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Old 04-17-2007, 02:11 PM   #1
modette OP
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Undecided First Time Dual Sporter

Hi my name is Mark, and I think I have the Dual Sport bug for the last few years. As a kid I had a 1984-85 Honda CR60 (still have it), I also used to ride some Suzuki 1960's Dual Sports my Grandparnets had for people to enjoy down in GA...I would ride those many many miles on forest roads, trails, and main roads. Loved how you could switch the gearing with the twist of a lever. Then like most I did not ride again till 1999. I currently have only rode Street bikes since 1999. I started on a Ninja EX250 and then in 2001 bought my Yamaha FZ1 (I sold the EX250 years later), and in 2005 my wife got a Honda 599 (that I ride more then her).

I'm tired of the busy roads, almost getting run over daily gets old fast. I love the power of my bike, the ability to tour long distances, and the overall ease of use. I would like something like that for dirt.

I'm looking to explorer my local dirt roads (plenty of them in MI). Seeing as I do like to take trips I would probably do rides down to TN on back paved roads, and dirt roads. My goal at some point will be to use 98% dirt roads to go from MI to TN (My parents live there). Old logging roads, forest roads, dirt roads, and small old paved back roads are my interest.

I have sat on the Kawasaki KLR650, seemed nice, price is real nice, plus with all the extra like hard bags and off roads parts it would be around $8K-$9K. Seems like a good starter Dual Sport for me. However I am used to power, maybe this is not a concern on dirt roads and trails and the like. I also like the KTM 990 Adventure S, however none of my local dealers have one...one Dealer said it was a special order, I think I ticked him off because I told him I do not play that game as I have to at least sit on the bike. I'm not even sure how much one of these cost and what if anything I would need to add. like hard bags, engine guards and such like I factored intot he KL650. So far the KLR650 seems like the best dualsport for thje money but the KTM seems more like me.

I would be adding this bike to my current line up. It probably will not be this year, but I think next year I will talk the wife into letting me set aside some of our tax rebate to get me onto a new type of ride.

I guess what is stopping me is the unknown, I know thta is silly...but that is life. Sorry for the rambling...
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Old 04-17-2007, 04:27 PM   #2
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Well Mark, You get what you pay for if you're lucky. Sounds like you've thought it out, and just need a push to take the leap. Sound plan.

So, the wife is in... Go fer it.
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Old 04-17-2007, 05:08 PM   #3
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Mark,

Dualsporting is way better than the rest of the riding. First of all, a good dualsport rider has to maintain more skills than one that just rides on the pavement. You need to work on both skills as they drastically change as the suface you're riding on does.

That being said, there are many bikes out there that will make excellent bikes for what you are intending to do.

You choice of the KLR650 is an excellent one. I have one in my garage that I bought new and ride quite a bit. However there are multiple bikes in my garage and I ride all of them quite a bit. The KLX250 is my off road tool. I live close to the Ocala National Forest and you really need a plated vehicle to do any riding in the forest at all. The KLX is the right bike for that.

My KLR650 is basically my utility ride. I'll ride it anywhere and it does a great job of it. I would say without hesitation that the KLR650 is probably the most versatile motorcycle on the market today - for the price. It is not really outstanding at anything, but does most everything very well and that is important. You can do 500 to 600 mile days on it in relative comfort. It will go just about anywhere you want to wrestle it in to. If I was only able to have one bike, the KLR650 would be my choice.

I also have a V-Strom or DL1000. This is an "Adventure Bike" and some would call it a big dualsport. I have had it on gravel roads and packed dirt. While not the best, it will ride on that stuff. At the end of the day, you know you've been working. However, put it on the road and it is just like riding a sportbike. It handles very well, accelerates quite admirably and is also a very good all around bike. If I have to superslab someplace, why the V-Strom gets the call. It is that much better cruising at speed than the KLR650 is.

You might also want to investigate the DL650 or "Wee"-Strom as it is affectionately called. It weighs less than the bigger, more powerful V-Strom, but it has been known to be a better off road vehicle, which might fit your bill.

It all comes down to the rider, not the bike. I've been places on my KLX where a good rider will take a big GS1150 to. Oh, at the end of the day, I'm glad I'm on the KLX as the GS rider is plum wore out. It just depends on the riding you are capable of and want to do.

Look around and choose wisely. Or you might want to looks at a couple of bikes to do the job. That is the best choice.

Let us know how it works out for you.

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Old 04-17-2007, 05:10 PM   #4
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The 08 KLR is supposed to be a major upgrade, so you might keep that in the back of your mind. And look at a Wee Strom. Or the 1000 if you need big power - not as dirtable as the KTM but it sounds like you'll mostly still be on roads so thats not as much of an issue.
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Old 04-17-2007, 06:38 PM   #5
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As a Strom rider, I will say that the KLR is probably a better fit for the sort of mainly-dirt riding you plan on doing.
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Old 04-18-2007, 11:15 PM   #6
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+1 for the KLR (although I'm a bit biast in opinion) I think the KLR (I've had a an R80GS and a R100GSPD and an R1100GS)is a dream especially an older one that has some miles on it and has the 3-4000 dollars in panniers and other "modifications" already done, is your best bet if your confident witha bigger bike If your local KTM dealer can't get you bike to test ride, how long will you wait for parts? I'm sure this this thread will start a firestorm between DRZ riders , Strom riders and Beemer riders(650) nationwide. Remember the KLR though, less parts means less to break. Water-Cooled and 20 years and still running the same motor? Kawi must have done something right. Once you get it and and go back to the dealer they usually have little to say other then "Do you need brakes, tires or a chain? Good luck but that's my .00005cents on the matter.
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Old 04-19-2007, 12:14 AM   #7
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Here's what worked for me:

-Bought a used KLR with all the accessories and mods already paid for by the previous owner.

-Rode it for 3 years and sold it for $400 less that it cost me.

-You may not keep the KLR forever or fall in love with it, (I didn't), but I doubt you'll be disappointed.
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Old 04-19-2007, 04:02 AM   #8
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The KLR is a cheap and reliable route to new dualsport ownership, but it's a jack of all trades bike, and master of none. As such, it's not very inspiring to ride. It's a bike from another era. It's a terrible bike for serious trail riding, and not much fun at highway speeds. It's suspension is useless for serious off road riding, it weighs a porky 400 pounds, but only has 35 hp to push it along.

The KLR will work, as long as dirt roads are as tehnical as you ever plan to get, with regard to off road riding.

Consider a DRZ400S, instead. Much better bike all round. More power, less weight, and it has a modern high-revving, liquid cooled engine, and a real off road suspension. And it only costs about a grand more.

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Old 04-19-2007, 06:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRZ400SK4

{snip}

The KLR is a cheap and reliable route to new dualsport ownership

{snip}

How very true!

Remember this, you can only have two of the 3 properties below:


Cost

Performance

Reliability

I'm glad I chose properly!
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'74 Honda CB350F - project bike


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Old 04-19-2007, 06:18 AM   #10
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Honda XR650L

Be sure to check out Honda's XR650L.
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Old 04-19-2007, 07:03 AM   #11
DRZ400SK4
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Quote:
Remember this, you can only have two of the 3 properties below:


Cost


Performance

Reliability

So how come the DRZ400 gives you all three?
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Old 04-19-2007, 07:41 AM   #12
Prairie Dog
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I was not aware that it did!

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'08 KLE 650-A8F
'06 DL-1000 K6
'06 KLX 331 H6
'04 KLR 650 A18
'92 EX500 - one day a KLEX500?
'74 Honda CB350F - project bike


"You'll never see a motorcycle parked in front of a Psychiatrist's office!"
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Old 04-19-2007, 07:57 AM   #13
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Consider yourself DRZ educated.

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Old 04-19-2007, 08:12 AM   #14
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Lob over the plate....


There are a lot of bikes out there that will fill the bill, and I am not a big fan of the KLR ( boring), but it would definitely provide a platform that would let you decide just how much dirt vs. street you really wanna do, and it won't break (doo notwithstanding).
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Old 04-19-2007, 08:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
There are a lot of bikes out there that will fill the bill, and I am not a big fan of the KLR ( boring), but it would definitely provide a platform that would let you decide just how much dirt vs. street you really wanna do, and it won't break (doo notwithstanding).

Agreed.

And I'll try to put a positive spin on the KLR, despite not being a fan of the bike, either...

It has four undeniable redeeming qualities...

-It's cheap.
-It's relaible.
-It has a big tank.
-It has a comfy seat.
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