Appropriate Bike for On-Off road Touring?

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by jstar32, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. jstar32

    jstar32 Member

    Hey Gents,

    I'd like to pick you collective brains and see what you guys are using for what I'm considering - 80/20 on-off road touring, some with 2 up, and panniers.

    My first choice at this moment would be a BMW F650GS. I've owned the carbureted version and know the bike well from a maintenance/repair perspective, and have taken it pretty deep off-road.

    R1150GS would fit the bill on the road with great comfort, but I've not taken a bike that size off-road.

    Versys is a non-starter with the 17" front, but in all other respects good. CB500X is too small for my knees.

    The only other bike I could think of is a 650 Vstrom. Comfortable, well-supported, but I have no familiarity with it off-road. I've seen it dual-sported, but I still think the F650GS tops it as an all-arounder for my purposes.

    Please feel free to double-check my thinking please :) Many thanks in advance :)

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  3. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Where do You want to Use this bike and You haven't mentioned Your Budget? But here in Thailand the New Triumph Tiger 800 XCx 575.000 Baht would be the first choice? Or the BMW F800GS 535.000 Baht. I don't think the F650 GS is avalible here anymore? V-Strom 650 is a great Bike but not off-Road, maybe very light trails? There will most likely be more Bikes introduced to Thailand over the following Year so more choice for You but really depends when You want it and how much You want to spend?
  4. KenYam

    KenYam Ol'Timer

    G'day jstar

    I think everybody in Thailand asks themselves the same question and it's a question on how much money you want to spend and personal taste on biking eg; BMW 800 or Triumph Tiger 800 would be two great bikes.
    Suggest hiring a few from hire shops in Chiang Mai to see which one is for you, the Triumph 800XR is only 420,000 baht now.

    If you want cheaper bikes consider the CB500X with aftermarket suspension increases should be considered, an American site has kits for this bike, (don't have details of site but would be easy to find).
    I already have a 1300 cruiser but think value in Thailand now for a general use bike would be the Honda CB500X with raised suspension.

    Good Luck
  5. jstar32

    jstar32 Member

    Thanks Guys,

    I suppose I'll be using it mostly up north, but I may very well like to roll into laos, cambodia. I'm based in Chiang Mai currently.

    I have a line on a f650gs for - gulp - 290k. my understanding is the used bmw price here is double the price in the USA, and with that as a measure, the bike seems properly priced - but do let me know if that seems unreasonable.

    I actually own a 2012 Triumph tiger 800XC back home, but it has a much higher center of gravity than the f650gs and is 60 lbs heavier... and given my penchant for dropping bikes on occasion, taking a BRAND-NEW 800XC out onto the roads here... maybe not just yet :)

    CB500X seems a very reasonable choice, but I did rent one and found my knees is too much of a bent position, and seemed too small to really stand up on.
  6. jstar32

    jstar32 Member

    Generally speaking guys, would an R1150GS be out of the question for on and off-road up north, heading to Laos? There's one here in CM that has bags and crash bars, custom seats, far more comfortable 2-up, for 355K (30k miles, reported to be in excellent shape). I've owned an r1150r in the past, the size on the road I don't think would be an issue (but then again, I've never ridden the road from Chiang Mai to Pai before - i understand there's a few climbing hairpins to deal with :)
  7. feejer

    feejer Ol'Timer

    If I ever get over there on a long-term basis I would probably have a DR650 as my go-to ride for the North. I have one here in the US and it fits the bill nicely as an 80/20 solution, torquey, light, cheap, simple, bulletproof with plenty of aftermarket goodies/parts. And easily converted to supermoto with a spare road wheel/tire set if you want to stick to tarmac for a while.

    The main limitation is the OEM tank volume, I usually have to switch to reserve after only 115-120 miles, but plenty of larger aftermarket tanks available when I get around to it. The other being the stock seat, but opinions on seat comfort are like.....well, you know. I personally have no issue with it for what I use it for, but for all-day road touring, probably would need an upgrade, especially if 2-up.

    Not sure of new Suzuki availability there, but you see used DR's pop up now and then on baht/sold or GT-R. Good luck with whatever you end up with.
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Why not rent a 650 VStrom from Pop & take it for a spin around North Thailand & then see what you think?

    IMHO bigger is not necessary better riding around the region - North THai / Laos / Cambo / China.
    A 650 is enough for the speeds you generally ride at & an 800 is more than enough.
    Anything any bigger is a waste I reckon.

    It sounds to me as if you have not done much riding here yet & are dreaming of what you could do / what it could be like.
    So I reckon you're jumping in at the deep end straight off.
    Don't rush. Rent & ride for awhile & see how you feel about it all.

    Re the pillion pax, take the gal for a 7-10 days ride & see how you / she feels about it.
    In my experience they soon get tired of the adventure side of it after a few trips, so I wouldn't focus on catering to the two-up aspect too much.
    Better you take off for a ride, then fly her in somewhere for a few days R&R, then she flies back home & you carry on enjoying yourself & you're freedom.
  9. CraigBKK

    CraigBKK Ol'Timer

    Excellent advice!!!
  10. jstar32

    jstar32 Member

    Great input re: a limited trip to see how she feels about it - and the freedom part :)

    I concluded smaller is better and am sticking with the known quantity, the f650. It feels all too familiar, so I've picked it up and am going to start detailing out the maintenance items and ordering up the rest of the kit.

    Many thanks for the input.... now, would you have any ideas who might have a set of tkc-80's in Chiang Mai?

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