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

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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


Pack Dog
Sep 20, 2013
Reaction score
AJS (all models)
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 : 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 (