Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

Message
Author
Laki
Regular
Regular
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 8:25 am
Real Name: K
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 5
My Motorcycle: 2007 V-Star 650, 2006 V-Star 1100

Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#1 Unread post by Laki » Sun May 23, 2010 8:47 am

Hello! And a warm welcome to me. I'm currently trekking through SE Asia, and my tentative plan is to fly back to the U.S. sometime soon and begin traveling the states. As I have very little money, I want to attempt this by motorbike, camping as I go. What type of bike would suit my needs? I want to buy used, obviously. Money is a definite prohibitive factor- I'm looking ideally to spend between $800 and 2750 USD. Something with good gas mileage is a must. I need to be able to toss on saddle bags to carry a personal tent, sleeping bag, simple cooking gear, food, water, clothes, day pack- and to store my leathers, helmet and such when going out for a day hike. It obviously needs to be well suited for cross country travel (My itinerary includes Anchorage to Arizona and everything inbetween). Also, maybe a bit of an oddity, I would definitely prefer a quiet bike. Or as quiet as I can get given my other qualifications. As I intend to be going into nature areas, I want to reduce my noise pollution as much as can realistically be accomplished. I've never driven a motorcycle, only ridden on the backs of ones, so will be taking a quick class and getting my license upon return.

Thanks for any feedback you guys can offer, it's greatly appreciated!

Wrider
Site Supporter - Gold
Site Supporter - Gold
Posts: 5285
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2006 7:46 pm
Real Name: Ryan
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 4
My Motorcycle: 2005 Kawasaki Z750S
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Contact:

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#2 Unread post by Wrider » Sun May 23, 2010 10:02 am

:welcome: to the site!

Well in that price range and for good fuel efficiency, I'd suggest a Ninja 250, 500, or a GS500. All of them are fairly quiet, can handle a bit of luggage, and get great mileage. The only problem I see you running into is insurance costs.
The other thing I see as a potential problem is loading a bike down as a first trip out. That makes the bike really top heavy and changes it's handling quite a bit. Plus unless you learn to do your maintenance yourself, a long trip like that is going to cost you some money and time in the shops.
Most aren't comfortable for a trip over 100 miles for a couple of weeks at least, and some it takes much longer to get ready.
Have owned - 2001 Suzuki Volusia
Current bike - 2005 Kawasaki Z750S
MMI Graduation date January 9th, 2009. Factory Certifications in Suzuki and Yamaha

User avatar
Johnj
Site Supporter - Platinum
Site Supporter - Platinum
Posts: 3806
Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2006 1:34 pm
Real Name: Johnny Strabler
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 34
My Motorcycle: A Bolt of Lightning
Location: Kansas City KS

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#3 Unread post by Johnj » Sun May 23, 2010 12:41 pm

Find a used Kawasaki Concours, it's already set up for you.
People say I'm stupid and apathetic. I don't know what that means, and I don't care.
Image
Always wear a helmet, eye protection, and protective clothing. Never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

User avatar
Johnj
Site Supporter - Platinum
Site Supporter - Platinum
Posts: 3806
Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2006 1:34 pm
Real Name: Johnny Strabler
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 34
My Motorcycle: A Bolt of Lightning
Location: Kansas City KS

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#4 Unread post by Johnj » Sun May 23, 2010 12:41 pm

Find a used Kawasaki Concours C10, it's already set up for you.
People say I'm stupid and apathetic. I don't know what that means, and I don't care.
Image
Always wear a helmet, eye protection, and protective clothing. Never ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

User avatar
ceemes
Legendary 2000
Legendary 2000
Posts: 2152
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:35 pm
Real Name: a big secret
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 26
My Motorcycle: 1998 Triumph Trophy
Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada, Sol 3, the Milky Way Galaxy, the Known Universe.

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#5 Unread post by ceemes » Sun May 23, 2010 1:41 pm

Johnj wrote:Find a used Kawasaki Concours, it's already set up for you.
Great highway bikes, not too sure how they would deal with some of the more rugged roads and areas the OP is planning on going into.
Always ask why.

Image

User avatar
jstark47
Site Supporter - Silver
Site Supporter - Silver
Posts: 3520
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2006 8:58 pm
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 14
My Motorcycle: '12 Tiger 800, '03 Trophy 1200
Location: Lumberton, NJ

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#6 Unread post by jstark47 » Sun May 23, 2010 4:09 pm

ceemes wrote:
Johnj wrote:Find a used Kawasaki Concours, it's already set up for you.
Great highway bikes, not too sure how they would deal with some of the more rugged roads and areas the OP is planning on going into.
The OP says he's a noob - I have trouble visualizing a C10 as a good first bike for a noob.
2003 Triumph Trophy 1200
2009 BMW F650GS (wife's)
2012 Triumph Tiger 800
2018 Yamaha XT250 (wife's)
2013 Kawasaki KLX250S

Wrider
Site Supporter - Gold
Site Supporter - Gold
Posts: 5285
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2006 7:46 pm
Real Name: Ryan
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 4
My Motorcycle: 2005 Kawasaki Z750S
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Contact:

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#7 Unread post by Wrider » Sun May 23, 2010 4:57 pm

Yeah he said he has never ridden a bike before guys. I'd agree with the ZG1000, but as a first bike not so much.
Have owned - 2001 Suzuki Volusia
Current bike - 2005 Kawasaki Z750S
MMI Graduation date January 9th, 2009. Factory Certifications in Suzuki and Yamaha

User avatar
ceemes
Legendary 2000
Legendary 2000
Posts: 2152
Joined: Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:35 pm
Real Name: a big secret
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 26
My Motorcycle: 1998 Triumph Trophy
Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada, Sol 3, the Milky Way Galaxy, the Known Universe.

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#8 Unread post by ceemes » Sun May 23, 2010 6:10 pm

jstark47 wrote:
ceemes wrote:
Johnj wrote:Find a used Kawasaki Concours, it's already set up for you.
Great highway bikes, not too sure how they would deal with some of the more rugged roads and areas the OP is planning on going into.
The OP says he's a noob - I have trouble visualizing a C10 as a good first bike for a noob.
I'd say the OP is looking for a bike with some off road capabilities, something that neither the C10 nor Connie's really have. Something like a good used Dakar might do the trick, but given his price range, he is really limited in choice.
Always ask why.

Image

User avatar
jstark47
Site Supporter - Silver
Site Supporter - Silver
Posts: 3520
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2006 8:58 pm
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 14
My Motorcycle: '12 Tiger 800, '03 Trophy 1200
Location: Lumberton, NJ

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#9 Unread post by jstark47 » Mon May 24, 2010 4:36 pm

ceemes wrote:Something like a good used Dakar might do the trick, but given his price range, he is really limited in choice.
I'm thinking if he's tall enough, maybe he could find a beater KLR near the top of his price range. I've heard of noobs mastering KLR's before -- if they can reach the ground!! Getting sidecases included in that price will be challenging though.
2003 Triumph Trophy 1200
2009 BMW F650GS (wife's)
2012 Triumph Tiger 800
2018 Yamaha XT250 (wife's)
2013 Kawasaki KLX250S

User avatar
Grey Thumper
Legendary 1000
Legendary 1000
Posts: 1434
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2007 5:21 am
Real Name: Dino
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 9
My Motorcycle: 2004 BMW R1150Rockster, 2015 BMW R1200GS
Location: Manila, Philippines

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#10 Unread post by Grey Thumper » Tue May 25, 2010 5:57 am

Early to mid 90's Honda XR? One of the 400 to 650cc models should be fine for lugging, er, luggage.
"If you ride like there's no tomorrow, there won't be."

Laki
Regular
Regular
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 8:25 am
Real Name: K
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 5
My Motorcycle: 2007 V-Star 650, 2006 V-Star 1100

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#11 Unread post by Laki » Tue May 25, 2010 9:15 am

Thanks for your rapid replies! I'll look into any and all you throw my way and appreciate all kinds of feedback. And yeah, I realize that cross country, loaded down in mountainous terrain probably isn't the cleverest of concepts for a first-timer, but what better way to learn than trial by fire, right? As to the comment on motorcycle maintenance... will I really be breaking down that often? That's not terribly reassuring considering some of the back-alley trails I'm likely to strand myself on.

User avatar
jstark47
Site Supporter - Silver
Site Supporter - Silver
Posts: 3520
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2006 8:58 pm
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 14
My Motorcycle: '12 Tiger 800, '03 Trophy 1200
Location: Lumberton, NJ

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#12 Unread post by jstark47 » Tue May 25, 2010 9:32 am

Laki wrote:And yeah, I realize that cross country, loaded down in mountainous terrain probably isn't the cleverest of concepts for a first-timer, but what better way to learn than trial by fire, right?
Yeah. Right. It's your skin, not mine. :roll:

Recommend you allow in your budget for a full set of decent protective gear- besides helmet, I mean dedicated motorcycle jacket, pants, gloves, and boots. If you're gonna learn "trial by fire", you're probably gonna drop the bike and maybe yourself a couple of times. At least be protected.
Laki wrote:As to the comment on motorcycle maintenance... will I really be breaking down that often? That's not terribly reassuring considering some of the back-alley trails I'm likely to strand myself on.
The kind of bike you can get for your budget might be a tad ...... "pre-loved" shall we say? :mrgreen: So, yeah, knowing how to do some basic repairs might save you from being stranded. The good news is dual sports like the KLRs or XRs Grey Thumper and I suggested are single-cylinder bikes, pretty simply to work on. The bad news is you've got some learning to do, and some basic tools and a maintenance manual to buy. How's your basic mechanical apptitude?
2003 Triumph Trophy 1200
2009 BMW F650GS (wife's)
2012 Triumph Tiger 800
2018 Yamaha XT250 (wife's)
2013 Kawasaki KLX250S

User avatar
Grey Thumper
Legendary 1000
Legendary 1000
Posts: 1434
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2007 5:21 am
Real Name: Dino
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 9
My Motorcycle: 2004 BMW R1150Rockster, 2015 BMW R1200GS
Location: Manila, Philippines

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#13 Unread post by Grey Thumper » Tue May 25, 2010 9:54 am

jstark47 wrote:I'm thinking if he's tall enough, maybe he could find a beater KLR near the top of his price range.
Oooh, KLRs. Now those are awesome.

If you (OP, not jstark47) aren't that tall, an early to mid 90's Funduro might be easier to manage, although I have no idea if one of those is within your budget.
"If you ride like there's no tomorrow, there won't be."

Laki
Regular
Regular
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 8:25 am
Real Name: K
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 5
My Motorcycle: 2007 V-Star 650, 2006 V-Star 1100

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#14 Unread post by Laki » Thu May 27, 2010 5:58 am

As I'll be riding with a decent haul as is, I don't want to overload on a massive tool kit. Is there an already posted guide giving some of the basics that I should definitely keep with me? If not, what would you recommend springing for?

I'm not too mechanically apt as yet, but am a quick learner and no stranger to manual labor and greasy fingers.

Don't worry- I'll hopefully be picking up a full set of protective gear while here in Asia for a hopefully major discount, and look forward to getting past my first and inevitable rookie spills.

As for size, I'm 5'9, maybe 5'10 on a good day.

If I go through with this plan, I'll be flying into Anchorage. Any recommendations on finding a bike? Craigslist? An actual used bike dealer? Ye ole fashioned classifieds? Is there any forum thread or article that can help a greenhorn in buying a used bike (ie relevant questions to ask, what to look for, etc)?

Thanks!!

User avatar
jstark47
Site Supporter - Silver
Site Supporter - Silver
Posts: 3520
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2006 8:58 pm
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 14
My Motorcycle: '12 Tiger 800, '03 Trophy 1200
Location: Lumberton, NJ

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#15 Unread post by jstark47 » Thu May 27, 2010 8:47 am

Laki wrote:Any recommendations on finding a bike? Craigslist? An actual used bike dealer? Ye ole fashioned classifieds?
Not familiar with the Alaska, but in general check Craigslist first.
Laki wrote:Is there any forum thread or article that can help a greenhorn in buying a used bike (ie relevant questions to ask, what to look for, etc)?
The mother of all used motorcycle checklists: http://www.clarity.net/~adam/buying-bike.html
2003 Triumph Trophy 1200
2009 BMW F650GS (wife's)
2012 Triumph Tiger 800
2018 Yamaha XT250 (wife's)
2013 Kawasaki KLX250S

User avatar
MTexile
Elite
Elite
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2009 8:51 am
Real Name: Steve
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 11
My Motorcycle: 09 FXD & 03 XL 1200C
Location: S. Central PA

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#16 Unread post by MTexile » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:27 pm

If you're not planning on spending much time riding on highways, maybe a used Suzuki DRZ-400? A single cylinder dual-sport that is relativity light, can cruise along at 50 mph on two-lane roads and is capable of off-road work. Plus it will be cheaper than a 650.
2009 Harley Super Glide ("Therapy")

Laki
Regular
Regular
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 8:25 am
Real Name: K
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 5
My Motorcycle: 2007 V-Star 650, 2006 V-Star 1100

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#17 Unread post by Laki » Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:46 pm

Hey- so based off of what I've been looking at on my own, I do think the Ninja would be a good starter bike for me. However, as I'm buying used, my market is limited to what is currently available. And one bike in my area that's been posted is a 1989 Suzuki GSX 750, going for less than half its listed Blue Book value. The seller indicated that there was some visible body damage, but that the engine had been fully reworked and runs beautifully. Assuming it passed visual inspection, would this bike be out of my league or right up my alley? If it were good, it would save me a lot of money, even if it needed some minor repairs. Thanks a lot!

Wrider
Site Supporter - Gold
Site Supporter - Gold
Posts: 5285
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2006 7:46 pm
Real Name: Ryan
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 4
My Motorcycle: 2005 Kawasaki Z750S
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Contact:

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#18 Unread post by Wrider » Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:29 am

Hey man, a GSX750 is not much of a beginner's bike. It's a very heavy bike, and it's still pretty quick and powerful for a beginner. Honestly I'm pushing more toward an older KLR650 or even a used well BMW F650GS.

That said I do know a guy whose first street bike was that exact bike. He rode it to school and back in high school. He had a ton of dirt experience though, and wasn't looking to tour on it.
Have owned - 2001 Suzuki Volusia
Current bike - 2005 Kawasaki Z750S
MMI Graduation date January 9th, 2009. Factory Certifications in Suzuki and Yamaha

Laki
Regular
Regular
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 8:25 am
Real Name: K
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 5
My Motorcycle: 2007 V-Star 650, 2006 V-Star 1100

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#19 Unread post by Laki » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:01 pm

Hm, thanks. I'll probably shy away from that then, even though it looks like a fantastic deal. The problem with targeting specific bikes like the ones you're suggesting is that I'm restrained by what people are selling in my area. As I don't have a mode of transport other than my feet and the bus, I'm rather limited in the range I can shop in.

How about a Honda Shadow then? I've found an '88 VLX on the market for a good (enough) price (surprisingly can't find any Kawasakis right now). It's a little heavy maybe for a beginning biker, but I think anything too too much lighter will start to limit my ability to take it cross-country and on a few gravel wilderness roads here and there. Thoughts?

Wrider
Site Supporter - Gold
Site Supporter - Gold
Posts: 5285
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2006 7:46 pm
Real Name: Ryan
Sex: Male
Years Riding: 4
My Motorcycle: 2005 Kawasaki Z750S
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Contact:

Re: Prospective Backpacking Motorcycle

#20 Unread post by Wrider » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:57 pm

Well the VLX is a cruiser, and while the weight is more it's also lower in the frame and it can handle dirt roads fine (done them on a cruiser before) it also won't have much clearance for anything other than a speed bump.
I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately as I've seen all the bikes out and about, so I've been compiling a mental list for you.

V-strom/DL650
WR450F
CRF450L
GS500
Ninja 500
Versys/Ninja 650/ER-6N (All same basic bikes with different plastic/handlebar configurations)
SV650 (Even saw one of these turned into a monstrous dirtbike once)
KLR650
Older BMW F650
DR-Z400
KLX-400

Those are the ones I can think of that will do Interstate speeds yet will be comfortable and dirt-capable.
Have owned - 2001 Suzuki Volusia
Current bike - 2005 Kawasaki Z750S
MMI Graduation date January 9th, 2009. Factory Certifications in Suzuki and Yamaha

Post Reply