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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 25 Apr 2009
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Question Which bike for crossing Africa & Asia

Hi All,

New here & fascinated from the amount of information!

I am currently looking for the right bike to purchase for a trip starting in Cape Town to Kenya then continuing to Europe through India, China, Kazakhstan, Rusia...

I am really confused between the followings:
  • Yamaha XT660Z Tenere
  • Yamaha XT660R
  • Kawasaki KLR650
  • Suzuki DR650
Any other suggestions will be appreciated!

(Am talking about buying a new one...)

Will really appreciate advices from owners of such bikes that are familier with part or all the countries.
I am sure all of them will make it but am looking for the perfect experience .

Thanks in advance!
Yoav

Last edited by yoav_baum; 26 Apr 2009 at 17:35.
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  #2  
Old 26 Apr 2009
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To Answer your specific question I would say:

1> Yamaha XT600e
2> Suzuki DR650
3> Yamaha XT660Z then X

The reason for the above order is reliability / fixability in "third" world countries

Personally i will be getting the Yamaha XT660Z eventually.

Cheers G
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  #3  
Old 29 Apr 2009
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Thanks a lot!
Finally, I will probably go for the new xt660z Tenere.
Cheers,
Yoav
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  #4  
Old 29 Apr 2009
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frankly, they are all pretty much the same. it's not like you're choosing between a fireblade and a cub.

choose the one you like the colour of. it's more important to smile at your bike every day, than who made it.
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  #5  
Old 5 May 2009
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Hi Yoav!
I didnt understand well your route or timing!
I'll be leaving central europe early august, passing by Isael then heading to India/Thailand, probably with a Tenerè.

Are you looking for a travel companion?
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  #6  
Old 5 May 2009
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Hi there,

I am starting the trip in South Africa in 2 weeks from now (toward the end of May 09).
I will drive north toward Kenya till let say the end of August. From Kenya I will ship the bike to India (unfortunately with an Israeli passport i can't cross further in Africa ).

I estimate I will be in India at around September till the end of October.
Does it fit your schedule?

I always will be happy for company

Cheers,
Yoav
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  #7  
Old 6 May 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougieB View Post
choose the one you like the colour of. it's more important to smile at your bike every day, than who made it.
That's probably the best advice I've heard on the subject!
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  #8  
Old 1 Jun 2010
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Thumbs up Yamaha Tenere was the chosen one

Hey All,

To summarize this correspondence that took place 1 year ago:
Finally, I have chosen the Yamaha Tenere 2009 (XT660Z).
After almost 1 year travelling with it I can confidently say that it was an excellent choice.

I wrote some points that reflects my personal experience with it.

Positive Points
:
1. It reacts and feels exactly as a Yamaha Tenere single cilinder should. Basically it has the same good & simple engine as previous models but with fuel injection that powers him more. Easy to ride and control on & off road.
2. Not too much electronics comparing to the alternatives - Although the bike has much more electronics than previous versions of the Tenere, it's not too full of it. I guess that those days it is almost impossible to avoid too much electronics in new bikes but in my opinion, the new Tenere has a good balance of it.
3. Easy to fix - as stupid as it was, I ran into a (too) deep river in North Mozambique and got stuck with a damaged Head Gasket . I was fortunate to locate a former Zimbabwean guy who ownes a Marnie Mechanic Shop in Pemba with good Western tools. With the help of the manual and his previous knowledge of bikes he managed to replace it (after 3 weeks of waiting for the Head Gasket to arrive from Germany). If it's the bike or him, who knows... but the result was good so I decided to include that point.
4. Durable - we had 2 rough crushes and few more fallings. It only resulted in a few scratches and front wind shield crucked. In addition, 3 days after the river incident, I was trying to evacuate my self from the village I was stuck at to the closest city, Pemba. Due to previous failure, I took the locals advice and placed the bike, my self and all the gear on a Canoe with which they move scooters from bank to bank in a deeper part of the river. After about 1 minute in the water, the canoe flipped and every thing including the bike was in 2 meters' deep water. The bike spent about 10 minutes in the water until we managed to push it out to the other bank. 9 months later - no electronic problems.
5. 23 liters fiberglass fuel tank (!!) and a fuel consumption of 17-23 km/lt (depending on the style and terrain).
6. Good looking bike!

Negative Points:
1. Chair is not extremely comfortable. It's not that bad but after about 4 or 5 hours of riding the butt starts to attract attention.
2. Awkward access for repairs - for example: in order to replace the Head Gasket, you need to take off almost all the bike - fuel tank, rear wheel and spring & the all engine! Stupid but thats the price for all the addings.
3. It's not a 900 or 990 or 1200 cc and of course a single engine suffers from less power in low RPMs.
4. It's not amphibian

Here are 2 pictures.






All the equipment (including change of exhaust) was purchased from and fitted by Off the Road, Cologne, Germany. I have only good things to say about the equipment's quality and the prices!

Well, I guess that is it.
Good luck whatever you choose.

Yoav.

Last edited by yoav_baum; 2 Jun 2010 at 17:05.
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  #9  
Old 2 Jun 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yoav_baum View Post
Here are 2 pictures.

[IMG]file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/yoav/Desktop/DSC_0112.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/yoav/Desktop/DSC_0096.jpg[/IMG]
You need to upload the pictures somewhere (imageshack.us for example) and then link them here.

I'm just mentioning it because I'm really curious about the (almost) amphibian Ténéré
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  #10  
Old 2 Jun 2010
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Done; thanks for the tip
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  #11  
Old 2 Jun 2010
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Yoav,

Thanks for your summary. I did a 20k run to Iran with the same bike and would pretty much agree with you.

One question though. How did it handle lower fuel quality in Africa? What's your take on unleaded with it? You can't really take the catalytic converter out and are looking at an aftermarket or new original for ~ EUR1000 if you happen to blow the cat with unleaded. How did you fare?

Cheers,
Steff
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  #12  
Old 2 Jun 2010
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Hey Steff,

Good to know others who travelled with it

Regarding the fuel quality - I must say that I never had problems. I just fueled the bike with whatever petrol was available, mainly from fuel stations and not jerricans. I think that maybe once or twice I really felt that the fuel was a very bad quality one and then the engine sounded "crucks" when exerting. It bacame good again after refueling.

Leaded/Unleaded - I can't tell you exactly what % I fueled with leaded or unleaded cause since you mainly have only 1 type of petrol in each station, I've rarely asked. But if I remember right, I think most of the coutries I've travelled at in Africa are using unleaded fuel those days; not sure though.

To summerize - I've fueled it with whatever fuel was available and never had problems.

Yoav.
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  #13  
Old 2 Jun 2010
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thanks for the input. i was thinking of buying one, however, when i went to dealer i decided that it was far too high for me. i may go for xt660r after your inputs tho.
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  #14  
Old 2 Jun 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozhanu View Post
when i went to dealer i decided that it was far too high for me. i may go for xt660r after your inputs tho.
If I am not mistaken, Off the Road in Germany sells a lowering kit for the Tenere. Check it with them if it is relevant...
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  #15  
Old 5 Jun 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photographicsafaris View Post
To Answer your specific question I would say:

1> Yamaha XT600e
2> Suzuki DR650
3> Yamaha XT660Z then X

The reason for the above order is reliability / fixability in "third" world countries

Personally i will be getting the Yamaha XT660Z eventually.

Cheers G

Just Curious, Im looking to buy a new DS soon, and was wondering why the KLR was not a viable option to you? I was debating on the KLR650 or XR650R as I wanna do BAJA and South America, but the XR650R would also allow me to race BAJA down the road which was also a interest of mine. Too many choices eh LOL.
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