Trans America trail

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Colemdavid, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. Colemdavid

    Colemdavid n00b

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    Im an experienced street rider (mostly vintage Japanese bikes) but I want to get into some heavier duty off road stuff and some "expedition" riding.
    First I want to do some stuff up through new England and into Canada and nova scotia...and ultimately take on the trans America trail.
    What do I want for a bike...at the moment I'm bouncing back and forth between the BMW 650 sertao (more than I'd like to spend), a klr 650 and a Suzuki dr650.
    I've heard people say that larger duals like the klr are perfectly fine on the eastern portion of the trail but nimbler bikes like the Suzuki or the honda are nicer in the sands and mountains of the west.
    Once out west ill probably take to the roads to come back east, and have no problem swapping tires along the way...but I'd like to find a good balance in the bike itself. I like the massive gas tank of the klr, the dependency of the BMW and the nimbleness of the Suzuki and Honda.
    Talk to me!
    #1
  2. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

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    DRZ400 with a big gas tank.
    #2
  3. xcflyn

    xcflyn Long timer

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    The DR sounds like a good choice. I would rather be on a KTM 690. Then when you are in great places like Colorado-west you have a great bike for some serious trail riding.
    I rode it on a XR650R a couple years ago and that was a good bike--- but very unhappy for big altitude changes. A fuel injected bike is nice to have for traveling cross the US. Extra fuel - either rotopax or larger tank is needed if you have small fuel tank. Pack light ! I see so many bikes loaded to the hilt and for the life of me just dont get it. On the TAT you are usually in reach of a town during some point of each day and can pick up food and other essentials if you are camping. A over loaded bike can take a little bit of the fun factor away.
    Last .02 from me would be to consider a Honda XR650L if you want a less expensive bike with a half way decent suspension and good motor. Lots of them to be had and a few years old you can get one pretty cheap. That and a DR650 are pretty comparable bikes for the most part.
    #3
  4. Colemdavid

    Colemdavid n00b

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    Thanks guys...I was seriously wondering about the altitude changes and whether a fuel injected bike would be the way to go. Also, I've heard some folks say that those 650's were geared too high for the trail...I'm assuming they mean for some of the tough incline stuff in the mountains...but this could also be the same folks who lack everything but the kitchen sink.

    So what are fuel injected models to consider? If you go carbureted, do you have to tune while you're going up through the Rockies and back down?
    #4
  5. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    I have done the whole thing on a KLR. A few places were a little challenging, but all-in-all I was happy with the choice. I have a lifetime of experience riding sand with real dirt bikes and while it is difficult, I got thru all the sandy sections okay with the KLR.

    I have recently put a Cogent Moab shock on the bike and have found it handles noticeably better in sand.

    BTW we did the east (backwards) and west TATs from New Mexico in two different rides and took paved roads back home doing ~500 mile days.
    #5
  6. xcflyn

    xcflyn Long timer

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    This can open up the whole "which motorcycle " -can of worms thread. Half the people here want to tell you what they have is the best because thats what they bought. Then some are on motorcycle #2 or 3 and are experts. Some base it on "hear-say".
    I will throw this out there for that sake of helping answer the question here. Carb tuning on the trail depends on bikes. I rode with a guy in colorado a few years back from Iowa- stock jetting with adjustable mixture screw on a DR650 and his bike ran fine at 10-11,000' . I have had bikes that needed air bleed holes added and jetting for major changes. I had a BMW that was injected that wouldnt run right (or idle) over 10K. Gearing is a simple fix if you want to change it, some people dont like to feather a clutch or dont understand that advantage of doing so when riding technical stuff. Tall gearing is nice on wide open straight trails ( like Oklahoma/Kansas) and on the street. A 650 is a big thumper and has good power to pull tall gearing, going slow is always the hard part on the big bikes.
    Injected bike to go with- YIKES heres that "which motorcycle" thread starting. Maker it easy, most any bike made today is good, some are great. Great is measured by how the bike suits you not me or anyone else. Test riding is the best way to find "the bike". It has to fit you physically and be best suited for your riding style. KTM has a 350,500, and 690 that are all good, but maybe not what your looking for. Husky and Husaberg have some great injected bikes, here again maybe not your game. Yamaha WR250 has a awesome reputation for a small bike. Surprising that in 2012 you still need to look at a carbed bike to get more options. I dont think the DR or XR even mention injection for 2013 ? Honda has a injected CRF250 that may come out ??? Too bad the KLX250S is not injected- be nice with a big bore kit.
    I think for a budget bullet proof bike, you already are looking into the right bikes.
    This is just my view, I am sure others will have their thoughts to ad as well. Good luck with your decision.
    #6
  7. Colemdavid

    Colemdavid n00b

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    I guess one of my biggest concerns was carb tuning along the way...I haven't messed with carbs much. I agree with you completely though, test riding and feel will determine choice. Packing light is a big key too...
    #7
  8. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    Use the search feature to figure out which bike to use. This subject has been beat to death.Basically 400 or smaller is best and most fun, 650 and bigger will give you quite a workout in areas.

    WR 250 nice and light, missing torque
    DRZ400 heavier, but a very good choice
    DR650, good a little heavy.

    I never had any jetting problems with my DRZ, but some do.
    #8