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Old 08-28-2014, 04:17 PM   #1
JustKip OP
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Just what IS the "perfect" Adventure tug, anyway?

I finally dealt with the insurance company after my crash 2 months ago. My '07 GS is totaled, and I'd been hesitating to build on that anyway. It seems the engine as stressed member doesn't make for the easiest sidecar mounting. Also, as Strong Bad pointed out on his Colorado trip, it's geared way too high.


So what's "ideal"?

Obviously(?), a double cradle frame that's got good access for subframe mounts.

High ground clearance, and low center of gravity.

Engine produces big torque at low revs, but still fuel efficient.

Decent fuel capacity. The more the better.


BUT;

Chain, or shaft? Shaft is less maintenance, but gear ratios can't usually be changed, and if so not by much. It's typically easy to change ratios with chains, and you can often change by quite a bit.
Belts, I think, are completely out of the question.


So what bike?

I've seen KLRs do pretty darned well off road, but I've also heard of more than 2 frames breaking. That, and highway performance isn't much better than a Ural. (Ural is out for this reason)

So engine size...a 650 thumper won't do.

I like Vernon's Scrambler rig, but the fuel range bothers me quite a bit.
I also like diverdown's "Nomad" Harley adventure sidecar, and Sportsters in general. But for me, it would need to be a Sportster Custom (4.5 gallon tank) with longer shocks, like from a late model XR1200...and it still has a belt.

Other options?
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Old 08-28-2014, 04:32 PM   #2
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I still like the BMW GS's for my self, the engine being a stressed member is not really an issue, Gearing can be fixed, on the oil/air cooled bikes run a final drive from an R900 which is a European police bike. The new water boxers are great, this is what I now have, it is geared a bit high and I know of no fix as of yet for this. I like shaft drive, Moto Guzzi Stelivo on paper makes sense but having done a few, they are no where as refined as the BMW, they on the other hand may be more robust, time will tell. I had a Moto Guzzi Quota for a while, same issue as the Stelvio in that it is not as refined as the BMW, gear ratio is to high but like the BMW not an issue to change.
In the end you must go with the bike that "feels" right to you.
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QUOTE=JustKip;24953366]I finally dealt with the insurance company after my crash 2 months ago. My '07 GS is totaled, and I'd been hesitating to build on that anyway. It seems the engine as stressed member doesn't make for the easiest sidecar mounting. Also, as Strong Bad pointed out on his Colorado trip, it's geared way too high.


So what's "ideal"?

Obviously(?), a double cradle frame that's got good access for subframe mounts.

High ground clearance, and low center of gravity.

Engine produces big torque at low revs, but still fuel efficient.

Decent fuel capacity. The more the better.


BUT;

Chain, or shaft? Shaft is less maintenance, but gear ratios can't usually be changed, and if so not by much. It's typically easy to change ratios with chains, and you can often change by quite a bit.
Belts, I think, are completely out of the question.


So what bike?

I've seen KLRs do pretty darned well off road, but I've also heard of more than 2 frames breaking. That, and highway performance isn't much better than a Ural. (Ural is out for this reason)

So engine size...a 650 thumper won't do.

I like Vernon's Scrambler rig, but the fuel range bothers me quite a bit.
I also like diverdown's "Nomad" Harley adventure sidecar, and Sportsters in general. But for me, it would need to be a Sportster Custom (4.5 gallon tank) with longer shocks, like from a late model XR1200...and it still has a belt.

Other options?[/QUOTE]
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Old 08-28-2014, 04:48 PM   #3
DRONE
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Kip, I think you've left off one criteria for a tug which is, for me anyway, the most important one. Comfort. Fit. Or, as they say, ergonomics. The bike has to fit me and be comfortable to ride. If I was only going to go on one-hour rides, I could tolerate a little discomfort. But for long distance riding, the bike's gotta fit. So that changes the equation for everyone!
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Old 08-28-2014, 05:47 PM   #4
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Lots of good candidates out there. Maybe the definition of an 'adventure tour' varies a little with each individual. Huge difference between a KLR and a GS or a V Strom.
I can see advantages to a chain drive in many ways and negatives also.
Scrambler? I have one with one of our new bullet sidecars on it and it is far removed from what many may call an adventure bike but I have no problems thrashing it off the beaten path.
If adventure touring means global stuff then other considerations need to be thought out.
The 1200 GS bikes are hard to beat for an overall good candidate. One we did has been to Alaska , south America and Africa and is now going to do the silk road and the Himalayas soon. Started with a little over 600 miles on it and now has 60k on the clock with over half of that off the beaten path. Minimal issues. Hard to argue with that,
Also a V Strom that has been tooling around south America for a while with minimal issues.
If true world travel is not in the cards then picking the right bike can be an easier decision.
If you do your own work then there are many many options out there.
Yep I guess this sounds vague but it is a tough question to address and possibly has no definite answer.,
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Old 08-28-2014, 05:56 PM   #5
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It don't necessarily have to be another continent, Claude. I know of 3 KLRs with broken frames, all in North America. If it can't take a beating I'm gonna be disappointed.
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:17 PM   #6
claude
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustKip View Post
It don't necessarily have to be another continent, Claude. I know of 3 KLRs with broken frames, all in North America. If it can't take a beating I'm gonna be disappointed.
The goal of a subframe is to allow decent mounting points for the sidecar that provide ease of adjustment, good triangulation and at the same time make the whole assembly stronger. Motorcycle frames are built for motorcycles not for sidecars to be bolted to. So, if or when failures such as this happen it is a tip off that however the subframe was built (or not built) it needs to be addressed. So.....KLR? Not to be ruled out if built well as a sidecar outfit.
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:34 PM   #7
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I have to agree with Drone and of all people Jay ! Once you get on to driving a sidecar rig you don't move about as much as on a single so comfortable seating is a high priority.Torque, it seems like it's more about getting the mass moving and easier to keep it moving.
I like the 1100/50 series BMW as there are many more gearing options and they are more user friendly (less technology) spare parts are plentiful. I'd like to try a V-Strom also, or a Triumph Tiger, if you want to break some new ground it's time a KTM turned up.
Or try a DR650 or KLR based rig and keep it as light as possible, Hell look at the Aussie's pages they like cargo boxes and big Japanese 4's and Suzuki Bandits are plentiful.DB
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:35 PM   #8
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What about the new Honda NC700x?

http://powersports.honda.com/2014/nc700x.aspx

Honda reliability, chain drive...

Everyone's adventure is different. Sure, while on the CDR I found a couple of spots I wasn't real happy with, but I'm not sure that I would build a bike specifically to handle those spots. Sidecars are all about compromise even more so than solo bikes, and as such you are unlikely to find a rig that "does it all" well.

I don't know about you, but unfortunately all of my dream big adventures includes major mileage, often on major slabs. The big long slab stretches are bad enough on a rig that putts down the highway at 75 mph, a more dirt leaning rig would be all the more unpleasant.

IF I was to start all over from scratch, I would still choose my 07 GSA. Next time I would choose a sidecar manufacturer who is a bit more forthcoming with known structural issues. I'm still pretty pissed off about that and my wife is still apprehensive about planing long trips to remote locations. I guess that I've got a far less than perfect side car for the perfect tug.
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:58 PM   #9
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I want to put a hack on a Scrambler, it seems like a good compromise for what I'll do with it except for the fuel range. Too bad DMC is so far, I will deal with Trans-Moto close to Montreal. They have the "Bimmer" type sidecars that look like the Ural chair.
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:59 PM   #10
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I'm really missing my GS. I prefer twins over I-4s, and don't want a thumper because, as Strong Bad mentions, plodding along on the freeway...might as well get a Ural and do better in dirt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davebig View Post
Or try a DR650 or KLR based rig and keep it as light as possible, Hell look at the Aussie's pages they like cargo boxes and big Japanese 4's and Suzuki Bandits are plentiful.

I'll be in a wheelchair for another 6 weeks, so there's no hurry to replace it, yet.

At one point I had a Russell seat for the GS, and it was awesome for riding CA to TX in 3 days. I took it off to ride dirt, and sold it because I enjoyed moving around so much more. That wouldn't be an issue on a rig.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Strong Bad View Post
I don't know about you, but unfortunately all of my dream big adventures includes major mileage, often on major slabs. The big long slab stretches are bad enough on a rig that putts down the highway at 75 mph, a more dirt leaning rig would be all the more unpleasant.

IF I was to start all over from scratch, I would still choose my 07 GSA.
Agree with the need for highway usability. Big priority. Many of my "big dream adventures" involve the BDR's CDT, and TAT, and I want to have ground clearance and gearing to succeed. The biggest issue I have with the GS/A is gearing, and the '08 has a slightly lower first. The '11 has more power too

Did I say I miss my GS?
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustKip View Post

>SNIP<

So what bike?

>SNIP<

I also like diverdown's "Nomad" Harley adventure sidecar, and Sportsters in general. But for me, it would need to be a Sportster Custom (4.5 gallon tank) with longer shocks, like from a late model XR1200...and it still has a belt.

Other options?
For me it was hands down the Sportster but I have been chopping them up and riding them for a decade. The 5 speed solid mount motors are one of the best motors HD has built. The rubber mounts are great too, just harder to chop up! There is a parts network world wide, if you need them. I am not a fan of HD but I love the Sportster!

Also the belt isn't an issue, they are easily converted to chain in a few hours giving you many different gearing choices.

There are plenty of shocks available for a Sporty, a few over 15" long.
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:16 PM   #12
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Given that StrongBads thinking outside of the box. How about a Suzuki Bandit perhaps a Motorvation Formula build it a couple bumpers, a small winch on the bumper,maybe raise the body up slightly, ground clearance is overrated. They build a short windshield for them and a on board spare fuel tank. It's a big sloping nosed cargo box onward and forward,
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:47 PM   #13
JustKip OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davebig View Post
Given that StrongBads thinking outside of the box. How about a Suzuki Bandit perhaps a Motorvation Formula build it a couple bumpers, a small winch on the bumper,maybe raise the body up slightly, ground clearance is overrated. They build a short windshield for them and a on board spare fuel tank. It's a big sloping nosed cargo box onward and forward,
Seems like Vernon has a Bandit rig he wants to get rid of....wonder what it needs?
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:22 PM   #14
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get something that isn't too pricey (already built) and go from there....learn the sidecar ropes first.

I learned with a Ural and now I'm putting together a Strom cargo rig. I'll sell the Ural when I get this rig sorted.
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:27 PM   #15
ked
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davebig View Post
Given that StrongBads thinking outside of the box. How about a Suzuki Bandit perhaps a Motorvation Formula build it a couple bumpers, a small winch on the bumper,maybe raise the body up slightly, ground clearance is overrated. They build a short windshield for them and a on board spare fuel tank. It's a big sloping nosed cargo box onward and forward,
funny you should post this. i was looking at a Bandit close to me, and i could use my Formula II. now all i need is $

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