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Suzuki V-Storm 650 or Kawasaki KLR 650 Good Motorcycles for Travel

There was a Honda Pan European Bike, which is the same as my ST1300 at home.   This is a BIG bike for this area.
There was a Honda Pan European Bike, which is the same as my ST1300 at home. This is a BIG bike for this area.
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Question:

If you were all of a sudden without a motorcycle and were going to go on a long trip through many different countries, what type of bike would you get?

Bob’s Answer:

If I was suddenly without a bike and I was going to go on a long trip (many months, to many years) AND I was starting from home (the US) AND I was going to buy a bike at home and use it for the entire trip AND I was not going two on the bike (two up), then my personal choice would either be a Suzuki VeeStorm 650 with ABS or a Kawasaki KLR 650.


Some of the reasons:

1) These two bikes can be modified to handle pretty much any type of riding that you want to do

2) both have compromises that are pretty good

3) They have huge support groups in the form of on-line forums.

4) they can handle two up riding, and a lot of gear.

5) there are enough out there that parts should not be a problem

6) aftermarket parts are available to modify the bike any way you want.

The VeeStrom is more of a road bike, with fuel injection, and pretty modern everything. It is more expensive though.

The KLR is more dirt and rough road worthy, and a LOT less expensive, partly because it is really 1980’s technology with a few updates. One of the advantages of a cheap bike is that if necessary, it is easier to abandon. It is rare, but there are times when you would be better off just leaving everything and getting the hell out. As I tell people when they are going on a trip, as you are walking out the door, imagine walking back into the house naked. As in, everything you brought was lost. You don’t bring the jewels that have been in the family for generations. You don’t leave the house with anything that you can’t afford to lose. A KLR is a pretty affordable loss.

Kawasaki KLR 650

If the question was more towards a vacation from work, a used KLR would be the only choice for me, because even a small breakdown near the end of the trip could be too difficult to get fixed in time, and getting back to your job late could end up costing you much more than the price of the bike. For a longer trip, I would probably lean towards the Vee Strom. Both these bikes are at the top of my list right now, and I keep wavering back and forth between them. I am having trouble deciding which to get.

Now some (most?) of this is personal preference.

Bob L

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Filed under: Motorcycle Travel

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3053 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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