Trans America Trail - What bike should I choose?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Made from scratch, Jan 22, 2018.

?

Which bike do you think would be best for my Trans America Trail ride?

  1. XT 250

    10.1%
  2. WR 250r

    51.8%
  3. KLX 250

    5.8%
  4. CRF 250L

    7.2%
  5. CRF 250L Rally

    25.2%
  1. shrederscott

    shrederscott Long timer

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    Hi

    In regards to a ABS as long as it's easy to turn it on and off and it is VERY clear that its on / off ... I really don't see how it'll be a problem in the dirt.

    I have heard that some of the ABS on-off switches on the KTM and BMWs can be difficult to deactivate.

    As far as dropping the motorcycles concerned .... that is something you should most certainly plan for ! !

    I hope you are planning on purchasing high quality body armor for this trip ! ! !

    And believe me the lighter the bike the easier it is to pick back up ! ! !

    Advantage wr250r

    Don't sweat not being able to be flat-footed on a factory wr250r .... there are lowering kits that are readily available and fairly inexpensive.

    No matter which one of these bikes that you get you're going to have to spend some money modifying it to your individual needs.

    For sure they will all most likely need at least a more comfortable saddle .

    When I got my first dual sport I fell for Dakar look marketing.

    I purchased a KTM 640 Adventure.

    Very cool looking bike and very capable to.

    But ..... that cool Dakar look just made the bike way heavy and difficult to maintain.

    I kept that bike for barely a month before I traded it for a lighter KTM 625 sxc ...and now I am on a lighter still 350.

    Go with the lightest highest performance bike your pocket book and personality can support.

    And that would be the wr250r.

    Enjoy

    Scott
    #21
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  2. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    I'm well aware of the capability/reliability of the KTM. Them things suit seasoned riders a lot more than they suit me. Keep in mind that if dudes are experienced enough, they can make Harleys reliable. LOL But for my intents and purposes, I think the Japanese bikes are more well suited, so I appreciate your recommendation.
    #22
  3. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer Supporter

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    If your going to dump it a lot in difficult terrain buy the lightest bike and lower the suspension as much as possible. Ultralight camping gear, rack less storage like a Giant Loop Coyote or Great Basin bag and a nice harnessed backpack. Keep soft stuff in backpack as it will double your back protection in a fall. Personally a tall heavy adv bike is the last thing I’d want to cope with on the trails. Those things are only good for visits to Starbucks.
    #23
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  4. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    I'm doing just about everything you're saying here with the exception of my tent because in doing my research, I've heard of dudes who had their tents blown away in them storms. That's why I bought a Eureka Down Range Solo, which is somewhere under 6 lbs. To me, that's good weight because it can pretty much guarantee me that it'll hold up under very harsh conditions.

    I appreciate your recommendations, and I think we're pretty much on the same page.
    #24
  5. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer Supporter

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    As an avid tenter, the heaviest tent will fly away in the wind. If there is wind or storm concerns always stake down the corners and guy out the upwind side. If In trees look at the health of the trees around you and also look for dead branches above. Keep zippers closed to keep out bugs. Keep it light, the pounds add up fast.
    #25
  6. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    I hear ya. I'm talking about the sturdiness of the tent. I like thick aluminum poles since in my experience, they hold up in windy conditions better than the ones that are TOO lightweight.
    #26
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  7. shrederscott

    shrederscott Long timer

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    IMG_20141004_162030.jpg IMG_20141004_162030.jpg IMG_20141004_162030.jpg

    Hey

    Got to jump here.

    That tent is WAY heavy and bulky ! !

    I use the Big Agnes copper spur 1 and it weighs less than 3 lb ! ! .... 2 lb 8 oz to be exact !!!

    Weight and volume are your enemies on this trip.

    I cannot overemphasize the importance in packing light and compact.

    Tents that get blown away in the wind are often times not properly staked out to begin with.

    As I said I live in Colorado and I camp all over Colorado Utah and Arizona I have experience bad weather with high winds in my Big Agnes and have never had a problem with it.

    For reference my solo multi-day camping trip kit fits into 54 liter luggage space.

    I run the Wolfman E12 saddlebags that gives me 24 L of space total.

    Plus the small 30 L Wolfman duffel bag.

    I am able to get virtually all of my equipment in these bags.

    I do also have a small tank bag and a Camelbak backpack that have a few small items. ...see pic of my old 530 setup for a 7 day loop of colorado.

    Keeping the bike and your gear as light as possible pays huge benefits on the trail ! !

    Suggest strongly you get a different tent !! The REI quarter Dome 1 is also like 3 lb and has a very good reputation for its storm wind capabilities.

    Go light .... go fast ....have fun

    Scott
    #27
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  8. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    For me, it's not so much that they get blown away or not being staked out right. I've never had a tent blown away, so I know about staking out tents. How's that? LOL It's a matter of having the tent hold its shape in those conditions because I intend on filming stuff and spending a lot of time doing editing on my computer. I'm not just using the tent to climb in a sleeping bag.
    #28
  9. txmxrider

    txmxrider Been here awhile

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    This has been an interesting thread because I too just spent the last several months debating what bike to get for the TaT. Fwiw I just recently picked up a used '09 WR250R. If money was no object I'd go with a newish KTM 350 but they're just too expensive for me. The Honda Rally is a good looking bike but you can pretty much guarantee that you'll drop the bike many times and it'd be a real shame to beat up all that bodywork. And as someone else said, it's a lot of extra weight for minimal benefit and it makes maintenance more difficult. For me the WR checks all the right boxes. It's more dirt worthy than beginner play bikes but cheaper to purchase and has longer service intervals than more hard edged dirt bikes like the KTMs. I agree it does feel a bit tall (I'm 5'9" with 30" inseam) but you can replace the stock shock linkage with a Yamalink and run the forks up in the triple clamps to help with that. I've been riding MX and enduro bikes for a long time so I'm used to riding tall bikes and I don't even think about the seat height anymore. I'm certain that with a little seat time you'll get used to it and it'll be a non-issue. Besides there's no harm in being a little tippy toed or moving in the saddle to get a foot down.

    There are three of us, all on WRs, leaving Trinidad CO in late July to do the western half so I'll report back in August whether the WR was the right choice or not! :) I wish you luck and be sure to let us know what you end up purchasing. Maybe we'll see you out on the trail somewhere.
    #29
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  10. ShooterF16

    ShooterF16 Adventurer

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    Yeah, husky ownership seems to be somewhat of a commitment. I have to drive over an hour to the nearest Husky dealer...but that's the price you pay when you want to ride a white KTM. haha. I'd imagine that servicing an Honda is way easier. Anyway, I guess my main point is that I wouldn't shy away from a bigger bike, like a 450, unless there were other constraints.

    cheers,
    Nat
    #30
  11. Migolito

    Migolito Prognosticator and MotoYogi

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    I have less than 50 miles on my Cb500X. I got it used for a very very good price...so, new, the tires still had nibs. So, farkel festing now. My sole intention for the Honda was to do slab and the occasional gravel/country dirt road, comfortably, with a bunch of gear. So, 35 L Mosko Moto panniers, camping gear, SLR gear, nice tent, nice stove, comfortable sleeping pad, etc. 420pounds plus gear @ 50 hp is just fine. I have no intention of dirt/single tracking it, nor would I add a RR3 kit to do so. I will be keeping the 17" wheels and have added the RR1 kit(because, RR put a ton of research into the RR kits and now that I've seen the design and components...WOW). There are much better bikes out there for the dirt/single track stuff than a Honda CB500X RR3. I'll not judge others, but, for me taking a 500+ pound bike on dirt/single track is not fun. Now, my KTM500exc with my Mosko Moto 40l reckless pack....will go places few can walk to. But, hours of slab it aint gonna do comfortably. For the TAT or any of the back country discovery routes, It would be very hard to beat the KTM. BTW, yes, Jenny is a confirmed Bad Ass!
    #31
  12. Migolito

    Migolito Prognosticator and MotoYogi

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    To get an idea of the capability of what can be done on the WR..Bigdogadventures.com another confirmed Bad Ass.
    #32
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  13. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    Haha. Absolutely! I'd love to see you out there. I do humbly consider everybody here better and more experienced than I am when it comes to motorcycles. Besides, I know how to do bodywork and I'm okay with metal-working. I'm just not a very good mechanic, so I'd rather be ridin' than fixin'.
    #33
  14. shrederscott

    shrederscott Long timer

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    Hi

    Having used both the REI and the Big Agnes ultralight tent products.

    I really feel they would still meet your needs at half the weight. These tents do hold their shape well in bad weather conditions. If properly staked out.

    In fact ...you could get the 2 person version of these tents ... have more room for your gear and editing than in the Eurka and still have a 4ish lb tent that would be substantially more compact.

    Preparing one's personal kit for a trip like the TAT is a unique to the individuals balance between dollars, weight, size , function, and comfort.

    The lighter and more compact you can keep your kit the better your ride experience is going to be.

    It' not easy but 55ish liters of luggage capacity is enough for a solo multi day camping trip for me.

    Your gonna have a great trip ! !

    Scott
    #34
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  15. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    Thanks for the worries. So, yeah. I already have all my armor, and EVERYTHING is CE except for the thigh pad shorts. I couldn't find any of those that are CE, but I think the ones that I have will do just fine. The WR 250r is still in the running. It's not like I hate the bike. I actually love it, and I think it lives up to and delivers on every ounce of its hype. The only two things that puts it behind the Hondas for my purposes are an absence of ABS for wet slab and the seat height. I'm on the balls of my feet with that bike at its lowest suspension setting, but I'd rather be flat-footed. I think the Rally also has a better electrical system. As I've mentioned from the start, I need it to support electronics. I'll be running/charging a GPS, my cell phone, a battery bank, a computer, heated grips, and auxiliary driving lights. It'll be a lot of torture on the electrical system of ANY bike.
    #35
  16. Sertguy

    Sertguy Been here awhile Supporter

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    What he said.

    I did the western TAT in 2015, as a newbie, 5'9" on XR650L that I could hardly touch the ground with my tippy toes, over packed by 15 pounds and had a blast. Buy a WR250 and go for it. Don't worry about not touching flat footed you will be fine. You won't have any regrets.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    #36
  17. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    I certainly don't doubt your advice on being as light as possible. That's why the XT is so high up on the list for me, and that bike would hands down be the bike of choice for me to do the TAT if it weren't for the absence of ABS. I've never kept a vehicle for less than 8 years, so when I buy this bike, I want it to last far beyond my TAT plans.
    #37
  18. shrederscott

    shrederscott Long timer

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    Hi

    The wr250r seat height issue is an easy and inexpensive modification.

    The wr250r has plenty have electrical power for your needs.

    Lack of ABS ... well no way around that ... sounds like that is critical to you .

    Honda makes a great bike if you choose to go with the Honda and it seems like that is your choice you're going to have a great ride.

    I would advise against the Rally version ... when you drop it ....and you WILL drop it....it appears fragile to me .... a lot of stuff to bend, crack, or break with that version.

    One luxury item that I take when going multi day is my small camping chair.

    https://www.camptime.com/collections/chair

    It makes getting the moto boots on and off sooooo much easier and is great at the camp fire.

    Scott
    #38
  19. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    You've given me some great advice, Scott. Good stuff. Good thing you've brought up that chair because I have it on my shopping list, but I had never seen the one that you've suggested, so I'll definitely put that in my buy list. Thanks! ... As far as the Big Agnes goes, a brand new one costs more than twice as much as my Down Range Solo. I did find one on ebay, and yes, I've put a bid on it. I'm not willing to pay full price on it though because the colors are not good for stealth camping. I don't want to be on the TAT and to be visited by the police. LOL
    #39
  20. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer Supporter

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