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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, im considering saving up and buying a motorcycle whose primary purpose in this life is post shtf useage and preshtf practice. Here is the things i know i need to lookfor.
1. I know it needs to be carburated. No efi to burn out, easy to adjust for altitude changes.
2. Needs to be rugged and easy to fix.
3. Able to go most anywere, even on on roads that would choke other vehicles.

To that end i am looking for what would amount to a dual purpose bike. One of the big contenders im looking at is Ural. They have a Solo st that is fairly affordable, built strong and according to its users easy to repair. According to its users it can go most anyware but the toughest single track trails and with some money thrown into mods can improve any diffencies in ground clearance. Also it has a kick starter if the electric starter fails.

Other then that, i have no idea what other bikes that are out there that would fit my needs. The other question i have is, about emp. Even on simple bikes whose only electrical system is the ignition and starter systems, what must i stock up in a faraday cage to have on hand after a emp? Would a simple bike like a ural be affected by emp? What about spark plugs and plug wires, are they affected by emp?

I feel that a bike will be a great way to initially get around post shtf due to all the dead cars about.

If you have any bike suggestions, parts to stock up on, and ways to protect it from emp i look forward to this thread. Again if there are any other bikes i need to look for, please let me know.
 

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I don't think the Ural solo is a good choice. It may be solid but it is heavy. Also, getting spare parts for when it does break wil be a pain. I used to own a 1995 Ural side car rig and needed some work done on it. It took quite a while to get parts. It also required more maintenance than the older early 80s jap bikes I owned.

Any of the japanes dual sports would be fine. Even their 650s are lighter than the Ural and you can get parts for them. Older ones wil have the carbs you want and be way cheaper the a new Ural solo. Hell, a new one will still be cheaper than the Ural solo andyou could convert the EFI to carbs if you or your mechanic know how.

New Ural solo = $7,200
New Kawi KLR650 = $6,150
 

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I'll add a vote for the KLR, I had an 08, used for both forest roads and long days out.
Phoenix to the grand canyon with some off roading through flagstaff on the way back.
6 gallon tank is a big bonus. Please dont be fooled though, in most situations it works well, sand or mud is a whole nother matter.
The other I'd strongly consider is a Suzuki DR 650. This would be my personal choice mainly because it's air/oil cooled. No cooling system to worry about, less moving parts. In the event you go down, there's no chance of puncturing a radiator.
Shortfall of the DR is a small tank, but an aftermarket tank can remedy that. And they're fairly cheap (couple hundred bucks)
I chose the KLR cause I'm in Phoenix, water cooled is better here.
Both of these bikes have been made for years and years.
And check you tube for the diesel spec USMC KLR, very cool.
Hope this helps
 

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For EMP resistant get one with points and a condenser, a CDI type might work if you have a spare control properly shielded. Mid to late 70's is when electronic ignition replaced points. Back in those days I always kept a spare condenser and a point file. The novel The Lone Traveler by T Joseph dealt with post SHTF bikers and touched on bike and engine choices. Old book but thats what might serve best for EMP. Alcohol and vegtable oil two strokes were mention in a short story I forget the title of. Jets and timing for such a rig might be considered.
 

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what's your budget? I would recommend a Honda, they're reliable as heck. A Honda NIghthawk would run you around 1500-1700 at most and they're very robust, very easy to fix if anything EVER happened. I have witnessed this one bike ran over 70K miles and never have issue, given that the owner take very good care of it.
 

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1. I know it needs to be carburated. No efi to burn out, easy to adjust for altitude changes.
I don't disagree that EFI is vulnerable to EMP, but it generally automatically adjusts for altitude - that is one of the advantages of EFI and why many riders who change altitude frequently prefer it.

To that end i am looking for what would amount to a dual purpose bike. One of the big contenders im looking at is Ural. They have a Solo st that is fairly affordable, built strong and according to its users easy to repair. According to its users it can go most anyware but the toughest single track trails and with some money thrown into mods can improve any diffencies in ground clearance. Also it has a kick starter if the electric starter fails.
The Ural is a copy of a pre-WWII BMW. BMW has since then progressed onward. If you want a simple Boxer engined shaft drive bike, then get an "Airhead" (type 247) BMW GS. Yes, I used to own one of these. They are superior to the Ural. The main thing a Ural gives you is that you can get one that has a sidecar with 2WD, but some people have adapted these to work with a BMW Airhead.

"Airhead" BMWs are no longer made, but they were made for quite a while, with some variations in design over the years. The later models usually had a "Paralever" shaft housing which helped the bike handle better at speed where you are changing throttle - it prevents the bike from rising and lowering because of shaft torque. The problem has been that GS models had more travel in the rear suspension so this eventually caused the drive joints to fail if you didn't replace them periodically (generally about every 50K miles). You can get "Monolever" bikes (even early GS models), that don't have this problem, but they have less suspension travel, which makes them handle less well over rough terrain - but they are also lighter than the stock GS with the Paralever, so that helps on rough terrain.

With the BMW you get the better mechanical, frame and suspension design of the newer bike, the same basic simplicity and maintainability of the Ural and components that are easier to get. Plus you get a much larger community who call themselves "Airheads". If you decide to get one (see below) then find your local Airhead chapter and they will get you going (http://www.airheads.org/).

3. Able to go most anywere, even on on roads that would choke other vehicles.
Therein lies the problem.

There are all kinds of mods you do to the Airhead BMW (or the Ural or other street bikes modified to be "dual sport") to make them work better off-pavement, or even off-road, but large bikes like the Ural or BMW (or other makes of similar size/weight) are basically street bikes that have an extra inch or two of suspension. Some models may have a little better suspension components. But in the long run, they are still street bikes. They usually have a 17" rear wheel and 19" front wheel, instead of an 18" or 19" rear wheel and 21" front wheel like true off-road bike.

More importantly, they will all weigh too much. I can't think of any, except highly modified custom bikes, that weight under 350 pounds and most weigh well over 400 pounds ready to ride (a BMW GS or a Ural weighs over 450 pounds ready to ride). Anybody who rides off-road (not just off-pavement), especially those who have ridden these large bikes off-road like I have, will tell you that weight is the Great Satan off-road.

And even though some people think that they won't need to go off-road, they are not considering this:



or this:



or this:



Yes, it is very likely that someone bugging out, or even just trying to get home to bug in, will encounter these kinds of obstacles. If there is a wind storm or an earthquake, then multiple routes may be blocked, not just one.

So, for a bug out motorcycle, I do not recommend a street bike, I recommend a dual sport or dirt bike that weighs under 350 pound ready to go - preferably under 300 pounds. Bear in mind that a lot of the weights of bikes are given as a "dry weight" which can mean that it is without fuel, without battery, without oil, without a number of things you need to ride the bike. My Husaberg weighs 240 pounds "dry", ready to ride, the way I have it setup (extra fuel, accessories), it is closer 270 to 280 pounds - and yes, on the trails that is quite a workout. When I rode my DR350 which was 40 pounds heavier, I did notice the weight difference. When I rode my 450 pound BMW Airhead GS I most certainly noticed. When I get off the Husaberg and ride my 450 pound Ducati (pavement only) I most certainly notice the difference.

If I had to bug out on a motorcycle, it would be the Husaberg for sure (at least until I get a Christini).

There is a thread on motorcycles for survival purposes.

http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=41305
 

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I would recommend, to start with, some of the more common Japanese dual sport and dirt bikes.

1) Honda XRR - XR650R or XR400R
2) Suzuki DR350, DR400, DR650 (the DR650 is a better all around bike than the KLR650).
3) Yamaha WR450 or WR250
4) Honda XR650L (heavier and completely different from the XR650R, but again better than the Kawasaki KLR650) or CRF230L

The Japanese bikes, especially Honda, have the advantage of being very common and having a wide dealer support network.

IMO, many of the European bikes (KTM/Husaberg, Husky (now owned by BMW), Gas Gas, Beta, etc.) are superior in many ways, especially off-road, but they are not as common as the Japanese bikes and dealer support is sparse (KTM is getting better. Husaberg, made by KTM has many KTM parts). Many now have EFI (all Husbergs and many KTMs do). Increasingly you won't find them with kick starts.

Each of the bikes above can work as a survival motorcycle. Which one depends partly on you (size, weight, skill) and your locale (terrain, whether you can get a dirt bike plated, etc.).

I do recommend leaning towards getting a bike that you know you can get plated in whatever locale you intend to be for a while, or where you intend to live. Do not count on LEOs ignore the fact that your bike is not street legal and plated. In some emergencies you may get away with it, in some you may not, and you don't want to have a LEO hassling you for it.

Some US states are very lax about what bikes you can plate and some are really strict. California is Very Very strict and not just about what you can plate, but what you can ride off-road and when.

I prefer a "real" dirt bike over the dumbed down dual sports that some manufacturers offer. For example, compare the Honda XR650R (no longer made) to the Honda XR650L. The latter is their dumbed down "dual sport" - it is a completely different bike, it is heavier, has a different lower power engine, a different transmission and no kick start (it can theoretically be retrofitted).

Most of the Japanese makers do this; they have a line that is "off-road only" and a line that is "dual sport", whereas the euro makers tend to use the same bike for both (the street legal versions have a few add ons to make them legal).
 

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Finally, the ultimate survival motorcycle may be a Christini (if you live somewhere you can get a plate for it, and you can afford it).



These are custom manufactured 2WD motorcycles. Expensive, but worth it.

The Christini AWD 450 uses an engine based on the Honda CRF 450 put into the Christini made frame.
 

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Consider a Honda XR "R" for mainly off-road or "L" for mainly on-road. 250cc is big enough for most off-road. For mainly on-road 400 or 650cc Go with a street legal bike either way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have tried searching for 80's era enduro/dualsport bikes but have been unable to bring my bingfu to bear effectively. What size engine should i be looking at. I dont want something to small id imagine something in t he 5-600 range is about perfect.

My issue with efi is, if a emp goes off, id have to replace the entire system. That would not be easy at all.
 

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I have tried searching for 80's era enduro/dualsport bikes but have been unable to bring my bingfu to bear effectively. What size engine should i be looking at. I dont want something to small id imagine something in t he 5-600 range is about perfect.

My issue with efi is, if a emp goes off, id have to replace the entire system. That would not be easy at all.
Most of my EFI is in the same black box as my ignition. That box would cost me about $300 to buy a spare. I would maybe need a new sensor or two, and maybe the injector itself.

Even back in the 80s they had CDI ignition on a lot of bikes (the good ones).

Personally, I am not too worried about EMP. I don't much buy into the nuclear zombie apocalypse scenarios.

Go on Craigslist in your area to search for a bike.

Engine size depends on your size and how fast you want to go. A 250 is fine for in town and off-road riding for the average adult. A 350 four stroke is better if you need to spar with highway traffic. Most 250 and 350 dual sports are about the same physical size and weight. IMO, the 400 to 550cc range is ideal.

It depends though. My Husaberg is a 570. It has too much power off-road and about right for pavement. Fortunately it has a mapping switch for the EFI/ignition, so I can set it to use the 'soft' map when riding off-road, and even then it has more than enough power for my level of skill.

Most dual sport motorcycles 250cc and above have enough power for general off-road riding and riding along on dirt roads or "two track". It is on the road when you get above 50 MPH where a motorcycle has to produce a lot more power to push against the air. The faster you want to go, the more power you need - exponentially.

For example, my Ducati tops out at 130 MPH. The newer model of the same bike makes 65 more HP and tops out at 150 MPH - just 20 MPH more.

Also, I recommend that if you want to ride this motorcycle on the road, you should prefer a 6 speed over a 5 speed, all else being equal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The heretic, i have been reading alot of what you have wrote in the other thread and i have some questions. You mention eurpean bikes that are superior to the jap backs for on/off roading. I looked at both husgavarna and husaberg, and while they are superior bikes, only one was streetlegal and that was the husqavarna te630. The others in that line up had really small 125cc engines. The te630 is kinda heavy tho isnt it? at 330lbs? I looked at the ktm series of bikes, and the only dual purpose bikes they had were 990cc bikes and were heavy as hell. Are there other bikes street legal at all and capable.

Im looking at the Suzuki drz400s at 317lbs, and thats the only one i know of that has alow weight? How offroad(by your standards) is it? Would it be a pig? Would i be able to have wicked fun off road and even maybe do some jumps when my skill lvl increases?(just for kicks and giggles)

Do you have any other suggestions bike wise?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I just saw the Ktm exc series and the 690enduro R. The heretic what is your opinion of the exc 690 enduro r at 305lbs dry weight, how offroad(by your standards) is it? Looks amazing to me.
 

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Husky makes a real nice bike - the te511/txc510 which is much lighter and much more dirt oriented than the dual purpose te630 or the te610 before it. There is also the te449/txc450 which is basically the same as the 510 with a smaller engine.

Husaberg. Only the 2011 fe570/fs570 models are 50 state EPA/FMVSS street legal. The 2010 models (all sizes) were 50 state EPA certified but not 50 state street legal - which means that those states that restrict bikes by EPA cert even off-road (*cough* California *cough*) allow you to ride them off-road. The 2009 models were neither.

Now, whether something is "Street legal" in your state depends on your state. My state for quite some time allowed almost any euro bike to be plated because the MSO never said "off-road only" on those bikes like on the Japanese MSOs (Manufacturer Statement of Origin), so people were getting plates for them left and right here. Ditto some other states.

For the last couple of years there were rumors that the DOL would crack down on this. Last year they finally did. They started pulling plates from people who already had plates on their bikes. Most of them knew they were getting a plate that they should not - especially those people who got a plate for a 2 stroke bike.

So many people raised so much noise that we got the law changed. Starting in January next year, we can now plate almost any motorcycle that we get certified as being "street legal" (turn signals, etc.).

I am one of those people who has a plate on my 2009 Husaberg 570. I asked my dealer when I bought it if I could get a plate, but I didn't know that I wasn't supposed to have a plate until after I bought it. The state never pulled my plate (I don't think they even know what a Husaberg is - they were mostly going after KTMs).

Late model KTMs, some of them, like the 690 Enduro, are "Street Legal", like the 530exc after 2007 I think it is.

So YMMV - it depends on where you live. If you have the wherewithal to buy a new enough euro bike to get one that is 50 state legal, then you are good to go, otherwise be careful. Here is the difference: a 50 state legal bike after about 1982 will have a VIN sticker on it that says something like this: "this motorcycle is certified to meet all EPA emissions and FMVSS safety standards as of the manufacture date". Otherwise, if the VIN sticker says "for off-road use only" or "for competition use only" or "not for highway use" or something like that, then caveat emptor - you may be able to get a plate, but whether you can keep it or not is a crap shoot in some states.
 

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I just saw the Ktm exc series and the 690enduro R. The heretic what is your opinion of the exc 690 enduro r at 305lbs dry weight, how offroad(by your standards) is it? Looks amazing to me.
The KTM 690 Enduro is a 655cc dual sport motorcycle. It is a bit too heavy for hard core off-roading, but it can be used off-road in a pinch. I would not buy it for the riding I do, which is "technical" trails. Also, the frame doesn't extend under the engine - the engine is part of the frame. For that reason I don't believe it to be as robust in off-road situations as something like the 530 exc.

The 690 is the KTM mid sized dual sport machine. It is for those people who want to ride 50/50 on street/dirt. The 530exc and other similar KTM models are for 90 to 100 percent off-road use, and in a pinch you can get some of them that can be street legal.

BTW - KTM makes one of the few one liter bikes that has a decent frame and suspension for off-roading - the KTM 990. But it is still too big and heavy. If you decide you want a large displacement bike that can do 150 MPH and take you and another person long distances and still handle rough terrain, then this is the place I would start looking. But it is huge and heavy, so don't expect it to be able to begin to follow a 530 on a trail.

BTW - Husaberg is made by KTM. It is a boutique brand. Husaberg designs it, KTM makes it. The design of the engine is different than the KTM, but many of the parts (about 80%) are KTM - the suspension, brakes, wheels, electrics, etc., are all KTM.
 

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Should air cooled vs water cooled and exhaust noise be considered? I know nothing of bikes, but aren't off road bikes loud?
 

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Im looking at the Suzuki drz400s at 317lbs, and thats the only one i know of that has alow weight? How offroad(by your standards) is it? Would it be a pig? Would i be able to have wicked fun off road and even maybe do some jumps when my skill lvl increases?(just for kicks and giggles)

Do you have any other suggestions bike wise?
The DRZ 400 is the successor to the DR350. It is a little heavier (the DR350 was 285 pounds dry, probably over 300 pounds ready to ride), but not by much. It is an okay mid size economic dual sport. I owned a DR350 for quite a while and it was an okay bike - still a lot of them around and a lot of aftermarket stuff for them too.

It is okay off-road, but once you ride a KTM or Husky or other euro bike, or even one of the off-road only Japanese bikes, you will feel the difference in weight and handling. It just depends on how much off-roading you think you want to do, or you will do. You can get a used one for fairly cheap and then get a euro bike later if you want.
 

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Should air cooled vs water cooled and exhaust noise be considered? I know nothing of bikes, but aren't off road bikes loud?
Off-road bikes don't have to be loud, but they sometimes do sacrifice noise suppression to keep the weight down. Many of the loud bikes you hear are loud because someone made them loud. I am somewhat ambivalent about loud street bikes (I own/ride a fairly loud Ducati), but IMO an off-road bike should be as quiet as possible. Mine is fairly quiet - the exhaust is all stock and I will try, whatever I do to the exhaust, to keep it as quiet as possible. The intake is noisy (it is right under the seat so it kind of blast the rider in the face on full throttle).

Air cooled v. water cooled. Most bikes now are going water cooled - especially off-road bikes. Air cooled just won't hack it with the higher horsepower bikes, especially if you get stuck on an obstacle and you don't have much air flowing around the engine.

Air cooled may seem simpler, but you can more easily overheat them - especially when you are going real slow off-road, or on a hot day in bumper to bumper traffic. I have watched the temp sky rocket on my air-cooled Ducati while stuck in traffic on a hot day. It never overheated, but it has a temp gauge and I would have pulled over and let it cool down if it got close - eventually traffic moved. If I was waiting for a long time (construction) I would shut the engine off. The new Ducati model that replaces my bike, the engine is 150 HP (v. 86 HP for mine) and it is water cooled.

I have a fan kit on my Husaberg because even with water cooling I would sometimes overheat the bike in tough sections. Now it doesn't overheat.
 

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BTW, for both the DR350 and DR400, you can add a kick start.

Also, if you decide you really do want to ride off-road, find a good suspension mod shop and have them setup the suspension for your weight and skill level. It made a world of difference for me. I am 6'6" tall and I weigh 260# naked - the springs on the shock and forks and valving on my bike all came setup for a 180# rider, so obviously the bike was not setup for me.
 
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