Has anyone here tried out either of these monsters? Neither are light/small enough for serious off roading, IMO, but I also am not likely to be getting into really serious off roading now either. Any input is welcomed.
Rode a Tenere, a Vstrom and a Suzi DR650 (and of course BMW 650GS and F700G/S).
The expereince was why I bought a 24 year old KLE 500. I don't need a trail bike, but I do need decent transit speed on dirt and the ability to carry a load. In addiiton to those difficult requirements I need something that can take a licking and keep on ticking. My main argument against the cadre above is fragility, little bits and pieces hanging off everywhere, sensitive electronics, complicated stuff like ABS (what happens in bumfluff nowhere when a stick writes off your ABS wheel sensor?) etc etc.
My specific thoughts on the various options were:-
DR650, just about perfect, these things have travelled the planet, they can carry a load, the one thing they cannot do is sit on illegal speeds for hours on end.
Tenere - When I go adventure riding I go to see the scenery, not to tear it to pieces, this thing is absurdly over powered and it is heavy like you would not believe.
Vstrom - I have to get around the fact that I liked riding the Vstrom more than any bar one of the bikes I looked at, but it is loaded down with electronics, it has various fragile projections that cost a fortune to protect with aftermarket guards, its not light and it has far mroe power than needed.
F700 - Close BMW, but not good enough. The spurious flashing warnings from the tyre pressure sensors were enough to turn me off, plus like everything so far (except the DR) more computing power than it took to put man on the moon.
650GS - This one is almost but not quite a winner, minimal electronics, just about enough power, good suspension and very comfortable. Pretty abotu the reputation for being fragile as soon as you take it off the bitumen.
So, what do I really want? Well my idea of a perfect adventure bike is an R80/R100 Airhead with Ohlins suspension and a 42lt fuel tank. But I can't quite justify one at present, so I have a KLE.
All the KLE needs at present is a fuel tank double the size of stock(fitting a 10lt auxillary tank onto the carrier) and luggage and protection bars (Hepco and Becker are about to make a fortune out of me). On the plus size the KLE is built like a Mack Truck, has almost enough power, has good suspension travel (but the rear shock has to go), decent ground clearance and brakes.
The only other thing worth mentioning about the KLe is that it has the most uncomfortable seat I have ridden on in a long, long time. My local motor trimmer and I are having a chat soon on how to fix that.
And the number one thing in favour of the KLE is cost, if I throw it at the scenery or drown it in a creek I can laugh it off......
And one last thing. Royal Enfield have just released their take on the adventure bike - designed for low maintenance, long fuel range and tough enough to take a beating (apparently). Might be worth a look, but it will cost abotu the same as a good R80/100GS, so it would have to be very, very good.