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Old 01-20-2013, 12:39 PM   #1
SilveradoTX OP
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ADV/DS on the brain, and really itching.

Ok, so I'm a member on here and twtex.com (Two Wheeled Texans) and have been sort of lurking around, looking at pictures, reading a little bit and seeing what bikes are out there for ADV/DS riding. I can't seem to help myself, I get on here, start looking around and develop this ridiculous itch that is really wanting to be scratched... maybe it's inspiration on steroids. In any case, the desire to get out, away from the city, outdoors and off the beaten pavement path is pretty strong.

I've taken my Buell down quite a few dirt/gravel roads and, though, it's not exactly built to do so, I've managed quite well. Some of this has been done with a large, expanded tank bag and my wife riding pillion. Even did a recent solo trip from Dallas to San Antonio and back with a full Wolfman tail/saddle bag. Needless to say, I've made the bike do what I've needed it to do.

While browsing around I've come to like the KTM Enduro bikes, DR-Z400, etc. style of bikes. I've sat on a KTM 990 Adventure and just didn't feel that was the right direction. Bikes like the KTM 990 and VeeStrom (though, I respect them) are not what I have in mind. Hopefully, one of these days in the next couple of years I'll be sharing stories from both paved and off road adventures.

Wasn't sure where to post this, I just didn't want this to be a "Help me find the right bike" or "What are your thoughts on..." thread since that's been done a gazillion and one times. I just needed to get this off my chest and admit to the rest of the Asylum that... I really want to go play in the dirt!!
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:34 PM   #2
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You probably should shop around and find a killer deal on a cheap Japanese 650 and then jump in and see how you like it.
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:14 PM   #3
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Got to agree. My choice would be a Kawasaki KLR650. This is a do everything bike, though it doesn't really excel at any one thing. It is to heavy for an outright dirtbike, but it does great on dirt and gravel roads and wide smooth trails. It is a little uncomfortable on the highway compared to a pure street bike (though I find it WAY more comfortable than any sport bike), it also lacks power on the freeway, though it will certainly cruise at freeway speeds. It just won't take off like a rocket from 75 mph. You mentioned riding with your wife, and that is probably the KLRs biggest weak point. But that is true of all dual sport bikes. They just were not intended to carry a passenger. One will fit, but they won't be comfortable, and the bike won't handle very well. I definitely would not take a passenger on a long off road ride on one, but I probably wouldn't do it on a BMW 1200GS either. I have a '95 Goldwing for passengers, and it is the ONLY bike out of 46 I have owned that I have no reservations about carrying a passenger on. Maybe you could get your wife into riding and get her her own bike.

Oh, if you have any interest in the KLR, I would avoid the '08 model. It has a well known oil burning problem. But because of that, they are usually cheaper, and there is a fix, which ends up giving you more power than stock, if you want to go to the trouble.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:19 PM   #4
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Got to agree. My choice would be a Kawasaki KLR650. This is a do everything bike, though it doesn't really excel at any one thing... Maybe you could get your wife into riding and get her her own bike.
I've seen the KLR650 mentioned for the reasons you mentioned and will still consider it as a possibility in the future.

On a really cool note, my wife has been wanting to get her motorcycle license for a while now. We just haven't had the time to do that. She's been wanting to do this on her own accord and not because I wanted or pushed her to do it. Hopefully that will happen this year. She's ridden the Blast at my parents house and within 45 minutes she was doing things that took two days in the MSF class.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:25 AM   #5
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What is your dirt experience?
How much dirt are you planning to ride and what type? Singletrack? Gnarly climbs/hills? Group rides? Fire roads? Enduros/Dual Sport organized rides?
Do you plan to trailer your bike to the dirt?
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:47 AM   #6
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I also had no difficulty with road bikes on gravel roads. I picked up a cheap dual-sport and it really is nicer on gravel roads and I've ridden ATV trails here where my road bikes would never go.

You're not asking about the "right bike" but I'd now say that lighter is more playful. (Mine is heavier and more road-worthy.) I also vote for drop-ability. I generally like bikes that I don't have to worry about.

But my main vote is "try it, you'll like it".
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:09 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Off the grid View Post
What is your dirt experience?
How much dirt are you planning to ride and what type? Singletrack? Gnarly climbs/hills? Group rides? Fire roads? Enduros/Dual Sport organized rides?
Do you plan to trailer your bike to the dirt?
I hate to say it, but I don't have any experience on dirt. Definitely don't have any with something that can actually handle it. Ridden my Buell down some loose dirt/gravel roads and that's pretty much it.
Right now I'm looking at something that I can ride to the dirt. Planning on riding dirt/gravel roads, old fire roads, maybe a trail or at an off road park... something to ride where I want and be able to explore. Nothing too overly crazy to start with. If the opportunity presents itselft I wouldn't mind being able to go on group rides and organized events.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:21 AM   #8
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I also had no difficulty with road bikes on gravel roads. I picked up a cheap dual-sport and it really is nicer on gravel roads and I've ridden ATV trails here where my road bikes would never go.

You're not asking about the "right bike" but I'd now say that lighter is more playful. (Mine is heavier and more road-worthy.) I also vote for drop-ability. I generally like bikes that I don't have to worry about.

But my main vote is "try it, you'll like it".
That's something else that I'm trying to keep in mind as well; riding something that is a little bit lighter and don't have to worry too much about.

Definitely wanting to try it, and I'm sure I'm going to like it.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:39 AM   #9
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What is your height and weight?

What kind of off road gear do you have-meaning do you have an off road helmet, gloves, knee and elbow protection, off road boots, gloves, goggles?
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:21 PM   #10
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What is your height and weight?

What kind of off road gear do you have-meaning do you have an off road helmet, gloves, knee and elbow protection, off road boots, gloves, goggles?
I'm 5'10" and around 160lbs, inseam is 30".
And no off road gear... yet. I will aquire the gear once the purchase of a bike is nearer and more concrete.
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:25 PM   #11
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After many years of traveling on the bigger bikes: KTM 950, Vstrom 1000, Aprilia Dorsoduro I have found and bought a 2009 KLR with lots and lots of aftermarket stuff. The stock KLR would never satisfy me but the previous owner adjusted everything to my liking including rear shock and springs and fork valving and springs and a 688cc piston. I picked it for its smaller and easier traveling size. It will still go freeway speeds but off road it will be somewhat easier to maneuver than the KTM or Strom. and buying two sets of tires a year is expensive on those bigger bikes. I also have a seriously changed DR650 for my more serious dirt tracking. I would not use a KLR if my riding included very much two up though. Any one of the newer 800cc cycles would be far superior to a single for two up.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:50 PM   #12
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I'd forget buying the "perfect" bike, and just get something you can afford and get out there. Buy used, learn from the experience, have some fun.

I was where you are a few years ago, though I had some some Jurassic-era dirt experience.

In the last 3 years, I have had a '99 DR350SE, '06 DR650SE, and now an '09 WR250R. Hasn't cost much to play, all sold for close to what I had in them. Anything with a plate that lets you get out there should do for a starting point. As someone noted above, in general lighter will make you smile more.

KLX250S, WR250R, DR-Z400, XR650L, DR650SE, whatever. KLR if you are gravel road biased, not so much if dirt means single track.

For a cheap starting point, with your inseam, I'd look for either a KLX or DR650. DR is better on the road, KLX on the trail, both do both.

They're cheap, plentiful, reliable, and no matter what you buy, it will be your first dual-sport but probably not your last.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:28 PM   #13
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KLX250S, WR250R, DR-Z400, XR650L, DR650SE, whatever. KLR if you are gravel road biased, not so much if dirt means single track.

For a cheap starting point, with your inseam, I'd look for either a KLX or DR650. DR is better on the road, KLX on the trail, both do both.

They're cheap, plentiful, reliable, and no matter what you buy, it will be your first dual-sport but probably not your last.
This is good advice, the red is absolutely true. This is the beginning of your offroad journey. Pick up a well-sorted, cheap Japanese bike. The lighter the better, street legal. Used DR350SE or DRZ400S are good starter bikes. The 650s are fooking heavy.

At your height and weight a 250 is a good idea as well, just make sure it's plated.

Might be worth it to look into a day-long dirt school if you have one locally. You will learn a lot in a day and really shorten the trial by fire.

Good luck!!
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:50 PM   #14
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I really appreciate the input and suggestions. It's nice to actually have a small list of bikes that I can go look at specificaly and not walk into a situation completely clueless.

If only my bank account would grow as fast as i'm researching.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:03 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by SilveradoTX View Post
I'm 5'10" and around 160lbs, inseam is 30".
And no off road gear... yet. I will aquire the gear once the purchase of a bike is nearer and more concrete.
You and I are pretty much identical in size. My journey had me starting with a Triumph Scrambler, now I'm selling my Tiger and I've decided on getting a Yamaha WR250R. A lowered WRR would be a good choice for the both of you IMO. The reason I'm getting one is that it's a bike that I'll be able to do much more technical dirt while still doing long, long trips.

Good luck in your quest.
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