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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 30 Jan 2006
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which bike to choose for RTW trip

I am currently planning a RTW trip that is going to take me about 2years. i am planning on starting in canada and going down to south america then across to africa then right across asia. I am looking at these bike.
-KTM 640 adventure
-BMW f640gs dakar
-honda xr650l
-honda xr650r
i have been banging my head agaist the wall on what bike to choose and i am guessing i'm gonna be doing at least 100,000km on the bike?
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  #2  
Old 30 Jan 2006
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Ooooh! That's a hornets nest you've stirred up there mate! If it were me I'd go XT600E, Transalp, A-Twin or possibly a Funduro!
Actually , in the end for my big trip (two weeks away, the days drag like centuries!) , I just made a shortlist and bought the first really good example I came across on the list, which happened to be an XT600E. I think you can overthink these things, better just to get a good bike and prep it.
JMHO
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[This message has been edited by Matt Cartney (edited 29 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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  #3  
Old 30 Jan 2006
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The other thing to thing about is spare parts -
How quickly can you get them? Is the dealer prepard to ship world wide? And will they do it quickly? Go talk to the dealers and people who have owned these bikes regarding parts avaliblity.

You don't want to be waiting in bullamechica for a part to come in for 2 months. Even an aditional week could mean the visa runs out!
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  #4  
Old 30 Jan 2006
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Another question you have to ask yourself is what can your body handle in terms of comfort. Although i´ve owned none of the bikes mentioned, if given a choice i would take a 650 Dakar. Most people i´ve talked to with this bike have only good things to say about it, and for your rout aparently parts are not a problem. The bike is also very comfortable to ride. Antilock brakes are a heavy and unnecesary option, IMHO. I met a guy from Korea while staying in Chihaua? He´s going around the world on a 650gs, after 45000km and a few crashes, no problems. A dealer in the states replaced his shock on warranty, but he was severely overloaded! The KTM is an awesome machine used by many, but its very aggresive and uncomfortable, and parts may be a problem in C-S. America. I can´t say anything about the Honda and Yamaha, no experience there. Hope this helps. Personally, i like my old klunky but reliable and comfy airhead
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Old 30 Jan 2006
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Mr Ron you met Se-Hwan eh? Pre or post smashed BMW panniers.

cheers

alec
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  #6  
Old 30 Jan 2006
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Nothingman, where abouts are you? I'm leaving April 10 for 2 years. Taking a 'slightly modified' R80G/S. Chat over s?

Kevin

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  #7  
Old 30 Jan 2006
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Sticking only to your list (there are many great bikes to concider):

What not to buy: I've never owned one, but would never want one. I'd not buy a KTM. Why? What I've heard and read is that it is really uncomfortable. The seat sucks and the bike vibrates too much.

Still from your list, what to buy: I've never owned one, but really really want one, the Dakar. I've heard and read a lot of great stuff about this bike. Probably one of the most comfortable in its class, but will not shy away from neither offroading or highways.

As for the honda xr650r. I've never owned one of those either, but as fas as I know it isn't street legal. The xr650l is the street legal version with softer shocks and seat, blinkers, etc. My issues with this bike is that its sub frame seems too weak to carry luggage. Even with modifications you might expect it to be fairly unstable, especially offroad. Stock, it seems as though its offroading capabilities would be better than i.e. the Dakar, but with the modifications you would need to do, to carry all your stuff, I bet it would come out much worse offroad than the Dakar. As for riding on tarred roads, just looking at it, it is evident that the Dakar will be MUCH more comfortable. These bikes are motorcross wannabees, a motorcross bike with a big engine. If you want a motorcross bike you should buy a lighter one with a smaller engine. Honda does have some great offroad bikes though: Dominator, Africa Twin, and Transalp (in no particular order).

As my budget is fairly limited I will need to look for a used bike. I have come to the conclusion that the general criterions is that it needs to be a one cylindered bike of no more than 10 years of age and no more than 40.000 kms (among other things). The bikes I am currently concidering are:

BMW F 650 Dakar: This is the bike I want the most, but it is a bit pricey for me. As my wife is going on the trip and she is a bit smaller than me, the GS would be an option for her. This way we could interchange parts (virtually the same bike - only thing really differing being the shocks and fron wheel size). These bikes have not been around that long with only fairly new and pricey ones available.

Honda Dominator: Great bike and one of the cheapest in its class. Here you can find a bike of about 10 years with only a few kms on the clock.

Yamaha XTZ 660 Tenere: I'd say this would be Yamahas version of Hondas Dominator. It is just a hint more expensive than the dominator, but seems to offer better performance and reliability all about. This is the bike I have found delivers the most value for money. Yamaha was the king of this class in the 90's.

Honda Transalp: Great bike but not as Expensive as the Dakar, but in the pricey region for me.

Honda Africa Twin: Great bike, a bit on the heavy side for offroading, but would manage. I bet that it would be one of the better ones on sealed roads though. Also in the upper range of my budget.

Yamaha XT 600 or 350: These are my low budget bikes. I talked to a mechanic who had worked a lot on both Yamahas XT's and the Honda XL's and told me that Yamaha was more reliable.

Honda XL 350 R or 600 R: Also among my low budget bikes, but does not seem to offer the same value for money as Yamahas XT.


In short, my top preferences are:

High budget: BMW F 650 Dakar, probably a Bike of 6 years or less.

Medium to high budget: Honda Transalp or Africa Twin... though, I know that if I would be willing to stretch myself this far, then I would be willing to stretch myself all the way to the BMW.

Mid budget: Yamaha XTZ 660 Tenere, probably a ten year old bike.

Medium to low budget: Honda Dominator, probably a ten year old bike.

Low Budget: Yamaha XT 600. Probably a bike 10-15 years. Honda XL would also be concidered if it was cheap enough.

My most likely choice will be the Tenere or Dominator.


To sum it all up, if you can afford it, buy the Dakar!

[This message has been edited by Wheelie (edited 30 January 2006).]

[This message has been edited by Wheelie (edited 30 January 2006).]
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  #8  
Old 31 Jan 2006
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Quote:
Originally posted by simmo:
Mr Ron you met Se-Hwan eh? Pre or post smashed BMW panniers.

cheers

alec
...yeh, thats him. I rolled into Chihouah? late one night and found him trying to find a hotel. I stayed and watched the bikes while he went looking, then we travelled to the Copper Canyon and down to Zacatecas. You should see the panniers he built...from roadsignd no less! Great storey, i´ll try to get him to contribute to the HUBB.
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  #9  
Old 31 Jan 2006
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hey there, we too are going on a RWT starting from Alberta in Sept 06.
We have purchased two KLR 650 and outfitted them completely for long distance travel.
did you even consider the KLR?
very reasonable cost, parts available
we changed the seat on our bikes to corbin, bought Happy Trails paniers, etc.

consider the KLR.. it's a bike that has been around for many years.
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  #10  
Old 31 Jan 2006
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i figure the ktm 650 adventure is a good choice for me, it's only $12000 cnd and needs very little modifications for the trip and i want a bike that i can take anywhere including the sahara. i just plan on knowing all the places around the world i can get it fixed
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  #11  
Old 31 Jan 2006
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Which bike? Well I rode my dominator from the UK and have been in the south island New Zealand for 4 years now where half the roads are gravel or tracks the dominator has been great but they are a handfull off road especially when things go a little pear shaped.
We bought a honda sl230 for my partner and it is a truely remarkable bike smooth on the road and dances off it. I can pick it up with one arm I would very much consider this bike to carry on around the world. As more second hand ones become available from Japan I think it will prove very popular it makes the xt 225/250 feel like an old dog!!! Why try and lug an F650 round the world????
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  #12  
Old 1 Feb 2006
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Hi Richard,

I have a new XT250 Serow and reckon there's no way it can be described as a old dog! Have you actually ridden one?

Regards

Reggie AKA The Cameraman
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  #13  
Old 1 Feb 2006
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yeah rode a few second hand ones and a brand new one and of course there a great bike and they have more than proved themselves over many years, but they are still punting them out with the same 225 original engine in them and it just doesn't compare. The only thing that has changed is the name. But you climb from the honda to the yamaha and it's surprising how refined a 250 can be.
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  #14  
Old 2 Feb 2006
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Bike for value leads me to think the KLR is a good option as well. It is my understanding that there are different versions depending on country of purchase. A search on the web yields a wealth of info regarding all points on this bike.
Kella, My brother and I are planning a RTW from Calgary in 2008 on KLRs. If you can provide any insight that would be great. Enjoy your Ralph bucks!

[This message has been edited by Dylan (edited 02 February 2006).]
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  #15  
Old 2 Feb 2006
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From your list, choose the Dakar. I have 75,000km on mine, 2.5 years into a 5 or 6 years RTW. I agree with the above in skipping the ABS. The above Hondas (TransAlp, Dommie, Africa Twins) are awesome, but sadly not available in North America.

I just had a little booth at the Abbotsford Motorcycle Show, too bad we didn't meet. THere is a chance I will be at the Outdoor Adventure Show at BC Place Feb 17-19. I will leave a note here if that comes together.

rene
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