We are planning to move to the Big Island of Hawaii--hopefully around September. I am going to buy a new dual sport when I get there. And while its true that it will get mostly street miles, there are a lot of places to ride off road there. The main highways are generally 50 mph there, so the bike I choose will have to be able to haul me-at 5'9" and about 180 pounds at 50-55 without overworking the motor. I want easy maiuntenance and an aircooled engine with screw type valve adjustment is what I want. I rode an XT225 for a few years and liked it very much. So the bikes I'm comsidering are: The Suzuki DR200; the TW200; the XT250; the Honda CRL230F; I think thats it.
Since I'm betting that many of you chose the TW over these same motorcycles, maybe even test rode them, maybe you could tell me how you decided on the TW over these others. The bike will be used for my daily transportation. Errand runner. Joy riding, etc. We will certainly be taking some longer trips around the island (they don't call it the Big Island for nothing). There will be some overnight trips, say, to Kona (125 miles). One thing in favor of the Suzuki is that there is a dealer about 15 miles away. The Yamaha/Honda dealer is 125 miles away. Though I do my own maintenace including tire replacements, valve adjustments, oil changes etc,etc. I wouldn't expect any real problems with any of these bikes.
Suggestions, comments, personal experiences, etc??
We just finished our 1800 mile honeymoon over western roads in the Great Wide Open.
It can certainly handle island travel.
None of the other bikes you've listed is appreciably "better" than a TW in any particular category.
More a matter of flavor. I've never riden offroad in Hawaii, but if it includes soft sand and the wet conditons they have there I'd rather be on an aired down TW than any of the others.
I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.
Powdercoated '87 frame, extended swingarm, YZ fork legs, ATV tire, 14/55, XT350 tank, spliced quick-release seat, disc brake conversion, beeg headlight, beeger rack, Lizrdcooler, Lizrdventz and bunch of other stuff all covered in invisible ink.
I lived in Kaneohe for 4 years and visited the Big Island while there- Stayed in Hilo and up at KMC near all the old lava flows. I remember the terrain being pretty hard. Any of the bikes you list would be good to use but only the TW has the big knob tires. So pick the one you like best, but I recommend if you buy used, you buy it on the mainland-have it shipped over with your household stuff, and then sell it there when you get ready to leave. The steady exposure to the salt air really gets to vehicles of all types in Hawaii.
200ccs---yeah, I don't have a problem with smaller motorcycles. I've been riding for 50 years and still love to ride. I just don't want to kill an engine that won't pull 50-55. I'm in no hurry. Here in the Pacific Northwest when I go riding it's almost always on the backroads. More fun, more sxcenic, etc.
The off road riding on this island is a lot of very hard newer volcanic lava deposits. I don't know if the huge rear tire would be an advantage on that stuff or not.
I also want great gas mileage as the gas there is always quite a bit more than on the mainland.
Take care, Jon
Any trails I walked in Hawaii that were soft or slippery would be better ridden with a real trials bike than anything you listed. The only sand I ever saw was beaches, and it seemed people generally frowned on vehicles on beaches. A TW will do the highway for you. Better if you do away with the federally mandated EPA carb [s]tune[/s] strangle. The big tires will last longer (important when you have to pay shipping half way across the Pacific), especially when loaded with gear for overnight trips. If you won't be riding the mud in the pineapple fields and such might as well go with the 203/204 tires or the Shinko knock-offs to maximize hard surface traction, comfort, and safety. Keep the TW full of clean oil and it'll run WFO tank-to-tank.
I picked the TW for the low seat height and high gas mileage.
If you do your own maintenance, being close to a dealer is almost a non issue. I go to the dealer to shop for riding gear and gawk at other bikes, that's it. The only warranty work I remember anybody getting was when the dealer installed the wrong oil filter and fried the motor.
I think you need to ask yourself, when you ride offroad do you want to go fast like motocross fast? Do you need lots of suspension travel? If yes don't get a TW. If going offroad is more for exploring, and you like to put your feet down when you stop, the TW might be your bike.
'10 Truimph Bonneville Std.
My 2 cents as I've lived on the Big Island might have some relevant feedback:
1) I'd go bigger than the TW if I were serious about touring the island with it. Like 500cc big. While the top speeds around the island are relatively low (you're correct on this), it's allll hills and you'll be working the TW hard (though most experienced owners here will tell you it loves it and working it hard doesn't seem to cause any issues at all). You won't pull 55mph on a lot of road there - especially headed over the saddle (you hit 6000ft on a bike you'll want tuned for sea level) - and I think 45mph and working pretty hard when loaded will be the norm for any of the small-cc bikes you're looking at. Then again, the island traffic moves slow, so if you can handle this then:
2) I think the TW is a great bike. Many, many great, off-the-beaten-path beaches are over lava fields with sharp rocks and the big knobs and stability (along with low seat height and easy control) of the TW would be a great combo. Also think the big tired ON road would be more secure in the wet than the skinnier widths on other comparable bikes.
I'd take Poolsgold advice and buy whatever bike you decide on here. I'd also recommend getting a great lock -- and wherever possible locking TO something (MX and scooter thefts are very, very common and as easy as one big moke picking up your bike and setting it into his pickup). And based on my experience living there and doing a ton of tire research here at TWF I'd say stick with the OEM tire setup. Though it gets wet and slippery pretty regularly, you have to be somewhat used to this living in the NW already and the speeds are slow enough that knobs can handle it. Not to mention you'll inevitably want the offroad capability and toughness of the knobs (versus smoother street tires) when you pull off onto mud, sand or lava (read: the only surfaces around besides asphalt).
Okay, that's like 3 cents. Have a great move!
Santa Cruz, CA
2001 TW - bone stock while gathering ideas
I appreciate the comments here. Now if we can just sell our Puyallup, Wa. house. We've already got rid of a lot of stuff. Our house on the island is fully furnished (we bought it that way) so we don't need to take much.And I could get something like a Suzuki DRZ400S or even the DR650, but those bikes get real spendy on the island. Shipping a car over is about $1100.