I think Matt has it right with running hard wearing tires. Knobbies will be of little use in 85% of your travel. A front knobby would be help in mud, but lowering pressures on street tires also helps a lot. Also, any knobby will be history in 2 to 3K miles ridden hard on pavement.
Tires like the Metzeler ME880 are a good choice for a rear tire. Lasts very well. Most major urban centers should be able to order a tire. Given lead time
helps out of course. Some places may even stock more common sizes. 19" front / 17" rear, or 21" front / 18" or 17" rear. Most RTW types haul a spare....or two.
If you really intend to go looking for trouble in terms of off roading then maybe a single is a better choice. If you are young, strong and big and in good shape then perhaps the GS12 could work. Depends on if you want to
tackle technical stuff where knobbies might help. Most RTW riders don't.
The BMW's are fine bikes but pricey. A BMW GS12 is double the price of a
Suzuki DL650 Vstrom. Huge plus on the Vstrom is tubeless tires and VERY tough wheels. (Unlike the 12GS)
And the F650 Dakar weighs in nearly 100 lbs. heavier than a Suzuki DR650.
Seems impossible, but compare listed dry weights. I won't mention the price difference......
The KLR650 is lighter too and the most popular RTW bike in our part of the world (north, central, south America) Now why is that?? ;-)
The Euro bikes may be harder to source parts on in most countries. Japanese bikes have about 10 times the dealer coverage worldwide, and many stock tires for good local sellers.
I also like Matt's comment regards the "Sore Thumb" factor. I would want something a bit more low key or invisible in a lot of places I've been. Especially in todays politically charged environment.
Why not buy a used KLR650 and spend your money on travel?
Last edited by mollydog; 17 Jul 2006 at 22:41.