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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 8 Jun 2008
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Which dual sports for mostly tarmac?

I've been looking at bikes over a year now from an Honda XL600RM to the Honda Transalp and everything in-between, including the Kle500 & XT range.

After some long thinking I've come to the conclusion most of my miles will be on tarmac, but I still want a bike that can shoot a lane to a remote wild camping spot.

I hear a lot about the XTs and reliability but I really do lean towards Honda.
Considering large amounts of tarmac, mpg, a possible screen, comfort (inc after market seat availability if needed) and a budget of say £1,800/$3,600US/2,250Euros what would be the sort of bike you would be looking at.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 8 Jun 2008
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Many people go for enduro singles for the weight and off-road potential. Any bike will get you downa dirt track: it all depends on how confident you will feel and how quickly you want to cover the distance... However, given what you have said about your off-road quota, I think a bike like the Transalp would be great. Economy is said to be very good, reliability is spot on: that v-twin motor has been in a number of guises and keeps going. It is quite a heavy bike for its size, but has a decent tank range as standard, luggage options, a fairing and should be comfier than most enduros. Plus I think that your budget should suit nicely to finding a late 90's version, with few miles.

Bigger and heavier is the Africa Twin, but might be a more expensive. Then there is even the TDM 850. Tracks will need to be taken with care, given the tyre choices, but it is the most powerful of this selection by far and a cracking ride!

Happy shopping.
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  #3  
Old 8 Jun 2008
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Thanks Warthog

I had an inkling that the transalp would be up there. Every time I look at the bike it just 'looks right'.
The TDM had slipped passed me for some reason It stands well and I'll go take a look at the tech spec now.

Thank you Warthog
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Old 8 Jun 2008
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Cagiva Elefant!
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  #5  
Old 8 Jun 2008
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Very few bikes come close.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 19:17.
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  #6  
Old 8 Jun 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henryuk View Post
Cagiva Elefant!
Henry I think 'Elefant' says it all! That bike looks a liability in size but thank you for your input

Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Burnsy,
For a bit more money I'd look at the Suzuki Vstrom 650.
Patrick thank you for taking the time to construct such a post
What I've taken on-board most heartedly from what you've said is looking at spending more $$. Since reading your post I've done some reading on the Vstrom and it reads well. The only thing that I question is its looks, but from what road tests I've read the performance more than makes up for anyone questioning its looks.
Patrick I must admit to having first looked at the Vstrom and thinking.. well not much. Then I was thinking it looked like a tamer version of one bike that has taken my eye these last few years, the Ducati Multistrada. Did I say 'tamer'? Maybe that should read: 'more like a motorbike'

In a matter of hours you've got me thinking about the choice of bikes and applications. Right now I'm looking at Europe and into the Balkan states which the Vstrom looks like fitting into perfectly. In the future I want a bike to travel down to friends in West Africa but that's 18 months-2 years away, so I have to consider the higher tarmac miles and not suffer with a true DS in the mean time.

Patrick if you have any travel logs or photos you feel OK with sharing I'd be appreciative at seeing them.

I can't remember when I first started looking into this but it just goes to show, no matter how much you read and for how long, its other peoples experiences that count

What would we do without 'tinternet' eh
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Old 8 Jun 2008
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they feel a lot smaller than they look! Definite 10/10 for fun factor, which is top of my list.... I do really enjoy working on my bikes though, so draw your own conclusions about reliability?
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Old 8 Jun 2008
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The DL650 vstrom is a grate bike for the road its bigger and more comfortable than it looks. It tracks well and dose the twistys better than most fast off the line and can take a load.
The seat is a poor spot as is the buffering at speed (both easy and cheap fixes). Its fit and finish is not up to BMW. Mine has 16,000 miles on it and I have no problems.
For a dual sport its heavy and if taken off road for more than few 100 miles a new set of rubber is a good idea like some nobbys tiers. I use mine as more of touring and commuting bike done some long days on it.
I traded in my BMW f650 for the DL and for me it was a good call. The cast of ownership for the DL is about half of the BMW its smother and seems to have more power. Much better at high speeds with out giving up much in off road for what little I do.

The DL is jack of all trades but master of none. It has limitations but its usefulness grows on you as dose its looks. For the price is dam hard to beat.
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Old 9 Jun 2008
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DL650 is a great allrounder and touring bike. Not even the new Transalp can match its touring capabilities, and older versions are way down on power. BMW´s new "650"GS has more torque, but wind protection for longer trips Im not so sure of. Or whether any of them can carry as much load as the DL.

Other pluses: great headlights, low fuel consumption & large tank-> good range, tough wheels, tubeless tyres, very reliable, excellent value for money.

For off-road there are better choices, but for doing a bit of just about everything, I think its hard to beat.
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Old 11 Jun 2008
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Thank you all. I'm currently keeping my eye open as to what comes available locally and am also going to contact the local bike club to see if I can get a ride there.

Quote:
The DL is jack of all trades but master of none. It has limitations but its usefulness grows on you as dose its looks. For the price is dam hard to beat.
That just about sums things up. I'll let you know how it goes getting a ride but in the mean time, thank you each for taking the time. Obviously you've helped a lot considering I was looking at DSs!!
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Old 11 Jun 2008
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At that price your options are limited, i would say like most of the others

Suzuki DL650
Honda Transalp 600/650
Kawasaki KLE500 (unrated i think and cheap)

there are a lot of other bikes out there but you need to try and sit on a few or even get a few test rides
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  #12  
Old 11 Jun 2008
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Thumbs up If your budget can stretch...

..., sure, go for the DL. I have never ridden one, but the SV650 has always been a great bike and the DL is based around the same motor and reviews are positive.

Being a Suzuki, regardless how well it copes, resale will suffer, but then this is a rare trip and perhaps worth that loss.

However, numbers, figures, spec sheets are all relative. If you cannot afford the difference don't assume that bikes like the Transalp are crap, just because they do not have the same numbers as the DL etc. In their own right they are great bikes. If you never rode a DL, you would no doubt be very happy with them. Compared to a DL, then maybe they would feel underpowered and heavier...

I'm not saying "don't buy the DL". On the contrary, I think its a fine model. What I am saying is, if you buy another model such as the Transalp, or KLE, don't think that you have bought a crap bike as this will not be the case:

Its all relative, and as long as you can complete your journey wih minimal difficulties, you should be pleased with the steed of your choice.

It is also worth remembering that those extra hundreds or thousands of $/£/€ can pay for a lot of petrol, extras, bolt-ons or gear...
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Old 12 Jun 2008
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Burnsey,

All those sharing their "favorite" bike as the best ARE RIGHT!! Why?? Because it is THEIR CHOICE!! Only a few admit their bias, but that's OK.

But let's start with honesty... Me, in choosing a tour bike over 600cc, I prefer the lowest weight and best dirt handling over everything. No matter how much pavement I have to cover and how uncomfortable it is for the long haul, the moment I find a side trail, it is ALL WORTH IT!! I will even do pavement on a knobby (a good one, with big solid alternating knobs down the center like an M21) to not compromise the dirt capability....

But that is me.

So guys, when giving advice, state your own personal preferences and experiences first..., then give your advice....
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  #14  
Old 5 Jul 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burnsy. View Post
Henry I think 'Elefant' says it all! That bike looks a liability in size but thank you for your input
The elefant is pretty light and works extremely well off-road and on.

Having said that the v-strom is hard to beat given what you're looking for.
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  #15  
Old 15 Jul 2008
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Wee Strom......

Hi, I havn't covered anywhere near the off road miles that Patrick has, but I've played around on some green lanes near me and the Wee does well, the tyres being the limiting factor. It wouldn't tackle anything too gnarly due to ground clearance, but for tracks and trails I reckon it would be ok.
Plus excellent economy and comfort!
Tim.
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