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Old 05-11-2004, 11:32 PM   #14
Gone, but never forgotten. RIP, Mack...
Mack's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2002
Location: Austin, Texas USA Native Oregonian
Oddometer: 3,797
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
Österreichische Motorräder und deutsche Autos. Wie wundervoll kann das Leben sein

Mack screwed with this post 05-12-2004 at 01:27 AM Reason: SpElin eRerrs!
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