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Newcomer asking for advice on finding a xs650 in India. Advice for touring also welcome.

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Fred_the_Finn, Feb 12, 2020.

  1. Fred_the_Finn

    Fred_the_Finn XS650 Member

    Hello there.

    First off I would like to thank forum contributors for the wealth of knowledge.

    I am looking for a bike to tour India and possibly cross from Myanmar to Thailand (unless the Corona-virus gets out of hand in the afore mentioned countries aswell). The xs650 popped up un many articles and it seems to me a worthy candidate for my trip.

    If anyone has any advice on where to find one in India, I would be more than grateful.

    I will wade through the forums looking for the info I need, however If some kind soul would like to point me in the right direction regarding, on-the-road maintenance, what spare parts and tools to bring and anything worth considering on a long trip, I would be much abliged.

    Thanks for investing the time to read this.


    wrenchjohns, Paul Sutton and Jim like this.
  2. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Welcome to the forum Fred!
    The romantic in me loves the idea of traveling that route on an XS650. The realist wonders if you'd make it. Although a well cared for XS is a good reliable bike, they're 40 yrs old... and more. And I'd guess that spare parts are damn near non-existant in that part of the world. Still... would be a ride for the record books. Good luck with your search.
    wrenchjohns, Paul Sutton and Mailman like this.
  3. Fred_the_Finn

    Fred_the_Finn XS650 Member

    Hey JIm,

    thank you for your reply. As you can imagine I have next to no experience with these bikes so the realistic view is more than welcome. I was hoping I wouldn't have to resort to a Royal Enfield, but I guess the amount of spares and able mechanics for that particular bike weighs heavy on the scale. We shall see how I go. Might just have to curb my enthusiasm for the xs until (read: if) I reach Darwin and try to get my hands on one over there.

    If, however I do opt for the xs650 and happen to find one, I will be sure to post my tribulations from the road in a thread here somewhere.

    Thanks again,

    wrenchjohns, Paul Sutton and Jim like this.
  4. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Just re-read your comment. Here's my opinion. Try to get a bike that still has the original points system. That's bound to stir up the electronic ignition people here but.... a points system is dead simple and reliable. About any mechanic there could help with an old fashioned points system. The XS uses separate points and coils for each cylinder. So if one side breaks, you can still limp into the next town on one cylinder. A failed electronic system will have you on the side of the road. As for spares... as much as you can carry. 2 extra coils, points, condensers and plugs. As many spare carb parts as you can carry. Add to that all the standard fare items.... bulbs, throttle and clutch cable.... levers and perches.... tire patch kit. I think if you look in the Tech section, someone wrote an article about what tools to bring along.

    Yes, please do... even if you make the trip on an Enfield, I'd still love to read about it.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
  5. willis

    willis xsive compulsive disorder XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    I recently had a customer that did a 2 week bike trip though India and I am pretty sure he rented an RE. I think he started out on a Bullet and switched over to a Himilayan. He said it was a great adventure, but was quite a bit of a change up from the Ducati he normally rides.
  6. JAX71224

    JAX71224 jax71224

    KLR650 and all he luggage possible!!
  7. David Toll

    David Toll Reliving my youth? Top Contributor

    The Royal Enfield is made in India these days so there would be a wealth of parts and knowledge available in even the more isolated parts of that country. Those little village mechanics are "jacks of all trades" and can do some amazing things with a piece of steel and a hot fire. We get the Bullet, Himalayan and new Interceptors here in OZ and word is that they are all bloody good bikes. There was an article published in our local "Just Bike" magazine a couple of years ago where a fellow did the India bit on an RE . I'll see if I can find it, (I never throw anything away), and fill you in on any relevant comments about bikes and conditions.
  8. Fred_the_Finn

    Fred_the_Finn XS650 Member

    Thanks for the reply Willis. I had a Sportster 900 back home but I'm definetly getting an xs650 if not in India(which appears to be quite of a rare bike there) or Aussie(I checked their xs650 club too btw) then as soon as I get back to Finland.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
    Paul Sutton likes this.
  9. Fred_the_Finn

    Fred_the_Finn XS650 Member

    Thank You David, mighty kind of you.

    How about riding a motorcycle in the outback? Is it safe with all the 'roos and cattle poking around?
    Paul Sutton likes this.
  10. Fred_the_Finn

    Fred_the_Finn XS650 Member

    Roger that

    I see your point with the points(pun intended).

    I stumbled on a good thread in the tech forums about tool kits.

    Thanks for the advice,

    Paul Sutton, gggGary and Jim like this.
  11. David Toll

    David Toll Reliving my youth? Top Contributor

    Distance is the danger in outback OZ and mobile reception can be non-existent. Very few fuel stations and towns can be hundreds of Km apart. It gets hot and dry and, sometimes very wet. Native animals and livestock on the road are only a problem at night, pre-dawn and dusk and no worse than any rural region, I imagine. Still, you don't want to hit a 6' (180cm) Red kangaroo or a thousand kg of Droughtmaster bull doing 110km/hr. The next passing car could be hours coming. Then there's wombats, feral pigs, goats, buffalo, donkeys and camels. Better to travel in the daylight hours when everything else is avoiding the heat. It's not as bad as it sounds Fred. I have travelled extensively in outback Queensland and the Northern Territory and rarely had an issue. When I did it was usually with Road trains, (bloody big cattle trucks), that refuse to surrender the road and throw up more dust than a sirocco. Ask local advice at any pitstop - Aussie's are friendly fellows, but be prepared and don't take chances. No bandits, terrorists or military issues though.
  12. Machine

    Machine Race the wind Top Contributor

    Sounds like heaven on earth David Toll. I'd pick OZ over India anyday. And over a USA West Coast CITY
    Fred_the_Finn and Jim like this.
  13. Fred_the_Finn

    Fred_the_Finn XS650 Member

    Thanks for the reply David. Fair dinkum. I hitch-hiked from Darwin to Townsville a few years back and I didn't fail to notice the 'Survive this Drive' signs, cautioning about weariness. So the night time was the thing to avoid. I was stuck at Three Ways at high noon, with the only shadow being from the brim of my hat. Felt like eons before I managed to get a ride. A fair amount of water is a good travel companion there, I reckon.
    Paul Sutton, Jim and David Toll like this.
  14. motormike

    motormike XS650 Junkie XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    A buddy did India on a 350 Enfield.. which is the most common and preferred bike in country. Much more so then the 500 Bullet. The new 650 twins are start'n to get a local following. His only real issues was..traffic… drive defensibly.. road conditions went from nice to rock slewing trails…. trucks have right of way.. Don't assume the other driver knows what's he doing..or where he's going.
    My buddy.. Atul, from India...… lives here but returns to the " motherland " often.. collecting various Birt bikes. He even advises others that getting creamed on India's roads is a serious fact. He told me.. India stands... for I'll Never Do It Again. The buddy that did the trip on the 350 Enfield enjoyed his time, the people, the food... except for the daily traffic jams and related issues.. and the cows. Once you start your journey.. post photos... share the adventure !
  15. David Toll

    David Toll Reliving my youth? Top Contributor

    Randy, the outback is more of a place to say you've been rather than a cultural experience like India or maybe parts of the West Coast. The road from Normanton to Mt Isa is 500 km in a virtually straight line. There is one "hill" that rises about 100' that is so geographically remarkable that they name it the "Bang Bang Jump Up" - quaint! Apart from that, open plain and dry sclerophyll forest whose monotony can be maddening. It's exciting to see your first buffalo herd but if they decide to settle on the road and refuse to move, the situation becomes problematic. Nudge them with the bull bar and they can get upset - a bull can weigh in over 500kg and, like my first wife, they are short tempered.
    In the rutting season it is extremely unwise to get caught between a bull camel and his harem, especially on foot armed with a camera and nothing is more undignified than having to dive through the open window of the car to avoid the snapping jaws of a 10 foot Dromedary - they spit and kick as well!
    Give me the vibrancy of San Francisco, the stark clarity of the Greek Isles, the primitive naivety of the Solomon Islands or the odiously obvious money seeking corruption of Kuta Beach. I like activity and someone to interact with and apart from a couple of ringer's, (Aussie cowboys) at the bar and a retired group towing caravans, the Quamby Roadhouse is less than riveting. Indeed, the population is so sparse that they have recently closed the pub which was opened in 1860. Close a pub in OZ?? Outrageous!!
    Don't get me wrong, I love my country, I would live nowhere else, but I've seen parts I would happily return to our indigenous peoples.
  16. Paul Sutton

    Paul Sutton Sprained Ankle Top Contributor

    I travelled a lot in India. Basically you must forget the road code of the western world. Hard to describe what it is really like. Best to stick very very close behind a locals vehicle and let them clear the road for you. In one town I tried to cross the road but knew I'd get killed so waited until a local old lady wanted to cross then crossed parallel to her but approx. 10 metres down stream of her and the traffic. I figured that if she got hit I'd have time to jump clear. Not such a gentlemanly thing to do, put very practical under the circumstances.
  17. Welcome and please post the ride with some pix(even if you ride a Royal Enfield).
    Fred_the_Finn, YamadudeXS650C and Jim like this.
  18. joebgd

    joebgd XS650 Addict

    I'm over 200lbs and cary loaded saddle bags. I'd suggest an xs 650, look into sprocket changes cause they can use a higher gear on cruise, I have a 30t rear and still have no problem taking off or on hills. I ride some steep inclines in the country of upstate Ny. I believe my 1980 came with a 34t rear. The front can also be brought up from 17-18 which will also lower revs. I'm okay right now with the smaller rear.
    Fred_the_Finn likes this.
  19. Fred_the_Finn

    Fred_the_Finn XS650 Member

    Thanks Mike,

    I will keep your words in mind. I will surely post photos and keep you up to date on the journey!
  20. Fred_the_Finn

    Fred_the_Finn XS650 Member


    I'll be sure to keep your tail-gating tactics readily at hand.

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