Honda Africa Twin XRV 650 RD03 or Suzuki DR 800 S

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by r1d3rg652gs, Nov 15, 2018.

  1. r1d3rg652gs

    r1d3rg652gs Tenere700

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    Hello to all beast adventure riders. I am 38 years old...5' 7" 160lbs without gear. I ride since 2012. First bike bmw g650gs, second bmw f650gs 800cc twin, and then a Ducati scrambler Icon and now a Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled. Looking for a motorbike to start learning riding off road but capable of covering distances since I am fond of adventure touring. In the future I plan to get a new adventure motorbike but my problem is that managing tall or heavy bikes is out of my riding experience league. So I think before committing to a pricey new adve bike to get a cheap one that I won't fear dropping or damage. Thank you all...the reason I got the Sled was because it is capable for light off road and because it is so manageable at Urban environment where I ride everyday. If I had better skills I'd buy a dual sport with bigger tank capacity so I can get lost into the wilderness...
    #1
  2. plumer1kt

    plumer1kt Adventurer

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    you already know my answer.i'll wait for what the others think about..:*sip*
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  3. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue Supporter

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    Learning dirt on a light bike is the way to go. I would look at the wr250 or the drz400. You can get bigger gas tanks for both.
    #3
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  4. r1d3rg652gs

    r1d3rg652gs Tenere700

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    That was my first thought back in 2012 and even earlier but looking at the prices now they feel more expensive those lighter bikes and damn too tall...
    #4
  5. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue Supporter

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    Lowering link?

    XT250?
    #5
  6. r1d3rg652gs

    r1d3rg652gs Tenere700

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    Others have expressed their views...so share your opinion with us...
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  7. plumer1kt

    plumer1kt Adventurer

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    RD03 is my choice but it's difficult to find one in good condition,and you will have problems finding spare parts as most of them are NLA after almost 30 years ...
    question:do you really want the africa look?Or you are satisfied with the nature of the bike.
    #7
  8. r1d3rg652gs

    r1d3rg652gs Tenere700

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    I need a 2 cylinder bike that is capable of medium off road prowess but also not heavier than 210kgs...tough call...to have a 20-25 liter tank on a twin and have a weight @ 210kgs...
    #8
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  9. r1d3rg652gs

    r1d3rg652gs Tenere700

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    In the end I will have to sacrifice one cylinder and go for a f650gs Dakar or a Honda dominator with acerbis tank...
    #9
  10. plumer1kt

    plumer1kt Adventurer

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    RD03 frame & engine.
    19 lt fuel tank
    193 kg without fuel (or 185 without cat)
    a bike that feels lighter when riding,off road capable(like the dommie) ,good for urban use,acceptable on highway (like the africa's) and as standard low enough for your height to manage.
    and at a very good price here.

    if that's ok with you just look at my avatar...
    #10
  11. r1d3rg652gs

    r1d3rg652gs Tenere700

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    RD03 Honda transalp? I thought rd03 was the Africa but there is a dominator rd03 so why not a Honda transalp...how many CC's?
    #11
  12. plumer1kt

    plumer1kt Adventurer

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    no! the XLV650 (RD10/11) engine and frame is the same with the XRV650 (RD03)
    the XLV650 is actually a RD03 with wheels-brakes-suspension of the 98-99 XLV600 wrapped with italian design fairing.
    this bike is exactly what you are seeking, a twin cylinder,not to heavy , capable off road ,cheap bike that you can manage .
    as a reference ,the single bmw feels way heavier than the transalp and they have the same seat height .
    remove the catalyst (this is a MUST)to unleash engine power and drop the fuel consumption at around 5,5 lt/100 km on mixed conditions
    a set of fork and shock springs for your weight (george at K-skock can help you out),a new handlebar and a pair of 50/50 tires and there won't be a place in greece that you can't go!
    give it a try and drive one...i'm sure there is one in your neighborhood.
    cheers!
    #12
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  13. r1d3rg652gs

    r1d3rg652gs Tenere700

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    I will have to get a new fairing since I am not fan of the transalp aesthetics. Is there any hrc version? Are the ones with the golden rims any different?
    #13
  14. plumer1kt

    plumer1kt Adventurer

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    you asked...
    i asked......
    the answer...
    650-transalp-2006-700px.jpg
    ....
    there is NO 650 with golden rims.
    no HRC version.But there are decals...
    seek your answer here ,there are transalp's with the africa look or rally fairings
    or continue your search for a cheap,not too tall, twin @210 kg wet with a rally fairing... that you won't fear to drop...
    #14
  15. r1d3rg652gs

    r1d3rg652gs Tenere700

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    I think Boano have a fairing and maybe perfect fairings...thank you in any case. The exchange of views are always productive and helpful.
    #15
  16. 97707

    97707 Vulture capitalist

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    Honda Africa Twin, XRV 650 RD03 or Suzuki DR 800 S


    Hmm. The AT is apples and oranges compared to those other two.

    Curious, can you still find an XRV 650 in Europe? It would be a 30 year old machine, wouldn't it? Is Honda still supporting it with parts?

    The last DR 800 would have rolled off the line in the mid ninties, I think. So it's be around 25 years old. You can still find them and get parts?


    "I need a 2 cylinder bike that is capable of medium off road prowess but also not heavier than 210kgs...tough call...to have a 20-25 liter tank on a twin and have a weight @ 210kgs..."

    There are plenty newer more common bikes that meet those specs. 'Course I'm talking about what we see in the US. Don't know about Greece.

    .
    #16
  17. Local Machine

    Local Machine Been here awhile

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    I maybe wrong but I think those DR bikes had a flaw with there clutch basket. I am not 100% sure on that, just sayin'
    #17
  18. Dutch idiot

    Dutch idiot Crazy, not stupid

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    I would say Transalp 600. Bombproof and yes, Boano is making a fairing for it. Look for Pedro Mota on YouTube. The 650 plastics are a pain in the bum to remove, in comparison to the 600 and the 650 has got this Hiss thing ... but overall the 650 is a good bike. You meet the nicest of people on a Honda !!
    #18
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  19. mousitsas

    mousitsas Long timer

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    Oh well. The dr800 is a better bike off road than the aftrica and the opposite is true on the road.
    Also, the later model dr's with the single fuel tank although heavier than the twin tank models, are a very good candidate for a project bike as it is very easy to shed weight, if you are so inclined.
    However, I would buy the 800 only on two conditions (same goes for the old africa),
    a) I felt an irrational attraction to the bike (like I am and own two of them)
    or/and
    b) I found one in very good condition AND dirt cheap.

    Otherwise, you are much better off with a much smaller and lighter dirt bike for dirt riding. Go old school and spend little on bikes like xr400, xr250, ttr250, dr650, drz etc, or ideally a dr350 but unfortunately the 350's are very scarse in greece these days. That 350 motor is the best single ever built, if you take into account all aspects of ownership bar racing. These days it lives in the beta alp 4.0 which is a tremendous bike and would definitely be my first pic for a dirt focused all rounder, but you can only find it new at a rather steep price.

    Finally, if you are after a large adv bike and you do not have the aforementioned irrational affiliation to the 800, go for the transalp 650 over the other two. Not only you can find them in bargain prices in greece but they actually are the twins the africa never was; lighter, better tourers and a lot easier to ride off road due to size and weight.

    Edit. Missed the fact that you are refering to 650 africa, which I have never ridden and hence I cannot comment upon.
    #19
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  20. mousitsas

    mousitsas Long timer

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    One more thing. The sled and a bike like the transalp have a lot more in common than you might think. On the other hand, neither of the two will ever offer you the essence of simplicity and go-anywhere nirvana that a lighter single will.
    #20