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Topic: Thinking of jumping into sport-touring...need advice  (Read 8104 times)

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NX4Greg
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« on: October 28, 2013, 07:04:22 pm »

Ok guys and gals. I've been riding most all of my life. Mostly enduros and dual-sports (80cc -600cc). For the last 5 years I've been riding a Honda 400 dual sport (little sister to the famed Trans-Alp). Ride it practically everyday, city, highway, and occasionally off-road. A great, fun, practical bike for where I live. However, I'm thinking of crossing over into the sport-touring realm, but I'm not real familiar with what bikes would be suitable given my criteria. Which is the following.

My job has me living and working in Argentina for the time being. Bikes here are probably about double what they are in the US for used models. My budget ($9,000 - $11,000) is going to allow me to get something like a 600-750 cc bike made from 1995 - 2003 (?) with 20,000 miles or more. As for me, I'm 5'8" and weigh about 160 lbs.

I've been reading the newbie posts but it seems most are looking at bikes that are newer than what I can afford to get here. Therefore I'm making this post asking advice for those that know the older bikes.

Thanks
Gregory
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2013, 07:12:22 pm »

VFR  Bigok
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2013, 07:15:28 pm »

Or, Triumph Sprint ST 955 or 1050 Bigok
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2013, 07:19:05 pm »

Buy a used one in Texas, and ride it down to S. America! What a hoot!

If it was me I would likely stick to Japanese if I was down there, unless there is a good Euro bike dealership close by. In the 1995 to 2003 there were good all rounders: VFR 750/800, Bandits, YZF, FZ-1, Honda Hornets, ZZR kwakers, SV, RF and the like. It depends how the roads are, how much city vs highway, do you need wind protection? Etc.
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2013, 07:43:35 pm »

Argentina is not the States, or the EU, or the Great White Frozen North either.  Most of those who post here are from one of those locales.   Your location has a big impact on your choice.  So what I recommend may not be right for you.   But just in case, I recommend a TransAlp, even though I can't buy one here.

Look around at what the locals are riding and take a hint from them.  

You want a bike that holds its value. In the local market.

You want a bike that is easy to get parts for. And tires.

You want a bike that a local shop knows how to fix, particularly far from home.  

Maybe for starters you just ought to put a set of touring tires and some softbags on your Honda.  I had a buddy who put 250,000 miles on a 2-stroke 250 cc 1976 GT 550 Suzuki. (Corrected) thats (was) a lot of trips up and down the East Coast. I ride a 650 WeeStom.  Very popular in some countries because it is economical and versatile.  Not as popular in the States.  It has a large gas tank and soft suspension for unpaved roads.  I suspect you might want a smaller displacement bike than Wee or TransAlp.  Displacement doesnt govern your range; miles per tank and the cost to fill it does.  Maybe something made by a Spanish manufacturer.

Choosing the right bike for your situation will make long days all that more enjoyable.

And don't forget to post some pics for us.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2013, 09:05:56 pm by Skee » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2013, 09:05:01 pm »

Look around at what the locals are riding and take a hint from them.  

You want a bike that holds its value. In the local market.

You want a bike that is easy to get parts for. And tires.

You want a bike that a local shop knows how to fix, particularly far from home.


Due to the locational differences, this list is what I'd lean towards.
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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2013, 09:08:10 pm »

^^^ That sounds like the makings of a new Harley owner then.  Lol
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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2013, 09:39:11 pm »


^^^ That sounds like the makings of a new Harley owner then.  Lol


Well then in that case, you want a bike that its easy to get chrome parts for.  Lots of chrome.
And a bike that you can get loud pipes for.  Really short and obnoxiously loud ones
And don't forget the whitewall tires...

But if you're going HD, consider an older carbureted one.  Was just discussing this with a friend today.  Simple is better. Simple is easy to fix far from home.  Simple means you don't have to mess with ABS sensors.  Simple means you don't have to chase down electrical gremlins in an ECU. His opinion, that's why he likes his old fashioned Harley.   And I have to admit, he's got a good point there.  
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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2013, 09:41:43 pm »

Nooooooooo!!!
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2013, 05:04:53 am »

It seems that Triumph and BMW have dealerships in the main cities, as well as the Big Three-YamHonKwak. KTM also have dealerships.

There's some good advice here: http://www.aardvarktravel.net/chat/viewtopic.php?t=36907

Example:
Hi

I am in Argentina, but would agree with most of what mtbrkiwi has said above.

In Argentina, BMWs are not uncommon so I doubt that you'd have trouble finding places to get repairs done. However, I agree that something like a Transalp/Africa Twin might be better. It's perhaps not great for long distances, but with an XR600 you'd find familiar mechanics everywhere and a tough, reliable bike.

Fuel is cheap here in S.America, but varies between countries. Here in Argentina, petrol is currently about $3 pesos (a bit under 1USD) per litre, although this has been rising over the last couple of years.

We have a group of 3 bikers passing through in January, doing the same route you describe. The Sierras de Cordoba area where I am based (central Argentina) offers some great varied riding. I don't want to sound like an advert here, so please look at my link and email/post back if you have any questions specific to my our business.

You'd be fine with Spanish in most countries, but remember that certain countries in S.America, such as Brazil, speak Portuguese.

If you have any further questions, please ask!

Cheers,
Tristan
« Last Edit: October 29, 2013, 05:15:26 am by Papa Lazarou » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2013, 08:35:17 am »


Or, Triumph Sprint ST 955 or 1050 Bigok


Or 955 Tiger!
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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2013, 09:42:48 am »

Thanks folks. All good advice. I like the idea of buying one in Texas, since that is where I'm from. However, I probably wouldn't make it through to Argentina alive, or with wheels under me.

The Euro brands are fairly new here and the only places to get them serviced are in the big cities.

I like the TransAlps a lot, but what I can afford will generally get me one with more mileage than a sport bike. They seem to hold their value here more than the sport bikes, though.

The 4 Japanese brands are more common, with Honda CBRs (F1-F3) and Kawa ZZRs leading the market during the years that I specified. However, there seem to be quite a few Yamaha Genesis bikes during those years for sale. Suzuki which is my preferred brand are the least common.

As far as the roads are concerned there are very few what we would consider "interstate highways" with multiple lanes and medians dividing the road. Most highways here are two-lane "county  roads". The conditions vary widely from county to county, state to state; from very good to terrible. Some of the highways that I have been down are full of potholes that can bend rims, bust tires and break axles. These conditions also lead the motorists to swerve all over the road. I've had to make emergency exits onto the grassy shoulder of the highway more than once, in order to avoid crashing.

Anyway, thanks for the advice and I'll keep reading the forums.
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« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2013, 02:36:30 pm »

Suzuki SV650 (naked, not the SV650s variant), V-Strom 650 or Bandit 600 / 1200.
Honda ST1100.
Kawasaki Connie C-10

all known for reliability
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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2013, 03:04:44 pm »


The 4 Japanese brands are more common, with Honda CBRs (F1-F3) and Kawa ZZRs leading the market during the years that I specified. However, there seem to be quite a few Yamaha Genesis bikes during those years for sale. Suzuki which is my preferred brand are the least common.

Each country imports its own bikes, so asking a US-based forum might give you some very skewed results. Something that might help us help you would for you to post a dozen or so bikes you've seen around your area and then say "These are the most likely options; what do you guys think?"  And then we can chime in with "ooo! this one is awesome!" or whatever the opinion.

One thought, if you're not in a hurry, is to browse sites like ADV or Horizon's Unlimited and look for the poor soul who could only ride his bike "one way" and had to ditch it in the southern hemisphere  
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« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2013, 10:08:47 pm »


VFR áBigok


  Having drank the VFR koolaid I still can't figure out the passion. Weird.


Argentina is not the States, or the EU, or the Great White Frozen North either.  Most of those who post here are from one of those locales.   Your location has a big impact on your choice.  So what I recommend may not be right for you.   But just in case, I recommend a TransAlp, even though I can't buy one here.

Look around at what the locals are riding and take a hint from them.  

You want a bike that holds its value. In the local market.

You want a bike that is easy to get parts for. And tires.

You want a bike that a local shop knows how to fix, particularly far from home.  

Maybe for starters you just ought to put a set of touring tires and some softbags on your Honda.  I had a buddy who put 250,000 miles on a 2-stroke 250 cc Suzuki.  thats a lot of trips up and down the East Coast. I ride a 650 WeeStom.  Very popular in some countries because it is economical and versatile.  Not as popular in the States.  It has a large gas tank and soft suspension for unpaved roads.  I suspect you might want a smaller displacement bike than Wee or TransAlp.  Displacement doesnt govern your range; miles per tank and the cost to fill it does.  Maybe something made by a Spanish manufacturer.

Choosing the right bike for your situation will make long days all that more enjoyable.

And don't forget to post some pics for us.


This ^^^^^
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« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2013, 09:21:44 pm »

I was going to recommend -- highly -- a WeeStrom (Suzuki V-Strom 650) or its 1000-cc big brother until I noticed your height. These are very tall bikes.  I have a 30 inch inseam and the height was at the tall extreme for emotional comfort at paddle speeds.

My suggestion would be to research dealerships rather than bikes.  Japanese machines are the most reliable (unfortunately -- I have a BMW and a Moto Guzzi).  You can't go wrong with any Japanese brand, and all have models suitable for sport touring.  They also tend to be the best buys used.  But I'd opt for the brand with the most wide-spread dealer network.  Even Japanese bikes break occasionally, and every bike needs service.  Then do a little hands-on research and ask a lot of questions of every sport touring rider you come across.  
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« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2013, 04:10:51 pm »

First off, I have to say that your screen name caught my attention. I'd never heard of Honda' NX line until an NX650 came up for sale here locally. I was smitten -- for some reason I was drawn to it much more so than the ubiquitous KLR -- and would have one in my garage if not for want of cash.

I know you've posted here inquiring about a traditional sport touring bike, and you've received some good suggestions. But I would refer you to a Peter Egan article in this month's issue of Cycle World entitled "Built for Comfort Built for Speed: A Concise History of Rambling Around on Sport-Touring Bikes". In it, Egan talks about going from a Honda standard to a variety of BMW sport-tourers but ends up making a strong recommendation for the recent generations of adventure bikes as a great choice for do-all bikes.

Of course, he also admits to still owning a Buell Ulysses, so maybe he's losing his edge a bit.  Wink

So, while bikes like the Concours, Sprint and VFR make great sport-tourers (assuming their available in Argentina), the road conditions you describe seem to indicate that something slightly more rugged would suit you best. The Wee is a great suggestion, albeit for the height of that damn seat (something that's kept me from seriously considering one). Is the Versys available down there?
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