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Offline Zh3nK

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Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« on: September 18, 2013, 05:47:30 pm »
Hi guys,

So I introduced myself and seeing that this is the biggest forum of adventure bikers in the country I bet the best advice would be from the members here, here goes:

First of all I do not own a motorcycle as of yet but after some discussions with my girlfriend we kind of decided that this would be an amazing hobby for the weekend seeing that we love the outdoors and nature reserves and especially the "grondpaaie" close by seeing that we are staying in Kuruman in the Northern Cape, in short our options for great trips close by are endless.

Now here is the catch, I have ridden a motorcycle in my life maybe twice and never ever serious, I know this might sound silly but I am really into this idea and its equally shared by my better half!

Now here are some requirements:

- Budget of R75k max for a bike.
- Must be a good and forgiving (learner) bike.
- Must be able to carry me and my girl without hassle seeing that we want to make it a couple thing.
- We want to start out with the machine that we will be using for some time to come, I see no use really in buying one now and then replacing it early on because it is not what we are looking for ( its a total loss money wise and we are still a bit tight on budget )
- Good carrying capabilities for the clothes etc etc and gear.

Points of note:
I am really not one for adrenaline and just want a good bike that will take us where we want to go which will only include tarmac to get to the more gravel roads and destination in the end.
I am very patient at learning something and after looking at you're injury threads I bet i would be kak scared of trying to be cocky at all, damn I might even just drive around the house to get a feeling for it for months if that is what it takes.  

The dream in the end is of course for me and my future wife to get our own bikes each, but as of now we want to explore the beautiful part of the country we are situated in with a motorcycle that we both can enjoy and be transported by for the experience.

Bikes I took a look at and caught my interest are:
BMW F800gs
BMW G650Gs Sertao
Yamaha XT660z Tenere

I would be more comfortable with the 650 and 660 but I am looking at the 800 for its better carrying capabilities and pillion.

Please do not hesitate to call me on it if this is a stupid idea and we are bored or something but we are really adventurous and enjoy nature together, and a Bakkie is really mainstream.

PS: Forgot a few things, I am really tall 1.99m, and info for pillion I weigh 94Kg and my Girlfriend about 50kg's.

Kind Regards:
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 05:55:51 pm by Zh3nK »
 

Offline punisher

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Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2013, 05:52:21 pm »
hi and welcome
i am sure you will get loads of advice from the okes here

my 2 cents , ..........klr 650
simple ,reliable , cheap and durable
just wanna have fun , and ride ... and ....... ride
 

Offline Ratt

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Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2013, 06:06:16 pm »
Kawa KLE 500, they go around R20k. Raising kit and some goodies should be around R5k to sort out.

Ride it, learn the ropes, then upgrade. Rather use money on descent kit
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Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2013, 06:08:00 pm »
KLR 650 is great value.
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Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2013, 06:19:42 pm »
Think small and a bike that crash well (cheap to fix)
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Offline sheldyn

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Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2013, 06:20:18 pm »
Hey bud,

My 2 cents is the 660 Tenere but first dibs would be on the Sertao, dont know if you can pick one up in your price range though.  Bank on 10k per person for helmet and decent gear - this is really important.

In fact, if you look hard enough you will find a good second hand Dakar 650 gs,  sertao is the new model.

You will get loads of people pushing u in different directions here so it will be up to you to do the homework and make the final call.

Try find a good nik second hand machine that already comes with side panniers and top box for storage, that way you wont be spending extra on all that jazz.

I take my wife on my Sertao albeit not often, it carries her perfectly and my mates carry their misses on their 660 teneres with ease.  Same weight as u...  Both these bikes are good to start on -800 GS may be a bit much, its VERY powerful for a beginner IMO.
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2013, 06:32:46 pm »
In your price range....the XT660Z. It will carry both of you with some luggage and when you ready to buy each of you a bike, your missus keeps the 660Z if she is tall enough and you buy a 800 or you keep the Z and buy your missus a lowered 650.
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Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2013, 06:43:06 pm »
F800GS, then you won't want to replace it after a few months.
I love KLR's, but it is not going to work with pillion and panniers.

Bear in mind there are very few nature reserves that are keen on bikes.

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Offline Charlie Brown

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Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2013, 06:49:18 pm »
One of the things to take into consideration is what dealer support network there is in your home town area. The BMW, Yamaha, Honda etc are really very nice bikes, but should anything go wrong or you have an off, you will probably have to get the bike to a dealer / agent for the problem to be sorted out.

 The "old" technology bikes like the Kawasaki KLR, Suzuki DR, Honda XRL etc can be fixed by just about any mechanic in any garage any where in the country. The trade off is that the "new" technology bikes generally have more power ( essential for 2 up traveling ), fuel injection for better economy, mostly better brakes and handling and are quite a bit faster..........but they do cost quite a bit more to buy and maintain. The "older" technology bikes do not have all the bells and whistles, are tried and tested, do the job adequately to very well, are cheap to maintain, cheap to buy and you don't end up in tears when you drop the bike because you know it is going to cost you a shit load of money to repair..........just pick the bloody thing up and carry on riding.....unless you get broken in the fall. I went for the KLR for 2 reasons 1) It was cheap and I know I'm going to crash it a few times before I can ride reasonably well, cheap to repair and maintain, 2) I hired one and took it through the Tankwa Karroo as a complete newbie, the bike does nothing in style, it just gets on with the job effortlessly, and it gives you a feeling of quiet confidence without having too much power.

I posted a RR on my first DS experience and what the KLR was like, I don't know how to put up the link, but the ride report is called " A newbies first DS experience", might be worth your while to read it??
 

Offline Zh3nK

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Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2013, 07:08:18 pm »
Hi Guys,

Thanks a lot for the advice thus far, it's much appreciated.

I get a feeling that the KLR650 is quite the bike to start out with, I have taken a look at it and it seems not to bad, I cannot judge at all to the riding of it seeing that I have next to zero motorcycle experience, the only downside for me is the fact that it will not handle the pillion and panniers very good and lets be honest, not that it really matters I guess but I wont be able to fall in love with how it looks :/
Now there have been some suggestions for the XT660Z Tenere, and I really am founded with that bike, my only thing is will it be really easy to learn to ride bikes with?

Thanks in advance and keep the suggestions coming!
 

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Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2013, 07:20:06 pm »
I agree with something old tech , XR650L , KLR650 or DR650 , all of them are tried and trusted , if you are not looking at going everywhere at high speed then either of these will work well  . My preference is for the Honda , it has a low price and all it really needs is a larger fuel tank , the suspension is better than the KLR or DR , and power can be upgraded easily and reliably as confidence grows . 
Of course there is the simple fact that  either of these will resell easily , if you start off with a second hand bike you will lose even less when you upgrade .
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Offline alanB

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Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2013, 07:27:27 pm »
If you havent ridden a bike much I would actually say get a small bike like a 250 or DRZ400 or something (I wouldnt even go for a 650).  

No doubt someone is going to tell you to buy a 1200 soon, but those big heavy bikes are no fun to learn on.  They are very powerful and heavy and can make the learning process unnecessarily difficult.

Your girlfriend is not going to feel safe when you are really battling and wobbling along!  And the end result is you are going to avoid stuff like sand and mud and even gravel  but not want to admit it and just want to stick to tar - maybe that's OK?

But I would suggest a completely different approach.

Don't plan on taking her on the back while you learn.  If necessary get her a small bike too - you can within that budget.

Spend a year learning the basics and then choose the long term bike of your choice AFTER that.

But honestly, its just sooooo much easier to learn the basics on a small lighter bike.  

Bike riding safely and competently requires certain skills that have to be learnt - like anything else if you learn them properly to start with it just makes everything else that much easier later on.

The SA male ego will however tell you to buy the biggest most powerful bike you can afford right now - you choose!

Also everyone is going to tell you to go on a course - which is a VERY GOOD IDEA.  But again you will learn more and progress faster on a small bike.
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Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2013, 07:45:34 pm »
If you havent ridden a bike much I would actually say get a small bike like a 250 or DRZ400 or something (I wouldnt even go for a 650).  

No doubt someone is going to tell you to buy a 1200 soon, but those big heavy bikes are no fun to learn on.  They are very powerful and heavy and can make the learning process unnecessarily difficult.

Your girlfriend is not going to feel safe when you are really battling and wobbling along!  And the end result is you are going to avoid stuff like sand and mud and even gravel  but not want to admit it and just want to stick to tar - maybe that's OK?

But I would suggest a completely different approach.

Don't plan on taking her on the back while you learn.  If necessary get her a small bike too - you can within that budget.

Spend a year learning the basics and then choose the long term bike of your choice AFTER that.

But honestly, its just sooooo much easier to learn the basics on a small lighter bike.  

Bike riding safely and competently requires certain skills that have to be learnt - like anything else if you learn them properly to start with it just makes everything else that much easier later on.

The SA male ego will however tell you to buy the biggest most powerful bike you can afford right now - you choose!

Also everyone is going to tell you to go on a course - which is a VERY GOOD IDEA.  But again you will learn more and progress faster on a small bike.

Zh3nk you should take note of this advice and heed the warning therein.
Adventure biking is a simple and safe "hobby" . I have seen many riders on big and powerfull bikes without a solid small bike foundation and it is a bit of a sad sight seeing so many riders with limited  horisons.
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Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2013, 07:51:55 pm »
Hi Guys,

Thanks a lot for the advice thus far, it's much appreciated.

I get a feeling that the KLR650 is quite the bike to start out with, I have taken a look at it and it seems not to bad, I cannot judge at all to the riding of it seeing that I have next to zero motorcycle experience, the only downside for me is the fact that it will not handle the pillion and panniers very good and lets be honest, not that it really matters I guess but I wont be able to fall in love with how it looks :/
Now there have been some suggestions for the XT660Z Tenere, and I really am founded with that bike, my only thing is will it be really easy to learn to ride bikes with?
Thanks in advance and keep the suggestions coming!


It ticks all the boxes. You won't get better or more versatile for your money.

All Said

In your price range....the XT660Z. It will carry both of you with some luggage and when you ready to buy each of you a bike, your missus keeps the 660Z if she is tall enough and you buy a 800 or you keep the Z and buy your missus a lowered 650.
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Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2013, 07:53:11 pm »
If you haven't ridden a bike much I would actually say get a small bike like a 250 or DRZ400 or something (I wouldn't even go for a 650).  

No doubt someone is going to tell you to buy a 1200 soon, but those big heavy bikes are no fun to learn on.  They are very powerful and heavy and can make the learning process unnecessarily difficult.

Your girlfriend is not going to feel safe when you are really battling and wobbling along!  And the end result is you are going to avoid stuff like sand and mud and even gravel  but not want to admit it and just want to stick to tar - maybe that's OK?

But I would suggest a completely different approach.

Don't plan on taking her on the back while you learn.  If necessary get her a small bike too - you can within that budget.

Spend a year learning the basics and then choose the long term bike of your choice AFTER that.

But honestly, its just sooooo much easier to learn the basics on a small lighter bike.  

Bike riding safely and competently requires certain skills that have to be learnt - like anything else if you learn them properly to start with it just makes everything else that much easier later on.

The SA male ego will however tell you to buy the biggest most powerful bike you can afford right now - you choose!

Also everyone is going to tell you to go on a course - which is a VERY GOOD IDEA.  But again you will learn more and progress faster on a small bike.

I agree, i ride a Suzuki DRZ 400 and have been all over with it , we have just come back from a trip with a bunch of people on 250 and thy had just as much or more fun the the blokes on the 650 and 800, for That price you have you can practically get to brand new Honda Crf 250 the road leagel one and can each enjoy the off road experience with out worrying that you are going to crash and take the better half down with you , :thumleft:
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Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2013, 07:56:35 pm »
I would say get the Tenere with your height, but the 800gs could be more comfortable for the pillion?

I also started with a 650 after only riding scooters. Takes a while to get comfortable but I have no regrets and it takes the hassle out of buying and selling. The DR and XR are not really pillion friendly. You could of course get two DR's with that budget.

The KLR is also an option and allows you to really get some decent kit for both of you, kit could easily burn another R20k of your budget. Also allow for some professional training in your budget for you and/with the pillion.

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And don't fret. Follow your heart, get a bike and make some time to travel our wonderful country.  :thumleft:
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EDIT: And alanB make very valid points. If you are able and patient go learn with a lighter bike first.

« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 08:02:07 pm by Rags »
 

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Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2013, 08:08:44 pm »
My 1st bike was a Transalp 650.. I never looked back

Look for a bike you like and get that, honestly if you have no riding experience it will not matter one little bit if you get a BMW or a Yamaha as your 1st bike, you will learn to ride that bike. Forget about getting advice here it will make no sense to you as everyone likes different bikes, for example I would rather not ride a KLR because it would be a bike I would have to upgrade in a year.

The Transalp 650 is a great pillion bike , reliable and you can pick them up for R40k. Great as a starter bike, touring bike etc, if you have the money of all of them on your list I would get the 800gs

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Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2013, 08:15:43 pm »
Hi Guys,

Thanks a lot for the advice thus far, it's much appreciated.

I get a feeling that the KLR650 is quite the bike to start out with, I have taken a look at it and it seems not to bad, I cannot judge at all to the riding of it seeing that I have next to zero motorcycle experience, the only downside for me is the fact that it will not handle the pillion and panniers very good and lets be honest, not that it really matters I guess but I wont be able to fall in love with how it looks :/
Now there have been some suggestions for the XT660Z Tenere, and I really am founded with that bike, my only thing is will it be really easy to learn to ride bikes with?


Thanks in advance and keep the suggestions coming!


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And you get to join the KLR Clan where we show you how to fix/service your own bike for a case of beer.
Also have an in house doctor with an affinity for plastic sheep.

BTW Pebbles and I were in yr area last month and decided definitely a spot we need to visit and ride.
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Offline Piet

Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2013, 08:36:04 pm »
I started out a few years ago on a pre-2007 KLR, still my only bike. Never had a moment's regret. I've done solo tours and pillion tours, no problem. The KLR doesn't get there fast, but if you are planning to stick to the golden rule 80km/h on gravel, then it's the ideal tool for the job. You can load it like a donkey and it'll run.

Best advice so far is to get proper experience on gravel/sand before taking the girlfriend along. So take her along on the tar, but take the dirt roads alone for starters. Most of the gravel/dirt roads in SA have those unexpected thick sand patches. Riding sand is really simple once you get the hang of it, but a pillion will cause a spill if you don't know what you are doing yet.
 

Offline Zh3nK

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Re: Not a rider yet and in dire need of advice!
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2013, 08:54:32 pm »
Wow, awesome replies guys thank you.

Ok I did take the point that I could get a smaller bike first and try the ropes on it, seeing that I am tall though what would be a less awkward bike for me if I do go that route? Btw I did not mention it but ofcourse all the practice will be done without the missus on the back, I think she wont be able to resist learning herself as well, so it will definately be a turn based scenario if you ask me!
The only thing is now, it will kind of be a big dedication to start out with because we are still young and well, it will be a big investment for us, that is why i though that if we start now we should atleast get a kind of capable bike that would last us some good time. As for classes I would be more than willing to take them but i seriously doubt there is a place even close that will be offering them, maybe Kimberley, will have to do some googling regarding that one.
So yeah I am getting some mixed feelings regarding what to do, some are ok with the bigger bikes and personally I think the biggest I will go will be the 660 for starters, I just don't want to end up hurting myself with it, and to be honest I did sit on a few smaller bikes (never rode them) and me with my lenght and long legs it just felt awkward and falling off on the first turn just felt inevitable, so yeah physically I need a bigger bike, not just engine wise.

More comments and advice will be much more appreciated.
PS. Having an in-house doctor on stand by just tips my nerves off the edge, yeah I know it comes with their risks but I will rather be riding slowly than falling and breaking things like I have seen happens in the injury thread. So yeah that is still a fact that I am chewing on, the risk of serious injury and if it is worth it.

Regards: