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Old 04-09-2013, 10:52 AM   #1
my3sons59 OP
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Best adventure bike for a picky ole fart?

I’m 50+ & considering my first adventure bike. I’ve ridden a Goldwing for years (which I'll most likely keep...unless the adv bike completely satisfies), but I want a bike that provides more opportunities for exploring back roads. I estimate that 80% (or more) of my riding will be on pavement, and the other 20% will be on relatively decent dirt/gravel rural roads. Only occasionally will I have a rider on back (less than 2% of the time). I like to take meticulous care of my bikes & keep them washed & polished, but at the same time, I’m not afraid to get them (temporarily) dusty or dirty while exploring. So, having said that, I’m not the kind of rider that’s going to be taking my bike down through the woods on narrow trails or slopping through the swamp with mud up to the axles…just the occasional pot-hole riddled dirt or gravel road…and, if I’m lucky, maybe a trip from the deep south where I live to Prudhoe Bay or some other once-in-a-lifetime dream trip like that. With that in mind, here’s my must-have (or what I feel are must-haves) list:

* Relatively large motor (1000+ cc)
* Relatively large bike
* Shaft-drive
* Electronic cruise control, if possible (the Goldwing spoiled me!)
* “Lazy Boy” comfortable seat
* Butter smooth engine with no handlebar buzz or vibrating mirrors
* Very predictable off-road manners
* Bullet proof & "stupid" reliability/dependability. Other than routine maintenance, I, basically, want to put gas in it & RIDE. No valve adjustments, no taking it to the dealer, or crap like that.

Here are some of the bikes that I’ve considered, but most have been eliminated because they don’t meet the criteria on my wish list:

* Triumph XC: I hear it has a s-m-o-o-t-h engine, but it was eliminated because it has chain drive & a relatively small engine (although I probably could have learned to live with the 800 engine).
* Ducati MS: probably too fast/zippy for an ole fart like me (although I would welcome the opportunity to learn to live with that :-)), but eliminated because I read that Ducati has spotty reliability
* Triumph Explorer: once again, smooth & revvy engine, but I read that it sucks off road…way too front heavy…front bogs down…goes where it wants to
* Moto Guzzi Stelvio: I read several reviews, and it sounded great…until I read that it vibrates like a son-of-a-gun. Handlebars vibrate so bad that your hands go numb, and mirrors vibrate so bad that they’re worthless
* KTM 990: chain drive
* BMW GS/GSA: THIS WAS MY TOP CHOICE. I LOVE THE STYLING & LOOKS…but I won’t even consider one because of the absurdly high cost of ownership and maintenance (from what I've read).
* Honda Crosstourer: Hondas have served me very well for decades, so the CT just might be the ticket...if they ever bring it to the US.
* Yamaha Super Tenere: If Honda doesn’t bring the CT to the US (and even if they do), then I’m looking strongly at the S10. Some call it boring with “no soul”, but from what I’ve read, it sounds like a great bike that meets most of the criteria on my wish list.

I welcome any & all comments. Don’t hesitate to “rake me over the coals” if you think my logic is flawed or for any other reason that you care to comment on. I look forward to hearing from all of you, b/c the more information that I have, the better decision I’ll be able to make on my bike purchase. Thanks.

my3sons59 screwed with this post 04-09-2013 at 01:26 PM
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:15 AM   #2
Blue&Yellow
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I think what you could be looking for is the Yamaha Super Tenere.

At first I was a little perplexed "gravel roads, shaft-drive, arm chair comfortable" - huh?

But I think I see where you're coming from now. Yamaha's are really reliable and from what I've heard the S10 is surprisingly able in the dirt despite it's size. You'd need to get some kind of custom screen like the madstad though since the stock one is pretty horrible for road use from what I've heard.

If you can accept chain-drive the F800GS is also a great all-rounder: more user-friendly than say a 990Adv and much simpler and cheaper to keep than a 1200GS.

Question though: will you be keeping the gold wing? Because if you're keeping the wing I would get something MUCH smaller and lighter instead to complement the wing. Buy if you're selling the wing I understand....
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:35 AM   #3
Dr. Greg
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I wouldn't discount the Ducati because of reliability. Both my 2010 MTS 1200S's (first one totaled) have been very reliable, closing in on 50,000 miles.

Cost of ownership is not low, however. But cruise control is available.

Just MHO.

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Old 04-09-2013, 12:23 PM   #4
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To me this reads like the wish list of a "spec buyer".

You're coming from a Goldwing, don't even know the adventure bikes or how riding them (especially the "large ones with the big engines") feels, on road or on dirt.

I think your list reads like you should just keep the Goldwing and put decent suspension on.

Other than that: go to the dealers and test ride. Then buy what makes you smile. Not what sounds good on papers and in reviews/tests. Everybody is different, you are different from all of us and the description you're giving is in my opinion useless as it is build from dreams and wishes and not from riding experience on adventure bikes.

Btw: I owned a 2009 BMW F800GS (great bike, annoyed me with buffeting), a 2010 BWM R1200GS (awesome bike, but heavy and big), and now own a Tiger 800 (Road version).

I actually hate chain maintenance, but in reality I don't give it too much thought just keep it adjusted properly and put some DuPont teflon lube on whenever I feel like it, so I'll just have to replace it a bit earlier - big deal. I like big and comfy bikes, the Tiger is smaller and more agile, I like that better nowadays. Recently I test rode a 2013 R1200GS (water cooled) and the handling felt dog slow to me. And the (standard) suspension sucked compared to a Traxxion/Öhlins equipped Tiger. Sure, the bike had lots of power - I'd use that about 0.05% of the time. I have nothing to prove, no need for big power, I like having fun, cruising around, burning some rubber from time to time, but I mostly just ride, so I'm good with the "small" engine (still 95HP).

Really, in your position, you seem to be able to buy any bike you like, so why do you limit yourself without even knowing ANY of them? All of them are great bikes and coming from a Wing, I'd rather try them out and buy what I like most instead of doing spec shopping.
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:29 PM   #5
lmychajluk
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I don't think your idea of 'Off Road' ("…just the occasional pot-hole riddled dirt or gravel road…") will really be a problem for the Tiger Exporer. Any reports of 'sucks off road' I'm sure refer to much more technical riding than a dirt road with a few pot holes. I wouldn't count it out based on that alone, as it seems to match all your other criteria nicely.
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:58 PM   #6
my3sons59 OP
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Thanks for your reply. Based on what you said, I take it that the F800GS requires MUCH less maintenance & fussing over than either a 1200GS or GSA? I can handle routine maintenance, but I have zero tolerance for any brand of bike that requires more than occasional trips to the dealer. Thx.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue&Yellow View Post
I think what you could be looking for is the Yamaha Super Tenere.

At first I was a little perplexed "gravel roads, shaft-drive, arm chair comfortable" - huh?

But I think I see where you're coming from now. Yamaha's are really reliable and from what I've heard the S10 is surprisingly able in the dirt despite it's size. You'd need to get some kind of custom screen like the madstad though since the stock one is pretty horrible for road use from what I've heard.

If you can accept chain-drive the F800GS is also a great all-rounder: more user-friendly than say a 990Adv and much simpler and cheaper to keep than a 1200GS.

Question though: will you be keeping the gold wing? Because if you're keeping the wing I would get something MUCH smaller and lighter instead to complement the wing. Buy if you're selling the wing I understand....
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:07 PM   #7
Blue&Yellow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my3sons59 View Post
Thanks for your reply. Based on what you said, I take it that the F800GS requires MUCH less maintenance & fussing over than either a 1200GS or GSA? I can handle routine maintenance, but I have zero tolerance for any brand of bike that requires more than occasional trips to the dealer. Thx.
If you're interested in something like the 800GS this guy here does a great eight (8!) part review:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HsP32uel68

It's a very nice bike for sure.
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my3sons59 View Post
* Moto Guzzi Stelvio: I read several reviews, and it sounded great…until I read that it vibrates like a son-of-a-gun. Handlebars vibrate so bad that your hands go numb, and mirrors vibrate so bad that they’re worthless
Nope.
Mirrors is a US problem, easily fixed by installing the EU indicators and mirrors.
Yeah you can feel some vibration, but it's a motorbike not an electric scoot. Never had numb hands or anything.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:44 AM   #9
WitchCityBallabio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloudhopper View Post
Nope.
Mirrors is a US problem, easily fixed by installing the EU indicators and mirrors.
Yeah you can feel some vibration, but it's a motorbike not an electric scoot. Never had numb hands or anything.
And to add, I'm 50+ and the Stelvio's vibration to me isn't even really noticable. I've done 1000 mile days and no ill affects on the hands.

The U.S. spec mirrors are shit. I changed my directionals and mirrors to the Euro spec mirrors and directionals within a couple of days of picking it up.
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:06 PM   #10
mefly2
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The Yamaha gets good reports around here.
However, any shaft drive will be heavy ... your dream BMW included.
It will be hard to meet your criteria but ...
At 50 y/o you will likely always want to try a BMW ... how many years to go? LOL
You may just have to bite the bullet and spend the bucks to see just which one is for you ...
advice is like a$$hxxxx, ...oh, never mind ...
And, yes, I bought an off road shaftie.
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:38 PM   #11
amk
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Best adventure bike for a picky ole fart

Motorized wheelchair.
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:07 PM   #12
my3sons59 OP
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LOL. Maybe someday. But, thank the good Lord, not yet!!

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Motorized wheelchair.
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:12 PM   #13
my3sons59 OP
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Thanks for your reply. I think you're exactly right. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to bring myself to buy a 1200GS, but if I don't, I think I'll always wish I had. So, what to do, what to do?? BTW, which shaftie did you buy? And, are you pleased with it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mefly2 View Post
The Yamaha gets good reports around here.
However, any shaft drive will be heavy ... your dream BMW included.
It will be hard to meet your criteria but ...
At 50 y/o you will likely always want to try a BMW ... how many years to go? LOL
You may just have to bite the bullet and spend the bucks to see just which one is for you ...
advice is like a$$hxxxx, ...oh, never mind ...
And, yes, I bought an off road shaftie.
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:16 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by my3sons59 View Post
So, what to do, what to do?? BTW, which shaftie did you buy? And, are you pleased with it?
I had a BMW R1200GS and that was perfect when I also had a Yamaha WR250X + dirt wheels. One for tour fun, one for adventure fun. I sold the WR when I got a car, regretted it a lot and decided the GS was too big and heavy to be my only bike for everything. The Tiger is too, but I can get a Tiger and a WR for the price of a GS ...
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:50 PM   #15
vivo
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I'm 59 years old, weight is 190 #, 5' 8 1/2" tall. I currently ride a Stelvio and on the move it feels light. That doesn't mean it is easy to pick up. I had a small parking space tip over on a sloped street with my 190 # girlfriend on the back. Pushed it off the sidestand and first time ever continued going over in the direction of the slope. No damage at all except a small dent in my side case. I could not pick the bike back upright without help.

I plan on practising lifting it upright. Oddly, I still did some gravel roads alone after that mishap. If I was looking for a serious off road bike I would go lighter. For everything else the Stelvio is great. Any of these big bikes will be a bit#h to get upright once you fall off. I think if it came down to leaving the bike and walking I could manage to right it but I was surprised at how heavy such a light handling bike can be.

Vibration isn't really an issue for me but if you like triples and fours this twin will be gruff. I Dont much care for four cylinder bikes anymore and after 9 years of Triumph triples I wanted a change, love the twin.

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