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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 13 Mar 2006
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witch bikes!

Yes I have read ALL the threads here and am still undecided. Has anyone owned 2 or even all 3 of bikes below for the ultimate comparison

I know any bike will do a rtw trip but I need to get this bit right so have to ask this...

I need a bike for:
1/ Africa trip
2/ south america
3/ general use back in the UK
Riding solo 95% of the time

I've narrowed it down to 3 bikes:

1/ BMW gs650 dakar:
FOR: build quality, comfort, reliability, newer,lighter(?) than my second choice
AGAINST: water cooling vulnerable, EFI too hi tech for field repairs?

2/ BMW r80(r100 bore) G/S mono:
FOR: ...all the obvious reasons posted elsewhere on here!
AGAINST: Is it now just too old and too troublesome to deal with/ reading Grants comments about being best choice twenty years ago but not so now and he should know. I am fairly practical but no mechanic

3/ Honda XRL 650 (haden't heard of till here and desert riders!)
FOR:Honda reliability, lighter than above (it seems)
AGAINST: No idea, hope you will tell me

Even allowing my heart a vote its still such a close call!

thanks guys and I promise to do my turn and answer all the following questioners who suffer the same dilemaI as me

Yerpal

p.s.
I really have spend ages considering and pouring over this site and all its links (great way to spend a few spare days)


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  #2  
Old 13 Mar 2006
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I would choose F650 by far
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  #3  
Old 13 Mar 2006
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Thanks hmoro, have you owned a dakar or just a gut opinion?

I have a good friend who is from near Guadalajara and she has really wetted my appetite for Mehiko. Sounds like a beautiful place can't wait to get there
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  #4  
Old 13 Mar 2006
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I'd take the newer (EFI) F650GS as well if you aren't tech minded yourself and doing solo from that list of bikes.

Check the UKGSer.com and f650.com websites for FAQ and reliability reviews when travelling third-world and long distances with this bike. The cons and pros, common faults and their solutions to be prepared. The "know-how" with the 650 GS bikes is big (lot of them done many RTWs) that comes as pro for you choosing this bike.

Good luck, Margus

[This message has been edited by Margus (edited 13 March 2006).]
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  #5  
Old 13 Mar 2006
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F 650 looks more suitable but looses when it comes to mecanic simplicity. Cooling and electronic problems can be headache on the road. It is light. That's it.
I had a '98 F-650. Now have a R80 GS Basic Model year 1997 on 46 K kms. Will start to ride this spring. Who can say it is old?

I wouldn't go for KLR.

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  #6  
Old 13 Mar 2006
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Out of my experience I would not go for the F650GS / Dakar. The suspension setup is crap on both tar and gravel(too hard / overdampened). It's made for top gear flat out on the Autobahn. A local speed bump negotiated at 60km/h on a KLR650 or DR650SE leaves both unimpressed (even if I remain seated) whilst I launched one of my (ex) Dakars into an impressive ballistic curve. The Dakar is very high and top heavy (I am NOT a shortie). The quality of the steering head bearing is hilarious and it does not have any rubber seals protecting the bearings from dust and water. On my F650GS the items lasted between 4000km (replaced by BMW) and 15000km (replaced by me). BMW SA does not cover the bearing with the warranty any more (pathetic!). The engines of the first GS / DAKAR series vibrated very badly (blurred vision) between 3000 and 4500rpm. Not sure if that has changed. The bike suffers extensive damage from minor wipeouts. Problems to start the bike with low battery. (Motor management shuts down when voltage drops, battery inaccessible))
I would recommend a KLR based on many years of experience with them. (KL650A and KL650C) They are simple and strong as a farming tractor. Spend some of the money saved on improving the few problematic points.
I also have / had a number of DR650SE. Would choose the Suzi waaaay above the 650 Beemer as well.
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Old 14 Mar 2006
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This is more of a question than answer..but are the enfields no good?? for a measly 200 euro you can fit a new tank that gives over 300 mile range (18 litres). They are very easy to work on. The biggest critism is that they struggle to maintain motorway speeds.. most of teh worlds roads aren't up to high speed anyway...they are light, and have bolt on rear subframe which no doubt could be modified for luggage carrying. they also have a working kickstart. ( as well as electric start)so why are they not popular...especially given the price? Whilst on the subject, Sommer does a diesel variant which although not fast gives over 480 mile range on that same tank...so what gives?
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  #8  
Old 14 Mar 2006
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Cheers all...
lecap: I will be on roads or tracks most of the time, I wasn't planning a cross sahara desert run so would that put the beemer back in the running?
Seem to remember KLRs mentionede in C Scott's handbook as only being available in the USA, we get the fancy shiny christmas tree version??? Don't know!

Enfield... not my cup of tea at all. I suspect with a bullet (as with the g/s too?) I would be seeing the world from a gap in between a fistful of spanners whilst my knees

Half of me says go new for weight (lack of) but doesn't that argument fade when the whole plot is loaded up? And the olg g/s carries it's bulk very low compared to others

The other half says old, because old is repairable en route and with a twin, you ultimately have a spare engine if one pot goes down you could nurse it to a town on one cylinder and the shaft drive speaks for itself And the tarmac miles would disolve under a bigger engined twin than any vibey singe, no?
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Old 15 Mar 2006
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Yerpal
No way to do it with a Dakar!!!!
You can,but forget the spare parts in africa and southamerica.
You pay the privileg of belonging to a select member club!
G/S is more of a choice.
And if you are tall as me 191cm take the XR 650L.I owned both and would take the hond only.SPARE PARTS IS THE SECRET!!!!!
Mucha suerte
KH

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  #10  
Old 15 Mar 2006
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hi there,

I have ridden a bike around the world on a low budget. Included two years in South America and a year in Africa.

out of the bike you have listed I would take for a rtw (+100.000km):

the Honda for a lower budget journey

and the F65o for a higher budget journey.

yes, important is parts availabilty for your budget. service the bike yourself, regularly and carefully!

enjoy

Mika

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  #11  
Old 15 Mar 2006
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I would not recommend a F 650 GS at all for anything based on my bad experience with quality / technical design / performance / value for money.
For the KLR go to your nearest Kawasaki dealer and ask. I know for sure that the KL650A (big tank) is currently available in North America and South Africa as well as in the UK (at least as grey import). If you can get a KL650C that's fine as well (some features like brakes and fork even better than the KL650A) but you will have to buy a big tank.
Think the old gs is a good and reliable bike but you pay for weight with more fuel consumption. Also keep in mind that modern chains / sprockets easily last 20000 to 30000 km as long as you don't dig through knee deep sand every day and as long as you do some basic care. If your engine packs up I don't see a big difference between a single and a twin means I rarely saw twins running on one barrel.
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  #12  
Old 15 Mar 2006
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The problem with the Honda is the lack of range. I dont remember the specifics but I believe the fuel tank is a bit small for your intended purpose. I cant spreak to the Bemeers.

Why not consider the Kawasaki KLR650. Weight is a bit more than the Honda 650 but less than the any BMW. Range is close to 300 miles per tank. Reliability is solid and it can carry a ton.

Yankee Dog

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  #13  
Old 16 Mar 2006
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can we get the KLRs here in England? is it the same famed model the yanks seem to love
As for the Honda, Chris Scott grafted a bigger tank on for his desert rides I seem to remember with little hassle
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Old 16 Mar 2006
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I think Chris used an Acerbis 40L XR600 tank on his XRL. I seem to remember that he had to modify the mountings to get it to fit.
Acerbis don't list them any more and they're pretty rare second hand. The current Acerbis UK catalogue has a 22L XRL tank listed.

Stuart
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  #15  
Old 16 Mar 2006
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that should be enough for a light weight drinker I guess the BMW would need the 40l for similar tank range as it is a thirstier bike

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