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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 Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

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

Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA

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Old 21 Nov 2012
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19 all round

[QUOTE=Chris Scott;394579]...
No moto I know runs identical tyres, possibly some bikes from the 1930s and 40s? and I'm pretty sure Vespa-like scooters do. So do pushbikes and of course cars... [QUOTE]
...and my 1972 Norton Commando, which runs on a pair of hard wearing 4.10x19 TT100s. Being an Interstate has a 5 1/2 gallon tank too, so the range is pretty good. Not sure I've the nerve to take it where I've taken my 86 Tenere, though it was fine on the gravel of the Salisbury Plain range road last summer...I remember an article in Bike Magazine decades ago when a pair of Commandos went the length of South America - so it can be done!
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Old 21 Nov 2012
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and my 1972 Norton Commando...
Does it really? Well I missed that one. Loved the look but never had one - got a T140V in the end. I still have the 'Power Choice' brochure from the mid-70s somewhere.
And why wouldn't they drive down through South Am?
Back then there were just big bikes and not so big ones. You dealt with it.

As it happens my first story in Which Bike in '84 was alongside a yarn about a woman who rode her Le Mans to Cape Town.

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Old 26 Dec 2012
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Great Choice

I have often thought the GS500 would make a great inexpensive touring bike. They are cheap, simple, get great fuel economy, and have large gas tanks.

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Old 3 Mar 2015
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Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post
Seeing as it's nearly finished and running fine, thought you might like to see my 'GS500R'. Cost ~£2500 all up. More on my www.
GS500 has been around unchanged for years with no big issues, cheap to buy, cheap and plentiful spares, heaps of online info, smoother than a carb single and as economical I’ve found. An SV or XS650 engine would be nicer but it gets you there. Seat is dead comfy too.
Basically a DR650 fork with clamps, an SV650 shock and same size 19-inch Excels on DR hubs front and rear. If you leave the OE 17” on the back the conversion is even easier. Not finished yet, but made my own weld-free rack (in case you can’t tell ;-).
Can’t see me getting a 21” travel bike again, unless it was for pure off road.

Hope I can bump this thread?

These are going on eBay with less than 5,000m for around 1500 quid! Cheaper or similar price to the modern 125cc offers from Yamaha and Honda. Can't believe it really. The kle500's are more in the 2000 to 2500 price range. Chris, would the mods be hard to do for someone who knows how to change oil, tires and tighten things up and little else? I'm sizing up a UK to Capetown trip and would obviously be buying in UK, on a budget too. So far I've been looking at YBR 125 or 250, the CB500 and the kle500 (though they do seem overpriced lately). I like the idea of the YBR 125 for it's pure simplicity, lightness and well, economy. Nick from Talesfromthesaddle took one through Africa and as far as 125's go spoke of it very highly.

I'm currently doing S.America on a 250 XR Tornado, which I bought in Chile and will probably sell here too. I just bought her, put a rack on and a 12v charger and 22,000k later it's proven to be a dogged machine that's kept me moving despite the worst the continent and clueless rider threw at it. Could you just take a GS500 out on an adventure almost stock too? Also, what's this business about the shims? Do the valves become loose quickly? Much like many of the mechanics around here, every time I try to fix a niggle with the bike I manage to create two more and heard the mechs in Africa routinely make four or five!
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