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Old 07-20-2014, 09:31 AM   #1
missin44 OP
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Looking for Trail Bike - Dual Sport-ish

After almost 30 years away from trail riding I'm getting back into it. After some tire kicking a local dealers the KTM 350 EXC-F would fit my needs perfectly. However at almost $10 grand it's a bitter pill to swallow. I have no idea if dealers will negotiate off that price but still it’s a ton of money. I would do very little road riding, all I want is something to strap on a fly rod & tent to and go explore the mountains of Colorado, 8,000’ to 12,000’. So tagging is important, EFI would be a plus. A conversation kit would even work.



In my mind a 250/350 would be perfect, back in the day I was a very good rider, not an expert but pretty good. That was 30 yrs. ago, I’ve been on street bikes since then. The reason I say 250/350 is I prefer light weight and maneuverability to power. All that said technology has changed over the years, it used to be that added displacement meant added weight, a lot of weight. Now maybe not so much, you tell me. Anyway there you have it, input please.


Not a racer, trails are my bag.


All that said how about naming a few bikes I should look for in the used market, make and model specific please, even year would help. I'm 54, 6' & 175lbs.
Thanks
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:19 AM   #2
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DRZ400s, fun, light-ish, cheap, easy to work on. Can handle the trials, and pick up groceries.

Personally, I prefer my SM, but I would buy an S if I had the cash or was forced to choose something else.
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:31 AM   #3
Navin
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"A conversation kit would even work. "

Oh, well, you want to talk or ride?
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:32 AM   #4
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Well. If it's any help I just got a Yamaha XT250 (2012). I'm 59, 6 foot and 225 pounds. I haven't had it long but I have noticed the following. People say this bike can cruise at an honest 55 miles per hour and it really can. The bike sits low yet has good ground clearance. It can climb about any hill that I want to try at my age. It has a good frame design for adding luggage or your fishing tackle on the back (the back part of the frame looks strong). Gas mileage is really good so the small gas tank is enough. You won't think the bike is too cramped if you are old enough to remember dirt bikes from the 70's.

I would offer the following cautions and maybe others will chime in here. I have not had my bike on big hills like you find in Colorado so I don't know how well it can maintain speed in those situations. Also, the suspension on this bike is rudimentary by today's standards and although it is fine for exploring and fishing you will quickly find it's limitations if you are riding for sport. Also, you mentioned high elevations so I would get the 2013 or later fuel injected model then just ride it. I'm not an expert but for me at my age I find this bike perfect for what I do.
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Old 07-20-2014, 08:00 PM   #5
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Yamaha WR250R or Suzuki DR650. The WR250R has fuel injection. The DR has a lot more go power.
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Old 07-21-2014, 11:33 AM   #6
LittleRedToyota
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the 350 exc will blow the DRZ, WR250R, DR650, etc. away performance-wise...especially in the dirt (though, in many ways, on the road as well). the other three are all *heavy*...none of them meet your desire for "lightweight and maneuverability".

also...

the DRZ has a close ratio 5 speed tranny that cannot be geared well for both slow going trails and highway at the same time. it is also no powerhouse, but is OK.

the WRR is powered by a malnourished hamster. (i know you mention that you don't care as much about that, but then mention riding 30 years ago. you may have been on a 250 2-stroke? the 250 4-strokes make way less power and are heavier. they are kinda like having the downsides of a 125--no power and you have ring their necks to get what power they do have out of them--without the upside of being mountain-bike light. this is especially true for dual sport 250s, which, like all japanese dual sport offerings these days, are really heavy. the dirt versions are at least pretty light.)

the DR is really heavy, also kinda weak in the motor department, and has crappy suspension.

if the kind of trails you are envisioning are basically narrow dirt roads, the weight and suspension issues won't really matter that much. but, if you are thinking of more technical trails, they both make a big difference.

if you want to avoid the sticker shock of a new 350 exc, look for a used one. or a used KTM 450exc or 500/525/530exc (the bigger KTMs are still way lighter and way more maneuverable than a DRZ, WRR, or DR).
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Old 07-21-2014, 12:32 PM   #7
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Get a WR250R or XT250 or CRF250 .All those bikes are crash-worthy and low maint.
Ride it for a year and see if you like riding off road.

If you do like off road, then buy a KTM 690 or 500 exc.
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwilightZone View Post
Get a WR250R or XT250 or CRF250 .All those bikes are crash-worthy and low maint.
Ride it for a year and see if you like riding off road.

If you do like off road, then buy a KTM 690 or 500 exc.
Good advice right there. The wrr is immensely capable despite its low power, can be found used, and then sold in a year for what you paid for them. I started with a cheap xr650r, figured out I wanted lighter with same power and got the 350exc.
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:49 PM   #9
Auto-X Fil
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You can't lose with the WRR. It's so capable, so easy to own, and so versatile. It'll do the highway, single track, fire roads... whatever. The CRF250L is ok (I own one and love it), but it's going to be a real dog at altitude. For a little more money, the WRR is better on- and off-road than the Honda.

The DR650 is nice, but a bit of a pig off-road, and carbed, which will be more annoying with the altitudes you're talking about.
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Old Yesterday, 08:30 AM   #10
missin44 OP
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Thanks all talking to a dealer that's discounting the KTM XCF-W's, we'll see where it goes.
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Old Yesterday, 09:42 AM   #11
tjanson
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Trail bike or heavy dual sport?

For a used/budget lightweight trail bike with a streetable 6th gear:

Kawasaki KLX250s / KLX300r
KTM 200 or 300 EXC/ XC-W 2t
KTM 400/450/500 EXC / XCF-W

If you don't need a 6th gear:

Yamaha WR250F or WR450F (note the F!)

If you really want a trail bike, I'd say the recommendations for WR250R, DRZ, CRF230L, are off the mark. Too heavy!
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Old Yesterday, 10:10 AM   #12
Jäger
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Standard disclaimers about nobody being able to judge what will suit you best other than you, apply here.

If you're about touring around enjoying the view, flyfishing along the way, etc, rather than seeing how fasts you can get from corner A to corner B, you should at least consider a WR250R.

Yes, it isn't hard to find people nattering about the bike having the power of a malnourished hamster, etc and so forth. How heavy it is compared to a KTM. True or not, what doesn't get mentioned is that there are two other things it doesn't have: a KTM price tag on it (new or used), and a KTM maintenance schedule. Oh... and did anybody mention "reliable"? Takes on a new importance while travelling abandoned roads alone, sixty miles from nowhere and often untraveled for days at a time. And I like the absolute minimal maintenance schedule for the bike. Fuel injection and mileage while wandering around up in the mountains is nice as well.

I have no idea whether the WR250R (or the XT250 for that matter) will be right for you. I do know that I have roamed all over the Continental Divide in northern Montana and southern BC/AB on mine, multi day flyfishing trips on the blue ribbon West Slope cuttie rivers and streams out there, weekly three hour 70 mph commutes on the slab, etc. Others with bigger dreams have ridden the WR250R to the ends of the earth and back. Some of those ride reports you'll find posted here.

Does it all with no drama whatsoever - which some will see as a bad thing, but nearing 60 I see as a good thing. I regularly ride with a neighbor that has a KTM. We trade once in a while and I like his bike for about ten minutes, being on something like the MX bikes of my younger days. Then I want my WR back. The KTM is very nice, but it is not an every day, every week, bike for me and how I ride.

If you want wheelies on command, featherlight handling on single track, near-motocross handling, and are peeved by anything that weighs over 275 lbs wet, then the WR250R is not for you. If riding like you're racing is still appealing to you, are all about getting from one corner to the next as fast as possible, then the WR250R is not for you.

But if you aren't looking for the above, you might want to check out the WR250R mega thread here in the Thumpers section. And/or head over to the "What Broke?" section of the WR250R forum elsewhere on the Internet - mostly to see how few and minor the posts are in that section versus the number of WR250R owners who are members there. And maybe even a test ride somewhere. A used bike in good condition is just as good as a new one - about the only changes since the bike came out in 2008 are changes in the graphics.

Lots of bikes may work very well for you. But for true dual sport and just wandering the high places taking in the views and chasing trout, the WR250R is a definite contender.
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Old Yesterday, 10:32 AM   #13
dhally
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As I get older, I am more concerned about seat height. The OP talked about fishing, which to me sounds like a lot of getting on and off, loading and unloading luggage, etc. More like using the bike for a tool vs. riding fast as recreation. In that case I would recommend something on the shorter side.

I am 6'2" so for me the WRR is short(ish). It's just enough shorter than a "real" trail bike to make things painless. If the OP is much shorter than 6', though, I wonder if maybe the XT250 or CRF250 might be better choices, simply because of their lower seats.
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Old Today, 08:57 AM   #14
Jäger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhally View Post
As I get older, I am more concerned about seat height.
That would be my one snivel about the WRR. Although, most of the other bikes are even taller. My inseam is 28", so the seat height makes getting my leg over - particularly with a bag - a bit of an annoyance. I've just accepted that it is what it is and get on the bike like I used to get on horses - the footpeg serves as a stirrup.

Quote:
The OP talked about fishing, which to me sounds like a lot of getting on and off, loading and unloading luggage, etc. More like using the bike for a tool vs. riding fast as recreation. In that case I would recommend something on the shorter side.
Perhaps it depends on who and what kind of fishing. If he's talking about the kind of riding up here near the Continental Divide, chasing west slope cutties is kind of a few stops sort of thing. I can be set up and flyfishing in about fifteen minutes, less if the water is warm enough to wet wade without freezing my wedding tackle off. The WRR and the smaller Giant Loop Coyote is the perfect tool for a trout bum like me - my traveling flyfishing gear and camping gear all fit in the Giant Loop.

Gratuitous flyfishing/WR250R expedition pictures follow...

Rigged for a three day flyfishing expedition up the Bull, Albert, and Palliser rivers... thus the fuel blivet behind the Giant Loop. The fuel blivet is a great piece of kit; holds three gallons and progressively rolls up as you empty it until it's just a big burrito and you stuff it away somewhere.



The packing undone: getting the flyrod out to hit the water. Those Redington Tempt flyrods are genius: nice and short and inexpensive - and almost as nice as my spendy Scott.



The water a dual sport gives you access to:



And the result:



You don't catch many of these 17 - 19" west slope cutties down by the main roads that get bombed by SUVs loaded with fishing families and the float boat crowd.

So I think the WR250R is a primo dual sport, especially for trout bums.
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Old Today, 11:06 AM   #15
JDUBinCO
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Honda xr400. Great torque to climb hills. Factory gearing will get you to 78 mph, low maintenance and little lighter and cheaper than a wr250r. I love mine. Jet it with a 150 main and you'll run fine at 12,000 feet. The stock suspension is pretty good too.

Not that there's any problem with a wr250r, is a great bike.
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