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Discussion Starter #1
Having done some general touring in France & Spain over the last few years on my current bike (Yamaha Thunderace) I have decided I’d like to explore some of the roads less well traveled and also go further afield.
I’m initially contemplating more of Eastern Europe (and if I can persuade my other half!) I’d like to go to North Africa – politics allowing.
I have come to the decision that I need a better all rounder – something that can still cruise reasonably comfortably on the main roads but can also handle some pretty poor roads, although I’m not intending to go off road in a serious way.
I was thinking of something like the Africa Twin, Transalp, Varedero, Caponord etc. Can anybody help me with other suggestions and choosing the right bike please?!
Some comparisons, good/bad points etc. would be useful.
 
G

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You've come to the wrong place if you want an un-biased opinion here :lol: Only joking, well mostly!

Both the Africa Twin and Transalp have been used by many people for a wide range of overlanding/touring destinations. On Chris Scotts 'Adventure Motorcycling site the Africa Twin is the single most used model. Both are reliable, fairly robust and comfortable for long distance trips, save the AT seat which some find uncomfortable. IMHO it would depend on your physical size, whether you take a pillion and the amount of stuff you pack for your trips as to which to go for.

Personally and as an ex-owner of a Varadero I think it's too heavy for anything other than good tarmac. Same for the Capo IMHO.

Again as an ex-owner, BMW's GS is too prone to technical problems, especially the 1200. An old 'Airhead' GS is better as a travel bike as they're air cooled and very simple to maintain which is just as well as mine needed the carbs balanced every 1500-2000 miles and the gear lever return spring broke in Northern Italy leaving us stranded whilst the bike was fixed.

If you can stand the look of the V-Strom (I can't) they're supposed to be a pretty good travel bike.

Recently rode the KTM 950 and I found it too focused but, as an ex-sports bike rider you might like it. It was certainly comfortable enough with the new lower seat height and gel seat.

I've been thinking as to what I'd replace my AT with if I had to. (luckily I picked up an 03 with 1600 miles on it last year so, it should be a good while yet!) It might seem odd but, I'm strangely drawn to the new Bonneville. It has an air cooled motor which is very reliable, 6k service intervals and other than the aweful standard seat, which can easily be replaced, has a very comfortable riding position. Also, Metal Mule now make racks for the Bonneville so you can fit their panniers and top box. Norman Hyde, who sell lot's of stuff for Hinckley Triumphs, also make a bash plate and other parts to turn the Bonny into a great adventure bike. The only downside could be lack of ground clearence.

IMHO, given the choice of anything I'd take an Africa Twin. LB.
 

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Hi, welcome.

The trendy (and expensive) option would be a GS, but as mentioned they might not be as reliable as the Germans would have us believe.

If you're two up with luggage over big distances you may find an Alp a bit hard work, particularly after being used to the 'Cat.
I'm on my third Alp (had others in between), superb and capable, and enough power for most situations.

I've never tried an A/Twin, they're supposed to have a little more grunt and a bit more power but weigh more, some say they have better rear suspension than an Alp for two up use.

Both bikes are very reliable and durable steed's, more than taking on trips like your'e intending, just don't expect to whup along at ton+ speeds.

Phil
 

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Mermaid said:
...I have come to the decision that I need a better all rounder – something that can still cruise reasonably comfortably on the main roads but can also handle some pretty poor roads, although I’m not intending to go off road in a serious way...Some comparisons, good/bad points etc. would be useful.
First choice to be made is 'new' or 'second hand'. Consider the KTM950 or BMW1200GS if you want a new bike. Both will do 2-up street work easily, and be able to tackle poor roads and tracks as well. Other options are the Varadero, CapoNord, V-Strom, MultiStrada, etc. which are basically 'styled' road bikes. IMO the major downside to these are the wheels, which are cast (more fragile) and usually not knobblie-suitable sizes.

If second hand isn't a worry, then you've got a wider range of proven multi surface bikes. Obviously the Africa Twin and TransAlp, and the Tenere, Super Tenere, KTM600, KLR600, DR BIG, BMW GSes. For 2-up road work I'd want a fairly large capacity twin cylinder bike, which for me rounds it down to the GS and Africa Twin (maybe S-Tenere as well). Both have been around for a while, so there's no problem with spares, servicing and accessories.

Something like a V-Strom or CapoNord will be closer in performance to the 'Cat than an Africa Twin, and for a 2-up touring bike that'll take in a few gravel roads they fit the bill. If you throw a few Moroccan pistes into the equation though, I'd be picking up the keys to an Africa Twin (or KTM950 if the wallet allows) without a second thought. Where the Africa Twin really scores is on cost. At half the price of a KTM950, you'd have a lot of cash left over for petrol and mint tea. 8)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the advice - now some more questions!

I won't be touring two up (neither of us like being on the back!) so that's not an issue ...... but, potentially there could be a reasonable amount of luggage (camping kit plus enough gear for 6/8 week trips). I'm 5'8 bare foot so am wondering about seat height and weight - particularly kitted up.
I ride a DRZE on tip toes so don't mind not reaching the ground flat footed and I'm used to the weight of Thunderace - albeit it's low down. Which bikes would you say have the lowest centres of gravity/best weight distribution?
I'm probably looking at second hand so the KTM and BMW are a bit too pricey. The KTM is also probably too off road focussed. I guess I'm looking at spending around around £4000 - but I'm happy to spend less on the bike and have more petrol money!
I only want to cruise comfortably at 70/80mph so don't need massive performance - but also don't want to cruise on the red line!
I hadn't thought of the Bonneville ...... how would it cope with roads that rattle your eyeballs out?
Finally, there is alwys the possibility of dropping it - particularly if the CofG is high so I don't really want lots of expensive plastic!

How does that little lot affect your earlier suggestions?!
My guess is it's reducing the obvious list to the AT, V-Strom or Alp. The less obvious being the Ten, Super Ten or Bonneville.
 

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Get an 'alp - it's all the bike you'll need and then some. For your height and what you intend on doing on it it'll be ideal.
 
G

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Nah, get an Africa Twin. Fw600vj had a Transalp for years and then just happened to buy a Twin and wishes he had always owned one. Get one just because you can change the air filter and then ride around britian in the time it'll take you just to change the air filter in the Transalp.

And the @ it nicer looking too :lol:
 

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Golam Rosewater
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Simon said:
Get one just because you can change the air filter and then ride around britian in the time it'll take you just to change the air filter in the Transalp.
Bet I can change my airfilter quicker than you can insert for bum-pads before you tackle a ride around britain :wink:
 

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Wing Commander
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I'm 5'8 bare foot
The new @s are slightly shorter than the older ones. A modified seat will be more comfortable and can be lowered further.
I'm 5' 10''and have an old @ with a modified seat and I can't put both feet flat on the floor but neither am I on tippy-toes.
The @ is also top-heavy and you will see lots of references to that fact that dropping it at some point is almost inevitable.
But it is a great bike.
You don't list where you are based. Somebody would probably let you at least have a sit on one if not an actual ride.
Whealie
 

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whys the rum always gone?
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ok guys put your hand bags down :lol:
tis got to be the @ cos the seat hight is easily overcome where as gaining extra power is costly. simons right filter change 45 seconds tops :wink:
 

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With the info youv'e given, 4 grand will buy a nearly new Alp, with warranty, is available with low seat (if needed) and will do all you want and more :)

Easy :wink:

Phil
 

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I've had a 600 TA on which I did the last of the Transalp rallies, an RD04 @ and last year aquired a four year old RD07a with 1200 miles on the clock.
I'm 5'7' bare foot, Unfortunately well stricken in years and thanks to aquiring Chad's remodeled seat I can now get a foot on the ground and feel like a teenager again (once I've got the arthiritic leg over)if you know what I mean.
Seriously though, in my view there is no better all rounder than the Africa Twin. It's the best bike Honda ever stopped making.......ever
 

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whys the rum always gone?
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good shot kerbs theres no comming back from that one :D :D :D :D :D
 

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IMHO it comes down to off road bias.

The TA is more road biased the AT is more off road biased, in my opinion as I've said.

And having said that they're both good and which ever you choose you'd be saving your licence and having a whole lot of fun in to the bargain.
 

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Africa Twin every time, it will take a hell of battering and still get you where you want to go. If it does go tits up the chances are it will be fixable by the side of the road. Therefore, you won't need a team of mechanics following you in a convoy of 4X4'S when you pop down to TESCO's.


PK
 
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wheeliebin said:
Simon said:
Get one just because you can change the air filter and then ride around britian in the time it'll take you just to change the air filter in the Transalp.
Bet I can change my airfilter quicker than you can insert for bum-pads before you tackle a ride around britain :wink:
yeh yeh bring it on :twisted:
 

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Most of North Africa can be ridden on a road-biased bike. I toured around Morocco on a BMW R1150RS sports tourer. It was only at road works, having to ride over loose gravel, that I began to wonder if a dual sport would have been better.

Buy a dual sport with a strong road bias and you'll be fine. I test rode the Transalp and V Strom 650. I like the former's build quality, but on the road the V Strom 650 was brilliant. So I bought a Vara!!
 
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