Which sledgehammer for me?

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by psyfalcon, May 29, 2020.

  1. psyfalcon

    psyfalcon Adventurer

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    I understand all the arguments for light bikes. I'd love to pretend I was running Dakar but I live in Chicago, which might as well be the middle of nowhere as far as riding goes. I can't even complain too much about my Ninja 300 until I sit on an interstate doing 80mph for 3 hours. But that is what you have to do if you want to see something interesting. So taking a sledgehammer to my problem, which big bike do I want?

    Wants:
    1. The ability to run at 80mph until the tank runs dry (well, hopefully a few miles before that!) and the bigger the tank the better. The faster I can be out of the city (and fuel stops count) the better.

    1b. Factory cruise. Simple plug and play after market would't be terrible but throttle locks are lacking, and I don't want to spend time troubleshooting a Rostra.

    2. Rough gravel road capable. I waver a bit on wanting a Tourabusa, but I do want to do the Dalton or Tuk, and maybe the White Rim in Moab (which is mostly a gravel road with some interesting bits)


    So I think I'm looking at the S10. Rode a used one. Someone sitting in finance changed his mind off the newer BMW and they literally sold it out from under me. Felt great over the the cities potholes. Rare, rare, rare.

    The Africa Twin. Would be better off road. I'm not really looking to 2 up, but it does not look much cheaper once you go with a newer cruise equipped one. Whats the road to dirt ratio where the AT becomes better?

    What else?

    Tigers/BMW/ KTM. Lots of money for the big bikes. Plus it was the Triumph/BMW dealer that sold the Tenere from under me.
    #1
  2. steve68steve

    steve68steve Long timer

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    I'm biased cuz I own one, but the Super Tenere really checks all the boxes for your use.

    Having said that, I've had mine long enough to start watching for a deal on a GSA. I rode the Triumph a few years back and LOVED the engine, hated the ergos and the price for what I feared might be reliability issues.

    If money matters, get a used Super Tenere.
    If it doesn't, get a GSA or Tiger Explorer.

    If money REALLY matters, is there any generation of the 1 liter VStrom with factory cruise?
    #2
  3. LexLeroy

    LexLeroy Socially Distant Supporter

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    A riding buddy had an S10 and he used it for everything - highway, back roads, gravel, jeep trails, you name it. Now he's a good rider mind you, but the bike did everything that he asked and he beat it like a rented mule. You could do worse than an S10. Assuming of course that it fits you physically.
    #3
  4. MFP

    MFP Urbaner

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    Your whole post sounds exactly like my mindset two years ago when I was looking to get into the large CC ADV bike segment.
    I looked at all the bikes you listed and rode most of them as well. I ended up getting a used GEN1 '13 S10 with low miles that was in almost brand new condition.
    It certainly helped that this particular S10 was really well set-up with OEM Yammy side cases, OEM Yammy heated grips, KAOKO throttle lock, ALT Rider crash bars, ACD skid plate,
    Madstad windshield bracket and the cherry on top: a flashed ECU! Two years later with many miles added on the clock, I love this big scoot.
    The fact that a S10 is a shaftie is also a huge plus. It also has been ultra, mega reliable and fairly easy to work on maintenance wise.
    So far just cleaning/lubing/greasing where need be, oil/oil filter, FD oil changes, a new battery and a new set of Michelin Anakee Adventure tires. Plan to do brake/clutch/coolant fluids this weekend for the first time.
    I live in the NYC area and my S10 is great to ride as a commuter even in the insane urban environment with crappy road surfaces and frequent stop-n-go traffic.
    When the time comes along for me to head out of town the S10 simply eats up the highway miles.
    Late last Fall I started going off the slab more often and so far so good. I am looking forward to more unpaved/gravel roads, simple dirt trails and some moto-camping.
    Not sure I will ever make it to the destinations you listed but you never know.
    The S10 is a handful weight wise but thankfully I am 6'2" 230lbs so I can manhandle this beast when need be (pushing it into the garage and parking it in a tight space is a workout for sure).
    A Super Tenere is the Toyota Land Cruiser of the motorcycle world.
    Both used GEN1s and GEN2s are currently priced nicely and they are generally very well taken care of by their owners.
    Highly recommended.
    #4
  5. Husky360C

    Husky360C Been here awhile

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    I'd give serious consideration to the Yamaha T700. It's going to end up being the sleeper hit of the adventure bike world, just wait and see. Yeah, the T700 doesn't offer cruise. If that's a deal breaker then that's how it is.

    The Super Ten is so freaking heavy that it could be a real problem to pick it up if you're alone. That may not matter to you, but if you ride solo on dirt roads that might be slippery, it could be something to keep in mind.

    Having said that, I'd buy a Super Ten before I'd buy a BMW. The BMW is one of the most over rated bikes I've ever ridden, and it costs way too much considering how much less money viable alternatives cost. Some people will only buy a BMW because they want to be in that "club". It doesn't sound like you're one of those people, fortunately for you.

    I've ridden the Triumph. I found the ergonomics appalling, and I am about as average in body dimensions as it gets. I also thought the suspension was utter crap. A KTM 790 has FAR better suspension than the Triumph. The engine on the Triumph is sweet, but as a complete package the Triumph is seriously lacking in several important respects.

    The KTM 1290 is overkill. You cannot use the power for very long before you have to back off the throttle. I'd buy a KTM 790 before I bought a 1290, regardless of price.
    There is a lot to be said for a bike that does everything you need it to do and doesn't have insane amounts of power you will seldom if ever use. Then again you might want to go 160mph when you can get away with it. If that's your style, the KTM 1290 is the one to have.

    The Africa Twin isn't that amazing a bike. I'd buy the T700 for sure before I bought the Honda. The Honda is an appliance and riding one back to back with my KTM 950 Super Enduro was a shocking experience, with the Honda being one of the least exciting or entertaining bikes I've ever ridden. No soul, no character, just a good appliance, that's the Honda. Some people of course are ok with that. I require motorcycles I own to make me feel alive when I ride them, and the Africa Twin would never do that for me.

    If you want the highest level of off road competence, buy a KTM 790R.
    #5
  6. neanderthal

    neanderthal globeriding wannabe

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    2018 Africa Twin with an aftermarket cruise control. $10- $12k all day if you do a fly and ride. I just use a throttle lock in lieu of CC.

    The DCT transmission is incredible for commuting. Game changer.
    #6
  7. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    DL1000 ?, the high end version of the latest model does have cruise control.

    Lighter than most of the big pigs, certainly less porky than the S10, the KTM 790 is also an option but they are more fragile than the DL's.
    #7
  8. psyfalcon

    psyfalcon Adventurer

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    Its only the 1050 Strom that has the cruise, right? MSRP is 17k on an XT Adventure (bags included).

    I have no doubt the KTM is the best off road. And its probably pretty decent on road with the factory cruise. But they're about 13k for the Adventure plus luggage. There are a few 2019 Teneres within driving distance, but the dealers all want around 13k+ tax and fees for them. I think thats a bit wishful on their part but I'll see if any will bite.

    Of all the stupid features I might be tempted by, its too bad Honda only has Apple Carplay on the AT instead of Android auto too. Built in Waze would be nice!

    The road to dirt ratio will be very road biased, to the point I was looking at FJRs, but I don't think my knees will take that, at least not in the future.
    #8
  9. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    If you're comfortable riding big bikes off asphalt then there are a lot of good options. S10 and Vstrom likely at the top of the fill with gas, change oil occasaionally and ride it till the wheels fall off group.

    Triumph 1200s are another under rated road bike. Many instances of very high mileage units still kicking.

    Honda AT another good unit - though if it were me I'd steer clear of the DCT. Best of the lot off road in the big boy class unless you bring a KTM into the equation IMHO. Probably not THE best on the road.

    BMW, well if you're going to look at them you might as well add KTMs to the list....

    Mid weights - 790, t700, 800xcx/xrx - all good bikes, all very different to ride (full disclosure, I have not ridden a T700) The yamaha likely has the worst range of all the bikes in this list, least amount of power, least tank range, and least number of creature comforts. You would be giving up a huge amount of comfort and power for what? To ride a gravel road occasionally which all these bikes will do. Of the mid-weights for what you say you are looking for the Triumph 800 xrx would likely be the best fit, if you like the motor. A 900 might be great if the money doesnt sting too much.

    Bottom line, it sounds like you want a big powerful long range bike that will get you someplace without a lot of fuss. They'll all do that so buy the one that you like best. Not a bad choice in the bunch. Now if you offroad requirements get more serious then a few of the players start to not look as good...
    #9
  10. justdirtyfun

    justdirtyfun Been here awhile

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    Adventure bikes are great choices for most people who want /need a one bike solution.

    In my past I was lucky enough to run a street FJR and a dirt DR650. Getting both of them in one bike puts you on a street biased ADV bike like the S10. With limited rough gravel and dirt and shitty(city) living I would buy one in a heartbeat.
    #10