Thread: affordable (i.e., used) ADV machines

  1. #1
    haven is offline Expedition Portal Moderator Expedition Leader
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Default affordable (i.e., used) ADV machines

    Motorcyclist magazine just published an article that lists five ADV motorcycles as proven machines for adventure travel, and good values. The list includes

    -- 1994-1999 BMW R1100GS

    -- 2012-2016 Suzuki V-Strom 650

    -- 1987-2007 Kawasaki KLR 650

    -- 1992-present Honda XR650L

    -- 2000-present Suzuki DRZ400E

    I checked, and you can find examples of each of these bikes on Craigslist for less than $3000, sometimes a lot less. Buying used, present condition and maintenance history are key factors.

    What used motorcycles under $3000 would you add to the list?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    420 Farms
    I've had a 1997 BMW 1100GS, it was a good bike. Heavy, expensive to maintain but mostly reliable.
    And I have had a 2004 Suzuki 650 V Strom, it was a great bike. Very reliable, easy to maintain, not as dirt worthy.

    Now I have a 2003 Kawasaki Super Sherpa. The perfect ADV bike for me. Light, very reliable, easy and cheap to maintain.
    Can be had for well under $3000.

    You don't need anything bigger than the 250cc the Sherpa offers. It can carry plenty and with a few easy mods can be made to go longer distances in better comfort.
    Lager fuel tank, better seat and suspension, a few bags and you are good to go.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    DR650, and any year of the DL.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    KTM950 adventure.
    1970 M35a2w/w Whistler turbo
    Bobbed by beaubeau
    1970 M35A2 wo/w Whistler turbo USAF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    San Diego, Ca
    Quote Originally Posted by nk14zp View Post
    KTM950 adventure.
    um, they said affordable lol

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    McCall Idaho
    Along the lines of the super sherpa...

    The KLR 250 is a fantastic 250 on road off road bike that basicly remained unchanged for most of its run.
    Used extensivly all over the world as police and military partol bikes the only real down side is the kick start only.
    But.... it will never leave you stranded.
    It will haul 300 pounds of crap along at 60 MPH all day long and do some decently gnarly trails all while being cheap to run and fix and getting 55 MPG.

    I admit I have a soft sport for the BMW F 650 classic aka " the funduro"
    I had a 99 that was the last year of the carbed singles from BMW. It went a lot of places it perhaps should not have with noting more then a set of slightly more knobby tires. Picked it up for about three grand. Changed the oil and tires. Rode it hard for a few years all over utah and Idaho sold it for about three grand.
    It might have cost a hundred bucks to change the oil and the three filters at the shop but it handled like a crotch rocked in the twisties, was comfey like a crusier on the highway and with some common sense could make it down most trails.
    Suspension upgrade and better tires would have made a huge difference. They are still out there and I would pick up another one over the BMW1100 anyday. Lighter, simpler, cheaper to run almost as good. Think between the v strom and the 1100
    2012 Tacoma " The do it all Mr. fix it"
    1995 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Limited 3.slo " the wife's winter rig/ dont feel bad beating it off road"
    2000 Civic " The boring gas sipper"
    1999 BMW F650 classic " The fun gas sipper"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Northern Virginia
    I'm surprised they limited the Stroms to only 2012+. All of them run forever and are a great value. The newer ones are improved, but you can get the older ones dirt cheap, and frequently pre-farkled.

    I am surprised they put the DRZ on the list and not the DR650. The DRZs are usually a little more expensive and not near as durable. Both could use aftermarket gas tanks to increase range.

    I would add the 2000-2007 BMW F650 to that list. Fuel injection, last forever, and the prices are down to around $3K as well.

    At the higher end of the spectrum, you could put the Super Tenere. Heavy as heck, but in the same range as the GS and the values have fallen (well above $3K though).

  8. #8
    I would definitely add DR650 to that list. Transalp if you like older stuff.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Because the DRZ400s slaughters the 650 off road. Way more fun, nimble, and capable. Just stick to dirt roads and under 65mph roads. Freeway is the debil, there's no adventure on the freeway anyways.

    The DRZ400s is as heavy as I'd ever want to go for an adventure bike. The KTM singles would be even better, but not budget friendly.
    2017 Ford F250
    '02 Honda CRF450r,
    '04 Ford Mach1
    '12 Suzuki DRZ400S
    '12 Ducati Panigale 1199S

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Mesilla, NM
    I recently had two bikes stolen--a KTM 950 and a BMW 1150GSA--so I had to get myself mobile again on the cheap. Based on my common usage I needed a bike that leaned more towards street with a limited amount of dirt, something more like my BMW than the KTM. Singles weren't really in the cards. $3000 was my actual limit. After looking in a ~800 mile range for a few months I turned up a few older vstroms but shallow as it may be, I've never been able to abide the looks of the vstrom. I ended up with a Tiger 955i. It was actually my first adventure bike back in 2006. For long distance with some dirt it is actually a great bike. Its a bit top heavy, but so are most of the multi cylinder adv bike. The suspension is decidedly mediocre, but can be improved. The engine is great, and the overall ergonomics are great. So, while I miss my 950, the Tiger is a good replacement for the BMW.

    I'll have to spend my time now rebuilding my 640 Adv to replace the stolen 950. Personally any smaller than that and its fun to play around in the desert, but I wouldnt want to take it any distance.
    Last edited by abruzzi; 11-30-2017 at 04:21 AM.

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