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Old 05-18-2015, 06:35 PM   #1
cyprant OP
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Need help narrowing down what I need

What's up inmates, First post here and I need some help from you guys. I am looking to buy a motorcycle after not riding for 10 years. To make a long story short, I bought a bike way to big/fast for my maturity when I was 19. I Almost killed myself a couple of times so I decided to sell the bike before it actually happened. I have changed a lot since then and am craving that lean again. I decided this time I will take a motorcycle class and become a great rider. This brings me to the question of what bike to get...

I plan to ride 85% on road but would love to have the ability to learn to ride dirt. I will commute to work on side roads (no highway) and cruise country roads/gravel back roads for fun.

I think I want to start on something smaller 250-650?

I originally was looking for a 600cc cruiser, but there's something drawing me into the dual sports. It may be a combination of light weight, easy to ride, and the ability to soak up pot holes and tear through a field when the mood strikes...

So, what would you reccomend? I have looked at the drz400, dr650, crf250l, Hondas 650l, klx250, klr650, etc. My head is spinning. I will either buy a used bike for around 3K give or take 1k...

Is a dual sport even a good idea if I will rarely go off road?

Thanks guys!
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Old 05-18-2015, 06:38 PM   #2
Geolander
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V-Strom
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Old 05-18-2015, 06:50 PM   #3
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Depends on what your idea of off road is. KLR will at least give you something capable for plonking about off road but still comfy on road and is mostly ready to go from the factory.
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Old 05-18-2015, 06:58 PM   #4
Grreatdog
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Not mention it is theoretically impossible to kill yourself on a KLR650 without outside intervention. But I might lean more toward the DR650 for the gain in power and loss of weight. But none of the Japanese 650's are exactly threatening and all pretty easy to customize.
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Old 05-18-2015, 07:01 PM   #5
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Yamaha WR250R was made for what you will be doing.
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Old 05-18-2015, 09:44 PM   #6
timeOday
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VStrom 650, or Versys. I would not go for a single-cylinder bike for mostly on-road - a two-cylinder will have lots more power and the engine will last longer, and still goes fine on dirt roads, but with a more street-oriented suspension that's much more responsive onroad. No single-cylinder dual sport will be any good on the freeway.
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Old 05-18-2015, 09:47 PM   #7
sparkingdogg
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DRZ400

Cheap and plentiful

Smaller platform than the 600/650, easier for off road, less mass

Big enough for light freeway use

Great and inexpensive bike for breaking into dual sport!

Can be modified to run like a raped ape if wanted
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Old 05-18-2015, 09:48 PM   #8
sparkingdogg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timeOday View Post
VStrom 650, or Versys. I would not go for a single-cylinder bike for mostly on-road - a two-cylinder will have lots more power and the engine will last longer, and still goes fine on dirt roads, but with a more street-oriented suspension that's much more responsive onroad. No single-cylinder dual sport will be any good on the freeway.
Lol yeah my KLR650 is way too small for the freeway
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:10 PM   #9
cyprant OP
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I looked at a NC700x dct ABS today. At first I was apprehensive about having less off road capabilities as I was originally looking for, but after realizing I would only be going off road a few times a year if I had the right bike, I have cone to realize the 150 days of the year should be the priority...

Any thoughts on this bike?
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Old 05-20-2015, 04:55 AM   #10
juno
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If you are doing 85% road none of the enduro's will be the best fit. The wee is likely your best choice. Good road manners and fine on hard pack and gravel with decent tires. If you get a good deal on a used one you can always sell it for a small net loss if you decide on more off road.
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Old 05-20-2015, 05:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyprant View Post

I think I want to start on something smaller 250-650?
250-400 is a great place to start. the lighter the better, easier to pick up.
i've rode many years on huge street machines, a few years on big-bore enduros & now am happy riding a 350 trailbike.
cheers
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:18 AM   #12
LittleRedToyota
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my 2 cents...

the street-to-dirt ratio is meaningless. what matters is how you define "dirt" and how you define "street". any bike can do "street" at least well enough to not get you killed/injured/exhausted. depending on your definition of "dirt", though, the same cannot be said about "dirt".

lightweight dual sports can handle freeway riding. they are not as comfortable as bikes like the strom or KLR, but they can do it...and it's not as big a deal as many people make it out to be. and, on city streets and rural 2 lane roads they are actually a blast.

on the other hand, bikes like the strom cannot really handle single track. (before someone posts some pic of super-stud-rider riding a KLR on a goat trail just to prove it can be done, that is meaningless for 99% of the world...and super-stud-rider doesn't even take a KLR on those trails if he has a choice of lighter bike.)

a lightweight single-cylinder bike on the highway might be a bit annoying. but, a big heavy pig on single track piloted by the vast majority or riders is either a hospital trip or a destroyed bike (or both) waiting to happen...even it it is only 15% of your riding.

so, rather than focus on percentage, focus on what type of "dirt" and what type of "road" riding you want to cover.

if your definition of dirt is dirt roads and maybe a few easy quad trails that are basically narrow dirt roads, then something like the strom/KLR/GS/etc. would be good.

if, however, your definition of dirt is going to include technical quad trails or single track, then those bikes just plain won't work.

if you want to ride harder trails at all (even it it is only 15% of the time), you want something 300lbs or less. it will very likely have one cylinder.

on the other hand, if your definition of "road" is riding interstate 80 from one end to the other, something like the strom/gs/klr (or maybe a goldwing) is definitely the way to go. doing that on any bike would, imho, suck, but doing it on a light, single-cylinder bike would probably suck a lot worse--and something like the strom will hold up to those kinds of miles better (though people blow way out of proportion how much maintenance is required on single cylinder bikes when used as dual sports as opposed to hard core racing).

you do have to accept that there isn't really one bike that will do both I-80 from one end to the other and real, off-road dirt well.

one other thing...if your goal is to learn to ride in dirt, you definitely want a lightweight bike to start. it is very difficult to learn to ride dirt on the big adventure bikes. once you learn on a smaller bike, you an apply what you have learned to the bigger bikes, but trying to actually learn on a bigger bike is asking for trouble (and for never actually learning how to ride dirt properly).

(when i say "bigger", i'm talking about weight, not engine size. when it comes to off-road dirt riding, weight is probably the most important consideration. you want as little of it as possible.)
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Old 05-20-2015, 09:04 AM   #13
markk53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyprant View Post
What's up inmates, First post here and I need some help from you guys. I am looking to buy a motorcycle after not riding for 10 years. To make a long story short, I bought a bike way to big/fast for my maturity when I was 19. I Almost killed myself a couple of times so I decided to sell the bike before it actually happened. I have changed a lot since then and am craving that lean again. I decided this time I will take a motorcycle class and become a great rider. This brings me to the question of what bike to get...

I plan to ride 85% on road but would love to have the ability to learn to ride dirt. I will commute to work on side roads (no highway) and cruise country roads/gravel back roads for fun.

I think I want to start on something smaller 250-650?

I originally was looking for a 600cc cruiser, but there's something drawing me into the dual sports. It may be a combination of light weight, easy to ride, and the ability to soak up pot holes and tear through a field when the mood strikes...

So, what would you reccomend? I have looked at the drz400, dr650, crf250l, Hondas 650l, klx250, klr650, etc. My head is spinning. I will either buy a used bike for around 3K give or take 1k...

Is a dual sport even a good idea if I will rarely go off road?

Thanks guys!
If you have a lot of back roads and some trails to play on a dual sport is the most fun you will ever have with your clothes on.

I've done over 45,000 miles on my KLX650 and no regrets. Sucks on the wide open road, but I do everything in my power to avoid that. The rest of the time it is far more fun than any other streetable bike I've ever owned.

I will include I am relatively short at 5'6" so recently I got a KLX250 to try to do more off roading and more difficult dual sport stuff... But the 650 still has its prime place in my garage and ride time.

By the way, no problem on I-70, 71, or 270 here around Columbus on my 650... or the 250 for that matter. When outside the city I'm on two lanes just because freeway bored me when I had streetbikes only and still does now.
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