What would you say is the most practical adv for me, please read

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Davictor685, Oct 24, 2021.

  1. Davictor685

    Davictor685 Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2021
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    Indiana
    I'm all over the place in what to buy sometimes. I just went and watched a bunch of videos on the Super Tenere and Vstrom 1050. However, I've been mostly back and forth contemplating getting a used Honda Africa Twin, or a KTM 1190.

    About me and my riding style... Mainly, I'll consider fire roads, and trails as ways to get where I'm going. I'll camp along the way if it takes days longer to get there off road, and I'll also be doing it 2-up a lot. When the going gets rough enough, I'll take it slow, prioritizing not droping the bike. Now, I am a heavy rider. I'll most definitely need to upgrade springs at 320lbs. My wife is 115lbs but we'll also have between 50-100lbs in the panniers. I know that's a lot of weight for most bikes. But we did do it on the KLR 685 I had, though we only ever did fire roads as far as dirt. One of the things that keeps leading me away from the Africa twin and ktm is the ability to flat foot more easily on other bikes. If I get into terrain that is unexpectedly tougher than I planned on, I can always just Flat Foot in grandma gear (I'm 5'9 with 30" inseam). That said, while I'll be doing a LOT of unpaved travel, I'll attempt to stick to mostly moderate trails, at the beginning anyways. I'm not really particular about speed, though I'd use it for fun sometimes if I had it. My focus is primarily two things. 1: Reliability and low maintenance 2: The bikes ability to handle traveling off road in moderate to medium conditions. The super Tenere seams to tick most of the boxes here for me but I do worry about its off road ability. Also, I plan a cross country trip without my wife riding a little more aggressive roads next spring, and I'll be well under 300lbs by then. In all of this, the Africa twin also seams like the most practical bike. If you were in my shoes, what would you choose?
    #1
  2. MATTY

    MATTY BORDER RAIDER

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2014
    Oddometer:
    8,090
    Location:
    England On the Scotish border
    Triumph tiger 800XCX I just sold a 2016. not light but good load capability, and surprising on the type of roads you are planning on travelling two up.
    And when solo and you need that extra vigour, the tiger has enough to keep things interesting on pavement and off.
    It never felt as heavy as its listed off road, was a fairly well balanced package of power strength and handling, that i always felt had a pro road biased nature to it, over say a BMW f800 by example.
    On your own, you can push the tiger on quite well in the turns, and its a good smooth cruiser comfortable and some what refined for its off road capability. Its not like you are wanting dual sport capability or need the 1200+ power for the pace you imply you want to travel, but on your own, you want a bit more get up and go the Triumph triple if ideal for that. Look at one even an old 800 like i had you night just like it. PS If you want an unbiased ride test wear ear plugs and muffs. if not that triple sound track will seal the deal before you ever throw a leg over the tiger. :lol2

    This review which i watched, i feel is pretty accurate.


    #2
    Sal Pairadice likes this.
  3. dmitriy_adv

    dmitriy_adv Dmitriy M

    Joined:
    May 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    290
    Location:
    All over the USA
    Between the two bikes you listed I’d pick the Africa Twin. I’ve had one and for what you’re planning to do it’ll be an extremely easy bike to ride and live with. Low maintenance, easy to ride, plenty capable of carrying you guys and all your stuff in comfort and safety. Put the seat into “low” mode and I bet you won’t be too far from flat footing it, especially with how much weight you plan to put on it. I’m 5’11” (32” inseam) / 180lbs and my AT was set up by the PO for two up and luggage, so it sitting high in the stroke. I had the seat in the tall mode and while I probably couldn’t flat foot, I was able to reach the ground comfortably.

    That being said, if I could pick any bike in your position, I’d honestly pick a 1200 or 1250GS. They are super comfortable, reliable, shaft drive is nice for longer trips, and the weight being carried low actually might make them feel lighter than they actually are. Plenty of used ones to choose from, usually in very good condition.

    Assuming you’re not planning on riding gnarly singletrack, I feel like given the same tires, skill level, and not trying to ride at race pace, any of these motorcycles will be similarly capable off-road.

    All that being said, there is nothing better than looking at a bike in person. I’d fine some locally and go look at them, sit on them, see how they feel and fit you. Most modern motorcycles are really great at pretty much everything, and it often is just finding one you jive with.
    #3
    Davictor685 likes this.
  4. Davictor685

    Davictor685 Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2021
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    Indiana
    I love it, my list of bikes I like is only growing lol
    #4
  5. rd400racer

    rd400racer Long timer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2013
    Oddometer:
    5,883
    Location:
    Louisville, Ky
    I've owned the KTM's and if you want reliable and low maintenance, look elsewhere. Currently have a 1200GSA and a Super Tenere that I gave my son. He really wanted an Africa Twin but as petty as it seems, tubed tires are a no-go with me. Yep, that one small fact kept me from looking at them. And he loves the Tenere. I'm one of those that believes the off-road capability of these motorcycles is only limited by your own talent. As far as my GSA, I keep telling myself that if I don't use it more for it's intended purpose, then I'm going to get something else. But I can't let go. It's just so much fun. Once underway, it transforms into a giant super moto. And nothing else I get will come close to what it can do as an all arounder.
    #5
    ShOqUePoT and Motor7 like this.
  6. DSquared

    DSquared Dilly Dilly! Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2015
    Oddometer:
    2,734
    Location:
    Burlington WI
    #6
    dmitriy_adv likes this.
  7. Sal Pairadice

    Sal Pairadice Captain Obvious Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2018
    Oddometer:
    2,329
    Location:
    Vermont
    I own the Strom, i have rented the AT, overnight in Arizona. I don't know anythng about the ST. Seriously, you should be able to rent all three and see which you prefer. I do know the Stroms are very reliable, carry a ton of weight and are pretty quick and comfy. Wife and I have done many miles 2 up with luggage. I don't think any of those three would be more than a fire road bike for me and the wife. Or even solo. You can almost, but not quite discount the offroad ability. I think the AT is just slightl better offroad, and the Strom markedly better otherwise. They are all heavy and ungainly off road - it will be like driving grandmas Buick LeSabre down a trail, albeit with snow tires on it.


    #7
  8. BikeMikeAZ

    BikeMikeAZ Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Oddometer:
    208
    Location:
    Tucson
    I have a ‘17 Vstrom 650. Pretty much fire roads only, especially 2 up. Not much ground clearance and not fun when traction gets sketchy, can’t throw it around like an MX 2-stroke; at least I don’t have big enough clanking ones for that. For ref, my wife and I together with gear are about 350 lbs. I don’t have any experience with the other steeds.
    #8
  9. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    30,993
    Location:
    Western Sierras
    Given your size, I'd go with the Super Tenere. I do like the big Ducati and KTM offerings, but Yamaha does it for less. The Honda is overrated.
    #9
  10. Motor7

    Motor7 Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,734
    Location:
    East Tennessee
    If you are mainly 2-up narrow the field by ground clearance. Before I had my DL suspension re-worked my wife and I would squash the shit out of the stock suspension making the bike like riding a sleepy water buffalo(230 & 160lbs). I would rule out the DL650, 1000 and 1050 since all are around 6.3". The Super10 is 7.5....marginally better....and the AT comes in at 9.8".

    On pavement, any of the bikes mentioned will get you there. Once off though it's going to be a different ball game.
    #10
  11. JETalmage

    JETalmage Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,228
    'Trails' means one thing in the western deserts and quite another thing here in the thickly-wooded, vine-entangled southeast.

    You need a roomy bike. That unfortunately mean the opposite of what you should want for anything I'd call actual trail riding. Plus, you're talking 2-up, long distances off-pavement, with camping gear and luggage for multiple days?

    Granny gear? Reaching the ground on pavement at a red light is not the same thing as reaching the ground at an angle sufficient to get some leverage to stabilize it before it tips too far when you get momentarily a bit out of shape off-road.

    Not telling you what to do, but frankly I think you're over-optimistic about riding a big Adventure Bike off-road, as opposed to off-pavement (dirt or gravel roads). 'Trail riding' to my mind means Dualsport at least, not Adventure Bike. It means a high likelihood of getting a little awkward and dropping it or getting it stuck (ditch, mud, sand, undergrowth, etc.) You really want to do that with a 500 lb bike? With multiple days-worth of gear and a passenger?

    A V-Strom 1000 (or 1050 or whatever it is now). I've owned two DL1000s; a 2003 and a 2007. The look of them was deceiving. Their handling is surprisingly well-behaved when off-pavement (dirt or gravel roads) or turning around in on a median or shoulder. With all the fairing off, they have more of a 'dirt bikish' profile than one might expect from their fully-clad appearance. The V-Strom's seat height not low, but is a bit more manageable for short legs than most liter class ADVs.

    That does not mean it's a dirt bike, by any stretch, and I say that about any other large Adventure Bike. Personally, I fail to see any fun in trepidatiously footing a 500 lb bike in rocky, rooted, rutted, hilly terrain or ditches, or pushing one out of tire-deep mud, or picking it up in a sandy wash; let alone one with luggage cases. And there's nothing fun about riding with a passenger off-road, even on a proper Dualsport. Completely wrecks the handling of a bike where good handling is needed most.

    That said, if I were interested in another bulky ADV bike to travel on, I'd probably go for another of the liter-size DLs. I really like that engine and its near-overdrive 6th gear on the highway. And I'd want tubeless rims, and have no angst over cast wheels for ADV bikes; I actually prefer them. I'm not attempting splatters up vertical rock faces on this kind of bike.

    JET
    #11
    Sal Pairadice likes this.
  12. Rossland Rider

    Rossland Rider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Oddometer:
    333
    Location:
    Kootenays, BC
    Factory low suspension BMW 1200GS. Carries lots of weight, plenty power, lots torque. Low to ground compared to most of the other bikes and not as top heavy as the 800 parallel twins
    #12
  13. motorat

    motorat Is it raining

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,721
    Location:
    SW WA
    go to the dealer. If you can find the bikes you are interested in, go sit on them and see how they feel. That will scratch some off your list. Any bike can be fitted to you all it takes is money.
    The GS1250 low is a good option, as Rossland Rider said. If you can, rent the winners from the sit test for a weekend.

    or just do what most everyone else does...buy a bike, ride it and see if it works.
    #13
  14. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail Alex

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2019
    Oddometer:
    873
    Location:
    Virginia
    I have a Vstrom 1050xt and while I absolutely love the bike, I'll tell you this:
    -It's not really the bike for the areas I highlighted.
    -You can make it better suited for such things for $$$$ but it will still be lacking compared to other bikes that are better built for it.

    For what you're describing, I'd look at the Africa Twin or the KTM. Now, only you know what your composition of on/off road will be. If you're really going to be mostly street and a little relatively tame dirt sometimes, the Vstrom could be a great choice. It really just depends.
    #14
  15. Sal Pairadice

    Sal Pairadice Captain Obvious Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2018
    Oddometer:
    2,329
    Location:
    Vermont
    For me anything non graded and steep with questionable traction and its a no go for having the wife on the back. We have done well graded dirt roads and its fine for that. Just about any UJM would be too.
    #15
    Davictor685 and JETalmage like this.
  16. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    6,045
    Location:
    CA dez (it's a dry heat)/West Yellowstone,MT
    Passion? I don't see that mentioned. If you're passionate about riding an exciting machine, go with the 1190. I have a 1290SA T which I recommend as the seat height is 33.5" which I manage just fine with my 30" inseam. 160 hp will ignite some passion. I was just talking with a friend today about how crazy it is that you can buy an 160 hp motorcycle that can put along at a relaxed pace just fine. I'd suggest a test ride if you can arrange one as that ride will tell you if you must have one or not.

    If you want to trade some passion for reliability/controllability. your other motorcycles you listed would be good. I have friends that own all 3 that like them and are happy with their choices.

    To me, if you're primarily a motorcyclist who travels, go for the KTM. If you're more of a traveler on a motorcycle, I'd chose the Yamaha Super T, Honda AT, or Vstrom.

    What I can't speak to is how easy it is for your pillion to mount and dismount on those machines when loaded, and how comfortable she will be riding on each of those. That may be the most important factor in deciding which to buy.
    #16
    Davictor685 likes this.
  17. AdventureTrail

    AdventureTrail Alex

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2019
    Oddometer:
    873
    Location:
    Virginia
    This is a good point. My 2014 Vstrom was a pain for my wife to get on and off and the panniers rubbed/dug into her legs. On my 1050xt, I went with a different manufacturer of pannier (Givi Outback Trekker on the old bike, Bumot Defender Evo on the new) and the new boxes don't touch her or make contact with her legs at all. She says the actual seat comfort is a wash, but the shape/size/location of the panniers makes all the difference. If possible, you two should go together to try them out.
    #17
    Sal Pairadice likes this.
  18. Sal Pairadice

    Sal Pairadice Captain Obvious Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2018
    Oddometer:
    2,329
    Location:
    Vermont
    My wife finds the Givi hard luggage on the Strom makes getting off and on a bit more difficult.
    #18
    AdventureTrail likes this.
  19. Barry

    Barry Just Beastly

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2002
    Oddometer:
    10,658
    Location:
    Fredericksburg, Va.
    Chiming in on this. I've owned about 7 KTMs. loved them all, but I have heard nothing good about the new KTMs and reliability. For that reason alone I'd look at Japanese offerings and narrow from there.

    And as other wise folks have said - GET A TEST RIDE on whatever you want. They are worth their weight in gold.

    barry
    #19
    Davictor685 likes this.
  20. echo15

    echo15 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    443
    Location:
    Florida
    When tubeless tires arrived, I didn't like or trust them. Now that I got used to them, I don't want or trust tubes. Just can't make me happy.
    #20
    Davictor685, Motor7 and rd400racer like this.