Adventure Bike suggestions

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by The Fonz, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. The Fonz

    The Fonz Adventurer

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    All,

    My wife and I really enjoy riding. We currently have a 1998 Honda Goldwing and have ridden it all over the lower 48 US states. It suits us quite well for road trips, but is not so great in the dirt and mud. We are wanting to dabble into more adventure type rides. In about five to ten years we are planning to ride to Ushuaia, so we are wanting to pick up a machine that we can enjoy, take on off road trips, and ultimately gain experience and practice for this ambitious trip.

    I am hoping we can get some advice on a bike that would suit us. We are wanting to go two up, but a side car rig would be OK as well. I am 5'8" with a 30 inch inseam. We both weigh in at about 200 pounds each. I am hoping to find something that I can come close to flat footing with if we wind up going two up. We looked at a BMW 1200 GS Adventure last night and I it was a little too tall for me though the passenger room looked adequate for my wife. We looked at a Ural a few months back, but I am concerned about part availability, speed, comfort for long distance, and reliability. My wife also has some reservations about being in a side car while traveling through cities (being on the back of the bike does not phase her).

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    The Fonz
    #1
  2. kobukan

    kobukan almost gnarly

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    I'm no expert by any means, but I think your biggest challenge with "adventure" bikes is going to be the height as you already discovered. I don't think any of them will be much like the Goldwing, but in terms of comfort for your wife the GS is probably going to be hard to beat. I believe they can be lowered some, and a custom (lower) seat could help. Good luck with your search . . . I'm sure others will be along soon with more/better info.
    #2
  3. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    I think you'll find some excellent information over in the Bikes section. Check out Beasts, Road Warriors, and Hacks.
    #3
  4. Rollin'

    Rollin' does it come in black?

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    Victory Vision! :D

    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. Scott_PDX

    Scott_PDX Leisure Engineer

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    While you were looking at the GSA did you check out the GS? It's a little bit lower than the GSA. I believe the main difference is the giant gas tank, a little bit less off-road suspension[and height] and some farkles which you can add to the GS if you need them.

    For two up adventuring I'd be sure to check out the Yamaha Super Tenere as well as KTM Adventures (Some models are shorter than others),
    #5
  6. The Fonz

    The Fonz Adventurer

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    Thank you for the responses guys. I think I'll do some reading in Beasts, Road Warriors, and Hacks as Cannonshot suggests.

    Cool picture of the Victory Vision. I have had our Wing in some slop one up and it was not fun, the KLR 650 I had did much better. You have some big nads Rollin'. :super

    Unfortunately, there is not a BMW dealer anywhere near us. The GSA we looked at was one from Craigslist. They don't seem to come up too often around here. Perhaps I could find an inmate with a regular GS here locally that I could look at (Edmond, OK).

    Do you know if the seat is about the same from the GS 650, 800, and 1200? If it is, perhaps a 650 or 800 would be better. I really wish I could look at these in person a little more.

    Thanks,
    The Fonz
    #6
  7. aquadog

    aquadog Dude Buddha

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    You will soon be able to buy a Kawasaki Versys 1000 in the U.S. Consider it, I've had mine for a year and it's virtually replaced my FZ1 and KLR650. The *real* adventure types are going to winge about the 17" cast wheels and the 4 cylinder engine. But for normal use, including lots of gravel roads like the Dempster Highway, it's fine, and much better on the highway than a lot of more "adventury" bikes. Will do two up well, you won't be short on power or comfort. Might still be a little tall, but there is a price for 6" of suspension travel that's hard to get away from. Comes with ABS, traction control and power modes as standard. Think of it as a Ducati Multistrada for a faction of the price.

    I won't get rid of my KLX400 for actual dirt bike use, but the Versys 1000 can otherwise be a one bike solution. You'll note that even KTM, the most "adventure" of the big bikes has toned it down for 2013 towards what most people actually do.

    You can check an article on the Versys online at Motorcycle Mojo magazine.
    #7
  8. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    Regardless of the seat I don't think you are going to want to two-up travel on a 650 or 800.
    Suzuki makes(made) a V-strom 1000.
    But coming from a wing you're gonna want the GS. Smooth and dependable. There is a great BMW network, so even if you don't have a dealer nearby parts are easy to find , info and usually a helping hand are all pretty close.
    #8
  9. archeranger

    archeranger honest optimist

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    I also have to offer up the Suzuki DL1000 V-Strom. I'm on my second (the first was murdered by a Honda mini-van) and it is reliable, low-maintenance, 87 octane drinking, no oil leaking, easy chain drive, (relatively) low seat height, comfortable cruising two up all day at speeds from 45-95 mph. In three years and 19,500 miles of riding I've had one factory service because I'm too chicken to mess with valves. Otherwise I've done all the service and farkling. The bike is rock solid reliable, easy to work on, and great to ride on anything from superslab to poorly maintained fire roads.
    I've not ridden two up on anything unpaved, but if you and your wife are willing to go there, cheers!

    And yes, they're available for 2013. AND there's strong reason to believe an updated model will be available for 2014.
    #9
  10. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    The new DL1000-version should be coming for 2014. And since the current DL1000 has not basically changed in a decade, I would expect, that it now gets a complete makeover, with traction control system and ABS.

    The current 650 is also a surprisingly capable two-up tourer, if saving some money on purchase price, insurance and gasoline sounds tempting to you. It can easily be lowered a bit, too. I´m not saying it´ll match the 1000-1200cc bikes two-up, no way, but on its own, it handles two people and their luggage really well.
    #10
  11. greenjeans

    greenjeans man with purpose

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    I rode my klr to the arctic troublefree and then sucomed to the lure of the Amazing GSA, when it functioned properly it was the most fun iv'e ever had....but for the money spent and the mechanical failures it wasn't for me. i ride an older GSPD airhead now and when it needs something i can usually cure it. maybe consider the classic adventure bike. :wink:
    #11
  12. Diver9543

    Diver9543 n00b

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    Hi Fonz, I have a Suzuki DL1000 and love it. It is a bit tall, but like was mentioned, it can be lowered. It has plenty of power for two up and is a dream on unimproved roads and highway. I also have a '94 Goldwing and use the V-Strom more than the Goldwing. Just an openion from a fellow Okie.
    #12
  13. 4PawsHacienda

    4PawsHacienda Been here awhile

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    I have a GS and Ural, very different bikes. With a 30" inseam I couldn't flat foot the bike until I put a lower seat on it. I'll take that bike anywhere but there are a lot of other bikes equally capable also, go sit on some and see what feels right for you guys. GS height is a turnoff to my wife as far as 2 up travel. Solved that problem by buying her a bike she liked also.

    I got the Ural for the fun of it, sidecar traveling was really sounding like fun. Ural is slow and steady and more fun than I've had with my pants on in a long time. Long trips require routing on state highways rather then mega interstates. You'll never get lonely traveling by Ural.

    I'd seriously look at some of the sidecar rigs people here have if you're considering traveling and exploring. Never experienced a big big city with the sidecar but haven't had an unusual incidents in the cities and towns I've gone through. Sidecar opens up options you wouldn't believe but you'll probably ant to keep the Goldwing also.

    I've become more focused on the journey since getting a sidecar rig.
    #13
  14. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    I'll guess that that any of the liter+ size GS's will be too tall for comfort.

    The Suzuki DL1000 may be 'the' bike you and your wife would be comfortable on.
    It has oodles of power (more than the GS's), and can accept a lower seat height.

    You can find them with low miles at god prices. That's one of those bikes they should have not stopped makng.
    It's a 2-up machine, easy.

    I would like to have one myself...:D
    #14
  15. riderddonald

    riderddonald Lost rider

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    If you look at the V Strom I suggest the 1000 for what you want to do. I have the 650 and my wife and I travel 2 up all the time. I'm 190 and she's around 130 and loaded down with a weeks worth of gear it holds it's own but in the mountains there isn't a lot to spare. Also we came from a Goldwing too and your wife may not be happy with the seat. We went to a Russell Day Long seat and a Pirates lair backrest. Really helped my wifes attitude on longer trips but it also raised the seat height slightly.
    #15
  16. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

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    R1200 GS. Comfortable, Reliable, Fun to Ride.... And can handle any load you put onto it. Adjustable Suspension is awesome.
    #16
  17. charlesdarwin

    charlesdarwin Adventurer

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    I put alot of miles on a Kawasaki KLR650. My next bike will probably be a Versys 650. You can get 'em cheap, maybe $3,500 for low miles bike on ebay or a leftover new bike for about $6,000.
    #17
  18. AviatorTroy

    AviatorTroy Long timer

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    As stated. The GS is almost 2 inches shorter than the GSA and unless you need 8 gallons of gas, I'm not sure a GSA has that many advantages.

    DL 1000 is an awesome bike as well, some great deals to be had on those. The DL650 is fantastic but for long distance 2 up travel with luggage, I would think its a bit lacking.

    You can probably forget about any of the 650 singles for the same reason. I had a KLR until I got married and my wife likes to go along. Neither of us are very big people, and that thing just had no power whatsoever.

    The Super Tenere looks awesome, I've never ridden on but I imagine it would fall somewhere between the Strom and the GS

    And now there is the Triumph Tiger Explorer to look at.

    I went with a straight 1200GS but that was a few years ago, before the S10 or the Tiger 800XC or the 1200 came out. I'm happy with my choice, but if I were to go shopping today, I'd have to give them all a real hard look.

    Times are good, plenty to choose from!
    #18