Originally Posted by texagator
Thank you for opening this up to questions. Like many other riders, I am extremely interested in this bike. A few questions:
- Are the tubed tires a pain to deal with? Do they cause any problems at high speed?
- How does the bike handle in sand and loose gravel?
- What modifications or add-ons do you recommend for this kind of journey?
- Not sure if you can speak to this but how does it compare to the big GS and the V-Strom?
- What do you like best about the bike?
- What do you hate the most about the bike?
Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer.
In no particular order to the questions:)
1. Tubed tires are not really an issue. Granted it is easier to fix a flat on a tubeless tire, but on a trip of any duration, the occurence is rare and the time you stop to fix a flat is insignificant in the scheme of things. Most flats on the trip in one day was 8, yes eight, but luckily that was in Mongolia, we were on KLR 650s at that point and they all happened to my riding partner:)(bad Chinese tubes with faulty valve stems). They were all fixed using spoons stolen from the hotel in Vladivostok as tire levers as that was one small item that was left behind.
2. Sand and loose gravel. It handles as well as can be expected from a fairly heavy bike (197kg shipping weight with all fluids except gas). I was carrying a big load for a long ride so it wasn't light but in sand it handled well enough with the tire pressure reduced. In gravel and loose grave, I found it was dangerous, with knobbies (TKC80 rear, MT21 front) it felt so positive that I would find myself riding much to fast and inevitably I would come around a corner and see some soft deep gravel and realize that I should really try to keep my speed down. Honestly though, this is one area where the bike excels, it's ability to transition between various road surfaces without dramatic differences in performance.
3. Necessary mods - long list, and I'll get to more later but in brief:
1. Crash bars - a must as you have a big blob of plastic around the rad that is the first to hit the sand if you crash. Plus the rad is only suspended by a plastic tab on the bottom so a fairly light dump will break that and your rad will be hanging from the hoses until you get back to fix it.
2. Skid plate - a must for the oil cooler and the oil filter
3. Hand guards - it is a dual sport after all
4. Windscreen - the stocker is quite low, gives clean air but for any duration you will be catching a lot of wind.
4. Comparison to the 1200GS and the Vstrom
It's a long story, but I put about 35,000 km on a Strom through Europe and Africa and about the same mileage on the 800. I'll write more later, but IMO, the 800GS is the perfect dual sport bike, IF you will actually be riding on highway, off highway, AND offroad. If you are mainly a "touring" rider rather than an "adventure" rider". then the Strom or the 1200 is a better choice for your style of riding.
5. Likes - Many, such as versatility, performance
6. Dislikes - Not many, you catch a fair bit of wind, even after farting around with the screen set up.
Brief comments but I'll add more later.:)