RTW on a 250? WR250/KLX/XR-L or Chinese?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Adv Grifter, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    More and more ADV'ers going for smaller bikes for long range rides. Who has ridden a 250cc bike down to Argentina? ... or across Africa? Is this a sane idea? And what about one of the new Chinese 250's? If you've done long range, high miles riding on a 250, would you do it again? Which bike is best for day after day abuse, fully loaded, racking up around 20,000 to 25,000 miles?

    Which is MOST reliable and least maintenance intensive?
    Which bike is practical and cost effective to upgrade to make it a true long range travel bike?
    Which bike can handle a heavy load on rough terrain for MONTHS?
    Think about Fuel capacity; MPG and RANGE. Would one have to haul Aux fuel tanks everywhere? :ear ... or buy a $800 tank from Australia?

    Would an older KLR250, 250 Super Sherpa, XT250, XT225 Serow, DR200 or 250, XR250L be a better bet ? ... or better to go with one of the newer 250's? (KLX, WR250, CRF-L). Why?

    I had a newish KLX250S for a month, so I have time on that machine. (was selling for a friend) Briefly rode the WR250 too, impressive but very expensive. I've not ridden the new Honda CRF250L ... but reports are not great. Heavy, poor suspension, cheap components and added complexity of F.I. I did major upgrades on a friends CRF230 ... like it a lot. But no sub frame.

    The Wild Card bikes here come from China. Many new Chinese dual sports flooding the market both in the USA and in Latin America.
    Are ALL of them as bad as we imagine? Or are there a few GEMS among the Junk?

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    #1
  2. Reposado1800

    Reposado1800 Juicy J fan!

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    Probably the BEST 250 for international travel is the XT250. The XT225 is a close second. I believe air cooling is a plus on the smaller engine bikes.
    #2
  3. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    I don't believe Yamaha sell the XT250 street legal in the USA. (Correction: just checked American Yamaha website, the XT250 is there! )

    I know Lois (above) rode an XT250 on her Africa trip, and used the Serow for Latin America. Her Serow was a "problem child" from day one. The good news is apparently MOST are all good for years and years.
    Cheers :freaky
    #3
  4. Reposado1800

    Reposado1800 Juicy J fan!

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    Her XT225 was clapped out from the start. It is a testament to Yamaha that it could finish in such poor condition.
    The XT250 is new from 08 and is the Yamaha Tricker with a high fender.
    #4
  5. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    I like the wr250r alot and then the klx250s.
    I think the wr is the best all around 250, but the klx has a carburetor for simplicity and reliability.
    #5
  6. cjbiker

    cjbiker Nobody's Robot

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    I wouldn't hesitate to set off an a RTW trip on a KLX250S. Maybe reinforce the rear subframe a bit if I had a lot of gear. The WR250R is purported to be a better bike all around, but personally, if I were going RTW on one, I would box up a fuel pump or two and leave them with someone who could ship one to me if I needed it. Other than that, both bikes have proven to be bulletproof. The WR has a 4.7 gallon tank available, and that's a big plus.

    Here's my KLX loaded up:

    [​IMG]

    Check out the Minimalist Touring Thread if you haven't already for more small cc long trip inspiration! Inmate Spud Rider has a Zongshen with a ton of miles on it. Here's his post regarding the bike: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=17865764&postcount=4634.
    #6
  7. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

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    Honestly, you could not give me any of the xt collection. Good for the starter & the not in tune rider.

    The wr250x or the wr250r, knobbies can fit on both ends of the x & is about 1.5 inches shorter. Its FI is a sure thing & no issues about chronic problems. Only negitive about the wr would be the chain eating into the swing arm when you go to a smaller primary or you run to tight. The 2 gal tank is only good up to 125 miles & there is still bout 25 left inside. But don't run it dry. After market 4 gal tanks are now to be had & for a traveler it would be a good investment.

    The kawi is another very good scoot but w/ a carb you could start to run richer at higher mt passes.

    You're at a fun point of making a selection, don't please anyone but yourself. Check out the different sites the owners hang & learn form their issues or the lack of them.

    Best of luck to you
    #7
  8. OldPete

    OldPete Be aware

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    theagaveprince rode his R2 around SA from the USA.
    He ran stock gearing and crap gas in SA and damaged piston ring lands at 30k miles. Guess he lugged it a bit much.
    He does not blog or really do forums. Last I heard he was in Turkey on the WR250R running K60 tires with 10k miles on'em.

    http://wr250rforum.forumotion.com/t4763-wr250r-to-south-america

    In JDowns RR he comments on a gal from OZ on a Sherpa for 6 years with 100k miles on it.
    She does not blog, facebook or forum.
    #8
  9. Roam

    Roam If you want to

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    l've done a 10k mile trip on my wr250r/x and if I could be satisfied with 250 power wouldn't hesitate to take it rtw. The rding part of rtw is very important to me so I go with the what moves the soul as well as the body over cost effectiveness. I dont want to be 5k miles into a 20k mile trip wishing I had a better bike.
    #9
  10. Gryphon12

    Gryphon12 Long timer

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    You need to search this site. This thread already exists, and also includes the DR650.
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  11. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    Have you done much searching here? If you can find "this thread" please post the link.

    Does it include the idea of Chinese 250's in the mix? Or pics of riders doing RTW or super LD type rides? Love to read about that. :freaky
    #11
  12. Gryphon12

    Gryphon12 Long timer

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    Yes, I've done searches here - the stock engine sucks. So, use google search as "topic:site=advrider.com/forums".

    I can't find the multi-250 thread off the cuff - I had it subscribed, but let it go last year - I can only keep track of so many at a time.

    As another start, try this thread below, and then search using the string above on the the KLX and the Chinese 250s to fill in the holes. This should save you a lot of reinventing the wheel on this question.

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=605104
    #12
  13. roundtripping

    roundtripping Adventourist

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    I wouldn't hesitate for a second taking the CRFL rtw ( or elsewhere :lol3 ) if it wasn't for the fact that in lots of parts of the world it's a new model or doesn't even exist yet. But if you're just talking about the bike as such, hell yes I would. Since it's so new there aren't a lot of long distance reports yet, but there's a guy on HU who left a while back from Canada riding down to SA. Haven't followed his progress so I don't know much more than that.

    But I mean come on...it's a Honda...:lol3:1drink
    #13
  14. Valimagdon

    Valimagdon Scooter Boy

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    I see what you did there. You're looking for permission/a blessing to ride Chinese. I don't think you're going to find it here.
    You can take your chances with a Chinese bike, maybe find one that won't destroy itself on you. Try to go RTW with it, have electrics fail (or not), engine blow up (or not), or any of a myriad of poor-quality parts issues. You can do all that, and it still won't repair the Chinese bike reputation.
    Personally, (and I speak from a position of former owner of Chinese and from working on them @ a couple motorcycle shops) I would never trust a Chinese bike to take me cross-country, much less RTW. Throw the rigors of DS riding in, and it's a definite no-go for me.

    And no, obviously not all Chinese machines are absolute crap. There's always someone with a story about their/a buddy's Chinese knock-off bike with 100,000 miles and no issues. But a RTW adventure is not where I want to find out if my bike is a diamond in the rough, or tends to follow the norm.

    Now, someone's going to say "hey the motor for your Sertao was built in China". I also have it from personal experience wrenching and working at those motorcycle shops that "Chinese-built" is not the same as "made-in-China-with-Foreign-overseers-running-the-plant". "Chinese-built" tends to mean built with stolen plans, crap steel/aluminum, cheap electrics and plastics, and with out-of-spec machines. "made-in-China-with-Foreign-overseers-running-the-plant" tends to mean a solid product, as in the case of everything made in China that doesn't suck (motorcycles, electronics, etc.)

    Ride what you wish. One of the nice things about life is we get to learn from our experiences and mistakes. But my advice is to suck it up, shell out the $$ for a name-brand bike, and ride w/o worry.
    #14
  15. Kawidad

    Kawidad Long timer

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    A good buddy of mine owns a small indy motorcycle repair shop. He is a top notch mechanic, but is very picky with the results, and as such, is very picky with what bikes he choses to repair or not. He will not do anything more than tire replacements on Chinese products because he tried to work on them, but found them all to be so poorly made he couldn't guarantee the results. :puke1

    Granted, he didn't try every brand, but did enough of them and looked over enough (he carefully screens the bikes before he agrees to work on them because he's worried about his reputation) to know he won't really touch them.:deal
    #15
  16. Reposado1800

    Reposado1800 Juicy J fan!

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    A girl I know rode a bicycle around the world on a group ride. She asked what motorcycle to get. For her lack of mechanical knowledge, the XT250 is perfect. A literal anvil. I have a WR250X and it is just a level higher in complication. But! It will run heated gear and that alone is more than worth the added complexity for most.
    #16
  17. shep546

    shep546 Been here awhile

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    I know my wr250r wouldn't be very good for a RTW trip for a few reasons.

    In it's stock form it's fuel capacity will be a serious hinderence... the stock tank will last you maybe 100 miles, can you guarantee a gas station every 100 miles?

    What about the long highway portions? Getting battered by the wind and such... no wind screen and a light bike that wouldn't be fun...

    Just my 2 cents I'd probably go for a 650...
    #17
  18. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    hey thanks for that! I'm actually on that thread (starting around page 4) ... and followed Big Al through his whole ride. I sold them some parts for their DR650's. Big AL is like 6'7" tall ... so it wasn't long before he wisely ruled out the 250's he was considering. The KLR was in the mix to for him ... but he ended up with the DR650 and if not for his three major crashes ... it would have been a relatively trouble free ride on the DR.

    But those guys didn't do the kind of exploring I'd like to do on my next trip.
    But they had a GREAT time nonetheless!

    Cheers! :freaky
    #18
  19. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    Thanks for your comments! Good to hear of your hands on experience with the Chinese products. I've never owned or worked on one. I've ridden in Mexico and Central America many times, traveled S. America in the 70's.

    My hope was rather than riding down, I'd fly into Colombia ... (or somewhere?)... buy a cheap Chinese machine and go. I wouldn't take it RTW, but rather use it for that continent and then sell it off after. But does not sound promising. I left unreliable bikes behind with my last BMW. :lol3

    The Chinese situation is a complex political conundrum ... and you've described it well. Big difference to BMW producing in China, injecting hundreds of millions into new factories, with expert engineers to guide it all. Compared to the hundreds of "get rich quick" outfits popping up everywhere, producing crap bikes for consumption at the 7/11 and local gas stations. I get it.

    But I also remember early days of Japanese bikes. Honda specifically; I was just a kid ... but remember well the constant bashing and racially motivated slurs flung by the "Old Guys" regarding "Made In Japan".

    I grew up in West L.A., about a mile from Honda's original USA headquarters. But the Honda 50 I bought in around 1962 was not my first bike. I had a Triumph Tiger Cub before and ... and my daily rider was a nice Vespa 150. I was 13, rode without a license for over 2 years. After those two bikes as introduction ... the Honda 50 was a revelation. And the rest is history. The "Old Guys" choked on their hatred and went back to trying to keep their old, leaky HD's and Indians running.

    I'd love to hear from someone who's actually looked closely at the Chinese imports in S. America and has a clue about motorcycles. I'm thinking in near future one or two of the dozens of brands may step up and start making quality machines. Dreaming? Maybe ... but this world is moving pretty fast. :deal
    #19
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  20. Reposado1800

    Reposado1800 Juicy J fan!

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    Why are you still running a stock tank? It is probably pretty rusty by now. No corrosion protection at all in there. IMS 3.1 fits like stock and no rust.
    #20