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

    8.4%
  2. WR 250r

    53.0%
  3. KLX 250

    4.8%
  4. CRF 250L

    3.6%
  5. CRF 250L Rally

    30.1%
  1. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    Well, yeah. The WR 250r is going to be $2,000-$3,000 more than I planned for the CRF 250L Rally. It may delay my plans for a year just to get everything right. I don't want to take on such a long trip without the security of knowing that I did my best on everything. So, for now, I'm shooting for the WR 250r in 2019. But if my living situation forces me to buy a bike right away at some point, then I'm just going to buy the CRF 250 Rally because it's what I can afford.

    I plan to post youtube videos on a lot of the stuff I do. I try to cut costs because I'm on such a tight budget. However, you might be surprised with some of it because I'll be in-orthodoxed in a lot of my ways given that I'm a newbie. I'm not that good of a mechanic (Actually, I suck as a mechanic). But I do have multiple degrees in mechanical drafting, manufacturing, and machining, so I'm willing to share my knowledge with y'all. Even with that, I would say that my knowledge is not even 1% of what's out there in those fields. I AM craftier than most people though.

    With that said, I'd like to ask you how the Mojave bag is workin' for you. Is it too big? Does it make the bike too top-heavy?
    #81
  2. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way...

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    just buy what you can afford and go. The rest will always take care of itself. It always does.
    #82
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  3. shrederscott

    shrederscott Long timer

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    Keep your eye out for used wr250r.....the search engine searchtempest.com is helpful let's you search multiple Craigslist at once.

    The Mojave holds 6 liter on each saddle bag. These is a great size for day rides .... but to small for camping gear. The bags are low tight and forward ...weight balance is not adversely impacted. 20171027_123207.jpg

    Pic of my bike with the Mojave bags

    Enjoy

    Scott
    #83
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  4. i4bikes

    i4bikes Been here awhile

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    Lot of truth in this message. All of us have stuff that didn't work like we thought it would. You got to just do the best you can and figure out up grades or changes for the next trip.
    Who knows you might fall in love with this kind of travel or be one and done.
    I know this if you don't pull the trigger and go you will always wish you did.
    #84
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  5. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    Hey, thanks for the support and the advice. You and Zubb really summed it up well in a nutshell.

    None of this is going to happen until I get back here in July. The Colorado/Utah snow will inhibit the opening of the dirt roads in and around that area until that time anyways. I actually was thinking that I would have to buy the bike this month because I was anticipating that things would go sour with my American address, and I praise God that everything is still okay.

    As I've stated before, this will all depend on whether or not I could hold out until 2019. I think that having the solid capabilities of the WR 250r at my command for that 5,000+ mile trip will be worth the wait if I'm successful in holding out. It'll also give me time to pay down some of them credit card bills that I've built up in buying gear. I've bought all of my armor, and most of that is CE. I want to be well-protected when I drop the bike. I also looked for great deals. I got a brand new Shoei vfx-w helmet for $280 and a brand new $500+ pair of Gaerne SG10s for $325. These are kinda the old going-out models that you can buy now for a great price while vendors are liquidating the brand new ones of these for a great price, so I bought them since the timing was right. I've also started buying my camping gear.

    So... We'll see when I get back in July if I buy a bike or not.
    #85
  6. wanderlost

    wanderlost Been here awhile

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    I haven't read this whole thread, so if this is a duplication, please forgive me. I would like to point out that BigDog from this forum is selling his well sorted WR250R which would have all the prep work done on it for you.

    Paul
    #86
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  7. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    Thanks, Paul.

    I just went to read his post on selling his bike, but I think it would be wiser for me to pay off some of my credit cards first with that money since I'm not ready to decide until at least July of this year (2018). I've dug quite a hole buying all that gear. LOL i'll worry about actually buying the bike in July.
    #87
  8. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    What you say makes sense. However, I've put a lot of things on my credit card, and paying them down during my time overseas would be simply a matter of responsibility. I'll see what happens with the bike when I get back in July.
    #88
  9. The Breeze

    The Breeze Been here awhile

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    Yep... I agree. Don't put off the trip. Buy a good used bike and go. Any of the above will work. They are all reliable. Find one that is set up for a few thousand...ride the shit out of it on the TAT...then sell it for $500 less than you paid for it. Seriously, once these bikes have 5 to 10k miles on them they are pretty much fully depreciated....yet there good to go for 10's of thousands of miles more.

    You'll also be learning on a used bike and you won't freak out every time you drop it....and you will drop it!

    I understand that you are trying to buy once and be happy for many years.... But the bike you're looking for doesn't exist. We've all been patiently waiting for it. If Yamaha would put a 450 in the WR250R or if Suzuki would put a "Wide Ratio" tranny in the DRZ400....we would be happy. Then you would have a perfect bike to ride the western TAT, ride on the freeways, tour Alaska and Mexico, etc.

    But alas....they haven't. So you have to compromise. The WR250R will rock the TAT.... will be comfortable, but down on power on the freeways. The CB500X with knobbies and possibly RR kit....will be great to tour Alaska, Mexico, etc....and will do the TAT but will be more work.

    Again...the DR650 is a great compromise in between the WR and CB....but has a carb. Yes, I understand that a carb may have potential issues...but they can usually be sorted on the trail/road. Bear in mind that fuel injection isn't perfect either. Fuel pumps get clogged and/or fail. Also, if your battery dies....no fuel pump....no push start! So it's always a compromise. Just to reiterate....the DR has the lowest stock seat height...and it is set up to be factory lowered.

    Your thread title asks what's the best TAT bike....and I still think it's the WR250R. However, your comments suggest that you want a bike that'll do a lot more than the Western TAT....

    So, I'd buy good used bike for the TAT, be happy, and go. All of your potential bikes will do it. Afterwards keep it and make it work for long distance travel....or sell it and buy more of a compromise bike. Whatever you do....don't wait until 2019. Go now!!!
    #89
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  10. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    We'll see what happens in July. I anticipate being able to either buy a used XT 250 cash or being able to finance any of the bikes mentioned above. I just don't want to put more on my credit cards than I have to because I need to save that credit line for plane tickets and the actual trip. I don't plan on camping out all the time since I'll need wifi access to upload the videos, and I do like to take showers when I can. Thanks for the advice. I leave back for overseas at the end of this month (February). We'll see what happens when I get back.
    #90
  11. The Breeze

    The Breeze Been here awhile

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    Buy used/pay cash for the used XT250 and ride the hell out of it!!! It's a proven bike, will treat you well, and you'll have great memories! Screw financing.

    Looking forward to your ride report!!
    #91
  12. 8gv

    8gv Long timer

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    My first TAT riding, TN-UT, was on a DR650.

    That was months before needing two new hips.

    It was a bit heavy for me.

    My next TAT riding (this year) will be with new hips and an XT250.

    I look forward to lighter.
    #92
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  13. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    Good advice. Thanks.
    #93
  14. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    Really? The DR650 was too heavy? Wow! It's only about 30 lbs heavier than the XT250. But yet, I think I can relate to that since I'm not a big guy. I'm only 5'8 with a 30 inch inseam on a good day.
    #94
  15. 8gv

    8gv Long timer

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    DR650 is 366#
    Seat height is 34.8” but can be lowered via a no parts, factory method, to 33.2”

    XT250 is 291#
    Seat height is 31.9”

    References:

    http://www.suzukicycles.com/Product Lines/Cycles/Products/DR650SE/2018/DR650S.aspx

    https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/dual-sport/models/xt250

    The DR can haul a lot more stuff which may tempt you to do so. I sent half my crap back home via the USPS when I arrived in CO.

    Start out with half of what you think you need and then cut back some more.

    The only obstacle I see on the XT is the fuel capacity.

    There are no after market higher capacity tanks available.

    This requires a Rotopax or similar to be carried on the tail rack.

    The XT will get at least 60-70 mpg where the DR gets 50.

    I seriously considered the WR250R for my TAT ride but found it to be too tall for me.

    Very experienced dirt riders will tell you that the height shouldn’t matter and just one toe touching the ground should be adequate.

    My stance:

    Ride your own ride.
    #95
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  16. 8gv

    8gv Long timer

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    My real world data:

    XT MPG

    68 first tank
    84
    80
    79
    83
    76 102 street
    72.5 street/fast 60+
    79 street/fast
    80 1/2-1/2 slow in woods fast on paved TET
    78
    84
    77
    76 woods and highway
    74 high alt
    82 BRP
    78 BRP
    76 BRP
    73
    80
    77
    77
    77
    75
    77
    73
    84
    78
    74
    71
    90
    76
    72
    75
    72
    71
    67 72 mph run
    #96
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  17. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    AT Blizzard has a thread on when he ride the TAT on an XT 250. Good stuff. He said now that he's looking back on it, all he needed to carry were two fuel bottles instead of the Rotopax. He didn't have any exhaust mods during that trip, and he changed the gearing to make them taller. I guess that was for better fuel efficiency.

    Yeah. I found the WR 250r, with its 36.6 inch seat height, to be hideously too tall for me too. It seems like the ideal rider for that bike would have to be 7 foot and 120 lbs. I've never ridden through gnarly sections of Colorado and Utah, but from what I've gathered from at least a couple videos is that riders needed to paddle their bikes through since on one side is the side of a mountain, and on the other side is a cliff. There are a few other obstacles beyond this that I saw where paddling is needed. One of the wisest pieces of advice that I've received is to always plan for the toughest part of the trip because you can do all this work in getting to that part of the trip, but once you get there, if either you or the bike can't handle it, then you'd have to turn back for some distance and re-route. That's not fun. The TAT is such a long trip with so many obstacles that it's hard to define which one would be the toughest.
    #97
  18. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer

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    The only time your feet should be down is when the bike is going too slow or stopped to keep upright on its own. This takes experience which also builds confidence, and that takes time. From your own rating of skill and how you sound how you need to approach certain off-road conditions, get the short bike and take it slow. But don’t be surprised that after this extensive of a ride you feel underbiked and will be looking for a more exciting and capable bike. But for now, get the one that enables you to confidently ride how you think you’ll be riding this trip.
    #98
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  19. Made from scratch

    Made from scratch Adventurer

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    Right. The going slow part is what I'm referring to when I mention paddling. On a stock WR 250r, I toes don't even touch the ground to do that. I'd have to get off the bike way before the obstacle and walk it. The WR 250r is the only bike on this list that I would have to do that with. I certainly do hope that I get to the level that you're talking about when you mention "a more exciting and capable bike."
    #99
  20. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer

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    Those obstacles your talking about where you think you’ll be slowing down and paddling, those are the instincts of a newer rider. Once you get more experience, skill and confidence, you’ll be riding those same sections crouched standing, feet on the pegs and giving her the juice.