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Old 11-29-2012, 04:04 PM   #31
High Country Herb
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I would suggest one of the following:

V-Strom 650: Ultra reliable, smooth engine, freeway speeds no problem, lots of luggage options, capable of moderate off road. May be slightly above $3000, though, but worth it.

KLR650: Pretty darn reliable, tough, freeway speeds no problem. If you are looking to do the 658 kit, maybe you can find one already done, because I think doing it yourself will blow you budget in a hurry. You can find them for about $2000, so it'll free up money for other stuff.

Sportster 883: reliable, comfortable, all day highway no problem dealers everywhere. A little creativity will be needed for extensive luggage. They may not look like it, but they can do moderate off roading.

The DR650 would certainly be capable of your trip, and much better off road, but getting blown around on the highway is going to get old after 15,000 miles. With your background on small bikes, it should be at least considered.

I like your idea of having the same bike, simply to reduce the need for spares. However, those three bikes will have standard parts that are fairly easy to source as you go.
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:16 PM   #32
ninepeaks9
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Honda NC700X

Get a Honda NC700X.

70 mpg - saves dough on the road.

Reliable.

Easy to ride off-road although not a dual sport. CG low to the ground.

Cheap for a new bike.

Smooth on highway.

Neutral ergos, even for tall guys.

Don't take my word for it. I never rode one. Go check out the thread here on ADV.
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:23 PM   #33
ninepeaks9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustKip View Post
That's not a motorcycle. It's a roadside outhouse

You mean a moving port-a-potty. No offense. I ride something similar - Burgman. Very comfortable/convenient, I'd say, almost enough to take a dump while moving
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:27 PM   #34
ninepeaks9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by High Country Herb View Post
I would suggest one of the following:



Sportster 883: reliable, comfortable, all day highway no problem dealers everywhere. A little creativity will be needed for extensive luggage. They may not look like it, but they can do moderate off roading.



.
I have to disagree on this. 883 is not a bike for long haul on highway. It's a ride around the town bike.
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:33 PM   #35
dhr
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Nighthawk 750

Why you may ask? Simple, I rode one 14,500 miles in a big loop around the US in 2009. Did a full service before and after the trip, all it needed during the trip were 2 oil changes and a rear tire. The Nighthawk probably had the lowest maintenance cost of just about any bike I have every ridden. I also have 40K miles on SV650's and feel the Nighthawk while a little more tame was the better mile eating machine.

I started to ride to Alaska on a F650GS this summer, a bike that in my mind seemed perfect for the trip. The bike did get 62 mpg but I had several problems with it, the last straw being a failing water pump (despite a preemptive replacement before trip). Traded it for a Ford Ranger and went to Alaska in that. Overall I found the BMW to be a a big pain to work on, suffered from to many "common problems", and the biggest offense of all it was not fun to ride. Some people have had great luck with the F650GS just not me. On the same token I have heard of at least one Nighthawk that failed mid trip. Which leads to my next point.

Since money is tight look for value rather then perfection. Don't be to picky about the model and you might be amazed at some of the deals to be had. Spend your time and money getting a decent example of a bike that will work for the trip rather then a ratty example of something that theoretically would be perfect for the trip. Don't let a bike get in the way of enjoying your trip!
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:43 PM   #36
ninepeaks9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhr View Post
Nighthawk 750

Why you may ask? Simple, I rode one 14,500 miles in a big loop around the US in 2009. Did a full service before and after the trip, all it needed during the trip were 2 oil changes and a rear tire. The Nighthawk probably had the lowest maintenance cost of just about any bike I have every ridden. I also have 40K miles on SV650's and feel the Nighthawk while a little more tame was the better mile eating machine.

I started to ride to Alaska on a F650GS this summer, a bike that in my mind seemed perfect for the trip. The bike did get 62 mpg but I had several problems with it, the last straw being a failing water pump (despite a preemptive replacement before trip). Traded it for a Ford Ranger and went to Alaska in that. Overall I found the BMW to be a a big pain to work on, suffered from to many "common problems", and the biggest offense of all it was not fun to ride. Some people have had great luck with the F650GS just not me. On the same token I have heard of at least one Nighthawk that failed mid trip. Which leads to my next point.

Since money is tight look for value rather then perfection. Don't be to picky about the model and you might be amazed at some of the deals to be had. Spend your time and money getting a decent example of a bike that will work for the trip rather then a ratty example of something that theoretically would be perfect for the trip. Don't let a bike get in the way of enjoying your trip!
I second this choice as well, especially if budget is priority. It's a very capable bike. You can probably pick up one with low mileage in good shape for $2 -$2.5K.
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:46 PM   #37
Grainbelt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhr View Post
Spend your time and money getting a decent example of a bike that will work for the trip rather then a ratty example of something that theoretically would be perfect for the trip.
Much truthiness in this post.
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:54 PM   #38
TrashCan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAKEZ View Post
Triumph Tiger 800.


What color do you have for 3,000 dollars.
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:30 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilB View Post
Sounds to me like you described a V-Strom 650 or a Versys just about exactly.

PhilB

+1 for 650 V Strom.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:42 PM   #40
Kommando
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It sounds like a Wee in good shape would be a good choice for burning miles, but finding one and setting it up for $3000 will likely be difficult. It may also not be what you want for the dirt sections.

A Nighthawk 650 or larger would be fine for low-maintenance mile-eating, but they are getting old now, and they may not be something you want to ride dirt on.

For eating miles AND riding dirt, on a budget and with easy maintenance, I think it would be hard to beat a DR650SE in good shape. Mine pulls a bit better on slab than my KZ440 did, by memory, and I'm 30-40lb heavier now. Aftermarket support is pretty good. It tends to be pretty smooth on slab and not use oil. Maintenance is easy enough to do on the road...oil, brakes, valves, chain, sprockets, tires, etc. The number plate deflects enough wind to make mine MUCH less fatiguing to ride distance on than my Yamaha Radian streetbike. You can load it down with luggage to travel 2up, or strip it down to ride it like a dirtbike. I do.

Do the fixes on the DR650 wiki (NSU screws, primary nut, loctite all exterior fasteners, remove safety switches and upper chain-roller), install armor (skid with ears, real handguards, and maybe caseguards), set up the ergonomics for comfort, and spring it for your payload weight. You can simply tie a waterproofed duffel onto the seat and rear fender if you want to go REALLY cheap and simple. I'd add saddlebags, inexpensive ATV tankbag and tank panniers, Moose Racing dualsport front fenderpack, and a Lowes PVC tooltube.


Cheap tricks...A simple bike like the DR lends itself to things like this:

- I lowered my rider and passenger pegs, doing all cutting, drilling, and welding myself. This costs almost nothing if you have some scraps of steel stock and access to a welder. You could even pay a welder a minimal fee to weld your rider-peg brackets back together after cutting an inch or so out of them. Tell them to remove the rubber vibe-dampers so they don't burn, and to weld the pegs on a little further rearward too. The lower passenger pegs make it easier to kick my feet back in headwinds. I also have folding touring pegs bolted to my skid. They're from Happy Trails, but you could easily build your own.

- You can also get inexpensive 1" spacers and longer hardened bolts from www.mcmaster.com or a local hardware store, to raise your bars a bit. Procycle sells a kit like this, but it'll likely cost a bit more.

- To protect my right saddlebag from the stock muffler, I got 1/8" x 2" and 1/8" x 3/4" aluminum stock from Ace Hardware to make a horizontal and a vertical standoff over my stock muffler heatshield. I spaced it off the stock shield with nuts and longer screws. Total cost was less than $30, which is much cheaper than any sideracks I've seen. It works great for my Dowco Fastrax bags, but you may want something more substantial if you get floppier bags. You can bend/weld your own, or find some on Ebay for cheap.

- Some people have also made small windscreens out of kitty-litter containers or wastepaper baskets for their DRs. Search the forums for these How-tos.

- Figure out an inexpensive tire combo that works for your riding and lasts. I get over 6K miles out of a $60 rear Kenda K761, while some people have gotten 10K+. I also get good mileage out of a $28 front Shinko 244, then I run it backwards for a few more miles. I swap on a $22 AMS Sand Snake front knob for nasty soft stuff, but the 244 is usually OK on most surfaces if I'm not trying to haul butt.

- Seat Concepts has re-cover kits in tall/regular/low heights that are cheaper than most custom seats, but more comfy than Suzuki OEM or gel.


Find an inexpensive throttle lock that works on your bike too. It'll help eat the miles.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:48 PM   #41
Quedok
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Any bike will work

If you ever get a chance to see the movie "Motorcycle Diaries" it shows that ANY motorcycle can do the trip. Two guys set out to travel the length of South America on a 1939 Norton single. Overloaded and leaking oil from every gasket, it shows that any motorcycle will do what you want it to do. It's just a matter of preference and style that will help make the decision.
Buy what you can afford, load it up and go. Look what the Vietnamese people use to commute, 2 stroke 100cc Chinese junk loaded with their entire family and a pig strapped on the back. ANY bike will work!
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:40 PM   #42
Kommando
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Originally Posted by Quedok View Post
If you ever get a chance to see the movie "Motorcycle Diaries" it shows that ANY motorcycle can do the trip. Two guys set out to travel the length of South America on a 1939 Norton single. Overloaded and leaking oil from every gasket, it shows that any motorcycle will do what you want it to do. It's just a matter of preference and style that will help make the decision.
Buy what you can afford, load it up and go. Look what the Vietnamese people use to commute, 2 stroke 100cc Chinese junk loaded with their entire family and a pig strapped on the back. ANY bike will work!
There's some truth in this, but it doesn't account for jockeying on slab at 70-80MPH with semis and huge pickups/SUVs for hours at a time, then bouncing down sand roads in the desert, if he wants.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:53 PM   #43
Grainbelt
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Not to mention, the bike blows up and they walk their sorry asses to Machu Picchu.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:37 AM   #44
MOzarkRider
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I will have to agree with many of the people on here that the Yamaha FZ6 is probably THE BEST choice given reliability, versitility, cost effectiveness and all day comfort. That said some other SOLID options in my opinion are

Suzuki Bandit - Any of them in good repair, can be had for less than $2500. Great smooth power and good balance.

Yamaha XJ600 Seca II - Its what I have and it is also rock solid reliable I would do the four corners trip with mine and you can pick one up in good repair with low miles for less than $2000 (don't pay more) It was another one of those bikes that just sat in a person's garage. Also very capable with light off-roading.

Kawasaki KLR 650 - this is the more offroad approach.

This would be my short list for bikes under $3000 that would be up for the trip. But I would definately take the FZ6 if I had the choice its just an excellent machine!
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:16 AM   #45
Firebolt
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+1 for the DL650
Where i am at a used fz6 is just as expensive as a dl650.
I got my dl650 for $3k last april with full set of factory luggage.
Keep you eyes open and you can find a good deal.
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