I'd go DR650. Why?
- It's been around, essentially unchanged, for years...and it's proven. Ebay parts abound too.
- Smooth onroad...day after day...after day.
- Not known for burning oil, even on the slab.
- Can haul gear with just some simple add-ons.
- Can haul ass, even uphill, with just some simple add-ons.
- Will carry 2 ok in a pinch, if 1 of the other bikes go down. The others? At your sizes? With luggage? Hell, it even has the torque to tow another DR if you have to.
- Spacious enough with lowered pegs and touring pegs below a built-up seat. Taller bars and/or bar-risers may be good too.
- Low enough to get everybody's feet down easily, even offroad.
- Simple. Screw and locknut valve adjustments. Rebuild it on the side of the road with basic tools. Weld it with a stick welder or JB.
- Reliable. Do the fixes and it'll probably run your whole trip without major issues.
- Durable. It'll fall and tumble with the best of them.
- Swapping parts from other bikes or aftermarket is generally easy. The DR350 is an easy 18" rear wheel swap. RM or DR-Z suspension swaps are not beyond a decent wrencher's ability either. This may be handy when DR-originated parts are hard to come by.
- Put in a fuel filter and run it on 85 octane.
- Versatile. Tape up the 3x3d airbox at sea-level, or run it wide open at high altitude.
- Cheap. Buy a fairly new DR in good shape for $2500 or less.
- Aftermarket abounds for setting up a DR with inexpensive RTW parts. Most of the parts needed will be similar for all the bikes.
- SACS. The air/oil cooling is better than the XRL's air cooling, and simpler than the WR's liquid cooling.
- Weight. The DR has enough weight for highway load carrying, but is lighter than a 1200cc BMW when you have to muscle it out of sand or mud. You can also shave almost 25lb off a DR without spending a fortune. Some of this weight is just in the course of the usual upgrades. (GSX-R muff, fenderectomy, removing the safety switches, better mirrors, etc.)
- Most issues the DR has or could have are easily and inexpensively addressed. (NSU screws, lack of grease, plastic oilpump gear, carbing, etc.)
- Cheap enough to throw away. Worst case, you might be forced to abandon it. Why buy new or expensive bikes?
The Safari tank for the DR also holds around 8 gallons, much of the extra down low.
Put a big lockable hardcase on the tailrack.(Givi sells 40-55L cases that will fit 2 FF helmets and then some.) Soft panniers, though, are less dangerous to your legs in a fall. PacSafe can help you lock up your soft bags with their stainless mesh.
Kommando screwed with this post 08-01-2010 at 08:53 PM