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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 8 Jul 2006
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Tyre availability decides whcih bike

I am deciding which bike to purchase for a round the world tour. My choices are the BMW R1200GS, BMW F650GSD or KTM 990.

I have rode them all and considered the pro's and con's but lack information on tyre availability. I have travelled before and almost everywhere I have been there are 250/400cc dirt bikes running 21" front and 18" rears.

What are the easiest tyre sizes to obtain Globally ?

Are KTM sizes easily obtainable or would I be better fitting a Dakar with an 18" rear to accomodate smaller sizes ?

I love the BMW R1200GS any information on ease of getting tyres ?

Thanks for your help.
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  #2  
Old 8 Jul 2006
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I'm guessing that in much of the third world you'd struggle to get tyres suitable for any bigger bike, except perhaps in some capital cities. I'd just go for a combination of hard wearing tyres and planning your trip to coincide with more developed areas when you need tyres. Otherwise you might have to take a spare rear with you.
On a recent trip I chose TKC80s because a: they looked nice and b: the were good for the minimal amount of off roading I did. I wouldn't make this mistake again, next time I'll get something more road orientated and hardwearing.
I certainly wouln't let tyres dictate your choice of bike.
Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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Old 11 Jul 2006
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Use Dual Sport

Thanks.

I will use TKC 80's for West Africa then find good dual sport tyres for the rest. Shipping them in is cheaper and quicker than I expected.

Still cant decide between the F650 Dakar and R1200GS.
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Old 11 Jul 2006
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I think the general opinion is that 650 or thereabouts is more suited to third world travelling than the bigger bikes. Certainly my 600 (XT) was more than enough on my trip. Only on the boring old euro motorways would a bigger bike have been more comfortable. You'll be less of a 'sore thumb' too.
2 up might be a different matter though.
Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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Old 17 Jul 2006
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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?

Patrick

Last edited by mollydog; 17 Jul 2006 at 22:41.
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Old 17 Jul 2006
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog
Why not buy a used KLR650 and spend your money on travel?

Patrick
Yep, think of all the really top places you could stay, fine places to eat, extra activities etc. you could do for the circa £7000-£8000! Not to be underestimated! Even a new Yamaha is only £4500 or so and easily as reliable.
Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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Old 17 Jul 2006
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you can pick up new tyres in Togo, at the ktm dealer. your tyres will probably wear out by the time you get from Europe to Togo, so it's ideal. You should then be good for SA and another new set.
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Old 22 Jul 2006
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Thanks for the advice, will take a look at the KLR.

I love the ruff stuff so a small bike may be best.
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  #9  
Old 22 Jul 2006
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Hi Darren,
I'd also look at the Yamaha XT660 (and XT600E if you're looking at second hand bikes too, my personal favourite!) and the Honda XR/XL and the Suzuki DR (I think it's 'DR') they are all top bikes.
Matt
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*Disclaimer* - I am not saying my bike is better than your bike. I am not saying my way is better than your way. I am not mocking your religion/politics/other belief system. When reading my post imagine me sitting behind a frothing pint of ale, smiling and offering you a bag of peanuts. This is the sentiment in which my post is made. Please accept it as such!
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