2 Wheels To Adventure

Two "Adventure" Bikes

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Alaska/Canada Trip--2006
Two "Adventure" Bikes

A good gravel/road bike---The Big Beemer

A good on-road-off-road choice---Kawasaki KLR650

This is perhaps one extreme: The BMW R1150GSA Adventure. This is a very servicable, rugged machine. It cruises well, and goes equally well on gravel. It is not a true dual purpose bike, as it is too heavy for trail riding. Depending on the skills and strength of the rider, it is capable of unimproved roads, mud, sand, or deep material, but this rider finds it very difficult to maneuver in deep sand, mud, or gravel---a commentary perhaps on my limited skills.

The major drawbacks of a bike like this are: $$---it ranks among the most expensive; and repairs, rare though they may be. This is a complicated machine, with drive shaft, fuel injection, and computer metering. When you break down, you may be stranded while awaiting parts, and in addition, the mechanic out there in Hicksville may not have the knowledge to do the job, while the one in the Banana Republic you are stranded in may not read English, should you have been foresighted enough to bring along a maintenance manual (paper or CD).

Overall, this is a GREAT motorcycle. Incidentally, they now offer the R1200GS Adventure, a lighter, yet more powerful option,

This KLR 650 may be at the other end of the spectrum. It has an avid following, and has been manufactured, essentially without changes for over 15 years. This is a single cylinder bike, also known as a "Thumper." It goes very well off the pavement, and holds its own on the blacktop.

Relatively cheap to buy, it is chain driven with carburetion, hence any competent mechanic can work on it and get you back on the road without waiting for exotic parts to come from Munich. This bike is rugged and servicable.

Some drawbacks are: it vibrates, and although seldom a problem for the rider, it has a tendency to vibrate nuts and bolts loose, and should be checked frequently. It also works pretty hard at highway speeds, and the ride is not as comfortable as some other steeds. It has been faulted for weak brakes, easily improved by the addition of stainless brake lines. I had one of these bikes, and never found the brakes inadequate, though.

This bike is a good choice.