Switching from 4 to 2 wheel solo travel

worthingtontw

Observer
You will regret the 800 bmw on anything technical off road. The BDRs were designed to be a challenge on big off-road bikes. I have over 10k of actual off-road miles (TAT, TET, CDR etc)on various machines, dr650, KTM 690, rr cb500x loaded for travel.
Not a Klr fan but I am impressed with the new FI model. That would be a great choice. I don’t know how deep your pockets are but the KTM 790 and Yamaha 700 tenere are excellent bikes for what you have in mind. Even an Africa twin. You might even be able to get away with the KTM 390 or a royal enfield himalaya.
Really appreciate the feed back. At the end of the day I realize I just need to go demo some bikes for as long as they will let me have them and figure out what is best suited and can grow with. I'm most concerned about just selecting the right bike and ignoring the budget aspect. That doesn't mean I want to drop $25k on my first adventure bike, I would much rather buy used and not feel bad when I inevitably drop it. On the other hand, I am a big believer in buy once cry once and what I don't want to have happen is mid trip realize I am on the wrong bike and end up doing a trade in.

I will look around and see if your recommendations are available locally and go try them out. Thanks!
 

perterra

Adventurer
You will regret the 800 bmw on anything technical off road. The BDRs were designed to be a challenge on big off-road bikes. I have over 10k of actual off-road miles (TAT, TET, CDR etc)on various machines, dr650, KTM 690, rr cb500x loaded for travel.
Not a Klr fan but I am impressed with the new FI model. That would be a great choice. I don’t know how deep your pockets are but the KTM 790 and Yamaha 700 tenere are excellent bikes for what you have in mind. Even an Africa twin. You might even be able to get away with the KTM 390 or a royal enfield himalaya.
This post brings up very good points, KLR does come up a little short in a few areas. Brakes arent the best, stainless brake lines help, but the cure would be larger brakes. It's down on horsepower compared to the KTM-690 which will rip, but the one I rode shook like a paint shaker. I think the KTM would be a blast, just not for 12 hours straight at 70 mph. The KLR feels slower than the DR but it is heavier (too heavy for some folks) so to be expected. The older seats sucked but an easy cure with a Corbin or Saddleman, the new KLR seats are pretty firm so may be fine. An advantage to the KLR is huge after market support and reliable as hell. It's similar to a first gen Tacoma in that respect. Will do about anything, just not the best at anything.

I have had my 06 for 11 years now, for me if it had 10 more horsepower I wouldnt even look at other bikes. But there are so many options currently I dont know what I would buy. I would probably kit out a CB500X and just go with that.

Most important changes I made were a Mayer saddle and Madstad windshield and tightening up the bearings in the steering head ( a friend said I took the liveliness out of it, I never knew liveliness was getting hit with a crosswind on the interstate at 70 mph and going two lanes over in a blink of the eye.

Good luck in your search.


 

Willsfree

Member
Without doing a complete overshare, I just finished a divorce of my high school sweetheart and I am wanting to get out on the road and explore to clear my mind. Her family introduced me to the concept of overlanding when I was 18 (now 31) and have spent a lot of time cruising around the pacific states, but have not really ventured much past Nevada with the exception of one major trip through the Rockies.

Now that I don't have someone in my life saying that I can't buy a bike I'm thinking about quitting my job and for about 3 months doing a combination of Backcounty Discovery Route trails, but also checking out a few cities that I am interested in moving to.

I ride a little Aprilia Scarbeo 250 to run into town right now and have ridden dirt bikes a bit out at my ex's uncles ranch. He rides a KTM 990 Adventure, BMW R1600GT and a KTM 400 dual sport (when we do our big Saline Valley family trip annually) about 3 months out of the year traveling all over. The advice he gave me was to be looking for something in the 600-800cc class as that would not be too big to get to through the type of terrain I like exploring, but not to small to beat me up on days with a 3-400 mile transit. I have my eye on BMW F800GS as I think that would be a happy medium from what I have read about them. I am a little concerned that it may be to big of a bike though to jump on given my current skill level off road. I will add though that he promised to take me out to the ranch to practice slow speed off-road maneuvers, picking up a bike on slopes, etc. He puts on a little clinic before doing big ADV rides with new people every year, so I am thankful for his expertise and willingness to help me out.

Would love to get any thoughts or recommendations on other bikes I should be looking at that fit into what I am looking to do right now.
I ride with a guy who loves his Sertao; seems like a great option....lots of info here:
 

Jupiter58

Active member
Really appreciate the feed back. At the end of the day I realize I just need to go demo some bikes for as long as they will let me have them and figure out what is best suited and can grow with. I'm most concerned about just selecting the right bike and ignoring the budget aspect. That doesn't mean I want to drop $25k on my first adventure bike, I would much rather buy used and not feel bad when I inevitably drop it. On the other hand, I am a big believer in buy once cry once and what I don't want to have happen is mid trip realize I am on the wrong bike and end up doing a trade in.

I will look around and see if your recommendations are available locally and go try them out. Thanks!
Sure thing! They have made a lot of mid size adventure bikes in the last few years that are in the 10-12k high end new. Lots of good reviews of the 700 tenere and 790 KTM.
The Honda Africa twin has an available auto transmission. They really have it dialed in. Of course you can shift with your thumb also. A little heavier than the others but a nice bike.
 

renottse

New member
All of the suggestions to date are well balanced and I’ll reaffirm a point… it’s never the bike, it’s you who “adventure’s” and with that in mind the type of exploration will change over time, but for now what to start with?

I’m biased as I have two Husqvarna 701’s, a Supermoto and an Enduro. Talking enduro with respect to traveling distance in relative comfort.

Vibration, 2017 + Husky’s and 2019 + KTM 690’s have the double counter balanced engine and it significantly reduces vibration, doesn’t eliminate it but I can ride freeway without any concerns. Tire choice will come into play here, 50/50 and your going to know about it, 80/20 and you’ll be puttering about all grins.

Your going to customize what ever you get, my go to’s are seat, bar position, screen, cruise control and foot peg position.

Used 17+ Husky’s 19+ KTM’s aren’t thick on the ground but they regularly turn up, are usually well set up and looked after. Oh and there are many examples of guys/girls with 30k + miles on the engine/bike. So +1 from me on the Husky’s/KTM.

Caveat, the most fun/memorable trip I’ve had was 3 months in Vietnam on a Honda CT 90. Now that’s a bike.

Enjoy the journey.
 

worthingtontw

Observer
All of the suggestions to date are well balanced and I’ll reaffirm a point… it’s never the bike, it’s you who “adventure’s” and with that in mind the type of exploration will change over time, but for now what to start with?

I’m biased as I have two Husqvarna 701’s, a Supermoto and an Enduro. Talking enduro with respect to traveling distance in relative comfort.

Vibration, 2017 + Husky’s and 2019 + KTM 690’s have the double counter balanced engine and it significantly reduces vibration, doesn’t eliminate it but I can ride freeway without any concerns. Tire choice will come into play here, 50/50 and your going to know about it, 80/20 and you’ll be puttering about all grins.

Your going to customize what ever you get, my go to’s are seat, bar position, screen, cruise control and foot peg position.

Used 17+ Husky’s 19+ KTM’s aren’t thick on the ground but they regularly turn up, are usually well set up and looked after. Oh and there are many examples of guys/girls with 30k + miles on the engine/bike. So +1 from me on the Husky’s/KTM.

Caveat, the most fun/memorable trip I’ve had was 3 months in Vietnam on a Honda CT 90. Now that’s a bike.

Enjoy the journey.
I am a bit interested in the Huskys but they are very hard to find around here. I will be the first to admit it is a stupid correlation but I have a couple of their chain saws and other assorted property care tools and love them. I was aware of their bikes but never gave a serious look. I'll try to find a couple to ride and check them out.
 

worthingtontw

Observer
Quick update. I rode a F700GS earlier today. I really liked it. I was asked not to take it off pavement, so didn't get to try that out. That is a sweet bike though.

I am going to ride a KLR650 later this weekend and maybe a Tiger 800 so we will see how that goes.

Some immediate take away from the GS. Needs a larger windshield to deal with wind. Plenty of power. Loved the balance. Really like the lowered seat position compared to an 800 I sat on. It is a bike I feel like I can grow on and retain resale value with for when it is time to upgrade. I don't know if it is interesting or not, but if the updates may help another 2 wheel newbie I am happy to keep posting about my hunt for the right bike.

Also my house went on the market Monday and I already have 2 offers so this may turn into a thing faster than I thought. :oops: Not complaining. More warm weather months to get out there for my first season.
 

Jupiter58

Active member
Good news on the house1 Congrats! You appear to be more focused on BMWs. You like the 700 because it has a lower seat height but that is because it is primarily road focused which is fine if that is what you want. I personally prefer a 19” front tire vs a 21” unless it is a very off road focused bike. Cast wheels are ok if you don’t abuse them. A set of tkc 80s or equivalent and it will be decent for gravel and fire roads, not so much for challenging single track.
It is a very tricky compromise if you want both.
What makes a good on road bike is what is detrimental off road.
Weight more is good on road, less off road. Very significant
Suspension you need more suspension off road usually resulting in greater seat height.
The more aggressive off road bikes usually have 36-37 inch seat height. Intimidating for some. A good compromise is around 33-34 you see on some of the newer mid size.
Test ride a few different ones before you decide.
I would not recommend testing KTM/husky 701 because you will buy it right there!!
Insanely fun fast and light!!!! Probably the truest hooligan bike made. My 690 wheelied way too easy in the first 3 gears without slipping the clutch. 4 and 5 slipping it and 6? Don’t know if it could but It would be going too fast for my wheelie comfort zone!
I would stick with one of the new middle weights for the best of both worlds.
 

worthingtontw

Observer
Good news on the house1 Congrats! You appear to be more focused on BMWs. You like the 700 because it has a lower seat height but that is because it is primarily road focused which is fine if that is what you want. I personally prefer a 19” front tire vs a 21” unless it is a very off road focused bike. Cast wheels are ok if you don’t abuse them. A set of tkc 80s or equivalent and it will be decent for gravel and fire roads, not so much for challenging single track.
It is a very tricky compromise if you want both.
What makes a good on road bike is what is detrimental off road.
Weight more is good on road, less off road. Very significant
Suspension you need more suspension off road usually resulting in greater seat height.
The more aggressive off road bikes usually have 36-37 inch seat height. Intimidating for some. A good compromise is around 33-34 you see on some of the newer mid size.
Test ride a few different ones before you decide.
I would not recommend testing KTM/husky 701 because you will buy it right there!!
Insanely fun fast and light!!!! Probably the truest hooligan bike made. My 690 wheelied way too easy in the first 3 gears without slipping the clutch. 4 and 5 slipping it and 6? Don’t know if it could but It would be going too fast for my wheelie comfort zone!
I would stick with one of the new middle weights for the best of both worlds.
I'm not really stuck on BMWs... I just keep getting good deals sent to me from friends who ride them. They are in my ear though about the reliability and transit day comfort of them, so I just keep ending up looking at them.

Big part of the reason I floated out the initial post. Wanted a sanity check from a diverse group of riders.

Thank you for the feed back. Absolutely trying to get on as many bikes as possible right now. I will factor your advice in moving forward looking at other bikes.

This little project went from 0-100 really fast given the context of everything going on and I think I might be rushing it in over correcting my life though. There is no way I am not doing this, but I might pump the brakes for a week and fool around on some friends bikes at the ranch if they will let me (which I'm sure they will).
 

jkam

nomadic man
BMW=Bring My Wallet.
BMW makes a great product... as long as you are within warranty.
You will find that you will be modifying any motorcycle you get.
Start with something cheap and easy. Then work your way up to what you really lust after.
 

worthingtontw

Observer
BMW=Bring My Wallet.
BMW makes a great product... as long as you are within warranty.
You will find that you will be modifying any motorcycle you get.
Start with something cheap and easy. Then work your way up to what you really lust after.
Bought my wife, break my windows, big mex.... Yeah, heard them all. Autocrossed their cars for a long time. I am well aware. But it is hard to turn your nose up at how deep their parts network is for bikes as well. At least from my research.

Your point is heard though.

I know I will end up farckling the thing out, but at least I have an ABS proven 3d printer so it won't be that bad. Right? Right?!?

I hear your point about starting cheap and easy, but there is a certain level of momentum and never having a similar opportunity again for personal reasons that make this a jump all in moment or it will never happen. I do recognize to a certain degree I am forcing it though.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
You ride any long stuff yet? I did 63,000 miles on two wheels between 2003 and 2008. Normal stuff was yr around Daily commute to the office 190mile a week. Did a few long trips to see ehat it was like. Enjoyed the bike at the destination point but the pavement between wasn’t very fun. That was a 650 commuter that was really comfortable on the pavement easy to do long miles on etc.

After a few long trips. I decided my preferred was lighter bike tossed on a hitch rack for the boring pavement miles. Light bike for the fun destination rides.
Some of that dislike of the long pavement days could have been due to 190miles a week just going to/from work. But other buddies told me they had the same thoughts regarding the long pavement runs between desired destinations.
I rented a few BMWs did a few rides, rode some friends bikes too. The BMWS were nice but just felt too heavy and big to enjoy any off pavement stuff. The old klr 650 was interesting sorta a cool mix of road manners and confident off pavement ride. I could definitely see why it was liked. Rode my Cousins big KTM geeze that thing was a beast. Yeah definitely a wheelie toy which I’m not a wheelie type but don’t mind coming off the dirt when having fun. Interestingly my cousin hit a mini van head on while doing a wheelie in front of his house🤦‍♂️. He didn’t survive that wreck. The guy had 9 lives way more crazy wrecks on two wheels than anyone I have known.
I did ride the auto Africa twin. Honestly the clutching and such was never really a thought or source of stress for me. I know lots of riders the shifting and clutching its a sizable distraction to consider. Having said that I really liked the Auto Africa Twin. I can see where on dirt getting into tricky steep stuff where the Auto totally changes the experience and can really make a challenging climb not so bad. It actually would be an interesting bike one I would probably at least ride some more to see if I liked it enough to go that route. Auto Definitely is a strong advantage if you ride lots of city traffic also.
My commuting I rode a couple of different bikes but the one that got the most use for my commute 6 miles heavy city and 28 miles fast highway each way Daily. Ended up being a freaking Honda Silver Wing 650 scooter😆😆😆.
I did a yr on a friends Honda knight hawk 750 commuter bike nice bike. No joke it had 190,000 miles on it, was a great bike actually. Work buddy had a big ass GS I rode that for a month daily to/from work while he was out of town. Super smooth, fast, big!! a bit of a over weight fat oaf in city traffic. My brother bought a new Honda ACE 750 I rode that for three months while he was out of state. Fun bike definitely not a nimble bike which I definitely like.
My neighbor bought a brand new Honda Silver Wing 650 ABS scooter. When you get an opportunity to ride a new rig for a few days you go for it. Putting my work laptop, office shoes and a bottle of water under my seat was a new experience. My first Super Scooter ride to work I loved how nimble it was in the brutal city traffic. To my shock it was quick like sleeper quick! Quick all the way to 100! Which was just bonkers. Neighbor let me ride it for a week. Center stand straight vertical parking it even tucked into a great spot in my garage.
All my buddies razzed the hell out of me for riding it. You know I went and bought one 😆😆.
Yep 55,000 miles on that stupid fun 650 scooter. I didn’t care it was perfect for my commute and stupid quick plus no backpack hanging on my back. I did a few coastal rides with some buddies running super moto’s on slicks, couple of typical crotch rockets etc. It was basically a 5am rip up US 1 for an hour and a half. They all busted up laughing at me when I rolled up on the scooter. At our pull out regroup point I rolled up right behind the super moto guys who just dominate that sort of road. They all were shocked to see me ha ha. The big heavy crazy power crotch rocket guys trickled in. When everyone was grouped up I popped my trunk and passed out no joke 12 water bottles to everyone. The last half of the ride I was number 2 in the group of super moto guys having a blast. Damn scoot handled way better without 12 bottles of water under the seat. 😆😆
My riding gear was a Johnson’s Leather long jacket “hip length” with body armor in the back, shoulders, fore arms. Jacket weighed 29lbs. California CHP wears Johnson Leathers gear. Pants I wore a basic high tech pull over pant with basic rash/abrasion patches etc. Boots were heavy leather basic slip on no laces.
 
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