potholed roads easily with the upgraded suspension.

One thing I really wish I had was anti-lock brakes, we both took a tumble on an "invisible" patch of gravel a few days ago on a downhill switchback and this would have been prevented by anti-lock brakes. It caught me completely off guard as the road looked clear, but fortunately we were ok, protected by quality riding gear. For this reason, I wish we had the BMW F650 with anti-lock brakes at that time. But the Transalp is bulletproof for reliability, so I am glad I have it for that reason.

Best thing I can recommend is to ride the bikes mentioned above with your passenger on the back and see which one feels best for you. You will probably "bond" with one bike more than the others. Good luck.

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  #29  
Old 24 May 2005
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Hi Sfajner
The F650 does indeed have a Rotax engine. That same engine is used in competition quad-bikes with great success. Cagiva apparently also had a share in its development for BMW (don’t know how true that is – internet rumours).

A little known British engine that’s been tinkered with by a struggling Italian manufacturer for a German multinational sounds like a bad idea – and yet it all turned out surprisingly well.

The Dakar is the way to go – it thumps out more ergs than the standard ‘funduro’ and the gear ratio produces a bit more grunt whilst loosing only marginal top-end speed. Take care of your passenger first, followed closely by the chain… it can be a pain… but it’s not in vain... especially in the pouring… - STOP IT!

P.S. Get the bike that your heart is set on – you will be blind to its faults and loudly praise it’s successes and have a great time!
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  #30  
Old 25 May 2005
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All,

Been looking seriously now for a couple of weeks...Unfortunately haven't had a chance to test ride anything...Damn dealers without test bikes piss me off!

I have been looking at the Suzuki V-Strom DL1000 and 650...Been debating on these too...Espacially comparing the cost of the BMW...

Martin, the Harley sounds like a fun idea...I 'll stay away from it though...but thanks for the "offer"...

there seem to be a lot of people happy with the all around capability of the Stroms... I could buy two for the price of one BMW...and the maintenance cost and spare parts on Beemers are a lot higher...

Anyone here have experience with the Strom?
I know they are not great off roaders, but two up anyway, as many said it is going to be pretty light...

I am tempted by the DL 1000 as i am used to ride Liter sports bikes (currently Aprilia RSV 1000)...But worry a bit about the weight...although I sat on one and even with a pillon behind it felt quite light...

Anyone with exoperience on these?
reliability and such...
Margus, I know you were considering one for a while...what did you end up choosing?

keep posting Friends!
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