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Old 11-17-2012, 11:29 AM   #1
mmoore89 OP
Joined: Nov 2012
Oddometer: 3
Question Choosing my bike

Hello all,

As you can see I'm new to the forum so I do apologise if I'm one of those idiots who puts threads in the wrong place but this seemed to me the best place to put this thread.
Im looking at buying an adventure bike and am finally serious to the point where its going to happen very iminently (hopefully). I really just want some advice from all you people out there on your experiences etc.
Firstly here is my bike history;
Suzuki gs500e
Ducati 900ss
Honda xr600r

Im looking for an adventure bike, currently my requirements are as follows;
80% on road
20% off road
LOTS of two up riding with luggage
I ideally want to do servicing myself as I did on my old bikes and would like it to be easy to fix if im out and about touring

Currently the bikes im looking at go as follows

BMW F800GS -
Postitive: Love the styling had a good long test ride on one and loved the handling and performance, enjoyed all the comforts of a modern bike.
Negatives: Its a bit out of my price range at the moment, but im thinking with the introduction of the new 800GS prices will go down next year and I should be able to get one (means Im going to be bikeless this winter though)
Slightly worried by reliability issues which seem to come up on the internet a lot.
THOROUGHLY dislike the amount of electronics, really feel I cant do my own maintenance and if it breaks down out in the middle of nowhere I would be completly stuffed.

Suzuki DR650 - (have driven a 1992 RSE in the past)
Positive: Price, avavilability, simplicity
Negatives: Tank range isnt great (Im aware theres large ACERBIS ones) Will this bike be a bit underpowered two up on the motorway over long distances?

Suzuki DR800 -
Positives: Like the DR650 simplicity, tank range seems excellent, reliability seems good from what ive heard too?
Negatives: Not many around here in England, hard to find one for sale at reasonable price (what would you pay for one?).
Qeustions: Good two up tourer? Its not very heavy compared to the 650 in the specs, which Ive driven but whats it like to drive? The last thing I want is something like a big GS1200....

KTM 950 adventure -
Positives: KTM? Good reputation, last carbed model assuming that I can take care of it myself and fix it anywhere, good big engine good for two up?
Negatives: Cant really afford one and if im going to pay that much for a bike I would prefer the GS800, (just put this in here to hear what people say about it)

Well I hope that someone who has driven them all or a number of the can help me out...
As I said Ive test driven a GS800 and loved it, my main competitor and mainly due to price is the DR800, the biggest problem with this is that I cant test drive one for obvious reasons.
Ive read every review out there about all the bikes and would love to hear what actual riders have to say about their likes and dislikes.

Hope someone can help me, decision time is coming and Im still completly at a loss for a decision!!

Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:55 PM   #2
Beastly Adventurer
Gryphon12's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Carnation, WA USA
Oddometer: 1,347
I noticed you listed a DR-BIG. Ah, just noticed you are in the UK.

For an 80/20 with luggage and a pillion, I'd go XTZ1200 Super Tenere (S-10). However, not many used yet, if price is a concern.

Alternative is the BMW R1200GS - lots of them around, so you could find an used one in clean condition.

KTM 950/990 is much more dirt oriented and maintenance intensive, but will get the job done.

Tiger 800XC is more road oriented than an F800GS but is getting rave reviews. Still, with a passenger, I'd go S-10.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:44 PM   #3
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Next to Rio Bravo
Oddometer: 3,527
DL-1000 or DL-650

Look at the VStroms, better yet test ride one.
Very low trouble factor.

They tend to be mainly street scoots but still see them in your 20% area, easily.
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:42 PM   #4
SRG's Avatar
Joined: Nov 2004
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Oddometer: 1,326
Buy a Husaberg

Fun video:
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:55 AM   #5
mmoore89 OP
Joined: Nov 2012
Oddometer: 3
Thanks for all the replies!! Some really good advice from everyone.
Loved the Husaberg video but thats way to offroad orientated for me...
BMW 1200GS are so big and fat I really dislike the size and weight of them, also not a massive fan of the boxer, also way out of my price range.
The supertenere looks very interesting I really hadnt considered that! Thanks for the heads up.

I suppose one of my main questions is DR800 vs 800GS...
Ive ridden the 800GS and loved it, the DR800 is down on power a lot from the GS but whats it like to ride? Will it be a similar level of comfort and feeling of power?

Hoping to find someone who has ridden both of them!

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Old 11-18-2012, 11:49 AM   #6
Beastly Adventurer
Kommando's Avatar
Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Spacecoaster FL
Oddometer: 7,390
Location, size of you and passenger, and type of road/offroad would help.

The DR650SE will do singletrack offroad trails if you sort the tires and suspension for the terrain and rider. It will also haul a passenger down the slab decently and is about as simple to maintain as a dualsport gets. The aftermarket support for these is pretty darn good in the US. Once jetted properly, power is fine with 15/42 sprockets, up to a cruising speed of about 75-80MPH (GPS). Top speed is around 100MPH (GPS) if you add a free-flowing exhaust too. The bike should be stable at any speed with pavement-capable tires on it. The air/oil-cooled motor isn't prone to overheating like air-cooled or water-cooled motos, and the oil-cooler can even be bypassed if damaged, without overheating the motor. These bikes also tend to be pretty smooth for a thumper, and not burn oil like it's gasoline, when pushed at higher RPMs.

The issue I see with a DR650SE is passenger space. Phreaky Phil, and maybe a few others, have lengthened the seat for more room. I lowered my passenger and rider pegs, added touring pegs to the skid, and slid my Givi tailrack 3" further rearward. At 200+ miles of range with an IMS 4.9 tank, we're ready for a stroll when we stop for fuel. We're 5'8"/200lb/30"inseam and 5'4"/petite/30"inseam. The DR650SE is about as small of a bike as I would want to distance-tour slab on 2-up, at our size. It's also about as heavy as I would want to ride in serious dirt. If you're smaller/shorter people, you might be fine touring on something tighter. If you're bigger/stronger/more-experienced, you might be fine on something heavier offroad.

This bike responds well to, suspension, carbing, piston, valves/head. It still won't be a 2-stroke trailbike or a multi-cylinder roadbike. Take a few test-rides to see what fits your wants best. Chunky archaic thumpers aren't for everybody.
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