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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 23 Mar 2009
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Are you still happy with your choice of bike?

You know, Alex suggested it in the "How did you choose your bike?" thread. We need a post to find out if people are still happy with their original choice of travel bike.

Or more specifically I think, after you bought your first travel bike how long did it take you to change it for a different one.

I'm on the TA now for 10 months so still in the honeymoon period but I think I will be happy with this bike (for traveling) for a long time. For Sunday riding I will need something more fun!

So yeah, what was your experience of your first travel bike?

Ride safe,
Ol
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  #2  
Old 23 Mar 2009
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spot on

This thread is so spot on:

I did a UK to Cape Town last year and my travel buddy strong-armed me into buying an Africa Twin ( - only joking dan). For those of you who have ridden one you'll know they're heavy, solid old things with just about enough power to comply but rarely sparkle. It proved to be one of the best bikes I've ever owned because I felt so comfortable and happy on it that I didn't mind the weight and average performance.

I'm currenly trying out my XT660R for the next trip (I've had it a year now) and I don't know what it is but I just can't love it. I like it, it's ok to ride, cheap (which I like) but I don't really enjoy sitting on it over 50mph or for long periods of time and that's the problem.

My trips are very focused on the bike part and I've come to realise that you really have to LOVE your adventure bike. I'm now back in the market looking for that special "something" to share my trip with...
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  #3  
Old 23 Mar 2009
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Good idea.
I spent a year motorcycling around South America on a BMW F650GS rusty pile of Bavarian sh*te.
The bike was a dog, what did not go wrong with it? I broke down a lot, I had so many problems with it would take too long to list here. I should have set fire to it before coming back but oh no I spent a fortune to bring it back to the UK and the thing just melted (the electrics). After going back to workshops for repairs 5 times in 4 months, I got rid of it for a fraction of what I paid and was glad to see the back of it!
So in conclusion, no I was not happy with my choice of bike, and the dealerships’ awful attitude and incompetence (that include in the UK!) did not help either!

On a fairer note, my husband had a Dakar and never had a single problem. So there you go.

Next trip (in less than 2 years!) will be definitely on a Japanese bike. I am leaning toward the XT600E but still looking. In th meantime I am riding a Kawasaki Versys, it may not be as sexy as a Triumph or Italian, but it is RELIABLE! That is worth everything to me!
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  #4  
Old 23 Mar 2009
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Oh Yes!

2004 Triumph Bonneville Black. Did a three week tour of France then a two weeker into Germany as far as the Polish border two up with camping gear, four dragon rallies, three nationals, an Elefant and all sorts of tours of Scotland, Wales and so on regardless of time of year. Fitted the sidecar in 2007 and now getting ready for Morocco. The faces of people on 125 traillies when you pull up on a fake classic with a lump of Russian steel on the side half way up some (dry) green lane is usually a picture! Loons who think you should keep it clean or fit chromed piston rings are a minor hazard of owning something that looks old, but a look at the bash plate is usually enough to confirm I really don't have any serious opinion on the merrits of a Storming-Archer Coffee grinder over a total loss teas maid.

It's been on the recovery truck twice, first time with a coil failure second with the main earth cable snapped off. Both are items I could now fix at the the side of the road basically with experience of where things are on this bike. Unlike various Bavarian Tractors and the Yam that came before it, this one isn't a rusty dog yet either, Triumph will still be using lead based paint or such like.

What don't I like/didn't I like: The fuel tank is too small; if the seat is good for 400 miles why fit a 140 mile tank? I fitted an auxilliary. Changing a rear puncture is a PITA. Taking the silencers off is only a 5 minute job and I won't loose HP on a high level system, but they could have routed them an inch higher and saved hassle.

All in all does anything you like and keeps doing it so long as you fit knobblie-ish tyres for the winter. I set off to buy an R80GS but the Bonneville does the job and isn't 20-years old or an expensive rebuild.

Only thing I'd swap it for if I used my head would be the same again but with the FI motor.

Edit to add: A huge advantage of using a road bike is that plenty of the Sunday-Cafe-and-home-for-tea-and-polish people put lots of nice OE bits like silencers (which get dinged) on e-bay for silly money. Tyres can be picked up the same way.

Andy
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  #5  
Old 23 Mar 2009
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Honda TransAlp, 2007 model (the last of the 650's). To be honest it's probably been the least satisfying of all the bikes I have owned. The most uncomfortable seat of any of the nine or ten bikes I have owned, poor tank range and an absolute PITA to work on.

It's the last point that really was the straw that broke the camels back though, having to displace a radiator in order to recover a spark plug due to an awful engine design was the true tipping point.

It just never turned out to be the bike I hoped it would be. Swapping it for a new Tenere on Thursday as I have really liked other big singles that I have owned.
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  #6  
Old 23 Mar 2009
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I agree with Ed, the Africa Twin it is.

I am aware of its faults, but it is reliable and I like it. In better hands than mine this bike can do amazing things. Every time I think I want 10 more bhp, I think of Stanley Glanfield, who in 1928 went RTW on a 3.5 hp Rudge.

PS liked your blog Ed.
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  #7  
Old 23 Mar 2009
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We did several years of European tours on a Guzzi le Mans, R80ST, Guzzi Spada and K100. The K100 was traded in for the current R100GS almost 20 years ago when we decided to go to Cape Town. At the time the K100 with fuel injection etc. was considered a liability in Africa but now fuel injection and a lot of other technology is so well developed that it's way more reliable than points and carbs so 'fix by the side of the road-ability' doesn't really come into it.

Am I still happy with the R100GS - yes in a sentimental sort of way, however, watch this space as she'll be taking us on another extended 2 up trip in the not too distant future. She will probably eventually be superceded by something more modern but if BMW want the business they'll have to try a bit harder (get rid of telelever forks and all that unnecessary electronic stuff ABS, ESA etc.)
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  #8  
Old 23 Mar 2009
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I have just bought what i hope will be the best travel bike for me a new yamaha tenere, we shall see if im right!!
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  #9  
Old 23 Mar 2009
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The R1150GS did famously, two-up in France, Argentina, CHile, and Scotland (chronologically speaking). I had not major complaints. Yes, I could have done with more power, but just because I've had more powerful bikes and the thrill is always nice, but that never limited us as far as travelling is concerned.

Unfortunately, if got wasted by a careless Fiesta driver on the A4 out of Hammersmith, or I would doubtless still have it now...

The XR has seen no serious overlanding except the mad dash for the Rostock ferry to Tallinn, last June.

Like TWB, I also have a large lump of Russian steel in the form of a sidecar. The difference being is mine is bolted to another lump of Russian steel: a 2007 Ural 750 flat twin.

Other than a 4 day jaunt around NE Estonia, this too has yet to stretch its legs. It is also a work in progress, with this and that being bent, welded, made wired in etc. This is great fun, and has been pretty reliable so far. Mine is more international than Russian with German pisonts and gears, Japanese lectrics and Ducati ignition from 2006 onwards. There have been minor issues, but nothing major and the 2WD is a god-send in gnarly conditions.

So far I am happy. Its a new experience for me, its different and its taught me loads. I still have the XR for sh!ts and giggles, when the 45hp, and 350kg get frustrating....

In August, it gets its first proper outing: 1 month around Eastern and Southern Europe, courtesy of my lovely academic holidays!! All spent in a tent, courtesy of my horrible academic income!! It should see 5000km with me, the other half and the dog in the chair. We shall see.

(T.W.B.: If you have pics of the bash plate used, I'd love to see it. Is is a bash plate on the tub, or bike? I have recently made one for the tub...)
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  #10  
Old 23 Mar 2009
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I thought I was happy with my beemer until I tried a Guzzi. Wow, what a difference! The Guzzis are probably less refined than any beemer, but they are more - alive, if you know what I mean. I've ridden one of them, the 1000 Quota, all over Europe (well... all'ish) and the T5 with sidecar has gone through hell and back through a couple of Norwegian winters but is still a strong runner. Long legged and easy to live with, as the commercial ran back in the '70's. Except a firing problem on the Quota there have been no problems to report from the bikes. And they are bushmech-friendly. I do have a 08 Tenere in the garage too, but the Guzzis are my favourite steeds. When Guzzi comes along with a bike in the Tenere class I'll get it for sure! But my old Guzzis are definitely keepers.
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  #11  
Old 23 Mar 2009
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At

Thanks Buddy, the whole endeavour was a shared one with my companion Dan. I'm already looking to the next trip and as tempted as I am by the trusty AT I think I'll try something else for the hell of it (I broke mine for spares to help everyone out and it was too tatty to sell).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Caminando View Post
I agree with Ed, the Africa Twin it is.

I am aware of its faults, but it is reliable and I like it. In better hands than mine this bike can do amazing things. Every time I think I want 10 more bhp, I think of Stanley Glanfield, who in 1928 went RTW on a 3.5 hp Rudge.

PS liked your blog Ed.
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  #12  
Old 25 Mar 2009
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Will I ever be happy or satisfied?

Never done any real adventure riding / off road.
Local green laning on an XR250 Honda and an XT600 Tenere but not for 4 years.
Plenty of tarmac miles two up around Europe on a Honda Blackbird and now my current ride a Triumph Speed Triple.
We had the Blackbird 7 years and then I bought a new one which I kept for a year after which we bought the Speed Triple. I also had a R1, a Blade and a Honda SP1 in succession at the same time as the Blackbird.
Only 2 bikes at the moment, the Speed Triple and a 1972 MZ ES250.

This recent list just shows that I seem to be always looking for something else. The ultimate ride.

Are we spoilt for choice nowadays?

Back in 1975, my second bike was a 1970 Triumph DaytonaT100T 500cc.
Happy with it? Satisfied?
It was a case of having to be. Couldn't afford anything else so I put up with it for 2 years.

Reading threads on this forum I change my mind every day, hour, 5 minutes and then back again.

Happiness and satisfaction, to me, are a dream. Content for a while but when the novelty fades, off I go again.

Even if I had the talent and skill to build my dream bike, would I be satisfied?
Probably not.

At 52 years old , never been without a bike andand having owned over 35 bikes you'd have thought I would have grown up, but I'm still like a kid in a sweetshop where bikes are concerned.

I can't be the only one like this.

Do I need therapy?

:-)
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  #13  
Old 25 Mar 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roxxo View Post
Will I ever be happy or satisfied?

I can't be the only one like this.

Do I need therapy? :-)
Your not the only one, both myself and my other half change bikes so often it's 'almost' an addiction. At one point the two of us had five bikes in the garage between us, we have now managed to get some kind of grip on the situation and have settled on one bike each, an F650GS (800cc) for her and an XTZ660 Tenere for me (picking up on Thursday, hopefully). How long will we be happy and content with these bikes? Who knows!
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  #14  
Old 25 Mar 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steved1969 View Post
Your not the only one, both myself and my other half change bikes so often it's 'almost' an addiction. At one point the two of us had five bikes in the garage between us, we have now managed to get some kind of grip on the situation and have settled on one bike each, an F650GS (800cc) for her and an XTZ660 Tenere for me (picking up on Thursday, hopefully). How long will we be happy and content with these bikes? Who knows!

Phew!
Thanks Steve.
I feel a bit better now.
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  #15  
Old 25 Mar 2009
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73,000 k on our 03 Triumph Tiger and it is still like a honeymoon every time we ride it.

The Tiger is on it's way back to England and we will be riding it around the UK and Europe for 4 months. Even taking it back to it's birth place on the 7th of May for a factory tour, not sure they'll let the Tiger in but we are looking forward to it.

So if you see a silver Tiger 2 up with funny little (compared to what I've seen of UK rego plates) white and blue Tasmanian registration plates stop and say hello.

Cheers
Wilky
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