Originally Posted by KoolBreeze
but do dirt roads warrant a dakar? i would expect the dl650 to be the better choice there.
now to decide where to place the emphasis
A DL will never have a 21" front wheel, ground clearance, spoked rims and a frame running under the engine to protect it.
I ride with Dakar's and 1200GS's on nasty dirt tracks - I have no trouble going the same places they do - but ABS is a clear winner for them - they go faster because they know they can stop, and I suspect their suspension is a bit better than mine. Ground clearance hasn't been an issue, and so far neither has the rims or engine protection.
I'd rate the DL as the bike to get if you plan on being able to ride to work on Monday for sure - it's 50% of the effort for 90% of the "go-fast" - and I do know a DL 650 can go a lot faster than I ride - I've seen one do it.
I suspect doing some suspension work on a DL 650 will get it up very close to the GS's - they'll still have more power, but they carry a big weight penalty.
I just did some suspension work on my DL - so I'll know for sure on that next time I go riding with them