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Thread: What mid sized Adventure bike should I buy

  1. #16
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    24th November 2015 - 11:20
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    I'd recommend the 650 V-Strom. I owned the previous generation bike (A 2017 model) which are now becoming more affordable on the second-hand market. No - They don't have much in the way of character but that's one of the very few negatives about them. The motor's a cracking unit and they are comfortable, the suspension is basic but good and they are easy to get spares for/servicing carried out.

    The DR650 is always a good bet too. Yes they are more vibey but they do the whole adventure thing really well. Plus they encourage you to take a slightly gentler look on your biking life - No bad thing IMHO.
    Navy Boy

  2. #17
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    19th March 2009 - 10:54
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    Been some good advice given so far, I have had a F800GS ,good size great on the gas and given no trouble 2013-2017 seem to be better. A little less weight than the Triumph 800 for gravel work but the Triumph has a little more power for on the highway. There are not many bad bikes out there these days so the choice is not easy. If doing a lot of gravel work some of the 650 singles would be more fun .

  3. #18
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    30th January 2004 - 11:00
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    Resurrect this thread

    So my annual road ride around the South Island is going gravel next year-finally. Looking at heading down the Molesworth, soak in Hanmer Springs then up Rainbow then find somewhere else in that area. I have wanted to explore the dirt/coastal Wairarapa roads for years so the time has arrived for a bike fit for the purpose.

    Q= what bike to get. I know hardened folk can do these roads on standard road bikes but I want to enjoy going off road, not stressed.
    Yesterday I test road the BMW F850GS Ad., the Africa Twin and Tiger XCA. Outcome- undecided? Prices were all about $23k so that's not a deciding factor.

    My conundrum is I don't really want to have 2 bikes in the garage. No room and paying rego/insurance twice puts me off. So that means finding a road & dirt compromised bike.
    One option though is I get the Kawasaki Versys 300X new for only $7400 now and go with keeping the MT09 for road. Lower rego for 300X and youtube reviews are mostly positive for it's road and gravel manners, albeit with 39hp. Then again for dirt roads that's ample. I have fond memories as a teen tackling all sorts of rough hills, rivers, beaches and whatever we could explore on SL125, XL125, 175 and 250. Don't recall ever moaning about needing more power.

    I find the Triumph triples a tad bland and that's how the 800 felt. Same with the Honda. It was the silly automatic version but still I got no 'thrill' sensation opening the throttle up. The Africa won best looking.
    The F850 surprised me. With a smooth quickshifter it seems to race from the lights 1st,2nd 3rd, & 4th gear in seconds to losing your licence. I guess what I'm saying is it did put a smile on my face, where the others didn't. Getting back on my MT09 was an unfair comparison because it's a surprise rocket of an engine punching above it's claimed 115hp. All three were taller than I would like when throwing my leg over. Guess I'm average height, maybe under that. 850 won the flash dash by miles and techno war. Up/down quickshifter, dyna pro blah blah riding modes (a bit OTT for me). The 850 had knobbly/dirt orientated tyres which may explain why it was reluctant to change direction, drop into corners on seal compared to the other two.

    I need to ride a Versys first to see if I could live with 39hp riding along the seal in search of dirt. - none around, bugger.

    The KTM 790 Adv. was in store at TSS but I didn't ask to ride it. I can't get past that face only a mother could love.

    I'm leaning towards the F850GS so far. early days, no rush.

    Comments & opinions welcome.
    Happiness is a means of travel, not a destination

  4. #19
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    24th September 2004 - 06:46
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    You don't need an adventure bike to tour the Wiarapa gravel roads. A CX500 that burns oil at 1ltr per 500kms does the trick quite nicely.
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  5. #20
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    31st March 2005 - 02:18
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    The problem is compromise and the exact break down of your riding is something only you can answer.

    I can suggest a CRF250L or KLX250, which would be awesome in gravel, technical terrain etc. but you're going to hate it on long hauls, sporty road riding etc. Equally, an R1200GSA/Tenere 1200/1290SA is going to be a mile muncher, long travel suspension is where its at, but you better take some mates if doing the technical or sandy stuff and it gets really heavy when you're picking it up for the 5th time that day.

    Even if you manage to pick one bike that covers all your riding and you love it, unless you run two sets of wheels, your next question is going to be which tyres you run... which is also a compromise, unless you keep switching.

    I'm at 3... still don't have my bases covered
    Quote Originally Posted by Jane Omorogbe from UK MSN on the KTM990SM
    It's barking mad and if it doesn't turn you into a complete loon within half an hour of cocking a leg over the lofty 875mm seat height, I'll eat my Arai.

  6. #21
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    30th January 2004 - 11:00
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    Thanks Gremlin. I've done many miles on gravel on road bikes with sports rubber and it's not a problem, it just slows you down and eats expensive rubber.

    I'm not interested in heavy bikes - full stop, road or dirt, so no fat arse Boxer 1200, Tiger 1200 or the like. I'm also not looking for a pure small dirt bike like a CRF250. Also wouldn't have the tank range I want. I took my 2010 Tiger 1050cc out to Cape Paliser and it dumped me in deep gravel. Never forgave it. Bloody top heavy.

    I might have to have a decent look at the KTM 790 Adv. reviews seem OK and it has that large low slung fuel tank. I do like parallel twins so it ticks that box. Suppose I could put a paper bag over the front of it.

    There's the Tenere 700 coming out soon but that has a stupid tiny motocross seat and doesn't look any good for long hauls.
    Happiness is a means of travel, not a destination

  7. #22
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    31st March 2005 - 02:18
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    You've got the common singles like DR650 and KLR650, very popular. Personally, I hate singles, every single one I've ridden I haven't liked. Agricultural, but dead simple (I read dead boring). However, a lot of guys that do a lot of adventure riding want the lighter bikes, going even lighter like the EXC500. More rare bike would be the G650 XChallenge.

    I like twins (hence the boxer and Tuono V2). These are going to be heavier than the singles (hence shunned by the more hardcore guys) but you've got the KTMs like the 790, then bigger to the confusing range of 1050/1090/1190, but generally KTM make them lighter than competitors. Don't forget the older XT660 Tenere, depending on your budget, but the 790 has proven very popular. Not particularly lightweight though is one criticism. Lot of guys waiting for the T7, can't knock until you've tried I'd say.

    Going heavier again and the odd range of triples from Triumph. I can't even recall all the variants as they keep multiplying, but the good thing is you're getting options like spoked wheels. If you're primarily a road rider, look for tubeless rim setups as they're much easier to quickly stick a turd in than dicking around with tubes (that's my thinking anyway).

    You've got a wide range of BMWs, but staying away from the boxers means everything will be chain drive, keeping things same same and you simply pick the capacity/seat height that works for you. If you don't mind smaller, there are a few that quite like odd balls like the CB500X, but I suspect you want a little larger.

    For me, I'd pick the boxer again. I enjoy the mile munching capacity enabling me to enjoy the ride to the area, accept the trade off of not doing the most technical stuff (I hate sand anyway), but it's more than capable of stuff I enjoy (done Motu, Molesworth, Rainbow, Skippers, Hakataramea, Nevis). Fully fueled and laden, it doesn't budge when it's on its side, fooken heavy, so try to do that stuff as day trips from a base. I'm also 6'3, which helps to make it manageable.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jane Omorogbe from UK MSN on the KTM990SM
    It's barking mad and if it doesn't turn you into a complete loon within half an hour of cocking a leg over the lofty 875mm seat height, I'll eat my Arai.

  8. #23
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    3rd October 2006 - 21:21
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    Don't rule out the DL650, with some canny buying you could save nearly $10k on the bigger adv bikes like the KTM790 and it is cheap and cheerful and prob easier to onsell if that's a consideration for you. Me, I would love a test ride on the KTM and also the new upcoming 890 Duke!
    Only a Rat can win a Rat Race!

  9. #24
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    4th June 2013 - 17:33
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    Quote Originally Posted by MD View Post
    So my annual road ride around the South Island is going gravel next year-finally. Looking at heading down the Molesworth, soak in Hanmer Springs then up Rainbow then find somewhere else in that area. I have wanted to explore the dirt/coastal Wairarapa roads for years so the time has arrived for a bike fit for the purpose.

    Q= what bike to get. I know hardened folk can do these roads on standard road bikes but I want to enjoy going off road, not stressed.
    Yesterday I test road the BMW F850GS Ad., the Africa Twin and Tiger XCA. Outcome- undecided? Prices were all about $23k so that's not a deciding factor.

    My conundrum is I don't really want to have 2 bikes in the garage. No room and paying rego/insurance twice puts me off. So that means finding a road & dirt compromised bike.
    One option though is I get the Kawasaki Versys 300X new for only $7400 now and go with keeping the MT09 for road. Lower rego for 300X and youtube reviews are mostly positive for it's road and gravel manners, albeit with 39hp. Then again for dirt roads that's ample. I have fond memories as a teen tackling all sorts of rough hills, rivers, beaches and whatever we could explore on SL125, XL125, 175 and 250. Don't recall ever moaning about needing more power.

    I find the Triumph triples a tad bland and that's how the 800 felt. Same with the Honda. It was the silly automatic version but still I got no 'thrill' sensation opening the throttle up. The Africa won best looking.
    The F850 surprised me. With a smooth quickshifter it seems to race from the lights 1st,2nd 3rd, & 4th gear in seconds to losing your licence. I guess what I'm saying is it did put a smile on my face, where the others didn't. Getting back on my MT09 was an unfair comparison because it's a surprise rocket of an engine punching above it's claimed 115hp. All three were taller than I would like when throwing my leg over. Guess I'm average height, maybe under that. 850 won the flash dash by miles and techno war. Up/down quickshifter, dyna pro blah blah riding modes (a bit OTT for me). The 850 had knobbly/dirt orientated tyres which may explain why it was reluctant to change direction, drop into corners on seal compared to the other two.

    I need to ride a Versys first to see if I could live with 39hp riding along the seal in search of dirt. - none around, bugger.

    The KTM 790 Adv. was in store at TSS but I didn't ask to ride it. I can't get past that face only a mother could love.

    I'm leaning towards the F850GS so far. early days, no rush.

    Comments & opinions welcome.
    my wife has a 750, she was happier with the more road focused suspension and wheels and the lower ride height. Its a lovely bike to ride but am not sure why they detuned the (same) engine from the 850. The Tiger 800 was considered by Mrs UK at the time but coming off an R1200RS she liked the fact the controls were the same as she has been using for the last few years, while giving her the upright riding position and confidence on gravel she wanted. That and the BMW dealer showed a lot more interest than the Triumph folks in getting her what she needed/wanted. The F850 is peach, it has the fun factor the F800 was a wee bit short on.
    Life is not measured by how many breaths you take, but how many times you have your breath taken away

  10. #25
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    30th January 2004 - 11:00
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ulsterkiwi View Post
    my wife has a 750, she was happier with the more road focused suspension and wheels and the lower ride height. Its a lovely bike to ride but am not sure why they detuned the (same) engine from the 850. The Tiger 800 was considered by Mrs UK at the time but coming off an R1200RS she liked the fact the controls were the same as she has been using for the last few years, while giving her the upright riding position and confidence on gravel she wanted. That and the BMW dealer showed a lot more interest than the Triumph folks in getting her what she needed/wanted. The F850 is peach, it has the fun factor the F800 was a wee bit short on.
    Thanks for that, just the real world insights I'm looking for. The 850GS was a peach!

    Last night I discovered KTM are bringing out a 390 single Adventure bike and the promo vid. is awesome. Add that to my maybe list. Still not ideal owning two bikes though. Might have to wait 3-6 months until more is known of the Tiger 900 and this KTM Duke 390
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    Happiness is a means of travel, not a destination

  11. #26
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    3rd October 2006 - 21:21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MD View Post
    So my annual road ride around the South Island is going gravel next year-finally. Looking at heading down the Molesworth, soak in Hanmer Springs then up Rainbow then find somewhere else in that area. I have wanted to explore the dirt/coastal Wairarapa roads for years so the time has arrived for a bike fit for the purpose.

    Q= what bike to get. I know hardened folk can do these roads on standard road bikes but I want to enjoy going off road, not stressed.
    Yesterday I test road the BMW F850GS Ad., the Africa Twin and Tiger XCA. Outcome- undecided? Prices were all about $23k so that's not a deciding factor.

    My conundrum is I don't really want to have 2 bikes in the garage. No room and paying rego/insurance twice puts me off. So that means finding a road & dirt compromised bike.
    One option though is I get the Kawasaki Versys 300X new for only $7400 now and go with keeping the MT09 for road. Lower rego for 300X and youtube reviews are mostly positive for it's road and gravel manners, albeit with 39hp. Then again for dirt roads that's ample. I have fond memories as a teen tackling all sorts of rough hills, rivers, beaches and whatever we could explore on SL125, XL125, 175 and 250. Don't recall ever moaning about needing more power.

    I find the Triumph triples a tad bland and that's how the 800 felt. Same with the Honda. It was the silly automatic version but still I got no 'thrill' sensation opening the throttle up. The Africa won best looking.
    The F850 surprised me. With a smooth quickshifter it seems to race from the lights 1st,2nd 3rd, & 4th gear in seconds to losing your licence. I guess what I'm saying is it did put a smile on my face, where the others didn't. Getting back on my MT09 was an unfair comparison because it's a surprise rocket of an engine punching above it's claimed 115hp. All three were taller than I would like when throwing my leg over. Guess I'm average height, maybe under that. 850 won the flash dash by miles and techno war. Up/down quickshifter, dyna pro blah blah riding modes (a bit OTT for me). The 850 had knobbly/dirt orientated tyres which may explain why it was reluctant to change direction, drop into corners on seal compared to the other two.

    I need to ride a Versys first to see if I could live with 39hp riding along the seal in search of dirt. - none around, bugger.

    The KTM 790 Adv. was in store at TSS but I didn't ask to ride it. I can't get past that face only a mother could love.

    I'm leaning towards the F850GS so far. early days, no rush.

    Comments & opinions welcome.
    Interestingly tho, the F850GS specs up as the same wet weight as my Multi 1200, and with a much smaller fuel tank. That surprises me, I thought it would be a bit lighter than that....
    Only a Rat can win a Rat Race!

  12. #27
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    20th June 2011 - 20:27
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    TKC80s on the MT09. Job done.
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  13. #28
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    The most fun ADV bike I have ever owned lives in Khon Kaen , Thailand...
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    The years I waisted riding bigger ADV bikes...


    Riding along the Mekong river next March / April on it...



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  14. #29
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    25th March 2004 - 17:22
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    So I'm no adventure guru. I
    The only rides I've been on are on a DT175 and my DT200. I did the hard stuff easy while people floundered on bigger bikes. But the road sections were grim.

    Heres my advice for what it's worth.

    Push the car out of the garage.

    Purpose bike for any off road. 2nd hand and ideally damaged.

    You will have more fun.

    Fun is what it is about.

    If you don't care about dropping it again. 650 Suzuki twin sounds good as you won't care about thrashing it. Keep the road bike. It will be safer on road tyres. Your life is worth it. Well I assume it is, I've only talked to you for moments . Let's assume it is.
    I've been told. Dreaming`s free.
    Think I'll go, back to sleep.
    Everybody listen, voices in my head
    Everybody listen, do yours say, what mine says?

  15. #30
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    8th November 2006 - 22:22
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    Lighter the better ...

    My 2 Cent's - the lighter the better

    I have a Honda Varadero 1000, which is a huge fat comfy bus, and although i rode it across the Molesworth the other day I would much rather have been on my WR450F - yes I know one extreme or the other

    But the WR with a seat concepts seat is actually more comfortable than you may have thought and super comfortable to stand up on the pegs with, i did the BMW rally on it the other week and to drive it around all day on gravel was so much fun.. but it is a bit of a drag on the motorway sections, it will do 130 but is not really comfy cursing much past 80 kph [on trail gearing]

    So i would go smaller, if you are never going 2 up, don't need to carry a lot of luggage, then I would look at DR650's and similar - perhaps not super small, though I do like the look of a CRF450L and i do love the look of the Husky701, and sure the KTM 790 looks lovely but it, like the CRF and the Husky is a lot of coin to drop in river ! I did buy a brand new Transalp 650 once - and dropped it in a river when it was 3 days old the last new adventure bike I ever bought

    You can buy a lot of goodies for a DR650 for the money - like a nice seat and soft luggage, enduro fairing etc etc.. may be worth more of a look than you think .. there is a reason they have such a strong following

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