Originally Posted by wpbarlow
Anyway it's early in the thread, but I only see about a double handful of people who say they'd buy one of these smaller bikes. And that's at THE adventure bike site in all the world.
Yes, very early considering this thread was only started yesterday and there are already 32 votes that say they'd buy it tomorrow. Granted, that's easy to say from the safety of a keyboard.
For me, this is the bike I want and is the class that I've been looking into. I would love to have one of the 1,200 cc Adventure Tourers, but when I realistically look at how I use a bigger adventure bike, I keep going back to bikes with more ground clearance and lighter weight than the liter+ bikes. When not on my small dual sports, an 800cc class bike just seems to fit my needs better. I primarily ride two up with my girlfriend on longer rides (because otherwise we'd be on our smaller bikes) with camping equipment in the panniers. The trails we ride are rugged enough that I need the ground clearance. Trails we fly across on our WR250R we need to go sloooooow on the Vstrom and still smack the skidplate and bottom out contantly. The Wee is an in-between bike (price was right) until we choose our next medium sized dual sport that we hope to keep a while. With patience, I'm amazed where we've been able to take it. Even more so when I ride it solo. However, riding at that slow speed is a huge tradeoff and having something with 2 or 3 more inches of ground clearance and stouter suspension would make our riding much less stressful. Granted we live near, and ride, the rougher type of trails that 3/4 of the country don't have access to, so maybe we are too small of an audience.
The 690 is somewhat close, but as far on the small side as the 1200 are on the big side. The 690 subframe is not strong enough for two up and gear, close ratio tranny no good for having both low dirt-worthy 1st AND tall highway gearing, and lacks wind protection. With taller gear, vibes might be doable on hwy but realistically, a twin will be smoother. Most importantly, reliability issue. Any bike I take on a couple day adventure needs to have that. I can ride 8 hours on Montana trails and not see another person. I like that, but it means trouble if you are on a bike that isn't reliable. I don't like little voices in the back of my mind whispering concerns of reliability. Lack of "excitement" is a trade off I'm willing to make for reliability (read: no race motor. Reliable and easy to service).
Since others are throwing it out there, here is my wish list.
- 550 - 750cc
- 65 - 80hp
- two cylinders (less highway buzz than a single).
- Good wind protection (or ability to get it with aftermarket)
- Good ground clearance and stout enough suspension for easy two up trail riding while loaded down or more aggressive solo riding
- Subframe to handle panniers and two up riding
- Wide...no, make that wiiiiiiide ratio 6 speed - I want a granny gear first gear and really tall 6th gear because I don't want to choose between a really low first with buzzy highway rpm or a too tall first to get low highway rpm
- Focus on gas mileage rather than hp to remove the the need for carrying 6 gallons of gas and associated weight. With true 60-70mpg, 4.5 gallons will get you long range and strapping on a 1 gallon rotopax (only when needed) gets you another 60-70 miles range rather than 35 - 40 miles
- Reliable as a hammer.
- Reasonable weight. As others have noted, with the 990 weighing what it does, there is no reason why a reliable adventure bike couldn't weigh 50+ lbs less (including the savings in wet weight by needing less fuel on board). Since the 1190 is up a bit on weight over the 990, that would leave a fair weight spread between a 750 and 1190.
This puts me in the category shopping the midsized two cylinder adventure bikes and that is a limited market currently (BMW 800GS / Triumph Tiger800XC). Would love to have a KTM version of these bikes since I have confidence they can better these with a slightly more rugged terrain flavor...just PLEASE make it reliable.