Choosing a bike for a RTW trip

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Pedrogomezrios, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. Pedrogomezrios

    Pedrogomezrios Quiet

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    We would like to visit a lot of amazing places, meet different cultures, ride on offroad routes, have a great adventure And be the first colombians that will attempt to make a RTW trip.
    And as you said this is just an idea and it is becoming a plan and a project, i am so sure any trip always starts with a step and we are taking the first steps.
    #21
  2. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    So very true.
    Nobody casts a line the same way at the same time.
    What is unseen below the obvious surface are the treats and the great memories you bring up.

    :thumb
    #22
  3. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

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    The KLR or a DR are both great bikes for this trip.
    Whatever you take, make sure all the bikes are the same and carry plenty of parts.
    #23
  4. vicmitch

    vicmitch Been here awhile

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    The best bike to take is the one you already have. In your case a GSA. Do some research and find out what breaks and do premptive maintainence and just go.
    #24
  5. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    If I did such a trip,Id take a DR,they work just well enough to do most anything,good on the road,good enough in the dirt,usually not in a huge hurry anyway for a long trip.
    Any bike can break,but a DR stands as good a chance as any of making it.

    No 550+ lb bikes for me,why ride huge?
    #25
  6. toadfish63

    toadfish63 Adventurer

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    I would do it on my GSA, no hesitation because I'm 6'7 and I would want comfort too, dirt or pavement. That said, you can't go wrong with the KLR650, DR650 or SV650 is even better. I do like the DRZ400 too...nice bike and easy to work on. Like others have said, go with what you are comfortable with, there is something said to bikes that a simple and easy to repair. Good luck and have a great adventure!
    #26
  7. 10-95

    10-95 Adventurer

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    A RTW ride is my dream.

    I think whatever I did it on, I'd want something that wasn't too expensive. That way if it developed some type of catastrophic problem I wouldn't feel bad walking off and leaving it. :lol3
    #27
  8. pingvin

    pingvin Been here awhile

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    Not been RTW but do have a KTM690 and had no problems at all with it so far. Don't think you can beat it regarding fun factor, really strong/quick and handles very well both on tarmac and gravel and can do very technical sections (at least if you're a better dirt rider than me). And much lighter than most options including bikes like DRZ400. Part availability is maybe biggest problem but from what read reliability is really good:

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=20916959&postcount=1349

    http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/ktm-tech/ktm-690-enduro-can-do-64860

    Read somewhere that no one had ever regretted they didn't take a bigger bike for RTW...meaning many people take to big bikes.
    #28
  9. Gun Smoke

    Gun Smoke Banned

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    I would ride your GS and get a GS for your son as well. IMO and I've done a lot of it; riding a 650 single cylinder like the DR or XR any distance is brutal. About 20 years ago I had as my only bike an XR650L and I rode it all over N.America. Even then as a 19 year old it killed me. I could ride maybe 45 minutes before I absolutely had to have a break. I have an XR650L still today and rarely ride it because it's just so uncomfortable. I've also owned a DR350 that I felt the same way about.

    I think the GS is more than reliable enough for your trip.
    #29
  10. ggemelos

    ggemelos Been here awhile

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    I recently went through the process of picking a bike for a trip to South America that might extend to a RTW trip. I looked at many of the usual bikes and read a lot on Advrider and Horizons Unlimited. I ended up opting for the WR250R. It is light, very reliable, easy to work on, and has enough power for the trip.

    At first it might seem on the small side, but consider the fact that in most of the places you will travel, people get around on little scooters or 125 and a 250 is a big bike with more than enough power. It can also cruise at highway speeds if need be.

    This is probably not an option if you are going two-up.
    #30
  11. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    I would go with the KLR650. It has just enough capacity to hold camping gear, spares, and anything else you may take, yet has reasonable off road ability. It won't make you look rich, which may help people feel comfortable enough to talk to you.

    If the trip were mostly pavement, I might say the big BMW would be good, also for its storage capacity.

    The DR650 is a great bike, but space is limited. If you don't plan to camp, it would be perfect.

    The KTM may be difficult to find parts for in poor countries.
    #31
  12. Pedrogomezrios

    Pedrogomezrios Quiet

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    Hi, i have to think about the dirty rides, we are planning to ride the Br-319 at Brasil, a lot of off-road at África and a some parts of the BAM at russia. And off course camp a lot, and it is a solo riding (no passenger)
    #32
  13. ggemelos

    ggemelos Been here awhile

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    The comment you hear from many RTW riders isn't often that they wish they brought more stuff, instead it is often that they over packed and wish they brought a lighter bike. This is especially true if you plan on doing a lot of dirt. I would probably not go bigger that a 650, the fact that I am planning a similar trip on a 250 should be a clue. Between the DR650 and KLR, I think the DR650 is more dirt worthy and more reliable than the 08+ KLRs.
    #33
  14. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    You might want to work past the me and I stuff, as far as self-importance goes.
    We all say/type some silly stuff on here at times, and we all have attitude swings. I count mine by the dozens...:)

    Not that I disagree with your opinion about the 650 KLR's. It's rep self destructed many years back. Kawa just didn't care enough.

    Good roads - good for big reliable bikes.
    Bad roads - good for small reliable bikes.

    Reliable...
    #34
  15. ggemelos

    ggemelos Been here awhile

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    Sorry if that came across as self-important. I was just wanted to make the OP aware of a possible bias in my advice. More specifically, it was in reference to the previous statement that I would not take a bike bigger than a 650. Sorry if the context was not clear.

    By the way, rereading the comment, I do see how it can be interpreted that way.
    #35
  16. Witold

    Witold Been here awhile

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    You only hear this from riders who find themselves on especially challenging roads from time to time. Looking at the typical paths people take through Africa/S America/Asia, this isn't an issue for most riders. (We hear the complaints from a tiny minority that found this to be an issue, and we don't hear from the vast majority that didn't have any issues. That's my theory.)

    Overpacking is pretty much a non-issue as far as I'm concerned. If you find something to be dead weight, you can either throw it away, give it away, or if it's expensive you can always mail it back to the US. Every country has a post office. RTW trips cost many thousands of dollars to begin with in Carnets, shipping, whatever so the extra $100 for shipping isn't really a budget buster.

    I'm a very light packer myself, but there is nothing wrong with carrying tons of random stuff if it gives a person some extra piece of mind. Stuff is very easy to get rid of, but often very hard to acquire if you find that you need it. I had a hell of a time finding a charger for my dSLR batter after I broke it, for example...
    #36
  17. trululu96

    trululu96 Adventurer

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    ive been thinking and reading a lot about bikes lately, and it seems that the most reliable bike of the 650s is the klr (what do you think about this??), also I feel like a 250 would be really small for such a trip regardless that I will do a hell better than a 650 in the dirt (wha do you think abou this??)
    #37
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  18. Raiz

    Raiz Adventurer

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    I have a 650 KLR and I will admit that it isn't perfect. However, anyone that tells you "my bike is perfect" is delusional. My thinking was that if I got a KLR at least I would know all of its strengths and weaknesses and I could address the weaknesses because the bike is about as simple as they get. Also, if it breaks, I can fix it. I've never taken my bike to a mechanic and I've had the engine apart (upgrading the doohickey). This is the FIRST vehicle that's I've ever taken apart to such an extent. I'm not a competent mechanic but the KLR is something I CAN work on and understand. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing the things I've done with the KLR to a BMW.
    #38
  19. ggemelos

    ggemelos Been here awhile

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    Between the DR650 and the newer KLRs, I get the feeling that reliability goes to the DR650. I never owned a KLR and cannot say I have done an exhaustive survey, this is just my feeling from reading ride reports and stories from the 08+ KLRs. Check out crestedbutte-rtw's ride report regarding his 2008 KLR. Of course, you generally only hear about the complaints, but it doesn't hurt to see one person's experience dealing with bike issues. I can say from my own experience when I owned a DR650, they are extremely easy to work on.

    As far is displacement, this is going to be subjective. In much of the world, a Chinese made 125 is considered a normal bike and a 250 is huge. A RTW trip can easily be done on a modern 250, but you will probably need to pack light. There are some great ride reports from people riding 250s. Check out Big Dog Adventures or TheAgavePrince.

    In the end, as many people have said before, any of the bikes being considered will do just fine.
    #39
  20. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Agree.
    IMO (the qualifier), it's indisputable.

    I have zero brand loyalty. What works best...is best.

    People talk a lot about the size of bike/engine, etc.
    The subject of wind protection is not often raised, but is usually the biggest difference when choosing between sizes of bikes. And this happens because small bikes usually run with less, and bigger bikes usually run with more.
    Hence, a huge factor considering comfort at highway speeds.

    The wind forces can be a monster and will wear on you at high speeds w/o protection. So you run a little slower...or not.

    Good wind protection allows you to run into the mouth of said monster without taking 12 rounds from Ali...

    Good highway wind protection sucks off road.
    And heavy bikes suck off road.

    :D

    Plan your own ride.
    #40