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Old 01-27-2015, 02:10 PM   #1
Harleytoo OP
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The Long Haul

So a question I have been toying with of late revolves around keeping a bike for the true long haul. I, currently, do not travel as much as I would like but I am working to change that. As such, I have been doing a lot of forum and web research into bikes that can really hold up to long term use and a lot of miles.

So, let me qualify this first.

Everyone has their various brand preferences. I have owned a host of different brands but typically find myself going back to my ’05 Harley Road King or one of the various Triumphs I have owned (R3R right now). I had a BMW 1200 GS ADV for a number of years. I have loved them all.

However, as I get older and hope to put even more miles on I am considering the longevity and rugged capabilities for a long term investment. Something I could literally ride just about anywhere (within reason – I don’t plan on trekking across Mongolia).

So some criteria for this selection would be;
- Decent dealer presence in the Americas and Europe
- Something that I can get tires for in most major cities
- Mechanically sound (reparable on the road)
- Rugged
- Good luggage capacity (either from the start or good available options)
- Capable of, if well maintained, clocking over 100,000 miles

I have kept my Harley since buying it new in ’05 because it has essentially been a very solid bike. Aside from a rebuild under warranty of the top in due to an oiling problem with the heads I have had very few issues with it. It fires up every time I get on it and has plenty of storage. I have ridden it over 50,000 miles already. So, for me, it ranks up there.

I have recently (in another thread) started hardening the Harley to be able to handle Texas dirt roads. So, that will add to its ruggedness. Also, the original 88 was punched out to a 96 which is a very well tested setup and there are Harley mechanics everywhere.

My R3R has a ground pounding motor and is very comfortable to ride for miles and miles. I have added a hitch recently and it pulls the small trailer I have very easily due to all that torque. I fully believe that this motor can easily pull over 100,000 miles. The only down side to the R3R is that big back tire. Not easy to find just anywhere if I blow it on the road. Course I could always Dark Side it if necessary.

So, I may very well have the right bikes to take literally anywhere.

My interest is in input from all of you who have been living with a given bike for the long haul, your impressions and your advice for making it work.

It is always interesting to hear stories about people who make what they have work and keep at it year after year.
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Old 01-27-2015, 05:57 PM   #2
FotoTEX
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For Texas Dirt roads nothing works better than a BMW GS. And riding anywhere in the world...
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Old 01-27-2015, 06:03 PM   #3
tricepilot
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FotoTEX View Post
For Texas Dirt roads nothing works better than a BMW GS. And riding anywhere in the world...
That's what I told my wife when I bought my second GSA at Lone Star.

I might have been lying a tad, but I got the bike
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Old 01-27-2015, 09:14 PM   #4
Harleytoo OP
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I had a GSA for a few years. It was a bit overkill. I liked it but upkeep was pretty high. I have found a '96 R1100GS that I might consider. However it has 67,000 miles on it. If it is in good shape it is a bike I could do most of the work on. Just the miles have me a bit spooked.
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Old 01-28-2015, 01:53 PM   #5
Mark Manley
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I like the idea of buying what you want and keeping it for a long time, I have owned my Triumph for 35 years and BMW for 23 with 275,000 miles between them I have no plans to sell either.
My own experience is that any bike can be reliable in the long term if it is not abused and serviced regularly, you might be unlucky and get a Friday afternoon model that has a lot of problems from any manufacturer, but this is unlikely. A neighbour of mine has a notoriously unreliable Honda CBX550 which he has had from new and done 120,000 miles on with no problems and without touching the engine, it still runs very nicely.
Although BMW GS's area a popular choice you can go anywhere on anything, the bike that has travelled to most countries is a Harley owned by an Australian couple http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/forwood/mytrip.shtml and Honda 90's are a popular choice amongst budget travellers which I don't think you are.
All major manufacturers have dealer networks in developed countries and most have a few on all continents, most tyre sizes are available everywhere and with the internet spares can be sent anywhere within a few days.
My suggestion would be buy the bike that you most enjoy riding, it should take you anywhere and pass the 100,000 miles mark without major surgery, even if you do decide to take that trip across Mongolia which is a great motorcycling country if you like big, open spaces.
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Old 01-28-2015, 02:10 PM   #6
Harleytoo OP
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Thanks for your thoughts Mark and the link. I just started skimming through it but that is amazing!

I do agree, that just about anything can take you there. I have had my Harley since new in '05 and it has never really let me down. I am hoping to get well over 100,000 out of it and my R3R. Both engines and chassis have the ability to make it ... as long as I keep them up.

I just really love hearing about people who have kept what they have going forever. No matter what it is!.
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Old 01-28-2015, 10:10 PM   #7
Roland44
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Originally Posted by FotoTEX View Post
For Texas Dirt roads nothing works better than a BMW GS. And riding anywhere in the world...
I couldn't agree more
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Old 01-28-2015, 10:32 PM   #8
SPX
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I'd have to say that the Yamaha Super Tenere could be a match...
Durable. Inexpensive to maintain. Extremely reliable. Can go anywhere. And not all that expensive to buy.
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Old Yesterday, 04:11 PM   #9
pub610
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I'd have to say that the Yamaha Super Tenere could be a match...
Durable. Inexpensive to maintain. Extremely reliable. Can go anywhere. And not all that expensive to buy.
Hear, hear. And affordable service pretty much anywhere -- assuming you'd ever need it. (I'm on my fifth Yamaha - many, many thousands of miles from Alaska to California and Maine to the Carolinas. So far, I've never found a valve out of spec.)
My favorite so far -- I've only been riding 51 years, so I've still got a ways to go -- is the Tenere.
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Old Yesterday, 04:32 PM   #10
tricepilot
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People talk about bikes like they talk about cameras

What most people miss is this: it ain't the camera, it's the photographer

The perfect bike is the one you own now and are willing to take on the adventure you've been putting off

Quit looking around at what other people have and what's in the showroom

There's never a perfect bike and there's never a perfect time, unless it's this:

Get on what you have and go
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Old Yesterday, 05:33 PM   #11
Harleytoo OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tricepilot View Post
People talk about bikes like they talk about cameras

What most people miss is this: it ain't the camera, it's the photographer

The perfect bike is the one you own now and are willing to take on the adventure you've been putting off

Quit looking around at what other people have and what's in the showroom

There's never a perfect bike and there's never a perfect time, unless it's this:

Get on what you have and go
Fair enough, you are right it is about the man not the machine for the most part.

However, planning and preparation are both half the fun and part of being successful.

Here is an example; I have happily ridden my Harley all over the place. I have been lucky to never have a flat on the road on it. I have helped buddies who have and getting a flat on the back tire of a Dresser on the road is a massive pain.

When I had my GS, one of the first trips I took I got a flat just an hour outside of town. It was big enough that I could not plug it. I was super thankful for that single side swing arm. A few minutes to pull it off and a lift into town and I was back on the road.

So yea, it can be the photographer, but planning and setup on the right camera makes the trips more bearable IMHO.
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