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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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Old 30 Jul 2012
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xt600e vibration

A recent purchase, has renthals bars/grips. I also suffer wrsit problems and this vibrates less than my fj1200 roadbike.. Cruise speed 100 klicks. Ever seen an xt600e with a std fj1200 screen on it? I have one now......works a treat
Good luck
My mate and I are going green laning soon, and he has a dommi.
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Old 7 Aug 2012
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I have an XT600e yr2000 14k miles that I have modified for travel.
Most modifications were decided upon from reading other owner's blogs posted here on HU, particularly the one by Touring Ted.

Modifications are.

Paris Dakar High bars
Hand Guards
Spitfire Screen
Acerbis long range fuel tank
Sheepskin seat pad
(not sure it works but reminds me of Wales when I'm away from home)
Motec rear rack
48l top box
Throw-over Fabric Panniers (expanding)
Excel 18" rear rim
Avon Distanzia tyres
Heavy Duty custom bash plate
Arrow exhaust
Aux power socket

In all other ways, the bike is standard apart from things like miss matched indicators and mirrors which I have changed after having a lie down now and again on the off road bits of my travels.

Previously I have owned a BSA C15, BMW R65, KTM 640, VSrom 1000, Pan European, Harleys Sportster, Honda CBR600, BMW 1150 and some other stuff.

My Bike travels have been restricted to mainland Europe and a couple of Spanish and Greek Islands.

I don't wish to suggest that the XT is any better than any other model for any particular use but I find it perfectly suited to the riding I do and I am perfectly satisfied with its performance, including motorway use. I use the XT as my day to day transport year round, when not in use it lives outside under a cover. I have no mechanical training but I find that I can easily undertake all the maintenance myself.
The bike is fantastically reliable, always starts and has never broken down.
My XT doesn't have any vibration through the handlebars although there is a bit through the pegs at about 3500rpm, just before I hit my motorway cruising speed at 75mph which equates to 4000rpm. I could probably eliminate this by fitting pegs with rubber inserts but I spend a lot of time standing when riding round back lanes and like the feeling of security I get from the serrated ones I have fitted.
The fuel economy ranges from 60-65mpg although last weekend when fully loaded with me, wife and camping gear returning from Devon up the M5 at 75-80mph, fuel economy was down to mid 50s. I have never run out of fuel so I am not sure what the tank range is, but I have managed 280 miles before refueling.
Many people are surprised that I use the XT two up and usually immediately ask how does my wife cope with the discomfort. The answer is, she doesn't find it uncomfortable. I just make sure I stop about every hour and a half, something I did on all my other bikes. I am usually the one who needs to stop first as I am on the narrowest part of the seat. I should point out that both she and I are lightweights, chunkier people might suffer with lack of space.
Regarding the XT/Fireblade-Motorway/Offroad comparison.
I have never owned a Fireblade but I have used a CBR600 for touring. I know some travelers have done some really audacious stuff on the most unlikely bikes, but keeping it real, I would say that my CBR had no real off road capability other than to ride across the grass to my pitch on a campsite, or to gingerly ride along a forest or military gravel road; whereas the XT will negotiate these roads at respectable speeds, cope with tracks, trails and depending on tyres mild off roading as well. Additionally it has carried me all over the UK on the motorway network at (and above) the speed limit. Last year I went to North Yorkshire during the blizzards to be measured for Alberg Hoggs . Fearful of the roads closing I loaded my bike with bivvy bag, gonk bag, cooker and grub and set off. Swansea-Richmond and then down to Oxford for a stop over with my brother, 515 miles in a day.
Regarding posting your bike to Spain and flying down. If you are short of time I guess this is an option. I rode down from LeHavre via Lourdes, and Zaragosa to Alicante last year and then back via Barcelona, the Ardeche, Vichy and Paris, two up. A fantastic trip.

My advice, if you can, make time.

Re bike choice, I always go on what I own at the time.

If you find yourself in South Wales, you are welcome to have a go of my bike.

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Old 7 Aug 2012
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Hi again.

just after posting I hopped aboard the XT to meet up with my wife for lunch. This necessitated 70 miles of motorway riding and afforded me some time to further reflect on this issue.

But first of all I would like to correct myself on a couple of things.

1. Cruising at 75mph is 4250 rpm not 4000

2. The XT does have vibrations through the handlebars.

Regarding my initial response to the subject of vibrations, what I should have stated is that the XT vibrates from the moment you start it to the moment you switch it off. It vibrates through the handlebars, seat and pegs. All the points that you make contact with the bike. however I do not find these vibrations a problem, they don't cause the vibration white finger you talk about or any other particular discomfort. As previously mentioned the only intrusive vibes are the ones that occur through the pegs at 3000-4000 revs in top gear. I guess I have ridden so many miles on the XT that I have become accustomed to the vibes to such a point I ignore them.

The XT, like so many other singles, is cheap to buy and run; easy to work on, robust, full of character and a versatile machine for travel. It does however like all bikes have limitations and undesirable features, one of which is vibes. For me they aren't a problem, but if you do suffer with this problem, you may want to add a pot or two or three.

I love the fact that the XT is such a bargain basement, no frills, happy shopper type of adventure bike. Old Skool Cool as a friend calls it. Another believes its ' all the bike you need'.
Never ridden a Dommie but I guess they're just as Rock n Roll as XTs.

What should you do? XT, Dommie, BMW? Post the bike or ride?

Whenever I can't decide on which way to go I ask myself 'What would Clint Eastwood do in these circumstances?' I'll tell you. He'd chuck some throw over panniers on the Dommie, strap a 5 litre fuel can to the pillion and just take off.

All the best

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Old 8 Aug 2012
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Charlie, you sound like a man after my own heart. My XT is my daily workhorse, too. The days are rare that I don't fire it up and go somewhere, rain, shine or snow - if not to work, then shopping trips, pub meets, but all generally short-haul stuff.

I'm in awe of your 500+ mile days. I have to say that's not my experience. I am bigger built than you (6 ft, 15 st) and while the seat is pretty good, especially by trailbike standards, I find the riding position kills my back after a while. I know I can do up to 100 miles in one journey, and perhaps 200 in a day, but after that I am hanging my feet off the rear pegs, standing up, swinging my feet out, the lot. Any longer tours I have done have always been on bigger, more tour-oriented bikes.

I made my comment about motorways because that's my experience with an 18-year-old, 30k mile example. It will cruise happily at 60/65 all day, but 70 is a strain and 75 seems like cruelty. Perhaps the motor on mine is tired, but I find motorway stretches only just bearable. (Mind you, I find motorways at 120+ boring, too - that's in the nature of motorways.) Mine gets 52-53 mpg average (it gets ridden fairly hard most of the time) so I can't match your economy either.

I get tingly hands some days (and not others) - sometimes after 5 miles, sometimes after 50. A quick shake-out and a few fist crunches keeps it in check, but I don't blame the bike. I have had just the same on every bike I have owned in the last 10 years, so it's just me (carpal tunnel syndrome, both hands). All single-cylinder bikes vibrate to some extent, but to me that is part of the character and doesn't bother me. I've never heard of anyone getting VWF (vibration-induced white finger) from a motorcycle - chainsaws and road drills, yes, but never a bike. It's a very serious condition, and thankfully rare.

Like you, I think the XT is about the best do-it-all bike ever made. If I could only have one bike to last me the rest of my life, it would be my XT.
2006 XT660R daily ride, 1994 XT600E about to be reborn, Blog: http://goingfastgettingnowhere.blogspot.com/
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Old 8 Aug 2012
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I think we have met, either at an XT event or at a talk, or maybe both, sometime last year.

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Old 8 Aug 2012
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The XT500/Thumper Club meet at Baskerville Hall? I've been there the last 3 years. I don't have a 500, but they tolerate me
2006 XT660R daily ride, 1994 XT600E about to be reborn, Blog: http://goingfastgettingnowhere.blogspot.com/
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Old 8 Aug 2012
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That'll be it.

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Old 25 Nov 2012
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Originally Posted by charlie malone View Post
Whenever I can't decide on which way to go I ask myself 'What would Clint Eastwood do in these circumstances?' I'll tell you. He'd chuck some throw over panniers on the Dommie, strap a 5 litre fuel can to the pillion and just take off.
And thats exactly what I did................

Apologies for the very late reply.......

The answer to the age old question which bike? is whatever you have in the shed right now. If it's capable of doing the journey then just fix up what you've got and go and use it. All too easy though to get a bit panicky (like I did) when your departure date is looming and the bike looks like this.............

Did 3100 miles in 11 days including 200+ miles offroad doing The VINCE and never had a problem. Sure it's still a bit of a reluctant starter sometimes because the worn out carb needs rebuilt and there are loads of things about it that could be better but it's mine, it's a bit different and it always does what's asked of it so why change.

A big thanks to all those who replied and kept me sane while the bike was strewn across the garage floor in a thousand pieces.
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