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Old 12-26-2012, 11:28 PM   #31
The Cameraman
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Mornin',

firstly my comments re Chinese bikes go back to three years ago since I last had any dealings with them. I worked at a UK motorcycle dealership and we refused to do any work at all on Chinese bikes. This came from experience where we simply could not get replacement parts. We wouldn't even do a simple tyre change as the first bike we had in for new tyres, we found the chain adjusters were made of a substance that had all the properties of cheese! Things may have improved since then but I have no personal experience to back this up.

I currently own three XT's, 2 x 225's and 1 x 250. I would have no hesitation in taking any of them along but the 250 just feels that little bit more modern a ride, so given a choice I'd take the 250.

I covered 75,000 miles on a 2005 XT250 and it had no engine/clutch/transmission work done. In fact the only none service related work I performed related to accident damage!

The simplicity of an air cooled, 4 stroke single, with easy valve adjustment has a lot going for it. Add good fuel economy, light weight and a bike that doesn't look as you've got too much money and you get what I reckon is an ideal package.

By the way, just before heading off on her African trip, Lois test rode my XT250 and loved it. The only reasons she elected to take a different bike was that mine had only just been launched, so was only available new, the spares availability was a little restricted and there were no after market kit available. All these points have now been addressed.

Austin Vince also took mine for a ride and pronounced it had the agility of a 225 Serow but with the grunt of a DR350.

Hope these comments are of use to you.

Regards

Reggie
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:12 AM   #32
michael1968
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O'B View Post
From what I have seen in Brazil and CR the Chinese bikes are not popular they are an affordable alternative (cheap). As soon as they are able to afford it believe me a rider would upgrade to a 250 honda in a minute.
Yes, I was thinking that. I believe some of those Hondas are made in South America.
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:19 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Cameraman View Post
This came from experience where we simply could not get replacement parts.
I have heard this said fairly often (it may well have been different 3 years ago) and while you can't go down to the dealer and pick up parts there are a tonne of websites with cheap parts for Chinese bikes, ebay is packed with them. Of course the quality is a bit hit and miss just like some of the bikes.
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:14 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Adv Grifter View Post
More and more ADV'ers going for smaller bikes for long range rides. Who has ridden a 250cc bike down to Argentina? ... or across Africa? Is this a sane idea? And what about one of the new Chinese 250's? If you've done long range, high miles riding on a 250, would you do it again? Which bike is best for day after day abuse, fully loaded, racking up around 20,000 to 25,000 miles?

Which is MOST reliable and least maintenance intensive?
Which bike is practical and cost effective to upgrade to make it a true long range travel bike?
Which bike can handle a heavy load on rough terrain for MONTHS?
Think about Fuel capacity; MPG and RANGE. Would one have to haul Aux fuel tanks everywhere? ... or buy a $800 tank from Australia?

Would an older KLR250, 250 Super Sherpa, XT250, XT225 Serow, DR200 or 250, XR250L be a better bet ? ... or better to go with one of the newer 250's? (KLX, WR250, CRF-L). Why?

I had a newish KLX250S for a month, so I have time on that machine. (was selling for a friend) Briefly rode the WR250 too, impressive but very expensive. I've not ridden the new Honda CRF250L ... but reports are not great. Heavy, poor suspension, cheap components and added complexity of F.I. I did major upgrades on a friends CRF230 ... like it a lot. But no sub frame.

The Wild Card bikes here come from China. Many new Chinese dual sports flooding the market both in the USA and in Latin America.
Are ALL of them as bad as we imagine? Or are there a few GEMS among the Junk?
I would go for a Japanese simple aircooled bike. Carbureted and with a single camshaft for easy valve adjustments. Work on the bike before you go, study it a little. It will make things easier if (when ) something needs fixing in the middle of nowhere.

I personally would avoid FI bikes, for obvious reasons.


I don't have much experience of 250 bikes, but my 82 XT250 had 75K KM on it when I sold it, and it never left me stranded. I have had many 400-650cc old school thumpers in my 35 years of riding. IMHO they are the best bikes money can buy when it comes to ease of maintenance and repairs.
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:51 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by G600 View Post
I would go for a Japanese simple aircooled bike. Carbureted and with a single camshaft for easy valve adjustments. Work on the bike before you go, study it a little. It will make things easier if (when ) something needs fixing in the middle of nowhere.

I personally would avoid FI bikes, for obvious reasons.


I don't have much experience of 250 bikes, but my 82 XT250 had 75K KM on it when I sold it, and it never left me stranded. I have had many 400-650cc old school thumpers in my 35 years of riding. IMHO they are the best bikes money can buy when it comes to ease of maintenance and repairs.
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:21 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Adv Grifter View Post

My hope was rather than riding down, I'd fly into Colombia ... (or somewhere?)... buy a cheap Chinese machine and go. I wouldn't take it RTW, but rather use it for that continent and then sell it off after. But does not sound promising. I left unreliable bikes behind with my last BMW.
You might check out this RR. The inmate is now in Columbia and has some really good comments. It appears this place is very MC friendly. He might have some insight and/or advice.

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=837596
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:43 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by michael1968 View Post
Yes, I was thinking that. I believe some of those Hondas are made in South America.
Yes Brazil has some big factories where the parts are shipped in and reassembled for the South American market. I believe Manaus because it is a free trade zone or such is where the majority of hondas are built.
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:27 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Cameraman View Post
By the way, just before heading off on her African trip, Lois test rode my XT250 and loved it. The only reasons she elected to take a different bike was that mine had only just been launched, so was only available new, the spares availability was a little restricted and there were no after market kit available. All these points have now been addressed.

Austin Vince also took mine for a ride and pronounced it had the agility of a 225 Serow but with the grunt of a DR350.

Hope these comments are of use to you.

Regards

Reggie
Thanks for your comments on Chinese bikes and XT's. The XT's reputation proceeds them ... at least in the UK. We don't get many XT's here. Speaking of Lois, I thought she DID take an XT250? No? If not, what bike was it? A TTR250? Or ... ?

And speaking of Austin ... I'm interested in using Austin's bike of choice ...
the venerable DR350SE. Sort of best of both worlds ... no? Of course one would need LOTS of upgrades and farkleing before being ADV travel ready.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kawidad View Post
You might check out this RR. The inmate is now in Columbia and has some really good comments. It appears this place is very MC friendly. He might have some insight and/or advice.

http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=837596
I've read quite a few good reports about the bike scene in Colombia ... and it's why I thought maybe it would be a good "launching point". Fly in, buy a bike and go. Skip doing 8000 miles on Mex, Cent. America and save $1000+ by NOT doing the crossing from Panama to Colombia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by O'B View Post
Yes Brazil has some big factories where the parts are shipped in and reassembled for the South American market. I believe Manaus because it is a free trade zone or such is where the majority of hondas are built.
Brazil is now a huge industrial nation. Honda has had a factory there over ten years. Far as I know (not visited that factory) the CRF line (CRF150, CRF230) are manufactured in Brazil ... not just assembled there. Honda put in a lot of work to set this up and to make reliable ... but affordable bikes there. Honda get an even better tax break when they do it this way.

But Honda have had facilities in Thailand even longer ... over 20 years. Many cool bikes produced in Thailand neither the US or EU ever see. I rented a few in the early 90's. One was like a Dual sport version on the CR125. Rode the piss out of that bike ... Made in Thailand. The 2nd one I rented I got with 70 kms. on it ... Brand new.

Also, lots of Honda car parts are produced in Thailand. Honda choose Thailand to produce the new CRF250L ... NOT Brazil. I'm surprised by this as the Brazilian 230's I've ridden have been bullet proof ... and many flat track race the little CRF150 ... all good.

Thanks guys!
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:35 PM   #39
Pete-NZ
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Suzuki DR-Z250 nice reliable basic bullet proof bike..
http://www.suzukimotorcycles.com.au/...Z250_K7_SS.jpg




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Old 12-27-2012, 08:00 PM   #40
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This RR author had nothing bad to say about his Chinese bike in Colombia.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...301156&page=15
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:42 AM   #41
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My main concern with a 250 class bike is the high frequency vibes I seem to get from them if ridden for a decent length of time.

My old KLX used to kill my hands, and I just got back from a few days on a ZZR250 and my hands are still tingling 24 hours after I last rode the thing...

I don't seem to suffer from it on any of the bigger (650 class) bikes I have ridden, not even my 640 and it is one of the bad vibrators.

Having said that, the ZZR and the KLX both have solidly mounted 'bars, not rubber mounted like some (my 640 and my old DR650 for instance).

Fuel economy is awesome though, I was getting 25K/l on the ZZR, and my KLX could do about the same...
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:06 PM   #42
Adv Grifter OP
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Originally Posted by Pete-NZ View Post
Suzuki DR-Z250 nice reliable basic bullet proof bike..
http://www.suzukimotorcycles.com.au/...Z250_K7_SS.jpg
The DRZ250 wasn't offered in the USA as a "Road legal" bike, far as I know. And has not been imported for 5 years, mas o menos: GONE.

Looks fantastic! I'm still favoring the old DR350SE. Wider seat, tougher, heavier frame and sub frame. With a 440 kit should do OK in the Andes at 5000 meters. And best of all? its 60 lbs. (27 kgs) lighter weight than my DR650!

DR650 = 324 lbs.(147 kgs.) DRY vs. DR350SE = 264 lbs. (120 kgs.) DRY
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