What is the best bike for a two ride to S. America?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Chihuahuamaster, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. Chihuahuamaster

    Chihuahuamaster n00b

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    Hello all, I am new to the forum and riding in general, and I recently purchased a Suzuki Burgman 400 scooter. I am quite happy with it because it is comfortable for two up riding.

    After reading some of the marvelous trip reports here (specifically Jammin through the Global South), my wife and I are thinking of taking a two up trip to S. America, as she has family down there we would like to visit.

    What would be the best all around bike to take us down there? We are looking for something that would be easy and cheap to maintain with parts availability and that would handle the roads.

    Japanese made bikes are preferable as I have heard good things regarding their reliability.

    I have looked into the KLR and DR 650, but everybody says these are one up motorcycles. I like the Honda Africa Twin for two up riding, but it is not available in the U.S. and importing one would be rather expensive I imagine.

    Any other suggestions/experiences would be appreciated.
    #1
  2. cu260r6

    cu260r6 Been here awhile

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    It really depends on how long you plan to travel for. If you have less than 3-4 months you'll hardly have to stray from the pavement, so almost anything would be fine. Keep in mind you'll be traveling at highway speeds much of the time, so a KLR or DR650 will really, really be struggling to maintain any real speed uphill with 2ppl and gear. A 21in front wheel isn't totally necessary, so I'd wouldn't rule out larger bikes like the Suzuki DL1000 and similar bikes.

    If you have more than 4-6 months you can really get into the boondocks and off the beaten path into some of the trickier areas. A KTM 990, the new Yamaha Tenere, or perhaps a BMW 800GS would be my choice if cost was no option.

    Make sure no matter what you get you and your wife can pick it up when it's fully loaded with fuel and gear and it's fallen downhill with the wheels above horizontal. I've never understood why people chose to take a BMW1200GS that weighs 700lbs with fuel, panniers, and gear. Bikes like that are so much more difficult to lift as well as ride though mud/sand than lighter bikes.

    Support and parts are not really a concern. Most of the people that break down are riding extraordinarily high mileage bikes, or they fail to do proper preventative maintainance before they leave. I rode a KTM 640 adventure with really high mileage, and the only real failure I had was a blown shock seal which I stupidly avoided replacing before I left even though I knew it was leaking.
    #2
  3. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    We ride the big BMWs because they're the most comfortable durable fast strong long range all-road dependable maintenance free affordable bikes ever.
    #3
  4. Yankee Dog

    Yankee Dog Long timer

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    If you like your Bergman, why dont you just ride it. As long as you dont want to go off roading I see no reason it wont get the job done.

    Yankee Dog
    #4
  5. AloneInTheDirt

    AloneInTheDirt Rural Bandit

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    Yamaha TDM 900
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  6. Chihuahuamaster

    Chihuahuamaster n00b

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    I really like the looks of the Yamaha Tenere, and it seems more than capable.

    I would ride the Suzuki Burgman 400 because it is really comfortable and has lots of storage space, but from some of the ride reports I read, it seems that you really have to go through some rough country all throughout the trip. I don't think the Burgman could handle it if it is in fact true you have to go through miles and miles of gravel. I am not sure if this type of riding is optional in order to make it to Ecuador.

    I am looking for a motorcycle that is used and widely available on Craigslist, and I think I would be hard pressed to find a good BMW or KTM where I live in SE Oklahoma.

    I have been looking into the option of the Vstrom, but don't know if it would handle the roads and two up riding. I am really not in that big of a hurry (not looking to go fast), but at the same time, I am not looking to go off road either. I have a Jeep for that here, but the high gas prices are killing me. I was even thinking of trading my Jeep for a motorcycle. Hopefully, there are plenty of interesting things to see staying on pavement.

    Have people gone on Cruiser type bikes down south as well? Just wondering because that would open up more options for me even though I really prefer the looks of the adventure type bikes. It seems like we are rather limited in the Adventure Touring category of bikes here in the U.S.

    Any other suggestions available with the new information I have provided? Thanks for the help.
    #6
  7. AloneInTheDirt

    AloneInTheDirt Rural Bandit

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    As far as I know. You always have the pavement option... everywere.
    What you should consider is spares availability on the places you´re going. Because bikes do brake in shuch long rides. BMW and KTM are very rare in south america. You should go for a Yamaha or Honda. You'll find spares and people capable of reparing them pretty much everywere.
    Cruiser is a very viable option.
    #7
  8. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

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    Suzuki wee strom. Capabile, comfortable, realible, simple, cheap and great gas mileage/range.

    Oil change, 15 min's. Regular gas and decent ground clearance
    Put a wilbours spring on the rear shock before you go.
    #8
  9. srileo

    srileo dot Indian snakecharmer

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    For 2-up, the Weestrom is more than sufficient. I rode down to Costa Rica and back on mine and it did great. You'll rarely need the power of the 1000.



    #9
  10. cu260r6

    cu260r6 Been here awhile

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    +1, The more I think about it this is my suggestion too. You could spend $10k on a new 800GS or KTM 990 and another couple $k outfitting it, or you could save at least 60% by buying a used 650 v-strom that's already kitted out. You would't miss the more expensive bikes a bit. :D
    #10
  11. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Central America is completely different from Sputh America. A 650 would be ok from Mexico to Panama (as long as you stay off the toll roads cuz no way will a two-up 650 keep up). South of Colombia you'll be hating a 650, especially when you get to the thousands of miles of desert and pampas. Climbing in Colombia and Ecuador you need power to be able to quickly and safely pass lumbering trucks and buses.

    Don't go without fuel injection. Colombia starts at 8000 feet. Peru and all the Andes are into the 15,000s. Carbs starve.

    Fuel availabity is SA is an issue. You can survive with a 200 mile maximum range, but expect days of delays unless you can go at least 300 miles. Read the SA ride reports to see how difficult fuel availability can be.

    Finally, ask the riders who've done it two-up.
    #11
  12. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Max,
    A Wee 650 is much different that a thumper 650.
    On road, and one-up, it'll not lose sight of the tail lights of your 1100, one up.
    They will buzz the roadways in fine fashion.

    Their ground clearance sucks sweaty goat balls, but they really will fly at speed.

    A great motor.
    #12
  13. Dan Man

    Dan Man ex-adventurer

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    I've been moto camping with my Wee for 4 months now and couldn't agree more! I've heard my center stand hit too many times.
    #13
  14. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    The Wee is terrific. If I was riding to Panama and for some reason couldn't take my 1100, I'd take a Wee. Maybe even for SA. But not SA two-up. I like power.
    #14
  15. wheatwhacker

    wheatwhacker It's raining here

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    Nothing a $75 spring cannot solve, my man.
    If you can suggest a more realible bang for the buck bike for 2 up riding, I'd like to hear your suggestions.
    A thumper can carry 2 people, but will not carry all the gear needed for an extended trip and be comfy. Any bike he chooses will be heavy due to aprox 300-350LB's of human cargo plus gear. The 1000 would be nice but the 650 is capable plus better fuel range.
    Maybe a triumph tiger or GS1100/1150 for value for money but the Jap bike will be way more realible.
    #15
  16. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    You guys should come to the Latin America Rider Rallye's.

    Ushuaia Riders Bike Choices:

    Gato Gato: BMW F650
    Dave G: BMW F650
    Me: BMW R1100GS
    Dr. Benny: KLR
    Nightflyer: Yamaha XTZ 750. Didn't make it w/bike to Ushuaia. Spent more time doing bike repairs than riding. Temporarily abandoned bike in Rio Gallegos, and hitch hiked 500 miles to Ushuaia.
    Lucio: 2-up from New York to Sao Paolo on a 1000 Vee

    I met Brian and Marie in Bogota, 2-up on a BMW R1100GS. They had some trouble with theirs, but Brian kept saying no other bike could put up with them. They went around the world on it for two years.

    In Buenos Aires I met a few other Ushuaia riders. Lazerjock was the only guy on a Japanese bike: a 1000 Vee. He said in Patagonia in the wind he got less than 30 mpg. I also got 30 mpg. He could barely make it from gas station to gas station, but he loved his bike.

    I haven't met Nina and Trevor, but that doesn't mean they didn't ride to Ushuaia on a KTM 990. I think they had a water pump problem but nothing more.

    Dave G is starting his RTW on Tuesday in Thailand on a 400 DRZ. He knows what he wants to do and where he wants to go, hence the dirt bike. It's not a 2-up RTW machine.

    Read the Latin America Ride Reports for more information.
    #16
  17. zer0space1

    zer0space1 n00b

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    Get A Ural Sidecar Motorcycle. If you don't have a lot of Riding experience they are a pretty quick learn. They go everywhere,not very fast, but everywhere. They are Easy to repair, Cheap to service, almost anything is replaceable, roadside. Besides you and your wife can take turns "riding Monkey" and napping in the Sidecar while the other drives :ricky
    I am planning a Cross Country trip on mine next year doing a large Chunk of the TAT.
    they also get a lot of second looks, if your into that :lol3
    #17