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Yamaha XT225 serow for UK to south Africa?

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I am looking to make a trip from London to South Africa and return.  I originally started looking at large bikes 1000cc plus, then 650, but quickly realised what I really need is something very light, good on fuel, dependable with mechanical simplicity. 

 

I really want to do some extreme off-road stuff which will  take me a few hundred miles from a road / civilisation into the desert.  I feel in extreme conditions a small bike would be a lot easier to handle and be easier to drag out of problems.  Plus I wanted something which is:

  1. Air cooled  engine
  2. Electric start with option to easily retro fitting a kickstart for backup
  3. Good offroad handling
  4. Good fuel economy  (with the extended tank these will do over 300 miles)

But how capable is something like the serow?  I have read of a few people taking these round the world and they coped very well (one for Canada to Patagonia another circumventing Africa by the main highway routes).  But what about in very extreme temperatures / harsh conditions?  How would they cope being run for 8 – 10 hours a day in the desert heat?  I am not worried about speed, just want something that is reliable considering the majority of use will be offroad away from the main routes.   I am really not a typical traveller and can’t stress how I want to avoid the typical tourist routes down the east and west coast.

 

Another option I am looking at is the Suzuki DR200SE, but can’t find much information out on it.  From what I read it has decent fuel econmy (105mpg) but does not handle as well as the serow offroad.  Is the engine as reliable as the serrow?  Do people regard any other  small bikes as serious contenders (maybe with better spare parts options on the road)? 

 

One thing I like about the serrow is it seems to have quite a good community following with many added extras that can be purchased.  One example is the extended range tank.  I did not find anything like this with the Suzuki.   

 

So in summary do people think I am mad to consider such a small bike?  With decent prep beforehand would you be happy to venture a few hundered miles from a road / village into the desert  on such a bike?  If not which other small bike is more suited given my requirements of my trip and points A-D?

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Like you said , our very own Lewis road one all the way down through America and Africa without any issues so I think it's safe to say they are capable.

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