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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 3 Mar 2003
jj jj is offline
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Yam XJ 650 - whats it like?


Hi all,
I'm shortly leaving for Durban to start a trans africa trip and am keen to have arranged a bike to buy before I set out. I replied to an ad I found for a Yamaha XJ650 for R10000. It needs some work done on it (new battery, tyres and the general mods needed) its also pretty old (1982). Does anyone know anything about this bike and whether it might be reliable enough for a big trip like I'm planning (SA to UK). I'd really appreciate any advice, Cheers,

Jasper
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Old 5 Mar 2003
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The XJ650 was a leading bike is its day but are you sure it is the right kind of bike for the trip you have planned? It is a fairly heavy 4 cylinder shaft drive road bike that is also now 21 years old. You could be up for a lot of money to get it reliable enough for a big trip. Then you have to ask yourself even if it is reliable, would there not be a number of other bikes better designed for those kinds of roads. Having a shaft drive is one advantage but at it's age, there is the very distinct possibility that the shaft needs overhauling anyway. Personally, even if it was a very very good example, I would be looking for something else.

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Nigel in NZ

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[This message has been edited by Nigel Marx (edited 05 March 2003).]
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Old 6 Mar 2003
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Hi Nigel,
Thanks a lot for your opinion on the XJ 650, its really useful to me since I know nothing about bikes. I found it on a website (www.ecr.co.za) along with a few other bikes - CB400,DR500, GS500e, IT200, XR200R. If you know anything about any one of these bikes I'd really appreciate it if you could share it with me. These are the only bikes advertised on the website which were available in thre Durban area (where I'll be). As far as I know none of them are classic overlanding bikes whoich worries me slightly. What I'll probably end up doing is going to a few garages in Durban and see what they've got to offer and trust them to be fair with someone who knows very little about bikes. Thanks a lot for your help,

Jasper
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Old 6 Mar 2003
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From the list you write. I'd recommend the GS500E. This is a simple, air cooled engine with an excellent reliability record. It still sells solidly in Europe too, so spares should not be a problem. You should be able to pick up a 2/3 year old model fairly cheaply. Keep it clean, though - this bike has a tough engine but very prone to corrosion frame, exhaust. forks etc.
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Old 7 Mar 2003
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Hi John,
Thanks a lot for the info on the GS500e, its going for 16750R (about 1400pounds I think) - do you think this is a good deal? It was made in 1995 and the ad says its in good condition. Cheers for help,

Jasper
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Old 12 Mar 2003
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I am a fan of the GS500 too. They have been making that base engine since 1978 or '79 I think with the first one being a GS400. The motors are well sorted by now. Light too, and how many overlanders do you hear of who are trying to make their bikes and loads lighter? I think it has great potential for overland use.

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