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Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by pillars of hercules, Apr 27, 2012.
What to buy for long distance adventure travel: honda transalp / aftrica twin or bmw 1150 gs / gsa?
If power and high speed slabbing is not in your radar, but tough offroad and dependability is, then go transalp 650. The AT is the bigger and heavier version of the TA, with no real benefits over it. All you need to do on the TA to make it an ace bike is suspension work. It will never be a KTM offroad, but on long distance touring who gives a rodent's butt.
The 1150 GS/GSA is a great bike, but too damn heavy and bulky with nil finesse on loose ground. Reliability is hit and miss. I had one for 100,000km with very little having gone wrong, but would never buy one again.
depends also a bit on your height..
I have an Africa twin and in my opinion this is the bike to go, it has a bit more power than the transalp.
Stock suspension is ok. The gas tank is bigger.
and I see hundreds of travel reports from people riding around the world on Africa twins. Less on transalps...
that must count for something...
Interesting way to put it. I'd say any of those 3 could do it (and many many more).. but not knowing anything really, what exactly you plan to do with the bike, its hard to offer more help. 'Adventure travel' is different things to different people.
There are three main types of Transalp: 600, 650 and 700. With a 19" front wheel and reduced suspension travel the last is probably the least dirt-orientated. I have owned and ridden off-road the 600 and 650; the 650 is a great improvment in many respects, with bigger fuel tank, better air filter location and a bit more power. However, unlike the 600 it does have rubber footpegs mounted on an alloy casting; I replaced mine with cast steel Suzuki MX pegs.
Both have vulnerable bodywork and basic suspension.
There are also three versions of the AT; I had a 650. Compared to the 650 'Alp, suspension was much more effective and controlled and the chassis more reassuring off-road. The seat was comparatively poor and fuel economy about 10percent higher, which goes some but not all the way to offsetting the AT's bigger fuel tank. The smaller size and lower weight of the TA give it the edge in performance but there's not much in it given that none of these bikes is exactly fast.
Given the choice between a 650 Transalp and later 750 Africa Twin in the same condition/mileage, I'd take the AT, not least 'cos, as a future classic, it will retain value better. But after the Transalp I went for a 660 Tenere. Way better than either off road, it had almost double the fuel range of the Alp with some 30percent better fuel economy and comparable performance. If you can put up with the seat and don't intend to cruise at over 150kph/90mph, it's the way to go IMO.