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Is choosing one's first ADVish bike always this difficult?

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by Grizzlie, Jun 15, 2020.

  1. Grizzlie

    Grizzlie n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2020
    Oddometer:
    6
    Location:
    Poland
    I'm looking to switch from a cruiser/chopper to something more ADVish.
    The lure of fireroads and backroads is ever so increasingly enticing, especially with my commute to and from work having lots of opportunities to take a quick detour into a forest. I'm pretty sure my area also has areas of more challenging terrain (definitely double track, possibly single).
    I have buddies that ride stuff from an older transalp to a GS Rallye and they're near constantly telling what a blast they're having on these and other (off)roads.
    I'm torn between a few models, all widely differing from each others, namely:

    Vstrom 650 XT (would take it in leasing and have spare $$ for random stuff. Lowest ground clearance, lowest suspension travel)
    Tenere 700 (also in leasing, but my accessories would have to be strategically planned for the next 2-3 years)
    Africa Twin (a 3-4 year old AT would roughly be equivalent to a brandspanking new T7)
    Super Tenere 1200 (I'd have to make a financial squeeze to get a 3-5 year used).

    As for myself, I'm a fairly active 100-110kg young guy.
    Family life won't allow for cross Europe ADV trips. Rather the odd 400-600km once-a-year rally.
    Commute also involves small cities.
    I wonder if fireroads will be my apogee or will I yearn for more?
    And youtube isn't helping with people showing how awesomely fun the T7 is (Swedish Nomad, MAD all things tenere), but then channels like Mototrek and Steve_kamrad are handling the bigger bikes with such ease and make me drool.

    Does everyone have such a difficult entry into this world? lol
    Maybe someone has valuable food for thought?
    #1
  2. bgm1911

    bgm1911 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2019
    Oddometer:
    70
    Location:
    Denver
    In answer to your question... Yes.

    Your going to get 1000 answers to your questions, and 1000 will be different.

    The ADV class of bikes, IMO, has a serious identity crisis; just look at how manufacturers build the majority of their bikes that are supposedly purposed for off road:
    - excessive weight
    - excessive electronics
    - excessive prices to support all those excessive electronics

    I bought my Tiger 1200 XRT primarily as everyday commuter, year round. It has heated seats and grips, great for 20F days. It has lockable storage cases for valuables and any gear I can possibly need for work at the office, or changes of hiking clothes when I ride into the mountains. It can go right past those signs that say "pavement ends", what I'll never do on a sport or touring bike. Being an adventure bike, I don't care if its dirty, as opposed to my Aprilia Tuono which is always spotless.

    Personally, I will never take this bike into any aggressive off road conditions, i.e. anything more than fire roads. 575 pounds before gear, and I'll blow out my back trying to lift this thing.

    The 1200 Tiger XRT is limiting my ability to really explore Colorado, so I'm looking for something that is more suitable: primarily less weight, with proper off road tires.

    Define your primary requirements, then find a bike that hits most of those check marks.

    Good luck.
    #2
    zoo, Cruz and Husky360C like this.
  3. lithodave

    lithodave brachy850 Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    143
    We're spoiled and paralyzed by too many choices. Or, you seem to be. Good luck!
    #3
  4. Gustavo

    Gustavo Motociclista Errante

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,564
    Location:
    Sometimes in Hillsburrito
    How much off-road riding experience do you have? I understand you are a big guy, but what you see Bret Tkacs and the like him do on an R12GS takes years and many broken parts (bike and yours) to master. The smaller and lighter the bike, the easier it will be to learn those skills.

    Unless lease deals are a lot more lax in Poland than in the US, IMHO, you have to be financially insane to lease an off-road bike. It will get dropped and damaged. You will end up paying a fortune in repairs when you return it to bring it back to "normal wear and tear" that would be acceptable to any dealer (or have to pay for what they consider the cost of bringing it back to "acceptable" condition). You are much better off buying a cheaper, used bike, especially if it's your first off-road(ish) motorcycle.

    I understand that you want to commute on this bike too, so buy the smallest, lightest bike that will also work for your intended commute. Like I said above, the cheaper and more off-road biased it is, the easier it will be for you to master those off-road skills. Bonus, dirt oriented bikes crash better off-road, with less damage and lower repair costs.

    Good luck!

    Gustavo
    #4
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  5. Lewilewi

    Lewilewi Ride it like you stole it......

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2017
    Oddometer:
    3,124
    Location:
    Europe
    Really you need to be looking at tenere700

    Ktm 790 rally
    #5
  6. Brokenhorse

    Brokenhorse Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2019
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    Mountain west
    Really 3 choices. 1)exc 500 or similar for light and rough, 2) 700 or 790 for all around, 3) anything 1000 plus with all the bling and gadgets. New or used for the budget, sized to fit body and needs, realize something else is always tempting. Done, LOL!
    #6
    Lewilewi likes this.
  7. Paint Doc

    Paint Doc Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Oddometer:
    14
    Location:
    Tullahoma,TN
    I tend to agree, although I have a 650 V-Strom I’ve really enjoyed. It will handle all the gravel and dirt roads I intend to travel. I’m too old to enjoy rough single track anymore. The available Forest Service roads get me about as far in the boonies as I care to go!
    #7
    Hannda, ned37 and gehart like this.
  8. Husky360C

    Husky360C Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2020
    Oddometer:
    733
    Considering your stated use for the bike, a larger bike doesn't make sense. You've said you're going to commute, and do a longer ride only ONCE a year. Why would you choose a bike that is best suited for longer rides when you intend to do so few long rides in a year ? Either you're fixating on the bikes you think you "ought" to buy, or you have not actually thought this through.

    I contend that choosing a first adv bike is NOT that diffficult, once you've done the research and have a comprehensive grasp of which bikes are optimal for which use cases. Now, you're going to get a lot of BAD advice from people who post in this thread, and if you allow yourself to be confused by the bad advice, then it will SEEM like picking the right bike is difficult. But the only reason it will seem difficult is that you're unable to filter out that bad advice and discard it. For example : you're considering a
    Super Tenere : The Super Tenere is a VERY heavy bike and it is suited for long trips. You're not going to do a lot of long trips, and that makes the positive attributes of the Super Tenere irrelevant in your search. So you should immediately discard the Super Tenere from consideration, because IT IS MUCH TOO HEAVY. The Africa Twin is too heavy also, as is the Suzuki 650 Vstrom. Of the bikes you mentioned only the Yamaha T700 is worthy of consideration for what you want to do, and it's really too heavy also.

    I think you'd be best served by a single cylinder bike. The Suzuki DR650 would be the bike I suggest. It will do your commute and be much easier to ride on the dirt roads than the heavy bikes you're friends ride. Lighter is always better when you leave the pavement. If you want more performance than the DR650 has, take a look at the 2019 or newer KTM 690. I'd avoid the KLR 650, it is a poor performing overweight mediocre bike that does not do anything well, and though many people own a KLR, it is no less mediocre because it has been sold in large numbers. A KLR is underpowered, has shit suspension, shit brakes, and weighs far too much. A KLR is no more a an excellent motorcycle than a hamburger from McDonald's is a an excellent hamburger.
    #8
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  9. Gedrog

    Gedrog 1000 mile stare a 1000 stories to tell

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2013
    Oddometer:
    3,510
    Location:
    Lost in the Sahara
    I would not buy a new bike as a first bike for ADV Riding a budget of 2K- 4K Euro's 4K€ should be the max because you are going to drop it a lot and break parts and depending on the level damage it could be out of action for months.

    I got an BMW F650 Dakar because it was cheap and I was willing to drop it without worrying, loving it, good on the road not perfect off-road, but after upgrading the suspension I was extremely happy with it.
    It is a pig to wrestle but i don't care if I drop it, it is also not my primary bike, as it has happened the Dakar have been out of action for months at times as I repair bad damage because I was taking it places it had no business being.
    #9
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  10. Grizzlie

    Grizzlie n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2020
    Oddometer:
    6
    Location:
    Poland
    Experience? The odd drive-through-a-dirt-road because the asphalt ended :D (and BMW test rides. But both are basically nill).

    The lease here would be for 'company usage' with end of term ownership. I may have access to lax deal ;)

    I see the T7 is winning the bid.
    #10
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  11. Husky360C

    Husky360C Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2020
    Oddometer:
    733

    The 650 Vstrom is by far the best value for the money in multi cylinder adventure bikes today.

    But if you can spend more, the Yamaha T700 or KTM 790R will provide a significantly better riding experience off road, and the KTM does pretty well on the road too.
    #11
  12. Barnaby'sDad

    Barnaby'sDad Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2019
    Oddometer:
    407
    Location:
    Virginia
    Once you define your intended use (you’ve done that) and budget, the choices start to be whittled down. Ex. You commute, but if you aren’t going to be spending time on the highway...I’d go for a lighter bike.

    If you’re mostly wanting to ride off-road, keep the cost and weight down. As was said...you’re going to drop it. From experience...I can say that:

    - It feels better to drop a $5k bike than a $10k bike.

    - It’s easier to pick up a 440lb bike than a 550lb one.

    No highway time...I wouldn’t even go as big as a DL650/V Strom 650. Weight wise...I’d want it to be lighter than even a T7 or KLR if you’re going to be dropping it and picking it up.
    #12
  13. tricky.

    tricky. Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2013
    Oddometer:
    162
    Don’t forget a lot of people providing advice here are from a US perspective.

    Non us available bikes such as the Xt660z, KLE500, transalp etc. offer good cheap introductions too.

    Given weight, experience and if you’re doing mostly road a used f800gs or a KTM 990 (if you’re mechanically inclined) are good used options with a little less weight. I would also agree with others the best off-road bike is the one you won’t cry about when it gets scratched and can pick up solo!
    #13
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  14. Grizzlie

    Grizzlie n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2020
    Oddometer:
    6
    Location:
    Poland
    ADV-style bikes were never an interest of mine (until now). But those bikes are so popular here and I've heard those names being thrown around so often, that I'm amazed they are not available over in the US. I thought it was a given that they would be literally everywhere.
    #14
  15. Husky360C

    Husky360C Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2020
    Oddometer:
    733

    The Tenere 660 would cost too much for the US market and it's a very heavy bike for a single. It probably would not sell well in the US.
    #15
  16. jfauerba

    jfauerba Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2015
    Oddometer:
    456
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    Versys-X 300 if you want below 400lbs, FI, ABS or not, 19" front wheel, easy on gas, 80+mph, does fine on pavement and gravel depending on the tires.
    #16
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  17. Jabba

    Jabba "HOLD THE LIGHT!!!"

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2002
    Oddometer:
    13,042
    Location:
    Just east of the Pine Beatle- Evergreen, CO
    LOVE my Super Tenere- but I would never recommend it as a first ADV. While it is highly capable offroad, it's a big heavy beast- and if you're building your offroad skills, you're gonna be dropping it- potentially on yourself- and having to pick it up. Go for something sub 400 lbs.
    #17
  18. turtlespeed

    turtlespeed Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Oddometer:
    444
    Location:
    NJ
    how about Honda CB500x with 19inch front... (i think post 2019 model)
    #18
  19. Flying Frisian

    Flying Frisian Born to Ride Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,041
    Location:
    Oregon, Dual Sport Paradise
    Get something with good suspension. I bought a CB500X for my daughters a few years ago. The bike was great but the suspension sucked. It doesn't matter how good an engine or bike is, if the suspension sucks, it sucks. I recommend starting small and moving up. A big bike can get you in trouble fast and ruin the experience.
    #19
  20. CRracer712

    CRracer712 Africa Twin Rocks! Supporter

    Joined:
    May 4, 2020
    Oddometer:
    200
    Location:
    Kansas
    It was easy for me. Being a Honda guy, the Africa Twin seemed like the natural choice. Haven't regretted it yet, and have rode the bike everyday since I took delivery.
    #20