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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. b4thenite

    b4thenite Long timer

    Oct 14, 2008
    Korea Town, Los Angeles,
    Honda XLV Transalp/AfricaTwin. You can get used one for really good deal in Europe. I would not finance bikes.
  2. Mudslingr

    Mudslingr Been here awhile

    Aug 10, 2016
    First or tenth. It never gets any easier choosing a bike. Just sit on them and maybe take for a test ride (although I have never found a dealer that allows test rides) One of them will let you know it's the right one. You'll just FEEL it.
    You should get the AT. Helluva bike.
  3. usedtobefast

    usedtobefast Been here awhile

    Nov 12, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    Of the bikes you listed, I would suggest the used Africa Twin plan. Not sure about Poland, but in the US, you can get a used one for a decent price and when time to sell it you would not lose much money at all.

    The Yamaha is over hyped now, will cost mega dollars at the dealers (again, in the US, no discounts to be had, dealers adding every fee they can think of into the total price), after market support a bit weak at this time, etc.

    The 650 V-Strom is not the bike for off road. Nice fun bike to ride around on back (paved) roads, but nothing about it makes it good in the dirt. It is an SV-650 that is styled to look like an ADV bike.

    The Yamaha 1200 is just too heavy/bulky for any real offroad riding.

    So, the AT, you can have fun on the road, fun off road, and if you find yourself wanting to do more and more challenging offroad riding, and getting beyond what the AT is good/fun at, you could sell it and buy a lighter more dirt focused bike.
  4. Aventurier

    Aventurier Adventurer

    Apr 5, 2013
    Carmel, IN
    I'm a 65 kg guy who's ridden the Super Tenere for 8 years; my opinion is that a 100+ kg guy could handle that beast on forest roads... However, as a 1200 cc bike, it's overpowered. Had it been available at the time, I would have bought a T700. About 800 cc is my power sweet spot, and it would be so much lighter. I have had BMW and I'm so done with that, reliability wise. So, don't even think about a KTM. I've ridden a DL650 and honestly, sure it's a motorcycle, but IDK why people like it. Another pretty cheap option I really enjoyed is the Kawazaky Versys 650. Light, fun engine, probably good enough.
  5. zoo

    zoo Been here awhile

    Dec 16, 2008
    kelowna bc canada
    t7, best all rounder for the price. 790 if you got the extra cash. Your buddies will always be behind you with either of those two.:clap
  6. Grizzlie

    Grizzlie n00b

    Jun 15, 2020
    I've started to look into the KTM's, especially that one. (all the more because the wife literally said, "well, if you're going to get something, then get something that will be good enough for the next few years.")
  7. justdirtyfun

    justdirtyfun Been here awhile

    Jun 6, 2009
    St. James MO
    The KTM is not a friendly puppy. More of a Police german shepherd, so if that's how learning works for you....
    It can be very hard to pick the right one so consider temperament along with weight as a primary concern. Between my wife and I maybe 6-7 of the smaller dual sport natured bikes .
    Are you able to do the 2 bike route? If not my vote is the AT for overall depth of skills.
  8. tokyo

    tokyo Been here awhile

    Jan 19, 2006
    Utah, Japan
    For me it is easier to make the decision of which bike to buy if I buy used.

    That way it doesn't feel like I am trying to get married till death do us part.. but just playing the field. It gets rid of a lot of the stress of finding "the one".

    If I buy it right, and if things don't work out, or I get bored (which I will) I can turn around and sell it in a few months and not lose much money. I am willing to consider bikes I probably wouldn't have because.. what the heck? Its a bargain so lets give it a shot.

    I look through the local classified for "deals" and some bike I had forgot about or hadn't really considered will catch my eye. (Honda Superhawk 996.. A bike I didn't expect to love as much as I did)

    Also for me the "right bike" changes every few months. I get a dirt itch.. scratch it.. and then want to do more street aggressive street. So I sell the dirt, scratch the street itch for a while.. then I want to do more relaxed touring.

    That's my next itch to scratch and I'm scouring the local ads daily..
  9. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

    Nov 11, 2005
    Gold Coast
    It depends how extreme the dirt is. Truth is all the bikes suggested are challenging in mud or tough off road conditions. I went DL650 because I could afford to have one fall off a cliff and I could buy a new one the next day. I had a few issues in years of riding on DL650's, mainly speed on really lumpy surfaces but against that it was faster than the more serious contenders sometimes as well. Even rock gardens are doable, clearance isn't the issue it is with a car, on a bike just take it slowly and you can pick your way through.

    Point being, they ALL suck somewhat if it's nasty, I went for cheap and it wasn't a lot worse than the supposedly better bikes but was far more durable than the alternates available then.

    Bikes like the Transalp, KLE650 - just get a DL650 instead. They were good bikes in their day, emphasis on were good, when new. Neither of those options will be near new now.

    I'd also suggest second hand because you probably will drop it, which also tends towards DL650 which is the most durable of the choices. Check for rust in the tank - the only common problem and all the contenders can suffer from that.

    I'd also suggest smaller but I also ended up with the DL650 because distances in Australia are insane and it's also a damned good road bike. Good by my standards anyway, handles well, handles bad roads well, has enough power, O.K. brakes, doesn't cause unnecessary grief on long trips. Yes there are FAR better road bikes, but they suck a lot more off road than a DL650 does, compromises.

    I won't argue that something like a KTM790 isn't better, it is. But they are also relatively expensive, fragile and high strung. I'd suggest cheap and 'no worries' is better for a new rider, I certainly took my DL places I wouldn't have taken a more expensive better bike and had more fun doing that that I would have had cost been an issue.
    Gustavo and Toei like this.
  10. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail A grin without a cat

    Jul 16, 2019
    I have a 2014 Vstrom 1000 that I absolutely love.

    My next bike will be much lighter, smaller, and more off-road oriented. All of the people telling you to pick the type of riding you will do and then match the bike to it are 100% correct.
  11. Grizzlie

    Grizzlie n00b

    Jun 15, 2020
    As an update, and after testing a few, it came down to a used 2018 F850GS that's already seen some dirt roads (literally, as in the previous owner took a few light tumbles and scuffed up the plastics on dirt/fire roads). After much consideration, the price was comparable to a new vstrom650 but with all the bells and whistles (literally all of them save the SOS feature) that BMW could offer.
    My quick comparisons:

    @dl650 - aside from the GS being outfitted with all the electronics stuff, the biggest difference was power on the street. Offroad-wise both felt fine and comparable and definitely not underpowered but the GS felt better offroad. The German machine seemed to have that 'German Engineering Feel' to it. May have been a placebo effect, but something about the way the GS simply worked and rode felt great.

    @790ADV-R - Great suspension. Love the idea of front and rear fork adjustability. The low-hung gas tank really does give a greater feeling of stability and a feeling of being on the motorcycle instead of 'in it'. The GS's tank is wider than I would prefer. When straddled, the 790 seemed nice and tight, similar to a 1200GS Rallye. The 790's pro modes (rally modes) really stand out and the thing just wants to go. Literally like it's constantly on caffeine pills. Quick shifter is comparable in clunkiness to the 850GS. Engine seemed like it 'rattled more' than the GS (not quickshifter-associated). Didn't like that. Both windscreens were adequate to about 90km/h, above that it was noisy but buffeting did not result in head-bobbing (I'm about 178cm). A brand new 850GS has more add-ons (cruise control, electronic rear shock, LED lights, tft screen, keyless ride) than an equivalently priced KTM790 (at least here). The KTM dealer was less inclined to negotiate.

    Dislikes: Even though I'm just a beginner, I can feel the excess softness of the front on the F850GS. I've yet to come to a conclusion how much I dislike that based on the 100km of fireroads and light dirt and sandy forest twintrack I've driven on thus far. The gas tank/side panels are slippery in the standing position and will require some sort of grips/stickers. Thin footpegs bring on fatigue fairly quick.