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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 6 Aug 2010
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which bike for South America?

Planning a trip to travel through South America for a period of around 3 months, I doubt there is concensus (given the number of forums pitting bike against bike!) but which specific bikes are generally well thought of for this sort of journey? Also, not wanting to spend a large amount on the bike, almost certainly a second hand one so fair to say I'll be ruling out the top-of-the-range models. Basically looking for a cheap, reliable touring bike!

All suggestions welcome
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Old 6 Aug 2010
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My girlfriend starts a 4 month trip through South America on 17th August, riding a DRZ400S that's been lowered, one off luggage racks, soft luggage inc tank panniers. Planing on 8-10,000 miles, hopefully oil & filter changes are all it will need plus tyres & pads. Bike's got new wheel bearings, pads, tyres, chain & sprockets, stainless brake lines, extra fuel capacity etc. It's light, manoevrable and easy to pick up by herself.
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Old 6 Aug 2010
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There is really no right or wrong here. It all depends on what you're used to and what your perceive to be challenging or easy.

From my perspective there isn't a lot of challenging off road bits and a lot of long roads. So with that in mind a V-strom is very suited. Bit difficult in the Bolivian Altiplano but do-able. I you like to take those bits (CA, Ruta 40 and Altiplano) a bit more aggressive than a Dakar is better.

I you're really looking for off road thrills (will take some planning) than a DR650 would be best.

Out of those the Vstrom is best on the road, than the Dakar and than the DR. All those are relatively cheap if you look around. Up high FI is unbeatable.
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Old 7 Aug 2010
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In South America, particularly if you don't feel compelled to to follow obscure tracks into the heights, then pretty much any bike will do. Whether you are travelling alone or with someone else also factors heavily.

As stated, depends on what you are confident on and what you plan to do. Comfort is paramount whatever you take. A sore @rse and/or back are a bigger motivation killer than road tyres on a gravel track...

Typically, a dual-sport bike ticks most boxes because of it's versatility on different surfaces.

Possibly not the most helpful answer, but then you are best placed to decide which is the best bike for, not other members! Certainly don't be led wholly by what others might say but think of the board as a place to bounce you own ideas and for a devil's advocate perspective!

What bike do you have at the moment?
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Old 8 Aug 2010
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Heres something i came up with

I started a thread over at ADVrider, and here's what people have to say about the Honda XR650L, Yamaha WR250R, and Suzuki DR650.

Yamaha WR250R vs Honda XR650L vs Suzuki DR650 - ADVrider

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Old 8 Aug 2010
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Lots of Options ... but not enough Time!

If money is tight then no question .... buy the bike in California and ride down from there. This just one option among many. This saves about $1500 shipping right off the top. Bikes are about half the price as in the UK and wider selection of 650 class dual sports and LOTS of cheap bikes laying around unused.

Don't know where you're from ... you didn't say. But if the UK then buying in the US makes sense. If Aus or NZ, same applies.

A rugged, single cylinder dual sport, IMHO, is a decent choice. They will smooth out the crappy roads and handle dirt and mud sections. They are cheap-iss so if lost, stolen or confiscated .... not earth shattering.

Any bike can make it down ... but for best comfort, best fun and most safety, buy as much bike as you can afford. Read here on HUBB and ADV for about a year, you'll soon figure it all out. 3 months not really enough time for all of S. America.

I would start with Mexico and maybe part of Cent. America. Study Spanish,
leave the bike down there and come back again and continue trip with more time and money.

Or ... Fly into Colombia, rent or buy a bike and skip the border hassles of Cent. America and get right into the heart of it. Shipping a bike trans Ocean is a colossal waste of money.
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