Advice on bike for my first adventure ride!!!

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Mendo, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. Mendo

    Mendo Been here awhile

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    Hey guys, long time lurker and dreamer first post. My name is Chris im 24, am originally from Mendocino, CA and currently live in Los Angeles. Been a avid off-roader my whole life and basicly grew up on a dirt bike so I have losts of experience there. Not so much on the street.
    I have come to a point in my life where I am done with school and can either start working or go on the adventure of a lifetime. I have the money and time, might as well use it before I loose it. Thing is I dont know where to start. I am very familiar with dirt bikes but know nothing of duel sports.
    My ideal trip for my first adventure ride would be to go north to canada or south twords costa rica. I would like to stay off-road as much as possible so a lighter, more nimble machine would suit me better then say a big bmw1200.
    I am sure you guys get this question all the time but what bike do you think is best for me? I can be a minimalist packer so all I think I need is a lockable box on the rear fender for necessitys. Have been looking into the KTM 640's, DRZ400's and XR650
    s as they seem like they could tackle some harder trails and be decent on the highway as well. Or will I have problems with this type of bike on long pavement sections? Any advice is greatly appriciated.
    Also my other problem is that everyone I know thinks this is a crazy and stupid idea so I have no one to go with. Anyone up for some exploring :D
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    #1
  2. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    A DR650 would probably do you well.
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  3. petefromberkeley

    petefromberkeley -

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    I know you think you are going to pack light, but you need a lot of stuff and it gets heavy. Once you have all that stuff, there is no sense in a hard core dirt bike like an XR, so take a little more comfort like a DR or a KLR or a F-650.

    I definitely reccomend going south to Costa Rica and beyond. Really, I think you should go to someplace like SE Asia for this trip, but whatever you want. How long do you want to travel?

    Oh, and hang around www.horizonsunlimited.com ALOT before you go.
    #3
  4. 10guy

    10guy Been here awhile

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    The klr works very well as a pack mule, in fact it works better as one than as a motorcycle:evil

    Not really, if you can be happy with less power than your dirt bike then it is an excellent choice for an adventure. They have a long history and just as much aftermarket support as any bike and a lot more then most.

    When are you heading out? and which way you going?

    If soon then go south, the north is getting colder by the day.
    #4
  5. chain

    chain Long timer

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    I like the Dr650 or the the XR 650L or the XR 600R (with a few minor mods) for the type of trip you want to take. All three are simple air cooled machines with fair offroad capability. Best advice I can give is just go! You may want to do a 1,000 miles or so locally to sort out your gear and machine, after that, just go. Adventure is in the unknown! you'll meet people and find resources along the way.
    A few things you may want to have along
    tire repair kit, spoons and a tube
    ability to carry water and some sort pf protein ( tuna packs and power bars)
    a minimum of 200 mile fuel range ( may require an aftermarket tank, Clark brand is a good product line)
    looks like you allready have riding gear.
    A decent tarp and some rope will make a shelter just about anywhere.
    See ya Around :wave
    #5
  6. kdowell

    kdowell Adventurer

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    I agree with chain on the bike options. DR, XR, or KLR. All great rides and easy to repair on the road. I also agree on the packing comments. Dont underestimate what you'll need. Not that you need to overload yourself but you will need tools, tire patches or tire, ropes, tie straps,maps, warm and cold weather clothing, some snacks, a tarp is a good idea, etc. dont forget your legal papers for crossing the borders.
    gas mileage can be an issue. Give some thought to your bike's range and distances between fuel sources. Fuel can be scarce in parts of central america. Forget the naysayers! sounds like a great adventure and likely something that will be life changing for you.
    #6
  7. Mendo

    Mendo Been here awhile

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    I think my #1 choice would be a XR600 with a large tank and some bags on the side and back. How much better is the L compared to the R on the road? I really do need some good off-road performance though as I plan to do some pretty gnarly trails.
    #7
  8. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Gnarly trails eat time, bikes, equipment- if you want to go around the world, you'll never get there if you take gnarly trails. Gnarly-trail riding means wearing gnarly trail protection. Are you going to wear your rock jacket from the US to Argentina?

    People who ride gnarly trails in, for example, Nicaragua, don't ride to Nicaragua, they fly there, and then they rent.

    If you take gnarly trails, it doesn't take long to realize that you're seeing the same thing over and over.

    How many off-road miles can you get out of a suspension when the bike is loaded? How about tires- how long can tires last when you're chewing them up?
    #8
  9. LaOutbackTrail

    LaOutbackTrail Certified Smartass

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    The XR650L or DR650 might be where to look.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Can take on difficult roads and trails... even when loaded. (this one being sand... although i chose to stop for this photo where the sand wasnt deep.)

    [​IMG]
    And what it can do...

    I'm a smaller fella so I have to "muscle" my bike around a lot.
    #9
  10. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Like Pete From Berkely said, you are going to be hauling a lot of weight.

    One of the biggest misconceptions about the rest of the world is that it's always warm. It's not. It can get really cold, even in the hottest deserts. If you're gone for more than a few weeks, you're going to have to carry several full changes of clothes, plus assorted gear, tools, spare parts, etc., that will weigh close to 100 pounds. Imagine the image of a classic round-the-world-backpacker. Have you noticed how big their packs are? You'll need all that, plus motorcycle gear! I started off my last big trip with less than I thought I'd need. After a month, I got rid of everything I hadn't used or needed. My personal gear- clothes, camera, shoes- weighed about 20 pounds. My camping gear- tent, sleeping bag, etc., weighed another 20 pounds. My spare-parts, tools, etc., weighed about 20 pounds. The junk in my tank-bag weighed about 10 pounds. Now add riding clothes- rain gear, extra gloves, etc., and you're at at least 70 pounds. Now add water and food and you've got at least 90 pounds!

    You're going to want to consider how your gnarly-capable dirt-bike will handle once it has all your gear loaded onto it. The reason travelers choose wee-stroms, V-stroms, KLRs, BMW 650 GS's, and the big BMW GSs, is because they can handle the job of carrying a large load, go great distances, and still be comfortable to ride.

    If money isn't a problem, then take a look at the new BMW 800GS. I think it looks absolutely perfect.
    #10
  11. Mendo

    Mendo Been here awhile

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    Ya good advice. I think before I do a big trip I need to do some shorter ones as a test run and see how much gear is comfortable for differnt kind of trails and terrain. I only weigh 145 pounds but am fairly strong so im sure that will come in to play as well with a heavy bike and gear. LaOutbackTrail nice video, that is the kind of riding I would like to do.
    #11
  12. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    If you're seriously interested in riding to Costa Rica, then do some lurking in the Latin America forum. Read these ride reports. I would especially suggest you read Ozymandias's account, Gato Gato's, and Salcar's.

    Seattle to Argentina on a KLR650, 5/7/2006, by OZYMANDIAS

    Two up - Going down +1: South America Bound, 8/21/2007, by BriKielyGSman

    Nata Harli's Journey - Panama to the US, 1/18/2008, by Nata Harli

    2 months in Mexico solo on a KLR..., 3/7/2007, by Ideikis

    A Mute and His Trusty Mule Travel Mexico in Winter RR'08, 2/21/2008, by Throttlemeister

    A Journey For Healthcare: 21 countries, 60,000 KM and 11 months on the road, 8/13/2006, by Salcar

    Dave & Pam's Excellent Adventure To Ushuaia, 2/15/2008, by robocop1

    GatoGato's Ride from Iowa to South America, 1/1/2008, by GatoGato

    A dozen drops in the Venezuelan Andes." 4/29/2008 by SS in Vzla.

    2up to India via Tierra del Fuego, 4/20/2008, by 2uprtw

    Another one from Lone Rider: Lower Latitudes - Better Attitudes. Started January 8, 2007.

    "Excited about taking another large dose would be an understatement. Don’t just fix me, drown me, please, Senor. Weird is cool."


    Aussie Gringohas this one: Southern Comfort, started December 2006.

    "...At roughly 5 pm and a mere 60 miles from Ushuaia, I was too cold to continue riding...l"

    There are tons more here: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=317793
    #12
  13. colomtnbiker

    colomtnbiker wimpy old guy

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    There are choices on dual sports. My wife and ride KLR's, mainly because I can do all the maintenance. We call them jeeps. Our bikes have been as far south as southern El Salvador and as far north as the bottom of Alaska and the AlCan highway.
    There is lots of good info for packing your bike with the stuff you need. Only you will figure out what you really need.
    Since you are offroad experienced, I would highly suggest taking a motorcycle safety class. It will help you to learn some onroad skills. South of the border is different riding a motorcycle than in the US. You will learn new skills there you really can't apply to riding in the US.
    Have fun and learn some Spanish before you go if you don't know any yet.
    #13
  14. spqr

    spqr Been here awhile

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    If you want to stay light, KLR650 a few years old with reasonable miles. If you go so far south that youo can't ride back on time/mone available you can ditch it in the local market. It is also bullet proof and as common as ticks on a hound dog.
    I would also look at the BMW F bikes just for kicks.
    #14
  15. surftheearth

    surftheearth n00b

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    I am in the same spot. I am traveling as far south as panama and this is all new to me. My leave date is dec 1 and i will be traveling along the coast most of the way with a surfboard strapped along side. I will track your progress. And if our paths cross we could ride together for a while. Good luck. I am leaning towards the dr650.
    #15
  16. Jeffh555

    Jeffh555 F'n n00b

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    I fully clicked on this thread before realizing that it was you and I'm planning on joining you.

    Subscribing to your thread so I don't start my own.
    #16
  17. Mendo

    Mendo Been here awhile

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    I cant wait to do this trip! I have decided on a newer XR650R. You can pick them up in so cal for less then $4k with mods. I am in Maui now but when I get back I am going to pick one up. Going to costa rica november 10th-december 18th without a bike to do some traveling with a friend so I will be researching all the good places I see and hear about while im there.
    #17
  18. Jeffh555

    Jeffh555 F'n n00b

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    How does the saying go? "age and wisdom is no match for youth and stupidity"


    Against nearly every word of wisdom, we're not gonna go buy KLRs, BMWs, or KTM adventures.

    At this point in time, I'm planning on doing this ride on my WR426, which may have supermoto wheels by then.

    My good friend Shane has bought a XR650L supermoto for the ride.

    Mendo is searching for a XR650R.


    I have no doubt this will be an adventure, I can't wait.
    #18
  19. mojaverider

    mojaverider uoop

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    hey mendo
    i'm a moto mech out in 29 palms. between the hondas I would pick the 650r. it has a stronger frame than the L, more power. I've set up a few dualsport 650r's and like em
    #19
  20. NitroDave

    NitroDave Adventurer

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    One problem with the XRR..... some states will not plate them anymore. California being one of them... might want to check first.:huh
    #20