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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 21 May 2000
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Which motorcycle?

I am planing a 6 month trip down to Chile and Argentina, starting in California, via west coast of the americas. I am shopping for a m'cycle. I have heard favorable reports on the Transalp(this is a BMW, right?), the BMW F650, and 1 or 2 cylinder Japanese cross bikes.
Any opinions, experience or references would be much appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 24 May 2000
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Location: Newport Beach, CA
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The Transalp is a Honda, but now 10 years old, so it would be imperative to find a good clean example and go through it thoroughly before leaving.

Modern single cylinder bikes to consider would be the BMW F650 (either 99 Funduro or 00 GS), the Honda XR650L (or new XR650R with a Baja Designs kit), the Kawasaki KLR650, or the KTM Adventure.

For twins, you are probably limited to the Transalp or a BMW R80G/S or R100GS.

If you are leaning toward a dirt-oriented single, I advise you read the following article on the Thumper Page:
http://www.ionet.net/~jhanna/KTMADV.html

It compares the KTM with the KLR, XR, and F650.

It is possible to ride the entire route you mention on tarmac, with the exception of parts of Ecuador (and the Darien obviously). As such, you could use a street bike, if that suits your fancy.

I would be happy to discuss the route with you further; I am planning a similar trip, albeit in stages, and am in SoCal.

Cheers,

Christian

bjorn_edstrom@hotmail. com (space is there to foil spammers -- delete it to email me)
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  #3  
Old 26 May 2000
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My comments:
I note that a lot of folks recommend BMW, but I've noticed when reading trip reports that in Central/South America that it is very difficult to get parts and service.

People also tend to get heavy bikes and load them down with too much gear.

I would recommend sticking to something no bigger than a 650 single. Get some nice lockable hard bags fitted and pack as light as possible - even on month-long road trips I've been able to fit everything I need into
a pair of large saddlebags - including tent and sleeping bag.

From what I've seen in Central America and read of South Am, most motorcycle dealerships are Japanese, with Yamaha being most popular and Honda a close second.

Any bike you take on such a long trip is likely to need some sort of service at one point or another. I would suggest getting a fairly popular bike (like a Yamaha XT350 or 600), making sure everything on it is in good condition, and then making sure you have a good contact set up in the USA. Find a friend or family member in the US who you can trust with your credit card number. If you need parts you can contact the friend and have them visit the dealership to Fed-Ex parts when you need them.

That said, you can ride around the world on pretty much anything. I've read of guys doing major tours on Vespas, XL250s, and Indian Enfields so any bike can do it.

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Bruce Clarke
brclarke@islandnet.com
http://www.islandnet.com/~brclarke
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