Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register

Author Topic: Technology vs Reliability?  (Read 2081 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Adventure MX

  • Guest
Technology vs Reliability?
« on: November 19, 2008, 10:10:18 am »
The reason for this question is that I was working with a couple of bikes the other day and everything seems to fit into place very well.  Parts are easily accessible and the whole mechanical setup of the bike just seems to work very well.  Bare in mind when I am talking about bikes then we can include MX bikes and Dual Sport into the same category.

This got me thinking.......

We all know that technology will progress and life moves on, but how critical is it to improve on something that has been working for years, and in our current environment changes seem to be more about aesthetics and power rather then reliability.  Does our lifestyle at the moment demand that we do things faster so that we are able to do more or so that we can complete it in a quicker time so that we can get back to business.

Here is what I am talking about.  Below I have listed a couple of examples on both sides of the scale that I feel will illustrate my point, but I am sure there will be better examples out there.

KDX 200.
This bike has been around for years.  The technology is basic yet very reliable.  The carb can easily be removed without having to dismantle the airbox or the subframe.  Spark Plug can be removed without having to remove the tank etc, etc.
So if you are caught in a situation where emergency repairs need to be done there is little standing in your way when you need to do specific checks.

Honda XR's
These bikes basically have the same traits as the one above.  Some of them are air cooled and other later models are liquid cooled.  The XR 400 right up to the XR 650 are very reliable machines and have been used for many years in all kinds of races.

KLR 650
This bike has also been around for a while.  It is easy to dismantle to get to the part you want to repair or check.  It has one or two issues but as soon as you have worked around them then you have a die hard machine.  It has a slightly outdated appearance but it is an icon.

KTM 640
This bike also has legend status and is not a bad bike to work on.  The mechanics of the motor are pretty easy.  As with some other models you need to remove the tank to get to the carb and spark plugs.  Valve clearance settings are easy to adjust due to the rocker system.  As soon as you have shims life becomes a bit more complicated.  Later generation models are now moving to fuel injection which require electronic management systems and all these high tech options give the regular guy one less thing to be in control of when you are on a tour.

BMW 1200GSA
Bmw's have been synonymous with the latest technology in fuel injection, ABS brakes, Electronic management systems, drive trains and so forth.  Although these bikes and similar models have proven to be reliable is it really necessary to make advances on this technology.  Whats the reason?  Does it give the manufacturer the opportunity to boast about the fact they they have the latest and greatest or are they really looking for better ways to keep up with the times.  Or is this a process whereby the manufacturers have more control over there customers as they are the only ones can basically service these types of bikes?

My question is more about reliability.  This doesn't just mean the machine itself but the rider as well.  It is all good and well producing a motorcycle that is "technological advanced" but to what sacrifice when you want the rider to have the ability to be able to save himself out of an emergency.  Lets be honest, if you you have electronic failure on a 1200GSA you are not going to know where to start (ja ja, probably pick up the SAT phone).  Where as if you have a basic bike with carbs, a wiring harness with one or two fuses you cab use the process of elimination to deduct where the problem is.

Most riders are not on a level to do emergency repairs and purely for this reason this would put some resistance on a purchase for the latest and greatest.  Unless you are prepared to spend a good couple of man hours getting to know your bike in such a way that you could almost tell the local mechanic a thing or two.  I can well understand that to buy the newest technology has it's advantages and as long as it doesn't let you down.

Like to hear your thoughts on this....


« Last Edit: November 19, 2008, 10:54:53 am by Adventure MX »
 

Offline the_BOBNOB

  • is not a
  • Grey hound
  • ****
  • Bike: KTM 990 Adventure
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 8,648
  • Thanked: 187 times
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2008, 10:14:29 am »
just buy a bike with modern technologies that wont break aka bmw f650gs dakar  >:D
 

shark_za

  • Guest
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2008, 10:21:37 am »
Change a KTM 640 oil filter and tell me its well designed.
 

Offline Snafu

  • Grey hound
  • ****
  • Bike: Honda XR125L
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 9,004
  • Thanked: 92 times
  • Brackenfell Bricket
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2008, 10:34:53 am »
Interesting post and something that has been through the grey stuff in my head and to make a looong story short, it is almost the same discussion as the KTM vs BMW *sigh*

I think it is want you want to do and what you see as an adventure. I prefer to be self sustainable, so i would prefer to fix things on the fly. This is one of the reasons I enjoy the AT, fairly easy to fix, but removing the tank etc to check for spark on rear plugs is a bit of a pain.

Ideally i would like a state of the art, latest and greatest suspension and then the old fashioned XR or KLR mechanics and electronics.

But then again, I dont have a SAT phone :)
Rimtape: Sounds like something in the first-aid kit of a gay-porn movie set. - Jaco
 

Offline Inprogress

  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: NER-A-CAR
    Location: Eastern Cape
  • Posts: 1,297
  • Life's to short to be an adult!
    • Umfanjana Films
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2008, 10:40:07 am »
Bikes are there to make money. Look around you and see all the gadgets and gizmo's flying of the shelves. They are all the same, but look different. Look at cellphone adds, do they actually advertise the cellphone, or the fact that you can watch videos, take photo's, play music etc etc. Why not make sure the phone gets a clear signal, or does not drop a call?

Same with bikes (and cars more so), keeping up with the Jones. Hell, I would love to pull-up in my 1200GS at work, or beach, or parents house, but when push comes to shuff, I'll take a DR650SE anyday to travel to Dakar. Why, because they all sell an idea. They sell the idea of going on adventures. But they know, if you buy the R100k bike, you wont go on the adventure cause the freaking thing cost you R100k, and besides, then you realise you can't fix the bike, you can't afford to go through africa etc etc. Why buy an SUV if you commute to work? Becuase the idea of being invinsible is so much cooler.

Take Herms' BMW R80G/S. Did you know the cylinder has a nickelite coating. That coating was applied to the engine for about 4 years. What is teh significance? Well, that engine has in the 30 years of operation, never been opened. Also, they great thing about that bike is that you feel like you live in the world I believe Adventure MX is thinking off. You have a bike, and as time goes by, you improve on it. You don't buy new, you improve it. I'm babbeling and ranting and should rather stop. But ask yourself this when you see the add of whatever you want, how can something be new and improved?

Adventure MX, I get where you are coming from, and oppose all things modern cause they are destroying all things we hold dear. I want a DR650SE, simple, you fix it with WD40, ductape, or a hammer.
If an idle mind is the devil's workshop, then a busy mind is God's canvas

 

Offline michnus

  • PikiPiki Overland
  • Bachelor Dog
  • *****
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS HP2
    Location: Other
  • Posts: 13,072
  • Thanked: 7 times
    • Pikipiki Overland
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2008, 10:48:40 am »
Did we not had 7 page discussion about this, I think LS started it? I just can't find it now, there were some interesting views

Offline cone

  • Pack Dog
  • **
  • Bike: BMW R80GS
    Location: Kwazulu Natal
  • Posts: 292
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2008, 11:03:11 am »
I remember when the 80GS came out with electronic ignition some people who were planning trips into the bundu converted their bikes back to points for obvious reasons. One can't argue with technology but it scares people like me. I have heard of new 1200GS' refusing to start in the middle of nowhere- this is something I can do without. Also just to reply to the nicasil liners that someone mentioned, they do wear out and I fitted sleeves to a 80GS I once owned.
As for this lifestyle thing, it is a conspiracy by the rich the rip the poor oakes off.
Dont ponder about the meaning of life. Plan the next ride
 

Offline LuckyStriker

  • Stealthy Camper
  • Bachelor Dog
  • *****
  • Bike: BMW G650 X-challenge
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 10,146
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Bellville Rock City
    • LuckyStriker's Blog
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2008, 11:03:42 am »
Did we not had 7 page discussion about this, I think LS started it? I just can't find it now, there were some interesting views

I can't remember that. It must have been years ago

All I have to say on this topic without reading the whole original post is this:
The wooden wheel was around for much longer that the rubber one. The wooden one is easily repairable in the veldt, all you need is a tree and some free time. The first vulcanised tyres were not so easily repairable and users were forced to rely on garages (loss of independence and self-reliance).

but which would you choose between the two?

in short, Technology improves reliability. To say that the two work against each other is silly.
Who can claim that a Model-T ford is more reliable and more durable than my 2008 Honda Civic?
 

Adventure MX

  • Guest
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2008, 11:23:13 am »
Did we not had 7 page discussion about this, I think LS started it? I just can't find it now, there were some interesting views

I can't remember that. It must have been years ago

All I have to say on this topic without reading the whole original post is this:
The wooden wheel was around for much longer that the rubber one. The wooden one is easily repairable in the veldt, all you need is a tree and some free time. The first vulcanised tyres were not so easily repairable and users were forced to rely on garages (loss of independence and self-reliance).

but which would you choose between the two?

in short, Technology improves reliability. To say that the two work against each other is silly.
Who can claim that a Model-T ford is more reliable and more durable than my 2008 Honda Civic?

I don't say they work against each other.  Lets compare apples with apples......

Model T Ford is basic mechanics, if your Honda Civic has problems I bet you wouldn't know where to start looking.  And besides you wouldn't take your Civic in the middle of the bush......

But lets keep it to bikes and keep it simple,

If you had to travel around the continent what would you choose, BMW 1200/ KTM 990 or KLR 650/XR 650?
 

Adventure MX

  • Guest
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2008, 11:27:03 am »
Change a KTM 640 oil filter and tell me its well designed.


KTM 640 has 2 oil filters, what bugs you about it?
 

Offline the_BOBNOB

  • is not a
  • Grey hound
  • ****
  • Bike: KTM 990 Adventure
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 8,648
  • Thanked: 187 times
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2008, 11:32:18 am »
points + carb = xt500

anything else worth the effort has cdi etc

and if you have cdi you might as well have fuel injection

nah - technology is cool without it you would still be riding a horse  :ricky:

 

Offline RobC

  • Stoepkakkertjie
  • Bachelor Dog
  • *****
  • Bike: Kawasaki KLR 650
    Location: Free State
  • Posts: 14,268
  • Thanked: 653 times
  • Bloemfontein
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2008, 11:38:12 am »
I prefer an uncomplicated bike... KLR is one of them although they should have made changing the spark plug easier! >:D
 

shark_za

  • Guest
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2008, 11:38:31 am »
You almost have to take the bike apart to get to them.
Only bad compared to a KLR thats right there in the open.
 

Offline cloudgazer

  • RPMods
  • Grey hound
  • *
  • Bike: KTM 640 Adventure
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 5,125
  • Thanked: 24 times
    • fontera
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2008, 11:43:35 am »
Well, its a nice idea to be able to repair your bike yourself.
but some of us wouldn't know where to begin, even on a basic bike.
And if a part is broken, its doesn't matter what kind of bike it is, if you don't have a spare you're screwed.

I've paid for reliability - and expect it to be so.

 

Offline Big H

  • Pack Dog
  • **
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS Adventure
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 415
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2008, 12:06:27 pm »
Last year, on a bike trip to Mozambique, the EWS antenna ring on my R1200GSA started giving problems. Sometimes the bike would start, sometimes not.

Luckily I got the bike back home and the dealer replaced the antenna ring immediately.

If the component failed I would have been screwed.....  :eek7:

(From the BMW press release: As soon as the rider inserts the key and switches on the ignition, a chip within the key communicates with the electronic immobiliser integrated in the Digital Motor Electronics via a ring aerial in the ignition lock. This allows the systems to exchange and compare coded chip data and the electronic immobiliser data. After confirming that the data and signals comply with one another, the engine control unit will release the ignition and fuel injection, allowing the rider to start the engine. This technology is the best and safest immobiliser system currently available worldwide.)

I've read about people who take backup antenna rings with on long trips with R1200GSA's.
 

Disselboom

  • Guest
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2008, 12:11:51 pm »
I think most of us have to balance what kind of riding we do against what bike we buy.If I was of on an epic adventure just twice a year, I would have made a different choice.

But most of our riding is confined to our immediate vicinity followed by some trips to the rest of the country.Hardly middle of Sahara kind of scenario's, a phone call or short hike could in most instances bring help or a bakkie to load your stricken machine.

Then, for my once in a very long while epic adventure, the risk is minimal enough to take my hi-tech machine.

Now if I was a free soul living off my bike in a new time zone each month, yeah, bring on the DR.

That's all there is to it, believe it, it's the truth. :biggrin:
 

Offline LuckyStriker

  • Stealthy Camper
  • Bachelor Dog
  • *****
  • Bike: BMW G650 X-challenge
    Location: Western Cape
  • Posts: 10,146
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Bellville Rock City
    • LuckyStriker's Blog
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2008, 12:20:26 pm »
Then, for my once in a very long while epic adventure, the risk is minimal enough to take my hi-tech machine.

Now if I was a free soul living off my bike in a new time zone each month, yeah, bring on the DR.
100%

on the KLR: It certainly is a rugged bike but it suffers from too many little failures IMO. Sure they are easy to repair but I'd rather pay a grease monkey to maintain my bike on a yearly basis than perform my own repairs almost weekly (I exaggerate I know ;D )
 

Offline DRAZIL

  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW R1200GS Adventure
    Location: Eastern Cape
  • Posts: 4,205
  • Thanked: 12 times
  • Alpha et Omega
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2008, 12:50:04 pm »
points + carb = xt500




Hell , even I could do my own service those days, now I need a rocket science degree.
 >:D
“You know, a long time ago being crazy meant something. Nowadays everybody's crazy.”
Charles Manson
 

Offline sillystunt

  • Race Dog
  • ***
  • Bike: BMW F650GS / Dakar
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 747
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2008, 01:01:07 pm »
i agree with lucky striker,lets be honest, which modern bike have you owned that keeps breaking down?
the electronics are just about totally reliable and probably wouldnt let you down on any trip around the country.
i dont think any wilddog member would trade his new bike for an old klr or xt because he is going on a trip.
i cant remember any reliability issues with any of my bikes in the last ten years.
the days of spending sunday afternoons washing and servicing the bike for the week ahead are  long gone,thank god.
i just wish all bikes would have hydraulic tappets,then they would be just about service free.needing only oil changes now and again.
i will stick with modern tech and take my chances.


 
We miss 100% of the shots we never take.
 

Offline Mzee

  • Grey hound
  • ****
  • Bike: Yamaha Super Tenere
    Location: Gauteng
  • Posts: 6,008
  • Thanked: 16 times
  • Bikes: DL 650 Suzuki; Honda 250 Suzuki 125; Vespa
    • Mzee-Jaki
Re: Technology vs Reliability?
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2008, 01:58:10 pm »
How come the V-strom was not added in the list above.  Most of us know it is a decent bike.
Life is kind to those who afford it kindness

              XT1200Z Super Tenere