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Old 11-27-2012, 04:20 PM   #1
lhendrik OP
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Location: New York and Floridoodie
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Advice on a lightweight alternative to my R1200GSA

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.
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:27 PM   #2
milo
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Get a DR650, add a IMS 5 gallon tank, skid plate, Corbin flat saddle, and stiffer fork springs. Dead reliable and fun as heck.

http://youtu.be/0t2IopH1AG0

(They're cheap, air cooled, plus higher quality and 60# less than a KLR.)

milo screwed with this post 11-27-2012 at 04:33 PM
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:31 PM   #3
Gillus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milo View Post
Get a DR650, add a IMS 5 gallon tank, skid plate, Corbin flat saddle, and stiffer fork springs. Dead reliable and fun as heck.

http://youtu.be/0t2IopH1AG0
+1 and rebuilt/new rear shock sprung for your weight, then a pumper carb from Jesse and find a titanium GSXR Can and it will still be dead reliable, fun as heck and you will have to hang on
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:52 PM   #4
WoodButcher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milo View Post
Get a DR650, add a IMS 5 gallon tank, skid plate, Corbin flat saddle, and stiffer fork springs. Dead reliable and fun as heck.

http://youtu.be/0t2IopH1AG0

(They're cheap, air cooled, plus higher quality and 60# less than a KLR.)
+1 and inexpensive on the used market.
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:32 PM   #5
L21
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KTM 950 works for me
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:52 PM   #6
vtbob
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guys have been doing on the cheap with KLRs for years. stone simple too
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:00 PM   #7
AviatorTroy
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WR250? Seriously if you have no off road experience at all then you probably should log some time on a light 250 dual sport.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by AviatorTroy View Post
WR250? Seriously if you have no off road experience at all then you probably should log some time on a light 250 dual sport.
Unless you're a big boy that DR650 will still kick your ass in the rough stuff. Service roads, jeep trails, no problem.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:54 PM   #9
fastgpfred
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WR250? Seriously if you have no off road experience at all then you probably should log some time on a light 250 dual sport.
Ditto....you need a friend or two to do this with & log some off road time on a bike that is lighter. A Honda XR250 is a great choice too. Buy used and sell in a year or two for around what you paid for it. (or you may decide to keep it)
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Old 12-11-2012, 11:29 AM   #10
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after riding my GS off road then switching to the KLR, the klr feels like a bicycle. my KLR has Ricor valves in the forks & a Moab shock on the back. tittied up with a 705, a bit of head work, & FMF exhaust, etc... I've ridden it side by side with the KTM640 and it's really close. I know orange guys will hate that but its true & my friend with the 640 agrees. it takes $$$ and time to make those changes, but it has 8000 trouble free miles. (the 690 is a definite step up). the DR is pretty good out of the box, a little lighter than the klr & only needs a tank to go rtw. the DRZ is better off road because of the weight... trouble is the gearing is short and the seat is butt floss. the WR250 can stay with the KLR on the highway if packed light (very light)... it also need premium gas. it's all trade offs

learn the dirt on a half beat dirt bike if you can

P.S. I still have the GS and use it a lot. I'm still looking for that 400-500cc light weight mostly dirt bike that can hold the highway speeds
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:01 PM   #11
vabuckaroo68
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KTM 950/990 ADVENTURE. Traded my 1150GS a couple of years ago. This is a great all round bike. Either single or two-up. Fire roads to interstate..... it can do it all. I prefer the 950 as I'm anti EFI/ABS.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:09 PM   #12
BigDave75
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I really enjoyed my KTM 530 EXC it did everything you are looking for, although a bit more expensive than a DR or KLR.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:15 PM   #13
a.c.s.
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Having owned a KLR 650, I'd consider it just as heavy an cumbersome as the GSA, but still just as manageable. I've ridden in plenty of places the GSA had no business going while following some experienced dirt riders on KLR's and KTM 950s. I can't comment on the DL650, but consider it in the same class.

Having ridden a KTM 450 EXC this summer, I'm left with lust in my heart.. Excellent on the dirt and capable of taking you 250 miles on back roads to where the action is. $3500 will buy you one, and you don't have to feel like a fool when you're following your friends riding a disposable motorcycle (KLR 650) when the SHTF in the sand...

If you're really looking to go on the cheap, take a look at the Honda XR600 or XR400. $1500 will fetch you a fine specimen.

Good luck!
-acs
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:28 PM   #14
JustKip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhendrik View Post
I have zero off road time, and don't mind taking some training programs.
This is where you should start. Serious off road riding ain't for everybody, and for anything that can be called a "road" the GSA will be fine, but you still want real training. Trial and error is fine, and having friends show you the ropes can be helpful, but real hard-core training will get you a lot of know-how in a short time. It will also give you a better idea of the size of bike you are wiling to wrastle in what enviornment.
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:46 PM   #15
Mad Kaw
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The DRz 400 or even KLX400/450 would be ideal. When I started out dual sport a few years ago I had never done it. Been 400,000 miles pavement but no dirt touring to that point. I had some dirt experience as a teen racing MX...but not 3000 mile cross country trips on a dirt bike.

I bought a KLX400 (drz400) and first ride out was 1500 miles on the TAT from Oklahoma across the Rockies to Moab, UT. We r
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