The Latest

Jul 12, 2014

New Post has been published on The Motojourney

New Post has been published on http://www.themotojourney.com/kriega-r25-rucksack-review

Kriega R25 Rucksack Review

Kriega R25 Rucksack Review

Kriega R25[/caption]

Sizewise this is the middle of the range model of rucksack from British kit manufacturer Kriega. Their designs are consistently good and the R25 is aimed at the minimalist market – possibly more sport bike oriented – to carry the basics with you.

Design

It’s got one main compartment with an internal pocket, a zipped exterior pocket and that’s it.

Straps

The load carrying system is well thought out and uses a twin lock on the chest to support the weight of the bag through the rider’s shoulders. There are also attachment points on the outside to connect Kriega US 5 and 10 pouches. The compression straps work well and can also be used to secure the R25 to a bike’s frame.

Quality

As expected the build quality from Kriega is excellent. The individual parts and materials are more likely to give way than the stitching or construction points.

Overall I would place this rucksack at the daily commute side of bike luggage. It’s still too big to wear on a long distance or multiday ride. but a very good bit of kit all round.

[caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”1536″> Kriega R25 Kriega R25

Jun 20, 2014

New Post has been published on The Motojourney

New Post has been published on http://www.themotojourney.com/the-best-minimalist-adventure-motorcycles

The Best Minimalist Adventure Motorcycles

Minimalist adventure motorcycles Minimalist adventure motorcycles

Finding the best minimalist adventure bike is a perennial source of debate and argument amongst the adventure motorcycling fraternity. Deciding what bike to buy is also one of the most common reasons to research online for help, advice and information. We’ve put together a list of the most important factors to consider whilst choosing your perfect bike, and a guide on some of the best and most popular minimalist adventure motorcycles out there.

Minimalist. We’ll consider bikes up to around 590cc as ‘minimalist’. These bikes will offer few comforts or concessions to long distances on the tarmac. They’ll generally be enduro focussed and likely to have engines around 400cc.

Very minimalist bikes appeal to the true overland traveller as they can be easily lifted and moved over obstacles, return great MPG and are generally easy to repair.

Deciding Factors. There are some pretty key requirements for a minimalist adventure motorcycle; here are the top ones.

Weight. Lighter bikes are easier to ride, particularly off road in the wet, and easier to lift (or manhandle onto a vehicle if need be). There’s also a trade off with a great MPG return – useful for long distances between fill ups and for saving money.

Luggage. Because the engines are smaller there is a need to pack light and scrutinise the kit taken much more carefully. The bikes are often designed for a solo rider with no equipment so care must be taken to keep the overall weight on the frame and luggage points to a minimum.

Here’s some of our recommended lightweight adventure motorcycles for minimalist overland travel.

Suzuki DR350

DR350
DR350 Off Road

The definitive lightweight adventure motorcycle of the nineties. Still out there as the cheap option. Production stopped in 1999 and the model was superseded by the DRZ400.

Pros

• Simple engine and ease of access for maintenance

• Light weight makes for good off road ability

• Plenty of spares available worldwide.

Cons

• Getting a bit long in the tooth – may be high mileage and heavily used.

• Narrow seat and limited wind protection

Summary

As used by Austin Vince in his Mondo Enduro adventure.

Epitome of lightweight adventure
Epitome of lightweight adventure

This bike set the baseline for minimalist motorcycle adventure. But has it retained it’s credibility today?

_______________________________________________________________________________

Suzuki DRZ400

DRZ400S - UK
DRZ400S – UK

The 398cc single in the DRZ400 is well balanced for a mix of off road ability and some on road power. With a few refinements it can be made to carry gear and rider in comfort.

Suzuki DRZ400S
Suzuki DRZ400S

Pros

• Robust, reliable and easy to work on

• Plentiful spares available

Cons

• Limited road power

• Tank range of 100 miles on standard tank.

Summary

A great all rounder with a bias towards enthusiastic off road use. Virtually indestructible with a great reputation for reliability these bikes have a loyal following and deservedly so.  With some modifications they can be made more capable for long distance but not all will appreciate the lack of comfort or refinement.

_______________________________________________________________________________

CCM GP450.

CCM GP450 Adventure Motorcycle CCM GP450 Adventure Motorcycle

Just released from CCM in the UK. Review en route.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Yamaha XT250

Yamaha XT250 Adventure Motorcycle Yamaha XT250 Adventure Motorcycle

Very lightweight but capable off road.

Cruises around 55-60mph fully laden but makes up for this with good off road ability.

Jun 19, 2014

New Post has been published on The Motojourney

New Post has been published on http://www.themotojourney.com/the-best-middleweight-adventure-dual-sport-motorcycles

The Best Middleweight Adventure & Dual Sport Motorcycles

BMW F800GS - Middleweight Adventure Motorcycle BMW F800GS – Middleweight Adventure Motorcycle

In adventure motorcycling terms there is a (very) small group of true middleweight ‘all rounder’ motorcycles that are ready for the adventure rider. It’s the combination of a larger engine size and a greater power coupled with a relatively light frame and fairing that works. It’s a good mix for off road – up to a point – and fine on the road for long distances and riding comfort whilst on the tarmac.

Definitions

Middleweight in this market segment is probably around 700 – 850cc. The engine designs vary but many are versions of v-twin or parallel twin layouts.

Here’s some of the main factors to consider;

Overall Weight

If the bike is too heavy (mostly caused by being designed for predominantly on road use) then it’ll handle poorly off road. The centre of gravity is likely to be high and possibly over the front; limiting agility and responsiveness and making for an uncomfortable trip on the dirt. A high weight also reduces MPG figures and can stress a frame when it’s loaded with overland gear and fuel.

Power

The power to weight ration should be the driving factor in a middleweight bike choice. If you’re in the business of trading off road capability for on road ability then you will want a punchy engine that can manage sustained high speeds for long distance work.

Handling

This is a critical area. There are many contenders for the middleweight adventure motorcycle segment but only a few are genuinely worthy of consideration. To be in this list the bike must be able to go off road properly. Many look like they could do but few actually cut the mustard once on the dirt. Road biased set ups will generally have limited ground clearance and soft suspension. Whilst this can be changed with a set of TKCs and an adjustment to the fork preload it won’t be enough to get a road bike into the ball park with a Dakar design.

Here’s a list of some of the best true middleweight adventure motorcycles out there:

BMW F800GS

BMW F800GS Adventure Motorcycle. BMW F800GS Adventure Motorcycle.

Released in 2013 as an upgrade to the F800GS model, the ‘Adventure’ F800GS comes with 798cc in a parallel twin making a claimed 85bhp @ 7500rpm.

Pros

• 24 litre underseat tank increases range and lowers the centre of gravity.

• Massive amount of touring accessories available.

Cons

• Expensive BMW premium.

• Still relatively heavy at 230KG.

motorcycle BMW F800GS Adventure

Summary

A very capable top-of-the-range adventure motorcycle. Powerful and capable off road and equally impressive on road, it’s a good all rounder that minimises the compromises common to this market segment.  You get what you pay for; and in this case you certainly do pay for it!

_______________________________________________________________________________

Triumph Tiger 800XC

Triumph Tiger 800XC adventure motorcycle Triumph Tiger 800XC

A classic middleweight design; 799cc, 215kg wet weight and plenty of real world power with 94bhp @ 9400rpm. In line three cylinder engine produces plenty of low down torque as well.

Pros

• Great power – able to be used on and off road.

• Off road handling is very good. Low centre of gravity and high agility.

Cons

• Spare and parts availability likely to be limited outside US and EU.

• Short screen and (relatively) small tank at 19litres.

adventure motorcycle Triumph Tiger 800XC Adventure accessories catalogue and list

Summary

A great all round option. The Triumph Tiger 800XC handles on and off road with the best of them. Triumph has taken on board the lessons of the big trailie era and in the 800XC has made a real tiger off road.

______________________________________________________________________________

Jun 18, 2014 / 1 note

New Post has been published on The Motojourney

New Post has been published on http://www.themotojourney.com/?p=2449

The Best Lightweight Adventure/Dual Sport Bikes

Matt's Trip 2012 013

Finding the best lightweight adventure bike is a perennial source of debate and argument amongst the adventure motorcycling fraternity. Deciding what bike to buy is also one of the most common reasons to research online for help, advice and information. We’ve put together a list of the most important factors to consider whilst choosing your perfect bike, and a guide on some of the best and most popular motorcycles out there.

Definitions

Adventure. Everyone has their own definition of ‘adventure’. For some they will spend most of the time on packed dirt tracks, fire breaks and desert; perhaps with the odd stretch of tarmac thrown in to connect the trip together. Others will spend 90% of the journey on tarmac, only venturing on the occasional foray off road. Most riders will fall somewhere in the middle, looking for the best adventure orientated dual sport machine for them and theu kind of riding they do.

Riding. There may also be a delta between the kind of riding people want to do and the kind of riding they actually do.  Adventure motorcycling’s ultimate vision is all about heading off into the distance on that trip of a lifetime around the world, ready for all the challenges ahead. The most common riding we actually do is either a regular commute or longer weekend trips at best. In the US or Europe most of the miles are done on tarmac.

Lightweight. We’ll consider bikes up to around 600cc as ‘lightweight’. There are lots of other designs that change the weight, power and appeal of these dual sport motorcycles but the outstanding thing is that they’ll all be enduro styled and able to carry a rider and equipment for a day’s riding.

Deciding Factors. There are some pretty key requirements for an adventure motorcycle; here are the top ones.

Weight. ‘Light is might’ and ‘Light is right’. No two ways about it. There is nothing like the amount of sheer pain and effort of riding a bike that is too heavy to pick up, overloaded with gear and fuel in a challenging off road context. Lighter bikes are easier to ride, particularly off road in the wet, and easier to lift (or manhandle onto a vehicle if need be). There’s also a trade off with a better MPG return – useful for long distances between fill ups and for saving money.

Reliability. Once you’re on the road you’ll be happier with a more reliable bike because you rely on it. Any machine that’s solid, easy to work on and with a plentiful supply of spares will be better than an exotic bike with major electrical problems. The truth is that adventure motorcycles get exposed to a lot of wear and tear and the elements. They will break down at some point.

AdventureTouring1

The aim is to reduce the number of times or impact of this when it does happen. Bikes that are easy to work on will make it possible for you to not only repair if need be but also stay ahead of trouble; with regular servicing and replacing of worn parts.

Power.

2013-KTM-1190-Adventure-R-010

The amount of power needed to go round the world is much less than the amount of power most dual sport bikes make. A healthy, lean power-to-weight ratio is the holy grail. Useable and agile power will get you through tricky off road sections, over obstacles and even out of trouble around other vehicles on the roads. The top end of the engine power bands will help with long distance cruising in comfort and overall road ability. Too small an engine and you may get trapped between trucks or around other road users, too big an engine and the bike is going to be overweight and handle badly when you do get off road.

Engine. The engine design will affect the amount of power that you can put through the tyres in different situations. In general most adventure bikes favour a variation of one – three cyclinders, usually offset or opposed to produce more torque lower down the rpm range. This helps with low speed control and handling in off road situations.

Equipment.

Luggage

The bike’s frame needs to be strong enough to take the weight of at least the rider, a full load of equipment and spare pack fuel as well as the possibility of a pillion passenger. Luggage attachment points on the frame, panniers options and positioning of the exhaust system affects this. Think about what kind of luggage you want early on and plan ahead.

Extras to consider

Fuel tank – can you fit an aftermarket one to increase range?

Handlebar risers – are there risers available to aid control when stood up?

Screen and wind protection – is it sufficient for you?

Storage and luggage – how much do you really need?

Kick start – peace of mind when the electric start fails!

Having read this far you’ve hopefully got an idea of what to look for – and what might suit you and your style of riding. Here’s a compilation of some of the best lightweight bikes available:

KTM 690 Enduro

KTM 690 Enduro KTM 690 Enduro

The KTM middleweight entry to the Dakar Rally from 2008 – 2010. Class leading power to weight ratio and a bulletproof single cylinder 654cc engine.

Pros

• Lightweight overall and excellent power

• Excellent off road ability

Cons

• Limited long range comfort and protection

• Not many equipment options for hard panniers

Summary

A hard core option for dedicated trail riding and off road adventure. Few compromises made to long distance ability. Lots of power makes it a popular hypermotard model for street use rather than a true ’round the world’ option.  KTM build may indicate high maintenance and can suffer from electrical gremlins with the speedo cabling. For short trips off road it’s hard to beat.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Suzuki DR350

DR350 DR350 Off Road

The definitive lightweight adventure motorcycle of the nineties. Still out there as the cheap option. Production stopped in 1999 and the model was superseded by the DRZ400.

Pros

• Simple engine and ease of access for maintenance

• Light weight makes for good off road ability

• Plenty of spares available worldwide.

Cons

• Getting a bit long in the tooth – may be high mileage and heavily used.

• Narrow seat and limited wind protection

Summary

As used by Austin Vince in his Mondo Enduro adventure.

Epitome of lightweight adventure[/caption]

This bike set the baseline for minimalist motorcycle adventure. But has it retained it’s credibility today?

_______________________________________________________________________________

Suzuki DRZ400

[caption id=”attachment_2494″ align=”alignnone” width=”288″> DRZ400S - UK DRZ400S – UK

The 398cc single in the DRZ400 is well balanced for a mix of off road ability and some on road power. With a few refinements it can be made to carry gear and rider in comfort.

Suzuki DRZ400S Suzuki DRZ400S

Pros

• Robust, reliable and easy to work on

• Plentiful spares available

Cons

• Limited road power

• Tank range of 100 miles on standard tank.

Summary

A great all rounder with a bias towards enthusiastic off road use. Virtually indestructible with a great reputation for reliability these bikes have a loyal following and deservedly so.  With some modifications they can be made more capable for long distance but not all will appreciate the lack of comfort or refinement.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Suzuki DR650

Suzuki DR650 Suzuki DR650

Single 650cc ‘thumper’ with a reputation for being solid off road. Can be ‘vibey’ during long distance on road runs.

Pros

• Long running Suzuki stalwart – plenty of spares and modification options.

• 46bhp on the road

Cons

• Heavy off road

• Needs modifications for off road comfort.

Suzuki DR650 modified Suzuki DR650 modified

Summary

A good all round option on paper. Riders complain of nerveless hands after long distances.  Hardcore following modify it for RTW trips.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Honda XR650L

2012 Honda XR650L 2012 Honda XR650L

Honda’s virtually unchanged answer to the lightweight adventure market has been part of their long running XR production series since 1993.

Pros

• Great off road

• Reliable, easy to maintain engine.

Cons

• Limited comforts on road

• Fewer equipment options.

Summary

XR650L modifications XR650L modifications

Lots of owners upgrade the tank and seat .

Summary

It’s noted for excellent useable power off road and has a more dirt capable focus than it’s nearest competition (KLR and DR series). It probably suffers slightly as a trade off once on the road with a weaker frame and fewer hard luggage options.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Yamaha Tenere XT660Z

Yamaha XT660Z Tenere Yamaha XT660Z Tenere

‘Out of the crate’ ready for overland travel. This is Yamaha’s definitive adventure lightweight bike. Single cylinder not for everyone.

Pros

• Long range – 400 miles

• Simple and reliable construction

• Robust design with good options

Cons

• Single cylinder can be vibey

• Tall seat height

Summary

Very popular adventure travel machine. Not for everyone as it’s centred around a single cylinder engine but solid and very capable on and off road.

_______________________________________________________________________________

BMW F650 ‘Dakar’

BMW F650 GS Dakar BMW F650 GS Dakar

BMW’s popular lightweight adventure bike. Built on an air cooled single cylinder engine with a tall seat and robust frame.

Pros

• BMW build quality

• Good mix of on and off road capability

Cons

• Tall seat height

• BMW premiums.

Summary

Tall, miles of suspension travel and it’s got ‘Dakar’ in it’s name. Popular. 

______________________________________________________________________________

Kawasaki KLR650

KLR 650 KLR 650

Kawasaki’s lightweight adventure bike is ugly, has plenty of modification options and is popular for it’s agile ability off road and solid presence on road.

Pros

• The simple design and ease of repair likelihood.

• Cheap and available. Plus good low down power.

Cons

• Heavy, underpowered and small range comparatively.

• Ugly yet functional!

Summary

Impossible to overlook the KLR650 deserves it’s place in this lineup but it’s not for everyone.

 

Jun 14, 2014

New Post has been published on The Motojourney

New Post has been published on http://www.themotojourney.com/?p=2462

Salisbury Plain Off Roading on an 1150GS - UK

A first ride out onto the Plain on the 1150GS today.  Great to test the GS off road – and she did well.  Just the one get off early on in a wet rut.

Bit of fresh greenery and mud on the underside. Every day's a school day. Bit of fresh greenery and mud on the underside. Every day’s a school day.

Salisbury Plain MOD PROW

The MOD makes it pretty clear that it can be a dangerous area. The main impact areas are also marked once you get up onto the trails.

Green laning on chalk Green laning on chalk

Navigation is fine and the majority of accessible byways are marked.

IMGA0009

 

The Perfect Adventure Bike, or The Perfect Adventure Attitude?

The Perfect Adventure Bike, or The Perfect Adventure Attitude?. Another great article from my blogger friend Paul.
Jun 13, 2014

The Perfect Adventure Bike, or The Perfect Adventure Attitude?

The Perfect Adventure Bike, or The Perfect Adventure Attitude?. Another great article from my blogger friend Paul.

The Perfect Adventure Bike, or The Perfect Adventure Attitude?
Jun 9, 2014
Just how does overlanding affect us? : Adventure Motorcycle Travel

Just how does overlanding affect us? : Adventure Motorcycle Travel. What actually happens to our minds and bodies when we ride overland?
May 26, 2014 / 3 notes

Just how does overlanding affect us? : Adventure Motorcycle Travel

Just how does overlanding affect us? : Adventure Motorcycle Travel. What actually happens to our minds and bodies when we ride overland?

Welcome to Ecuador
May 10, 2014
Apr 30, 2014

April Ride Report: Yorkshire Dales

image

This afternoon I headed west away from the A1/Catterick area and headed out into the Dales. Leyburn is a kind of frontier town before one commits to the real Dales experience; stone walls, narrow roads, twisty and tight roads running along valley floors and grey hamlets en route.

The BMW was perky andon new Metzeler Tourance tyres. A combination that I kept an eye on to avoid any sudden stepping…

View On WordPress