Trans America Trail - What bike should I choose?

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

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

  1. XT 250

    9.6%
  2. WR 250r

    51.9%
  3. KLX 250

    4.8%
  4. CRF 250L

    4.8%
  5. CRF 250L Rally

    28.8%
  1. OrangeYZ

    OrangeYZ Long timer

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    If it is possible that you will have to do the TAT in two pieces, you should do the western half first. Whether you slab to NM, TAT to OR, slab home and do another trip later, or if you slab to OR, TAT east until you've had enough then slab home.
    I'm not saying the eastern half is a bad ride, I've never been on it, but I'm pretty sure that it is the second best half of the two.
    IMO: 2,000+ miles of highway to the Eastern TAT trail head, then the TAT to NM, then 1,000 miles of highway home would be a huge waste of three or more weeks compared to the alternative.
    #41
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  2. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    If I have to do the TAT in two parts, then I'm planning to ship the bike to the east coast and ride towards the west. I agree with you that the western part is definitely the prettier part, and that's why I want to get the eastern part over with. However, the thing I think I would enjoy most about the south is the friendliness of the people. I think southerners (for the most part) actually live up to their reputation and stereotype of being kind-hearted people. I'm speaking from experience of having driven through some southern states. There's a possibility that I'd be doing two to three weeks of a motorcycle trip (if not this one, then it'll be something else) in February of this year depending on how much work (for my job) I get done. The summer is definitely the worst time for me to do the eastern half because I have a thyroid problem to where I feel hotter than other people do, and the heat and humidity of places like Mississippi would be really uncomfortable for me in the summer. There are also more bugs there in the summer. I wouldn't want to camp out there. Now, I'm aware that this may lead to experiencing more high water crossings and mud. That's another reason why I'm considering the Rally more heavily because it's more road-capable than all the other bikes for them detours.

    This way, when I come back to do the western half in the summer, I can start out in Los Angeles, ride towards New Mexico and complete the LA-NM leg of it, and continue on north through Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, and Oregon to complete the NM-Oregon leg of it. And if I have time, I can head north toward Alaska, but that's a big "IF." Or I can also do some of the backcountry discovery routes for some states around there. There are a whole lot of possibilities if time permits.
    #42
  3. LApilot

    LApilot Been here awhile

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    Buy the WR250. It is low and slow and for a beginner that is perfect. Forget about ABS. You need to learn to use your front brake properly and there are many times that you steer with the rear so you need it to lock up to achieve that. If you need to make a bike stash in NM let me know. I've been known to stash gear for CDR riders on occasion. One day you will find yourself riding a KTM500 and your search will stop there. Good luck on your trip planning. PM me if you need any help.
    #43
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  4. shrederscott

    shrederscott Long timer

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    Hi

    As a newbie. I understand to your eyes the 250 rally "looks" more road worthy than the other bikes.

    In fact it is not signifantly better than the the other bikes other than the debatable benefit of having ABS.

    The biggest limitation to all these bikes for street use is the low horsepower of their motors = poor power to weight ratios ....and the ralley likely has the worst p/w ratio in the group ! !

    None of these bikes will be in there happy zones at freeway speeds of 70+ mph IF they can even achive and maintain those speeds.

    They are all MUCH happier on secondary roads with 50 mph speed limits.

    The Rally has the cool Dakar race bike look .... but that look just adds lots of weight that will significantly reduce its dirt capabilities while only marginally improving its street capabilities.

    You can add a light windshield/faring to any of the other bikes for a fraction of the extra weight of the Rally and have comprable road performance..with minimal degradation dirt performance.

    That rally look has a lot of stuff that appears to be fragile to me and will likely be damaged when you drop the bike

    Look at your poll results .....the wr250r is leading the 250 ralley.

    You have been told by myself and others that

    ABS is overrated on this class of bike .... you don't buy the view .... ok

    It is about the trip not the bike...all of the bikes on your list are vaild options.

    Enjoy your trip whatever bike you take !!

    Scott
    #44
  5. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer Supporter

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    For road comfort on the WR I would install a Madstad windshield and a Seat Concepts seat kit.
    #45
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  6. LApilot

    LApilot Been here awhile

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    You can do the same thing to the WR that I did to my 500 to make it more "long distance" capable. Add some soft bags. Put on a cheap windscreen. Mine pops on and off in 10 seconds. Carry a couple counter shaft sprockets to change your gearing when you know a day is going to be mostly fast asphalt miles. Takes about 6 to 10 minutes to swap. Put a lowering link on the WR if it is too tall. There are so many options available to you with most bikes these days. Don't get stuck on a "must have" like a rally screen or ABS. adv500.jpg
    #46
  7. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    Wow! Thanks for the offer to stash my bike.
    Scott,

    Actually, I hate that stupid Tonka Toy red that Honda uses as its color, but I'm guessing it's gonna take some getting used to if I do decide to buy one. So really, I'm not considering the Rally (or any Honda) for its looks, and I know I'm in a minority here. LOL. As far as the ABS goes, this will probably be my only motorcycle, so I'm going to end up riding it on asphalt a lot more than normal people do. I've ridden in wet conditions without ABS, and I felt it was really dangerous. I just didn't have the confidence that I think I need to have. I'm also considering it for it's capabilities for my purposes of running all the electronics and filming.

    With that said, the WR250r is hands-down the best motorcycle for the TAT, but my plans are to keep the bike way past my TAT plans.
    #47
  8. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    That's quite a set-up. How long of trips do you take with that set-up?

    From my research, front sprocket changes on the WR250r are not recommended because the chain eats up the swingarm. If anything, just change the rear.
    #48
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  9. LApilot

    LApilot Been here awhile

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    Yes you can carry a spare rear sprocket bolted to the underside of a rear rack, but with that setup you need to carry a chain snippet. probably 2 links and another master link. I swap between a 45 and a 50 tooth rear and carry a 3 link snippet. When I need the bigger sprocket I add in the short section of chain. That swap takes a little longer. Maybe 30 minutes.

    The bike is set up to comfortably ride 200 mile days. The NMBDR is 1200 miles, which is a week and the LWRR is 5400 miles which is a month. I can't see myself riding any farther than that. Mainly because the wife will think I abandoned her and claim my man cave as her own. I don't want to return and find all my gear out on the lawn. ;-)
    #49
    Made from scratch likes this.
  10. The Breeze

    The Breeze Been here awhile

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    I highly recommend the WR250R. Put 14/50 front and rear sprockets on the bike and it will run all day on the freeway and yet be geared low enough to tackle anything on the TAT, CDR, high mountains of Colorado, and the deserts of Southern Utah. I've done several days of cruising 300-500 mile days on the highway to get to these places....fully loaded with gear. The bike will do it. It's capable of this because it has an extremely wide ratio transmission that makes this possible. It has a big stator to run all of your electronics. You will not go wrong with this option.
    #50
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  11. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    Yes. I know that the WR 250r is definitely the most capable bike out of all the choices that I've listed. And from what I've seen, this is the actual correct way of lowering a motorcycle without changing the intended geometry of the bike.



    But even if I do all this, I still may hate it once the roads start getting wet because it won't have ABS. I'm just afraid of buying the bike and hating it for one reason or another. I only have so much money. I'd rather do it right the first time. That's why I've spent so much time researching it.
    #51
  12. The Breeze

    The Breeze Been here awhile

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    Well, The good news....is that any of the bikes you mentioned will do just fine on the TAT. So no matter what you pick...they'll all do it. However, some will do it better (i.e., easier) than others.

    You seem to be dead set on having ABS. I personally wouldn't make that a deciding factor...but it's top on your list of wants. So I were you, I would quit thinking about any bike that doesn't have ABS. Then....I would pick the "lightest bike" remaining on your list (that has a widest ratio transmission -- this is what will make the bike work well on the highway....yet be geared low enough for the dirt).

    Weight is everything off road. Your first post asked the question "is the extra 30-60 abs of unwanted weight on the CRF 250L Rally worth it?".....I would say not. All of my gear (including the weight of the luggage itself) is just under 60 lbs.....this is includes clothes, camping gear, spare parts, etc. If you are carrying more gear than that...it's too much and you will pay dearly for it. So no, an extra 60 lbs in bike weight is not worth it. Contrary to a lot of people voting for the CRF250L Rally...I would remove it from your list. The bike looks cool....but it would be my last choice.
    #52
  13. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    Thanks for the heads-up. I don't think the TAT is THAT serious of an off road consideration. A decade or so ago, the most popular bike seen on the TAT was the KLR, which is about 80 lbs heavier than the CRF 250L Rally, and nowadays, there are dudes who do it with Africa Twins that are 150 lbs heavier. LOL. I think THAT is beyond my range for consideration.
    #53
  14. The Breeze

    The Breeze Been here awhile

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    You make a good point. Due to complaints (mainly from riders lacking the skills and riding big adventure bikes with too much gear) Sam has modified the difficulty of the TAT and removed the best sections of the trail. For example....Hancock and Tomichi passes in Colorado....Black Dragon Canyon, Cat Canyon, and Eagle Canyons of southern Utah are no longer on his route. In my opinion, this was the best part of the trail......in these old sections of the TAT, weight and skills are everything.

    It's the same with the CDR.... People ride it on 1200 GSA's, and report how easy it was, except they're by-passing the toughest sections. Like Lava Mountain, Fleecer Ridge, some sections in northern New Mexico. Nothing wrong with this, as they had a great ride. But had they taken the big GS's through those sections they would have been in serious trouble.....

    I guess you kind of need to decide how difficult of off road riding/routes do you wish to tackle...then pick your bike based on that. If you're leaning more towards light trails/dirt fire roads, and road touring.... a CB500X with nobbies and possibly a RR Stage 3 kit down the road might be your best choice.
    #54
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  15. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    I actually was seriously considering that option of buying a CB500X with a Stage 3 RR kit and doing the green dot trails only. But I only have enough space in at my parents' house to park one motorcycle for the durations of time when I'm working overseas. I actually would have to park it in my bedroom. This is why I would want a bike that has the most capabilities to do ends of the spectrum from on road to off road. As much as I drool over RR's products (that I can't afford), if I were to buy all that and do all that labor, why wouldn't I just wait for Yamaha's T7 to come out? It should have a better engine on a carbon fiber frame to save weight, and best of all, I wouldn't have to wrench very much. I'd pretty much just get on and ride.

    Ok. So, back to the both ends of the spectrum thing. I want to use the bike off road. But the reason I want the on road capabilities to be at their best is because there are a bunch of morons on the road whose actions I can't predict. These mofos are dangerous! They try to be aggressive and do things deliberately that they think are good moves, but they are actually dangerous moves. These are the things that I think would kill me a lot quickly and easily than falling on some dirt, gravel, or even rocks while I'm wearing gear. I've driven professionally with millions of miles under my belt, so I'm speaking from experience. As much as the WR 250r is good enough for some of the riders here with years and decades of experience riding motorcycles, I don't have that kind of confidence with it because the things that the Rally can do on road with a longer wheelbase for stability and the ABS are worth their weight in gold. In this instance, the Rally beats the WR 250r as well as any other bike by a landslide.

    But ... but ... BUT!!! ... Even having said all that ... I may not have very much experience riding motorcycles at all. However, growing up, my only mode of transportation was on a bicycle (on road and off), so I at least understand the fundamentals of weight and balance that y'all are referencing, and I know it's for a long duration of time. That's why it seems like I'm still sitting around pickin' my nose about this whole issue. I'm weighing it THAT heavily.
    #55
  16. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer Supporter

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    Have you looked at any already well fitted used bikes in the flea market?
    #56
  17. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    Hey. Thanks for the tip! I actually read your post and immediately went to one today. Unfortunately, I didn't see any dual sports. So, I went to look at bikes today. I went and sat on a brand new WR 250r, and with the stock settings, I can't even touch the ground when I'm in my flat bottom sneakers. I'm sure be on my tip toes with boots on though, and I'd be on the balls of my feet after adjusting the suspension to a softer setting and shaving the seat.

    Also, when the news of the KLX 250 came out, the specs said it had a 33 inch seat height, but now, it says 35 inches. When I went there, I can immediately tell it was lower than the WR 250r. I'm on the balls of my feet on that bike, so I think the 33 inch spec was more accurate. If I buy that one, I'd just have to remember to take out the fuse when I'm on dirt.

    I'll keep lookin' ...
    #57
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  18. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    That's a big factor. I'd probably choose a DR650 because of that.

    I understand your desire for a light bike, though. It will make the off road sections a lot more fun. I'd probably choose the bike with the highest top speed, and/or the best luggage racks available in the aftermarket.

    My wife has an MMoto complete rack on her DR350 and it will hold anything she wants to bolt on. (Her bike cost $1500 and will do 70 mph all day, by the way.)
    [​IMG]
    http://www.mmotoracks.com/category/complete-racks
    #58
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  19. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I'm not a big guy though. I'm only 5'8, and that's why I'm shying away from the WR 250r despite the overwhelming votes for it in that poll. I'm afraid I won't be able to paddle through some of the tougher sections when I need to. And that's also why I don't think the DR650 would be good for me either. I'm also trying to stay away from carbureted engines.
    #59
  20. The Breeze

    The Breeze Been here awhile

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    Pretty sure that the DR650 has the lowest seat height of the bunch. Mine is a lot lower than my WR250R. Nothing wrong with carbs...the stock carb/jetting DR650 will have no issues with the TAT elevations.
    #60