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Old 06-14-2015, 06:05 AM   #1
Stre7ch OP
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Location: LP MI
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Question Cheapo DS setup for a couple who wants to get off the road.

Alright inmates, my wife and I are throwing around the idea of offloading two of our cars for a truck, and getting rid of our Monster 900 and 1150gs to swap out to some dual sports. She's due to learn to ride this summer and we want to get into offroading, but want to be able to commute from time to time. We figure if we get a truck we can extend our riding territory. Now we know nothing of thumpers, and we're on a tight budget (3k or less). The goal would be to find something that can do some two up work from time to time, be lightweight, stupidly cheap, and hopefully fit side by side with an identical bike in a small truck bed. If you've got some ideas, or if someone could break down all the klf, rzd, and yxc alphabet soup model designations so my head stops spinning, that'd be much appreciated.

Either way, the bikes and at least one of the cars are getting sold by the end of the summer. Whether or not we find another adv bike or go with this sort of set up is completely up in the air.
"Some say, he has a severe vibration problem at precisely 2500 rpm's...
And that he too, once had a doohickey modification...
All we know is he's not the Stig, he's some lunatic on two wheels."

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Old 06-14-2015, 06:16 AM   #2
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Cheapo dual sport thumper , that can do two-up sometimes.

KLR 650 .
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Old 06-14-2015, 08:10 AM   #3
Joined: Oct 2014
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She's due to learn to ride this summer...want to be able to commute...3k or less...something that can do some two side by side with an identical bike.
This sounds like you hope to get two dual-purpose bikes large enough to ride two-up for $3000. If so, Id say that's not likely. For two-up, you need a larger-size dual-purpose bike; 650s, not 250s. In terms of 650s, $1500 probably won't get you much more than a junker that needs a lot of work.

For sound model recommendations, you really need to state something about your and your wife's height/weight. Even mild off-road riding is more "physical" than riding on the street. Short inseam will have a lot to do with which bikes should be recommended, especially for a new rider (your wife), and even for both of you for worry-free fun.

"Lightweight" is a very relative term. The kinds of used bikes you can get for the money you're targeting will not be "lightweight" among dirt bikes, but will be "lightweight" in comparison to a street bike.

For trail riding enjoyment, I'd definitely recommend a Suzuki DR650 before a Kawasaki KLR 650 (and I've owned both). Neither are what anyone would call "lightweight." At way over 300 lb, they are both heavy lugs in dirt bike terms, but the Kawasaki KLR is bulkier and heavier, and doesn't feel nearly as nimble off-road as the Suzuki DR. It will be much more common on a KLR for you to encounter trail riding situations at which you (wisely) "chicken out" than on a DR650. But if you drop either one of them, picking it up can give you a hernia.

Being bulkier, larger, and having marginally more wind protection, a KLR will be somewhat more comfortable on secondary highways, especially if riding two-up. But again, your and your wife's physical size comes into play. If you are both built like a couple of skinny teenagers, the difference won't be a big deal for occasional short-trip two-up. If you're larger, it will. If you're "pudgy" or beyond, neither will really be suitable for two-up.

If you can give up the two-up requirement, and if "commuting" doesn't involve more than 55 MPH speed limit roads, you'd be better off with a pair of smaller Japanese dual-purpose bikes. Smaller bikes make much more versatile and enjoyable trail bikes than 650s, and there are more models from which to choose.

Most any Japanese 250 dual-purpose bikes would be fine. In the used market, though, I'd strongly recommend keeping these criteria in mind:

Be sure to buy a model recent enough that its engine has an internal vibration counter-balancer. A 250 single which dates back to before counter-balancers became usual (mid-80s) is a much less versatile machine for street use. Even an air-cooled 250 with a counter-balancer does surprisingly well buzzing along at 60-65 MPH (assuming a reasonably trim single rider).

A good case-in-point is a Kawasaki KL250 (Super Sherpa). The Super Sherpa is no powerhouse (no Japanese dual-purpose bikes are), but it is narrow, trim, relatively low, and very confidence inspiring. It does amazingly well on secondary highways, its only drawback being a limited fuel range (small tank). They're somewhat hard to find, but some who have them don't know what they've got. If you are lucky enough to find one, it would make a great learner bike for your wife, and a pair of them would be great fun for both of you (again assuming you are not large people).

I'd also stay away from any bike with drum brakes. Even though a few current models (Suzuki DR 200, for example) still come with them, stuff like that is just too outdated.

If I'm reading you wrong, and your $3000 ballpark is in reference to a single used bike, finding a suitable one in good shape will be much more realistic.


JETalmage screwed with this post 06-14-2015 at 08:17 AM
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