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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 17 Nov 2011
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What Bike?

Hi This is my first post! I have had quite a few bikes over the years and currently have a Fireblade. I retired last year and have moved to France in a small village near the Pyrenees. I had taken my bike with me but have been told it cannot be registered in France so it has to go . I have decided on a big trail type bike and back in the early 80's I owned a XT550. I liked that bike and now these bikes are fitted with much better brakes and are probabley much better all round. I am now in a bit of a quandary as to what bike I should buy. I intend using the bike for road and limited off road use. The mountains are very near by and I hope to get out and go up a few of them there are lots of green lanes as well. I like the look of the KTM bikes. They have good cycle parts and powerful motors but I can't help but think that they are too complex and highly strung for my needs? I also like the look of the new Yamaha Tenere. It has a good motor and brakes etc. I think that there may be other Yamaha's that would also be in the frame but before I go totally down the Yamaha route I would like to have opinions as to whether I should reject the KTM option for reasons of their complexity or are these fears unfounded? Any opinions gratefully received.
cheers
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  #2  
Old 17 Nov 2011
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There is no right answer. Either bike will work fine. It all comes down to what YOU want. When people ask for advice regarding bikes, I ask them to look at what they have bought in the past, why they bought it and what bike made them the happiest and why. You own a fast, sleek, sportbike with a reputation for reliability. Coming from a fireblade, I see you being happy with a brand new 990 Adventure Dakar or 1200 Tenere or even the 660 Yamaha. Remember how bulletproof that xt550 you owned back in the 80's was? Yamaha still wins in the bulletproof category. Although the smaller Tenere would need getting used to coming from a Honda sportbike. But it sounds like you want the KTM. Why fight it? You are newly retired. Life is short. Enjoy it while you can. All bikes require routine maintenance and repair. If you take care of a bike it will take care of you.

KTM make a lot of high strung off-road race bikes just like Honda that do require a lot of care and feeding, but I think you are talking about their dual sport bikes like the more street oriented 990 Adv if you are thinking of mostly paved with some off road thrown in.

The few people I know with big KTM dual sports love them. I have not owned one myself, so others may have better advice. You can always buy smaller more practical bikes when you blow through your retirement funds on fast bikes and women. (Just kidding).

Too bad you have to sell the Honda though.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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South America and back on a 250 Super Sherpa Minimalist Adventure http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=831076
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  #3  
Old 17 Nov 2011
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Question what bike

The key item for me would be service what is the most prevalent manufacturer where you live and travel and how easily you can get it fixed tuned etc also cost- BMW 650/800/ r 1200 gs are nice but cost a bit more to maintain vs a honda or yamaha dual purpose bike.
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  #4  
Old 17 Nov 2011
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Hi John
I hear what you are saying and would not mind getting a big off roader.... however the reason I am having to sell my Fireblade is that in France motorcycles which have motors producing more than 100 bhp are not allowed. So I really am down sizing since getting a 900cc plus bike that only makes 100bhp makes not a lot of sense. I was thinking more about the 640cc machines which have a powerful motor but because of that have a reputation (so I am told) for being a bit fussy about maintainence requirements. I do remember my XT all those years ago and thats what made me think Yamaha. All I needed to do with that bike was adjust the chain, check the oil and put gas in it (although it did stop at traffic lights for some reason with infuriating regularity taking ages to get the beast kicked back into life ). I like the KTM's looks and mystic but my head is saying Yamaha. I really need a bit of advice from a person who has the experience of KTM ownership who can give a true opinion. I have a bit of time to get things sorted because I am back home just now and will not be going back to France for a few months.

cheers
John
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  #5  
Old 26 Nov 2011
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If you're looking at doing some riding off road I think you are wise to limit yourself to a smaller bike. A 250 4stroke can be a lot of fun off road and a lot more forgiving than bigger bikes.

If you're on a budget you can't go too far wrong with a suzuki drz400 although they are a bit buzzy at road speeds.

Also look at the bmw 650 singles. The engine has a reputation for reliability and big miles and is less maintenance hungry than ktm's offerings. They cope well with road use and the engine has a slightly softer delivery than the ktm 640 (and is a lot smoother) which makes them easier to ride. For some reason G650X bikes never caught on in the uk and often sell for less than older f650gs singles. If you are thinking of off-road use an X-challenge is a good bike, otherwise an X-country is a bit lower and slightly nicer on the road.
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  #6  
Old 27 Nov 2011
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I am in a similar position to you, having retired last year too.
I cannot speak for the KTMs but I can for the Yamaha. I currently own a 1200 Super Tenere but before that I had an 08 XT660Z Tenere. It was a very easy bike to ride and maintain. It has a couple of minor faults that are easily rectified. It is a bit tall though (as are the KTMs) but it had good road manners as well as the ability to do moderate off road.
I mentioned my current bike as it has awesome ABS brakes that they are now installing on the 660. The ABS works as well off road as it does on road. You can ride on wet grass or loose gravel and just grab the front brake as hard as you like and the bike just stops - real quick.
The Yam has nothing like the blast of the KTMs, but it is a lot of fun and is very reliable. At the end of the day it boils down to what you want from a bike.
The faults it has are: (The older non ABS version that is)
1) An open plug to the rectifier that gets water in and rots. Easy fixed with silicone.
2) The cush drives wear quick. When padded out with a bit of cycle tube they are fine.
3) There is not much grease used on the axles and head bearings. Easy fix.
Aside from these faults the bike is bomb proof.
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  #7  
Old 27 Nov 2011
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I think a Yamaha XT600E will probably suffice your needs and tick all those boxes.

It's a legendary RTW bike capable of most things.

The engine is bulletproof which is a plus point.

Most importantly this is a bike which will not break the bank - It's still possible to find low mileage (under 12,000 miles) bikes in the UK for less than £1,500. This represents truly outstanding value compared to a BWM or KTM which you mention a few times.

A BMW/KTM will set you back 4 times what a XT will be but you don't get 4 x more performance.

A KTM is a highly strung machine compared to a XT600E. Yes they are great bikes but are they worth the extra dosh? I say NO!

I did look at getting a brand new Yamaha XT660 Tenere last year but when I had a close look at it I couldn't justify spending £6,000 on a bike almost the same as my mint low mileage XT600E.

BANG FOR BUCK - YOU WON'T BEAT AN XT600E or similar simple robust older machine (in good nick) - XR650, XL600, KLR650 etc...

Then again if you have the money to waste, go right ahead.......

Whatever you deicide, I wish you well.

Ride carefully and Stay safe.
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  #8  
Old 28 Nov 2011
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Do it right!

What part of the Pyreneese are you near? There are lots of forest tracks that are mud and trees...

There are great roads through the mountains and you want a nice road bike for these.

Going offroad, you want a small lightweight bike.

If you compromise and get a largish bike (anything over 500cc), after you have picked it out of the dirt more than twice, you will realise why compromise is a bad bad thing.

If you have the dosh for a KTM, then I would get two bikes instead: one for the mountain roads and one for the trails. Then you will always be happy instead of half happy all the time.
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Old 29 Nov 2011
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I have a KTM 690 enduro which I bought after owning a couple of KTM EXC models. The EXCs are basically race bike, quite highly strung and not very nice on the road. I use my 690 mostly for trail riding but with the right tyres can be made into an excellent compromise. It has a reasonable service interval and, apart from a couple of small things that can easily be upgraded, is not at all fragile.

I would say the Tenere is a good option as well although slightly less good on the trails as it's heavier and there are more bits to break.

BMW X-country, X-challenge and the new 650 GS are also worth a look.
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Old 29 Nov 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnon View Post
I have a KTM 690 enduro which I bought after owning a couple of KTM EXC models. The EXCs are basically race bike, quite highly strung and not very nice on the road. I use my 690 mostly for trail riding but with the right tyres can be made into an excellent compromise. It has a reasonable service interval and, apart from a couple of small things that can easily be upgraded, is not at all fragile.

I would say the Tenere is a good option as well although slightly less good on the trails as it's heavier and there are more bits to break.

BMW X-country, X-challenge and the new 650 GS are also worth a look.
Yes, the G650GS is an interesting bike. Good, competitive pricing by BMW now that they have re-introduced it "because of demand" after just a few years of not being available as a new bike.

They have also just brought back the "Dakar" version of this single cyl, but it is now called a "Sertao", or something like that!!
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