bike recommendation for 2 up on gravel roads - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 9 Old Oct 5th, 2012, 7:30 am Thread Starter
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Question bike recommendation for 2 up on gravel roads

Hey Everyone,
I've come to the conclusion I'm going to need something different than the LT to do rides to Alaska, Labrador Canada, and other corners of the world where paved roads don't go all the way.

I'm looking for suggestions for an alternative bike to be used mainly on paved roads, but able to safely and efficiently chalk up the miles on unpaved roads- mainly gravel ones- particularly those along the Canadian highways that can be at least 70 miles or longer in a stretch.

The kicker is it has to be comfortable for 2 up, especially for the passenger, over long hauls- 1000 miles plus. Also, it will need to carry panniers, and probably a trunk case or some sort of back rest at the very least (again, got to keep the Mrs. comfy).

Also, we're each approx. 5 ft. 8 inches w/ an inseam approx. 30 inches; weights are 120 and 190 lbs.

Originally, I was thinking of a dual purpose bike such as the R1150GS (not the adventure, though) or perhaps the Suzuki DR650 or 1000. I think the 650 would probably be a little too small. I see the Aprilia Caponord is favored by some as being comfortable.

But is a dual purpose bike really necessary? I'm wondering if a lighter bike with a lower center of gravity and tires designed more for the task would not suffice?

would probably lean towards a low mileage used bike, unless the new ones are relatively inexpensive (7 or 8 grand tops).

Any thoughts/suggestions?

Jeff
Big D is my neck of the woods

99 K1200LT (don't need loud pipes w/ 8 spk. stereo)
08 HD wide glide
prior:
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post #2 of 9 Old Oct 5th, 2012, 1:47 pm
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Re: bike recommendation for 2 up on gravel roads

have you looked at the Yamaha Tenere?
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post #3 of 9 Old Oct 5th, 2012, 2:55 pm
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Re: bike recommendation for 2 up on gravel roads

I think on gravel weight is your biggest enemy, big fat tires are a close second. I would consider the F800GS or the 650 but two up is compromised in either situation. I bought a new bike this year and decided on the RT because my wife and I take a few weekend rides and one 10+ day (this year it was a 23 day trip) ride every year but if I would not have to consider her comfort the F800GS would have pretty much fit the bill perfectly.

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post #4 of 9 Old Oct 6th, 2012, 1:04 pm
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Re: bike recommendation for 2 up on gravel roads

I road up to Inuvik in the NWT on my R1100GS a few years ago. A couple riding 2 up on a Suzuki Vstrom 650 went along. They did fine going up there & back. We did the 500 miles of gravel up the Dempster in one day, & they did that with out any problems. I think they put around 9,000 miles on, on that trip. They left us in Alaska & as they wanted to go to Colorado on the way home to Michigan. They were both a bit over 65 years old at the time of that trip. They looked a little like sardines on there Vstrom, but they made it... camping gear & all...

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post #5 of 9 Old Oct 6th, 2012, 2:56 pm Thread Starter
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Re: bike recommendation for 2 up on gravel roads

Quote:
Originally Posted by gerhard
I think on gravel weight is your biggest enemy, big fat tires are a close second. I would consider the F800GS or the 650 but two up is compromised in either situation. I bought a new bike this year and decided on the RT because my wife and I take a few weekend rides and one 10+ day (this year it was a 23 day trip) ride every year but if I would not have to consider her comfort the F800GS would have pretty much fit the bill perfectly.

Gerhard
the f800GS looks more than capable, but the seat height seems extremely high for me.

Jeff
Big D is my neck of the woods

99 K1200LT (don't need loud pipes w/ 8 spk. stereo)
08 HD wide glide
prior:
07 HD XL1200C (sold!
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post #6 of 9 Old Oct 6th, 2012, 3:00 pm Thread Starter
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Re: bike recommendation for 2 up on gravel roads

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patric
I road up to Inuvik in the NWT on my R1100GS a few years ago. A couple riding 2 up on a Suzuki Vstrom 650 went along. They did fine going up there & back. We did the 500 miles of gravel up the Dempster in one day, & they did that with out any problems. I think they put around 9,000 miles on, on that trip. They left us in Alaska & as they wanted to go to Colorado on the way home to Michigan. They were both a bit over 65 years old at the time of that trip. They looked a little like sardines on there Vstrom, but they made it... camping gear & all...
I've looked at the V strom online. the 1000 seems a better idea for 2 up, while the 650 seems not quite enough, but it sounds like this couple proved my hunches wrong. Wow- they definitely sound hard core. Unfortunately, I don't know if that description would fit my Mrs., but who knows. I definitely like the weight- or lack thereof.

Jeff
Big D is my neck of the woods

99 K1200LT (don't need loud pipes w/ 8 spk. stereo)
08 HD wide glide
prior:
07 HD XL1200C (sold!
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78 KZ750 twin
76 CB750F
71 CL175 Scrambler
73? Yamaha 100 enduro

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post #7 of 9 Old Oct 9th, 2012, 7:07 pm
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Re: bike recommendation for 2 up on gravel roads

I rode from Erie PA to Fairbanks via the ALCAN this past summer on my RT. Your current bike won't have any problems on any of the roads going or coming. However if a new ride is really in the cards I'd go with the Super Tenere by Yamaha. Tourtech makes a great set of alum panniers and trunk to compliment the bike, and Russell should be able to build you some seats for the long haul. Your BIGGEST issue isn't going to be gravel roads it is going to be space to put all the stuff you'll be taking for two people. So if you have riding gear you can wear all day everyday in rain or shine (like aerostich or olympia) you shouldn't have any problems.
I wasn't 2up for my trip but I was towing a trailer the entire way and still didn't find any roads that I could not run at speeds on the RT. The fella I went up with was riding an Ultra and didn't have any issues with roads either.
If the VStrom is an option, go with the 1000 but you'll need to replace the seat for your passenger, and while the Suzi top box/panniers are alright, you are gonna want something bigger in top box and panniers department for 2 people.
Walmart sells small roll style drybags back in their camping department, $14 each. They are worth 10 times that in my opinion for these sorts of trips.
Sorry got carried away, lol.... good luck with your choices and trip
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post #8 of 9 Old Oct 10th, 2012, 11:44 am
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Smile Re: bike recommendation for 2 up on gravel roads

My V-Strom 1000 covers all the bases you mentioned.
I cross country on it, has top loading bags, 12V PP, heated grips and vista cruise control. Easy 45 MPG, 2up @ 75 all day long without a sweat. My V-Stream windshield is nearly as good as my 05 LT shield.
My former S/O said she was more comfortable on my Vstrom 1000 then my 05LT, Goldwing or 97 Electraglide... YMMV!

PS.. I ride my 1/2 mile gravel driveway twice daily... With dual sports tires I ride the gravel like it was smooth street. Could not do that with my LT..
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post #9 of 9 Old Oct 11th, 2012, 6:30 pm
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Re: bike recommendation for 2 up on gravel roads

While probably out of both your height and price range, a Ducati Multistrada is an ideal candidate for this duty. Light, fast, comfortable with engine/suspension settings for 'Enduro' mode to handle the off-road rides. It's too tall for me at 5'6" but my riding partner has one. His wife says it's not as comfortable as their Harley Ultra, but is okay for all day rides. He has both paniers and a topcase on it. It has less ground clearance than a GS but that shouldn't be a concern for just gravel roads.
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