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Old 01-18-2015, 04:23 PM   #1
mills713 OP
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Question Bike choice for a beginner

Hello all,

I am new to the forum, but I have browsed around a bit. I am getting my license in February and really want to get into some off-road riding. I have done a ton of research I am just feeling really overwhelmed by all the information out there. So I was hoping you could all give me your recommendation.

Info about me:

1. 5' 11", 220 lbs, 24 years old

2. I live in Salt Lake City, UT so I plan to explore the endless amount of trails here. I don't have a truck though so I need a bike that is comfortable driving on the highway to MOAB, etc. (5 hours away). In the long term, I want to ride through Central and South America, but as of now I am not sure when that will be.

3. Budget is flexible, but it is always nice to spend less, especially since this is completely new to me.

Bikes I have considered so far:

KLR 650 (new or used?)

G650GS (I read so many conflicting reviews...Is it capable of some decent off-roading? One guy on here said it kept bottoming out and he weighed less than me.)

^ Sertao (I saw a new 2013 model for $7800, is there a reason it hasn't been sold in 2 years?)

Anyway, thanks for helping out a new rider! Open to any and all ideas.
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:27 PM   #2
Bhart89
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Keep the Suzuki DR650 in mind too.
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:31 PM   #3
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Beginner as in never ridden before? If so, buy a used KLR 650 or DR 650. Skip the BMW until you have some seat time.
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Old 01-18-2015, 04:43 PM   #4
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For a new rider, think re-sale. The KLR or DR will re-sell better.
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Old 01-18-2015, 06:40 PM   #5
mills713 OP
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Yeah, 100% beginner.

I was looking at the DR650 before, but I heard it isn't as good on the highway. True? It doesn't look like it has a ton of wind protection. Or do I just throw an aftermarket windshield on it and I am good?
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Old 01-18-2015, 10:34 PM   #6
High Country Herb
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You can fit a windshield on just about any bike. Good for the highway, but one more thing to break doing serious off road.

The DR isn't optimum for the freeway, but it will do up to 90 mph. It could comfortably cruise at 65-70 mph all day. It is basically an off road bike that can handle highway use if needed.

The KLR is a bigger heavier feeling bike, and has better wind protection, and more luggage capacity. It is basically a touing bike that can handle single track if needed. It can cruise at 75-80 all day.

The next step toward highway would be the Suzuki V-strom 650, but single track would be a real challenge. The next step toward dirt would be something like a DRZ400, but highway cruising speed would be down to 60-65 or so with more frequent fuel stops (you can get a big tank for the DR650).

High Country Herb screwed with this post 01-19-2015 at 09:07 AM
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Old 01-18-2015, 10:42 PM   #7
Mark Manley
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The KLR seems like a good bet, I have not owned one but a friend has two, one has taken him from the UK to Central Asia twice and he is currently in Mexico on the other one which he keeps in the US. They are comfortable as they are at 60-70 mph so as a new rider just take it easy on the highway and enjoy the view.
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Old 01-19-2015, 01:21 AM   #8
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KLR 650 is good & Kawasaki do have good reputation in re-sale Market.
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Old 01-19-2015, 03:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mills713 View Post
G650GS (I read so many conflicting reviews...Is it capable of some decent off-roading? One guy on here said it kept bottoming out and he weighed less than me.)
Similar to the G650GS (/Sertao) is the TR650 Strada (/Terra). That's my beginners bike.
The Husqvarna TR650s are a little more dirt oriented than the Beemer GS. Sold by BMW too, because the owned Husqvarna.

I'd strongly recommend, that you buy after you got your license, when you can do some test rides.
Still you have no experience with 100 mph without a wind shield or picking up a +200kg bike from the mud. (It's always a compromise.)
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Old 01-19-2015, 04:21 AM   #10
bush pilot
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Cool2

An older KLR650 from an obsessive fanatic ADV rider is your best deal.

Mind ya a a KLR650 is a big heavy pig, especially for a new rider.

I put my son on one and realized what a challenge it was for him.

Me I grew up riding 250's and 500's and have beaucoup riding on larger bikes.

But for a new rider a KLR650 is freaking massive!

I'd now recommend something smaller to start with. KLX250s or even a KLX150L if you're mostly riding dirt.

But my son got over it and lived... anyway the KLR650 gives you the most options, I recommend buying from an ADV member who sorts his kit out.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:28 AM   #11
Yooper_Bob
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Buy something cheap and used.

Ride it for 6 months to a year.

At that point, you will have a much better idea of what you like/dislike about your current ride, and what you really want/need out of your next ride.

Sell the cheap bike for pretty much what you paid for it...and then get a bike that better fits your needs.

A used DR650 would be an EXCELLENT starting point. Cheap and reliable. Ton's of 'em used...and there is always a market for them when you go to sell. Lots of aftermarket accessories.
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Old 01-19-2015, 10:21 AM   #12
High Country Herb
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If you really find yourself doing a lot of high speed highway miles, yet want something more dirt worthy, you can always get a small rear sprocket. A 3 tooth change is good for what, 4-5 mph?

If you want to ride the Utah Slick Rock, I wouldn't go too crazy with that however.
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Old 01-19-2015, 06:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bush pilot View Post
an older klr650 from an obsessive fanatic adv rider is your best deal.

Mind ya a a klr650 is a big heavy pig, especially for a new rider.

I put my son on one and realized what a challenge it was for him.

Me i grew up riding 250's and 500's and have beaucoup riding on larger bikes.

But for a new rider a klr650 is freaking massive!

i'd now recommend something smaller to start with. Klx250s or even a klx150l if you're mostly riding dirt.

but my son got over it and lived... Anyway the klr650 gives you the most options, i recommend buying from an adv member who sorts his kit out.
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Old 01-19-2015, 07:40 PM   #14
Rogue_Ryder
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Originally Posted by bush pilot View Post
I'd now recommend something smaller to start with. KLX250s or even a KLX150L if you're mostly riding dirt.
This!

If you have a car, just fit a hitch and pick up a cheap trailer (maybe a $600 investment). ANY car can tow a small bike. I towed an XR650L across the US behind a Mercedes 280E on a small trailer.

Riding a big pig of a bike off-road sucks for a n00b. I had some limited dirt experience when I got my XR650L 10 years ago and I eventually had to downsize to really build my skills. The best thing I ever did was take Shane Watt's Dirtwise academy, that helped me more than any tires, bike etc.

So for a total n00b it's best to start small. There's so many choices that'll work, just find the best condition used one that you can find.
TW200
Sherpa
DR350
XT225/250
WR250R
klx250
etc. etc.
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Old 01-20-2015, 04:49 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mills713 View Post
1. 5' 11", 220 lbs, 24 years old
I'm glad the KLR wasn't my first bike. But I'm smaller, lighter, and not as strong as I was in my 20s. A 100% new rider near here is closer to your size and age and really enjoys his used KLR as his very first bike. He bought the KLR specifically to ride the USA in '15.
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