Which bike for one returning to overlanding?

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Warthog
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Which bike for one returning to overlanding?

Post by Warthog » Mon May 20, 2019 7:19 pm

Hello all.

For those of you on other like-minded forums, this post may look familiar. Yes, I cut and pasted it as it's been a long day! Guilty as charged. Anyway, I'm sure you'll forgive me, so on to the question.

I was once a frequent visitor on this site and a frequent bike traveller, but that was a while back. Life sort of got in the way. Money made overlanding more of a dream than an ambition and kids made motorbikes more of a garage filler than a hobby.

But life has changed and I find myself with at least the possibility of bike trips again, if not full-on trips across Africa or the Siberian steppe.

That means I may be in the market for a new-to-me bike.

Currently, I have a 1996 Honda Transalp 600 which I have ridden across France, Poland, Slovakia and Czech Rep, as well as my home of Estonia. I was a solo rider for those trips and, while it is up to the job for running around for a Sunday blast with my girlfriend as pillion, I fear it would not be potent enough for riding two up across Europe where mile-munching would have to occur at some points.

I'd also like something with a bit more poke.

And so I ask for some recommendations as I am totally out of touch with bikes these days and I don't remember enough of what I knew 7 years ago about the foibles of this bike or that.

So, what am I looking for?

Comfort. Crossing and touring Sweden on a supermoto XR400R told me unequivocally that my posterior is particular and my back is unforgiving (knackered lumbar disc). And, whilst giving my pillion a bum-massage has its merits, I think she wants to be comfortable too. So comfort is a must.

Type. Whilst I loved my trip across Patagonia, two-up on a GS, I'm not sure I'll be doing any major trail work so dual-sport/adventure tourer is not essential. So I'd consider tourer and sports tourers too.

Power. Yes..... I may not be hung up on another superbike, but I'd like something that is going to put a smile on my face so I'm probably looking around the litre mark in cc.

Reliability. I know that anything can go wrong but touring on a bike that I don't feel confident about just kills half the joy. Whilst I can do a fair bit of my own repairs, I don't get a kick from patching up a bike by the side of the road with duct-tape and chewing gum. So something that is statistically solid would have to be a deal-maker.

Fuel economy. I know that if I wind a 1000cc bike up and gun it down the open road consumption will suffer but I'd like something that doesn't drink like a fish, just cruising. For the record, I'm quite happy to ride along at 80kmph on a back road or 130 on a motorway and when I do, I'd like the bike to have a decent range and not have my holiday budget eviscerated at every fuel stop. What is good economy for me? Well, I can say the Honda can get 65mpg (about 4.5-5 litres/100km) if I ride a steadily 80kmph but I accept that might not be achievable with a bigger bike.

Likely destinations. Given my location, budget and vacation allowance, I think my feasible range would anywhere in Europe, inc Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, as far as Spain too

Price. €3-4000.

So far, I've found myself looking at the likes of the FJR1300, V-strom DL1000, Fazer 1000, Blackbird 1100, although the Suzuki and Yamaha 1000 seem the closest in price to my goals.

So, my question is how does my shortlist stack up to my requirements and are there any others I should add? A Beemer GS would be nice, sure, but completely inaccessible price-wise, before anyone suggests that.

So over to you and let me know what you think:
Is my my short list a worthy one?
Am I over-looking any other bikes?

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Tramp
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Re: Which bike for one returning to overlanding?

Post by Tramp » Mon May 20, 2019 7:49 pm

Lol... Remember you from both the hub and xrv. Org.... Why not a fuel injected varadero1000... Very capable and better than the dl1000 for sure... Yam fazer is more highly tuned... An old fj is great too.

Lol old bikes aint changed just the folks that ride them... ..

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Re: Which bike for one returning to overlanding?

Post by herman » Mon May 20, 2019 7:55 pm

I am biased as I had one but Fazer thou , make sure the exup valve in the exhaust is working other than that all is good and a smiley face is easily achieved.
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Warthog
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Re: Which bike for one returning to overlanding?

Post by Warthog » Mon May 20, 2019 8:13 pm

That was me. Still running the TA I bought from a member on XRV.org. Rode it all the way back to Estonia over a weekend: crazy days!!

Varadero: certainly an option.
How does it or the Fazer stack up in relation to my list of must-haves and wants?

OnHellas
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Re: Which bike for one returning to overlanding?

Post by OnHellas » Mon May 20, 2019 9:03 pm

I’d say for two up comfort a Varadero 1000 will take some beating.

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Re: Which bike for one returning to overlanding?

Post by byewayrider » Tue May 21, 2019 6:24 am

What about a yamaga tdm900....frazer brakes and great engine....Europeans love them.... 8-)
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Warthog
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Re: Which bike for one returning to overlanding?

Post by Warthog » Tue May 21, 2019 8:38 am

Hmmmm.... tdm900 certainly has potential!

I do have a hankering for big power but the Yam won’t exactly be asthmatic! And probably lighter in consumption too. I had the original 850 back in 2001.

Good bike apart from a gearbox from hell!! :D

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Re: Which bike for one returning to overlanding?

Post by byewayrider » Tue May 21, 2019 9:26 am

The tdm 850 and 900 are different in lots of good ways...solid gearbox with changed gearing and lovely 6 speed..great fuel range and about 55 to 60mpg...at 80mph they cruise all day and a great v twin feel with crank settjng....the tdm forum is great...prices hold themselves....i made up some custom side pannier rails for hard boxes as hate plastic thingys :lol: ..

Lots of them in france :o
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Re: Which bike for one returning to overlanding?

Post by OB1 » Tue May 21, 2019 12:12 pm

I notice that the bikes on your list are comparatively old. Have you thought about a Triumph? For some reason, the residual value seems to be lower on these than on most Japanese and European bikes. For example, I have just sold a late 2014 (2015 model year) Triumph Tiger 800 XCx with cruise control and WP suspension for £5,000. I know that's above your budget but it shows that they are good value when purchased second hand. A similar BMW F800GS would probably sell for £1,000 more.

The Tiger has plenty of power for 2-up touring and, on my 5,000-mile round trip to Nordkapp a couple of years ago, I averaged 55 mpg. That included having fun in the twisties as well as a 90 mph blast across Germany. In 2013, I rode down to Barcelona with a mate who was on a BMW R1200GS: he was amazed at the fact that the Triumph was able to keep up with his bike and that we were using similar amounts of fuel.

For some reason, Triumphs are often overlooked, therefore they sell for less - much to my chagrin as I have had 7 in total!

I'm sure that you could pick up a good early 800 XC for around £4,000.
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Re: Which bike for one returning to overlanding?

Post by diggermanbob » Tue May 21, 2019 12:58 pm

FJ1300r very nice bike , very comfortable , loads of grunt , great bike for touring , I bought one to go touring in Europe but the wife is not so keen so it might be available , trouble is ever time I ride it I don't want to sell it :D so may have to go touring on my own !!!

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