Havier and more powerful bike or a lighter less powerful one?

Discussion in 'Moto Bellissima: All Other Dualsports' started by ducatista420, Oct 26, 2020.

  1. ducatista420

    ducatista420 n00b

    Oct 26, 2020
    So I'm planing a trip around a world as soon as the pandemic is over. I intend to ride from Eu to south afrika thrugh middle east and Kazakhstan to singapore and from Argentina to Canada.
    Currently I am choosing a bike for the job and I have narrowed my options to 3 bikes:

    1: Beta 480 rr with a rally kit, 4 gallon tank and a more comfortable seat.

    2: Yamaha t7

    3: ktm exc 500 (with the same upgrades as Beta)

    Which one should i choose?
  2. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

    Dec 23, 2007
    What is your weight/height? What is your inseam? How much luggage would you carry, can you pack light?

    Personality I would choose neither; would probably go for something like Husqvarna 701 LR, AJP PR7 or SWM Superdual. Perhaps KTM 390 Adventure, RE Himalayan or Fantic Caballero Rally.

    Here's a couple points against Beta/500:
    - being so far from home you won't be riding extreme tracks. You will be riding some very bad roads but not something you'd risk breaking bones
    - frequent oil change. It is hard to get quality oil in 3rd world and when you get some it will be likely counterfeit. OEM oil canister caps can be bought on AliExpress and money locals make on refilling used Shell or Mobil container is enough to feed them for months
    - loaded light bikes handle worse than loaded heavier bikes
    - 500 is buzzy.. not sure of Beta

    As for T7.. can you pick it up by yourself? loaded? There will be days you will be riding sand from early morning to late night, picking up bike by yourself a dozen times or if not sand it could be mud which makes unloading bike even more entertaining.

    If this no prob T7 is a good choice, along with 790 Adventure. 790 has lower center of gravity it would be easier to pick and small tank on T700 will be an issue in some areas.. just saying.
  3. Abnmike

    Abnmike Adventurer

    Apr 14, 2020
  4. danketchpel

    danketchpel Long timer

    Jun 1, 2010
    Camarillo, CA
    Here's some thoughts, and for reference I own a 2017 Beta 500 RR-S and have ridden a KTM 500 EXC. The Beta is definitely smoother, very similar to a DRZ400 in vibes.

    The biggest drawback to both the KTM and the Beta is VERY short service intervals for a bike you will be riding a very long distance. The service interval on the Beta is 2x the KTM but still only 30 hrs, the KTM is 15 hrs. Both are stupidly short for long distance riding. They also don't really pack "heavy" very well due to the strength of the subframes. The Beta subframe is plastic and the KTM only a little better.

    I think I'd choose something closer to the DR650 (~367 lbs wet) which is a pretty happy medium between light weight, sturdy enough to be a pack mule, and pretty much bulletproof with no liquid cooling to deal with or EFI, which in the far flung wilds on poor grade fuel might be a better thing. It also has simple screw adjust for the valves instead of needing shims and pulling out the cams etc. It also has enough power (~43 hp)/torque/comfort to deal with longer road sections and higher elevations while loaded down. It needs a larger fuel tank, some sort of windscreen, suitable luggage, and a bit of bike protection, all easily sourced.

    The Yamaha T7 is probably the modern upgrade from the DR650 and definitely a good choice, though roughly 85 lbs heavier (~452 lbs) apples to apples with about 2x the power (~75 hp). Nick Sanders is currently riding a T7 around the world if he hasn't finished yet. Check his YouTube videos, in particular there's one he shot in Australia where he goes over his luggage and Nav setup with some good commentary. I don't think I'd want anything heavier or more powerful than that and depending on your own strength/size might even be more than you want.

    Going lighter than the DR650 you might consider the Yamaha WR250R as it has very long service intervals, is bulletproof, and suitably sturdy. It has maybe "just enough" power depending on your loaded weight, elevation, etc and a nice 6 speed transmission. It's about 300 lbs wet and a little more than 1/2 the power (~27 hp or so) of the DR650. A DRZ400-S is still about 300 lbs with around 40 hp but a tightly spaced 5 spd transmission. Service intervals aren't too bad and it's generally bulletproof and sturdy. I rode one for 18 yrs.

    Personally I'd stay away from "exotic" brands and try to stick to something you can get parts for out in the far reaches of the places you described, and the easier to fix the better. Size, weight, manageability, reliability, would be my key factors followed by comfort then power. Sometimes a bike like a Royal Enfield Himalaya 400 can become attractive.

    Something you also might consider is how hard is it to remove the luggage from the bike if you have to pull it out of a situation by yourself?
  5. chasbmw

    chasbmw Long timer

    Feb 19, 2006
    Bath Uk
    Light, boring, reliable and cheap are all virtues for a RTW bike, cheap is good, especially if your route requires a carnet de passage. Most riding will be done at speeds of less than 50mph and a heavy bikes will get very boring in mud or sand.
    danketchpel likes this.
  6. huub

    huub Been here awhile

    May 11, 2012
    I did a couple of long overland travels in the middle east and africa, on both heavy road bikes and a KTM 600,
    nowadays i think the ideal bike for a overland trip is a cheap honda NX250 or something similar.
    27 HP is enough to get you anywhere if you are not in a hurry.
    as soon as you leave western europe , you wont need the top two gears of the Yamaha T7 , you will be carrying lots of weight around just for the sake of it.

    for me the ideal bike is something you can work on yourself, parts are available ( is there is a beta dealer in sudan? ) and it is small/cheap enough not to make you a viable target for being robbed.
    a rally kit is not really necessary , a friend did the trip with his girlfriend , together with his girlfriend on one enfield bullet 350, pulling a tiny trailer for the luggage.
    I never did travel in the US and canada , you might need a full blown cruiser over there , but in europe and africa it does not make sense to have a powerfull bike.
  7. Jeathrow Bowdean

    Jeathrow Bowdean Been here awhile

    Nov 12, 2012
    Western Canada Dream
    If I had too do a """around the world trip id pick up a few bikes of the same exact model too have on hand...

    If I need some kind of part it would be ready too be shipped too me from my home base asap,,, kind of like having a home parts supply sorce ready too go...

    Id buy 3 or 5 models,,, ship 1 too each central continent too have it forwared too the next spot ahead of my journey as a back up plan...

    Single piston carberated simple bike,,, and take it all in...
    Making prior contacts would be on my list as number 1...

    This would be easy since you have access too get too know folks from this forum that would allow you too link up with them...

    It would be nice too have host folks that are willing and interested in helping you out along the way...

    You'ld be more than welcome too hang out with us for a day or 2 """if""" you need assistance of motorcycle or a warm dry place too clean up,,, wash your gear,,, relax at your choosing,,, then when your feeling good too go we would send you on your way...

    A place too relax,,, wind down,,, tap it kool for a few days,,, then carry on... Thats what really makes it happen...

    1 human host families
    2 planning your intended routes
    3 places too land if things go south
    4 the bike
    5 the stuff too keep it running
    6 a network too supply it
    7 your self and things too benifit your needs
    8 a few back up ideas
    9 prior pre planning
    10 putting it all into play

    Give us the low down on some of this ride,,, I'm sure that lots of folks will step up too the plate """ if""" you need assistance along the way...

    Less is More,,, reliably is key,,, and planning ahead will benifit you and your ride too pull it off...

    J.T. in Western Canada