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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 15 Jul 2005
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Which bike for women?

I'm planning to tour South America in a year time and have not decided yet on which bike! My problem is that most bikes are just too high for me (I'm 1.63m). I had my sight on the F650GS which can have a lower seat at 700mm, but I've read here that it would be very expensive in repairs and spare parts. What other options can I have? Most Japanese bikes have seats at 800mm or above, I just can't drive that! Any suggestion welcome! Thanks!

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  #2  
Old 15 Jul 2005
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I am currently looking at a Buell Blast for my wife. Low seat, good power and light weight, I don't know what the service network is like for them. Having said that people always find parts for their Harley's.
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Old 15 Jul 2005
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thanks for the tip Riq. I do drive a cruiser at the moment (Virago) and love the very low seat (and I love cruisers!). However this would not be adequate for South America. I am not planning to do any off-road but I don't know what to expect and we may end up in gravel, or non-tarmac roads, so a HD is out of question for time being! Probably later! I need a more sporty bike but they all seem to have very high seats (80cm or more)! The only one I found is the BMW F650GS (they can get the seat at 70cm) but I would like a bit more choice. Can some Japanese bikes be easily lowered?

I will test drive the F650GS this sunday though. I might fall in love with it....:-)

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Maria
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Old 15 Jul 2005
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Actually, now I read you reply again: the Buell Blast: how does it look like? I saw couple of Buell but they look more sport/race type of bikes.... can you do a bit of off-road? Is it confortable to spend all day on it ?
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  #5  
Old 15 Jul 2005
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Maria;

this is a sporty looking bike however it has an upright sitting position. The seat height is either 699mm or 648mm. Dry weight is only 163kg.

I would not use the bike for heavy duty off road racing however I believe that it has sufficient clearance for gravel roads or logging trails.

Check out the buell website.
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Old 15 Jul 2005
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Did I mention inexpensive as in $6000 CDN.
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  #7  
Old 16 Jul 2005
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Hi, my wife is 160 cm and we lowered an Africa Twin for her. She rides great with it, also on dirt. the only problem is, that the bike is a little heavy, so when it droppes to the side she cannot hold it upright. She was riding a Virago in Europe before the AT. we are on the road now currently in Peru and sometimes on tough dirt roads we wish se would have taken a GS650 or lowered a KLR650. Just think about it, it is worth getting a new seat made for u and to change the suspension, so u have more choice for a lightweight bike. Invest the 500 Dollars for customizing!

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Old 16 Jul 2005
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Maria, I'm moving this post to the "Which bike" forum as it's more appropriate there. There's also a number of threads for "shorter" people there you should read.

My main recommendaation is to just look at lowering a KLR or Transalp, or just go with the F650. All are suitable for what you want to do, and common choices for shorter riders. All can be lowered to suit just about anyone. There's a "Kouba-link" (I think that's the spelling) that lowers a KLR significantly. Modifying the seat helps a lot, more than you'd think. Narrowing the seat a little can make a huge difference.

Good luck!

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  #9  
Old 16 Jul 2005
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Take a look at the Suzuki DR650, a very unappreciated bike IMHO. It has the lowest seat height of an stock dual sport, and is designed to be lowered with no aftermarket parts. It has been around for several years, very reliable, and inexpensive. Also you can get a gel seat that is an inch (25mm) lower than stock I believe. There ar a couple of ladies here that went around the world on the DR650 with very little if any problems.

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Old 16 Jul 2005
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My girlfriend is about the same height & rides an 1150GS, fitted with a Wunderlich lowered seat (by 40mm).

She's fine on the road but off road can be a problem for her with such a heavy bike.

Bike choice is also partially dependant on the luggage load you intend carrying. If travelling light, you could use a DR350 - inexpensive, light, reliable & easy to maintain with plenty of aftermarket support, both new & used.

Other options are later XR400's that may come with an e-start? A later fuel injected F650 that's been lowered is also a good bet.

Buell Blast is not an off road bike IMO.
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  #11  
Old 16 Jul 2005
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If you are planning to do also off-road , even seriuos , here is the good answer :

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  #12  
Old 18 Jul 2005
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Maria, what about a Suzuki DRz400S? Many companies do lowering links, they are cheap to buy, sold all over the world and great on the loose stuff. If you are small you will not want to be wrestling with a big bike loaded with luggage. 400cc will be enough for a small person and luggage. You can kit them up "off the shelf" with a 28 litre Aqualine tank, Corbin seat, Ally luggage and racks from www.offtheroad.de. Then go anywhere you fancy!
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Old 18 Jul 2005
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The DRZ400 is still a tall bike, lowering links or not. The seats are not that comfortable IMO.

As Giorgio said, the Beta Alp 4.0 looks a good bike. The only downside is that the fuel tank looks a little small & I've not heard of an aftermarket larger capacity replacement. I think the style & shape of the bike would make it hard to do a good job of modifying a DR/XR tank to fit?
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Old 18 Jul 2005
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Wow! I did not expect so many reply! Thanks everybody! I certainly know now that I have much more choice than I first thought! I will definitely check out few of the bikes above and will discuss with dealers for lowering options.
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Old 18 Jul 2005
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Maria, we travelled on a klr 250, 2's up plus kit. we too were in south america. the lady who owned it before was shorter than you and had a link lower fitted to it. The bike was one of the strongest bikes i have riden. it has now been around south america 3 times and still on its original rear suspension. Have a look at Peter slarke's write ups to see the bike in action. Its got plenty of power for a 250, and is light enough for the muddy stuff. Its also very simple to maintain and repair, and also cheap compaired to the others you are looking at.
what ever you choose you will have a great time!
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