In all honesty, we had been going back and forth between doing the trip two-up or each of us on our own bike. It was a tough decision. An has been riding for less than a year and is still a new rider. With that said, our preference was still to each take our own bike. Our reasoning was that given the long duration of the trip, we could always just take it easy while An is getting comfortable on the bike. Furthermore, once she builds up her confidence, we will be grateful for having the second bike. Great, decision made, now let's find her a motorcycle. Here is where it got a bit tricky. While An's personality might be large, her 5’2” frame is not what most companies had in mind when designing their motorcycles. The average small displacement dual sport bike with a seat height of 34” is fine as long as An never has to stop and put a foot down.
Figuring that having her fall over every time she stops would not be good for her confidence, we started looking for a small displacement dual sport motorcycle with a seat height that can be adjusted to less than 31”, had enough power to cruise at reasonable speeds, good fuel capacity, and aftermarket options to outfit it as an overlander. The search was long and started making the two-up option a lot more attractive. At one point I was thinking we could buy a WR250R or CRF250L, lower the bike using a suspension mod and swap out the wheels for supermotard wheels to bring the seat height to sub 31”. Not exactly ideal. I will be honest, it was looking bleak. Just as we lost all hope and I was about to trade in my WR250R for a F800GSA, we stumble upon the XT250. Yamaha switched to EFI back in 2013 bringing the power close to 20hp from the original 16hp on the carbonated versions. There isn’t an aftermarket tank option, but the 2015 comes with a 2.9gal tank and we can carry Rotopax fuel canisters to bump up the range. But the real selling point is a stock seat height of 31.9” that can be lowered to 30.9” with an aftermarket suspension link. On top of the An-friendly seat height, the XT250 is a svelte 290lbs. Just for comparison, the XT250 is 0.2” shorter (even more if you consider the greater sag on the XT) than An’s current bike, a GS500, and 140lbs lighter.
A quick trip to the dealer to give An some one-on-one time with her potential whip sealed the deal. A week later we welcomed Rick Grimes, named after The Walking Dead character, to the family. (Yes, we name our bikes. An refers to my WR250R as the Weasel, not sure that shows the type of respect one wants for a bike they are planning to ride around the world.) Well now that we have cast the riders and motorcycles for our little adventure, we just need to sell all our other bikes. Anyone looking for a 2013 R1200R in excellent condition?