RTW... Which Bike Stays Home?

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by far-flung, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. far-flung

    far-flung not specified

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  2. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    wr250r.
    reliable japanese tech & most of the worlds roads are slow and dirt.

    i was living in mexico for a year and the 2 most popular (by a huge margin) south of the border bikes were dr650 and klr650
    #2
  3. WARRIORPRINCEJJ

    WARRIORPRINCEJJ Not in the clique...

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    If I know eakins (from the short time that I've been here), he's telling you to leave BIG ORANGE at home. And, despite the fact that I'm not an extensive world traveler (as you eluded to, in your first post), I would have to agree with him.

    I would agree with him, first, because of the reason that he mentioned. WRs, KLRs, and DRs (and the like) are just anvil reliable. That would be my first concern, especially if I was exploring beyond my comfort zone. My second concern, for some of the stuff you mentioned, would be weight. And, the WR has the Adventure beat on that account, too.

    To me, unless you foresaw that your travels would include days and days of slabbing, the WR is the winner, all the way around...


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  4. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    I have no doubts, that both bikes could go RTW. But which one will be the better choice for YOU, for YOUR trip, I think I would need to know more about your plans, to even try to guess an answer.

    For 2-up, the choice would be pretty obvious... but even if your riding solo, how much luggage will you be carrying (are you carrying camping gear) is one important thing. The 250 can´t be packed very heavily, or youre bound to have problems. Your own weight with the riding gear naturally needs to be count in.

    Another important thing is, where do you plan to go, and what kind of roads are you planning to ride? You could go practically around the planet without leaving the tarmac these days, but that´s not everyone´s cup of tea. If you want to do a lot of smaller backroads, then this kind of tour will take quite a bit of time. For this reason I think it´s quite normal, that people mainly use main roads on their RTW-trips (even though there will certainly be exceptions to that) and if you´re using main roads, then off-road capabilities of the bikes will be secondary to comfort on steady highway speed.

    Smaller & lighter bike WILL definitely have an advantage on the most demanding stretches of road, but like I said, those are becoming optional. Main roads will be used by buses & trucks, so even streetbikes can normally handle them just fine.

    Smaller bike will also be better, when you need to lift it into a boat, or freight the bike across oceans, as it will pack into a smaller, lighter box.

    You will need to be able to do the regular maintenance to the bike practically by yourself most of the time, so the bike, that is easier to maintain, is better in this respect. Spare parts, the Yam might have a small advantage, because it is Japanese, and a 250, but I would not expect to find parts widely available outside the areas, where these models are imported.

    One more thing to consider is the bike´s value. It will most likely be uninsured in most countries, so if it´s stolen, for example, then it´s gone and you won´t get a dime from anywhere. Even if that does not happen, the bike´s value will usually go down rapidly, because it will look a lot more used, than if you´d do the same mileage back home! Also if your plans will take you to carnet-countries (East Africa, Asia, Australia) then the bike´s value will affect the carnet bond amount.

    Bottom line, there is no 1 definite answer to this, you´ll just need to pick the one, that YOU feel happier to go with. Even if someone else feels differently, they can only speak for themselves.
    #4
  5. SR1

    SR1 Back in S. Korea

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    I have both a WR250r and a 1200GS. I'm currently in S. Korea, a common jumping-off-point for RTW trips heading West. I have the GS here... The thought crosses my mind a lot...

    It's nearly 50/50 I think. The GS would kick my ass at times, in bad conditions. At the same time, the WR would do the same when I had a decent piece of tarmac ahead of me.

    I think the WR is a better machine for the job, when you get all the way down to brass tacks.

    I may be totally wrong on this, but I think one thing (seeing your bikes together) your KTM has going for it is it's ALL black. The WR by contrast stands out like a sore thumb. I wonder if this "camouflage" might be valuable on the WR in other countries. In other words, perhaps you need to make it look a little shitty?
    #5
  6. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Don't worry you'll stand out like a sore thumb anyway... :lol3
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  7. Katoom119

    Katoom119 Mmmm....Orange Kool-aid

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    6 one way, 1/2 dozen the other.

    There have been a lot of guys that have taken the LC8 engine all over creation (Jean-Luc, Crashmaster, Misery Goat, Aurel) and never really had a problem. If a town doesn't have parts then UPS to the rescue. Obviously carry stuff you know you'll need like the water pump kit, maybe a sprocket set. Plus there are so many guys in OC that have done so much stuff to those bikes that if the Great Pumpkin goes down we'll likely be able to help you fix it.

    The WR will be a lot nicer when the road turns to shit, you can kick it off of you if you crash solo, and from what I've seen those little bikes are bullet proof. A lot of Jap bike brands use the same parts so thats a plus.

    Me, personally, I'd take the 990 because I know I can stand to ride it for days on end. Compared to my 250 XC-F which I think I would be sick of after a few days, and also to my 525 EXC that I made into a motard that after 8,000 miles I realized the seat sucked (better than the old KTM seats though).

    It all comes down to you. What do you think you could stand to ride after camping in the rain, waking up wet and cold, and realizing you have to ride a bike for the next 6 hours?
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  8. kconville

    kconville Avant Guard Dog

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    I don't meet your requirement of having travelled around the world by bike, but I do have some experience nonetheless.

    I don't much care for the choices.
    The KTM is a beast and frankly, I wouldn't trust it.
    The WR, while very cool, isn't well suited to carrying lots of stuff for an extended tour and wouldn't be too pleasant on open stretches of highway.

    I'd choose a KLR. Kinda boring but can carry a huge amount of stuff (if desired), gets excellent fuel mileage, and is reliable. Large fuel tank, great after market, theoretical parts availability, and good balance of dirt worthiness and highway manners are a draw. Do the doohicky, thermobob, Odyssey battery, front rotor, sub frame bolts, add an SU rack and Caribou bags, DR650 footpegs (or similar) and head out.

    A DR650 wouldn't be a bad choice either.

    IMO the bikes you currently have are neither fish nor fowl for a RTW trip. My $.02


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  9. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Good for campfire talk....

    Two different mindsets, IMO.
    Depends on what types of roads you plan to travel.

    I'd put the small bike at a 300ish miler and the big bike at a 500ish miler, highwaywise. Huge difference for long trips.

    The small bike will go thru a keyhole trail, and the big bike doesn't like keyholes.

    Fuel costs, maintenance needs, etc differ.

    Big bike is the express option. Small bike opens other options, but not express.

    Endless... Again a mindset.

    PM crashmaster, who contemplated similar scenarios and options, and recently rode many miles south. A solid source to tap.
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  10. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Needing the carnet or not depends on your route plans. Egypt, Australia and India are examples of countries, that demand it for temp import. In some countries, you are allowed to use it, but it´s not mandatory. Note the difference.

    You get it from your local Automobile Association, typically before you leave (should be able to arrange it while underway, too, but can be costly) and you are usually required to leave a bond to the AA. In case you violate the agreement on the carnet (means you have used the carnet for temporary import to a country, but don´t re-export the vehicle within the speficied time) then that countries customs will contact the AA and ask for import taxes and duties be paid from that bond. But if you return home with the bike, and have all appropriate import/export stamps on your carnet, then the bond should be released back to you. I had 5000 euros bond in my local AA (the bike was a DL650 - the bond amount may also depend on the countries you plan to visit). Note, that I arranged this bond as a ´bank guarantee´, so it´s like taking a loan from the bank, and placing it in an account, that the AA is, and you are not, authorised to use.

    Generally I would not worry about the carnet too much. Or at least I would not let it dictate my plans, like some people seem to do. It is something you typically arrange before you leave, so once you´re underway, you don´t really have to worry about it (except keep it safe & use it correctly, of course!).. so yes, it is some sort of PITA, but no more than other usual paperwork involved in this kind of trip.
    #10
  11. Katoom119

    Katoom119 Mmmm....Orange Kool-aid

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    So I've been thinking more about this and think the WR is the way to go. Here's why:

    You don't know what roads you're going to ride. It'll be a lot easier to extract a 250 pound bike from the bottom of a snotty hill than a 500 pound bike.

    If the bike breaks down it'll be a lot easier to throw the WR in the back of a truck/cart/tie it to the roof of a car than the 990.

    You'll have to ship it at some point. If I remember what Aurel said correctly, shipping is based upon size and on weight. It'll be a lot cheaper to ship the WR.

    Fuel mileage will likely be better with the WR. My 990 is getting about 40 mpg when I'm just cruising around 4K rpm. I would imagine the WR would get better than that and every dollar saved will help.
    #11
  12. Girthy Knobkers

    Girthy Knobkers Running on reserve

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    KLR, outfit accordingly and go.
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  13. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    He didn't ask to sip Kool-Aid.
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  14. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Comfort....

    This is huge for an extended trip. This is a must. A marriage of man and machine.
    If you don't need big miles-per-day, then both bikes are on the table.

    I suggest setting up the 250 and going on a trip....before this biggy trip.
    Learn if this fits your groove...or not.

    Sword or a knife...:D

    The 990 might be able to out-run bad weather.
    As said before (good post), the 250 will go on top of a car roof.
    The 250's fuel mileage should be 50-60% better than the 990, and way less maintenance, and much longer tire life.
    The 990 can carry a small butchered whale with relative ease, while the 250 would be in prison labor staus under the same load.

    Try to eliminate as many of the unknowns running around in your mind as you can, before you cut the anchor line and shove off. Natural adjustments will come quickly once you're away.

    Best to you on your trip. :thumb
    #14
  15. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    If you are going to be gone for years, you may as well buy the exact motorcycle you want new. Whatever you ride won't be worth anything when you are done, so what's a few grand in the scheme of things?

    You should read Jupiter's Travels (both books). You'll learn a lot, such as:

    1. You have to be able to pick it up out of the mud by yourself.
    2. Hard panniers break legs.
    3. Travel light.
    4. Have a reliable parts source.
    5. Plenty of cash accessable to buy your way out of jams.

    I rode a 950A for seven years and some 60k miles. All over the continent and Great White North. I bought your little 250r last year and rode the CDR, Pony Express and scouted some of the GWT in AZ and UT. The 250 is equipped to travel the same places I rode the 950. I recently bought a KTM 690R because it is as light as my 250 and some 150lbs lighter than the twin. I equipped that bike for travelling as well, since it replaces the 950.

    Here is what I learned:

    1. Smaller is better
    2. Comfort is important.
    3. Reliability is important, but they all have had issues that delayed me
    4. Roadside servicability is important and will be tested
    5. Handling rock gardens and mud will define rider and bike's potential
    6. Fuel range is very helpful. 200 miles range seems the minimum.
    7. Know how to operate a trail oriented GPS and make tracks on laptop

    I would not hesitate to take my 250 RTW. I would not take my old twin. The KTM 690R is great so far, but fairly unproven and parts may be an issue.

    If I were doing it, I'd look pretty hard at the new Husqvarna 650 Terra. It is a more powerful and lighter version of the BMW single. It has Sachs suspension, a wide seat and a 58hp bulletproof fuel injected motor that has been proven for years.
    #15
  16. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

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    I guess im surprised that with a RTW thread everyone is suggesting the WR without at least considering that its supposed to have premium fuel.

    Some of the fuel you get in foreign countries is super low quality (low RON or octane) and since the WR doesnt have a knock sensor, I would imagination pre-detonation is inevitable. There is a guy on the WR forums who shared a trip he took from the US all through south america- he made it back to either central america or mexico (cant remember) before the bike stopped working- needed rings and a piston. Of course, this could have been due to his air filter maintenance, or who knows- but about 30k and that engine needed rings and a piston. If you go this route, you might want to have a piston and rings ready to ship? Its amazing to me it made it 30k in those conditions and using the fuel he must have used- considering its compression ratio, that distance traveled is pretty incredible.

    The WR is definitely a reliable bike, and dont misinterpret me- if you read some of my posts around here youll see i REALLY REALLY want a WR250R but cant afford new and no used units exist in my area. The 990 seems too big to me, especially if you want to take two-track or even single track to get somewhere unique.

    I would suggest a DR650 which I think has the capacity to be perfect, but honestly the third gear blowups scare me- I should know as I own one.
    #16
  17. Shibby!

    Shibby! Long timer

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    WR250 or DR650.

    You can't rely on mail delivered items. They are last resorts and often tie you up for weeks (if not months) on end.

    Any bike will have to built for the ride. I did a 24000 KM, 4 month trip through Latin America on a XR650R. No complaints and I'm thinking about taking it to South America next. 50+MPG, and more then enough power.

    And for God sakes, don't consider a bike by how much it can carry. Use the smaller carrying ability to widdle down all the crap you don't need and want to take. WAY too many people, especailly those with monstrosity of bikes take everything under the sun and it only hinders nearly every aspect of the ride. I had about 65-70lbs of gear, spare parts, tools, first aid, laptop etc. I will reduce my weight further next trip (offset it slightly with a warmer sleeping bag and sleeping pad)
    #17