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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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  #16  
Old 2 Feb 2006
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Nothingman,
Several of the bikes that are mentioned in this topic are not avaiable in Canada. The following are the ones that are available in our country.
The KTM is the most expensive
The Honda XR 650 really tall and more off road than on road and a really poor seat.
The BMW is a awesome bike but your looking at 10 to 11 thousand dollars. (think of your carnet cost)
Again, have you looked at the Kawasaki KLR 650. Read up on them. They are just about bullet proof and parts are available all over the world. They are light weight and easy to handle. There is a limitless amount of accessories you can add to them.
Really your options are limited in Canada, It would be nice to have more choices,

Read Gregory Fraiser's book on world travel. He took a KLR around the world and had nothing negitive to say about it.

Happy searching.
kella

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  #17  
Old 2 Feb 2006
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When entering those yahoo groups, don't forget that people often have bias towards their own bike.

I have sold my MC and am now riding vintage Vespas, buying my fourth one today. I am seriously concidering using it for a Trans Africa trip this summer... a bit mad... or stupid. Even though I have some bias towards Vespas, I don't think I can reccommend them for pretty much anything but using it as a lawn ornament or something. They are far unsuperior to anything remotley new on any parameter of comparison (besides style ofcourse)... I guess that is why I want to ride it.

A great thing about both Hondas and Yamahas is that there is a wide availability of parts and know how accross the globe. Over all, Honda is the most sold brand accross the globe, while the Yamaha XT/XTZ was the most sold bike in its class (...or so I have been told).
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  #18  
Old 3 Feb 2006
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Hi
On your list of choices i would take the XRL.No doubt at all.
From Mexico to Argentina you will need your first replacement parts.BMW are luxurious,if you find them.KTM more complicated.
Now Honda is available on allmost every city.
Specialy small cc bikes.
Yamaha,suzuky and Kawa much less but still there.
Honda my friend.Now what model do you like...is your decision.The 650 R is very little known here,but the L has the same engine as the Dominator.And they are present here since 89.
Suerte en la ruta!
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  #19  
Old 3 Feb 2006
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Rather than tell you what bike to take I can tell you what bike not to take. I've got an XR 650 R; its a great bike but bloody uncomfortable over 100kms, nowhere to fit a screen which with a very upright sitting position is a problem, kick start only (with a high compression 650cc piston) which would get very uncomfortable in heat, a standard tank which goes onto reserve at 110kms and a subframe which would definitely snap when you put some luggage on it. There would be ways to fix all its problems but why bother, just choose a different bike.
Ewan

PS Great to hear that Se-Hwan is still going!
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  #20  
Old 2 Mar 2006
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Parts availablity will always be a problem unless you're riding what the locals ride. That's a fact.

Reliabilty and comfort in the conditions you will ride are priorities 1 and 2.

My choice would be a sorted DR650.
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  #21  
Old 3 Mar 2006
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lone Rider:
Parts availablity will always be a problem unless you're riding what the locals ride. That's a fact.

Reliabilty and comfort in the conditions you will ride are priorities 1 and 2.

My choice would be a sorted DR650.
Good choice, air cooled and screw & locknut valve adjustment - why take a bike that requires shims if you either can't get them when needed, can't do the work yourself or can't find a decent mechanic who can do the work if you can get the shims.

If you're a competent mechanic and can replace shims etc, I'd go for a later F650GS / Dakar of some sort. Large aftermarket & internet based back up for these bikes.

Whatever yo choose, build up a good relationship with a knowledgeable dealer who has internet access and can be relied upon to post parts worldwide, ideally someone who will be willing to go the extra mile really come to your aid.

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  #22  
Old 19 Apr 2006
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I would not trust a single cylinder trail bike on a RTW trip.

The KTM in particular. It's on plenty of Net forums about how unreliable they are.
Forget the advertising hype, yeah they do the Dakar, they also have a team of KTM mechanics to fix them, you will not.

I hate to run down any bike but the Suzuki DR 650 is known in Oz as the Hand Grenade...not a case of if it will blow up, only when will it happen.
Have you ever seen a DR with more than 50 thou klicks on it? No, neither have any of us here.

Any twin cylinder bike, even a modified road bike is likely to do a much better job.

Do you want to race across sand dunes or get to the other side of the world?

As an example...an Aussie special of my own design...take one brand new GS 500 Suzuki. Add: Longer suspension back and front. Barkbusters, crash bars, bash plate, off road tires, possibly a larger tank, possibly lower the gear ratio, possibly add Moto-X bars.
There you have it, a perfect all roads tourer.
Famous for reliability and I know couriers with over a hundred thou on their work bikes.
A fave expression here is, if a Suzuki has the letters GS or GSX on it, it will last, if it does not, it won't.

A twin won't notice the weight of the touring gear, all singles do.
All a trail bike has that a road bike does not is suspension travel and lighter weight.
You can change the suspension easily enough.
The weight of your touring gear will make a single cylinder trail bike into a pig off road anyway.

I have met plenty of riders with over two hundred thou kilometers on their twins, I have never met anyone with that on a single.
Singles are just not designed for longevity, sad but true.

Look outside the sphere of single cylinder trail bikes.
If you don't want to modify a road bike have a look at...
The KLE 500 kawasaki.
The Triumph Tiger.
Any old Boxer engined BMW Twin. In the GS range.
(MY 650 Boxer Twin has over three hundred thou on it, never had a major problem, ever.)

A twin probably will get you around the world without any major drama's, I am dubious that a single will.

Good luck, look forward to the trip reports.
Ride safe: Jaq.
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  #23  
Old 20 Apr 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaqhama
I would not trust a single cylinder trail bike on a RTW trip.

A twin won't notice the weight of the touring gear, all singles do..
Errrrr I've had a twin 'notice' the weight of my touring gear on more than one trip. I've toured with a 175, a 250 (both singles) and two 250 twins. I've also toured with 4 cyclindered and 3 cyclindered bikes.

I can see no reason why a single properly looked after and not thrashed would not survive equally as well as a twin. The main thing is the maintance - that will probably be more frequent than the twin, but also cheaper and less time consuming. I put 42,000 kms on my first bike - a 175 single two stroke. On the original piston and bore. I traded it on a 250 single two stroke - the salesman said it was the best 175 he'd riden - and asked what rebore size it was on.... If you look after the bike it will look after you.
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  #24  
Old 21 Apr 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaqhama
I hate to run down any bike but the Suzuki DR 650 is known in Oz as the Hand Grenade...not a case of if it will blow up, only when will it happen.
Have you ever seen a DR with more than 50 thou klicks on it? No, neither have any of us here.

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...-problems-8481

70,000 miles on a DR ... hummm ... and on this site hummm... that would be 112,700 kms...
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  #25  
Old 21 Apr 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Warner
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...-problems-8481

70,000 miles on a DR ... hummm ... and on this site hummm... that would be 112,700 kms...
If you're prepared to keep throwing money at a bike, anything in the world will keep going.
I got 80,000 klicks out of a Honda NX 650, then the crank went south.
A mechanic who has worked on the NX and XR range of bikes since they first came to Oz said he was not surprised the engine self destructed, he was only surprised that it did not happen until the 80,000 thou mark.
I changed oil constantly, he figured that was the reason it lasted so long.
I've done a fair bit of the world and Oz on a range of different bikes. People's opinions vary. There's always going to be disagreement about singles versus twins.
I have managed over two hundred thousand kilometers on two twin cylinder bikes that I have owned. Original engine parts. No major repairs at all.
I got 80,000 out of the NX, 75,000 out of an XL 250, every other single has started to have serious trouble between 30,000 to 50,000. Strangely enough if you troll thru internet forums you will find that this is quite common. So it's obviously not just myself that has reported it.
Professional London motorcycle couriers won't have a bar of single cylinder bikes, I find that a good indication of their user friendliness.
Guy asked for thoughts, so I gave mine honestly.

I looked at your geocity site Frank, I think you're lugging too much gear around mate.
I used to be guilty of the same thing..the "I better take this in case I need it" scenario.
I normally only travel with a pair of large leather saddlebags and a medium size kit bag now.
I see you do the TTT sometimes? I did it back in the early 90's, I was on the NX 650 then.
I'm thinking of doing the TTT again this year, for some reason the thought of riding along muddy dirt roads in the middle of a Southern Highlands winter appeals to me, not sure why.
If I do we can debate the singles versus twins subject endlessly.

Last edited by Jaqhama; 21 Apr 2006 at 11:41.
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  #26  
Old 21 Apr 2006
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Suzuki GS 500

Jaq
What you have to say about the Suzuki GS 500 is very intriguing to me. Are you saying you actually have one and have modified it to be an off road bike as well as a road bike? Please tell me more if there is more to tell.
Thanks
Terry
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  #27  
Old 22 Apr 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trider
Jaq
What you have to say about the Suzuki GS 500 is very intriguing to me. Are you saying you actually have one and have modified it to be an off road bike as well as a road bike? Please tell me more if there is more to tell.
Thanks
Terry
Terry: I am in the investigative stage at the moment mate.
The incidentals like the tank, bash plate etc will be an easy install.
I am just seeing what fork legs and rear suspension units from true off road bikes fit onto the GS 500.
Once I've worked out that bit, all else will be easy.
I had a Kawsaki 750 LTD Twin many years ago, I modified that in one weekend...it spent the next seven years touring all over Oz, from highways to desert tracks.
A mate in western Oz did exactly the same mods to his LTD.
At the time they were probably the most powerful motored trail bikes in the country...LOL.
This was back when a 500cc trail bike was considered large.

I would rather modify a road bike I know to be reliable than buy the limited range of Adventure bikes on the market. Half of them, like the 650 v-strom are not really designed for hammering along desert roads and forest tracks anyway.
Neither is the BMW GS 1100/1200 in my opinion. It's a massive beast off road in rough conditions. And when it gets stuck...it's well and truly stuck...LOL.
The original R 80 GS Boxer was more my idea of a good, all conditions, tourer.

I'll let you know how I go with the GS 500, another month and I will have the answers to all my questions. When I have all the info I require, I will probably manage to knock it together in less than a week.
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  #28  
Old 23 Apr 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaqhama
I would not trust a single cylinder trail bike on a RTW trip.

A twin probably will get you around the world without any major drama's, I am dubious that a single will.

Good luck, look forward to the trip reports.
Ride safe: Jaq.
Now there's a strange thing! I have had getting close to a hundred travellers stay with me over the last five or six years, and most of them were on singles. And in fact almost ALL the singles had got them this far (NZ) without major dramas. As had those riding twins (except for BMW GSs of the earlier Oil-Head series who had almost without exception needed major gearbox and driveshaft repairs). How do you supose that's the case? As a point of interest I had the Bike Brothers from the Netherlands stay with me for a week and while they were there, they took the head off one of their DRs to replace the head gasket to fix and oil leak. what's so special about that? Well it was the first time the head had come off and the bike had done about 170,000km!! The other bike had had the head off once before but I guess you could forgive that because that one had done nearly 200,00km. By the time they had both got home, the bikes had done nearly 210,000km. So neither bike had had lots of money spent of them to get them that far. And as another aside, I have two friends who were bike couriers in London who rode XT600s, and a friend who was a mechanic at Metropol Motorcycles under the Vauxhall bridge, and he says plenty rode singles.
I guess what I'm saying is to go easy of the sweeping and judgement statements, as it's a big world out there. There are a lot of exprienced people on the HUBB who have spent a lot of time on bikes too.

Regards

Nigel in NZ
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Last edited by Nigel Marx; 25 Apr 2006 at 13:10.
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  #29  
Old 24 Apr 2006
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Gs 500

I hear Nigel loud and clear and I have to agree with him that singles will do the job. But so will a twin. Which will do best is a matter of opinion.
So Jag, none the less I am still very interested in your idea of a GS modified to become an offroad bike. Please keep me posted. It will be most interesting when you get to the subject of wheels and tires.
Good Luck
Terry
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  #30  
Old 24 Apr 2006
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Has anyone experience of using ex-army bikes such as the Harley 350. I know its not a real Harley but part of the attraction for me is that I could still claim to have travelled the world on a Harley! Apart from that they do seem a very robust machine, heavier than a true off-road bike but lighter than the big BMWs even if not as fast. Spares seem in plentiful supply, they should be easy to fix at the roadside but I haven't a clue about reliability on long journeys especially over rough terrain.
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