Big vs Small Bike for 3-9 Months to Kenya and back

Big Bike (with loads of luggage) or Small Bike (with minimal gear) ?

  • Small Bike (<500cc)

    Votes: 21 61.8%
  • Big Bike (>=500cc)

    Votes: 13 38.2%

  • Total voters
    34

TechnomadicJim

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Wanted to start a discussion here on the pro's and con's of having a big bike like a 600+CC GS/Transalp etc.. with metal panniers etc... vs a smaller Honda XR250 Tornado or CTX 200. I imagine you guys are all riding the bigger bikes but I'm considering my trip (here's the planning thread : https://wilddog.net.za/forum/index.php?topic=134555.0) on a smaller bike. Specifically the CTX 200. I've spied one in the local Cape Town Honda dealership and to me it seems like the perfect bike for the trip :



Pro's :
Comes with all the racks / bars / bash plates I would need.
Warranty included.
Easy to work on pretty much anywhere.
Kick & button start.
Rugged bike. Likely to be very reliable.
Relatively cheap for a new bike.
Replacement tyres easy to get. No need to carry them.

Con's :
Only 200cc. I plan to travel light and slow so not an issue for me really.
10 Litre tank. I plan to have an extra 5L can with me.
No security. I still need a way to have a lockable compartment on the bike for laptop / camera when camping.

Personally I travel slow and im in no real hurry. I don't like 1000k+ days of driving so speed is not an issue.  In my opinion travelling slower allows you to take in more and appreciate the ride rather than getting from A to B quickly.

I think a new CTX 200 would be preferable to say a second hand XR250 tornado as I would have to spend money and time kitting out the tornado with racks etc.. Also a new bike comes without too much worry of where it's been or any issues plus the security of buying from a dealer vs untrusted private person.

Very much interested on your opinions on this topic and any planning info you guys might like to contribute to my other thread (https://wilddog.net.za/forum/index.php?topic=134555.0)
 

Trailrider

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The CTX will be just fine. It's got a carrying capability of around 180kg to 200kg if I remember correctly. Reliable and robust as they come. I did around 30 000km worth of trips on one. You can have a look here: https://trailriderreports.blogspot.com/2006/10/bike.html

Fuel range of around 180km was my only gripe. Oh, and the small reserve. Once you hit reserve it's almost too late already. Only around 8 - 15km in it.

Also have a look at this: https://trailriderreports.blogspot.com/2008/05/ctx-transcontinental-trip.html
 

TechnomadicJim

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Ahh yes I have read both of those RR's. Reading them and seeing the photos has almost sold the idea to me. I guess I'm just trying to justify it to myself that I'm making the right decision. :)

Trailrider said:
The CTX will be just fine. It's got a carrying capability of around 180kg to 200kg if I remember correctly. Reliable and robust as they come. I did around 30 000km worth of trips on one. You can have a look here: https://trailriderreports.blogspot.com/2006/10/bike.html

Fuel range of around 180km was my only gripe. Oh, and the small reserve. Once you hit reserve it's almost too late already. Only around 8 - 15km in it.

Also have a look at this: https://trailriderreports.blogspot.com/2008/05/ctx-transcontinental-trip.html
 

Gerard

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Hi Jim,

Just read your Plan a Ride. For what you want to do the CTX will be just fine. Going nowhere slowly is the way to do it.

Enjoy the planning and the trip

Gerard.

 

TechnomadicJim

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Malibu said:
ALWAYS look at at least 3 bikes (Brands), and then decide... best advise I can give...
Now go to Yamaha, and someone else...

Thanks for the advice. I have been to look at the Yamaha's + KTM's  and wasn't that taken by them. I'm very much a Honda guy. I have a CB600F (see my avatar) and have always been impressed with the quality of the Honda's.

jupiter said:
Hi Jim,

Just read your Plan a Ride. For what you want to do the CTX will be just fine. Going nowhere slowly is the way to do it.

Enjoy the planning and the trip

Gerard.

Thanks Gerard. I appreciate you taking the time to have a read through. Fortunately I have time on my hands and no real deadline to my trip so I can afford to be quite relaxed with my riding.
 

Trailrider

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No real deadline. What a dream trip. 8)
 

Dusty Rusty

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I will rather stick with the CTX than the Tornado.

Let me check I might have a CTX maneul on my pc I can sendspace to you? 

Enjoy the excitement of planning the trip.  Nothing beats it
 

Lem

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I agree with the idea of a small bike versus a 650 and bigger. You have lots of time, the 250 size should be fast enough, strong enough and economical enough to do the journey.

There is a superb, low mileage XR250 Tornado for sale right here on the forum, from Veldbrand. In places you will have to do some open road cruising, and here the XR250's higher speed will come in handy.

The CTX Bushlander is a tough machine, and it will be easy to pack with all that luggage racks.

I don't think you can go wrong with any one of the two.
 

TechnomadicJim

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Trailrider said:
No real deadline. What a dream trip. 8)

:) The only downside is that I have to do a little work (3-4 hours a week) while I travel but means I can keep earning while I travel.

Dusty Rusty said:
I will rather stick with the CTX than the Tornado.

Let me check I might have a CTX maneul on my pc I can sendspace to you? 

Enjoy the excitement of planning the trip.  Nothing beats it

Thanks! Good to hear. Yeah If you have one handy that would be great. I can store it on my Kindle rather than lugging it around with me.

Lem said:
I agree with the idea of a small bike versus a 650 and bigger. You have lots of time, the 250 size should be fast enough, strong enough and economical enough to do the journey.

There is a superb, low mileage XR250 Tornado for sale right here on the forum, from Veldbrand. In places you will have to do some open road cruising, and here the XR250's higher speed will come in handy.

The CTX Bushlander is a tough machine, and it will be easy to pack with all that luggage racks.

I don't think you can go wrong with any one of the two.

Excellent. Pleased to hear. I've contacted Veldbrand already but he's just sold it unfortunately. The CTX 200 is not much more and comes with all the racking I need which is very much a bonus. Its pretty much ready to go as its sold.
 

M3X3Z3

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250 Tornado has a 250~270km fuel range with a decent reserve. Should have quite a bit more puff than the 200 for carrying weight.
I would check out the strength of the sub frames on both and any other bike before deciding.
Also consider service intervals and parts availability up noord.
 

LoopSoosStroop

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What you want is a Yamaha TTR 250:

1. Electric and kick start.
2. Six speed gearbox.
3. 22-28 km/l fuel consumption.
4. Accerbis 22l XR400/600 tank fits with minor mods.
5. 120 kg dry weight.
6. Proper seat.
7. Air cooled simplicity.
8. Fantastic suspension, adjustable front and rear for rebound and compression, rear for preload.
9. Global parts back up.

Ultimate Africa trip bike....for the same cost as a Tornado.
 

Trailrider

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Have to agree the TTR would be a very good option also.
 

TechnomadicJim

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Dusty Rusty said:
pm email adres please

PM'ed.

M3X3Z3 said:
250 Tornado has a 250~270km fuel range with a decent reserve. Should have quite a bit more puff than the 200 for carrying weight.
I would check out the strength of the sub frames on both and any other bike before deciding.
Also consider service intervals and parts availability up noord.

Yes. Its also much easier to find 2nd hand. My problem is that as far as I understand I would have to find racks / bars / bahs plates etc... The CTX comes with all these as standard. Good point regarding the frame strength. The CTX being an agricultural vehicle is meant to carry load and can take 6kg's on the front and 20 kg's on the back. My luggage weighs less and 20 kg's in total so more than enough. Not sure on what the Tornado's load capacity is. Parts availability is certainly a concern. I'm hoping by buying new and buying such a simple bike it shouldn't be an issue. I will take a spare clutch cable with me just in case.

Vetkat said:
What you want is a Yamaha TTR 250:

1. Electric and kick start.
2. Six speed gearbox.
3. 22-28 km/l fuel consumption.
4. Accerbis 22l XR400/600 tank fits with minor mods.
5. 120 kg dry weight.
6. Proper seat.
7. Air cooled simplicity.
8. Fantastic suspension, adjustable front and rear for rebound and compression, rear for preload.
9. Global parts back up.

Ultimate Africa trip bike....for the same cost as a Tornado.

Interesting. Thanks for the suggestion. I looked at the AG200 in the Yamaha dealership. I will do some more research on the TTR 250 and see if they have one I can look at in Cape Town. I like the tank mod possibility as the 10L range on the CTX is an issue.
 

Ratt

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I don't know, my first thoughts were XT660R or DR650 for such a trip. Either way, sounds like fun, wish I could get a job like that  :thumleft:
 

LeonDude

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What is the price difference between a CTX and a Tornado, before you do any mods?
I like the Tornado to ride, but on the trip you mentioned I think I might rather take the CTX.
 

Pavlovski

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600-650cc will be better in my oppinion.
I am a guy who appreciates the extra power...hence 600cc + the engine won't work as hard as a sub 500cc to deliver the same power and speed (hope it makes sense)
 

TechnomadicJim

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Ratt said:
I don't know, my first thoughts were XT660R or DR650 for such a trip. Either way, sounds like fun, wish I could get a job like that  :thumleft:

The power of the Internet and location independence :) I'm quite fond of travelling really light and I've been inspired by some of the travel adventures I've read that have been done on bikes like the C90. A 200cc seems like a good compromise :)

LeonDude said:
What is the price difference between a CTX and a Tornado, before you do any mods?
I like the Tornado to ride, but on the trip you mentioned I think I might rather take the CTX.

The CTX retails at 35k new with 2 year unlimited mileage warranty and 1 year free breakdown assistance.
The XR250 Tornado can be had for about 25k second hand.

By the time I've found a Tornado second hand then had some racks custom made for the back (im not even sure you can get them made easily for the front like on the CTX) and added a bash plate and engine protectors the price is edging closer to 35k.

I'm going to be selling the bike when I'm done (up to 9 months later) and It will still be under warranty which might be appealing to a buyer. I will have probably done 10,000 to 30,000 km's by then I imagine.

Pavlovski said:
600-650cc will be better in my oppinion.
I am a guy who appreciates the extra power...hence 600cc + the engine won't work as hard as a sub 500cc to deliver the same power and speed (hope it makes sense)

Sure makes sense. I have my Honda Hornet (CB600FA7) back in the UK. I do appreciate the power in that bike and wouldn't want anything less for UK road driving and EU touring. I hope/imagine being off road and taking my time more for this adventure so the lower power will be fine for me to poodle about on :)
 
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