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Frasers weird dual sport run

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by bonox, Aug 21, 2006.

  1. maaate!

    Went and took a couple of bikes for a run on saturday, looking for a dual sport - actually I was just kicking tyres, while a mate of mine tested something he wanted, but i've been surprised by some things before and bought them every though I wasn't expecting to. Anyway, grab your keys...

    The ulysses (buell XB12S) vibrated even more than the harley i took for a run in newcastle. Was a nice bike let down by the engine.

    From cold, the fuel injection kept stumbling heaps worse than my car does to the point where I was afraid to enter an intersection with less than a hundred metres free everywhere! Got a little better as it warmed up, but still hunted and surged all over the place.

    The cooling fan ran continuously for the last half hour of the ride, even though we were doing 60 and 70km/h most of the time. Noisy fooker it is too.

    The mirrors were surprisingly clear, what with the rest of the commotion going on, but the instruments kept reflecting sun glare from a huge range of angles.

    Wind protection I though was quite reasonable, but I may have been distracted by the need to keep checking that all of your teeth were still with you.

    Brakes were great, although it dives terribly, even under light braking. I thought I might have been spoiled by the GS, but the next bike I tried was heaps better and it had the same or more travel and the same conventional forks.

    Clutch was very interesting. Nice and light, and you let it out until it bites and off you go. When you are rolling you think "i'll let it go now", so you do and it grabs more - and you do the same thing from that point and it grabs more AGAIN. Really hard to get used to - must have had a range of engagement that would be 3/4's of my hand span. Kind of felt how I think a drag clutch behaves.

    The sweep rider I was with got me lost, partly due to the fact that I wasn't willing to bust a long orange right turn light covered in bright green radiator coolant with a surging bike with 90kms and brand new tyres, so we returned a little earlier than planned. This was no bad thing though, and in the time I was waiting for Gaz to turn up, I booked a ride on a Ducati multistrada (1000DS).

    This thing was a dream - really smooth (although the bloke who got off the S2R before said they vibed like nothing on earth - sucker!) and made a little of that booming twin sound that ducks seem to make - certainly better than the strangled buell.

    Clutch was very heavy compared to the buell though, and while everyone warned me of how hard the dry clutch was to get used to, it was just as much of a doddle to use as the GS. Much heavier than the GS I might add, but just as nice and easy to use.

    Really light steering, feels very light and flicks around nice on the road. The chap on the harley behind me told me after the ride that I looked like I was having a ball! :) Good instruments and I took one with the hard panniers as well - looked good and didn't make the bike that much wider and unlike the 41's I had on the bird, they don't obstruct the view in the mirrors or feel like you just added a fat granny to the back seat.

    Went like buggery too, spins very readily but the small fuel tank would make me take the panniers most of the time so i'd have somewhere to put the jerry cans. Engine was a curious beast: like most twins, it doesn't like much throttle from rev's below a few grand. This one though is very unhappy below 4500rpm. Keep it above that, and things are smooth, good power reserve for roll ons and everything is just peachy. Get the speed down and pick your way over a few gutters in the maccas car park while noone is watching and it starts to buck and behave like a spoilt or petulant child.

    Gearbox was nice and slick to use once on the move, but even with nearly 6000km on the clock of a demonstrator, I had to work hard to get neutral from a standstill, although it was easy to get if you found it on the way to a stop. Getting going again though was something else - I kept thinking my left foot must be pressing against the frame of the bike and I had missed the gear lever - nope, just requires a titan shove to get it into first gear.

    The wide bars with hand guards were well spaced and good height, although not really great for a standing ride position as you have in the dirt. Felt weird too - the angle wasn't as far back as I like them - kind of like those old cafe racers you see, with the bars bent down toward the ground so when you ride you feel like you're holding the legs of an A frame rather than handlebars. The multi was kind of like that, except the bars didn't come back toward you enough at the end, so you felt like you were holding onto a chinese designed bicycle where they didn't quite get the "scale it up for the big people" thing quite right.

    That said, I could live with it quite easily if someone else looked after it. Servicing cost is practically double that for the GS, with a major service being $800 and a minor being $400. And that's without an ABS system to bleed! (not offered on this model).

    Would be a great almost all road and a tiny bit of gravel bike (especially on the supersport tyres and 17" front wheel) but very comfortable, nice instruments and good seat.

    Final joy was taking an hour and a half to get back into the city from homebush - ggrrrr, paramatta road just won't lay down and die!
  2. Doncha luv Frasmo's.

    I took a brother's Multistrada for a spin around Winton. It took a bit of getting use to after hopping of ma Monsta, but I could see it was loads of fun.

    I'm really looking forward to the HyperMotard...
  3. Interesting review, bonox.
    your experience is kind of the reverse of mine with these bikes.
    The Buell tester I had wasn't too bad on the vibes. Still felt like a HD at low revs, but nothing too nasty (hey i like to feel the motor, anyway). Once over 3k, smooth as silk - seriously. In fact it ran very much smoother than I expected. It was a test fleet bike, so maybe they worked over the injection (?). Agree about the clutch (good!). And the fan (bad!).
    Multistrada, on the other hand, was a real disappointment. Fork dive was much worse than the Ulysses, brakes were bad to the point of dangerous, and there was something VERY wrong with the clutch. Motor even felt rough, compared to other Ducs I've known. And the mirrors flapped.
    Maybe just a bad example, but the fact that both brands are capable of such variation in manufacturing (or setup) makes me think they've still got a way to go with their quality control. Too much of a lottery for me.
  4. Thanks for the reviews.

    Definitely two bikes I'd like to test ride one day.
  5. Why would anyone actually consider anything other than a BMW or KTM?
  6. Hi OM

    Because if you can only get one bike....

    650/640's thumpers just not enough to do the long haul with luggage and be comfortable keeping up with litre bikes and still have some fun along the way.

    I would never get a shaft drive bike - so no GS BMW for me. F800GS with belt drive please :cool:

    KTM's - only interested in the 950 and I am more after a 90/10 bike. Yes, all the get up and go you could ever hope for but hardly the smallest of bikes and made much more for the dirt. I like to touch the ground easily with both feet on vaying levels of surfaces and the 950 KTM's are too high. Was out riding with latest 950 KTM last week and it nearly went over (casught by two of us) trying a very slow speed turn on some uneven dirt and the owner was six foot. Plus from reading other forums the KTM's aren't the most reliable bike out there and to pay a fairly hefty premium for KTM wasn't worth it in my opinion.

    Don't get me wrong a KTM 640 would be a dream second bike for me - the first one would then be the hard choice :p
  7. *sits back with the popcorn waiting for the knives to come out*

    actually, I might as well start it. For much of what people do with dual sports (if they ever even leave the tar) you'd be hard pressed to go past a zook DL (in either size) or even the 80's technology of a transalp.

    The ktm's are fairly hardcore dirt tourers (esp if looking at things like the LC4).

    The thing the multi etc offer is a smoother and well road mannered bike than the thumpers for those who will rarely if ever see the dust - just like those who buy 4wd's in the city to do the school run.

    I bought a GS for a number of reasons that didn't really have anything to do with how it performs relative to the two I test rode here:

    1. huge electrical output - I can't hang lights and heated clothing off the others.
    2. high weight - handles poor tar and corregated dirt roads much better
    3. good load capacity
    4. great fuel range when droning around looking for interesting places to play.

    It isn't a dirt bike and I don't treat it as such, but it does do it's fair share of river crossings and dirt/gravel runs, same as I would subject a multi or ulysses to. I just don't think that the uly is realistic for any more than a 20 minute run before you get sick of the vibration and surging, and the duke won't take knobbies for when you want to have a play in the sand on the way to cameron corner.

    Sure, a ktm would have done the same job but the 21/18" wheel feels too much swayed to the dirt for me to be comfortable for large numbers of road km. There are large numbers of people around the place doing things with bikes the designers probably never intended, but noone has been able to design a bike to do everything particularly well. Therefore, I would conclude that it doesn't really matter what you pick.
  8. bmw have said it will have a chain.

    On that note however, I think the uly would be a pig to look after on the dirt - no bash plates, exhaust very close to the ground, big tyres (just like the multi though).

    When was the last time you saw a 4wd with big tyres that was meant for average dirt/gravel roads. They tend to be fairly narrow so you punch through the soft top layer and get to the usually solid base - big heavy bikes on big tyres tend to skate around on even a good graded dirt road.
  9. Ohh - I thought that was all part of the fun :p
  10. both of mine are harder to pick up than yours :eek: :LOL:
  11. I like the idea of a belt drive on a road bike, but there is no way I'd consider one if I was going near a dirt road.

    The cooling fan on the Buel has 2 speeds. The noise you heard would have been the low speed only!

    I've noticed a few new looking Tenrees about at the moment, but they are not listed on the website. Does anyone know?
  12. Thanks for the writeup bonox, choice!
  13. AFAIK, there are no "new" Tenere's - last one's made in late 90's
  14. I should clarify. The single version. XTZ660 ? there may have been slight changes in nomenclature over the years.

    I've seen a couple of spankers, that were in such good condition, they had to be knew.
  15. I like this one XT 660 X - Specs here