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Women's Topics For questions which are specific to women, including travel-related challenges to do with menstruation, contraception, she-wees, and any other questions that 'women don't dare to ask', pros and cons of riding pillion, women travelling solo, safety concerns, etc. This is not a Ladies Bar, this forum is open to all, including guys who would like information for their significant other.
Please post questions which are of interest to both genders in the relevant forum, where they will be more likely to get a quick response.
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  #1  
Old 25 Sep 2012
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women choice bike

Is there a poll or a database showing what women are picking the most for thier trip. We are leaving for our next RTW in two years and would like to get two bikes for it . Maybe a DR650 each but the lady is a bit small (168 cm)

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  #2  
Old 25 Sep 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HendiKaf View Post
Is there a poll or a database showing what women are picking the most for thier trip. We are leaving for our next RTW in two years and would like to get two bikes for it . Maybe a DR650 each but the lady is a bit small (168 cm)

Hendi
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Hi Hendikaf,

well, I am not sure a database would help, because some bikes are available in some continents and not others. For example, the excellent DR 650 is sold in the Americas, but not in Europe (at least in the UK!). The XT250 is not sold in Europe etc...

If your lady is 168cm this is tall enough!

The DR650 has a slim seat and by setting the shock to soft (if it can be set) and maybe dropping the front forks a bit, it should be enough.
It's a very light bike so is a very good choice for a woman. I would get one if I could find one in the UK!

You can also get someone to scoop out the seat and fit a gel seat. I have done that for my F650GS and for my Versys (I'm only 163cm tall) and it makes a very big difference.

Best get your friend to sit on the bike first.

To put things in perspective, we were considering with my husband to get 2 DR400 for our next big trip (meaning I had to find ways to lower mine by at least 10 cms!) ..... In the end, where there is a will there is a way.

You guys are lucky to be located in the US where you have a massive choice in term of lowering links etc...

Ultimately, in my experience, there are 2 things essentials that I want in my next travel bike: seat low enough I can paddle through deep sand/gravel, and most important: a light bike. Weight is a killer on tough terrain!
So much so that I am considering the YBR250 for Mongolia!

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 26 Sep 2012
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Bike choice

Thanks Maria,

I will see if some local guys have a dr650 to sit on and then we will know more. The bmw 650 is a good choice to but I find the simple DR be more accessible to work on.
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  #4  
Old 26 Sep 2012
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Originally Posted by HendiKaf View Post
Thanks Maria,

I will see if some local guys have a dr650 to sit on and then we will know more. The bmw 650 is a good choice to but I find the simple DR be more accessible to work on.
The DR is simpler and lighter. I rode 23,000 miles around south america on a BMW 650GS. I would not recommend it. On top of having lots of software and electric/electronic problems, the bike is top heavy. Also for any repair, you need specific BMW parts and plug the bike to a BMW computer diagnosis software. Not easy once off the beaten track.

I rented another F650 in the US and had similar problems; so it is common on that bike.

But the beemer is lower vs. the DR. Depend how much dirt / unpaved roads you plan to do and how comfortable your missus is on that sort of ground?

In the end there is no "perfect" bike. It depends on what you like and what you want to ride!

Here in Rio I did nasty dirt roads on my Kwak er-6n with road tyres.... anything is doable in the end....
Have fun!
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  #5  
Old 26 Sep 2012
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hoi,

I'm doiing the 3 America's on a perfect F 650 GS BMW, build in 2001. No big problems so far and the small things we could fix it easly ourself or in any mechanic shop.
i'l very happy with it. I'm 160 cm small and can handle the bike without any problem.

Kiss the ride!

Ils
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  #6  
Old 27 Sep 2012
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Personally, I don't see the original question a particular issue for women - the ideal lightweight, long-distance friendly, low seat bike applies to both men and women.
168cm isn't particularly short & with a bit of adjustment (suspension / lowering links and a lowered seat), most bikes would fit.
If there is a local group of trail riders, I suggest arranging to meet some so she can try out a few of the bikes. The ADV forum may be a suitable place to start as there is a large contingency of members from the USA.
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  #7  
Old 29 Sep 2012
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Bike

I could agree if it was only about the size of the rider but most of the time women do tends to have less upper body strengh so it is important to keep the bike low and the center of gravity even lower. I myself had many top heavy bike (1150 gs ADV ....) and once they start to tip its a real pain to stop them to go down. I would love something light like the new 250 dual sport but nothing low unless you go for a 250 ninja or similar.
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  #8  
Old 26 Oct 2012
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I use to travel alone, on dirt roads or no roads at all, because of this I prefer a smaller light weight bike.

On my first trip with no experience on a bike I took a Honda XR 250 (knowing they have versions of this bike in South East Asia) This trip, I took a DR350 but I have talked to a lot of people here in Africa who are riding DRZ-400 and are really happy with there performance for RTW bike.

Anyway here is a list for smaller bikes -

The Pro.
  • Easier to lift up,
  • Lighter to maneuver
  • Cheaper when shipping
  • Easy to maintain
  • Cheap to get parts (if you choose a XR250 - you can get parts from most countries)

The Cons.
  • Can not carry everything (especially not the kitchen sink!- I pack light weight 25kg plus extra fuel, water and food)
  • Small bikes need more maintenance - oil change (by the book) every 5000km, cam chain every 20,000km etc.


I have no idea about taking a larger bike, maybe a DR650 but nothing more than that.
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  #9  
Old 26 Oct 2012
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Depends on the RTW

If the intended path is mostly or overwhelmingly majority tarmac the DR650 is a fine choice. Koubalink makes it easy to lower the bike without upsetting handling or compromising the suspension much. And the engine is large enough to provide decent passing power on highways. Not an autobahn burner but . . . you probably won't see alot of autobahn.

But . . . Motorcycle Consumer News did a full build up of a DR650 (which is air-cooled) and ultimately surmised that maybe they'd chosen the wrong bike.

A DRZ 400, with mods that won't impact reliability has nearly the same power, weighs alot less, provides a Koubalink option, AND is watercooled with much better suspension components would be my recommendation . . . and was for my wife. She's 165cm, relatively long of leg (a bit more than is typical of women) and she's ridden it in mildly challenging conditions as a real 'dirt rookie'. It's easy to get high quality aftermarket parts for additional range with lightweight plastic tanks (replacing the 13L steel one) and it's "problem list" is well-known and can generally be attended to pre-ride. The cooling system is completely overbuilt providing little anxiety even in desert riding.

For an even better option (it's in the cards for us) a Husky TE630 is even lighter, has fuel injection which means varying conditions of altitude and crappy gas are handled with aplomb although a stock DRZ runs on . . . piss. The Husky's weight is less and more importantly for new or smaller riders, is much lower in the bike. It's hard to find a TE630 and the TE610 has a more suspect valvetrain for a RTW effort. Finally, the TE's can be lowered via a Koubalink. It's handling is world's better than the DRZ which actually feels heavier than my KTM 950 at slow speeds. (I have a DRZ400 in Thailand.) A bigger tank is also an easy option for the TE.
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  #10  
Old 28 Oct 2012
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Originally Posted by maria41 View Post
In the end there is no "perfect" bike. It depends on what you like and what you want to ride!
So very true. I don't think anyone can tell anyone else what to ride, as each person has different abilities, and different ideas on what kind of route they want to ride. Of course Hendi, you weren't looking for an answer, just some ideas!

Despite being told my bike is too old, or I should get myself a GS, my touring has all been done on a Honda Bros - not the most common choice of bike, but I love it. I also have an XT225 - but it doesn't have the bags to carry all my kit, and I don't think it's reliable enough (yet?) for long journeys.

You have to ride to your bike, and your comfort zone. This is true regardless of gender - but we ladies do have less strength and height to work with. I know I can ride a bigger heavier faster bike than the Bros, but the margins for error would be smaller. Likewise, there are some roads I choose not to risk on Bros, that I would fly down on the Serow.

One moment of unintentional genius with a previous boyfriend was the decision to take two bikes of the same model. This was decided on mainly because if anything had happened to the boyfriends main bike I would have felt bad as the trip was my idea. What it did mean was (a) fewer spares and tools needed, and (b) we both had the same speed & acceleration available. No frustations from the fella on the faster bike having to wait for me (though he did still take those corners faster, I'll have to admit), no frustrations and risk taking from little me on the smaller bike trying to keep up. Worth bearing in mind in my opinion, though you gents may have your own ideas!
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  #11  
Old 31 Oct 2012
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Hi there...I am currently in Peru having flown my BMW F650GS over to Buenes Aires in Argentina. Its a 2009 plate...so computer managed! The bike is great to ride...the seat is awful!!..had to have a new fuel pump in Argentina...US$1200..as it's an imported part (covered by my BMW warranty..phew)..But..when the bike is going down, it's heavy..and unless you are a very skilled biker..riding in sand...well..I just kept dropping the bike. We have met many bikers who have chosen the KLR 650 here..it's versatile..not too heavy and spare parts are quite easily available..i.e. the police in Bolivia ride this bike! I am 5'10" so don't have a problem with the height of the bike..it's a comfy position for me..wish I had had a gel seat fitted beforehand though. But..it's powerful enough to get me up through the high altitudes..around the tight mountain bends and past the many lorries. Would I choose this bike for an overland trip again..probably not..purely because it is so heavy...not as top heavy as the single that I had..but once it's on it's way down I do not have the upper body strength to stop it going good luck...do your research well...there's thousands of miles out here in the world to travel...but a numb bum is no fun!! And bear in mind the spare parts and imported costs wherever you may be!! Have fun on the road
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Old 31 Oct 2012
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As the female half of Kate and Will, I ride a Yamaha XT 250, which is available in the States. I got mine in Australia. It lacks a bit of oomph but I rode it from Sydney to London last year and for most of the journey, it was just perfect. It struggled to keep up with Will's DR650 on the vast open stretches of road across Australia, and again in Kazakhstan. But through Nepal, India and Pakistan, where the going was pretty slow and often difficult terrain, it was ideal. It is light, I can put both feet flat on the floor when sat astride it (i'm about 5'6") and it is easy to ride. Although I haven't ever had to pick it up on my own when I've dropped it (Will has always been around to help ), I feel confident that I could, if I had to!

At times, I would like to change the bike for something with a bit more go, but I feel so comfortable and confident on this bike now, and that is so important.
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  #13  
Old 31 Dec 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HendiKaf View Post
Is there a poll or a database showing what women are picking the most for thier trip. We are leaving for our next RTW in two years and would like to get two bikes for it . Maybe a DR650 each but the lady is a bit small (168 cm)

Hendi
www.Hendikaf.com
I like old bikes and I think the old Yamaha TT600 should be a good choice; light weight, no computers and plenty of power!

Proof; Heather Ellis | Australian woman motorcycle traveller and writer | Africa and Central Asia on a Yamaha TT600

She seemed to have had no major breakdowns at all!
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  #14  
Old 27 Jan 2013
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Vespa

I have traveled a lot on Marilyn, my Vespa LX 150, and they are great because the center of gravity is really low. They hold a lot, and the all steel frame makes them really stable. The only problem is the tires are only 10 inches and they don't like to go more than 50 miles an hour. I am going to get a bigger one for a long trip, and am just trying to decide if I want to chance fuel injection or not.
I would recommend trying a Vespa before settling on a motorcycle.
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Old 28 Jan 2013
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Bike choice

Scooter can be great but when off pavement they will be pretty hard to ride , I have a friend which have the DR350 and also an XT250 so we will try those as they seems a good match too. Speed is not the problem for us asmost of the time we will be riding 50 to 70 M/H max .We trie dthe WR250 but its way too tall and heavy .
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