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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 2 Aug 2013
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XR650R vs 990 ADV vs Africa Twin

Hi All,
I´m planning a trip from Spain to Cape town in 3 months and still with many doubts about wich bike do i need.


KTM 990 ADVENTURE:
My colleague is gonna do it on a 990 ADV, and it would have many advantages to do the trip both in the same bike, we can share extra parts, and we will go through the same route, in the same rhythm, with the same fuel capacity.

But it has two big problems from my point of view:

-Weight > We are not thinking on doing more than 30-40% of the trip of off road, but some countries like congo or camerun in the wet season can be hard.

-Mecanics > I´m very scared of the electronics of the KTM, that probably it would go well, but if something fails, I won´t be able to fix it in the middle of Africa and the trip will end there.


HONDA XR 650 R:
The other option is the Honda XR 650 R with the fuel deposit of 25L. I understand that both problems are fixed with this bike, but it has other problems.

-We are gonna have diferent rhythms
-I´m not sure about weight carrying.
-The last model is from 2004 (i think)
-Comfortable for that many km

HONDA AFRICA TWIN:
-Same weight problem as the KTM 990
-Quite old

Good point is that I understand that is more reliable than the KTM, and easier to fix.

Can you please help me with your experience.

Thanks a lot in advance!
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  #2  
Old 2 Aug 2013
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What route are you taking ???

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  #3  
Old 2 Aug 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
What route are you taking ???

Touring Ted
West coast
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  #4  
Old 2 Aug 2013
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If you want to go offroading the xr650r is a great bike if you can handle the power and weight of it. Also consider a drz400. Less vibes...

If you're not into the hardcore off-roading then a xt660z would be a great bike for that trip.

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  #5  
Old 3 Aug 2013
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KTM 690.

Lighter than all 3.
Better fuel economy than all 3.
More power than the honda and Atwin.
Better suspension than all 3.
More capable offroad then all 3.
7500 km oilchange interval. (10,000 km on the 12 &13) You can at max stretch the xr to 2000 km. Maybe 2500.
Less vibration than the xr.
Very high intake
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  #6  
Old 3 Aug 2013
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+1 for a Yamaha XT660. If you have the cash this thing is made for the trip you describe.

OR (no surprises here) - the venerable / legendary tran-African budget No1 choice = Yamaha XT600E.

Somewhat surprised you put a Honda XR650 before the XT.

The only thing a XR650 does better than a XT is go much much quicker. A mate of mine has one without a cush drive and it's blisteringly quick for an old school trail bike.

Another older bike which spring to mind for this trip is the excellent Kawasaki KLR650.

Now very very difficult to find Honda Africa Twin's that are still low mileage and in good nick. Most have been RTW'd to death (for good reason).

Almost any 600cc trail bike is powerful enough to haul you and your kit around the globe.

I suppose it all depends on finances?
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  #7  
Old 4 Aug 2013
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I've had the XT600E and the XR650R... I toured South America on the XT600E.

The XT a relaible do everything bike for sure.... Not much of an off-roader though. REALLY poor suspension and the engine is a bit wheezy.

The XR650R is lighter, WAY better suspended and makes significantly more 'water cooled' power.

However, the XR is kick only and it's a vibey old girl. I was going to use the XR for South America but I swapped it in for the XT600 to get more comfort..

Now, if I was going offroad for a lot of the trip I'd pick the XR over the XT anyday....

However, now I'm on a XR650L as I think it has the best of both.

Lightweight, Electric start, decent suspension, air cooled..

It's the perfect travel bike if you can reach the saddle...
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  #8  
Old 4 Aug 2013
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XR650R vs 990 ADV vs Africa Twin

Fuel Inj versus a couple of old techs is a no brainer; FI every time.
"Fire and forget" technology.

But for Africa I would rather be on the 690, as Snoah mentions, than the 990.

ps there are some fuel figures for the 990 in here;-
http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...ich-bike-71567
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Last edited by Walkabout; 4 Aug 2013 at 17:11. Reason: ps added
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  #9  
Old 5 Aug 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snoah View Post
KTM 690.

Lighter than all 3.
Better fuel economy than all 3.
More power than the honda and Atwin.
Better suspension than all 3.
More capable offroad then all 3.
7500 km oilchange interval. (10,000 km on the 12 &13) You can at max stretch the xr to 2000 km. Maybe 2500.
Less vibration than the xr.
Very high intake
I tried the 690 and it is perfect weight and HP, but it vibes a lot, also the seat is made for enduro, i thought the XR650 would be more comfortable.
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  #10  
Old 5 Aug 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kentfallen View Post
+1 for a Yamaha XT660. If you have the cash this thing is made for the trip you describe.

OR (no surprises here) - the venerable / legendary tran-African budget No1 choice = Yamaha XT600E.

Somewhat surprised you put a Honda XR650 before the XT.

The only thing a XR650 does better than a XT is go much much quicker. A mate of mine has one without a cush drive and it's blisteringly quick for an old school trail bike.

Another older bike which spring to mind for this trip is the excellent Kawasaki KLR650.

Now very very difficult to find Honda Africa Twin's that are still low mileage and in good nick. Most have been RTW'd to death (for good reason).

Almost any 600cc trail bike is powerful enough to haul you and your kit around the globe.

I suppose it all depends on finances?
I´ll have a look to the XT600 and the 660. I think they are very reliable.
The AT is true that they are all with lots of Km´s.

The finances for this are not the problem, I want to have the perfect bike.
For the rest i´ll try to save a bit more.

Thanks a lot
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  #11  
Old 5 Aug 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Playmobil View Post
I tried the 690 and it is perfect weight and HP, but it vibes a lot, also the seat is made for enduro, i thought the XR650 would be more comfortable.
Oh yeah. the seat is shit. You need an aftermarket.

As for the vibration, its way less then the xr650. I know that from experience.
You don't notice the vibration offroad.. at all. But yeah, long strait paved roads to get to be a pain... not as much as the 640.. but still. There are ways around it.. But all in all, don't rule out the 690 because of vibration.. because you will be ruling out every single. Its quite nice.
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  #12  
Old 8 Aug 2013
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Did you consider a Honda Transalp?
The Suzuki DR650 is also something to consider
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  #13  
Old 8 Aug 2013
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The perfect bike doesnt exist, choose one that has the least amount of compromises for YOU.

...the important thing is to pack light and minimise the amount of weight you carry to keep the bike handling well on dirt.

doesnt matter if you are on a smaller bike than your buddy, outside of europe you will both be at 'overlanding' speed.

For me the 650 thumpers have the least amount of compromises for overlanding, If I was in your position I would either go with the XTZ660 or go for a used, low mileage KTM 690, fix its known weak points, add a Safari tank, Corbin seat, small screen and decent soft luggage and end up with a very capable bike.

Also think about if the bike is written off or stolen and what will you do after the trip, if its stolen or written off in WA it will be a total loss, you will not have (worthwhile) insurance South of Morrocco, are you going to keep or sell the bike? if you are going to sell it afterwards, use an older bike and save some cash.
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  #14  
Old 8 Aug 2013
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I took my Transalp from Tokyo to Cape Town, through Mongolia and the Stans. It is very comfortable on the tar, but not a real dirt bike, too low and 19" front wheel, but very reliable. It needed the fuel pump to be flushed and cleaned in Burkina Faso and that is all. My wife rode a BMW G650GS and it went like a dream, 50,000 ks no issues. A friend came with us from Tokyo to St. Petersburg on a KTM990, we had to get a new fuel pump in Mongolia and it was a new bike, no electrical problems. I have read a few reports where both the 990 and 690 KTM bikes have serious fuel pump problems, if you get dirt in the fuel
For your trip if you are buying a bike from scratch I would look at the KTM 690R, very light 138Kg, excellent fuel econoimy and you can get long distance tanks, made for dirt riding but good on the highway, thinking of making it my next bike.
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  #15  
Old 8 Aug 2013
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Originally Posted by wheatwhacker View Post
Did you consider a Honda Transalp?
The Suzuki DR650 is also something to consider
I prefer the Tenere to the Transalp, a bit lighter more fuel capacity.
The Suzuki is a great bike but a bit too old.
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