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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 5 Feb 2009
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XT600 or DR600 which bike?

Having had my XT 600 Tenere stolen I am on the lookout for a replacement.

I have a BMW 1150rt as a European touring bike and need a dirty bike.
The bike will, be an everyday commuter in UK, and also ideal for small weekend greenlaning.
Twice a year it will see some extended hardships, laden with petrol and water in a desert with 2 hard cases and camera equipment in a top box. Time negates me actually going RTW at this stage, but ultimately the intended goal is RTW. For now its just 2weeks covering about 4000 miles. Preferably warm.

Specifically I am looking for an aircooled single, preferably kick start.
I will be adding HID lighting as My Stolen Tenere lighting was dangerous at best.

What are the practical differences between these two bikes?

The DR600 having kick only and a 21litre tank, and the Yamaha being a 23litre tank. The Yamaha's foibles I have come to know and understand, but apparently the Suzuki is a completely different beast, yet no one has explained why. What areas do I need to look out for?

I should point out that I loved my 1VJ Tenere passionately. But as an impressionably teenager I experienced the roar of a DR600 djebel and its left an indelible mark one me.
I also really like the Djebel handguard/small fly screen fairing.

Still waiting for the Insurance to kick out... but probably just enough to pick up one of the bikes on flea bay from Germany or Italy.

Ohhh and any pointers in how to go about getting a European bike registered in a Brit's name? for importation?


Many thanks G
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  #2  
Old 5 Feb 2009
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To make things a bit more complicated: Have you looked at the Yam TT600R?

The stock Tank is tiny (about 12 liters I think), but there's an acerbis 20 liter tank available. Other than that it's a dead simple, realiable machine with a great engine for offroading (maybe not so great for passing and the autobahn - always depends on your style of course) and a pretty good suspension.

It's also easily remodded into a Super Moto

There's different versions of the TT around. Apart from the 'S' and the 'E' (of which I don't know much), there's the 'R' with Kickstart and beefy suspension and the 'RE' with a not-so-good suspension (say on a level with the XT600) and electric start.

It's also an easy mod to change the suspension elements of the 'RE' against those of the 'R' and get the best of both worlds

Anyway just a thought...
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  #3  
Old 6 Feb 2009
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The DR600, far as I know,
Get serious.

Last edited by mollydog; 21 Mar 2009 at 23:05.
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  #4  
Old 6 Feb 2009
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Thanks for the responses.

These newer bikes are not designed to last, so I am reluctant to buy a new bike. buying a bulletproof bike then new rings piston and sleeve makes much more sense to me. and I'm upgrading the rear shock and front springs anyway, new or old, so that isnt a cost issue.

Simplicity and fixability is the key. Having fuel injection break down in turkana isnt going to help anyone. Having a bike that is simple and mechanical on the road between Lamu and Garissa is the key to success.
Tube tyres are not ideal, but are more manageable given a more diverse range of problems. Imagine changing a tubeless without high pressure air during a bout of malaria in 40 degree heat?

Africa hasnt changed, or at least where I'm going hasnt, so why its thought that a bike that has done it all and was great is suddenly no good is beyond me.

The tt600 is too expensive, and not what I am looking for, compression ratio too high servicing too frequent. etc.

So I'm specifically looking for comparisons between these two bikes. There are quite a few still around with low mileage actually 8 internationally currently available.

Keep it coming on these two bikes differences.

G
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  #5  
Old 6 Feb 2009
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Tt600

The TT600R and RE are not as high maintenance as you may think. Compression ratio 8.5 to 1. Service interval 10000km for oil change.20000 valve clearances. engine is basically XT with a higher spec of chassis parts and more alloy/stainless.
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  #6  
Old 6 Feb 2009
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I did nearly 50,000 miles on an '86 DR600.

Pro's: easy to work on, simple, cheap.

Con's: spares might be hard to find now, kickstart only.

Problems: snapped a kickstart shaft - full engine strip to replace. The drive splines on the countershaft that drive the front sprocket wore away - full engine strip. All big singles will use oil to varying degrees if held at high rpm for extended periods.

Fuel economy was good (50mpg). Suspension was basic.

Personally, I'd go for a newer XT of some sort.
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Old 6 Feb 2009
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You seem to know these bikes and that's a big plus.

Last edited by mollydog; 21 Mar 2009 at 23:06.
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  #8  
Old 6 Feb 2009
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Hi there Ive owned an 86 DR600, a 1991 XT600 3AJ Tenere, and have also ridden many miles an XT600 1 VJ.

The DR is a great fun bike, but it's engine cannot compare with the XT, particularly off road. The accelerator pumped carb on the DR gives it a more fierce power delivery, and it wont find grip like the XT. It's kickstart only, and when it's hot it's a total pig to start, mix that with it's less user friendly engine for off road, and it can be hard work when the going gets a bit tricky.

The XT is also much more comfortable to ride for distance riding.

I always thought my DR would make a good fun super moto, it was much easier to wheelie than the XT! I loved my DR to bits, but I have to be honest and say that the Tenere was a more "complete" bike.

Having said all of that, my DR was unerringly reliable, and my XT broke my bank balance, ok, it wasnt the best Tenere out there, but......

I would say go for something newer, both bikes are getting on a bit, and problems are going to be raising thier heads soon. Just my opinion guys.

Pete
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Old 7 Feb 2009
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If you have trouble seating the bead on a tubeless tyre, wrap a ratchet or friction strap around the centreline of the tyres circumference & tighten up before inflation. This forces the tyre bead on to rim, prevents air from seaping out, ensuring that the tyre inflates.

Once the bead's seated & airtight, remove the strap before fully inflating the tyre. If you leave it til last, the strap's that much harder to remove.

If the tyres holding air but not quite fully seated, ride the bike slowly, it should just pop in to place. This also works if you've fitted a Mousse in an enduro bike, just don't tighten the rimlock nut (if fitted) fully until the tyre's seated.

You can also fit tubes in to GS type tubeless wheels, I've fitted 18" tubes in to a friends 17" rear GS wheel to get him rolling again.
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  #10  
Old 7 Feb 2009
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Thanks guys

Basspete, that is specifically the type of information I was looking for.
I have a feeling that I will be heading down the XT route again, but am not convinced. The offroad ability of the DR would be a benefit, is it significantly better than the XT? Because I am not the greatest off road rider, but have noticed some short comings of the XT.

Mollydog I have replied to you offline, I appreciate your advice for general information. But I was looking specifically for relevance to these two bikes.

Buebo and Leigh, I understand about the TT600, but the added expense of the Larger fuel tank and rear frame support for a rack makes it a considerably more expensive option, also its a more expensive bike to begin with. I was under the impression the the TT600 used a tighter strung engine, or at least was under tighter tolerances that required more frequent servicing.

Tubeless tyres are better I will agree that.
But the frustration is not worth it for what I am looking at.


Specifically, I have a trip planned that takes me from Mombasa up to the Sabaki river, then along the Tana river to Garissa, up to Mado Gashi, across to and then around the Marsabit reserve and through into the Chalbi desert, crossing this I head up to Turkana before turning south to Maralal and onto Nairobi.

Go onto Google Earth and check it out.

The tarmac ends at the coast the sabaki river, and the starts again at Marrala. Between Mado Gashi and Marsabit there are no roads, just following Camel tracks / Animal tracks / River luga's, GPS Compass and Samburu advice.

There are no service centre's and no workshops between Garissa and Marsabit.


I have failed to cross the Chalbi on a bike twice, and have done it once in a Landrover in convoy once due to a cracked radiator, from a rock I think rebounding off the chassis and cracking the radiator - hence air head bike.

many thanks and keep the opinions coming. G
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  #11  
Old 7 Feb 2009
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Off road I'd take the XT over the DR anytime, nicer low down power and better handling. If the going gets tight or rocky, the DR isn't much fun at all, and being kick only makes life even harder. On a big open piece of ground, or a nice twisty road, the DR is a blast, but I do believe the Xt is the more "complete" bike.

Pete
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