Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Adventure Touring Quandry

Recommended Posts

..., so I've got several months to ponder the purchase of a bike suitable for long days in the saddle (600+ miles) which I can keep going on when the pavement ends, and is capable of carrying (preferably factory) hard luggage, and has good fuel (250 mi. +) range.

Main interests are P.N.W,, B.C, N.W.T., Yukon, Ak., s.e. Oregon, central Idaho., western Montana/ Wyoming, and meanderings down to Utah/ Colo. Canyon areas etc..

What's the ideal bike??? None??? I would appreciate insights from experienced owners but only of bikes they own/ owned.

some (unfinalized) thots: BMW 1200 GS...very expensive (for me) and somewhat cumbersome in more serious off road stuff. Maybe more road oriented than I want but not totally ruled out.

Kaw KLR 650. Looks great but probably not a great "all day bike" on the open road getting from here to there. I do know it's done, however.and this is not ruled out.

KTM Adventure; pricey, to buy, fix and maintain and maybe bent towards off road abilities a bit and not the best road bike???

BMW 650 Dakar: this one interests me and it has done well in Al/Can Ralleys. Wondering on its "roadability" and power. (I've ridden an FJR 1300 the last two yrs)

Triumph Tiger: I sort of want to like this bike but have ambiguius feelings... It almost seems to fit what I'm after but how would it do on two track type Jeep roads??? (better than the big Beemer, some suggest)

just rambling here, as I stated..., not readdy to purchase yet, just probing for helpful insights.

thanks in advance to all who respond.... roamer :cry:

p.s. (one day later) thanks for tips... have watched Adv Rider for several months and perused KLR msg. boards. Another consideration (with sedate backroads) would be the V-Strom modded with armour. Was considering Aprillia Caponard but now they're on hold/discontinued or at least an uncertain entity stateside.

Seems there are more Euro choices (Varadero, Yam XT 660?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since you'releanig more toward a real offroad bike that is comfortable on the street, I suggest the KLR. There are seat options for the KLR to make it more cushy. Put a set of Dunlop 606 or Michelin Baja tires on it and you'll get 1500-2000 miles of safe on and off road riding. The other bikes you mentioned are a hurt box waiting to happen if ridden on anything other than a flat fire road. Check out the socaldualsport@yahoo.com. It's mostly KLR guys on there. Lots of good info on that bike. Cult-like following.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello,

You may want to research more at http://www.advrider.com/forums/. Many guys have been and are doing exactly what you describe. I have been lurking over there for quite some time and am drooling over the idea of getting a KTM 950 to do what you describe. Jean-Luc, Ricardo, and others at that site are doing what you want to do on the 950. Like Keith says, alot of guys are cultish about their KLRs and GSs. Personally, I wouldn't want to go very far on pavement on a KLR nor would I attempt much hardcore dirt on a GS. The KLR guys may have iron butts and Jimmy Lewis can take a GS offroad but I would not enjoy/survive either. There were a few KTM 950s (Jean-Luc was one) that performed very well at last years LAB2V but I saw a couple of GSs that were in way over their heads. The 950 is expensive and the KLRs are cheap but there are many reasons for this. Good Luck. :cry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have alot of money, get the Beemer or the KTM. If parts break on them, have fun. The KLR has many more aftermarket parts available and is significantly cheaper to maintain. Honestly, I've never ridden the 950 or the KLR. I have ridden the Dakar bike and lusted after one for awhile but cost prohibited me from getting it (I wanted more of a 'dirt bike' that could go on the road and got the KLX400/DRZ400).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The DRZ/KLX 400 is a great bike. I have two friends with them and I have ridden both. Another friend had a KLR650 (he has since sold it and got a KTM525). Another two friends have KTM 640 Adventures. We all rode from Mexico to Canada mostly offroad, they on their DRZs, KLR, KTMs and me on my KTM. We never did more than 300 miles a day. My DRZ/KLR buds and I hate pavement for anything longer than a few miles to go from trail to trail. My KTM Adventure buds don't mind the freeway (a little viby) and can do most of the terrain the smaller bikes can do. I wouldn't want to ride any of these bikes 600+ miles on pavement and then go offroading.

The GS 1100/1150/1200 could do the pavement fine but would require significant skill to do much more than fireroads after you got there. The GS650/Dakar is a nice bike and I seriously considered it before I bought my KTM, but it is very heavy and the BMW dealer confirmed it was not designed to be a serious offroad bike. Check with your local dealer.

My preference for what you describe and for what I also would like to do is the KTM 950. Yes it is expensive and yes it is over 400 pounds. The tradeoff is worth it as the pavement is pleasurable (with a better seat) and the offroad capability (the bike's not necessarily the rider's) is there. I rode a borrowed bike on the pavement and some easy trail (didn't want to risk another guy's bike) and I REALLY liked both! I gotta get me wunna dem!!!! :cry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I considered reliability and parts availabity before making the KLR recomendtion. You can also get the aftermarket seat for the klr that makes it Goldwing cushy. I dont know if I'd want to be pushing and pulling 400 pounds around all day. I sold my XR 650 L for that reason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:cry: see..., I've perpetuated my own quandry! All insights are good based on their different perspectives.

I haven't really considered serious off roading ( I had a DRZ 350 S for several yrs.., 1/2 hour on the road was way more than enough!) , just backcountry stuff like Utah's Canyonlands or Cal. Death Valley. Oregon's Steens Mtn/ Alvord desert, Hell's Canyon, secondary roads between Seattle and No. Alaska and central Idaho/Salmon R wilderness.. Single track would be a rarity.

Have been watching used KTM 640 LC4's, wondering why they don't bring 'em in the U.S. anymore :cry:

I'm thinking that a 650cc machine would be adequate but nothing less. The "behemoth" 1000+cc machines would also lose their appeal when roads became a bit challenging. So..., cc's, weight, environ. protection (mini fairing), luggage, good "all day" seat, extended fuel range, known reliability/ ease of maint..

I appreciate all the insights, keep 'em coming :cry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another option is buying used. You wont lose more than a couple hundred, if that, were you to buy one and decide it didnt fit your needs. I bought 3 bikes in one year till I was happy. Now I havent changed bikes in 3 years, and dont have plans to.

Theres a new show on Bravo this month detailing Ewan Mcgowers 20,000 mile adventure ride this past year. Bravo, Thursday nights at 10:00. They ride Beemers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow; you've set your sites pretty high. Not too many bikes available that will do 600 miles (comfortably), can zip off road at will, come with factory luggage and a 250+ mile tank (not stock anyway; the KLR is about the only dual sport that will even come close to that type of fuel range in stock form) In the past two years I went from a KLR 650; to a XR650L to a DRZ400S to a KTM 950 and now a Triumph Tiger (and still have the DRZ) your probably not going to find that one perfect bike; which is why I settled on two in the garage.

I love my Tiger and I think it fits in well between the BMW 1150/1200 and the KTM 950 (which I recently sold). It's not as fragile (or as ugly) as the BMW off road, and it's gobs more comfortable (and better performing) then the KTM on the pavement. The KTM was too tall and too uncomfortable for long distances for me. I would literally be in tears from my aching butt after coming home from a 250 mile ride. On the Tiger I'm just warming up around 250 miles. You mention riding some pretty big distances. When long distance touring riders are asked what is the most important thing about being able to maintain long distances; comfort is the number one answer and to me, that means a big multi-cylinder adventure bike (with a possible exception of the BMW F650, maybe the new DL650 and the KLR)

Yeah, there are aftermarket seats for the KTM, but most will actually increase the distance your feet have to touch the ground making an already tall bike even taller. Besides, you could get a brand new Tiger and a brand new DRZ 400 and still pay at least a grand less then a new BMW 1200 or about the same as a new KTM 950 (assuming you are buying new; the 05 950's went up in price)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have an R1200GS, an F650GS and a dual sported XR400R.

The XR kicks butt off road. None of the others is even close.

The F650GS is a fantastic bike, even though it isn't a Dakar. Mucho power, low CG, dead smooth and comfy, heated grips and abs and great luggage. I've probably ridden over 1,000 miles of rough dirt road on it and only had one leaky fork seal as a result. The newer fork seals are better. Lots of guys at the F650 web site do more serious adventure rides on their F650s and have had great luck and rarely have reliability problems. If you want a second bike and don't want to spend a lot of dough, get an F650 "classic," which is the carberated model imported from 1996 and 2000. Even more reliable and, IMO, better looking than the newer GS models.

The R1200GS is a thing of beauty in many ways. Incredibly comfortable, loads of power, low seat height (but still good ground clearance), fantastic luggage, heated grips, abs, security system, 2 power outlets, loads of passenger room. I could go on for an hour. My wife basically quit riding her bike because she likes the pillion of the 12GS so much. It helps that BMW dealers are everywhere and you get a great 3 year warranty which is transferable. It isn't as good as the F650 off road, but it handles dirt roads and even long steep (15% grade) sections fine for a big pig shod with Bridgestone Deathwings. I'll be getting Tourances soon, so that may make a difference off road. I've ridden the Rampart Range crest road on the R12GS from Sedalia to Woodland Park, about 40 miles, 2-up without stopping. Mostly easy dirt road but some rock strewn, sandy, loose scrabble stretches. The bike is pretty steady and sure-footed.

I've read loads of horror stories about the 950 Adventure. Black crud in the radiator, leaking head gaskets, munching cam chains at 600 miles, overheating causing melting plastics and melting pants, difficult and expensive routine repairs due to all the plastic. The warranty isn't transferrrable, the luggage looks like Coleman ice chests, parts are hard to come by and they deny warranty claims for anything - like, "We won't cover your cam chain because you raised the needles in your carbs." (That's a true story, BTW). 950 owners will tell you they kick the R1200GS's butt in the dirt - and they do - but my XR400R kicks the 950's butt in the dirt, too. Still and all, I would love to have a 950 - just a great on and off road hooligan bike.

With these 2 BMWs and the XR, I've got everything I could want in a bike IMO. Just my 2 cents. Larry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ask Yamaha to import their new European model - XT660R - to the USA. All day comfortable 70 - 80 mph. Top speed 100 mph+. Superb on road handling. Quite good off road - a bit heavy at 156 kilos. Givi make a full luggage set. Yamaha offer different screen heights. Great headlight. 15 litre tank and 65 - 75 miles per gallon, gives a 200 mile tank range.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey, I was on the original petition list to Yam to get the FJR 1300 in the U.S.! After two yrs. of denial, they finally did it.

A co owner of a Yamaha shop in B.C. thought the XT 660 would arrive in N. America this year but looks to be another yr. away (if they indeed bring it in)

Thanks to all for your insights...., feel free to keep 'em coming! :cry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

KTM or the beamer they kick ass I also want one for those long halls! I love my drz but for hard street riding I would like something more substantial. After about 200 max miles my ass and arms and just about everything is hurten. :cry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I get serious monkey butt after about 100 miles I pop two Advil Liqui-gels. They work. Once I get the monkey but going on and under control I have much more fun. You gotta control the monkey! :cry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I get serious monkey butt after about 100 miles I pop two Advil Liqui-gels. They work. Once I get the monkey but going on and under control I have much more fun. You gotta control the monkey! :cry:

:cry: :lol:That damn monkey :cry: :cry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get the 650BMW

I rode mine from Seattle to Tijuana and then back to NC in 11 days. Through 14" of snow and desert. It will go anywhere, has good luggage, gets almost 70mpg and dependable as crap. You can get a 2000 or newer for 6-7k. It is not something to take on tight or technical singletrack, but it will definitely do everything else very well. I have a DRZ 400 S now and wouldn't even entertain a trip like that on it. I love the DRZ for what it is. Second choice would be the KLR and then the NEW 1200GS after that. KTM would be last only because of the crappy seat and comfort. Everything elase about it is awesome as long as you are 6'5" tall. Go ride em. Think about your A$$ being on the seat all day when you do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

KTM would be last only because of the crappy seat and comfort. Everything elase about it is awesome as long as you are 6'5" tall. Go ride em. Think about your A$$ being on the seat all day when you do.

I would love to have a 950 Adventure (and save the extra $$ over the cost of the 12GS) but, until someone tells me how to grow 3 " taller, that ain't gonna happen.

Hmmm, maybe if I rubbed some Enzyte on the bottoms of my feet . . .

Larry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay..., I'm ready for some more feedback (maybe abuse???)

For $6,700, incredibly reliable, great parts availability, aftermkt hard bags, available frame protection, skid pan etc., relatively easy maintainence/ servicing, big network of satisfied owners, good dealership network, suitable (with some "armorizing") for light duty dirt/ gravel roads, (with proper tires).... PLUS, probably would lose very little $$$ if I decided I didn't want it after a yr. or so and chose to sell it. Just a thought about another option.........

fill in the blank!!!

No, on second thought I won't tease you guys, how 'bout 05 V-Strom??? (the new red one!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roamer, go spend 3 grand on a slightly used KLR with about 1500 miles on it. Ride it, see if you like the compromise. Then sell it for what you paid for it in a couple months. You're killng me here.............V-strom? It's a street bike.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not cheaper when you add dual sport stuff, like:

Spoke wheels, spokes, hubs - $1,200

Metzler Tourances - $200

Replace broken plastic - $500

Replace mud clogged front fender - $150

Replace street suspension - $1,400

Just buy a BMW F650 Dakar. I bet you could get a 2 year old one with less than 2k miles for $6k or $7k. Larry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:

Sign in to follow this  

×