Best adventure bike for an ole fart?

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by my3sons59, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,485
    Location:
    Helsinki, Finland
    For RTW, I'll have a chain drive every time thanks. For going to Starbucks, it won't make any difference, what type of secondary drive there is.. :lol3

    (no offence, and merely my 0.02)
  2. robertyknwt

    robertyknwt n00b

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    8
    Location:
    Phoenix AZ
    I'm resembling OP's opening remarks. Age 49, 6'1" and 270 lb. (hoping to drop that down some) with 32-33" inseam, only started riding 4 years ago, and that on an old Yamaha cruiser ('94 Virago 535). I'm thinking I might "trade up" to something newer and bigger, esp. because I want to go on more and longer weekend rides.

    For a while, I was thinking something like the V-Star 950 Tourer. But the more I think about it, the more I think I want something that can handle some dirt. For example, I just moved to Phoenix, and apparently there are some neat old "Wild West" ghost towns around here; but while Tombstone has paved roads going to it, some of the lesser-known ghost towns only have dirt that might not be the best surface for a cruiser.

    Also, I'm hoping to do some longer crazier rides later, e.g. going back to my homeland (lived half my life in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories), and maybe driving to Inuvik on the (unpaved) Dempster Highway. (I've been to Inuvik many times, but only ever flew there, never took the road.) I can't see myself going full-dirt crazy, but more and more I think I'd really like something that won't panic when the pavement runs out.

    I'm not ready to pick a specific bike just yet, but my two "data points" are that 1) I just finished reading Neil Peart's Ghost Rider (his story of riding 55,000 miles over 14 months on his R1150GS after the death of his daughter and wife in 1997-98), so the R1200GS is definitely on my brain, and 2) I remember hearing about the Super Ténéré coming out a couple of years back and thinking "Hmmm, that looks interesting." So when the time comes, I might test drive those two to start.

    My big question, though, is as a new-ish rider who's never ridden on dirt before (not even any teenage mini-bike adventures), how would the transition from "small-ish cruiser" to "1200 adventurer tourer" be likely to go? What sorts of things should I watch for? What are good ways to get some "beginner practice" on dirt/rocks/gravel? Stuff like that. I did some searching here, but didn't find any "n00b" threads (and if there are such out there, I'd love to be pointed in their direction).
  3. browneye

    browneye PIN IT & BANG GEARS

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    6,482
    Location:
    Orange County, CA

    Going from dirt to road is a pretty easy transition. The other way is more difficult and especially with a behemouth. A GS or Tenere are about the toughest there are to handle off pavement. I cringe for broken legs, ankles, collar bones.

    If you are going to be a road rider that occasionally saunters down a dirt road you'll manage. If you want to become a proficient offroad rider then get a dualsport and go out and ride, ride, ride. Get some buddies and get some time in. Take a class with Rawhyde or Jimmy Lewis. And don't ride a pig offroad with hard panniers. It's a great way to run over your own leg.

    Either are a good long distance tourer. Both are difficult on low speed handling - they're both heavy.
  4. robertyknwt

    robertyknwt n00b

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    8
    Location:
    Phoenix AZ
    Thanks. I think that's my most likely niche. The worst roads I would anticipate riding would be the Dempster Highway (Dawson YK - Inuvik NT) and the Liard Highway (Fort Nelson BC - Fort Simpson NT). Near here, the ghost town trail is probably the worst I'd see, and I gather much of it isn't too bad at all.

    We're just finishing the purchase of a house, so once all the dust settles and we see what the monthly budget ends up looking like....
  5. browneye

    browneye PIN IT & BANG GEARS

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Oddometer:
    6,482
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Some of the gravel roads north can be trecherous, especially at speed or when wet. TKC's are popular for the big bikes, as are Heideneaus and Fullbore USA's. Everything is fine till you get to the shoulder or get run off the road.

    There are adventure bikes for every budget. For lesser money the older GS's are great, even a V-Strom. For new, there's also the S10, Guzzi Stelvio, and the Triumphs - 800 and 1200. The triumphs are nothing like days of old. They are really fine machines now, some are saying the best. If you're not going to ride dirt, or only smooth dirt, a good road bike is also enjoyable. The new honda 700 is getting a lot of praise. You really don't need a liter-plus bike to tour.

    Definitely take an advanced riding course. That's one thing BMW is really good about, getting new riders or old riders going again. Rawhyde is good for learning to ride a GS competently.

    I've ridden pretty much all of them, owned a 'strom 1000 when they were first out, and have now landed on the Tiger 800XC. For me it checked all the right boxes. A trip north is coming up one of these summers if ol' lady ever gets back to work again. :rofl

    I have one for primarily road and primarily dirt.
    My tiger in touring form:

    [​IMG]


    And my dualsport that sees tougher dirt routes. I'd probly take it to BC to ride the mountains and trails up there. Will do gravel roads at 70 all day, and tougher two-track jeep trails.

    [​IMG]
  6. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Tilting the Horizon

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,151
    Location:
    WA Palouse area
    Ok since you have it narrowed down to the S10, Stelvio and GS running in a distant 3rd, how about some kind owners of those bikes that are semi local go down and give this guy a ride?

    Maybe the OP could put a request in the regional forums as well?

    Would be a hell of a lot easier than trying to get a dealer to offer up a test ride. (something that is only done here on used bikes) Even the Spokane BMW dealer doesn't do test rides.
  7. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
    17,578
    Location:
    Salt Lake
    Get the OP to put his location on his intro.
  8. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Tilting the Horizon

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,151
    Location:
    WA Palouse area
    I thought he had stated where he lived but reading the thread again only resulted in rural Louisiana.

    My bad.

    Help us out here OP and lets get you a ride so we can end the speculation and get you some real world experience. :deal
  9. GrahamD

    GrahamD Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2009
    Oddometer:
    5,425
    Location:
    Blue Mnts Ozstralia
    Don't let him near pluric..He does stuff like this..

    [​IMG]
  10. bouldertag

    bouldertag WannabenarlyADV'rrrr

    Joined:
    May 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    460
    Location:
    Utah
    Man that is one Bad Ass Husky! Tempted to sale my left nut for that bike. Since my right one is already roasted and ate'n by my wife and kids. Nice set up. You have the best of all worlds.
  11. bouldertag

    bouldertag WannabenarlyADV'rrrr

    Joined:
    May 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    460
    Location:
    Utah
    Hey Graham,
    If I was paid by Yamaha and didnt have to worry about paying for damages i think most of us would do this also. If it wasnt my bike I would pop up on that boulder just like this dude anytime. Could you imagine being paid to do this!! And not one worry about damaging the bike!! I am sure Graham, you would have some great jumping pics yourself.::evil
    Oh and with the bike set up to do this...Then go home after and see your bike slumbering in your garage after a day of abusing Yamahas test bike..

    bd
  12. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
    17,578
    Location:
    Salt Lake
    You have me confused with Jaumev.:deal
  13. GrahamD

    GrahamD Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2009
    Oddometer:
    5,425
    Location:
    Blue Mnts Ozstralia
    Sorry I saw big air, large rock and instantly thought of bent rims which then led me to think of you...:lol3

    Jaumev has a totally different laid back kind of style anyway....

    [​IMG]
  14. GrahamD

    GrahamD Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2009
    Oddometer:
    5,425
    Location:
    Blue Mnts Ozstralia

    Pluric still does it. He pays for it himself :deal

    Woody loves Pluric.
  15. pluric

    pluric Gimpy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
    17,578
    Location:
    Salt Lake
    There, NOW you've got the right guy.:lol3


    [​IMG]