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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 28 Jun 2014
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what is the optimal bike weight for adventure trips?

By adventure trips I mean mixed roads between pavement and gravel.
I am interested in fuel economy, maneuverability of the bike and practicality on the road.

From my test rides so far seems to me I should keep gross weight under 200kg/450LB. Surprisingly most adventure bike like XT660z etc weigh over
that limit. Wonder why...

Last edited by robson; 29 Jun 2014 at 09:40.
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  #2  
Old 29 Jun 2014
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Hi i have tried a lot of bike over the years and ruled out most BMW's or other bigger bikes . The two bike i used all the time now that have proven to be good for motorways and offroad work are the Africa twin weighing in at just over 200 kl or for places were your doing more off road then on road i like the KLR650 .

I would recommend the Africa twin as a good arounder if you can check one out
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  #3  
Old 29 Jun 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robson View Post
By adventure trips I mean mixed roads between pavement and gravel.
I am interested in fuel economy, maneuverability of the bike and practicality on the road.

From my test rides so far seems to me I should keep gross weight under 200kg/4500LB. Surprisingly most adventure bike like XT660z etc weigh over
that limit. Wonder why...
4500 lbs????

The "optimal bike debate" has been carried out so many threads here its not even funny. Go test ride some single cylinder bikes. Try and find bikes under 150 kilo. Then with your gear it will be around 200. My 690 is less then 210 kilo with all my gear. The Atwin is over 210 kilo unloaded.

You should also be honest with yourself about what type of riding you want to do. In my opinion, offroad ability of a bike is better than onroad comfort.. It makes you explore the small roads instead of burning slab all day and dealing with traffic. But, I want to be able to ride up that huge dune on the left to see what the view is like from the top. Also my opinion: You should be able to be able to pick up your bike by yourself... Not just on tarmac, on all surfaces. Doesn't seem practical to have to unload a bike to pick it up when you tip over or get stuck.
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  #4  
Old 29 Jun 2014
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As light as possible & practical
Layout your intended gear, halve it & then cull some more !
How many trips have been done with clothing not worn, gear not used & just sitting there taking up space ??? Plenty !
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  #5  
Old 29 Jun 2014
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Playing top-trumps with the manufacturers spec sheets is pointless IMHO. The only way to take account of the different shapes and seat widths and engine "happy spots" and hundred other factors that please or annoy is to use them. Which would you rather have, 5 litres of petrol or 4.5 Kg lighter or a bike weighed without any oil in the engine? It's all compromise.


My current choice (Moto Guzzi V7) is supposedly under the magic 200Kg at 179 wet. If feels small and light and on gravel roads in third gear it plonks along as well as road shaped bike. My former V-strom was a whopping 14 Kg over the ballpark magic number but listed as "kerb" weight was certainly more capable off road due to the 19-inch front tyre when moving, but when forced to walking pace by how far ahead you can see was a top heavy lump with a seat height and width that made getting a foot down fretful. The Wee's bulk and extra 20HP would actually make it the superior road bike in many people eyes, but if you stick to the speed limit anything over 40 HP is pointless anyway.


I'd try talking to people with similar use and shape to you rather than reading the manufacturers web pages. It's taken me 20 years and 14 bikes to reach the conclusion that a 5'8" bloke doing 95% road use, who needs to take any road at 20 mph in any weather, has a pillion ten times a year and wants to do his own maintenance is better off with a bike that pretty much looks like what Ted Simon used in 1975 and has between 30 and 60 HP (but other choices also work to most of the spec)! Would you believe the only manufacturers who agree with me are Triumph (so long as I ignore their lies about the weight), Moto Guzzi and the odd Kawasaki dealer who knows their product range includes bikes that aren't snot green missiles ;-) The rest think having a bike that looks like something from the Transformers film or that is the weight of my lunch lighter than last years model is more important to me.


Look at the bikes that are doing the job, old BMW's, KTM's, Japanese singles and twins, Chinese 125's, Honda Step throughs..... The published weight figure doesn't coincide with success or failure.


Andy

Last edited by Threewheelbonnie; 29 Jun 2014 at 11:30.
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Old 29 Jun 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snoah View Post

You should also be honest with yourself about what type of riding you want to do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
Playing top-trumps with the manufacturers spec sheets is pointless IMHO. The only way to take account of the different shapes and seat widths and engine "happy spots" and hundred other factors that please or annoy is to use them.
I have a KTM 690 and a BMW R100GS. My preference for any 'adventure tour' will always be the old BMW. It's much heavier than the KTM but still fine for the unpaved roads, much more suitable for extended road travel and I wouldn't be put off exploring less travelled routes because of the weight.

The KTM would be my bike of choice if the intended journey was almost entirely off paved roads (trans Pyrenees for example) as the bike is much lighter making it a lot less hard work. I always try to travel as light as possible these days but even so the BMW carries the gear more easily.
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Old 29 Jun 2014
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I'm pretty much the same size I was forty years ago. OK, the leather bike trousers I bought in 1974 are a little tight these days but nothing a week on bread and water wouldn't sort out. Bikes, on the other hand, seem to have been spending the last few decades on a Big Mac and Lard diet and have become huge and bloated, lumbering their way down the tarmac and needing car sized parking bays.

How do I know this? Because yesterday I spent an hour or so wandering round my local Triumph dealer's showroom. They keep a small collection of classic (70's mainly) bikes scattered here and there in between the current stock so it's possible to do a direct comparison. The older stuff - many of which I owned in the past - looks tiny, almost like toys, yet I happily did many thousands of miles on them round Europe and beyond, often with pillions, without worrying about their weight. The current bikes were mostly all physically bigger and a lot heavier (the exception being a secondhand Enfield).

No doubt they were a lot more sophisticated and, despite much bigger engines, were probably just as economical but my point is that I'm just the same size as I ever was but I'm having to manhandle much larger heavier lumps of machinery around. No wonder they're unwieldy off road. There's nothing wrong with 200kg+ bikes that become 250kg+ when they're loaded up as long as you're riding them along smooth endless tarmac. It's when you have to ride them on a cross rutted sandy piste or push them uphill on an adverse camber that the problems arise. And lets not talk about snow.

Lighter bikes do exist - I have three of them under 150kg but mostly they're small capacity (my 125 is 88kg) or crude to the point of needing a mechanically adept (or insensitive!) rider (My XR600 is about 130kg, my CCM is about 145kg). The market seems to have decided though that more weight is an acceptable compromise for more sophistication - or maybe it's just that bigger sells easier. Either way, we now have still normal sized people trying to manhandle bikes that would have been laughed at a few decades ago - even the original Gold Wing looks small now.
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Old 30 Jun 2014
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I think it mostly depends on what roads you will travel. More offroad means more lighter bike!
As long as it will be graded gravel you can drive one of the big ADV-Bikes like S10 or GS, but my experience says, although on this roads a lighter bike like XChallenge, XT660Z or similar will be much mor fun

I own a S10 and now a XChallenge. I´ve been on gravel in the Alps with teh S10 and its great, what ist possible with such a big bike, and even the backroads in northern Germany could be done with the S10, but after driving the XChallenge on these roads i changed the Tires of the S10 to Anakee 3 because i will use the S10 only on tarmac.
A light bike ist so much more fun offroad, almost on graded gravel an on single trails just funny

My recommendation is to go as light as possible depending on the kind of adventure you will do.

But this ends not only with a light bike, light should be the luggage too
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Last edited by DrWolle; 30 Jun 2014 at 12:44.
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Old 30 Jun 2014
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"What Bike?" is a frequent question here & you'll received great advice. But the truth is, only you can decide - only you know the type of road you'll use & what your capabilities are

You may be 6'2" and weigh 20 stone or 5' nothing and weigh 7 stone. It also depends on what you define as a "gravel" road and what skills you have/lack.
I agree that some of the ADV Bikes are too tall, too heavy but some riders would be happy picking up a 1200GSA and relish a muddy trail or a boulder strewn river crossing. The svelte Tiffany Coates manages to ride her R80GS all over the world & pick it up. There are techniques.
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  #10  
Old 30 Jun 2014
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the problem is with today's products, everything has to either too big or too small
Look at any company offer for so called adventure bike and you'll see.
If something is smaller, it has small tank or other thing making it harder to use for longer trips.
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Old 30 Jun 2014
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We thought we were doing well on our tricked up DR650 2up around Uyuni in Bolivia and then met a Czech couple riding 2up on an Enfield Bullet 350 on the original road tyres doing all the pistes we did and a few more difficult ones. There a lot to be said for lower lighter bikes.

A 650 is as heavy a bike as I want to use for travelling, even the DR with a full tank and luggage is fairly heavy ~ 200kgs.

The 'optimal' bike does not exist, what we have to choose from are all compromises, you have to decide which is the most important to you: 150 hp and weighing 250kgs, or weighing 75kg and doing 120 mpg with 20 hp.
Most of us choose something on the lighter side.....but as has been demonstrated you can ride nearly anything, nearly anywhere.
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Old 30 Jun 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robson View Post
the problem is with today's products, everything has to either too big or too small
Look at any company offer for so called adventure bike and you'll see.
If something is smaller, it has small tank or other thing making it harder to use for longer trips.

Back to market forces here IMHO. The overlanders won't buy the extended warranty, or the bi-monthly service, or bring back a 2000 mile bike in 18 months to sell or a lot of the other things the manufacturers like. The Charlies shop more, break less inside the warranty period and want to be seen down at Starbucks on a bike that's bigger and shinier than their special friends.


In 1975 my Dad went to the dealers with a list that included things like not buying petrol on the way home from work more than once a week that were directly transferable to touring. He rated 100 mph performance as a equal to higher insurance costs and would have bought the 250 over the 350 if the dealer had had one in. A different market in different times.


There is hope, the Chinese market still includes the mid-weight class and our petrol prices are pushing range as a selling point. (Which back on topic is another weight factor, 42 litre tank = average 20 kg, 12 litre tank = average 6 kg, but which gives the bigger range? you need the MPG figure as well and might even choose not to fill the big tank).


Andy
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Old 30 Jun 2014
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and that's what I'm talking about:



who needs bigger bike for adventure.
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Old 6 Jul 2014
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Originally Posted by robson View Post

who needs bigger bike for adventure.
Bigger blokes

In that clip, that bike is perfectly proportioned to her. My wife has one, and I sit on the carrier when I try to ride it. Forget about standing up, as I have to fold myself double to reach the handle bars.


IMO- power to mass ratio is much more important than weight. but the lighter it is, the easier it'll be in the rough stuff...
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Old 8 Jul 2014
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Bigger blokes

In that clip, that bike is perfectly proportioned to her. My wife has one, and I sit on the carrier when I try to ride it. Forget about standing up, as I have to fold myself double to reach the handle bars.


IMO- power to mass ratio is much more important than weight. but the lighter it is, the easier it'll be in the rough stuff...
Bigger bike doesn't need to be heavy bike. Look at every rally bike. Most average people have trouble touching the ground.

I'm 5'9". Average male height. I am tippy toe on both sides of my 690 or flat foot on one side or the other. Its not a small bike... but it weighs less then the crf250.

I agree power is important. But I would way rather ride a crf250 in mongolia then a 1190 adv. Anyone who has ridden an big ADV bike to mongolia will probably agree with me... or they took the pavement most of the way.
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