Originally Posted by mikem9
Let's discuss the trade offs of big bikes vs. small bikes during true Adventure travel, where a lot of rough dirt roads are involved.
For covering distance solo at better than a legal clip, on a budget, while still being able to ride rougher offroad terrain like mud, sand, rocks, and roots in BFE, I really like the simple DR650. If I were a better rider, and/or wanted to travel 2up, I might move up to something as big as an F800GS or Tiger 800XC for the same split of slab/rough. The DR will do 2up if you're not big people, but we still like to take breaks every 100 miles or so. Solo, with a big tank I can burn over 1000 miles a day without issue. If I'm staying within easy hiking distance of roadside assistance, I'd be inclined to try an EFI 650-class thumper, like the TR650, 690E, TE630, or X-Challenge. Some of these EFI bikes offer exceptional mileage, power, and smoothness for a big thumper. The DR is anvil-simple fun on a budget that can usually be field-fixed with just the OEM toolkit, some duct/electrical tape, and/or some epoxy.
If there's no 65MPH+ slab involved, something like a DR350, or a smooth and powerful 250, would be better solo, as long as it keeps the weight down around 320lb curb or less, unladen.
I see no benefit, for me, in getting something bigger or more spacious than something like a DL650, F800GS, or Tiger 800XC. These bikes handle big distances at superlegal speeds fine. A bigger bike would just add bulk, and would likely suck more $$ for gas, tires, insurance, and purchase. We aren't big people though. Big people may want more space to stretch out, or want more power if they're hauling bigger/heavier personal items. I don't need 100HP+. 60-90HP does me just fine. The DR even does it OK for us with probably not even 40WHP, and on just one carbed cylinder with a mild cam and air/oil-cooling.
I also think that if Yamaha made a WR450R as smooth as the 250, with similar tranny, similar weight, similar frame/subframe, similar stator, similar suspension, similar maintenance schedule, and similar HP/liter, at a decent price, they'd sell a crapload of 'em. I think they'd even be fine with 10" of travel to make for a shorter seat height. Add an optional/accessory kicker and they wouldn't be able to keep up with demand. Ditto, if Suzuki ever got off their asses and just swapped a wide-ratio 6spd into the DR-Z400 without jacking the price to the moon, and that thing is just barely more modern than the DR650.