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Old 09-09-2010, 07:44 PM   #61
Mathias OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squish
(A KLR is not a modern thumper)
True, it's a fairly ancient design, as is the DR650. That's pretty much true for all the large DS thumpers we get from Japan. The Europeans (KTM, Husqvarna) are typically too hardcore off-road to make good long distance bikes.
Even the BMW f650gs/g650gs is pretty long in the tooth.
I'm ready for some new options, and when no new bike does the job, I start looking at bikes from the past. Hence my interest in the airhead GSs.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:29 PM   #62
Lornce
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That's actually an interesting point. Most of the leading edge stuff from Europe or Japan is too high strung to go the distance as a decent traveling machine. Short skirt slipper pistons and stratospheric redlines are fine for racing but not much goof for lengthy TBO's. Sort of leaves you looking at older tech for real world use. And in the real world you don't need to go real fast.

Comfort, durability, range and luggage carrying capacity. That's about all you really need to travel anywhere in the world. And in most of the world you never need to go more than 60 - 80 km/hr.





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Old 09-09-2010, 09:01 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igormortis
I like my airheads and I'm stubborn about it. I'll use mine to do everything, so as long as I don't try anything else, in my case ignorance is bliss.
Maybe not entirely, igormortis.

I like BMW's new F650GS (800 twin with the retarded name) and F800GS. They're both highly capable machines that'll rip comfortably along at pretty serious rates through a wide variety of terrain while sipping prudent volumes of fuel. Very clever bikes, and maybe the most sensible BMW currently offers? (for my kind of use, anyway).

But neither of them offer the same level of creature comfort I experience on my old GSPD airhead.

Part of that might be the fact that they're 50-100lbs lighter than my airhead (or so I've read ).

But part of it's the uncanny smoothness of the old airhead mill (when it's tuned well and running right).

Not many engines feel so comfortably composed at speed as the airhead does. A non-airhead riding buddy (very accomplished rider with decades of serious riding experience) years ago made the statement after riding one of my old '77 R100RS's "It feels unburstable". And he was right.

Fact is, most of us old codgers bitching about troublesome airheads are dealing with machines that are a few decades old that have gone tens, sometimes hundreds of thousands of miles and multiple owners with questionable service and maintenance histories. A bike like that requires a bit of getting used to. A bit of time to get aquainted. Stick with it and you'll find there's not much on them that can't be repaired, even if it requires a bit of your effort along the way. Hang with it long enough and you'll probably discover why they tend to get ridden more miles than just about any other type of motorcycle.

Except maybe K-Bikes. Those things just don't know when to die.

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Old 09-09-2010, 09:36 PM   #64
Airhead Wrangler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lornce
Most of the leading edge stuff from Europe or Japan is too high strung to go the distance as a decent traveling machine. Short skirt slipper pistons and stratospheric redlines are fine for racing but not much goof for lengthy TBO's. Sort of leaves you looking at older tech for real world use. And in the real world you don't need to go real fast.
Well, some people make it work. Definitely not ideal for my purposes though.

5 years around the world on an R1.
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=420045884604
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Old 09-09-2010, 10:13 PM   #65
Lornce
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airhead Wrangler
Well, some people make it work. Definitely not ideal for my purposes though.

5 years around the world on an R1.
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=420045884604
Yeah, I've read about that guy. Quite an accomplishment.

Though I'm guessing there's a pretty limited number of folks lined up to try that with an R1.

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Old 09-09-2010, 11:22 PM   #66
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Try them out and see what you like. It's the only way you will know for sure.

I love bikes and I've owned quite a few over the years. None gave me the feeling I get when I ride my old GS. It's not as fast, powerful or agile as some of the others but there is something about it I can't put my finger on. It makes me want to get on it and go every time I catch a glimpse of it.

It's so bad I do whatever I can to be out on it, including incorporating it into work. I recently sold a pro rig video camera and bought a DSLR so it would be more convenient to travel with on the bike.

Here's some stock running footage I shot the other day and assembled into a sequence. Look at that beauty, haha!

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Old 09-10-2010, 04:53 AM   #67
StephenB
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And NOTHING beats the sound of it (turn volume CW):

http://www.stephenbottcher.net/BMW/boxerstart.wav
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Old 09-10-2010, 06:37 AM   #68
Uncle Pollo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lornce
That's actually an interesting point. Most of the leading edge stuff from Europe or Japan is too high strung to go the distance as a decent traveling machine. Short skirt slipper pistons and stratospheric redlines are fine for racing but not much goof for lengthy TBO's. Sort of leaves you looking at older tech for real world use. And in the real world you don't need to go real fast.

Comfort, durability, range and luggage carrying capacity. That's about all you really need to travel anywhere in the world. And in most of the world you never need to go more than 60 - 80 km/hr.





Friend of mine was asking me about a machine to travel central america.

Told her that anything that does not cost an arm and a leg and tops out at 120 km/h will do fine.
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Old 09-10-2010, 07:16 AM   #69
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Joining up with Nicole on her Electra for the Royal Enfield national rally tomorrow.

Must remember to pack a tow rope - they are attempting almost 190 km in a day so I expect the mortality rate will be high.

The Ural sidecar guys tag along too - probably the only bikes they can keep up with.

The Indian Enfields still have too many low quality parts to be considered a Airhead alternative, unless you put a bit of time and effort into upgrading them - companies like Hitchcocks have most of the parts needed if you are set on one.
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Old 09-10-2010, 07:31 AM   #70
fyr
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I have had 2 KLr's and 1 airhead.

I liked the cheap buy-in factor of the KLR and outfitted the bike with HT panniers. It did what I asked of it around town/commuting etc (carried all my shit). I also forayed off road and found it too big for my liking (sand, mud etc) Dropping it was ok as parts are everywhere.... What it did in aces was what I bought it for, dirty, crappy pot holed and sand/gravel roads. Ate up shitty pavement with aplomb. It replaced my Bonneville for that reason as the Bonnie brutalized my back. The KLR didnt.
What the KLR sucked at was highway driving. I had some scary moments in the wind that freaked me out.. And with 25 years on bikes, that stuck in my mind so it wasnt a hard to move on.
However I came into Airheads as I always wanted one. It's an R100S and I dont like taking that machine on those shitty roads as I feel as though I am shredding it too peices. However my riding has changed as I am not going up into the country as much....
I think the answer is owning a bunch of bikes. A nice small 250cc enduro for real dirt, a good DS for shitty coiuntry roads and such and a nice airhead to suck up some pavement.
I havent tried an older G/S so cant comment but I figure the low centre of gravity would been great. However with parts prices the way they are I would hesitate taking an older G/S off road as and bashing it. Id prolly farkle it and sit in front of Starfucks..

As for the RE bullets. Love the idea of it. Looks great and the lads in India use them for everything. Cheap to buy but. The buy in is pretty good and folks in the UK have the Woodsman version. I wish I had more income to buy one of em..
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Old 09-10-2010, 02:07 PM   #71
Eduardo
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[quote=Mathias]
The obvious comparisons would be with the Suzuki DR650 and the Kawasaki KLR650. The horsepower on the thumpers are down by a few hp, but the weight is down by 50-100lbs. Seat heights are similar, as are the wheel sizes.


I love my DR650. Initially, it was the price, and reputation of being tough, that attracted me, but I soon discovered how versitile it was. Mine has made 3 trips, for 4 months plus, and 5000+ miles each trip to Guatemala. I can jam on the autopista, or climb rough rock roads with ease. Mechanically, I haven't had any trouble yet, not even a random flat tire.
The DR isn't great for shorter people, with a 34" seat height, but lowering is always an option, and the lack of digital/electronic stuff make it much easier to fix or over-ride on the road.

I've got an '86 R80RT, for my airhead experience here, and it would easily go to Guatemala, but if I ever needed parts it would be a problem. So, part of the equation for me is parts. Other factors: Duribility, ease of self repair/maintenance, performance based on usage, and luggage capacity.
The ideal bike differs for each persons use, what that use will be, should be the main consideration for what bike. Saludos
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