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02Silver 05-11-2004 10:07 AM

Which bike to buy...same ole question
Thanks to this and the TWTex site, I am going to sell my FZ1...I think (I love that bike).

I've read so many of the stories about off road riding that I want to try it. That and the fact that the squids have ruined Leakey for us. There has been a MAJOR crackdown out there if you haven't heard yet. Since I have the 03 R1 and the 02 FZ1, I really don't need both street/sport bikes and it would be nice to have a dual sport for commuting and being able to get off the beaten path to avoid any run ins with my license. (They were writing group tickets for 62 in a 55 in one example BTW...even if you get out of the ticket it isn't worth the harassment).

I do all of my own maintenance and has to be reliable (I've seen dealers screw up as much as they fix) and want, like everyone else does, something that is:

the fastest, lightest, cheapest, longest range, best handling, do it all for nothing bike around that doesn't exist of course.

Common sense leans to the KLR650, Lust dictates the KTM640 Adventure, Brain says a XR650 with a street kit and bigger tank, and the DR650 can be had cheap in the used market while the F650 isn't dismissed either. I might would even be willing to spring for the KTM950 or a BMW 1150 (used) but I really want to sell the FZ1 and use the money to buy a bike and a Roadcrafter without incurring any other expense initially. Since I live in the hot pat of the country...I'd like for the bike to be water cooled but isn't an absolute.

I never recovered from the lust of the Baja kitted TT500 that I had years ago and as you can see most of the choices are modern versions of that bike :)

Please do your best to advise...Big Bend trips are very likely and as much as I envy Irondawg's big trip, a major excursion of that magnitude is not likely anytime soon.

RikuY 05-11-2004 10:09 AM


I say that because I want to hear the answer to this as well... Good post! :thumb

Cat0020 05-11-2004 10:27 AM

:D Personally, If I could ever get my act together.. I would finish up my XR650R project, with street legal kit, 7 gal. front and 3 gal. rear Acerbis tanks, Excel wheels.. and already mounted Ohlins USD fork legs.

Fiished project should look something like this:

Then add some luggage rack, bigger front fairing.. maybe even a electric starter kit.

CasterTroy 05-11-2004 01:12 PM

HOLY COW whatta setup

jkam 05-11-2004 02:07 PM


Originally Posted by Cat0020
:D Personally, If I could ever get my act together.. I would finish up my XR650R project, with street legal kit, 7 gal. front and 3 gal. rear Acerbis tanks, Excel wheels.. and already mounted Ohlins USD fork legs.

Then add some luggage rack, bigger front fairing.. maybe even a electric starter kit.

Can an electric starter be added to the XR650R? That is my main hold back from considering that bike.

Cat0020 05-11-2004 03:09 PM


Originally Posted by jkam
Can an electric starter be added to the XR650R? That is my main hold back from considering that bike.

Here's a link for the XR650R electric start kit:

About $1100.00

Steelhead 05-11-2004 03:23 PM

Which bike to buy?
You might want to look very closely at a new KTM 625SXC.
Comes stock with the FCR41mx carb, hydraulic clutch, electric start, alum. bars, SXC exhaust, speedo, headlight. tail light and a 20K mile LC4 motor , again all stock.
Add a Baja Designs dual sport kit, either the 18 liter or 28 liter Rally tank with an LC4 comfort seat and you have yourself a great ADVENTURE bike.
:thumb :thumb

Stephen 05-11-2004 03:32 PM


Originally Posted by Cat0020
Here's a link for the XR650R electric start kit:
...About $1100.00

Implying that a KLR is really only about $1400 worth of motorcycle... :lol3 :rofl :rofl :rofl :rofl

Let's see, sixfiddy singles. Sort'em from dirtly to streetly, pick the one that offers what matters most to ya. They all rock; they all suck.

Are you sayin' that with your R/Y/Z/whatever bikes, you're not one of the squids who queered the pitch for the rest of us? :evil Don't take that remark too awful seriously--that many KLRs would be just as obnoxious, and attract just as much heat. Last time out that way, we just pulled over and waited for twenty minutes when we ran up behind a few dozens cruisers, some towing trailers with BBQ pits or ice chests on'em. :flush.

Steelhead 05-11-2004 06:48 PM


02Silver 05-11-2004 07:16 PM

A little Sportbike Profiling I guess
Well Stephen,

Do you even know what a FZ1 is???

Anyway I never ride in big groups because of all of the attention and pain in the rear that it causes. I normally ride with one or two other guys...I'm the pup at 38 years of them is 56 the other is 51 (both X road racers). There are other's that interchange with the 51 year old but myself and the 56 year old are normally riding together.

No, I'm not one of those squids even though I probably am faster than they are...I don't need to prove it. When David first started riding in the Hill Country in the late 70's he said that you could go all weekend and never see another set of bikes. Now it's out of hand due to all of the internet information and Ride Texas posting their greatest roads list etc.

I'm just glad that I got lot's of good rides in before the latest BS.

Believe it or not...the flood in July 2002 was one of the best rides ever. We rode about 900 miles that weekend and there were no cops, bikes, very few was great, 2 FZ1's and miles of road to ourselves. Truly wonderful other than the fact that I have been dryer taking a shower.

DevDel 05-11-2004 08:08 PM

Some thoughts in no particular order...

The KLR and F650 are more like lighter BMW GS's. The can be riden hard off road,but are happier when the pace is slower. They're even happier if you just stay on the freakin' road!

The KTM 640 ADV steps it up a notch off road w/ premium suspenders and horsepower. That big factory tank means never having to worry about getting out to far. You can fly off road, but the weight will still fight you in the tech. stuff. You wont be racing EXC's! The fairing makes getting to that trailhead sixty miles away easier. Mine vibrates like a paint mixer, I guess some are better.

Steelhead has it right w/the SXC. It needs a tank right away, stock range is 50-60 miles. People will kill for a LC4 motor with a FCR41 carb, and the 04 comes with it stock, although I understand it is real lean and needs a jet kit. The 03 I rode was geared a little short for the highway. If you can do without the fairing, it's a kick ass bike.

Stay away from GS's unless you want a street bike. I had fun whipping my 03 GS ADV down gravel roads at insane speeds, then realized I was going to destroy it and bought a KTM.

That 950 KTM is neat. A little pricey to throw on the ground a lot if you're new to off road riding. I've only had a brief off road ride on one, but if you've got fast open trails that motor would definetly be entertaining!

Good luck, Fred

markjenn 05-11-2004 08:19 PM

Nice post. Couldn't have said it better.

- Mark

murgatroid42 05-11-2004 09:06 PM

Another bike to consider is the dualsport Honda XR650L. Dog slow by XR650 standards, but it's simple, has electric start, and all the street gear. Aggressive knobbies like the D606's give it some headshake at 70 mph, but more street-oriented tires will fix that. There are plenty of used ones available, and they can be improved with a few mods. It's a pig, but it's more dirt-oriented than a KLR and is arguably more durable.

Jim Stanley gave a slide show on his 9 month, 40k mile trip around South America on his old XR650L. I attended, and was amazed that the bike not only held up, but out-performed his companions' bikes (including expen$ive BMW's). He even ran a 7-day, WRC-style race in Ecuador with a sick engine and finished 2nd in his class! He's mpw thinking about riding it around the world.

His bike prep info is here.

Mack 05-11-2004 11:32 PM

I should not speak for Stephen, but I think part of what he was trying to impart, is that those who do not particularly like motorcycles in the first place, count every additional one they see out that way as another irresponsible, lawbreaking, hooligan, regardless of how or what they ride. The shear numbers, that as you say have been directed to places such as the Texas Hill Country, by magazines, and web sites much like this one, and a few true hooligans in the mix, have ruined it for the rest of us. Saw this happen in the early days of personal watercraft, and expect it will follow us offroad as well.

Back to bikes! Lots of options, I am only going to talk about the Orange ones. From one extreme to the other:

Duke II, with wire wheels, (Chili red came with wire wheels) not an off-road bike, but these eat up rough washboard, gravel, and nasty two track type roads with ease, even better then a 640ADV. Great track bike, general hooligan machine, the shorter travel suspension making it the best street mount, overall the most refined LC4, a tad heavy compared to a true supermotard mount, small fuel tank, and a total bore on long stretches of slab. Pumper carb and/or shorter gearing advised, good both for grin factor and to protect the front wheel.

625SMC, supermoto has a lot of good kit, and with a second set of wheels is two bikes in one, but is said to be a bit stiffly suspended and short on travel for true dirt work. (Though relative to what some around here call a D/S I would think it would work pretty well for combined twisty & dirty riding.)

LC4E, (used) is a great all around bike, a bit heavier then the 625, but with a bigger oil system. Tried and true, and it can be had for a pretty good price. (Swap the pros and cons of the 640ADV around, though the unfueled weight is pretty close.)

640ADV, is a great D/S for Texas, with it's combination of greater wind protection, better range and instrumentation then just about any other thumper out there. The 640 ADV is also the heaviest, with a full tank it is almost 100lbs heavier then the 625 SXC, and IMHO a bit too much of this weight is carried by the front wheel. Still my vote for the best Texas non-trailered Dual Sport. If you have to ask if a 640ADV is right for you, then it probably is not the one.

625SXC, Lightest most dirtworthy of the bunch, with mods it can even run with true dirtbikes at events such as the 24 hours of Glen Helen. Small tank, small oil system, and lack of wind protection are to me minor drawbacks in a machine that should work so well at Terlingua.

If it were me, I would look hard at the 950, it does not exactly fit what your looking for, but if you like it as much as most new 950 owners do, you will not care, you will just change your riding style. It begs to be ridden, just about everywhere, and I expect you would end up selling both the bikes you have now, and I doubt you will miss them. A safe 8/10s pace on typical bumpy Texas roads should be as fast or faster on the 950 then your current bikes. Heavy, somewhat small tank for somewhat thirsty engine, expensive, and for true dirt use a PITA when it comes to offroad tires that will last. (90hp is hard on knobs.) IMHO, A 950, eventually combined with one of the above, or an RFS will have you grinning ear to ear. It may sound like an attempt at humor, but I am serious when I say it is not a good bike, if you wish to keep your driving record clean.

I would not rule out a DRZ400, especially a well priced/equiped E version. A lot of bike for the money.

Some last thoughts, depending on your butt, all of the the above may require improvements in the seat dept. If your planning on riding any of the above from your doorstep to Big Bend and back, and doing so on tires that will work well for the more technical offroad sections, you will need to choose your tires very carefully, traction and longevity seldom go hand and hand. IMHO, tires are the one thing that really makes hard core D/S touring a difficult proposition. (Thus the reason that real dirtbikes are chauffered around in trailers.)

Though the 640 & 625 are basically the same engine, same actual displacement, but the so called 640/LC4s with the BST-40 Mikuni really need to be rejetted asap to reduce vibes, and improve the rideability. IMHO, make sure you can deal with the vibes, I have had riders look as if they have eaten a lemon, they so disliked the vibes, yet post rejet the vibes do not phase me. The O3 LC4 640 bikes have a lot of improvements over the earlier models, including stonger motors though the power band is moved up some. (Better for the street, maybe not so much better for the dirt?) As Fat Head Fred mentioned the latter 625 based bikes have the highly desireable FCR carbs, a pumper carb will run you approx $200 for a used Mikuni to almost $600 for a TPS equiped Keihin FCR, not to mention additional parts required to mount said carb.

As to the stitch, I would really think hard about that purchase. I have a custom stitch, for commuting in the Pacific Northwest it was great, here in Texas it hardly ever gets taken out of the closet. If you need to have it altered to obtain a good fit, it gets really spendy in a hurry, and even the two piece is not really optimum for D/S riding. I really think your money, could be better spent when it comes to Texas riding gear. Cheers, Mack

Ostrich 05-12-2004 07:34 AM

What kind of off roading do you plan on doing? :ear

The Dakar will do gravel roads pretty well, but when you get into sand it tends to roll over to take a nap without much warning. DAMHIK. :pissed

I am really impressed by how well the Dakar handles on the road, but it is not as dirt oriented as a KTM. I find that the Dakar is happiest going over really shitty roads with bumps, potholes, gravel patches, sand, and a mix of things. It also loves really tight twisty stuff in the mountains. I bought the Dakar for a Dual Pupose, but I find I am riding further away from home over mountain roads while grinning ear to ear when I get home.

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