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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 14 Jan 2006
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When is a bike old?

I'm looking into buying a used one sylinder offroader for a trans Africa trip (BMW Dakar, Honda Dominator, etc).

Putting kilometers aside, in general, what would be concidered a reasonably aged bike of the type described above, and for this specific purpose?

Please, spare me the comments like: "any kind of bike will make it". I know, you could probably cross the Sahara on a skateboard with square wheels if you really put your back into it.

In my case, I want the best ride I can get for as little money as possible. I've decided an offroader of about 600 +/- ccm's is the best compromise for me (preferably a one cylindered one). I am looking for a bike which has gone less than 40k kilometers (important with low milage on one cylinder bikes). How old would be reasonable? I know there are no clar cut answers here... Is a bike from the late 80's risky? How about something from the mid 90's?

PS. Any motorvehicle is prohibetively expensive in Norway due to extreme taxes on anything that pollutes. A 12 year old Honda Dominator, one of the cheapest 1990's offroaders around, will set you back about 5000 euros... Please keep this in mind before only suggesting bikes that are less than 3 years old... I need to make some heavy compromises!
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  #2  
Old 14 Jan 2006
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Maybe buying outside Norway would be a good choice? Perhaps you've thought of this already and its not practical. Just thinking aloud really!
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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  #3  
Old 14 Jan 2006
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Damm, 5K for a 12 yrs old bike...I thought the UK was expensive!

As Matt suggested...Buy a bike in Germany/Holland, even the hassle would worth it I think.

You can get a 1994 650GS here for 3K (€)

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  #4  
Old 14 Jan 2006
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I am concidering my options to buy in Germany as it could get me a 3-4 year old Dakar with all the extras for the same price as I would pay for a crapped out dinosaur here in Norway.

However, I am not familiar with registration issues, carnets, red-tape issues in Africa, bordercrossing issues, corrupt government official issues, insurance issues, etc...

Also, I will likely not be able to ride the bike in Norway unless I import it, which will cost loads. I calculated that the costs of importing a 10 year old cheap 650 cc would cost me about 2500 euros in adition to the purchasing costs, making it nearly impossible make any savings... It would be great if anybody could give me any insights into buying in another country... I could after all store the bikes at our summerhouse in Sweden or something, maybe even at the beginning/end of each leg for when I go home...

My primary concern right now is to find out a "moderatley safe age" for a 30-50 k kms one cylindered bike...

Its the same all over the develloped world, countries that do not have a car or motorcycle manufacturing industry has extremely high taxes on motorvehicles. That is why Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Sweden, England, USA, etc have cheap cars and bikes while countries like Norway and Denmark have really high taxes... but we like to think that we are just more environmentally councious...
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  #5  
Old 14 Jan 2006
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Wheelie, I had the same dilemma when I bought my Dommie last year. It is my first bike, so still a newbie, so not sure if my thoughts will help.

Mine is a '96. 10 years old was pretty much my mental cut off. My choice came down to cutting out any bike that had been used as it was intended - a trail bike that has been ridden off-road for 10 years will be showing the signs. Hooligan owners are also a bad sign
Weigh up it's history - used to commute every day, or used as a second bike? Used in competition riding or the occassional off-road weekend? Service history or DIY repairs?
Try to find yourself a bike that was bought by someone with too much money and too many toys - that's your best bet. You should be able to get a bike with all the add-on (panniers etc) for your 5000 budget.

Sounds like you need a holiday to Germany

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  #6  
Old 14 Jan 2006
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Yep, even in the UK E5000 would get you something good. My XT was about that (£2995), was registered in November 2004 and had 2200 miles on it! From a real reputable dealer with extra warranty etc. If you can work the buying abroad thing that might be the answer.

(Editing as the last two posts weren't there when I originally posted this!)

Regarding buying abroad as a foreign National, I don't know, never done it, but would it be that hard? I guess not being in the EU might hamper you. Maybe one of the many Aussies/Kiwis that come to Europe, buy a bike and go touring could help you out?
If you can store the bike outside Norway and just use it for your trip that would be ideal.
To give you an example of whats available, theres a guy on the 'Bikes for Sale' section on here selling a completely overland prepped XT with 13,000 on the clock(I think) for £2500 somewhere in England. Matt


[This message has been edited by Matt Cartney (edited 14 January 2006).]
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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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  #7  
Old 14 Jan 2006
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If I can get around all the issues of owning abroad, then this will surely be an option. However, the age of the bike issue would still apply to me.

I would certainly have milage and bike condition from use/abuse as my top selection criterion, this goes without say. Those issues put aside, presupposing milage is fine and the bike does not seem to have been obused too much, when is a one cylindered offroader getting a bit on the old side? When will it get risky?

Any vehicle will wear down just by sitting still. Corrosion in electrics, oil seals, gaskets and packings may crack and leak, etc. In many cases, an aging bike not riden at all is far less reliable than one that is driven regularly... if it sists still it will just rot.

Concidering I've found a bike that has 30-50 k kms, has been riden regularly, has a decent service record, has only been taken offroad for novelty cicks a seldom time, is a one cylindered offroader of about 600 ccs, etc... When does age start becoming an issue?
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  #8  
Old 14 Jan 2006
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Hello all,
living in Norway I am familiar with the high cost issue. I have 8 bikes, the "newest" is from 1987. Don`t worry about age, worry about km`s on the clock. Bikes evolve little, the mechanics are the same and the electronics pretty much so. Older bikes tend to be bodged with, but if lucky you can get a good one.
I normally buy 15 year old bikes in good, but non working condition. The price will be low and the import taxes fair.
Bought a `87 R80GS from Germany a few years back. Problems with the gears, electric starter. Paid 1500Eur for it (45000km on the clock) excl. taxes. Fixed it and travelled around. The total price was incl. repairs and taxes 4000Eur.
Good thing is that you can get very cheap bikes in Germany with minor problems. Import it and fix it.
I did 190 000km`s on my SR500 single before giving it a deserved rest. It`s an `83. A `95 model would give no better service. I would not touch a (japanese) single cylinder bike with more than 40000km`s on it, unless I had complete engine rebuild plans. The common probs are camshaft (and follower if applicable) pitting, gears pitting, piston pin wear (the japanese don`t use small end bearings), oil consumption. I`ve seen a few XL600R with these problems plus cracked cylinder heads.
Anyway, best of luck!
John
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  #9  
Old 15 Jan 2006
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I think it will be impossible to obtain a carnet for a bike bought outside your country of residence. This may well sink that option for you.

I agree: age doesn't matter much, as long as you can still get the vital spares for it. My cousin and her husband are in South America now, using over 20 year-old XT500. It's the model they know and like and they prepare the bikes accordingly. They keep buying parts and dead bikes on Ebay, so they usually have a supply of spares.
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  #10  
Old 15 Jan 2006
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Buying a bike in th UK shouldnt be a problem at all...I'm Brazilian and bought a car here very easily.

They dont really care about your nationality...

No problems with insurance either, and I do NOT have an English driving licence.

Have a look about the temporary import law in Norway (being a Norwegean), it's never easy but usually there is a way...Because your not using that every day over there...

If you decide to buy the bike here you can use my home adress for the letters (you'll need one).

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  #11  
Old 23 Jan 2006
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Hi,

baying a bike out of your coutry, and geting a carnet is no problem. You "just" have to diposit 100% of the bike value at the local AA.
I did it in South Africa.
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  #12  
Old 23 Jan 2006
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Just wondering
Could you register your adress in Germany or UK(using a friends adress)to buy your cheeper bike?and register all there?
Just an idea
KH


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  #13  
Old 27 Jan 2006
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Hello

I agree with motordude. Do not worry about age but with km. On a trans africa trip you going to clock up quite a few hard km. So buying low km bikes, reducing the risk for mecanical problems seems advisable. Hondas DOCH engines seems to cope with many km quite well, i think.

Getting a bike from germany is a possibility it is cetanly cheaper than many other countries. But it is a huge country, and traveling around loking for two bikes is probarbly not going to be cheap.And then you may have problem with registration.

But if you have an "sommerhus" in Sweden. Buying a used bike there, and not taking it to Norway seems like the easiest solution. Should not be a problem either. There seems to bee quite a few low km dominators on the market over there. Look at www.blocket.se
Geting a carnet is no problem in Norway as long as you have the ovnership papers in your name. It is horrendous exspensive tough..

Frode




[This message has been edited by frnas (edited 26 January 2006).]
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