best bike for circumnavigating?

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by Nath87, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. O'B

    O'B Long timer

    Feb 19, 2011
    Passing By The Highway
    A KLR might be a better choice for you given your size. German engineering could be a real pain in the ass to deal with on such a long trip. But it has been done many times. One thing you should get out of your mind is any pose factor you have lurking back there. We all have it . The equipment you select should be chosen with a logical military mission in mind . Whats going to get the job done in the easiest efficent manner.
  2. kellymac530

    kellymac530 motorcycle addict

    Feb 4, 2010
    so. cal.
    I am also a KTM fan. Just my street legal models I have personally owned include 3 Lc4 models, a 400, 620, and a 640. The RFS I had was a 520 and the Xc4 530 was my favorite of ALL.

    This does not include any of my 2T or my race SXf models. While I have things I love about each one and things I have or would change, I do not think I would even consider riding one RTW even if I had $$$ worth of add ons and comfort fixes.

    They are very high quality MX based bikes and awesome for connecting trails that require a license plate but none are any fun at speeds on the hiway.

    As for a bigger model like a 950 or 990 I do not see finding one in RTW riding condition for anywhere near your budget, but I have been wrong before. A thing to consider is parts availability, although they are much more popular worldwide than they are here in the USA so that may be less of an issue that here. My biggest issue with a KTM for truely LONG haul is maintanace. They are definately higher maintanance that a DR, DRZ, KLR, XR.....I am fan and do not care what any other fan says, they just are. Remeber any single cylinder KTM is based on an MX bike and the maintanace on a Crf, Yzf, KXf, or RMz are all very high frequency of service and that is just for dirt use not LONG mile pounding sessions. You would EAT a CR450F engine in a week of highway use daily and that is much worse than a KTM would be, but they are from the same thoroughbred style of bikes.

    The only bike I would in KTMs line up that MIGHT, just MIGHT fit your needs would be the 690 Enduro, but since that was only released in 2008 I still think your budget would be a big issue. I am not really familiar with that bike so I can not say it is comfortable or reliable on a long haul but I have heard good and bad reviews. It just depends on what a person wants out of a bike. You may look into one of those, ask around and see if anyone locally has one and will let you take it for a quick spin to see if it is even a consideration. Read up on them.

    I personally think the GS you have would be you best long haul bike for sure on maintanace, parts availability, and comfort. The only issue left is really the weight then. Learn how to safely and propperly lift the bike in the event of a get off and better yet, dont get off....hard to accomplish I know in bad conditions but possible if you are carefull and ride when and where the weather is the best with good planning.

    There is my input FWIW
  3. Blue88

    Blue88 n00b

    Apr 30, 2009
    Lak Si, Thailand
    Nath87 .. for what it's worth, here are some of my own findings:

    ... Don't over think it. The best bike for RTW or N to S America, is the bike you're most comfortable riding, and I'm not referring to the foam in the seat. I mean the overall experience of 'Riding', day after day after week after month, for as long as it takes. Any bike is capable of making it, but if you're not comfortable with the bike then you're sure as hell going to be uncomfortable about the journey itself.

    ... If you want the people you meet along the way to learn an awful lot about 'You', then choose a bike that stands out and adorn it with lashings of Touratech bling. On the other hand, if you want to learn more about 'Them', then choose a bike that blends in and becomes invisible in the social landscapes through which you're riding.

    ... Don't worry about fuel grades along your route. As you travel, fuel grades diminish or rise with the miles, as do road surfaces, they generally don't just fall off the edge of a cliff. By the time your bike is drinking 82 Ron in the depths of Siberia, it'll be used to drinking it and would probably run on anything with the combustive value of a mermaids fart.

    ... You're going to be the pilot and the navigator for the journey, so you'll be choosing the road surfaces that you ride. Outside of Mongolia where tarmac is a scarce commodity, you can choose to ride on pavement/partial pavement for most of the way around this magnificent world, or not, the choice is generally yours. As with the fuel grades, by the time the road surfaces become 'marginal', you'll be more experienced at riding on them.

    ... Relax, don't hurry or worry. You'll meet many interesting Border Guards, Immigration Officials and Police Officers along the way, but they're usually just people like us doing a poorly paid job for a government that they have absolutely no control over. They're generally unhappy in their work, but your on 'Vacation', probably the longest holiday of your life .... so Smile and Wave ... you're the luckiest man in town....

    Ride safe .... Geoff
  4. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus

    Dec 8, 2006
    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    Excellent words of wisdom Geoff - well said :norton

    Nath87 - I ride an 1100GS that fits and feels like a glove on my long trips. Planning on doing S America on it, but lately have been thinking of a lighter bike for the trickier stuff. I'm a big boy so I need large bike ergos - Tiger 800, XR650, etc.

    Wanted to mention I have a riding buddy who rode around the world on an 1150GSA and upon return garaged it because of the weight and the resulting dumps / pick ups. He bought a newer BMW 650 twin that someone else had ridden partially rtw. He is happy with it and I can testify it will run 90 all day on the highway comfortably with loaded hard luggage. His thoughts after the trip were that a Japanese 650 thumper would be the best for weight, repairability and parts availability. That's pretty common wisdom it seems. If I were smaller framed I'd probably be on a 650 Dakar.

    Since you're a German mc fan you might throw the newer BMW 650 twin in the mix along with the Dakar 650's and the other bikes mentioned
  5. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

    May 5, 2008
    Helsinki, Finland
    Blue88 really hit the nail on the head.

    No-one else but you can tell, which bike would be the best for you. It is your trip afterall, not theirs, and these trips, and people, can be so different. What works for somebody else, may not work for you, and vice versa.

    I would advice to get the bike a long time before the trip, and really learn its ways, especially regarding maintenance, well in advance. Then you can also install all accessories, and see that they work, and if necessary, do some modifications to them at home. I know some go RTW with new bikes that are barely run-in, but that's asking for trouble. Unless you ride what the locals ride, it is better to be prepared to handle basically all maintenance by yourself.