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Best bike for touring EU/UK/Iceland/Canada

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Rob_melb_au, Dec 28, 2006.

  1. Here's the deal - 6 months long service leave (thx to Steve Brack's new half-pay twice duration option for LSL) and travelling around Europe/UK, Iceland and Canada from Apr - Oct 07 (at least that is this week's plan!). The question is what bike?

    My biking experience is limited - had a GPz250 as the learners bike.... for five years, had a Z500 (mid-70s) for two months riding from Seattle to LA in the early 90s, had a GSX600F (95) for 18 months when living in DK in the late 90s. Not much since then, so a bit rusty in the riding stakes...so was looking around the 650cc mark.

    Like the look of semi-nakeds, although reading through HUBB/Horizons Unlimited (which is more aimed at the Paris to Dakar trips) adventure bikes (as they are called in another thread on here) seem to be the go. Obviously riding the bikes is a nice fundamental, but would appreciate any comments, especially from riders that have ridden around Northern Europe/Iceland and Canada. (I'll leave the Paris-Dakar trip until there's a few more ks under my belt!)

    Adventurers: VStrom 650 appears the best taking into account $$ (F650 and Tiger seem a bit exxy)....although the thread on Versys v VStrom is quite amusing!

    Semi-nakeds: Z750 or SV650S (the puke blue colour of the SV650 is pretty offputting... at least the Kwaka has a black option.) From what I can read on the net, there doesn't seem to be a huge support for the FZ6 or ER6n (maybe I could use the can of Taubbies Mission Brown paint in the back shed to give it racing stripes with a true 1970s colour scheme).

    Anyway looking forward to your thoughts....


    PS: and please do not suggest a gold wing... a combie is more appealing to me!
  2. You know it already: V-Strom! It's perfect for your needs; not too expensive, able to tour long-distance, but also good enough to have a bit of fun on. It can carry some luggage. It is common enough everywhere in Europe and America so should something go wrong you'll be able to get some assistance.

    Another option would be Honda Transalp - a bit 'boring' but utterly reliable bike.

    And Versys? Why not - it should be fine, too. There's just less info about it out there because it is still a very new bike.

    I suppose with a trip like that it makes no sense to buy the bike here and ship it to Europe - you'd want to buy it there, and probably sell it at the end of the trip. Then do the same in America.
    There might also be some second-hand options open for you, for example a second-hand BMW, or a Honda Africa Twin (750cc)? Second-hand market in European countries must be a lot bigger than here in Australia, there should be lots of options for you to look at.

    But iall in all, I think you can't go wrong with V-strom!
  3. Obviously, I'm a bit biased. However, I can't talk from experience of the places you are going as I haven't ridden there. What I can say is that when I was doing my research into what ADV-style bike to get, I lost count of the number of Northern Hemisphere sites that praised the V-Strom and showed it in all it's possible configurations. It is a tried and tested package with a huge market(especially North American) for "farkles" which is the name for all the add-ons. This means the bike is highly customisable for exactly what you need. Which is why it is a cheap option as it comes with NOTHING. If you are comparing prices, pay close attention to how much it will cost to add all the farkles you will likely need eg. centre-stand, pannier set, crash bars, skid plate, hand grips, windscreen, AIR HORN, CUP HOLDERS......

    As for a review of the bike itself, it is brilliant. Once you get through the run in period and get it above 5000rpm it sings and can go bloody quick. It is extremely nimble for a big bike and I actually find it easier to flick through corners than the CBR. The tank is huge - 400-450 on a tank so unless you are going for a BMW that costs 2.5 times as much you aren't likely to get much better(I think the top of the line GS BMW has a 33L tank for about 700km range!). If it wasn't for the awful sounding standard pipe, I couldn't be happier.
  4. I’ll throw a vote in for the V-Strom as well, as I have one. I bought it 14 months ago and apart from the servicing it has not been near a dealer in 22,000 Km.

    For some more information and some possible contacts for your trip check here http://11109.rapidforum.com/

    I put a Staintune on mine, much better. Deep note but not to loud.
  5. Driven parts of Nth Europe and ridden across Canada.For Canada or anywheres really,unless you plan to do aplenty of serious off road stuff which I would say is unlikely,because we are talking big distances here in these countries,I personally prefer road bikes with upright comfortable riding positions.
    Dual purpose bikes are great but you pay the premium for something you're in all inevatability going to ride on-
    a)on the occassional dirt road and nothing more.
    b)you are in all reality going to spend no more than 5%maximum of your time on said dirt roads/trails.Stroms and the like,are not really built like trailbikes,so serious off road trails,is not really viable anyways.
    c)80% of the same roads can be done on a roadbike,albeit slower.
    d)90% of the "tourist" attractions,even ones off the beaten track,have tarmac to the door of their location-especially Europe.
    e)you can cover more distance on a bigbore tourer comfortably, while lugging enough gear to make a campsite at night comfortable
    f)these are all just my opinions based on 20myears touring and trail riding around the world
  6. My wife and I went to Iceland just last year, (3 weeks & car only).
    There are no trees, so you can see for miles.
    Lots of 4 wheel drives. Narrow roads including the main ones.
    Sheep on roads.
    Sealed roads are around the coast, inland its all gravel.
    We saw lots of GS's road/trail etc. And 2 vespers! Have photos.
    Have road map with all the info, if you want to have a look. :)