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Online KiLRoy

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RTW trips - bikes and opinions
« on: May 31, 2006, 11:11:13 am »
If bought and read a lot of books of people doing long distance d/s trips.  Latest 3 is by Jonny Bealby, Dr Greg Frazier and Chris Scott. Came to some interesting insights into which bikes they prefer before and after the trips.  In summary the following:

Generally 3 (types) bikes:

1. GSs - strangely nobody seems to like the modern big GSs.  The most popular bike is the R80GS, followed by the R10GS.  Some did it on either 650GSs or Dakars - not a lot on Dakars though.  They don't like the modern GS because of (a) too heavy - for riding and airfreight transport - you pay per kg, (b) to complicated to maintain/repair - lots of electronics (c) not reliable enough - lots of horror stories and (d) too expensive to buy, rig and potentially leave behind - popular to highjack/steal

2. KLRs - very popular and after all the GS models combined the second most popular bike for RTW trips. Need aftermarket fittings.  They are cheap, relatively light and reliable/maintainable.  Lots of aftermarket support.  Didn't catch on with the Europeans though - mostly a Yank/Canadian bike.

3. Different models of air cooled 600/650cc - Yamaha XTs and Honda XR/XT/NX models.  These are mainly used by Europeans and normally means bigger fuel tanks and other mods.  

What is of interest that about all the real hard-core RTW veterans which don't just follow the LWR's track with a support vehicle, but ride the Americans from top to bottom, Europe down to SA, NZ up through Indonesia to Russia etc - use singles in the 600/650 class.  

The difficult routes like crossing the Sahara, the wet forests of SAmerica and Indonesia, the watercrossings and terrain in Asia, etc etc just don't lend itself to big bike travel.  

So do you think the big GS's and maybe bikes like KTM 950s (not 640s - they are capable and popular RTW bike) etc are overrated as real, 'kannie dood' long distance continent d/s crossers?

Your opinions

Hein

Ps sometimes i think us SA'ers are to much big bike befok?
 

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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2006, 11:32:07 am »
I agree but I have been watching alot of home videos of guys going round the world, through Africa or Oz etc. One thing I have noticed with the Japanese is that they love smaller bikes. I have seen them going round the world on XR 250 and DRZ 250 Raids. The TT600R is also a popular bike but we never got it over here, nice bike

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Offline LuckyStriker

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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2006, 12:06:21 pm »
I agree that smaller bikes are better for crossing the 3rd world.
I must disagree with the notion that big pigs are unsuited for RTW trips. GSs are not prone to constant breakdowns. Sometimes I think it is an exaggeration started by people who can't afford them :D

About half the world have facilities to work on electronics so I don't really see a problem there. In Africa there are major BMW bike dealers in Nigeria, South Africa, Benin, Algeria, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana, Libya, Marocco Tunisia and Namibia (I can supply addresses if you'd like :wink: )

When it comes to airfreigt you are right of course. The lighter the cheaper.

In South Africa big bikes rule because we have long open roads that require you to go faster than a piddling 120km/h cruising speed. Fuel consumption on a larger cc bike with pillion and luggage is also better than a smaller, loaded bike.

I don't think a 650cc is a stupid size. But when you consider that my big pig weighs only 30 odd kgs heavier than a bike with half the engine it seems like a good tradeoff IMHO.

It is funny that people like Chris Scott who prefers smaller bikes has crossed Africa and other difficult continents on a big pig and survived. So where is the problem? A smaller bike is easier, we can all agree on that but like Leo's dad says: Go big or go Home! :lol:
 

Offline JourneyMan

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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2006, 12:12:14 pm »
LS. Had me helluva confused and thinking like mad there a moment talking about my dad! :lol:  Swift correction action from your side. Could not even get the qoute thing going! :lol:
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Offline LuckyStriker

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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2006, 12:13:43 pm »
Ja, sorry. got a bit confused :D  :D
 

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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2006, 12:19:14 pm »
On a single there is only one of everything that can go wrong.
And singles dont have these massive lumps of metal sticking sideways out of the bike.

I agree with LS that for SA touring the bigger bikes do better, but touring in SA might as well be riding down the autobahn in europe, great roads.
Personally I dont feel comfortable on fancy bikes and I'd rather have a plaasbike that I know inside out.
I can fix just about anything short of a gearbox problem on the KLR.
 

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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2006, 12:31:09 pm »
What troubles me is why BM is not still producing their older R80GS line.  By this time the manufacturing cost would be so cheap that you could probably sell those simple, reliable workhorses for half the cost of a modern GS, even cheaper than a Dakar.  Would bring more options for the not so fast and image conscious BM lover.

As for dealers - the dealer in Algeria is a light year away from the breakdown spot in Timbaktu - infrastructure considering.  I would be surprised if the dealer in Nigeria stock many BM electronic on his selve.

But for spares - that goes for any bike, and is not the point.  Simpler bikes can be repaired with simple welds and patches, while electronic failures are normally critical breakdown - component replacements.

As for weight, its important to start light.  A 153kg KLR can be loaded with 40kgs of load and still be lighter than a unladen AT/GS WITH  400kms worth of fuel.  For a GS to achieve that it would mean adding 40kgs and 15l of fuel - 250 odd vs about 190 - big difference - try picking the bike up singlehandedly on a slight decline - impossible.  

As for open roads - lots of countries have long open roads - OZ, US, Can, areas in SAmerica, Rus but aren't big bike befok.  

I think its more a case of 'go big AND go home'
 :lol:  

Its strange that all the RTW veterans agree that BM's GSs are becoming to complicated, finicky and unreliable for RTW tours - but BM doesn't care.  I'm not suggesting to stop progress, but adding a simple reliable model like the 80GS to the fleet can't do any harm and would maintain BMs image as a hardcore RTW reliable machine - the first choice for many riders.  Else i'm afraid it might lead to BM becoming just another image conscious brand like HD or LR's Discovery.  

Give us back the R80GS for R60k
H
 

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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2006, 12:38:56 pm »
Your comments anger me! I will not buy you a beer when next we meet :evil: :evil:  :wink:

I reject your reality and substitute my own:
Older GSs were less reliable than modern ones. Don't go by what you read on forums. Trust only my word.
You are feeling sleeeeeepy. When you wake up you will buy a big pig. 1 2 3...
 

Offline Grootseun

RTW trips - bikes and opinions
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2006, 12:44:05 pm »
Saw a R80GS KALAHARI in corlett drive the other day... and this will anger you. The "person" riding it wore the following.

Corduroy (sp? hated those.. even tho it's all my mother wanted to buy for winter) Jacket designer... price R800
Khaki pant also designer possibly....R450
PISPOT HELMET with ray-bans (WTF?????)

i was sooo angry... wanted to moer him if he wasnt going the other way....what a waste... one of them posers riding the bike for the pure image...go and buy a harley dude....i would loooove to have one of those kalahari's to feel uncomplicated (note i never said more relaiable) riding pleasure.
 

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« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2006, 01:44:26 pm »
If I were to cross the globe :

600 - 650 cc single cylinder
Air cooled
Lots of ground clearance
Big tank
Sturdy rear rack
Kick and e-start

And your sorted ! LS there may be BMW service centres at most places but you are not always going to end up towing or limping into a BMW service center. I guess one has to prepare for the worst and if so with a plain non complicated no fuss single with minimal electronics I believe you will be better off.
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Offline Kaboef

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« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2006, 02:20:10 pm »
I bought Chris Scot's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook (5th edition) right after I bought my Africa Twin.
He rates the R80GS as a formidable RTW bike.
He also rates his top-ten overlanding bikes (in no specific order), but out of all 10 bikes, it is only the Africa Twin, 1150GS, and R100GS that weighs more than 200kg's. :(
I dont quite know where I'm going with this, but I think one should buy a bike based on the roads you will most probably ride.
No use in buying a Super Tenere if all you do is breakfast runs to Franschoek on Sunday mornings.
Most of the much envied/hated 1200GS's in SA will never see the country's border posts. BMW knows this, and markets the bike as a "lifestyle bike", not a "cross the Sahara" bike.

My stuiwer in die armbeurs.

BTW: A buddy of mine had a R80GS. Came back from the KKNK without checking his oil, seized the engine. BMW quoted him R12,000 for a new cranckshaft! :shock:
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