Originally Posted by lhendrik
Looking for advice. I have an 09 GSA for long haul touring, pavement. It's great for heavy loads over long paved rides. Now I keep reading about guys like Colebach, etc who ride gravel and dirt and sand and off road, places where the big pig is a handful, like all the way to Magadan and Mongolia I want to explore the rougher ride, and wanted advice on what bike might work, maybe with soft luggage for some real adventure riding, including lots of fire roads, gravel and dirt, while still carrying lightweight camping gear.
I have seen some pics of the BMW 650X Challenge and its looks good. Is this a good place to start my off pavement exploration, or do I need to go lighter.
I have zero off road time, and don't mind taking some training programs.
All information appreciated.
I was in a similar situation about a year ago. I have a 1200 GS and found that I had very little offroad riding skills. I ended up buying a KLX-250S. After a few weeks of riding I found an offroad riding school and attended a one-day class. Best thing I ever did for my offroad riding.
My instructor told me that my choice of bikes was excellent. The power delivery was mild compared to the fire-breathing 450's, but the bike could still get the job done. He suggested that I keep that bike for about a year to build up my ability. I think that was pretty good advice. I did keep that bike for about a year but in the meantime ended up buying a kdx-220 for purely offroad stuff. (Night and day difference between that and the klx in the offroad environment.) Eventually, I found the KLX wasn't enough for me. I was pushing harder and wanted more... It didn't make sense to try and upgrade everything on it. I sold that and bought a WR450 that I plated.
So where is my advice in all this? Buy the nicest, well-maintained, 250cc bike you can find in your local area. I would pay a premium for the maintenance part. Go out and ride the hell out of it. After a few months of ownership, I bet you'll have a clearer idea of the type of riding you'll be interested in. After you know that, the bike choice will be easy.