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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JMo (& piglet), Apr 16, 2018.
Yeah, you should get away from all that red dirt and stop signs
Yes be way to many stop signs where I am. Been S.W. US , Baja and Mexico many times. Riding Mexico is the best. People wonderful. Ski bum stop by here sometime.
Yeah Pete, did you know ITsteve before he passed away?
No. Is he from pei?
Yeah, he lived in Sunnyside, he was killed in a head on in 2009 a week after leaving my house at the Skibum Soiree. He spent a lot of time on RTR and the Nova Scotia forums.
Was the crash on pei? I do consider it one of the most dangerous places in North America to ride. In fact more dangerous then Mexico. I feel safer in Mexico. We should get together sometime for a peddle. Take care.
He was on his way to the NL ferry coming from Rose Blanche and apparently crossed the center line on a blind turn.
Definitely we'll try to catch up one of these days.
First of all, thank you for this amazing ride report and all the work and information you have published elsewhere - you are a true inspiration.
In fact, you've inspired my girlfriend and me so much that we are looking to invest in two lightweight adventure bikes in the not too distant future.
It will be our first bikes and we plan to wear down our first sets of tires on the backroads of the UK, Scandinavia and Northen Europe -
hopefully adding deeper treads and more gravel to each set of new tires as our skills develop.
We have narrowed it down to two bikes: the BMW 310gs and Honda CB500X
Regardless of which bike we chose, we plan to eventually ´Rally Raid´ them quite extensively, so in this regard the potential of each bike is equal.
We are aware of how you (and ktmmitch) compare the two bikes when fully RR kitted and I'm sure we would be happy with either one.
However, we have to consider other factors in our purchasing decision such as dealer location, warranty, dealer 'quality' and of course price.
I am not going to shock you or the international readership with the exact prices of motorcycles here in our little Viking utopia, seeing that the important point
is solely that in our country at least, there is a not insignificant price difference between the Bavarian baby and the Japanese gem :)
This price difference actually means that we would be able to outfit our potential BMWs with Rally Raid suspension, spoked wheels and an engine guard before hitting the price of the dearer Honda.
So then, my question is, disregarding other factors, is a Rally Raided BMW 310GS going to walk all over a stock Honda CB500x in terms of capabilities?
I don´t know how much you´ve ridden the CB500X in stock form, but you seem like the most obvious person to ask this potential 'buylemma'
Thank you for your thoughts in advance, I'll invite others to chime in if they are able to offer a comparison.
(The best option would, of course, be to buy your 310GS, but it´s a bit far away and we need two )
Hi Michona - thank you for your kind words, and I feel honoured that I've entertained and inspired you both to look at these smaller ADV bikes!
First of all, I understand price is always a contributory factor when choosing any [pair of] bike/s, and based on your question, there is no doubt that for all-terrain and rougher off-road use, the Rally-Raided G310GS is a handy tool in anyone's hands - and if you're comparing it's capabilities to the stock CB500X, then yes - while not exactly 'walk all over', it is going to be significantly easier to ride and better prepared for, more serious off-road terrain than a stock CB500X - not least the extra ground clearance and 17/19" wheels the BMW comes with as standard compared to the current model CB500X - and certainly the Rally-Raid/Tractive suspension [even if you choose the LEVEL 1 standard/travel version] is a huge improvement over the stock suspenders on either machine.
However, as I trust you are aware, the new 2019 version of the CB does throw up an interesting prospect - it too now comes with 17/19" cast wheels cast standard (not spoked like the Rally-Raid option for either bike of course) - and a little more ground clearance as standard - although still not as much as the G310GS in standard trim.
So if you're both tall enough for the G310GS, coupled with the price difference allowing you to essentially upgrade the wheels and suspension and add things like an engine guard and barkbusters etc. - basically the spec of my bike in the report above - then straight away, the BMW would appear to suit your needs more readily, and it's overall geometry and weight means it ought to be that little bit easier to manage off-road too.
That said, the Honda 471cc twin is the heart of what makes that bike/package such a great ADV all-rounder - the extra power, refinement and higher-speed fuel economy means it is far more relaxed and 'appropriate' for shelping huge miles on the highway to get to where your 'real' adventure might start... once you add the LEVEL 2 kit to the Honda (and particularly if you are considering the new 2019 CB500X, where the cost of the full conversion is likely to be slightly cheaper due to some parts no longer being required), I still say it is the best multi-purpose ADV bike out there - it doesn't give up much (or anything if you're used to riding them both) to the 310GS off-road, other than you are aware the Honda is a slightly physically heavier machine and that it's geometry lends itself to a more careful and considered approach to off-road riding, while the GS does allow you to rag it around a bit more aggressively if conditions allow/dictate.
As I suggested on the previous page - ultimately the bike is only part of your whole 'adventure' experience - once you actually get on the road, and trail... so often people seem to get hung-up on their bike specification, rather than look at their own skills - and fundamentally what it is they actually want out of travelling off the beaten track by motorcycle?
So in that regard, it sounds like either bike will suit your needs - I'd choose the Honda if larger mileage/longer days were a key part of the plan; but if you've got the time to take a bit more time and choose the more tougher technical route, then a Rally-Raided GS is tough to beat.
Hope that helps!
Not to muddy the waters, but as these will be your first bikes, I would add the Honda CRF250 Rally to your short list. Assuming you're not heavyweight folk and the power is sufficient for your needs, it's an alternative to the 310gs without the weight and cost of the CB500X. Light weight, reliable, 21/18 spoked wheels and practically the only upgrade some owners consider is the rear suspension, which is under-sprung for anyone over about 175lbs. Just a thought.
Check out mine in action ...
Yes, a bit of a high-jack of this thread, sorry!
Don't buy a KTM 640 Adventure as your first bikes unless you're 8 feet tall as the 37 inch seat height will leave you wimpering in fear being that far from the ground. I don't know if it's the tallest bike out there but it has to be close.
Thank you for the swift and very comprehensive reply Jenny! Trying to be rational about buying a motorcycle is like searching for a unicorn indeed :)
Our next step will be to arrange some thorough test rides on both bikes, taking them to the terrain we are most likely to ride in the future.
At that point we should probably try to feel more than think, maybe discovering that the less sensible parts of our brains have a preference for one engineering marvel over the other.
Height is not really much of a concern for us, so regardless of which bikes we end up with, we would likely opt for the 'taller' RR setups.
Oh yes, I am aware - as others have suggested it almost seems like Honda have watched some of your videos as well
We visited our local Honda dealer last week and they will have the bikes available in a few weeks. Unfortunately, the sales guy was pretty sure that the new model would see a price hike (of roughly £600) putting it even further away from a new 310GS.
The improvements seem exciting though, especially if comparing the two bikes as standard, where the new 2019 CB now seems to match the 310GS better in terms of traveling offroad straight off the showroom floor. We are equally excited for John and RR to take delivery of the new model, hopefully making the journey to a LVL2 CB a little shorter.
We agreed with the dealer to take out a couple of bikes in the coming month, testing the new model back-to-back against the "old" (buying two well-mantained Hondas is definitely an option = more £ for RR)
Since we are able to ride the standard bikes and many others might be able to answer more basic questions, I will try and keep further questions more aimed towards your experience with the RR bikes and maybe even succeed in asking you questions you've not answered before :)
I understand that the Honda is superior when it comes to eating up highway miles, but how would you compare the two RR bikes in tarmac twisties? I've seen your video of you riding the 310GS on 'The tail of the dragon' and while enjoyable, it was in 2x speed and with no sound.
On a road such as that, does the extra power of the Honda win the day or would you pick the lighter 310GS and fight/enjoy keeping the revs up?
Also inspired by one your videos, but this time the other way around, would you have had a significantly easier time taking the 310GS on the infamous Rubicon trail? We don't have any of the skills for such a challenge yet, but we are fast learners and it sure looks like 'fun' :)
Lastly, when doing a short test ride of the 310GS a few months back, I stalled it a few times. I understand I'm not unique in that regard and have also gathered that the gearing of the 310GS can make it difficult to ride slowly.
I read people have, and I've seen you talk about, changing the front sprocket. Did you ever come around to doing that and did it improve the slow speed feel and 'stalling proneness'? We both consider this 'issue' our biggest concern about the 310GS.
I hear you :) I am sure we would have fun on any bike and especially either of the two we are discussing. I apologize if we come off as overly ambitious and detail oriented, one could actually get the impression that we don't see motorcycles as the fun and irrational part of our lives
Wroom wroom/ Michona
Appreciate your input, I actually do have a soft spot for that Honda (as well), but as explained in my previous post, we have to consider a number of factors specific to us and in the case of the CRF250 Rally it actually has to significantly outshine both the BMW and the CB500X, seeing that around here, it is actually the most expensive bike of the three! I understand its appeal and would love to have one, but it's 33% more expensive than the BMW and we buying two.
Such price differences can make it hard to compare bikes, or rather their value, in a wonderfully international forum such as this. Another suggestion for us price conscious newcomers might be the rather charming Royal Enfield Himalayan. I've seen several international reviews of it being pitted against the 310GS and the Himalayan often comes out on top, especially in India where both bikes are produced. However, many reviews heavily rely on the Himalayan's value, often stating that the otherwise applaudable BMW is severely overpriced. Why? In India, the Royal Enfield is roughly half the price of the 310GS.
Easy, let's get a couple of Himalayans then. Not likely - around here, they are priced the roughly the same as a new 310GS.
We are not all about price, but we do have to consider what any extra initial cost can buy us in upgrades - upgrading a 310GS or CB500X is relatively less costly for us compared to other markets. Rally Raiding an already "overpriced" Indian 310GS might almost double the price of the machine, whereas we are looking more at stock machine + 1/3.
This is also why I initially asked Jenny about comparing a stock bike against an upgraded one, something you (obviously) rarely see in mainstream reviews etc.
Come over to the UK to RR factory and test ride both G310GS and CB500X
Hi Michona - no problem, always happy to help - I'll chop your original post up into paragraphs to help simplify the answers...
Yes, I think you're on the right track there - certainly I've only ever bought a bike based on the way it makes me feel, and almost always without even riding one first!
I very rarely give a second thought to the on-paper spec of any bike in that regard, after all - it's just a bag of bolts, and if there is something about it you don't particularly get on with - you can almost always modify/upgrade it it to improve that element, particularly in the adventure/dual-sport market. But I do like the way any bike makes me feel - which is why I personally pay attention to the way it looks as well as rides (my various HRC inspired paintwork on my CB, and the tail-chopped 'aggressive' stance of the G310GS in this thread)...
It will be interesting to see what the final price of the new CB is in your particular market - in the UK it's gone up from (as I recall) an RRP of £5699 to £6069 for the ABS version - which I suspect is broadly what your dealer is suggesting, based on exchange-rate/import duty for Denmark I presume?
As a comparison, the G310GS is going to be pretty much a thousand pounds cheaper in the UK.
Yes, as I mentioned at the beginning of this thread, the G310GS in standard travel spec (hence my reason for choosing the LEVEL 1 suspension kit on this bike) is pretty much the same geometry as the LEVEL 2 CB500X is - that is 17/19" wheels, 170mm front and rear travel, 9.25" ground clearance, 56" wheelbase... (note. the G310GS has slightly more ground clearance, a little under 10" under the engine guard on my bike, coupled with an inch lower seat).
In comparison the new 2019 model CB500X as standard gives you the same size wheels now, but only 150mm travel and correspondingly around 8" ground clearance, and also an inch longer wheelbase - so essentially somewhere between the current standard CB500X and the G310GS or our LEVEL 2 spec for the current CB500X.
But hey, we're starting to get hung-up on numbers here aren't we?! ;o)
The RR Honda nails the kind of riding in the Tail of the Dragon video too (I also rode it back in 2015 on the Giant Loop CB500X of course) - and if you're familiar with that road, then the limiting factor is the tightness and frequency of the turns, and thus the grip of your tyres and the ability to carry your corner-speed - therefore most bikes don't have a much higher average speed over then length of it, other than some powerful sports-bikes that might have an edge in out-of-corner acceleration.
So for a comparison between the G310 and CB500 on that particular road (or similar), there would be very little in it - yes the CB does have more 'grunt' (torque) to pull it out of corners, but equally you can wring the GS out at high revs, and both flick-flack well though corners - so I wouldn't say I could ride it appreciably faster on either machine.
In fact I imagine the only thing appreciably faster over that 11 miles would be some kind of supermoto on sticky tyres, or possibly 600-1000 Super-sport bike if you're a good rider... ultimately, it's more local knowledge and a bit of luck that gives you a good run on the Dragon - as many who have gone at it full pelt first time have found out to their cost.
Hee hee - anything smaller and lighter would have been easier on that trail for sure... it is not a trail for twin cylinder bikes (the only other twin I know that has completed the Rubicon was an excellent rider on his a KTM 990, and even then he struggled in parts too - there is/was a video of that somewhere and/or a thread somewhere here on ADVrider too I recall).
Certainly there were a couple of times during this trip on the G310GS (in the Abajo mountains in southern Utah for example - and in the following days when Juan and I rode the Triple in Moab) that I felt I'd 'got away with it' in regard to not dropping the dead weight of the bike in the same way as I might have done had I made a mistake on the Honda... however, the Honda's engine is very forgiving at low-revs, with a lot more torque at tick-over and less of a propensity to cough-stall (almost impossible in fact) compared to the GS - so you can get away with a lot on the Honda and it actually tends to flatter your clumsy technique.
Ultimately as I always say about the Honda, it's only heavy when you have to pick it up - and I trust as you saw from the Rubicon sub-video, the CB is pretty easy to lift - well, the first few times at least... try doing it hour after hour and it starts to become a chore I can tell you!
So yes, the G310 does feel lighter in that regard (noticeably, although not significantly I'd suggest), and would be less fatiguing over a long arduous day on a rocky trail like the Rubicon - but equally, the CB500X has wonderful traction (on the right tyres and with the RR suspension) so mistakes are mercifully rare I've found.
I'd suggest if you want a crack at the Rubicon though, do it on something like my XT225 that Juan was riding ;o)
Yes, this is one of the first things I noticed when I first started riding the G310GS off road - the stock gearing of 16/41 felt very high - great for higher-speed fuel-economy perhaps (a typcial BMW trait), but almost as if there is no first gear for off-road if you see what I mean?
Initially there were no smaller front sprockets available, so I bought a 43T rear sprocket (for a 1990s Aprilia Pegaso - it has the same bolt PCD) which also required me to purchase a longer chain unfortunately - that had the effect of raising the revs about 500rpm at 70mph, but gave me a noticeably better low gear in first - and I recall I said at the time that it would have been tough going riding over Imogene Pass in Colorado had I not fitted the lower gearing beforehand.
Subsequently, when a 15T front sprocket became available, I changed back to the OEM rear sprocket (41T) and fitted the 15T front which essentially has the same effect, but you don't require a new chain of course. I'd say it's the best mod for this bike if you plan to ride it off road, at the expense of about 5mph off the top comfortably cruising speed/fuel economy.
note. my bike still hit 83mph on that lower 15/41 gearing, and on TKC80 tyres with my luggage - but as I mention above, you are basically doing around 500rpm more for a given speed in top gear now.
No worries! - and certainly I hope I'm not discouraging you from choosing [a pair of] the GS - it's great fun bike, that can clearly handle some pretty technical trail riding and also dispatch many high-hundred miles days on the highway if needs be.
Essentially it's a 'CB500X lite' if you like - lighter in weight (by around 25Kg), but also down in power and torque, and one whole cylinder of course!
As I've suggested earlier in this thread, and also in the other GS specific threads here on ADVrider - essentially John [at Rally-Raid] was looking to offer customers a lighter-weight (and slightly cheaper) option to the CB500X that we'd developed, something that was perhaps a touch more 'sporty' too with regard to how you might ride it - ie. something to ride to the trails, then ride along with your friends on their more focussed dual-sport machines, and not get left behind... So in that regard, the GS is probably more suited as a 'weekender' than a 'round-the-worlder' as it were - and something that a lot of people, if they're honest with themselves, would probably find more suitable and less intimidating than the bigger ADV bikes are, for the vast majority of the time.
Hope that helps!
The buying decision here in Alberta is obviously a different proposition as the 250 Rally MSRP = $6,499 and the 310 GS = $6,550.
Like I said - it was just a thought.
Thanks John, that might well be the most tempting offer I have gotten from a member of my own sex in quite a few years
However, we want to fully appreciate the Rally Raid transformation and thus ride the bikes as more or less as stock in the beginning.
That being said, I am in no way opposed to our inaugural motorcycle trip abroad being to the British Isles with a very deliberate stop around Wollaston.
I'm sure it would end up being a rather expensive trip, but hey, we would save on shipping costs and maybe even learn a bit.
Thank you for another impressively elaborate response Jenny, your input is very much appreciated.
However, no amount of reading or youtube watching, hell not even your excellent advice, has swung the vote so far.
Spring has almost arrived and so has the new CB500X (with no price increase BTW!). So both the weather and we are warming up to a BMW/Honda showdown.
Thankfully, I don't believe either bike would be the wrong choice and we just look forward to getting out riding.
I apologize for not acknowledging your very useful reply before now, but I've been quite surprised to be afforded such comprehensive answers to my inquiries.
Having no bike and very little experience makes it oddly overwhelming to contribute, but of course, we hope to see that change in the future.
Denmark may not offer much in terms of epic riding, but should you find yourself in our old kingdom, we would be happy to host you.
I'm happy to help Michona - particularly in my own threads like this one in which I've already invested a lot of time, as I appreciate those reading are likely to have any number of questions - and generally, anything asked and answered is likely to be of interest to others reading the thread too.
With regard to the CB vs GS question (which comes up a lot as you might imagine, due to my experience with both machines from the outset), as you suggest - both are great smaller/lighter ADV bikes, and depending on your personal priories either would suit you just fine I'm sure!
Have fun test-riding - winter is receding!