Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > Which Bike?

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.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.


LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 26 Sep 2004
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Wales
Posts: 13
What is the best bike for serious travelling?

I am fairly new to this forum and most writers seem to be well informed and experienced.
If money was no object, what bike would be favoured by the big mileage traveller? Would it be a BMW1200 - big, powerful yes, but perhaps too cumbersome and delicate for the rough stuff? An XT600RE, basic, simple but slow and not particularly comfortable. A Transalp - reliable and capable, but not particularly powerful? etc, etc, etc. Everyone would have their favourites and have different priorities, but could a consensus emerge, which would conclude that ????? really IS, by common concent, the best bike for serious travelling.
Reply With Quote
Old 26 Sep 2004
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: MaeSot, Thailand
Posts: 96
Hi all,

I think everyone has different ideas or priorities, so will choose different bikes. We have just finished riding around Australia, 20000km, on an F650GS and a Dakar. Both bikes were fairly new with less than 10,000km on them. We wanted reliability and reasonably comfortable bike with the option of some dirt road capability. The GS has a very low seat height which was ideal for my partner.Comfort is something that is quite often overlooked, but I think people who have travelled long distances do not take it for granted. We have no regrets, and will head off to Asia on the same bikes.

All the best in your search!!

Andrew and Wendy

See u soon!!
“… all that is required for evil to triumph is for good men (and women) to do nothing ...”.
Reply With Quote
Old 27 Sep 2004
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Edinburgh
Posts: 761
try a variety of bikes, pick the one that fits your character.
Reply With Quote
Old 27 Sep 2004
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Central Portugal
Posts: 321
I've just put a deposit down on a 1200GS. It's a great bike to ride and seems like an improvement over the 1150 in terms of weight, power and off road abillity. However, I think this model is a bit too new and therefore, a bit of an unknown quantity with regards to reliabilty and availability of spare parts to be considered as a serious overland tool at present.

The F650GS is a good bike as they've been around for a while and most of the initial problems (I bought one of the first ones imported into the UK and it was a nightmare) have been sorted. There a good choice for riders travelling solo who are a little short in the leg and are light enough to be picked up when dropped. OK they don't have loads of excess power but, how much do you really need. If the idea is to see what your riding through your better taking your time and enjoying the view surely.

The 1150 Adventure is very comfortable, has plenty of power, shaft drive, good load carrying abillity and a huge tank range. There heavy but, carry there weight well, although I wouldn't like to try a lift one that's fully loaded on it's side. People who've ridden them off road say there up to the task. They are great for solo or two up treks.

The KTM 640 Adventurer is another out of the box overland bike. They also have a huge tank and a rugged construction. Not recommended for long two up trips though as I discovered a few years ago when my wife had had enough after two long hours in the saddle, en-route to the Horizons meet in Derbyshire, and wanted to get the train home.

Airheads beemers, Teneres, XT's, DR's, XR'S, XRV's XLV's the list is endless.

Everyone has a favourite bike and their own reasons for it being their favourite bike. Power, weight, height, comfort, brand, simplicity of construction, price etc.

If I were planning another long overland trip my choice would be an Africe Twin, no question. I've had a couple of these and they've been hugely reliable, comfortable enough and tough. They have adequate power for two up travel and aren't too heavy to pick up when dropped, even fully loaded. I'd carry a spare fuel pump as that's the most common fault but, thats about it. There are probably better bikes but, that would be my choice.

[This message has been edited by mcdarbyfeast (edited 26 September 2004).]
\"Bon Chance\"
Reply With Quote
Old 29 Sep 2004
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Oslo, Norway/ Provence, France
Posts: 99
I would go for a BMW F650 GS Dakar.

Great comfort, great reliability, great all-round capabilities, good fuel-economy and easy to drive.

The only minus I can come to think off is the 17,5 liter tank, but you can either buy the the expensive and rather complicated 27 liter Touratech-kit, or just carry a spare jerrycan if you think you will need it.

Personally, I think I should be awarded with a record in Guiness Recordholder Book, as the person that have been riding the longest distance with a full full Jerry-can and not using it. Alway nervous about not finding petrol, but with range around 500km(on tarmac), I,ve never needed it.

Another thing... in the early preparation phases, I always think I will do a lot of off road, but usally I end up doing a lot more gravel and tarmac than I thougth.... on knobbies with heavy duty inner tubes. Embarrasing.

Anyway, the BMW F650 GS Dakar is a good allround choice....... for me :-)

Good luck.
Reply With Quote
Old 30 Sep 2004
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Wales
Posts: 13
Thanks for the replies. Lots of good information. I recently bought an XT660R (so far-4000 miles-it has proved to be a very good bike) and I have been bitten by the travelling bug. The jury is out on whether the XT has the ability to do a BIG journey - hence my question.
Reply With Quote
Old 30 Sep 2004
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Manchester
Posts: 54
Agree with Dougie above. Find a bike that fits you, not the trip.

Few things are certain, but I am 100% sure that all of us, when we started out travelling , bought a massive rucksack, filled it with what we thought we would need.......then either threw the lot in a bin in Singapore or shipped it back home and carried on in bliss with a little but neat item and 90% less clothes.

If the XT fits your riding style, is comfortable and you like it, then there's no reason you cannot use it for a long trip.

Reply With Quote
Old 13 Oct 2004
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 41
for me I have found the Kawasaki KLR650 is a reliable and economic all around bike. It has been around many years (since 87) without significant change, thus there is many aftermarket products to customize to suit one;s needs....

but then again, I just rode a Transalp today....a 89 with 6,600 miles on it ....yeah I think it should go int he stable too!
life is good, always free flow!
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


Latvia to Australia, an inspirational 5 month journey full of unexpected adventures!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.


Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 20:31.