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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 Bettina Hoebenreich, At the foot of the Bear Glaciers, eternal ice, British Columbia, Canada

Adventure is what you make it

Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, at the foot of the Bear Glaciers, British Columbia, Canada.



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  #1  
Old 25 Jan 2022
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Which bike for world Trip? (R1200RS or Tracer 9 GT)

Yes, these bikes aren't the first bikes that come to mine when you think RTW, but let me qualify my trip. The trip I'm doing is going to be mostly paved because I like the twisties and less of the dirt and gravel roads. I know I'll probably have to cross some rough roads going from Eastern Europe to China but I'm hoping most of my trip can be 80% paved. Also, I hope to do some parts of this trip with my wife on the back so passenger comfort is also important.

Now, onto the bikes. These are my thoughts on them and hoping you guys can chime in. I have a R1200RS myself and have been watching the reviews on the Tracer 9.

R1200RS
-I love the performance (for the twisties) with the weight down low like other R bikes.
-Comfortable for the wife
-Short seat ht. (I'm 5'-6")
-Like the reliability and little maintenance of the shaft drive
-Worried about the reliability of BMW (my first one) but heard the boxer engines are bullet proof
-Worried about how it would do crossing the rougher roads of the trip.

Tracer 9 GT:
-Seems to be a bit lighter
-Japanese built so probably more reliable than BMW
-Looks to be still comfortable for passenger
-Probably better for the rough roads than the RS
-Worried about the electronics for a long trip (although I love the features)
-Don't like the chain as much as the shaft drive for the long trip.

Based on my trip criteria, which bike would you take? Any additional thoughts on these 2 bikes? Also, any other bike you would recommend?
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  #2  
Old 25 Jan 2022
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Not exactly what you are asking, and for this I am sorry (I hate it when people answer anything but what was asked). In this case, I just can't help wonder.

If you have the bike that you have, and you are in the market for something equally big - why these two at all, and not one of the more common choices? The first one to pop into mind is the BMW R1200GSA - with the GS that coined the whole adventure bike genre and pretty much has ruled it since.

Now, a 1200 of any sort is not for me, but if I was to go down that route and had the money to spare, a BMW GS or a KTM would be at the top of my list.

The GS is far more nimble than it looks, both on and off road. It has all the luxuries and comforts one can dream of for an RTW, even two up - from past paced highways to currugated gravel roads and some serious terrain. And build quality is as good as it gets.

Now, if you have to choose between the two you mentioned, ICD stick with the one you've got and tailor it æ simply because you've got it, because you know it, and because the alternative won't make a huge difference in any regard.
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  #3  
Old 25 Jan 2022
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It's the 'wife on the back' bit that stands out for me. The combination of big, heavy bike (and it will be with you + pillion + luggage), even a short stretch of sandy piste and a mistake where your wife ends up in a ditch shouts out the likelihood of a very rapid reappraisal of the trip to me.

You may see sprawling in the dirt when you tip it over in sand as 'just one of those things' but from the pillion seat she'll most likely see it as a crash she was lucky to survive (and not something she wants to repeat). In your circumstances I'd be looking at something much lighter - unless you're going to restrict her to tarmac stretches only.
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  #4  
Old 25 Jan 2022
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forget the GSA - it's unnecessary for the trip you're planning, and it's TALL. The standard GS will work fine with a low seat, and you'll be very impressed with it in the twisties. You wife will love it too, guaranteed.
Reliability - that's a tough one - LOADS of people have done RTW with BMWs and had no issues, loads of others have had trouble.

Yamaha LIKELY to be overall more reliable, BUT the chain is a pain - and regularly requiring maintenance. (FAR less than old bikes, new chains etc are amazing, requiring little maintenance - but they DO require some.) Compare that to the POSSIBLE BMW failure of some kind, and only you can make that decision.

DO ride a GS, see what you think. It's easily my personal choice for a two up bike with possible/probable off-pavement bits.
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  #5  
Old 25 Jan 2022
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Just throwing it out there, but how about a super tenere? You get the shaft drive, and size for 2up with Japanese reliability.
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  #6  
Old 26 Jan 2022
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Go to the showroom, sit on them, and buy the one that strikes your fancy.
Hopefully you can get in a test ride...
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  #7  
Old 26 Jan 2022
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheelie View Post
Not exactly what you are asking, and for this I am sorry (I hate it when people answer anything but what was asked). In this case, I just can't help wonder.

If you have the bike that you have, and you are in the market for something equally big - why these two at all, and not one of the more common choices? The first one to pop into mind is the BMW R1200GSA - with the GS that coined the whole adventure bike genre and pretty much has ruled it since.

Now, a 1200 of any sort is not for me, but if I was to go down that route and had the money to spare, a BMW GS or a KTM would be at the top of my list.

The GS is far more nimble than it looks, both on and off road. It has all the luxuries and comforts one can dream of for an RTW, even two up - from past paced highways to currugated gravel roads and some serious terrain. And build quality is as good as it gets.

Now, if you have to choose between the two you mentioned, ICD stick with the one you've got and tailor it æ simply because you've got it, because you know it, and because the alternative won't make a huge difference in any regard.
The sheer size of the GS scares me. I'm not a big guy. And it's tall. Plus I don't think I would like the position of it for cornering in the twisties. But as someone mentioned here, I should try it out first. I do know that I like the handling of the RS and maybe that boxer engine is the commonality.
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  #8  
Old 26 Jan 2022
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
It's the 'wife on the back' bit that stands out for me. The combination of big, heavy bike (and it will be with you + pillion + luggage), even a short stretch of sandy piste and a mistake where your wife ends up in a ditch shouts out the likelihood of a very rapid reappraisal of the trip to me.

You may see sprawling in the dirt when you tip it over in sand as 'just one of those things' but from the pillion seat she'll most likely see it as a crash she was lucky to survive (and not something she wants to repeat). In your circumstances I'd be looking at something much lighter - unless you're going to restrict her to tarmac stretches only.
Yes, the plan is she will be a fairweather pillion. She definitely won't want to tough it out with me outside of Europe and North America.
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  #9  
Old 26 Jan 2022
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Originally Posted by frameworkSpecialist View Post
Just throwing it out there, but how about a super tenere? You get the shaft drive, and size for 2up with Japanese reliability.
Haven't thought of it, but I like the idea of the shaft with Japanese reliability. Probably won't handle as nice as the RS in the twisties, but will check it out.
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  #10  
Old 26 Jan 2022
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chasingthesun View Post
I like the idea of the shaft with Japanese reliability. Probably won't handle as nice as the RS in the twisties, but will check it out.
Hello

I too would recomend the XT1200Z, IF I didn't have one.
It is bad designed, not the japanese quality one would expect.
The two big flaws are rim/spoke and starting, nothing you want outside the first world, on a level worse than the hearsay of BMW or KTM.

Don't focus on the performance of the bike on twisted roads, focus on the comfort of your backseat and the suspension of the bike.
Even paved roads can be very bad, would not take one of the two bikes you mentioned in the first post.

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  #11  
Old 26 Jan 2022
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Originally Posted by Chasingthesun View Post
Haven't thought of it, but I like the idea of the shaft with Japanese reliability. Probably won't handle as nice as the RS in the twisties, but will check it out.
I agree with the comments about the size of the bikes you are considering, even using only tarmaced roads you can go thousands of km without exceeding 80-90 kph and with potholes and the unexpected you would not find in Canada around many corners caution in the twisties will be the order of the day and manoeuverability will be more important than handling.
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  #12  
Old 26 Jan 2022
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As someone who's done a month-long road trip on a VFR800, I would advise against the RS purely on the ground that your spine will thank you for a vertical seating position. I loved everything about the bike except the seat position and the fiddly fairings, so I got a VFR800X Crossrunner, which is exactly the same thing but with the things I hated changed. In your case, the R1200GS is available, so makes sense to go for that one.

All that said, the most important thing about the bike you ride on your trip is that you are excited to get on it every morning. If you love the RS, stick with it. Even if other bikes might be incrementally better for some aspects of your planned trip, your RS will be able to handle it just fine.
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  #13  
Old 26 Jan 2022
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The GS or GSA looks huge and intimidating - but looks deceive. It is far more nimble on Twisties and offroad than many bikes that are "smaller". Much of the girth is just volume and not much else. It gives you and the pillion more comfort. Also the suspension, the breakers, the transmission, the power... it is all made for a VERY easy ride! In fact, I seriously doubt there are any other 1200 overlanding bikes that are easier and more comfortable to ride. I guess you get what you pay for - because it is expensive.

That much said. For the price of it, you could afford two smaller bikes, a licence for your better half, the added bike shipping costs, the extra fuel... With that, she might not be so hard pushed to go the entire distance?
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  #14  
Old 27 Jan 2022
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FWIW:

Re your comment on height:

Jocelyn Snow, 5' 1" and 118 lb, rides a 1200GSA - and in the BMW GS Challenge she did well on the US Team. See https://www.advpulse.com/adv-preppin...elin-snow-bmw/

Tiffany Coates is taller, guessing 5'6, and tour guides on a 1200GS happily.

And on a bumpy twisty PAVED road, my money is on the GS for the win against an RS - with ease. Ride one.
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  #15  
Old 27 Jan 2022
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Thanks for all the comments. All good points for me to think of. I'll give the GS a try and then decide. For my RS, I have Heli risers on already and although it's not straight back, it is much more comfortable. But yes, there is something to be said for a straight back on a long trip.
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