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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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Old 30 Nov 2007
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UK to Dakar and back best bike?

Hi Guys
Am planning a trip with three friends October 08 from london to Dakar hopefully taking in some interesting pistes on the way
But am going around in circles deciding on the bikes I am looking at either
a KTM 640 adventure or a 650 Dakar ( one of us already has one) another guy favours the 990 KTM (too heavy?) have just started reading Sahara overland and light as poss seems the way to go
I have a bmw 1200gs at the moment and have considered going on that
We will probably be driving back as well (6 weeks Total)
All thoughts greatfull received
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Old 30 Nov 2007
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So... I am a friend now, and you said i reminded you of the Dairy Milk Gorrilla!

Seriously though, it is probably worth mentioning that between the four of us, we range from 5' and 9 stone to 6'4" and 19 stone....

Any advise on the type of bike would be very usefull - especially as we dont have much sand to practise on here in middle england!
LIVE for ever - or Die in the attempt.....

:scoo ter:
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Old 16 Dec 2007
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It's probably more important you are all matched in terms of speed and comfort riding on the blacktop and off road ability in difficult conditions - you could do the trip on any of the bikes mentioned - it's worth asking around on the sahara forum how difficult the easiest route is and from there it's upto you how much more difficult (more off road) you want to do and that will depend on who is struggling the most. i.e. if you have a rider who is not so good off road and riding a BMW 1200 then you can't attempt a difficult section and would have to find an easier route which everyone on their 'lightweight' off roaders will find dull.

For me my chosen compromise is a 650 dual sport bike so I would pick the Beemer or KTM 640 preferably with a screen.

If I had the cash of course I would like a KTM 990 but woud be worried if everyone else was going on much lighter 600's unless I know I was a much better off road rider than them.
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Old 16 Dec 2007
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Nothing bigger than 650!!!!!!!

I am riding down to SA on an old XL600 and anything heavier would have been a very big mistake!!!
All the guys on their ktm990, gs1200 even african twins are crying! Just remember when you hit the sand, if you go off piste, you dont want any extry weight. And why would you want to stick to the roads on a trip like that.

I would get the KTM 640 as it has the biggest tank. Put 2 sidee panniers and what does not go in the boxes does not go on the trip!!!!
Brand new conti tkc 80 front and rear and no spare tyres.
A friand of mine woke up one morning and decided to do that trip and by the afternoon he was in spain. Thats as much planning it needs. no carnet required and no pre visas.
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Old 16 Dec 2007
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I'm heading down to Dakar solo next month on a 1200GSA. On the way I will do a few pistes in Morocco.

The reality is that any bike from a scooter to a Harley will do the trip to Dakar, it just depends on the difficulty of the pistes. Sandy pistes are difficult for heavy bikes or indeed ordinary bikes carrying a lot of luggage and petrol.

I haven't done the Mauritanian R2 piste and the others from Atar, but I know some on 1150GSAs who turned back on R2. OK they are extremely heavy bikes and were also carrying 20l of extra fuel and 20l of water, but the sand got them down. Riding on the gravel between the tracks wasn't viable due to the large number of metal shards.

Keeping to the tarmac through Mauri should be fine. The R1 coastal piste might be easier than R2 and I shall probably try that on the way back.

After many trips in Morocco I've decided to downsize from the 1200GSA. I was going to move back to a 1200GS but I have now decided to go lighter and have an F658 (the new twin-cylinder 800cc F650GS) on order. The F658 is about the same weight as the current F650GS and the forthcoming XT660 Ténéré.

"For sheer delight there is nothing like altitude; it gives one the thrill of adventure
and enlarges the world in which you live,"
Irving Mather (1892-1966)

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Last edited by Tim Cullis; 16 Dec 2007 at 22:03.
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