Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > Which Bike?

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.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.


Like Tree2Likes
  • 2 Post By Gipper

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 7 Dec 2013
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 5
Which Would You Choose? KTM Or Honda??

Hi guys and gals new to this forum and the amount of information and knowledge on here is absolutely great for a budding adventurer like myself.
I am 31 years old and after spending 3 years in New Zealand and touring both islands on a 1996 Yamaha XT225 Serow I am now back in the UK with plans to tour both Europe and Asia on a motorcycle in 2014.
I have purchased a 2005 KTM 640 Adventure and I have fitted the bike with pannier racks (I have some Magadans that will be fitted on there) and also a headlight guard and a high mudguard kit.
Now I really enjoy the bike on the road but haven't done too much off road with it and herein causes the problem...... I am only 5ft 7in tall and I can just about get one foot on the ground.
I met Austin Vince at the NEC last week and it got me thinking is a Honda XR 400 a better bike for me??
I am worried about the weight and size of the 640 off road where as a XR400 with a big tank will be alot lighter and more nimble??
I hope you can help me with any advice/opinions as I this is going to influence my trips that I have planned for next year and the years to come..

Reply With Quote
Old 7 Dec 2013
chris's Avatar
Probably out riding
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: God's Own County
Posts: 2,352
Reply With Quote
Old 7 Dec 2013
Moderated Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 502
I'd keep the KTM since you already own it. Why would you swap a bike just 'cos someone else thinks it's a good idea?

How much off road are you realistically going to do? Not much in Europe, I would suggest. Asia - maybe a little more? Not worth swapping to a more off road oriented bike for that reason IMHO.
Reply With Quote
Old 7 Dec 2013
Gipper's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Banff,Canada/Poole,UK
Posts: 754
Go with what you have already got. As long as YOU feel comfortable with it.

The 640 Adventure was one of the best bikes Ive owned, bit vibey and fiddly to service, but great suspension and not too heavy for a 650 class bike, lower it a bit if you like to make it more manageable if it feels too tall.

Just make sure you service the LC4 engine well.

'09 Suzuki DR650
'00 Discovery Series 2 V8
'95 Defender 90 300 Tdi Overlander
Reply With Quote
Old 7 Dec 2013
mollydog's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: california
Posts: 2,298
Posted Dec. 7th, 12:23 pm PST

A well sorted KTM could do EU ... It's not much heavier than the XR400R, IIRC. The Honda is more bullet proof but not good on motor ways in EU over about 60 mph. (higher gearing would help) The KTM is not great on highway either, IMHO, as the 640's vibrate a lot at speed. Newer 690's much better.

Neither much good riding highway. Better off with a street bike for EU travel.
If you're headed to Mongolia ... well that's another story as when you get there you'll need a good off road Enduro bike. But if just EU ... neither KTM or Honda are ideal, IMHO.

Off road? Not sure how or where you'll find much true off road in EU. Maybe some dirt roads? .. or Erzberg? Dunno. Other than parts of Spain, Portugal and Andorra I've not seen or heard about many wide open off road areas (like the Western USA or Mexico) ... until you get to Russia.

I've done Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. I would never consider shipping either bike over there. Big $$$$. Best buy or rent a local bike there. Some countries allow you to pass from country to country with your bike, others do not. Some decent 125's and 250's there. I stuck mostly with 125's.

Rented bikes in Thailand, did a buy back in Vietnam. Rented in Cambodia. Bringing in your own bike is troublesome and expensive far as I know.
Reply With Quote
Old 8 Dec 2013
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 5
Thanks for the response guys! Well I am looking at going to Spain for a shakedown trip just to get myself used to the bike and all my gear more and wanted to incorporate that with some off road riding. It was someone elses opinion it was just a thought that I would do better with a lighter bike. Apart from trying it i guess I will never know just wanted to know other people thoughts and views to see what they recommended. Gipper do you know or have any tips to cure and of the vibes? Im thinking of a sheepskin seat cover or maybe a Renazco gel seat?
Reply With Quote
Old 10 Dec 2013
Gipper's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Banff,Canada/Poole,UK
Posts: 754
I never found the vibes through the seat too bad, the vibes through the bars are normally most peoples problem.

you can use a bar snake or fill the bars with lead shot to reduce the vibes, also some softer grips too.


the stock seat is not good, Id upgrade it for sure, adding a sheepskin wont hurt either.

Make sure the cooling system is working perfectly, fresh coolant and the fan cuts in early, if the LC4 overheats they can fry the head gasket quite quickly.

'09 Suzuki DR650
'00 Discovery Series 2 V8
'95 Defender 90 300 Tdi Overlander
Reply With Quote
Old 6 Jan 2014
Contributing Member
HUBB regular
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: London
Posts: 47

Mate, get a Honda Transalp, any year. Bike is bullet proof. Me and a friend, rode from London to India in two Transalps, one 2005 carbureted and one 2010 injected. Almost 9500 miles covered in 45 days, using all sorts of petrol along the way and riding in all imaginable roads. Not a single problem, not even a chain adjustment. Just changing oil regularly and topping-up the petrol tank every 200 miles.
Another friend bought a 1995 model and rode 2 up from Zurich to Katmandu, they didn't have even a puncture.
Bike is very affordable, reliable, economic (specially the injected models) and easy to fix.
Forget about KTMs mate, it is a very good looking bike for sure, but, honestly, try to have a break down in the middle of nowhere in Asia and see if you will find someone able to fix it. Your chances will be almost null.
Honda is widely respected in Asia, most of the 125cc bikes around there are honda made (or fake hondas), because of that, seeing a foreigner riding something familiar for them will make your possible problems even more easy to get sorted.

Good luck!
Attached Thumbnails
Which Would You Choose? KTM Or Honda??-dsc_4992.jpg  

Reply With Quote
Old 7 Jan 2014
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 224
Well it depends on what you expect from your bike. If it's only reliability and ease of maintenance, yes go for a transalp.

Personally, I am a motorcycle freak first, and traveller because I want to ride different bikes on the other end of the world.

The Transalp felts very boring to me. I own a 640 Adventure as well, and I confirm that it's not a good pick for highway and street, but as soon as you go off-road, wow it's a blast! I even participate to the Tuareg Rally with mine, everything stock, and the bike mad it to the finish without much problems.

For europe I can recommend Cagiva Gran Canyon and Navigator, those are fantastic road bike with little off road capacities, they are cheap because nobody wants them (totally unjustified if you are a little bit of a mechanic and if you are able to use ebay to buy spare parts), and I haven't tested many bikes better than these for road use... Honestly.. The Gran Canyon is a little bit more a pain in the ass because of the Ducati Engine, that requires valve checking every 10'000km, but the Suzuki engine from the Navigator is bullet proof... I got mine for 1200$. And I have a Gran Canyon as well. And for those who gonna say that the ducati engine is not reliable, I had for a while a Cagiva Elefant 750 with 145'000km and the engine was never opened!

My advice, keep your 640. At least in Switzerland, they are getting very hard to find now. you will likely find a 950 for the same price.

zimiontheloose.ch | Rock'n'roll Motorcycle Adventure!
Reply With Quote
Old 8 Jan 2014
Tim Cullis's Avatar
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Putney, SW London
Posts: 1,370
Try starting a hot XR400R once it's been dropped. You will be there all day with the kick start. Don't do it.

It's basically why I sold mine. Also it's not comfortable over 60mph on tarmac bits.
"For sheer delight there is nothing like altitude; it gives one the thrill of adventure
and enlarges the world in which you live,"
Irving Mather (1892-1966)

Access the Morocco Knowledgebase
Reply With Quote
Old 19 Jan 2014
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 5
Thank you for all the info guys! I shall be keeping the 640 Adventure and touring on it very shortly!
Reply With Quote
Old 26 Jan 2014
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 35
KTM all day long, not even close IMO.
Adventure Travel to Central America, SE Asia, North Africa, EU and USA National Parks.
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
not all those who wander are lost | two earthlings ride around the world Rockwell Ride Tales 82 14 May 2014 13:37
Honda Tourer for sale in UK, owned by Aussie JRAY TRAVEL Bikes for Sale / Wanted 3 19 Mar 2014 07:54
R2R (Ready 2 Race) KTM of Medellin - Legends!! Two Moto Kiwis South America 0 10 Sep 2013 02:15
Can you sill buy a new Honda C90 / CG125? kentfallen Which Bike? 4 15 Aug 2013 00:35
New KTM 690 Kit - KTM Basel - Defy Series Pheebs KTM Tech 8 8 Nov 2012 07:13


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 14:12.