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Old 03-06-2013, 07:43 AM   #1
Jason KLR OP
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Location: North Vancouver
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Need a Dempter worthy GF Bike

Sorry if this is the wrong section(?). I'm looking for some advice getting my gf started on riding. She fell in love w riding/dual sporting on the back of my trusty KLR 650 and is getting her license in a few weeks. She has her heart set on a harley 883 iron sporty after she's comfortable riding (her 2nd bike)

I booked off 3 weeks next August (2013) to ride up to Inuvik via the Dempster and she insists on coming too. So 2 up on the KLR isn't possible so we need her on a dual sport bike which works out anyways as her first bike should be something "droppable"

She seems to like the DR200 as they are dirt cheap new and most importantly have a low seat height. My issued w that bike is highway travel...can it maintain 65mph for several days at a time? I'd get a taller screen but I'm more concerned w the gearing ect. She won't be carrying much gear as the klr will have most of it.

If the DR is unsuitable could you recommend something in the $4000 range as she only plans to ride it the first season. My gf is 5'02" tall, 28" inseam, 110lbs.

I thought the drz400 would be ideal but they are too pricey new and the seat height is over 35"! Any help would be great.
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Old 03-06-2013, 08:44 AM   #2
ParaMud
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Doing Alaska just like you are this summer in July.


She is 5'5 with short legs.
Did 1in lower dog bones in the back, lowered the forks a bit. Shaved the seat down. She can ride it offroad comfortably.

Here is a video, she is still a beginner on dirt and is slow. It makes life harder for her to move slow :(
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:05 AM   #3
Lost Rider
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I can recommend the Honda CRF250L for our experience.

$4500 brand new, fuel injected, long service intervals, proven Honda motor, excellent MPG, enough electrical power for heated grips and jacket liner (girls are always cold!), low seat height stock and easily lowered more, capable of highway speeds all day with minimal vibrations and very capable off tarmac stock. It's surprisingly comfortable at highways speeds all day, very smooth considering it's a 250 single.
It's a bike that she probably wouldn't outgrow very quickly, having enough power to do it all and have a good time for less aggressive riders, or more aggressive riders who don't mind flogging the little bike.

All it really would need for your trip is a skid plate, hand guards, heated grips, tail rack and possibly a lowering link. Something you'll want on any bike.
There's an 3.2 gallon IMS tank due out soon which would give it a 150-200 mile range, for the Dempster you'd need to carry a little more fuel, but that's easy and common for many bikes. BTDT on the Dempster.

My Nancy can even pick it up herself and she weighs 125 pounds.












Lost in Death Valley 2013 from Lost Rider on Vimeo.








Death Valley Daze from Lost Rider on Vimeo.

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Old 03-06-2013, 10:45 AM   #4
spoon
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Lost Rider, what boots is your girl wearing? That Honda is a nice practical looking rig.
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Old 03-06-2013, 10:53 AM   #5
Lost Rider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spoon View Post
Lost Rider, what boots is your girl wearing? That Honda is a nice practical looking rig.
The boots are Gaerne, not sure which model, I'm not at home currently. Saved her from foot injuries countless times.

The Honda really is a neat, affordable bike that's strikes a nice balance between on and off tarmac performance, comfort, while being forgiving for new riders and being able to take a beating and get pushed from not so new riders.
We both love riding it!
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Old 03-06-2013, 01:04 PM   #6
lilolita
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I'll toss out a DR350. Cheap, reliable, relatively lightweight (I can pick it up the first four, five times I drop it...). You can get lowering links and a bigger tank. It'll do 70 on the highway depending on which sprockets you run. I just love mine.

As for boots, I've got both Alpinestars Tech 6 (women's) and Gaerne G-Adventure (men's). Atomic Moto special ordered the Gaerne's in a smaller size.
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Old 03-16-2013, 07:04 AM   #7
dieselpete
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How about a used F650GS? Great bikes, low seat height, rotax engine. Looking for one for a friends SO. Great road manners, and light enough for the ladies.

Love the other bikes, however the BMW just does everything better. Sounds like a crock, but that's why I ride a GS. Pricing is decent on early 2000 vintage.
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:11 AM   #8
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I would avoid the DR 200 if there are days of highway travel involved. I have a 95 DR 250, and while it will do 65 - 70 you are asking a lot of it to keep it there for days. Top speed on my 250 is 78 mph indicated.
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:42 AM   #9
MJS
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Riding to AK is a lot of highway miles. I'd look for a low frame F650. My wife is 5'-2" with a 27" inseam and she has ridden from Deadhorse to Panama on hers.

Drawbacks are it is a bit heavy for an off-road bike but will eat up the highway miles. The low option reduces ground clearance and rear wheel travel so adding a lot of luggage compresses the rear suspension (what there is of it). Once she gets more experience on the bike you can convert it to standard height by fitting a standard rear shock and either change the fork internals ($100 in parts from BMW) or fitting a 21" front wheel.

A X-Country would also be a good choice.

In the small bike category I'd look for an XT250 or the Honda 250. Both are capable off road and lighter than the BMW. Both will do highway speeds but without much reserve power. You won't be cruising at 75 MPH. Both also have limited range in stock form.

For perspective, my wife has an XT225, an F650GS and I just got her a X-Country. I've also ridden the Honda and XT250.

Best advice I can give: Get her a bike that she feels comfortable on, likes and wants to ride. Your trip will be over before it starts if she's not happy with her ride.

Here's to the start of great travels together,

Mark
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Old 03-16-2013, 05:24 PM   #10
jon_l
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Suggestions for 650cc class bikes for not-so-tall folks riding on gravel roads and highway:

DR650
Husky Terra
G650GS (or Sertao)

Suggestions for highway capable, 6-speed, reliable and cheap 250-cc class bikes for not-so-tall that seem decent on highway for their displacement:
CRF250L
Kawi Super Sherpa
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:07 PM   #11
Hawk62cj5
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I was going to say super sherpa , its not a speed demon but it will haul my 240 lbs fat rear 65 all day if need be but its happy in the 58-63 mph range but its a very smooth ride and easy to handle bike . I doubt I ever sell mine even if I get a bigger bike .
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:22 PM   #12
Jason KLR OP
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Thanks for the replies, All well thought out suggestions. One bike she seemed interested in was a klx250. I'm sure it's geared for off road but I read it has a 6 speed transmission - anyone have any highway exp on one?

I'd be interested in the fuel range, rpm at 65mph and seat comfort if anyone can share?
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:26 AM   #13
jon_l
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason KLR View Post
Thanks for the replies, All well thought out suggestions. One bike she seemed interested in was a klx250. I'm sure it's geared for off road but I read it has a 6 speed transmission - anyone have any highway exp on one?

I'd be interested in the fuel range, rpm at 65mph and seat comfort if anyone can share?
I rented one for 4 days, used mostly on gravel roads and back-roads, and one 45 minutes section of 60 mph highway. This was the "SF" model, same bike but for wheels/tires/sprockets. I wrote up my impressions here.



I weigh 225 and it did OK on the highway, but I didn't enjoy it much. Was a fine ride on slower roads. Likely your GF weighs less than me. Range is limited, like all these bikes that hold ~2 gallons. A little over 100 miles before you are starting to look for fuel. For the Dempster, she will need a bigger fuel tank or a Rotopax on the rack. Seat sucks, as you would expect, but Seat Concepts can help with that.

Wifey has a Super Sherpa, and even though it has a little less HP than the KLX, it seems to do highway better. I have not ridden them back-to-back though, more impression than valid comparison. Sherpa is a bit lighter, lower seat, and it is air-cooled simple. I haven't ridden it for more than 1/2 hour at a stretch, but she likes the stock seat. She weighs ~120 lbs.
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:04 AM   #14
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I

The Dempster, Haul Road and Top of the World do not require tons of suspension. The biggest issue is something that will eat miles getting there and back. On the unpaved she will also need something that she can handle in loose gravel and mud (see picture). You are not bouldering in the Rocky Mountains. The trip is also WET and can be cold. Wind protection is a big deal. The street side of dualsport is much more important for this trip.

My advice is to take her around to some non-HD dealerships and see what she can fit. I would then look in the used market for the top couple of picks. As long as you can fit decent tires on the bike it will go up the Dempster. If I were trying to spec a bike for my wife for this trip it would be a standard F650GS/G650GS single. The seat height is low and it will handle both parts of the trip in reasonable comfort.

Good Luck with your decision.

Nnordsman screwed with this post 03-17-2013 at 08:41 AM
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:54 PM   #15
ABHooligan
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I don't know much about motorcycles. I know very little about Dempster and Alaska, except for where it lies on the map. I would like to go there someday.

What I am learning (every day) is that you can gently lead a horse to the dual-sport wine-and-tapas bar, and you possibly can coax said horse into drinking aforementioned wine, but if said horse doesn't want it, your ass will be hearing about for 10,000 miles if she isn't completely happy. So the paramount decision should be hers.

Good luck and enjoy the trip.
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