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If You Could Build Your Own Adventure Bike?

111 posts in this topic

What Would It Be and how would you configure it? :worthy: Would you buy new and modify? Buy used and do the minimum. Buy a bike already set up by a pro? Join a Tour? :cheers:

I don't mean a dual sport bike set up for weekend trips. (although this could be a good starting point) I mean an Adventure travel bike for months of extended travel that can handle off road riding OK but can also cruise all day at 70 mph + or -. You would need to carry 75 lbs. of gear on board and the bike would have to last 30,000 miles riding bad roads, running on low octane gas and riding on 3rd world roads/tracks with minimal maintenance and no breakdowns or rebuilds along the way. Possible?

Keep in mind, many riders go with twins, so don't limit your imaginations to singles only. And don't forget 250's. Plenty out there right now riding 250's Around the World.

Think about all up weight and how you plan to carry all your gear. But also realize you won't be doing the Baja 1000 race or the Dakar either. But you may encounter rough/impassable conditions in remote areas, horrible weather and be traveling solo with no one to help out.

How would you deal with this and what bike would you choose and why?

:banghead:

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This will not be complete - but for the adventure you describe, I'd start with a new BMW F800GS. GPS with locator feature and "rescue" insurance, long-range radio, satellite phone, etc. All the standard crash-guard bolt-ons (skid plate, wire-mesh over headlight etc.). Big metal side and top cases, biggest tank bag available. Totally stock motor (except possibly lower compression if gas is that bad - would need advice on that). Extra fuel capacity (not sure if a bigger tank is available for that bike yet, but must somehow have at least 250 miles range, even if it means bolting on some gas cans to the back of the bags.)

Stuff to carry - see "essentials for riding alone thread". Great lists in there.

Also a factory-sponsored support truck would be nice...maybe one with a keg of Stone IPA in the fridge...

Why the 800GS? Reliable, awesome road bike, acceptable dirt bike, BMW has good international network, light enough to pick up by yourself when you drop it.

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I would buy a KLR 650, because it seems to have all the good traits of the XR650L, but is more comfortable and is built to carry more weight. :ride:I have a small list of mods, including a surfboard rack, (Why ride around the world and not surf.):banghead:

palaairresort6-14-09012.jpg

Edited by craig hammon

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I have a small list of mods, including a surfboard rack, (Why ride around the world and not surf.):banghead:

palaairresort6-14-09012.jpg

Dude that is crazy in a good kind of way:thumbsup: How does it handle when you hit a crosswind with the board on?

As for an adventure bike , I would start with a KTM 950 SE, throw on my own designed comfortable saddle, add some custom panniers, and a few other custom goodies and hit the road.

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I would start with an xr650r. First I would plate it, then add engine mods that will make it last longer. Soft seat foam and a good high-speed off road suspension setup would be nice, because I want to run flat out in the deserts. Perhaps a larger gas tank too. I would add a trail tech vapor computer, and a gps. I want this bike to be raceable in the Baja 1000, but I want to also be able to just cruise around on it, too. I would also add protection (glide plate, handguards, etc.). And replace various stock parts with more durable aftermarket ones.

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Dude that is crazy in a good kind of way:thumbsup: How does it handle when you hit a crosswind with the board on?

As for an adventure bike , I would start with a KTM 950 SE, throw on my own designed comfortable saddle, add some custom panniers, and a few other custom goodies and hit the road.

It's the same. You have to be carefull splitting lanes. On the tswisties my friends, I ride with, joke (I don't drag my knees, I drag my board in the corners.):banghead:

Craig.

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I would start with an xr650r. First I would plate it, then add engine mods that will make it last longer. Soft seat foam and a good high-speed off road suspension setup would be nice, because I want to run flat out in the deserts. Perhaps a larger gas tank too. I would add a trail tech vapor computer, and a gps. I want this bike to be raceable in the Baja 1000, but I want to also be able to just cruise around on it, too. I would also add protection (glide plate, handguards, etc.). And replace various stock parts with more durable aftermarket ones.

That sound's like what I was thinking about, untill I re-read the first post.

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This will not be complete - but for the adventure you describe, I'd start with a new BMW F800GS. GPS with locator feature and "rescue" insurance, long-range radio, satellite phone, etc. All the standard crash-guard bolt-ons (skid plate, wire-mesh over headlight etc.). Big metal side and top cases, biggest tank bag available. Totally stock motor (except possibly lower compression if gas is that bad - would need advice on that). Extra fuel capacity (not sure if a bigger tank is available for that bike yet, but must somehow have at least 250 miles range, even if it means bolting on some gas cans to the back of the bags.)

Stuff to carry - see "essentials for riding alone thread". Great lists in there.

Also a factory-sponsored support truck would be nice...maybe one with a keg of Stone IPA in the fridge...

Why the 800GS? Reliable, awesome road bike, acceptable dirt bike, BMW has good international network, light enough to pick up by yourself when you drop it.

Love the support IPA Beer truck idea! :banghead:

When touring round Thailand and Cambodia I always made it a point to find ice cold beer at the end of a days riding. Great beer too!

The F800GS is a good choice! I initially thought the F800 would be too heavy given the 490 lbs. wet weight. (no luggage) Add hard panniers, mounting racks and your gear and the weight soars.

But then I rode one ... It wasn't loaded up but I was surprised how well it did off road and how nicely balanced it felt. Felt much smaller and easier to handle than a R1200GS. Like most BMW's my guess is the F800 would handle the weight pretty well. And it seems to be the most reliable bike BMW make right now. But I'm guessing mud and sand would still be tough, as it is on nearly any loaded up bike.

The ECU can be re-mapped by BMW to handle low octane. This is a common feature on modern BMW's.

There are BMW dealers world wide ... but there are about 5 times as many Japanese brand dealers. But none (neither BMW nor Japanese) would be likely to have the parts you need on hand. So ordering (long wait) has to be done ... or have parts flown in. (pain) Some BMW dealers in big cities would have old Air head stuff in stock and some Oil head. Not sure about the F800.

Have you figured in costs? You've got about $3000 in electronics alone. I would LOVE a SAT phone but pretty pricey and a chance it could be confiscated at a border.

The Panniers/top box add about another $1400 or so and more for crash guards. A common injury is the big Alu box breaking the riders leg in a fall. But this doesn't seem to deter riders. I started on hard bags but have gone back to soft ones.

The F800GS is out of my price range but I would love to try a major trip on one. Those are probably the bikes Ewan and Charlie should have picked .... and then let the TV crew van carry all their crap! :worthy:

Also .... I mentioned going solo but certainly makes more sense to team up with a couple other riders ... at least until you're at each other's throats! :cheers:

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I would buy a KLR 650, because it seems to have all the good traits of the XR650L, but is more comfortable and is buit to carry more weight. :ride:I have a small list of mods, including a surfboard rack, (Why ride around the world and not surf.):banghead:

palaairresort6-14-09012.jpg

Isn't that pic in Ensenada, near the new Starbucks? :cheers:

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I would start with an xr650r. First I would plate it, then add engine mods that will make it last longer. Soft seat foam and a good high-speed off road suspension setup would be nice, because I want to run flat out in the deserts. Perhaps a larger gas tank too. I would add a trail tech vapor computer, and a gps. I want this bike to be raceable in the Baja 1000, but I want to also be able to just cruise around on it, too. I would also add protection (glide plate, handguards, etc.). And replace various stock parts with more durable aftermarket ones.

My friend I have that exact bike minus the soft seat & GPS. All kind of goodies on it plus Barnum suspension. Im selling it next spring so for three K you could go adventuring lol:thumbsup:

100_2315.jpg

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My friend I have that exact bike minus the soft seat & GPS. All kind of goodies on it plus Barnum suspension. Im selling it next spring so for three K you could go adventuring lol:thumbsup:

100_2315.jpg

Nice, I want it, tell me more. Where is it.

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My ideal adventure bike recipe would contain the following ingredients:

TDM850 motor

YZ250 steel frame chassis

Dual front disc brakes

High Exhaust

Comfortable Seat

Hard Panniers

HID lighting

350lbs empty

Now that I think about it I may have just described a F800GS on a diet.

The XTZ660 Tenere is high on my list, too, but not yet imported to the States.

-Tom

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My friend I have that exact bike minus the soft seat & GPS. All kind of goodies on it plus Barnum suspension. Im selling it next spring so for three K you could go adventuring lol:thumbsup:

100_2315.jpg

That is a BEAUTIFUL XR650R! :cheers: Very tempting. I've ridden well set up XR-R's a bit in the desert, very nice! The XR works good everywhere.

Not sure how you carry gear on that bike on a long range trip but I know there are a few riders out there who've done it.

:banghead:

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My ideal adventure bike recipe would contain the following ingredients:

TDM850 motor

YZ250 steel frame chassis

Dual front disc brakes

High Exhaust

Comfortable Seat

Hard Panniers

HID lighting

350lbs empty

Now that I think about it I may have just described a F800GS on a diet.

The XTZ660 Tenere is high on my list, too, but not yet imported to the States.

-Tom

Who knows if we'll ever get the 660 Tenere'. Seems close to the ideal Adventure bike, although a bit heavy. But some very satisfied travelers have already taken them walk about and most are very pleased.

Looks like Rotax copied the TDM layout pretty closely. Most folks have no idea of about the pedigree of the TDM engine. Google Peterhansel/Yamaha/

Paris-Dakar. Nine Dakar wins riding essentially the same motor. Most ever.

I owned a TDM and I can't imagine that motor could work in an off road bike, but obviously Peterhansel did it. Very heavy lump but solid and reliable. The TDM was a sales failure in the USA but is still sold today in Europe. You see lots of them in France.

For the bike you describe I'd simply go to France and find yourself a nice, virgin XTZ750 Tenere'. Another Jewel we never got in the USA. Quite common over there.

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The KLR has been one of the most popular travel bikes for US riders for 20 years or so. I test rode a new KLR to Copper Canyon in 1998 and continued around Mexico and Baja. 5000 mi./six weeks. I'd post pics of this trip but they are all on film. :banghead:

I found the KLR is all good until you get into sand or mud. My bike was not loaded very heavy but others seem to do fine on the KLR in very tough conditions. I prefer my DR650 over the KLR but the KLR has the most options and aftermarket support of ANY dual sport bike. The KLR is also very inexpensive. If it gets confiscated or stolen, it's not like losing a $20,000 BMW.

At two Horizon's Unlimited Meetings in Copper Canyon, the KLR was the Number One most popular bike there .... 35 KLR's out of 105 total bikes.

333600788_4AEPQ-L.jpg

KLR.net wonk in Colorado mountains.

510160791_FAZms-XL.jpg

My friend Andy in Argentina ... KLR

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it is not impossible to get the ktm 690 dakar replica here in the u.s. very pricey tho at about $ 25,000 u.s. but super capable off road and very comfortable, gobbs of power, huge tank with low center gravity.. awesome possibility but out of most of our reach. the 690 adventure s is the next best possibility, a little cheaper and awesome equipment and baggage options and factory support. alot of guys are using the suzuki v-storm 1000 decent platform for the road sections and fire road stuff abit heavy and awkward in the single track stuff tho just my $0.02

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XR650R, HO stator dual hi/lo HID lights, 6gal tank, fluidyne rads w/twin fans, tunes suspension, titanium subframe and luggage rack, and of course the stock seat just cause no one else likes it.:banghead:

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I would buy a KLR 650, because it seems to have all the good traits of the XR650L, but is more comfortable and is built to carry more weight. :ride:I have a small list of mods, including a surfboard rack, (Why ride around the world and not surf.):banghead:

palaairresort6-14-09012.jpg

:cheers::worthy::ride::foul:

Surfboard rack - awesome. Where did you buy it? Or did you make it - and how? Maybe easier to bring a short-board though!!! A fat fish would still let you enjoy some smaller surf, and if the IPA truck is following that would make a great day. Motorcycle ride, surfing, a few cold draft beers, I can think of at least one more final activity that would make for a perfect day...:foul:

On the bike, the original question is about a really long trip by yourself - I decided to pretend that cost was not an object. If it is, I like the Kawi and Honda 650 singles a lot too - especially as they are more fixable on the trail. BMW ECU goes out in the Andes? Game over, have a nice walk - hence all the electronics and the "get-me-out" insurance.

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