Choosing the right bike

Discussion in 'Americas' started by jica12, Nov 12, 2012.

?

Best bike for sister trip NC to Peru

  1. KLR 650 new

  2. V-strom 650 new

  3. BMW GS 650

  4. Other

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  1. jica12

    jica12 Aventurero

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    So my sisters and I are planning a trip to Peru from the east coast. I have a KTM adv 950 fully equip. In the other hand my sisters need to buy bikes. They have some experience riding but not to much, so these bikes will serve as training for them as well as the bike to use for the trip. They want a DS type. So far is in between:

    KRL 650 New
    V strom 650 new
    or BMW F 650 GS used

    So in your opinion witch one is the best machine for the job and why. Any other bikes to consider?
    Many thanks
    #1
  2. Missiongravity

    Missiongravity Adventurer

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    Every one of those bikes have their merits. First we would need to know more about your sisters. Are they hot, how old are they, single? J/K How tall are they and more importantly their inseam.

    The BMW is a great first bike, low standover height with a low seat and lowering links.

    The DL650 has proven itself time and time again a great do almost anything bike. I am actually departing in two days on a trip South myself on one.

    The KLR is great as well but suffers from the same issue they are likely to have with the DL650 is the standover height. Again great bike but perhaps not as a first for ladies.

    I would probably swing towards a used BMW, my riding partner for the first 12 day leg of my trip is on a F650GS and really likes it. She has lowering links on it because she is 5'4" but when the bike is loaded she actually doesnt need them and they just reduce ground clearance.

    Post more info and folks can offer a more informed opinion.
    #2
  3. MountaineerWV

    MountaineerWV Been here awhile

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    My initial question is pavement or off road?

    If you are sticking to pavement, probably the BMW if they are short or the Vstrom if they are tall. If you are spending time off road, well I wouldn't go for any of those bikes due to them having little experience and the weight of the bike. Get something MUCH lighter.
    #3
  4. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    Totally agree. I'm guessing you and your sisters are of average height or taller, if you are riding that awesome monster KTM? You may want to have a look at the KLR250S. They are tall, but can be lowered with a Kouba lowering link or similar part. The Yamaha WR250 is another good dual sport for beginners, but is even taller. The Yamaha XT250 is shorter.

    If you are used to riding fast, waiting for the 250's on the open slab might get tiresome, but it will save you from waiting off road.
    #4
  5. GSAragazzi

    GSAragazzi Long timer

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    I am not an expert in off road, but I have lived in Mexico (DF) and Lima plus I work extensively in central and northern south America. My choice would be the Bimmer bc of dealership network, ease of riding and ability on main roads. I understand that you may encounter some B roads but given the fact tht you will be riding a fully loaded 990 I am in the assumption those an rds will not be tht technical. I can't imagine trying to cruise at 65mph on some of Mexico's toll roads in a 250 with knobbies. It would be dangerous, you would have to contend with semis and buses "cruising" at that speed. And lets not kid ourselves romantazicing that most roads taken will be unpaved gravel roads. The PanAmerican road is now a full blown highway. I think -as a safety measure- the road worthiness of the Bimmer will serve you well, and it's light low and nimble enough to be taken on those expeditions away from the main roads.
    Sounds like a great adventure, please share your travels once on the road.
    :freaky
    #5
  6. pjm204

    pjm204 Long timer

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    You definitely left out some key information here.

    I currently ride a DL650 (this is my third V-strom). I consider it to be the best all around bike for the money. All of mine have been dead nuts reliable. I've taken them places they simply shouldn't go and while there are better bikes for each job, the strom has fared better than expected every time.

    I've also owned a couple KLR's. I think it is a great bike and if you're intending to do a lot of off-pavement riding, I'd lean towards it. However, it does require a bit more work to make it as reliable as the strom is out of the box (doohickey, jetting, etc)
    #6
  7. jica12

    jica12 Aventurero

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    - Beside the fact that we are Peruvians they are 5'8" and 5'10". (long legs)
    - Will be riding 70 % on road and 30% off.
    - This will happen in about a year so they will have time to practice on those same bikes.
    #7
  8. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    OK, so they're not really hitting the road on unfamiliar large dual sports. I change my vote to the F650GS. The F800GS and Triumph 800XC are both worth a look as well.
    #8
  9. SR

    SR Long timer

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    I've owned both a KLR and a WEE-STROM. The KLR is perfectly capable of the trip you are planning but the VSTROM is much more fun to ride. Unless you really go looking for gnarlier roads, the superior off-road capabilities of the KLR wont serve much purpose. The KLR will get old on the highway and in some stretches cars will be passing you on the KLR, whereas on the STROM you will be passing everyone in sight. This will make a big difference in your psyche.

    The BMW F series bikes fall somewhere between the KLR and VSTROM in the considerations I described above. Some may disagree, but in my opinion, with the BMW you are paying 30-50% more money for a bike that is less reliable than the Japanese bikes.

    Keep us informed on what you decide to do!
    cheers
    SR
    #9
  10. NoMoIke

    NoMoIke Adventurer

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    I bought my used 2010 F650GS in April. Not only was it the first bike I've owned, but also the first bike I had ever ridden. Obviously I can't speak to the suitability of the other bikes on your list, but I can say a few things about the BMW;

    It has been completely reliable over the last 6500 miles. I do use premium fuel and avoid ethanol as much as possible, but no problems whatsoever at this point.

    Even though I didn't need it, the low standover height was a confidence builder.

    I'm 250 lbs and the engine's power is sufficient to pass nearly everything on the road at will. Larger, more powerful bikes excluded.

    Clearly you can't do the things on dirt that you could on smaller bikes, but it handles gravel and easy dirt just fine. I did Colorado Springs, CO to Cripple Creek, CO and had a blast.

    Fuel mileage is consistently in the 60 mpg range. I usually ride at 65 mph.

    Warranty is 3 years, 36,000 miles.

    There are really only two things that I didn't like;

    The throttle is more like an on/off switch when starting from a full stop. Maybe this is the same with all fuel injected bikes, but it seemed really sensitive. I admit, after I stopped trying to take off really slow (noob), this problem has been much less of a hassle.

    The seat sucks.

    Next year I'll be heading to Alaska on it and I have no hesitations whatsoever.
    #10
  11. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    Where is rt he DR650 option????????:norton:rofl
    #11
  12. LuluOfDenver

    LuluOfDenver The peanut gallery.

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    I don't know about the rest of the people who responded, but I am ACTUALLY a woman. I didn't have a ton of experience, about 3000 miles or so, and I took off with my husband for a 6 1/2 week trip to Alaska and back this past summer. We rode mostly pavement, but them some dirt/gravel also. After we got home, I spent the rest of the summer on my bike riding in the mountains on pavement and a lot of jeep trails.

    I'm 5'3 1/2", so considerably shorter than your sisters, but I LOVE my 650 GS. Oh, and did I mention that she is 10 years old? Totally great, and reliable for everything I did. When there was a lot of rain, the ABS sensor/speedo sensor went out, but that was the worst of it. At 426 lbs. wet, the bike was easy enough for me to handle even on some incredibly rocky terrain. My bike has 1" Kouba lowering links on it which help me get the balls of my feet on the ground. Without the links, at standard height, the bike would be great for your sisters. If it feels too short, go with the Dakar (Sertao)--I totally would but my little feet would be flailing in the breeze when I stopped. :huh

    My husband rides a 650 Wee, and I ran into people doing the long trip on KLRs. The Wee is too heavy for girls on rougher terrain (unless they are totally ripped) and the KLRs are not as great a long distance ride. However, if they sat on them and liked them, both girls are tall enough for any of them.

    The GS gets my vote!!!:clap:clap:clap
    #12
  13. jica12

    jica12 Aventurero

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    Unfortunately i can find the way to add the DR 650 to the poll, so lets consider that one in "other" for now
    #13
  14. Snownut

    Snownut Adventurer

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    IMO determining what kind of riding you will be doing is a big factor. My last AT bike was a Vstrom (1000) and currently is a KLR and a Versys. I'm not sure why the Versys is overlooked so much, I honestly enjoy riding it. Its easier to maneuver than a Vstrom being a shorter wheel base and feels so much lighter and nimble. I'm taking the Versys down Baja the end of this year, but have considered taking the KLR. I love my KLR for back roads and dirt roads, just not freeways. It will use a little (not a lot) of oil if running at 75-80mph for long periods of time, and with 10k on the clock I rarely have to add any between oil changes. I did change the seat on my KLR to a more comfy lower seat and with my short inseam I can still nearly flat foot it when at a light.
    #14
  15. sweetwater

    sweetwater Been here awhile

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    I cast my vote for the BMW and here's some reasons why:

    As mentioned, dealer support.
    IMO, "ready out of the box".
    Excellent resale value across the Americas.
    Comfy as any other, probably better. Accessories galore.

    A quick look at where I am coming from:

    5'7", 31" inseam, average build, 34 years of motorbiking, lots of it off road. I bought a 2000 F650 on a whim to use as a city commuter and to this day that is one bike I should have kept. It was superior on road to my XR650L and didn't do any worse off road. The bike was a base model, and it was dead easy to work on- BUT it never needed anything other than chain maintenance and basic fluid changes. Since selling that bike, I have had 1200GS (excellent bike!), WR250 (another excellent bike!), and a full size street bike (Kawi C14). I have also recently spent time riding on/off road with a DR650 (another great ride!).

    Not even considering all the big thumpers I've owned and ridden, I would buy F650 (single) or F650GS again. The only thing I would do differently would be to purchase one with all available options from BMW (well, I at least recommend ABS and heated grips, I like my BMW vario cases, but YMMV).

    Otherwise, get out and test all themodels you're considering and go for it! It sounds like a great trip, one sure to form lasting memories between the three of you :D
    #15
  16. MountaineerWV

    MountaineerWV Been here awhile

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    If you are going to add the DR650 to the mix....:)

    I took a DR650 about 35k miles from the US to Ushuaia. Minimal problems and those were caused by me. The abuse the DR took was amazing - I could not break it. It is also the bike I used to learn to ride as I rode the TAT.
    #16