Tiger 800xc solo to Costa Rica?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by john_h, Jun 15, 2013.

  1. john_h

    john_h Adventurer

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    Hey gang,

    So I'm currently in Costa Rica tearing things up to the best of my modest ability on a rented xc 250 (ride report on my return).

    I was warned this would be addictive. Im trying to consider if either of my bikes would be appropriate for riding down from CA to costa rica solo - an 800xc, or a 97 F650. My primary concerns would be theft in guatemala or nicaragua (never been thru either solo -mexico for that matter too), and if both are simply too big to get in deep with given my modest skill level.

    Looking for the mythical 500cc japanese 6 speed 325lb dual sport bike otherwise:D
    #1
  2. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    Either bike will serve quite well for the task of getting you to Costa Rica and
    through everything en route . Simply know what the bikes are good for and stay within
    those limits, i.e. pavement and well used gravel roads. This should not be a hardship especially as you say it is your first solo ride through these countries.
    Theft is not really a major worry if you stay away from shady characters, take out the key and lock up thebike whenparking at shops, keep an eye on it ,get off the road before dark and stay in hotels with secure parking.If you are that worried about theft you cannot leave it parked at any supermarket lot in the USA either.
    Since the F650 is getting pretty old take that so you won' t fret so much about potential loss.
    #2
  3. john_h

    john_h Adventurer

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    Thx for the reply. Ive found the Honda 250 (I think its the cfr250 in the states) lagging at altitude, and have done a bit of research on the wr250r and think it would be a great bike for all roads here. The issue is the distance/highway travel comfort. I love the steep dual track roads here, but I drop bikes and dont look forward to trying to pick up 425 or 475 lbs, despite how nice they would handle on the slab. Love the fully adjustable suspension on the wrr.

    Just thinking out loud here.... as always, a trade off :)

    Sent from my GT-P3113 using Tapatalk 2
    #3
  4. BlackBeast

    BlackBeast Been here awhile

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    Ride what you have and spend the money that you would have spent on a new bike so that you can stay on the road longer.
    Theft is definitely not a concern if you use common sense. :norton
    #4
  5. john_h

    john_h Adventurer

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    Cool. Well, part of me also thinks it may be time to let go of the f650 as its somewhat redundant with the 800xc, and add a capable dirt bike to the stable that I *could* ride distance with. Interesting challenge... I do know for me the 250 has greatly boosted my riding skill level - I was surprised how well it tracked up hill. Imagine if I had one with a properly dialed in suspension... hmmmm... you guys warned me this could he addictive!
    #5
  6. airwolf732000

    airwolf732000 Adventurer

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    Hey, I am thinking about same like you. I pre order new 2014 Tiger 800XC and I am planning to travel from Chicago to San Ramon, Costa Rica where I have house with my Tica. I never ride thru too many countries, but I would like to go. I sent my car from Miami to Costa Rica 3 years ago, paid $ 700 USD for it and it takes 7 days, but when I read some riding reports I am thinking to ride bike down to Costa Rica. I don’t have any idea how much cost insurance and fuel at each country and how many days it will take, but first I need to get a bike ready and put some aftermarket parts on it, because bike will stay at Costa Rica and over there it will be more expensive to buy aftermarket parts on bike….etc. Triumph dealer is at San Jose but everything cost more than at USA. I am also thinking to make at Costa Rica ADV centers for riders who will travel there. I have at North of Costa Rica apartment at Playa del Coco, at Central Costa Rica house at San Ramon and at South Costa Rica house at Parrita ( will be finished at mid of 2014) all places will be have small garage for fixing bikes and always room for overnight stay, but I don’t know if is it a good idea.
    #6
  7. john_h

    john_h Adventurer

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    For my purposes, I'm pretty well convinced the F650 is the one that needs to go. Stupid durable (after 3 years of beating the weaknesses out of her), easy to maintain and fix, no electronics, and I simply know the bike mechanically. Plus, if i leave the bike down there, the import tax is manageable. And if something untoward happens to it, it's not a huge loss.

    I think the Tiger would be boss and a fine long-distance ride once you got the ergos dialed in. But unless you're a relatively young buck, man, you may want to have that stock suspension re-worked. Its adequate, but it is not posh - especially on uneven roads. My f650 with an ohlins rear and stock damper forks with ricor intiminators is a much smoother ride bump-wise. Leg position on the Tiger is much better, and with a proper windscreen, great wind protection. You'll likely want the stock seat rebuilt as well. But that triple would be a damn fun motor to have along for those long stretches of nothingness I figure...
    #7
  8. Scubalong

    Scubalong Been here awhile

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    If you go to trip reports, many people have ride down on motorcycle from 250 to GS1200, the tiger should be no problem, the rider is another story. :DI will check you out when I am riding down to Costa Rica next year.
    #8
  9. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    I think you're finally leaning in the right direction! :thumb
    The F650 is the way to go. Here's why (well, you already KNOW WHY! :lol3 )
    To reiterate:

    1. You know your BMW well, have worked on it and presumably have worked the bugs of out. (Plenty of 'em on that bike! :eek1)
    2. It's cost has been capitalized already. Not a huge loss if it blows or gets taken. Use a bike cover! It works!
    3. The F650 will be MUCH better getting down there on fast highways. No 250 made can come close. The F650 gets very good fuel economy .. big plus!
    4. Packing up your F650 will be much easier than a 250, smoother, faster.
    5. The Tiger 800 is overkill. A great bike, no question, but it will get hammered on such a trip, especially if you intend to explore off road. A fully loaded XC off road or MUD could get nasty. The F650 may not be as free and easy as a 250 .. but far better than a 550 lbs. XC.

    The F650 is very heavy for a single (it's about 60 lbs. heavier than my Suzuki DR650) but on the other hand ...is about 100 lbs. lighter than your loaded up Tiger XC.

    Think also about crash survival. What breaks even in a minor tip over? My guess is the F650 will sustain less damage (do fit a few guards). Of course a 250 would be even better in this regard ... but, IMHO, just too many compromises regards doing LONG days on fast roads. The F650 cruises pretty good at 65 mph to 75 mph. Once off the fast Mexican highways you may not attain those speeds. But crossing Mexico (and hopefully taking time to explore it) distances are HUGE.

    But most of all, reliability is key. I am NOT A FAN of the BMW F650 ... but hey, it's what you got so go with it. PLEASE cover all the common failures that bike has. (batteries being over charged and cooked, water pump failure, wheel and head bearing failure, shock mount failure, front forks break off (rare), funky electrics. But get it right before you go .... and follow these rules ... and I'd bet you make it without issue:
    1. New MF, sealed Battery, all elec. connections double checked, add Di-lectric grease on all plugs and connections.
    2. New DID X Ring Chain, OEM sprockets. Bring spare front sprocket. Change out to new at 8000 miles.
    3. New Tires, tubes, bring several spare tubes.
    4. Spare parts, Tool kit, spare nut/bolt kit, spare levers, bark busters.
    5. A seat for for 10 hour riding days.
    6. Soft luggage ... saves about 50 lbs. over Hard Alu boxes.
    #9
  10. john_h

    john_h Adventurer

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    Nice reply Grifter - many thanks.

    Concur with all you said.

    Yes, it's a buggy bike, but after 20k+ miles including 3 3500+ mile trips, it's proven its durability to me. It gets me there and God knows I've rattled and punished the snot out of it and done the roadside and campsite maintenance along the way. Got a long list of upgrade/hardening mods to address the common failures. I've assembled the necessary tool and spares kits - and used them. And the lovely part is that I VERY seldom have ever been needed to go to the BMW dealership for parts, and she's never been in the shop - the bro's at F650.com know every damn thing there is to know about this bike - far better than the dealership for certain.

    The Tiger would be too big once you got off the highway - the F is much easier to flick around.

    Thanks!!
    #10