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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 Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

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


Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia



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  #16  
Old 31 May 2015
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Originally Posted by nachosgrande View Post
Thanks everyone. I currently have a 2013 KLR 650 and a 2012 KLX 250, was debating just using the KLR or selling both and buying something fuel injected for the trip. Living at sea level I was concerned about what might happen in the mountains. The internet is full of info regarding the differences, but I figured this forum was the only place to discuss which is better in the middle of a third world country.
Both good bikes ... and both are new! You are spoilt for choice!

You must be in the US or Canada as newer KLX250's (EU) are F.I. USA ones still Carb'd. No matter.

Modern Carb bikes come jetted VERY LEAN from the factory. They are good at altitude. Most can go up to round 10,000 ft. before being badly affected. They will lose power (just as ALL bikes including EFI bikes will)

Over 10k they will begin to run too rich, rough idle, hard starting ... and even weaker running.

Easy solution is to open up air box. MORE AIR! Of course you can re-jet too but that's more work/knowledge. One addition I would add before re-jetting would be an extended Fuel-Air pilot adjust screw that is accessible. Very handy as you proceed higher.

Most Carb'd bikes have a Fuel-Air Pilot screw, most hard to get to on bottom of Carb. With an EXTENDED fuel screw, you can make adjustments in seconds ... from the seat of your bike.

Use fuel filters, keep air filter clean, change oil using GOOD oil, and you'll go easily 85K miles on the KLR, 40K miles on the KLX.

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  #17  
Old 31 May 2015
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I have two FI bikes, '10 Versys, '09 WR250X, and one carbed bike, '07 KLR. FI is way better. Versys makes about double the hp of the KLR same displacement. WR250X is almost as fast as the KLR with less than half the displacement and gets 70 mpg.

I wouldn't think about taking either FI bike to Ushuaia. The KLR is my second one. First one made it to 100,000 miles. I will be taking the "new" KLR to Ushuaia in November . . . and hopefully back.
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  #18  
Old 31 May 2015
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Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
I hate carburettors. Full of poxy bits of rubber that swell and split and need a micrometer to diagnose if you don't want to do diagnosis using tea leaves and a ouji board. Set up is by witch craft and seeing if the engine seizes on the first run out, or consulting the spark plug colour gods to see if its a "bit" one way or the other.
Andy
Oh come on mate. Once set up and if kept clean most Carbs go YEARS without fiddling. I clean my Carb annually but really haven't touched it in YEARS beyond that. If you're a bodger ... then stay clear, let Mech deal with it ... but even in Bolivia, Ulan Batar or Mozambique you'll find someone to help adjust your carb. E.F.I. ??? Not so sure!

Once set up ... Carb is DONE. Set up is easy on most, especially singles.
Quiju Board? Come on! So much info available now, just not a problem.

DR650 CV Carb (and others of this type) can wear out certain internal parts after 5 to 7 years of hard use. My solution was to buy a spare (for $60), like new. I replaced whole Carb. Kept spare bits but never needed any.

I did have to clean fuel filter once in Mexico, but in 60K miles, no problems at all. You can plug up a Pilot Jet if you're not taking care of your filters. But a Pilot jet is $6 and takes 15 minutes to change on most bikes. (I carry a spare on the road ... never needed it yet)

I've only ridden 200K miles on E.F.I. bikes (VFR, Tri Tiger (2), Vstrom (2)
They all had a few issues that were EFI specific. (except the Tigers) Most problems throttle body related, servo motors, and reflash issues. Suzuki took care of the Vstrom on warranty ... Honda mech fixed the VFR.
Luckily, neither left me on side of road ... but were a PitA until solved.

On a BIG multi, I would take EFI, on a simple single, I much prefer a Carb.
It's so accessible on my DR650 and SO easy to strip if needed. Just a no brainer. Biggest positive for EFI is the much better fuel economy they provide. I only get 50 MPG on my DR650. A F650 BMW gets 60 to 65 MPG.
Trade offs!
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  #19  
Old 1 Jun 2015
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Thanks again for the advice everyone. Quite a polarizing topic apparently. So I take away from this that the correct answer is "neither" and "both".
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  #20  
Old 1 Jun 2015
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If one keep reliability questions off - an EFI bike would use less fuel and would be better at high altitudes. Two major advantages.
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  #21  
Old 1 Jun 2015
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. It also got torn down and rebuilt several times over by a dealership in Texas--before they realized that what appeared to be fuel issues were actually the result of a loose baffle in my exhaust.)
Usual carb diagnostic methods. Set up by reading chicken entrails, they'll only have had beef ones in Texas

Andy
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  #22  
Old 1 Jun 2015
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Originally Posted by nachosgrande View Post
Thanks again for the advice everyone. Quite a polarizing topic apparently. So I take away from this that the correct answer is "neither" and "both".
I continue to own two bikes; one of each to hedge the bet.

A win-win situation.
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  #23  
Old 1 Jun 2015
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Most bikes with carbs have a petcock. You can turn you gas off or use your reserve.
If you need to you can take your fuel lines off and take your tank off.
You can take the float bowl off and see if you have water in your tank.

Years ago when BMW was still in the Dakar the first R1100GS that they ran had Bing cabs on it.
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  #24  
Old 2 Jun 2015
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Originally Posted by John Ferris View Post
Years ago when BMW was still in the Dakar the first R1100GS that they ran had Bing cabs on it.
During the big twins era the Dakar was all about power, carbs did more power back then when FI and mapping wasn't developed so well as today, especially on low rpms old FIs weren't efficient. But what people still forget is all those factory teams had an army of official mechanics teams waiting with truckload of spare parts for them each evening overhauling most of the machine, making it literally new and fresh again in the morning, thus reliability wasn't a high priority back then, everything was played and optimized to just to get through the day of rallye racing at the time.

You don't race on travels.

Over 300 000 k, 6 continents and some over 80 countries (many with piss-poor quality fuel) with FI I haven't had a single problem. Never missed a beat or let me down. While over this time I've had to to absolute zero maintenance on it other than occasional fuel filter change. Plus it has given me decent economy and works all the way to 5300 meters above sea level.

Yet with current bikes just less than 8 000 km I've had multiple annoying problems with wife's DRZ carbs. Ditto with my old GSX carbed bike, or if fact all my previous carbed bikes had multiple issues I recall. Problems just keep arising constantly despite you spend a lot of time and care on maintenance, overhaul, filtering and cleaning, always with that irritating fuel smell in your nose and lungs.

For racing you can argue, but it's not even a question for me which of them is clearly superior for long distance travel use. I'd dare to challenge to count how many times people have had problems with carbs on the long road vs FI, I already know loads of stories with funky carbs yet just know just handful who've gone wrong with their FIs.
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  #25  
Old 2 Jun 2015
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ABS is compulsory next year on new machines

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
I continue to own two bikes; one of each to hedge the bet.

A win-win situation.
Anyway, no new bike manufactured today is going to fit carbs as standard, apart from some of the stuff coming out of China with strange sounding names.

My FI machine is a few years old; the carburettor'd bike (I doubt that there is such a verb) is nearly 20 years old.
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  #26  
Old 2 Jun 2015
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Originally Posted by Margus View Post
Problems just keep arising constantly despite you spend a lot of time and care on maintenance, overhaul, filtering and cleaning, always with that irritating fuel smell in your nose and lungs.
No one has mentioned float bowls that contain floats that don't as yet, so I thought I should do that.
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  #27  
Old 2 Jun 2015
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I hired a bmw 650 dakar for one week to ride in South Africa (brothers stag do!). It developed a fuelling issue on day 3 - limped to the nearest town. Wasted a day while BMW 'fixed' it.

Set out next day across the Karoo - problem re-emerged. Sat in cafe for a further day in the desert whilst mobile BMW mechanic tried fix 2.

Road bike across Karoo in 39 deg C, still with fuelling issue. praying it wouldn't die and leave me stranded

Made next town, gave up and rental co rode a replacement 1200gs to me overnight.

Add me to the list of EFI failures :-)


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  #28  
Old 2 Jun 2015
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I once picked up a women in a pub in Barnsley on a Tuesday night and after one we went back to......

Sorry, family site, I won't use than analogy

Do you think possibly the bike everyone had nailed day after day without giving a hoot might have been past its best?

Andy
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  #29  
Old 2 Jun 2015
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Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
I once picked up a women in a pub in Barnsley on a Tuesday night and after one we went back to......

Sorry, family site, I won't use than analogy

Do you think possibly the bike everyone had nailed day after day without giving a hoot might have been past its best?

Andy
Despite living quite close, I've never been to Barnsley. Are the ladies there like the ones from Pontefract?

While owning both carbed and EFI bikes (At one point I owned 6 carbys and 1 EFI), I've had the need to fixed 2 non functioning carbs and 1 non functioning EFI. I managed to fix one of the carbs myself and on the other I had to get someone else to look at it.

On the EFI bike, I broke down in front of a Renault car garage in rural France. After I had removed the unit, the car wrench was able to diagnose the problem immediately (high pressure hose had a slight split, so that there was fuel coming out of the injector, but just not under enough pressure) and within 1/2 hour I was on my way again. The difference between my bike and the cars he usually works on, is that my bike has 1 cylinder and 1 injector and the cars a multiple of that.

What this little tale contributes to the discussion, I have no idea.
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  #30  
Old 2 Jun 2015
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Originally Posted by Temporaryescapee View Post
I hired a bmw 650 dakar
I have a very similar story about a rented BMW F650 that left me stranded in the middle of a 10-day rental. However, it was a carbed bike.

I tore the carb down, and cleaned it. Screwed up again the next day, and the day after that. Finally had to take it back to the rental place ijn the back of a pickup truck.

Having rode several bikes with both carbs and FI, I'm not sure you can really point at one or the other as being better for a RTW trip: they both have advantages and disadvantages.
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