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Old 12-13-2012, 02:14 PM   #61
Duken4evr
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I had way too much fun on my '83 XL600 back in the day. There was something about that bike - nature of the power, balance point, whatever, but I could ride wheelies on that thing, literally for miles. Wheelied past the cops (didn't mean to, was not paying attention, as I was riding wheelie all the time) and rode over the median to get away (definitely on purpose - LOL), "fun" stuff like that. Amazing I never got thrown in jail. Rode it on the street, off road, everywhere, even up a flight of stairs. It had a Supertrapp on it and XR500 suspension from a blown up donor bike. Good times.



Regarding the DRZ400, I had one of those for years too. The only advantage the 350 had was it's 6 speed trans, and even that is an oddly spaced affair. The DRZ has far more sophisticated suspension that can be revalved and sprung to work well, especially on gnarly off road trails. The DRZ responds well to mods with really nice trail power and suspension for what it is (an inexpensive Japanese dual sport). I did not plod along slowly on the DRZ either, as a decent ex desert racer "Intermediate" level rider, a lot of KTM guys got irritable after getting dusted by the DRZ Went everywhere on that bike. It did not turn for diddly, but it could actually hammer whoops, much to nearly everyone's surprise. Thanks to Eddie Sisneros on the suspension. The man knows his DRZs. Despite being the fully legal "S" model, I rarely rode the DRZ on the street, it was all off road. Here she is, at 12,000 feet, in the rocky high stuff.




Since I don't ride it on the street except to connect trails, my current "dual sport" is a plated Husaberg '10 FE450. It is a sharp steering nimble and very strong running dream on wheels, albeit pretty much 100% dirt oriented. Be that as it may, the 'Berg has the KTM XC-W trans and it easily cruises at 65 mph. Easier than the DRZ did :) To be honest, I am a little older now (50) and don't really go faster on the 'Berg than I did on the DRZ. It is just a lot more capable and goes at a sporty trail pace with a lot less effort. Used to grab the DRZ and ride the hell out of the thing to get up to speed. The 'Berg demands respect as it will generate a hurricane of speed very efficiently. The actual speeds I am travelling are not too different, the feel of getting there is very different and the spiffy 'Berg has a tremendous amount of "headroom" which comes in handy now and then when I screw up. Not shocking I suppose.



Like everyone else, I would love to see Yamaha come up with a 6 speed 450cc version of their excellent WR250R. That would be a sweet bike. Would love to add a KTM 690 or a clean used Husky TE 610 to my collection for real dual sporting and local adventure riding. Oh well. Money always gets in the way. Got a fast street bike too, but there is something about a good thumper though. They are the essence of MC riding.

Favorite dual sport bike that disappeared? Easy one. The Rotax engined ATK 605. Never ridden one, but just looking at 'em, I know they are brutishly cool!
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Duken4evr screwed with this post 12-13-2012 at 02:29 PM
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Old 12-13-2012, 03:58 PM   #62
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Quite a trip down memory lane!

My original post wasn't to imply the older bikes were better. I'll definitely take a newer bike. But why is it some of the very bikes listed in this aren't available today with technology that is 10, 20, 30 years more advanced? If the current DR650 is essentially a 1996 model, why isn't there ever going to be a 2014 DR650 that is lighter, more powerful, or better suspended (cue the 6 million dollar man music)? How about even one of those three?

How great could a 2013 DR350, or XR600 be given two decades of technological advances? But rather than continue to develop some great bikes, they just vanished.
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Old 12-13-2012, 04:51 PM   #63
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:07 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butters View Post
I haven't been riding for 50 years and haven't owned a hundred different bikes, but it seems like there were some great DS bikes that vanished or were replaced with lesser bikes. I realize everybody's idea of the perfect dual sport differs, but that doesn't mean you can't recognize a good bike even if it isn't for you. I don't own a DR650, but consider it a great bike for what it is designed for and it's versatility. If Suzuki were to stop making it or replace it with a lesser bike, it would be shocking. But it seems this has happened before. Two bikes that come to mind are the DR350 and the XR600.

I've never ridden either, but both seem to be universally loved (for what they are). The DR350 seemed like the ultimate Japanese small/midsize dual sport. Light enough for mild trail work and decent enough on the road. It was replaced with the DRZ - a bike that seems like it went backward in some areas (like the tranny). With the XR600, there just isn't a 300ish pound big Japanese thumper now. It seems with new technology, versions of these bikes should be around with more power or less weight or both.

Is it just that as time passes we don't hear about their downsides and they really weren't that good? While there are some European bikes that seem to have improved on these, but they don't typically compare in cost or quality.
My buddy had what he called '' a rolling marshmallow " the DR350 and went everywhere on that thing that my DRZ400 went and would ride circles around guys trying to jet there two smokes in Colorado. My DRZ has been very reliable for the last 10 years and rode everywhere the lighter ktms have, just not as fast. It's what's keep me in shape wrestling the pig.
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Old 12-14-2012, 05:22 AM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butters View Post
Quite a trip down memory lane!

My original post wasn't to imply the older bikes were better. I'll definitely take a newer bike. But why is it some of the very bikes listed in this aren't available today with technology that is 10, 20, 30 years more advanced? If the current DR650 is essentially a 1996 model, why isn't there ever going to be a 2014 DR650 that is lighter, more powerful, or better suspended (cue the 6 million dollar man music)? How about even one of those three?

How great could a 2013 DR350, or XR600 be given two decades of technological advances? But rather than continue to develop some great bikes, they just vanished.
This is exactly what I was implying with my TT350 post. Yamaha has all the parts on the shelf to build these bigger DS bikes and chooses not to do it. Same with all the big 4 actually even though they know this is the largest growing MC sales segment. In the old days they would counter each other and fight it out! Now they seem not to want to fight the Euro bikes on the middleweight segment..... Just odd. We know they used to be fierce competitors.
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Old 12-14-2012, 06:59 AM   #66
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Honda has their new CRF 250 dual sport that they really managed to balance "modern" features, yet keep the price down. I think the world market is to blame. Americans want 450s and bigger and to the rest of the world, a 250 is a "big" dual sport.

Damn world. Get with the American bigger is better program! :)
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Old 12-14-2012, 07:30 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by mojave View Post
Foul!

If we let every dirtbike turned into a street legal bike in here all the "dual sports" might as well go home.

XR400, XR650R,TT500, Maico whatever. There's at least two Yamaha 490's running around up here, etc, etc. I saw a KTM 380 blast by not long ago. WR400/426/450.

But funny you should point out - has anyone mentioned the XT350? I test rode a local for sale bike out and thought it monumentaly flat and boring. Maybe it grows on you.... i wonder if the DR350 would seem like that to me?
Some of the xt350s had 1 carb, others had 2.
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Old 12-16-2012, 09:16 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by Dazed Productions View Post
I never saw the point in the DR350, just too heavy.
It's lighter than some "modern" 250cc dualsports.
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:05 AM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duken4evr View Post
Honda has their new CRF 250 dual sport that they really managed to balance "modern" features, yet keep the price down. I think the world market is to blame. Americans want 450s and bigger and to the rest of the world, a 250 is a "big" dual sport.
If the CRF250L weighs almost as much as the XR650L, and has a crazy seat height for a 250 dualsport, why would someone NOT choose the torque and suspension travel of the 650?

We still have 200-250s and 600-650s, and they ARE improved in some ways over dualsports from the 70s and 80s, but not nearly as completely or intelligently as the improvements in sportbikes from those times to modern times. There are also numerous things in modern dualsports that are a step backwards.

Close gearspread on a non-race dualsport with a wide powerband is silly. 300lb+, or a 34"+ seat height on a 250 dualpsort is silly. Aren't these bikes supposed to be easier to handle for smaller/newer riders? A 650 dualsport that can't maintain interstate speeds without buzzing or burning ridiculous amounts of oil is silly. A thumper designed to be offroad-capable weighing over 400lb is silly when a multi-cylinder can be built lighter in the same price/capability range. Having less than 200+ miles of range on a bike capable of all-day interstate speeds AND getting way off the beaten path is silly.

I really enjoy my DR650SE. It's a versatile and fun bike. It could be WAY better with today's technology though. The big fear is, Suzuki could really screw it up by changing something that doesn't need to be, or shouldn't be, changed...or that they change it for the worse. At 367lb curb and approx. 34" high at the seat, it wouldn't really be as versatile for many if they made it heavier and/or taller. It wouldn't be as easy to maintain if they used shimmed valves. It wouldn't be as resistant to overheating if they switched to water-cooling or air-cooling. It possibly wouldn't be as easy to field-fix if they switched to EFI. The stock suspension and fuel range could use some help, though the aftermarket already has these covered pretty well. The frame could be stiffened/strengthened in places, but would this add weight or make it more difficult to get welded in BFE? Would a tradeoff be worth it? 50+WHP and 50+MPG would be nice. Could they keep the motor as smooth?
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:32 AM   #70
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Prior to owning my DR650, many moons ago I had a 1973 TS250 and a 1974 Yamaha MX250. I don't have any desire to ride one of those things again.

I like my DR but it wouldn't hurt to have suspension that's not so clunky, or to lose a few pounds. Suzuki could update all this and add efi etc, but then they'd be trying to sell a bike for 9 grand rather than 6.
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Old 12-16-2012, 02:23 PM   #71
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Quote:
I really enjoy my DR650SE. It's a versatile and fun bike. It could be WAY better with today's technology though.
In 1990 I sold my XL600R that I'd had for 6 years and ridden 22000 miles all over the western US and Canada, LA to Inuvik, on everything from Interstate to single-track. Last year I bought a 2007 DR650. I like it, but other than e-start it feels pretty similar to the 1983 Honda. I doubt I'd say the same about an '07 GSXR750 vs an '83 Interceptor. I'd like to think that 2013 technology can get a DR650-class power band out of 450 or 500cc, and that a DOHC, fuel-injected WR, DRZ or CRF (true dual-sport, with strong subframe, 3-5K mile oil change intervals, reasonable seat height and fuel capacity) in that size would sell like hotcakes. Then they can sell it for another 25 years, with BNG updates, and recoup their investment. I think if the Terra 650 is successful, we may see that happen.

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Old 12-16-2012, 02:37 PM   #72
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as Kommando said

"The big fear is, Suzuki could really screw it up by changing something that doesn't need to be, or shouldn't be, changed...or that they change it for the worse."

look what Kawasaki did to the "new" KLR
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Old 12-16-2012, 04:31 PM   #73
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I would make the same arguement with KTM and the 690's. They have a wide variety of application, but many of us just wanted the new, counter-balanced, 6-speed motor in the 640 ADV chassis, with the existing 25-liter tank and rally fairing.
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:29 PM   #74
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My third bike and "first car" was a Suzuki 73 TS185, I put an 220 kit in it with a expansion chamber. Rod that little bike to scholl, part time job after school and flogged it in the hills on the weekends, It was a pretty fun little bike for a 16 yr old





Had a lot of bikes in between, but another great one was my 86 XT350 that I bought in 87 with a 160 miles on it. had that bike for 13 years, and the only problem I had with it was broken speedo and tach cables, then the speedo broke at at 12,000 miles and I rode it for a couple more years before I sold it.

CleElum Wa 1992



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Old 12-16-2012, 06:50 PM   #75
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1981 Yamaha TT600

Cut my teeth on this baby and loved every bit of it, notice the front drum. Came fully registered here in Aus.

my mate still has his in the shed (84 model with front disc)


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