Motorcycle Choice

Motorcycle Choice 1890 1417 Michael

The motorcycle choice for a trip like American Loop is difficult. Here I would like to give you an insight into our decision-making process. Decisions are always influenced by personal experience. That’s why we start with our personal motorcycle history.

Olivers History

Honda GB 500 Clubman
Honda CB Sevenfifty
BMW 1150R
BMW F650 GS Dakar, just a week
BMW F800GS, just for Island 2014
BMW R1200GS Adventure, since 2006

Michaels History

Sachs ZX 125, 2000-2001
Honda VT 125 Shadow, 2001-2010
Suzuki SV650, 2010-2014
KTM 640 Enduro, 2013-2017
KTM 990 Adventure, 2014-today => for Sale now


Based on our experience, we have defined a dream motorbike to which sets the benchmark for the current market:

Performance: >60HP Relaxed overtaking, even on the highway
Weight with Gas: <170kg Easy handling, maneuvering and recover
Fuelrange: >400km Range relaxes, but you rarely need more than 200km
Spring travel: ≈275mm Allows a good compromise between on- and off-road setting
Ground clearance: >300mm In gutters and in scree, every cm is priceless
Generator power: >300W Sufficient to use next to the GPS, either heated grips or LED auxiliary lights
Oil change interval: >10.000km The longer the better. Good if the valves have to be checked less often


Used Dual Sport Enduros

Used motorcycles are cheaper to buy, but motorcycles, unlike cars have a loss of value, which is strong in relation to their lifetime. With single cylinders you have to expect more expensive repairs on the engine from 50.000km, with multi cylinders from 100.000km onwards. Components such as hoses and cable insulation also age without moving a vehicle and wiring is what causes the most problems.

For such a long journey, therefore, only very young used bikes are an option or you should at least plan costs and time for an engine revision. When buying, you should roughly estimate the costs of any repairs or wearing parts before you buy. From 15,000km you should definitely plan the service for fork, reak shock and its linkage.

Motorcycle Choice Motorcycle Choice Motorcycle Choice
KTM 640 Adv. 2007 BMW Xchallenge 2009 KTM 690 ABS 2017
Performance 54HP 53HP 67HP
Weight with Fuel 177kg 151kg 159kg
Amount of Fuel 25,5l 9,5l 12 + 10l Rally Raid Tankkit ca. 1000€
Fuel Range 464km 211km 550km
Spring Travel vo/hi 275/300mm 270/270mm 250/250mm
Ground Clearance 315mm 300mm 280mm
Seat Height 945mm 930mm 910mm
Power Generator 200W 280W 224W
Oil change interval: 5000km 10000km 10000km
Fuel Consumption
5,5l/100km 4,5l/100km 4,0l/100km

Most points are met by the X-Challenge. Unfortunately it is run out since a long time like the KTM 640 Adventure. Finding young used ones is therefore difficult. The same applies to a tank extension, these are also only available second hand. In the case of the KTM 690, procurement is much easier, making it the favorite among the used bikes.

New Dual Sport Enduros in Europe

A new motorcycle has the advantage that due to the guarantee there is a bit of planning certainty with regard to repair costs. In return, however, the resulting maintenance must also be done by a dealer.

Motorcycle Choice Motorcycle Choice Motorcycle Choice
Husqvarna 701 ABS 2018 SWM Superdual X 2018 AJP PR7 2018
Performance 74HP 54HP gedrosselt 28HP
(Source: Motorrad Online)
Weight with Fuel 169kg 182kg 161kg
Amount of Fuel 13+12l MST Tank Kit ca. 1400€ 18,0l 17,0l
Fuel Range 625km 429km 304km
Spring Travel vo/hi 275/275mm 210/270mm 300/300mm
Ground Clearance 304mm 200mm 320mm
Seat Height 950mm 890mm 920mm
Power Generator 300W ?? ??
Oil change interval 10000km 5000km 6000km
Fuel Consumption
4l/100km 4,2l/100km
(Source: SWM)
(Source: Motorrad Online)
List Price 9.795€
+1.400€ for MST Tank Kit
7.590€ 10.500€

From a financial point of view, it does not make sense to buy a motorcycle in Europe and transport it to North America and back. The transport causes 2000-4000 € additional costs. Especially with the Husqvarna 701 this is a huge counter-argument. It has the most accordance, but with around 11,200€ it also causes the highest costs. The AJP is not much cheaper but aims with their equipment more on the rally sport than on travelers. Rather travel enduro is the SWM, here are also windshield & boxes available from the factory.


New Dual Sport Enduros in USA

A variant is also the purchase of the new motorcycle with license in the USA. Unfortunately, afterwards there is no approval of the motorcycle possible in Europe, because the Euro 4 standard is not achieved. The variant also has the disadvantage that the preparation is limited. Optionally, the motorcycle can be prepared by the dealer completely with purchased parts or you just makes compromises. In any case, a test before the trip is impossible and necessary improvements cost travel time again.


Motorcycle Choice Motorcycle Choice Motorcycle Choice
Suzuki DR650S 2018 Suzuki DR-Z400S 2018 Honda XR650L 2018
Performance 45PS 40PS 40PS (Source:
Weight with Fuel 179kg 149kg 166kg
Amount of Fuel 30l Safari Tank ca. 540€ 17,0l Safari Tanks ca. 420€ 22,0l
Fuel Range 625km 405km 489km
Spring Travel vo/hi 260/260mm 290/290mm 295/280mm
Ground Clearance 265mm 300mm 330mm
Seat Height 885mm 935mm 940mm
Power Generator ?? ?? ??
Oil change interval 6000km 6000km 2000mls ca. 3200km
Fuel Consumption
4,8l/100km 4,2l/100km 4,5l/100km (Source Honda)
List Price 6.549$ ca. 5.665€
+ ca. 540€ Safari Tank
6699$ ca. 5795€
+ ca. 420€ Safari Tank
6.899$ ca. 5.961€ + ca. 175€ for Acerbis Tank

All 3 models are not a direct hit, but especially because of the low price quite attractive Enduros. The DR650S is more street-oriented while the DR-Z 400 and XR650L are closer to classic sport enduros. We have not clarified the details of the motorcycle purchase in the USA yet. The same applies to the possibilities for sale or import at the end of the journey. However, you should expect a high loss of value because the vehicle must be sold to the end. Alternatively, it is possible to bring the vehicle to Germany and sell the parts or build them in an old frame with German approval.

Sport Enduros

For a trip that covers about 50,000km, the choice of a Sport Enduro is just brave. But as there are more and more people traveling with these models, at least the look outside of the box is very interesting.

Motorcycle Choice Motorcycle Choice Motorcycle Choice
SWM RS 500R KTM 500 EXC-F 2019 Honda CRF 450L
Performance restricted 27PS ?? restricted 25PS (Source:
Weight with Fuel 131kg 116kg 131kg
Amount of Fuel 16,0l Safari Tank ca. 600€ 11,5l Power Part Tank ca. 300€ 7,6l
Fuel Range 340km 338km 224km
Spring Travel vo/hi 295/296mm 300/310mm ??/??mm
Ground Clearance 300mm 355mm 315mm
Seat Height 955mm 960mm 940mm
Power Generator ?? 196W ??
Oil change interval/
Engine Revision
16h/80h 15h/135h 1000km/32000km
(Quelle SWM)
3,4l/100km (Quelle KTM) 4l/100km (Annahme)
Listenpreis 6.490€ + 600€ Safari Tank 10.495€ + 300€ Power Part Tank Preisangabe für USA 10,399$ ca. 8.987€

Based on the technical data, it is clear that these motorcycles are built for off-road use. The possibility of transporting luggage and traveling on asphalt at high speed is limited here. The maintenance intervals depend on the sport use and can be safely increased during travel use. Nevertheless, it remains unrealistic to comply with the warranty provisions in travel. For journeys below 5000km, as they are common for Europe, especially the SWM is quite an alternative due to its low price and the “high” legal performance. Who does not care about the legality can remove the restrictor and get at all 45-60hp

Light Travel Enduros

Everyone who travels knows that one does not need the performance of a travel enduro. But there is no denying that it is just fun on the street to have it. While Oliver’s BMW 1200 GS Adventure is one of the toughest, my KTM 990 Adventure is one of the lightweights among travel enduros. Already before this research we decided against a travel enduro for the journey. The reference for this comparison, my 990s is even sold. I would like to compare them with two travel enduros that come closest to the Dual Sport class, until the appearance of the KTM 790 Adventure and Yamaha T7 that we can’t wait for.

Motorcycle Choice Motorcycle Choice Motorcycle Choice
KTM 990 Adv. 2011 Triumph Tiger 800 XCx KTM 1090 Adv. R
Performance 106PS 95PS 125PS
Weight with Fuel 230kg 219kg 224kg
Amount of Fuel 20,0l 19,0l 23,0l
Fuel Range 308km 404km 411km
Spring Travel vo/hi 210/210mm 220/215mm 220/220mm
Ground Clearance 261mm ?? 250mm
Seat Height 880mm 860mm 890mm
Power Generator 450W 480W 450W
Oil change interval 7500km 10000km 15000km
Fuel Consumption
6,5l/100km 4,7l/100km (Source: Triumph) 5,6l/100km (Source: KTM)
List Price 10.700€ 14.795€

One or the other wonders why are BMW F850GS and Honda CRF 1000 L Africa Twin not included. In this comparison to the KTM 990 Adventure from 2011, no difference would have come up expect of range and longer maintenance intervals. The KTM 1090 Adventure R and Triumph Tiger 800 XCx have at least lower weight. Specifically, the Triumph is an interesting option for travelers with its low consumption and low initial cost. Because of the smaller rear wheel, it will not be able to hold off road either with the old or the new KTM of the comparison. In general, these differences, including those on the BMW and Honda are marginal, so it would not make sense to replace the old 990s by one of these models.


If you compare the values within the classes, there are formal differences, but the first decision is the class itself.

Sport Enduro vs Dual Sport Enduro

The differences between the Dual Sport Enduros and the Sport Enduro are not particularly serious in the criteria used. The jump in the weight is not nearly as big as that to the Reiseenduros and the performance is at least without the restrictor always sufficient. I can say little about the driving behavior, since I have no experience with Sportenduros. Due to the geometry parameters and other reviews, however, the off-road characteristics are again significantly better than with the Dual Sport Enduro. In return, you have to make cut back in terms of luggage and asphalt suitability. Especially at high speeds, a heavy motorcycle behaves smother. If a lot of luggage is loaded, the center of gravity on a light motorcycle moves quicker upwards and the supposed weight advantage is again a disadvantage.
It would have tempted me to dare the experiment and with a total travel distance of up to 20,000km I would probably have given the SWM a chance. But with the planned distance of over 50.000km the maintenance becomes annoying fast and high repair costs are very probable.

Travel Enduro vs Dual Sport Enduro

If one compares between travel enduro and the dual sport class, one realizes that there is a clear difference here. I know this from comparing my 640 to the 990 only too well. With both I did:

  • Marathon stages of 1000km and more. Driving them on the 990s is easier (overtaking, wind protection, maximum speed, seating comfort) but also no fun. A limit here rather the attention and not the comfort.
  • drove with over 50kg of luggage. The 990s remains stable even without adjusting the spring preload in the 640er you regret that immediately.
  • driven through light and heavy terrain. Before many stages that I tackled alone with the 640er I would have taken the chickened out with the 990er. Especially when it gets difficult the 640er does not exhaust me that way and I can drive longer and safer before I reach my limit.
  • got away with it in dangerous situations. Most often you experience this when traveling in city traffic. The ABS of the 990er eased some emergency braking, which would have become dicey with the 640er. But once broken out the 640er is easier to rescue.
  • fallen several times. The impacts with the 990s are heavier due to the weight and not only the motorcycle takes faster damage, also the own risk of injury increases.
  • I did a lot of photos and videos with both of them. With the 640er I stop more often and try more because it is easier to park, maneuver and turn.

Preliminary Decision

A trip gets really complicated and is over as soon as you seriously hurt yourself. Therefore, a lightweight motorcycle with ABS is our first choice. At the same time it increases the fun on tricky roads, allows more exploration and increases the joy of experimenting both when filming and taking pictures. For the missing luggage you will find solutions and you get used to the loss of comfort quickly, especially because the rest is much more fun.

Favorite: Husqvarna 701
=> Best intersection to the desired motorcycle

Alternative: Suzuki DR-Z 400
=> Best compromise between Dual Sport and Sport Enduro

After the preselection, we next check the final costs for these two variants.

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