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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 3 Jun 2023
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Africa Twin - Norden opinions?

Edit: original post under the line - here's a more consice one now I've narrowed it down a bit after having some time to go to the showroom

Hey everyone hope we are well I'm looking for information mainly relating now to the Norden 901 and the Africa Twin from 2018-2019 has anyone had one if so have you had any issues or problems with them?

I've been reading about soft cams on the 890/901 engines but not sure how widespread the issue is?

Currently on a 300 Rally but giving that my dad (moving to the North off Scotland so switching to a larger travel based bike. Narrowed it down to those two now but thought I'd just ask if anyone has had any issues having had a bad experience with the 390s in the past. So thought I'd do some due Diligence before looking at the 890 platform. An am I right in saying most of the issues were sorted on the Africa Twin none adventure sports 2018-2019?

Thanks in advance.


(Thanks to Chris for the info on the AT servicing)


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Hi everyone hope we are all well just wondering if I can pick the groups collective knowledge on a few bikes

I'm currently in the process of moving up to Perthshire in Scotland an next year dad and I are going to Norway the Nordkapp / Iceland.

He's gonna be taking my 300 Rally which I'm giving him after the move and I'm thinking of moving back onto a bigger bike as there's 0 lanes up Scotland an ill be about 6 hours or so from the nearest ones + I'll be doing alot of road based adventure touring to see my new home. I've also sussed out I prefer the easier lanes and overland travel rather than the harder routes on unsealed roads, preferring just to take in the views.

Which leads me onto possible bikes in the past I've had in order over a 7 year period:

R1200gsa te 2014, vstrom 1000xt, f800gs 2015, vstrom 650xt 2020, Ktm 390 adv x2 which was my initial choice for the trips alas both got rejected for refunds at 147 and 269 miles (mine and dads)

Then I had a r1200gs te Rallye for a few months unfortunately had to part with that due to some financial stuff and my shoulder.
Then I ended up with a Himalayan which got rejected at 500 miles full of issues an now the Honda 300 Rally which has been flawless since I put the Rally Raid Rear shock on.

I'll be covering quite high miles with not having a car an wanting to keep the miles down on my Nortons (used a 650ss as a daily for 4 years inc winters) I'm also leaning towards something with good weather protection as buffeting can set my neck off now an im fancying the smoothness of a twin. Where as dad prefers the lightness of the Rally.

I've been considering a Yamaha T7 or T7 World Raid, Super Ten, an the 1000cc Africa twin has anyone had all of these or a mix? What did you prefer for mainly adventure touring with some easier gravel routes n roads thrown in?

I also thought the Norden 901 seemed to fit the bill an that was the initial plan if the 390s had worked out but I wanted to try the brand first so guess I'm trying to find the Japanese equivalent split wise for adventure touring. It's a shame to see the 390 SW still has the same display when the others have an updated one.

It's a tricky one I'm curious to hear from anyone whos has a T7 an used it for 80-20 road /unsealed road riding what are they like to live with from that respect an anyone thats gone either way from the AT as it's a bike I'm not familiar with at all.

I thought I'd get a Vstrom 800De 900 with suzuki insurance but the insurance is a bit mad on it an not many were quoting same for the transalp.

Where as the 2019 AT was £300 fully comp, my 300 Rally is £600 with the shock( just gone up at renewal) T7 £600-700 World Raid £900
Clean licence no points max no claims and a good post code mid 30's paying more now that I used to for my blade lol

Anything to watch out for on the Africa Twins?

Once I'm back in work it's an one issue but after the move and the trip I'll be down as unemployed so it's a consideration at the mo.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by steele01; 7 Jun 2023 at 15:28. Reason: Update on current research
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  #2  
Old 3 Jun 2023
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The major service on an AT will make u cry , it ain't cheap . If u r handy with a spanners will help to keep the costs down . The T7 is very reliable.....our workshops have no issues with them mechanically at all . Needs a decent seat on it though and the rear shock is just OK, but needs upgrading if u r loading it up . The world raid didn't sell as well , so poss bargains to b had . If u fit the T7 then I would go for that......lots of bits to customise it and it's bulletproof .
Can't comment on the 800 V strom as it hasn't arrived with us yet
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Old 3 Jun 2023
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Thanks Chris I've restored a few Nortons so don't mind doing the work myself that's interesting though from a warranty point of view on the Africa Twin I'll have to check the service intervals out.

At the moment I'm sort of fancying the Africa Twin / Norden / Super Ten but 3 bikes I'm very unfamiliar with.

Just ones that have caught my eye
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Old 4 Jun 2023
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Can you actually find a T7 in stock? They seem to be in quite high demand among the TET crowd. I am tempted by one, but I would feel a bit odd running one for almost exclusively on-road use.

Mind you, for Nordkapp you don't need anything remotely as capable. Could do it on a Vespa very easily. Depends on what you envision by your 20%, but let's just say, my Crossrunner on Pilot Road 6s can take on gravel/forest roads well enough for campsite/orienteering work, and I consider myself a mediocre rider.

If the 1200/1250GS is too big for you, then the F750/850 could be worth a look. They are definitely in that spectrum of frequently being available for a good discount at three years old, no miles, and full Touratech shower.
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  #5  
Old 5 Jun 2023
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If you want a bike for road-touring maybe have a look at roadbikes and not the so called Advbikes? No need to run 21/18 wheels with knobby tires when youre looking for a bike for mainly roaduse….

Any of the bikes you mention will be fine for youre use - its all about personal preferance. If I was economically aware I would buy a NC700/750X. They easily get 80-90 mpg imperial and have tappets that you can adjust with a screwdriver. So cheap on gas and easy to service.
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Old 5 Jun 2023
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I find myself exhausted and in desperate need of a nap every time I check these threads. OP, you've run through the options and variations on Vstrom, CB, Norton, Norden, GS, XT, KTM, AT, T7, Super 10, RE, and probably a whole slew I'm forgetting. That includes purchase of at least two very different bikes about which you declared the beginning of an "adventure." You must enjoy the evaluating and winnowing a lot more than I do--I'd have long since made a decision, taken the plunge, and never looked back.

In the event that you'd actually really like to make a decision--which has the advantage of freeing up time for OTHER pursuits--I'm thinking maybe choose a short list of priorities, take your best guess as to which will satisfy most of them, then act accordingly. Whatever you choose, I can promise it'll have major disadvantages--price, weight, power, convenience, maintenance, glamour, accessories, _______, and ________ [insert whatever other qualities you believe important in this space]. That's a given.

Of course there's nothing wrong with shopping around intensively for for another year or two or five, as long as that's where you find your pleasure. But what you're doing now sounds remarkably like what it appears you were doing five years ago, i.e., comparing dissimilar bikes without resolving anything except that none of them check all the boxes. In my mind, that's a good place to *start*, then move on: "None are perfect, so here's what I'm going to do....tomorrow, if not today."

Edit to add: maybe it's obvious I own a KLR and a DL 650, as I have for the past 15 years. Both were obvious choices, and both suit me just fine (although I might switch out the former one of these days).

Just a thought. As always, ignore whatever doesn't apply.

Mark
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Old 5 Jun 2023
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Doesn’t sound like an “adventure bike” is really needed.

A nice comfortable tourer/cruiser sounds more appropriate.

I loved my R1200GSA but rode a R1200RT for 10 hours a day at work - RT much better in rain and cold.

Just a thought.


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  #8  
Old 5 Jun 2023
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markharf View Post
I find myself exhausted and in desperate need of a nap every time I check these threads. OP, you've run through the options and variations on Vstrom, CB, Norton, Norden, GS, XT, KTM, AT, T7, Super 10, RE, and probably a whole slew I'm forgetting. That includes purchase of at least two very different bikes about which you declared the beginning of an "adventure." You must enjoy the evaluating and winnowing a lot more than I do--I'd have long since made a decision, taken the plunge, and never looked back.

In the event that you'd actually really like to make a decision--which has the advantage of freeing up time for OTHER pursuits--I'm thinking maybe choose a short list of priorities, take your best guess as to which will satisfy most of them, then act accordingly. Whatever you choose, I can promise it'll have major disadvantages--price, weight, power, convenience, maintenance, glamour, accessories, _______, and ________ [insert whatever other qualities you believe important in this space]. That's a given.

Of course there's nothing wrong with shopping around intensively for for another year or two or five, as long as that's where you find your pleasure. But what you're doing now sounds remarkably like what it appears you were doing five years ago, i.e., comparing dissimilar bikes without resolving anything except that none of them check all the boxes. In my mind, that's a good place to *start*, then move on: "None are perfect, so here's what I'm going to do....tomorrow, if not today."

Edit to add: maybe it's obvious I own a KLR and a DL 650, as I have for the past 15 years. Both were obvious choices, and both suit me just fine (although I might switch out the former one of these days).

Just a thought. As always, ignore whatever doesn't apply.

Mark

I'm like Mark "pick one and live with it for a few years".
I've personally gone through 6 bikes in the last 45 years (yikes!) and still have 4 of them.
'76 Hercules GS175 Enduro, (my last race bike, still have), 1981 BMW R100CS and 1982 BMW R100S (both gone), 1986 R80G/S, our RTW bike, still have, 2002 Suzuki DRZ400E bought in 2019, still have, 2007 BMW R1200GSA (new to me in 2015) still have. I'm considering getting it down to 2, but it's hard.

ALL bikes have quirks, NO bike is perfect. Work with it till it fits you, and YOU adapt to IT.

OR you can be like a friend, who has recently purchased his 14th KLR. He is trying to get his stable down to less than 4. lol! He's owned more bikes in 10 years than I have in my life.

Another friend has over 100,000km on his 2014 DR650, engine untouched, but he's at modification 73 last I heard, making it perfect for HIM. That's not counting maintenance, wheel bearings etc!

I couldn't count the modifications to my 86 R80G/S, the Hercules is almost stock but not quite, the 1200 has the basic usual mods, panniers, suspension etc. The DRZ - uncountable, and working on more at the moment.

My advice fwiw - and it's not worth much except to my clone - pick the closest, ride it - do you LIKE IT? Does it FEEL GOOD? Does it MOSTLY FIT YOU physically? Will it do it's ASSIGNED TASK? If yes to all, buy it and live with it and make it work. And remember nothing is perfect. It will have flaws. Fix them for YOU. There is great pleasure in making it work, making it fit you to perfection, and knowing the bike well enough to do just about anything to it roadside.

Hope that helps!
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  #9  
Old 6 Jun 2023
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So spot on Grant.

I swapped out my GS after major knee surgery for a W650. It fits me perfectly and brings a smile every ride.
Handles dirt roads and forest tracks fine - cool on the blacktop.
And cost 1/3 of my GS lol


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Old 6 Jun 2023
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Why not just go along with what you already have? For what you want (road based touring), almost any bike will do. You certainly don't need the spoked wheels of the KTM 390 Adventure SW. Just get out there and ride.

When I was young, you just headed off with whatever you owned at the time. Which is how I ended up in North Africa 50 years ago on the most unsuitable bike that you could imagine—a TriBSA cafe racer. It was the only bike I had, so that's what I went on. No handlebars, the controls were mounted on the forks. Close ratio gearbox that could do 70mph in first but useless on a hill start. Drum brakes, no wind protection, I could go on...
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Old 7 Jun 2023
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Hi guys thanks for all the comments. This is gonna be a bit of a long post to give some context to the list of bikes I posted in the original post not that I need to but thought it might help explain a few things.

I've got bikes I've had for years I've had my rd350lc since I was 16 which I got before I started riding that dad and I got before I could ride to restore together.

Hopefully a bit of background will help, my Nortons I've owned for 10+ years and still ride,
1967 650ss, 1927 Norton 16h Flat tanker ran through last winter, 1968 Norton Commando just rebuilt that in my Bedroom and a 1944 Norton 16H WD bike which I'll be riding over to Normandy next year from Scotland just hunting down the last few tricky bits to get

My 1967 Norton 650SS I've ran for 4 years and 4 winters as a main bike as I don't have a car in my early 30s now and owned that since I was 22 same for my fireblade which has always ticked the bill and never needed to be swapped out.

The modern stuff is more of a bit of fun to try other bikes when I let the gs go I only lost 500 quid on that so wasn't the end of the world, cheaper than repayments on one.


The history on the modern bikes goes as follows

R1200gsa te 2014 purchased 2015 used to commute to work on had for a few years, took for a valve clearance and the beemer dealer as my usual one was to busy they blew the engine to bits, consequently ended up with 2 more engines which they built up from short engines, and it was like a yoyo that then arrived back with a box full of neutrals they hadn't test rode it, they then put another gearbox in the fd then failed. That I sold to another BMW dealer who I made aware off the issues that they had to go right through to sort. At the time I was working 70 hour weeks 7 days a week so was unable to service myself.

After that I had a vstrom 1000xt for a while but it was a bit similar in performance to the blade being based on the tl engine so that went for an f800gs around the following year.

Pretty solid apart from its penchant for headbearings and the wind management was an issue for me. I had to let that go as it was on finance at the time when we had to shut our family company, then I found out my dad's youngest bro was terminally ill all very close so spent alot of time helping out his eldest sister and him as they live together.

After a break n just doing 2,000 mile plus weeks on a rd250lc covid happened an then after that I got a vstrom 650xt loved that bike to bits but dad started going on about something lighter.

He had a gsxr 750k9 and fancied his first sit up bike after having a few goes on my elsie so he could come on the trips with me.

Then I decided to trade in my higher value vstrom which I had 0 complaints about with his k9 gsxr to help him afford a 390 adventure as at the time he couldn't get one on his own, at the time as well I was suffering from SIRVA due to an injection which was administerd wrongly by a health practitioner. So was in alot of pain anyway with the bigger bikes.

Anyone who's followed the Norton vids on YouTube will remember me having to bump the 650ss down hills as I couldn't kickstart any more for a while.

That lead onto the 390s which unfortunately had issues with the displays none of the paid vids on YouTube mentioned it and I missed the issue as we pretty much just saw them an went for them, dads had lots off issues Corrosion on the frame sections from new which we had missed around the headlight it turned up with rusted bolts bearing in mind these were brand new bikes, so wasn't happy.

His also stalled every time you went from 3rd to 2nd it did it on a bypass where he nearly got took out, the displays in winter also filled with water inside on both bikes, his was much smoother than mine vibration wise mine also had a broken side panel from new, an his had tyres going down from new which we sorted ourselves.

The dealer gave us a refund on those the first time I'd ever had to do that. When I posted about the issues on my instagram lots of people responded saying they were in the 3rd + display and some had them failing due to the water ingress. If you think about it 3 displays at £800 in a two year period is £2400 if it happened out of warranty. Ktm / Husky now have a new type display not in a housing on all the bikes but the 390 obviously using the old displays in a housing.

After that I got a gs and dad stayed bikeless, there was some mitigating circumstances that are private regards letting that go mo complaints though about it, apart from my shoulder.

Then the Himalayan that had issues with new brake switches failing, tail lights failing, seized swing arm, fork issues, and other build and qc issues I found myself in the irritating position of staring down rejecting a bike again for the 2nd time in my life in over 14 years of riding.
The 2nd brake light switch failed within 30 mins and lead to me nearly getting taken out.

A quick chat with the supplying dealer they agreed things should have been done / found at the pdi and offered a full refund or a swap for a 310 gs. The himmy went for a refund at 500 miles.

I took the refund intending to get back on a vstrom 650xt. Dad at the time was eying up a 300 Rally as he wanted another light bike there was alot of aspects we both had liked about the 390s them being the right choice for us if it hadn't been for the display issues (we had planned to keep them out off warranty and self service but replacment displays being 800 quid and some people being on the 3rd or 5th replacment that lead to the rejection as ktm mention its not covered in the latest warranty book which we weren't given when we got the bikes or when we asked about issues at point of purchase.

Anyway after getting off the phone a 300 Rally came up as a canceled order down south so cue a 10 hour round trip go get it, an that brings us up to present day

Initially we were moving to Devon where there's lots of green lanes but not now as over the past month we have decided its highland Perthshire or maybe further up within the next 10 weeks or so, we should be moved. Dad is bikeless and really likes the 300 Rally so I decided I'll give it to him that's what family is for right. An I've already serviced it and fitted the Rally Raid level 1 rear shock.


Got 0 complaints on the Rally for what I purchased it for having a go at green laning an for what would have been the move to Devon it was the right bike. Yes I could get another one but variety is the spice of life an life's to short

With dad having it so he's not bikeless and I'm back to using my Nortons I'm naturally considering a more road based bike be it an adv style bike or a road going bike for going to work on after the move, the trip an just general riding an a few Starbucks trips

The Africa Twin stood out as a mate has one which he loves but he had issues with his wheels (early one) an stiction issues with the forks. Fixable so not a big deal.

The Norden was the bike that caught my attention when I first looked at the ktms when we got the 390s.

I thought I'd tap the knowledge of the group on the above knowledge to see if anyone had any experience off the Africa Twin n Norden naturally posting in the which bike section. Chris Gales post about the Africa Twin was brilliant info regarding the major service costs which I wasn't aware off 7 hours labour and nearly 1500 quid in cost I've seen mentioned.

The two I'd say I'm leaning towards experiencing and purchasing are either the Norden 901 or the Africa Twins but all the videos and review on YouTube seem paid so it's always good to hear from other owners who've had experience of them. I've seen a few mentions off soft cams which obviously can go beyond a small thing to fix.

I'm smitten with the 901 so thought I'd do a bit more research as a few said I should have done with the Himalayan as I missed a few things just going off the YouTube vids.

Anyway I'll probably have 901 an then a year or two get something else as the miles will be going on it as I'll have a decent commute again. It'd be a bit like riding the same road, eating in the same restaurant n having the same meal for the rest off your life it's good to experience new things.

If anyone's had a 901 I'd be interested to hear about the cams if anyone's had any issues with that.

Actually got a look at 901 last night the nearest dealer in the area we are moving to is actually a Husky dealer.

Here's the 650ss an myself up the Cat and Fiddle on Xmas day a walker snapped the pic for me on my phone



In closing I agree Grant no bike is perfect my Commando will never handle anywhere as good as my 650SS as its the inherent difference in the chassis n my SS will never be as smooth as the Commando.

The issue I have is with poor design on parts with some of the modern bikes where the only looser is those of us laying out hard cash once the bikes are out off warranty. Like the Himalayan n 390 issues if no one mentions problems or asks questions only the consumer / those of us paying our money loses out. Standards will keep dropping.

If you bought a 300 quid television and half the picture didn't work or the sound cut out you would take it back.

The adv stuff is also cheaper on the insurance than the out an out road bikes last time I spoke to my broker

Last edited by steele01; 7 Jun 2023 at 15:20.
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  #12  
Old 11 Jun 2023
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Just as a final thing to this to finish the thread an my thoughts from the previous post.

Been out on the Rally all day today and kept notes and it's confirmed how my needs and thoughts have changed filmed a little while riding to.

Only through experience can we grow as people through riding and experiencing for ourselves new things can we make informed choice that's my take on it

Its like looking at a map and guessing what the places are actually like by visiting you know and I feel the same about motorcycle choice and experience.

The experience of the 300 Rally has been brilliant but the wind management keeps setting my neck injury off (belive me it's agony) this was part of the reason I went back to the GS platform after the Himalayan rejection, Just a shame I had to part with the GS but some situations outside of motorcycles can't be helped.

Still though the experience of the Rally has helped with learning what green laning is like on a light an manageable bike totally misshap free but now with moving away from lanes it's to compromised as a adventure travel bike for me personally down to my neck injury so its back to a Twin and a good wind management system so I can keep riding and exploring for long distances.

Now I'm 100% sure it's just light long gravel roads an for me my favourite experience on a bike is crunching long miles and seeing new places.

I've also done alot more research on the Husky and spoke to a few people that have had them who messaged on other platforms about wind management and reliability etc has meant that won't fit my needs especially regarding wind an buffeting for my height.

So looks like at the moment if I want to try something away from a GS it's gonna be the Africa Twin that I'll try.

The good thing is it's half the cost of my 300 Rally on the insurance to, so makes sense once I've moved to let the Rally go (not got the time to deal with it at the mo) then hunt about for maybe a 2018-2019 Africa Twin.

For anyone that's had the AT's and has any experience between the different years and the normal vs adventure sports or 1000 vs 1100 I'd love to hear about it.


Anyways that's my thoughts some may not agree but that's what my present situation and needs in a bike are

Back to a GS or GSA I know those tick the boxes although can be pricey on the parts or give the Africa Twin a whirl.

A few may say why not a 650xt again or the new transalp or 800DE that's Purley down to the insurance the Africa Twin is a third of the cost of those.

For those that have had a Africa Twin an a GS or GSA what's the wind management / buffeting like on the AT compared to the GS?

Anyways catch you all out OK the road somewhere an happy riding

I did think about an older rd04 Africa twin but those are more on the insurance than a Hiss equipped AT.
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Old 11 Jun 2023
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You can always change a screen, and some of the aftermarket options get rave reviews!
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Old 11 Jun 2023
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What I can tell you is that price of a major service on an AT at a dealer will make u cry....and our labour rates are less then others .
I run a Gsa and it costs far less to service then an AT.....however the outlay from new is obviously more .
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Old 12 Jun 2023
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Cheers Guys yep that's my next thing to play around with Grant

I ask about the AT because the F800 Was horrendous on wind it felt like being rabbit punched in the head at 6'2 real pain at anything above 50. Spent a fortune trying to get that right an never could the 1200s always were perfect with that regard with a Puig on.

The tyre sizes on the Rally are a bit trickier to get good none off road tyres for seen a few dunlop options though if we wind up keeping it that's one thing I'd like to try myself as I'm not mad on the IRC's. I've got a few I'm considering trying.

The initial plan when I did the first vid on the Rally after the disapointment of the Himalayan issues, was always to bring a different bike in initially I really fancied a T7.

He never got to experience my GS so wanna let him have the opportunity to ride the rally for a bit then have a ride on whatever I choose an make his final choice as to what he likes.

I'm gonna have 10+ hour motorway rides as well every other month so a twin will be the best bet for me. To visit a relative who's terminally ill. (certainly changes your perspective on stuff in life it's far to short)

That's the one irritating thing with the AT Chris, It won't be to bad as I do all my own work usually and buy 2nd hand most of the time wouldn't bother me doing the work myself as Ive rebuilt all the Nortons an worked on Superbike Track bikes in the past. N GSX 750 Et's.

I did think about an S10 but alot comes down to yearly insurance costs as well.

Clean licence 12+ years full NC no accidents etc but soon as you click unemployed which I'd be for the trip an move it rockets the price up on certain bikes. Maybe they think 30 ish year old + unemployed + adv = trips.

I'm actually exploring some of the Older 1150's as they wouldnt bother me in the slightest having ran the Norton an thats 1960s tech as a daily for 4 years n 4 very hard winters it's been so reliable its nuts' outseen alot of modern stuff that's had issues.

I did use my head with it though fitted a new set of monobloc's before I started using it daily and went through it, so easy to work on though, all it's needed is oil changes an one set of rocker spindles can't complain with that.

What's weird though is the AT is £300 so half the cost of my 300 Rally at £600 which is about to go up again, and then it's a third of the cost of the new 800DE (hardly anyone quoting) an the TC 1200GSA is more than a LC GS which was about £650 from memory when I had mine. The old 90's AT's are also more than the modern Era of AT I'm looking at.

The Joys of youth! I know it's not massive but it does make a difference over a few years. + I wasn't paying a grand for a fireblade back when I was 22 joys of insurance

I'm sure they make it up as they go along

Just gotta get this house move finished then I can give bikes my full concentration again n I'll have a clearer idea of finances etc. least it gives me plenty of time to get some test rides n keep reading up.

Have you had any s10's through your place Chris?

Just to edit this leaning towards a GS or GSA again maybe pre water cooled this time shall see after the move, really known quantity know my way round them an as Chris says the servicing is much easier with the GS especially for the miles I'll be sticking on. N would look nice next next an r80g/s one day to.

Last edited by steele01; 13 Jun 2023 at 00:52.
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