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hoakin1981
L Plate Warrior



Joined: 20 May 2020
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PostPosted: 13:58 - 20 May 2020    Post subject: Help out a newbie... Reply with quote

Hi to all.

So, i guess this must be an early mid-life crisis thing for me since lately I have been daydreaming about owning a nice ADV type bike and tour around Europe and who knows..even further away in the future.

The title says "newbie" because I have zero actual experience on a motorbike, however I have been riding a heavy-ish 300cc scooter for about 10 years now (albeit only for commuting) so I can say that I am not exactly oblivious to two-wheeled transportation.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, after considering available models, prices, equipment, displacements, related costs etc. I have narrowed down my choices to 2 models:

- Suzuki DL650 V-Strom 2008-ish
- Honda XL700V Transalp 2008-ish

What I am looking for to put things in perspective:

- Decent comfort during long rides (even for a pillion, not sure if the wife will follow but might)
- Reliable, trouble free, just the normal servicing when needed which would not break the bank..
- Good mpg efficiency
- ABS (both the above models have it)
- Mostly for tarmac (any off-road would be rare and on gravel roads at the worst)
- Decent-ish after-sale value
- Max 700cc any higher and extra costs (insurance etc.) start going too high
- Suitable for a new rider with know-how on a machine with half the bhp and no experience at all using a clutch

I know it sounds a lot but even though I am no expert i think that both models check most (if not all) the above boxes.

To tell the truth my biggest concern is the weight and total size of both. I am 5 foot 10 about 175 pounds and with an inseam of about 32" my scooter is about 420 pounds wet but both machines give me the impression of being bulky, heavy and a handful to "manage" even though i will be keeping the scooter for daily commuting.

Anyway, would appreciate any suggestions/comments/warnings/other options etc.

Many thanks in advance
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Freddyfruitba...
World Chat Champion



Joined: 20 May 2016
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PostPosted: 14:14 - 20 May 2020    Post subject: Re: Help out a newbie... Reply with quote

Can't comment on the comparison with the Transalp as I've never ridden one; but I came back to bikes a few years ago after a 30-year gap really knowing bugger all about current bikes, and bought a V-Strom 650 based on advice as being suitable for me (and it was the biggest bike I'd ridden). Absolutely the right decision; it was a terrific bike. Went touring with it abroad too.

My only reservation was it's height, like most adventure bikes it's reasonably tall and I did manage to drop it twice while sitting on it at 0 mph (adverse camber etc). You can get lowered (and higher) seats for it though (if you do buy one check which is fitted).
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Droog
Borekit Bruiser



Joined: 03 Dec 2019
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PostPosted: 15:29 - 20 May 2020    Post subject: Reply with quote

As you mentioned that you were open to other options it might be worth checking out the 2006 onwards Kawasaki Versys 650 if you are in the market for this type of bike.

It has a great review on MCN plus some very positive owner reviews at the bottom of the page.

https://www.motorcyclenews.com/bike-reviews/kawasaki/versys-650/2006/
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jeffyjeff
Borekit Bruiser



Joined: 02 May 2020
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PostPosted: 16:32 - 20 May 2020    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good that you have two wheeled experience on the commute...you already know what to expect and how to handle a bike in traffic.
You say that you have "no experience at all using a clutch" so I surmise that includes automobiles as well. May I suggest, with all due respect, that you try something small for a few months until you can manipulate the motorcycle controls without thinking. It will be much easier for you to master the clutch and independent front/rear brakes on something that you can more-or-less manhandle; especially starting, stopping, and parking on hills.
Just my thoughts, I wish you all success in your endeavor. By the way, did you know that Honda makes motorcycles with a dual clutch transmission (DCT)? Basically it is an automatic with a manual shift feature. Only a few models are available with it, but as I recall, they started making the DCT around 2010.
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Last edited by jeffyjeff on 16:37 - 20 May 2020; edited 2 times in total
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hoakin1981
L Plate Warrior



Joined: 20 May 2020
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PostPosted: 16:35 - 20 May 2020    Post subject: Reply with quote

Droog wrote:
As you mentioned that you were open to other options it might be worth checking out the 2006 onwards Kawasaki Versys 650 if you are in the market for this type of bike.

It has a great review on MCN plus some very positive owner reviews at the bottom of the page.

https://www.motorcyclenews.com/bike-reviews/kawasaki/versys-650/2006/


Thanks for reply. I had a look at the Versys as well but for some reason it seems to be more expensive compared to the same year other 2 models mentioned. Furthermore I do not really like it styling-wise that much...
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hoakin1981
L Plate Warrior



Joined: 20 May 2020
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PostPosted: 16:42 - 20 May 2020    Post subject: Reply with quote

jeffyjeff wrote:
Good that you have two wheeled experience on the commute...you already know what to expect and how to handle a bike in traffic.
You say that you have "no experience at all using a clutch" so I surmise that includes automobiles as well. May I suggest, with all due respect, that you try something small for a few months until the use of the motorcycle controls becomes automatic to you. It will be much easier for you to master the clutch and independent front/rear brakes on something that you can more-or-less manhandle; especially starting/stopping on hills.
Just my thoughts, I wish you all success in your endeavor. By the way, did you know that Honda makes motorcycles with a dual clutch transmission (DCT)? Basically it is an automatic with a manual shift feature. Onlly a few models are available with it, but as I recall, they started making the DCT around 2010.


Thank you for your input. Actually no, I have been driving a car (with a clutch) for 20 years now and my bike driving licence exam was done using a normal motorbike "with a clutch" so I know how to use it. Obviously of course what I lack is the "automatic" part you mention, that takes time..The idea of having a small clutched-bike for a bit would be great but I do not have the possibility to get my hands on one and getting into the process of buying one just to sell it 6 months later and lose money on top does not sound too appealing. I am aware of the NC range from Honda but the DCT option is too expensive (for me) and i find it too ugly as well. Furthermore I would not buy a bike which when sold would leave with the same huge disadvantage I already have now (the clutch thing..)
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Tdibs
Spanner Monkey



Joined: 16 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: 21:07 - 22 May 2020    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cant go wrong with a vstrom or transalp. They are physically larger machines though, worth having a sit and get a feel for the size before putting any money down.
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Tuberculosis
Scooby Slapper



Joined: 17 May 2019
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PostPosted: 14:28 - 24 May 2020    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't be put off by the bigger displacement bikes just for insurance reasons. Have you actually checked any prices? For someone who has had a full bike licence for some time, has been continually insured as a rider for some time and sounds as if you're at least in your 30s plus I think you'd be surprised how cheap the insurance can be on something like a V-Strom 1000. I think you would find it significantly cheaper than something like a 1000 supersports and probably negligible to the 650. If you're doing long tours the extra power and torque will come in handy and make it a less fatiguing experience. I toured on my FZS600 to the continent and while it was capable the bike did seem to be straining at times.

Also you clearly sound experienced and mature enough to handle a bigger bike. A 1000 in the hands of a teenager or even 20s something is probably a bad idea but the idea that a 1000 will immediately try to kill any inexperienced rider as soon as they set off on it is complete tosh. It's all down to your own ability to control your lust for speed. If you're sensible you'll be fine even on a 1000 supersports. Also don't get too hung up on engine size. My old FZS600 has as much horsepower as the V-Strom 1000 work that one out.

Also worth noting I've never ridden an ADV (they do appeal to me though) but from what I've read although yes they are tall but they have soft suspension so as soon as you sit on it the bike height drops and is far less intimidating to sit on it and ride it than to look at it standing next to it.
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Tuberculosis
Scooby Slapper



Joined: 17 May 2019
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PostPosted: 14:58 - 24 May 2020    Post subject: Reply with quote

Been doing a bit of research on MCN reviews.. It's a really useful tool when you're considering your next bike but not 100% sure yet which make and model to go for. As you've raised a concern over handing the bike I think seat height might want to bee a major concern for you.

From the bikes you've cited seems like your budget is in the region of 2500 to 3000?

A 2011 Crossrunner (ONLY 816mm seat height!) this could be a serious contender much newer than you were originally looking at but still probably within budget plus low seat height should make it a doddle to manage can be had for 2995
https://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/202003178527265?advertising-location=at_bikes&radius=1500&make=HONDA&postcode=me186jp&sort=price-asc&model=VFR800X%20CROSSRUNNER&page=1
https://www.motorcyclenews.com/bike-reviews/honda/crossrunner-800/2011/

The 2008 Transalp you mentioned (841mm seat height) can be had for 2500
https://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/202005189387860?advertising-location=at_bikes&radius=1500&make=HONDA&postcode=me186jp&sort=price-asc&model=XL700VA%20TRANSALP&page=1
https://www.motorcyclenews.com/bike-reviews/honda/xl700v-transalp/2008/

Might be worth considering one step up from the Transalp a 2004 Varadero (843mm seat height) can be had for 2400
https://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/202005179380281?advertising-location=at_bikes&radius=1500&make=HONDA&postcode=me186jp&sort=price-asc&model=XL1000V%20VARADERO&year-from=2004&page=1
https://www.motorcyclenews.com/bike-reviews/honda/xl1000v-varadero/2001/

2004-2006 Kawasaki KLV1000 (seat height 840mm) are rare, don't think they sold many and obviously wasn't in production for long, but if you do come across one it's basically a re-badged V-Strom 1000 exactly the same bike.
https://www.motorcyclenews.com/bike-reviews/kawasaki/klv1000/2004/

2007 V-Strom 1000 (wow didn't realise how high the seats are on these are in comparison 875mm) can be had for 2895
https://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/202005209440064?advertising-location=at_bikes&radius=1500&make=SUZUKI&postcode=me186jp&sort=price-asc&model=V-STROM%201000&page=1
https://www.motorcyclenews.com/bike-reviews/suzuki/dl1000-v-strom/2002/

2009 V-Strom 650 (seat height 820mm) can be had for 2700
https://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/202005219456394?advertising-location=at_bikes&radius=1500&make=SUZUKI&postcode=me186jp&sort=price-asc&model=V-STROM%20650&year-from=2009&page=1
https://www.motorcyclenews.com/bike-reviews/suzuki/dl650-v-strom/2004/

That's about your lot for Japanese ADV bikes that fall within your budget. If I were in your shoes I'd be taking a serious look at the Crossrunner and if that doesn't do it for you then maybe the 650 V-Strom? Good luck and please keep us updated how you get on.
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