Ideas for a new bike to ride to Turkey, please

Discussion in 'Europe' started by DavidM1, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Hi inmates, I'm a newbie. Some background:

    I've owned my 1990 R80GS from new, done over 50,000 miles around Europe on it, visiting 25 countries. Longest trips:
    1990 - Scotland-Nordkapp-Finland-Poland-Czechoslovakia-Austria-Germany-Netherlands
    1993 - Via 11 Mediterranean islands to Ankara
    1998 - Algarve
    2002 - To the Costiera Amalfitana and back via Andorra
    2004 - Eastern Europe to Mount Nemrut and back via Crete
    2006 - To Venice via the Alps
    2007 - Turkey (again)
    Longest run - Aosta to home, 770 miles, 14 hours.

    Now I'm thinking of getting a new bike for another trip to Turkey and I can't make a decision about which one. I'm slightly tempted by the Ducati Multistrada and the KTM 1190 but having rented smaller trailie bikes (Honda 200, Kawasaki 250, Suzuki 350, Yamaha 650, Kawasaki 650) in Turkey over the years, I realise I want something light that can handle goat tracks as well as autobahns.

    Ideally it would have to be a sub-180kg 750 or thereabouts, something that can take some luggage and be fun/easy to ride on brown lanes. I'm guessing it might have to be a Transalp or a light KTM, but I don't find them very sexy! If I can't find anything I like, I'll just stick with giving the R80 a bit of an overhaul.

    Any suggestions? Cheers, David.
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  2. Timpo

    Timpo NORTH WALES TRF.

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    And why not......:thumb
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  3. strobingred

    strobingred Been here awhile

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  4. IvanRUS

    IvanRUS Been here awhile

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  5. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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  6. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    I'm now looking at the Ducati Hypermotard SP, and wondering if I can turn it into an adventure bike - higher bars and Scorpion Trail tyres, maybe. Really a Hyperstrada in Corse colours, don't need a screen, but I like to have luggage and maybe a lower seat.

    The idea is to have bike that can get me there and then have a fun time on dirt tracks at my destination.
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  7. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    I bought a Hyperstrada in '13 and it's been fun, but it's not really an "adventure" bike (although it takes all the camping gear very easily). After renting a Honda CRF250L in Turkey this summer, I really want a Honda CRF450L Rally, but it doesn't exist yet.

    I'll probably give myself a Husqvarna 701 for my 60th birthday next year, if it's not too tall for me. (I think I need a bit of excitement before I revert back to the GS in my old age, or maybe Honda will come up with the goodies in the meantime).

    That sounds like a plan - to play in the Toros Mountains with a Husky next May/June.
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  8. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    I feel like I've woken up from the bliss of 26 years R80GS riding into a nightmare of uncertainties. Where did it all go wrong? All those years ago and that was almost the perfect "adventure" bike. Just needed to shed some weight.

    That Husqvarna was too tall for me. I think I would classify it as an off-road sports bike. There's no facility for luggage, not even a little rear rack as standard. And no way could I see myself comfortably handling rush-hour traffic in Konya on a tall bike, hairy enough on a Honda 250 - my type of adventure bike should be able to cope with all sorts of situations, not just off-road ones.

    Maybe getting some slightly knobblier tyres would suffice...
    [​IMG]
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  9. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    I've spent a few days in various countries riding my road guzzi along roads like your picture or worse, with no problems.

    Passenger and full camping kit too of course.
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  10. ExplorerRider

    ExplorerRider Adventurer

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    Yes, its available. But the most expensive gasoline in the world
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  11. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    That's old news. Since the TL slumped, it is no longer the case. There are 9 European countries with more expensive fuel than Turkey.
    http://www.globalpetrolprices.com/gasoline_prices/

    But certainly worth filling up in Bulgaria before crossing the border. Save yourself the cost of a couple of bottles of Efes.
    #11
  12. IvanRUS

    IvanRUS Been here awhile

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    Thank you, my friend, I was convinced myself 3 times :)
    Even in the wilderness found 95 octane:
    [​IMG]
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  13. The Jester

    The Jester Long timer

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    CCM Adventure would be ideal, SWM super dual or the AJP PR7 should be available soon.
    BMW G650X - either the Country or Challenge variety if you can find one would work well
    Or leave your R80GS with Moorespeed for a few weeks.

    [​IMG]

    Personally I like 650 class dirt bikes for mixing travel and trails and use soft luggage without a frame.
    I have done 3 trips from UK, through France to Spain, to ride off road in Pyrenees and Bardenas Reales - once on a CCM 604 and twice on a BMW X-challenge.
    My current bike is an XR650R which I rode 1500km through Turkey to Greece this year, completed a 7 day, 1500km off road rally raid and rode back. Other than a badly worn chain I had no issues and completed 830km in one day on the way back.

    Not sure what your budget is but in your shoes I would be seriously looking at the moorespeed option for the GS. It is obviously a bike that you know well and are happy with. Why not bring it up to date with improved suspension, a bit of frame bracing and a performance mod or two.
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  14. nordicbiker

    nordicbiker Been here awhile

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    A sub180kg 750? Good luck finding one!

    The closest match might be the husky 701 (anybody seen the rally fairing and addon tanks the dealers yet?) or a rallyraid equipped 690.
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  15. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Hi nordicbiker, that was three and half years ago when I didn't know what I was talking about. I'm now more aware of the market. I sat on a 701 - too tall for me.

    I've re-assessed my riding style and I've decided to back away from the pure enduros. My latest idea is to get a Versys-X 300 for a couple of years until more mid-size ADV bikes start arriving.

    Cheers.
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  16. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Hi nickguzzi, sorry I missed your reply earlier - that photo is really to show what tyres I have currently, not the type of tracks I travel. On the really rocky roads I never get a chance to stop to take photos because I'm paying too much attention on the ride (and probably swearing).
    I think the worst track I've taken with the loaded GS is probably the "short cut" through the mountains from Kosmas towards Sparta in the Peloponnese.
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  17. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    The guzzi is from the era when bikes were just bikes. Look at what Ted Simon rode and all the others from that golden period before the internet turned bikers into consumers and away from being travellers.

    I have never fitted anything other than ordinary road tyres and have ridden on much gnarlier roads than you show. Occasionally cricket ball sized rocks and fortunately only once on football sized ones - that one didn't end well, I toppled over and found it hard to pick up with two people's luggage and the camping gear. Plus I was down hill on a cross slope inside a collapsed house. I would have done the falling bit earlier on a proper dirt bike - feet even further from the ground. At least I managed to ride it half way round.

    Mud is the pits, totally impossible, even on the only "dirt" bike I ever had, a Suzuki ts250, it just dropped down to the axles and clogged up the mudguards. Unfortunately mud has been the commonest offroad hazzard where ever I have lived. I usually have to travel to somewhere nice and warm, like southern France. Lots of gravel similar to your pic there.

    My choice would start with basic durability and reliability. Availability of parts - at least a multiplicity of options for obtaining them, and repairability. Ability in conditions which you might never encounter would not feature at all, because I probably would not be able to utilise them anyway.

    My current goal is saving towards a Honda cb500x with the RRL3 kit, now MsNG no longer rides (as we approach old age!) After 50+ years riding, and having what at the time were considered State of The Shit bikes, looking back, my favourite and the one I had the most laughs on was the slowest, worst braking, unsprung rear and girder forked pre-war BSA side valve. NEVER came home without a huge smile on my face.
    Look at some pictures of war time dispatch riders and what they coped with - terrain, equipment and conditions - to get the job done.
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  18. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    I bought his book when it came out, must reread it.
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  19. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Also check out http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/elspeth-beard-one-early-globetrotters.

    I went to India in 1970. Before Simon. Still an Iron Curtain to peek behind back then and of course no www's, or computers even.
    Roads, where they existed at all were largely unmade/unsealed or unmaintained. Probably closer to Mongolia or Siberia today, without the tracker or cell phones.
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  20. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    I'm about to give up on the unicorn hunt. Thinking of getting a 2-year-old CRF250L, put a rear rack and a Yoshimura on it and maybe change the sprockets (or take them with me), and take the B-roads at 50mph - no more hammering down the autoroutes at 130km/h or 800km days. And I don't think the new Versys-X 300 is rugged enough for the TransToros tracks.

    As someone said, it's a different mindset - probably taking twice the time. But good practice for a fly/rent trip to Peru later next year.

    If a CRF450L ever appears, I'll be right on it.
    #20