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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.
Photo by Ellen Delis, Lagunas Ojos del Campo, Antofalla, Catamarca

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!

Photo by Ellen Delis,
Lagunas Ojos del Campo,
Antofalla, Catamarca

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Old 27 Feb 2024
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Mhhh.... 110 kgs, arthritis, bust knee, back problems

It's a question of weight in every aspect. You need a bike to carry you plus luggage, and you need a bike light enough to pick up after dropping it

Two cylinder bikes are IMHO a good choice for long distance travelling: Enough power, smooth engines, but even the Tenere weighs too much for a sore back. So the alternative is a small, light bike.

I had a test ride on a KTM 390. 160 kg, just under 40 hp. I'm 183 cm tall and felt comfortable on it. Besides that its got alloy rims, meaning that punctures are easy to fix.

Last year I swapped bikes with a South African and (first time ever) travelled on a 660 Tenere. Jeez, I enjoyed the trip. A very capable bike, but as mentioned above, top-heavy and net weight is around 210 kg.

Me, I'm riding a F650GS twin, and I'm a decade older than you, but I still manage to pick it up without removing the luggage. It is much lower than the XTZ 660 and about the same weight. But with back problems I'd take a close look at the little KTM or for rougher pistes the 300cc Honda.

My two cents worth
Only when we pause to wonder
do we go beyond the limits of our little lives.
(Rod McKuen)
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Old 28 Feb 2024
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As always this question is not about the bike but about you - and mainly your personality.
A RTW trip can and has, been done on any bike from moped to Goldwing.
What do you really want to do?
A suggestion, if I may.
Make a sliding scale of ‘as max dirt as possible’ to 100% road and put a realistic mark where you stand.
Then think about how you stand on compromise.
Then think about your temperament.
Then correlate that with your riding ability.

Hopefully that will help you decide whether a big or small bike will be best for you.

I shall give myself as an example:
My choice was the 1200gs in my garage
A T700
CRF300 Rally
Using the technique above and financial considerations made me choose the 1200gs and it was perfect.
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Old 14 Mar 2024
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Originally Posted by Fernbrook View Post
Hold everything! I have made a mistake!! Of course the Africa twin is heavier than the Tenere 700! I was just checking to see if you were all paying attention! Well done. You have all passed the test! Seriously, I meant that the Tenere is lighter than the A /T ( by about 22 kgs for the non-DCT and more for the DCT version. My question still stands though... for a 1-2 year trip across various terrains, is the weight reduction important enough with the Tenere to warrant selling an A/T (2016) already set up with stiffer front and rear suspension, custom - made seat, improved screen , better headstock bearings etc. Anyone done the 'swap' or similar? How did it go? Apologies for the boo boo previously.
On asphalt with lots of freeway heavy is fine. The only problem is fuel economy. In a RTW, fuel costs add up. Downsizing for the benefit of weight is a good choice (single cylinder) but covering the globe is far more comfortable on a twin cylinder. As for which twin, that depends on budget, weight, hp, reliability and the types of roads you plan to ride. Be realistic with what the bike can reliably handle as breakdowns while travelling are not the same when cose to home.

On a previous RTW attempt, my Triumph weighed 270 kg without a full tank of gas and a 50L duffle with clothing/toiletries etc..


It was heavy and gas consumption was noticeable, especially when I got to Europe. Eventually downsized to a Rally Raid Honda CB500X (currently for sale in the classifieds) and this was a far better choice overall.

This Honda is reliable, lighter, sips gas and the 500cc is enough hp to cover long distances without feeling the fatigue of a single cylinder. I've ridden a Tenere and it's got a lot more torque and hp but the CB500X was for me the best overall choice (lower base price and operating cost with enough hp for the roads I plan to travel).
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Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Originally Posted by Fernbrook View Post
...re-examination of the bike choice for my RTW trip, due specifically to knee and hip injuries (67 years old).
Hi Fernbrook:

You sound a lot like me. I'm 69, and due to development of arthritis in one hip I have had to give up riding on my Honda ST 1100 & ST 1300. Over the past 25 years, I've ridden over 250,000 km on that ST 1100 in Europe, and I am going to really miss it. I'm without a motorcycle now for the first time since I was 16.

You didn't mention what kind of roads you plan to ride on. If you plan to travel on paved roads, then I think a bike in the 500 cc range would be suitable. I would not recommend anything smaller than 500 cc if you plan to do a lot of highway riding.

I think that seat height is a critical consideration if you have knee & hip issues. The lower the seat height, the easier a time you will have, not just mounting & dismounting, but paddling around in parking lots, etc.

I would not bother with a jack to pick the bike up if it topples. You will always be able to find someone to assist if you wait a bit (assuming you are not off-roading).

Let me know how your research & decision-making plays out, I am keenly interested.

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