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Old 11-08-2013, 10:21 PM   #451
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here is a solid thread to show you which bike to buy NOW if you want a light dual-sport. http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=783080
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:13 AM   #452
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Yea...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HandKPhil View Post
I've been waiting for some jerk to say something along the lines of, "Why not just buy the cleanest, lowest-mileage, 1998 or 1999 Suzuki DR350SE you can find, and you will have hit most of the criteria that people on this thread seem to be looking for?"

So, I hereby volunteer to be that Jerk.

Why not just buy the cleanest, lowest-mileage, 1998 or 1999 Suzuki DR350SE you can find, and you will have hit most of the criteria that people on this thread seem to be looking for?

350cc's
6-speed trans
around 300lbs.
decently strong subframe
around 28 or so HP at the crank
decent off-road performance for a dual-sport
fully adjustable suspension/cartridge forks
Jap-bike reliability and parts availability

I just bought a '99 that had 1800 miles on it. It runs perfectly. It was clean enough to eat off of. It was well under $2500. After putting on fresh tubes, top-quality tires, changing all fluids, filters, etc., I basically have a brand new 350cc, six-speed dual sport, for well under $2800.

Smug, self-satisfied rant over.

I pretty much agree wholeheartedly with what this guy said on the subject. I would have done exactly the same thing. I even found a perfect example as he describes it, and had the money. But, alas, the DR350 has the "stupid counterbalancer issue"...this just ruined the whole deal for me. I can't see myself pouring hours of meticulous maintenance into something that "might" grenade suddenly because some jerk in one of Suzuki's factories couldn't be bothered to install the damn counterbalancer-pin-thingy correctly. Sigh. I could shoot whoever is/was responsible for that! Anyway, I think a NEW DR 350, with only cosmetic upgrades, water-cooling or oil cooling (Suzuki actually had an optional factory oil cooler for the DR350) would be exactly what people are looking for. I mean seriously, a DR 350 with a modern look and some kind of legit cooling system would sell like hot cakes. I can actually see honda or Kawasaki edging into the mid-sized dual sport market in the near future. Firstly, the new Honda boss (in America/powersports? can't remember his name...recently took over?? going off memory here...) said to "expect great things to come" or something like that, just before the 500 models all came out, and then the 600cc STREET bike four cylinder. So it seems feasible they might be working on a CRF 450L. As far as Kawasaki, I could definitely see them doing a fuel injected 300 to 350 KLX dual sport, to compete with (or out-class altogether) Honda's CRF 250L (which was basically created to compete with the KLX 250S in the first place). This is essentially the same scenario that occurred with the Ninja 250, CBR 250, Ninja 300. Think about the last sentence for a minute, now think KLX 250S, CRF 250L, KLX 300+...see what I'm saying? This would be relatively very easy for Kawasaki, as the basic design for a bigger KLX would be the same. The bottom end has been proven to easily handle 300 to 350 torque over thousands of miles, based on the ridiculous number (several hundred, at least) of big-bored KLX 250's that have been BUILT by demanding customers over the last few years. And their KLX 250 already has fuel injection in other countries. On account of all this, I can't imagine too awfully much R&D would be required for Kawasaki to put together a reliable, mid-size factory KLX dual sport. By the way, I'm one of the ones who went the big-bore KLX route (Bill Blue 331 kit). I'm half way through the build process right now and I'm sure I'll be very happy with the results. Now someone go tell Kawasaki to read this post and get on it already lol!
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:37 AM   #453
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gryphon12 View Post
Yes. BMW 450cc 5-speed engine. Not holding my breath for US availability.

POS Kymko motor in that thing. LOOKS really nice but even more maintenance less reliability than KTM. Don't get me wrong, KTM are great, fun dirt bikes, and yes, Japanese bikes DO have their problems. But overall, Japanese bikes are still a lot more reliable in the LONG term. People who think KTM is just reliable as, say, Suzuki, don't ride that much, plain and simple. Find me ANY damn KTM dirt bike that's gone 40k+ miles without ANY major problems, no engine rebuilds, etc. etc. There are plenty of older Suzuki's and Honda's that have done this and will continue to do so. Anyways flame away Orange lovers. I'm just stating facts learned through countless hours of research combined with plenty of first-hand experience. Again, don't get me wrong. I do like KTM a lot, lol. But they absolutely don't fill the void this whole thread is talking about.
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:54 AM   #454
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Off the grid View Post

"Simply put, KTMs are much lighter, are seriously over-engineered, put out almost double the HP, are just as reliable as similar Japanese bikes (ie 640 vs DR650, 450EXC vs DRZ400, etc) with similar maintenance intervals, come loaded with fantastic brakes, suspension, pegs, pipe, handlebar like I mentioned earlier in this fucking novel. "

KTM's can be fine for short-term reliability, but facts are facts. They just won't go 60k miles without problems as something like a DR650 will. If you have the money for a KTM and/or don't use it to ride to work every day, then sure, go for it. Yes they're lighter, yes they have "better" suspension, brakes, chassis, way more horsepower, etc. But all this DOES come at a cost of LONG-TERM reliability. The point of this thread is that people don't want to give up simplicity and dependability for high-strung performance. They just want to get a bit more power while still retaining a low-stress powerplant (300 to 400 cc, low-rev, mild cams, high oil capacity, cool-running, 30-35 hp at the crank, 21 - 24 crank torque etc.)
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:43 AM   #455
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Laugh The DR200 kind of is a badass, actually.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grreatdog View Post
. Google throttle stop and WR450F then get back to us. Out of the crate it is about as badass as a DR200.
Hey now, if you knew even a fraction of the shit I've ridden in the 19k miles on my 1997 DR200...lol. It might not have any power but god damn that thing NEVER fucking breaks down, NEVER has any problems. And those 19k miles are almost ALL either a.) extreme trail riding, red-lining the engine at low speeds, etc. or b.) screaming along on the highway at 7k RPM, with clutch wheelie-launches from every other stop sign in between. That bike gets the shit abused out of it day after day, year after year and it still just won't quit. And if you know how to ride it it's actually very capable (albeit SLOOOW) in very difficult, highly technical off-road situations - aka "gnarly shit"...lol. That being said, hell yes the thing has it's limitations :) The KLX 331S I'm building should address those limitations nicely!
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:12 PM   #456
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Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki & Kawasaki - Listen Up, Please...

A few questions will put us in the shoes of the big 4:

What is happening to offroad riding access in the US?
What age group is interested in a true 50/50 dual sport?
How many people are in that category?
How much money do they have to spend?
What would they pay for it?
How much will it cost to retool?
Will it sell globally?
What do competitors have?
The list goes on....

I think the truth is, most people with money to spend fit into other categories that are not subject to the risk of dirt riding getting banned: street, adventure(mostly street but easy on the back), pirates, mx/sx. ktm has the hardcore dirt guys covered. So that leaves the inmates here who actually live somewhere that allows for real 50/50 riding.

That said, Suzuki put a dang six speed and the EFI from your quad 400 in the DRZ dang it!


Right now nothing in my price range is tempting.....

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Old 03-19-2014, 04:20 PM   #457
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtntrails View Post
You guys are "missing the boat" in a big way...

The market is (and has been for years) screaming out for a proper, modern, mid-size (300cc - 450cc) dual-sport - a more potent version of the excellent Yamaha WR250R & Honda CRF250L

35 - 45 RWHP
Fuel Injection
6-speed Tranny
Target Weight at or Under 300lbs
3000-4000 Mile Oil Change Intervals
15k + Mile Valve Adjustment Intervals
Modern, Fully Adjustable Suspension
A Subframe Capable of Carrying Luggage & Camping Gear
An Electrical System Capable of Running Heated Gear, GPS, etc.
Build it for Unquestionable Reliability & Durability
$5000 - $9000 MSRP (depending on displacement & specs)

ADVRider, ThumperTalk, HorizonsUnlimited, et al are filled with threads and posts lamenting this huge "hole" in the marketplace. When will the "Big 4" step up and build this bike? Whoever is the first out of the gate will have a blockbuster hit on their hands - the rest will hopefully follow.

Don't forget to build a SM version too!
Having been in motorcycle sales and hearing calls like this before, usually for a full tricked out standard 750-1000 for the price of a 250 I have to comment here:

First thing first about this fairy tale proposal...

A pumped up 351 Kaw 250 hits around 30 hp, none of the Japanese 650s hit 40. To get the horsepower you want is going to compromise the power delivery to a point you won't accept.


This whole rear sub-frame thing, trying to make a damn tank out of a light weight dual sport play bike - then expecting it to stay under 300 lb. You either get light weight or you get heavy duty chassis for carrying everything but the kitchen sink. You either get a 300 lb bike with a frame built to suit the intended purpose or you get a 350-375 lb bike built with a heavy duty built frame to carry a ton of crap that should be on some 600 lb adventure bike. If you add weight in the sub-frame there has to be weight cut elsewhere, weakening something else where weigh is cut, or cost a whole lot more money to use higher strength lighter weight materials.

Then you want to stick a high output alternator on it - can you say "more weight"? I thought you could.

From there you already have Kawasaki, Honda, and Yamaha making bikes with six speed transmissions on 250s that can big bore up to as much as 351cc. So maybe I'm missing something here - oh, a jab at the DRz that can run 85 mph all day long with its five speed, but "we don't like it when the engine revs that much".

The current bikes and oils can easily survive running 3000-5000 miles between oil changes, probably more since most people will ride bikes long enough to get up to operating temperatures to evaporate moisture and eliminate some of the corrosive moisture in an engine. That's how often I do the oil on my 45,000 mile 95 model 650, about 5000 miles!

The oil is far better now than even in the 80s. We did some oil testing too on oil that had 2500 miles, Kendall's report said the oil still easily met the necessary standards, it was still serviceable without any risk. The 2000 mile oil change requirement is pure myth carried from about three generations ago when straight weight oil with lesser additive packages needed changed more frequently. Engines in that era also required rebuilds far earlier than even a 1980s engine.


Yamaha is claiming 27,000 miles between valve checks on their 250 (and already people are saying they don't believe or trust it). I'd also bet if the valves were set to the loose side of the specs on a KLX or similar bike, it would go 15,000 between checks.

I think Yamaha has adjustable front and rear suspension, the KLX does have fully adjustable rear and front.

Then there is the case that 95% of those who clamor for this unobtainable dream bike will not foot the bill it would take to make it. Witness all the hubbub about the new Honda 250 when compared to others. The big deal? Low price. The Kaw at $400 more has 16 way adjustable front suspension and 16 way adjustable compression and rebound on the shock - but it has a "bad handlebar bend" and "the levers don't match" making it not as good as the Honda.

Lets not forget that the XR650L has adjustable rear suspension as does the DRz400, not sure about the front.

This is the same reason that the KLX650 didn't sell well and the XR650L just hung on for years without much change - the big seller was the CHEAPER KLR650. Riders won't pay for better performance or equipment. That old KLX is still probably the strongest Japanese 650 dual sport yet nearly 15 years out of production. By the way, it was claimed at 39 hp so I guess it wasn't enough anyway, right?

The Japanese manufacturers know what cheap bastards most motorcyclists are. We experienced it first hand at the dealership whenever they tried the markets to see if what was being called for would actually sell. It seldom did. So many standards went down, as did numerous other bikes that had riders clamoring for them. The one that did have some success recently was the FJR1300, mostly because Yamaha required a deposit for a guaranteed sale, before bringing them in. Maybe they should do this with this mythical dual sport. See just how many would put their money up.

So, let's recap this wad:

A 350-400 dual sport with the horsepower of a competition level enduro, but the tractor power of a trials bike to haul a 300 lb bike with another 75-100 lb of luggage and stuff - right?

A total package lighter than the lightest current Japanese 250 dual sport, but built heavy enough to handle the additional power and haul the kind of load a Gold Wing does - am I still holding true here?

And somehow it willl break our oil change intervals based in 50 year old myth - we still won't believe them of course and still do it at 2000 miles because grandpa used to do that with his GMC, BSA and Harley.

Then sell it for less than all the technology would require it to be priced...

Yeah, that's gonna happen...
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Old 03-19-2014, 04:23 PM   #458
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:16 PM   #459
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Personally, I believe the cheap bastard market is what the Japanese intentionally cater to. Because somehow KTM manages to sell pretty much all the $7000 to $10,000 dirt bikes and dual sports they import.

The dealer I spoke to last weekend sold out of 500's and can't get one to put on the floor. So it isn't that we are cheap, otherwise that guy wouldn't be selling 350's and 500's as fast as he can get them. Hell he sold an 1190 that morning.

I believe the Japanese simply prefer selling a lot of cheap but reliable low warranty claim bikes to selling fewer higher end bikes. They seem content to offer a Halo street bike and MX bike then make the rest cheap, reliable appliances.
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Old 03-19-2014, 07:04 PM   #460
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I have never really considered a KTM or Husqvarna or BMW because of what I read about maintenance, see on the road, and hear about their prices. Last time I saw a group of KTM and Husky bikes dual sporting on logging roads, one of the Husky's rear fenders had broken off due to pot holes in the gravel road. I don't need or want that light of a bike, so Japanese appliance all the way for me. I spend more time building things and working on cars, so I can understand people loving their KTMs and putting in the time keeping them running for the power and performance. I have too many other hobbies. I also live in TN, so I get overwhelmed by orange and could not stand having an orange bike also.
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Old 03-19-2014, 07:08 PM   #461
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grreatdog View Post
Personally, I believe the cheap bastard market is what the Japanese intentionally cater to...
History Channel has a neat series where they look at the history of different companies. The one on Yamaha is really interesting. After the war, nobody in Japan wanted a piano, so they started making motorbikes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamaha_Corporation
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Old 03-20-2014, 10:29 AM   #462
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grreatdog View Post
Personally, I believe the cheap bastard market is what the Japanese intentionally cater to. Because somehow KTM manages to sell pretty much all the $7000 to $10,000 dirt bikes and dual sports they import.

The dealer I spoke to last weekend sold out of 500's and can't get one to put on the floor. So it isn't that we are cheap, otherwise that guy wouldn't be selling 350's and 500's as fast as he can get them. Hell he sold an 1190 that morning.

I believe the Japanese simply prefer selling a lot of cheap but reliable low warranty claim bikes to selling fewer higher end bikes. They seem content to offer a Halo street bike and MX bike then make the rest cheap, reliable appliances.

You mean instead of a bike that requires more attention and maintenance than the average rider will provide? I like your use of the term reliable.

I will also tell you every time I've seen the Japanese try to push the envelope a bit it doesn't work well. I've seen them make a better retro/reliable/well priced old style British vert twin that failed in the market in spite of being more of what the riders said they wanted than the actual British twin. They made a British style single that ran out good and could have modifications to the gills, but no sales. They made a sweet mid size alloy framed single side swing arm simple V-twin that failed in the market. They made great dual disc alloy swing arm great performing standards that failed in the market.

It is no longer far less expensive for a Japanese manufacturer to make a bike than KTM or BMW, now it is probably nearly heads up. But even with an incredible track record for reliability and excellent off road performance from the CRFs, would you pay the same price for a Honda 350 that was on par with the KTM350? Remember, I said on par - as good. If not, why not?

At that point I'd likely be able to rest my case.

Then there is the requirements set in the OP:

How many KTM350s and 500s do you see loaded down like a pack mule? Will their subframe hold up to that kind of abuse? Will the engine drag around that much more weight around? Will the sub frame not break? Will it sell for under $9000? Can it power all the heated stuff?

I pretty much stand by my comments.
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Old 03-20-2014, 10:35 AM   #463
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjfawb0 View Post
I have never really considered a KTM or Husqvarna or BMW because of what I read about maintenance, see on the road, and hear about their prices. Last time I saw a group of KTM and Husky bikes dual sporting on logging roads, one of the Husky's rear fenders had broken off due to pot holes in the gravel road. I don't need or want that light of a bike, so Japanese appliance all the way for me. I spend more time building things and working on cars, so I can understand people loving their KTMs and putting in the time keeping them running for the power and performance. I have too many other hobbies. I also live in TN, so I get overwhelmed by orange and could not stand having an orange bike also.

One KLX250 rider commented about having like 3 engines in a KTM over similar miles to that which he has done on his 351 kitted KLX. Virtually no problems with the KLX. That speaks volumes.
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Old 03-20-2014, 10:55 AM   #464
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I was arguing with you. Just pointing out that the Japanese want the cheaper bike market it isn't something they are stuck with simply because we won't buy anything else. Obviously we will or the dual sport rides I go on wouldn't be a sea of orange these days.

If the Japanese wanted to sell high end dual sport bikes they could certainly produce them. But they don't want to - at least not in small displacement machines. Hell, Yamaha was pushing the price envelope with the WRR and it is a fire sale bargain compared to a KTM.

I am just glad we have a choice these days. This is the golden age of dual sports right now.

Oh, and at the risk of actually starting an argument, my decade old 640 weighs less than Japanese dual sports, has a strong subframe, has the power to run heated gear and is stone ax reliable yet still manages to be very fast and offer top shelf suspension. But it was crazy expensive in its day. So, again, selling a heavy relatively slow bike is an economic and marketing choice not an engineering requirement to produce a reliable long range bike.
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Old 03-20-2014, 05:18 PM   #465
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markk53 View Post
So, let's recap this wad:

A 350-400 dual sport with the horsepower of a competition level enduro, but the tractor power of a trials bike to haul a 300 lb bike with another 75-100 lb of luggage and stuff - right?

A total package lighter than the lightest current Japanese 250 dual sport, but built heavy enough to handle the additional power and haul the kind of load a Gold Wing does - am I still holding true here?

And somehow it willl break our oil change intervals based in 50 year old myth - we still won't believe them of course and still do it at 2000 miles because grandpa used to do that with his GMC, BSA and Harley.

Then sell it for less than all the technology would require it to be priced...

Yeah, that's gonna happen...

I understand the points you're trying to make, and I can agree with some of what you're saying. But I think you might not be fully understanding what a lot of us actually want. Everyone wants something a little different of course, but from what I've seen in forums (including ADV rider and this specific thread), and from talking to other dual sporters, etc. there does seem to be a pretty fair consensus on a few of the things that a significant group of people (again, of course not everyone) generally want, from a 300 to 400 cc dual sport.

300-400cc, yes (personally I say 300 to 450). But it doesn't need the horsepower of a competition enduro, it just needs close to the peak horsepower of a decent 250 MX bike, with a little more bottom end and mid range torque. In fact, I know a lot of the people interested in this "mythical dual sport" actually WANT a lower power output than a typical euro competition-enduro (this is why we want a BIGGER motor, as opposed to a smaller, high-strung, high-rev, race-engineered motor, so that we can get more power RELIABLY), in order to improve longevity and reduce maintenance requirements. The power of the old DRZ, for example, is just fine for most of the people who relate to this thread, a little more than "needed" even, I think. People want a bigger motor than a 250, and a six speed, because they want a decently low first gear for off road, a second gear than can get-up-and-go enough to get up a BIG, STEEP hill off road, from a slow start, and a sixth gear spaced out enough to still cruise the highway at 65 to 75 mph all day with ease and comfort. As far as the sub-frame thing, I personally am not too concerned with it, as I understand what you say about a strong, beefy frame (like on a KLR 650...) adding weight. I don't think the common expectation (desire) here is to have a bike "lighter than the lightest Japanese 250 dual sport", but rather, equal to or close to that weight figure (around 300 pounds). It isn't that much to expect a bottom end that can deal with 30 to 35 peak crank horsepower (figures that would satisfy most of us in a machine such as this, if they were backed up with a nice, flat torque curve, with a bit more meat to it than those of the current 250 cc Japanese dual sports). Look, for example, at all the happy accounts of the hundreds of satisfied KLX 250S big-bore customers out there. No fancy new technology is required. Look at the KLXS, WRR, and CRFL big bores. Those kits are making people stupidly happy, and, more importantly, they are PAYING HUNDREDS of dollars over the initial cost of their machines to get them! Furthermore, look at the fact that many, many U.S.-based Japanese 250 dual sport owners (especially of the newer models, and the younger generations of owners) pay hundreds of dollars for full exhaust systems and carb jet kits (or fuel programmers for EFI) in an effort to get that extra "giddyup" that is so often yearned for and sought after! Not only are all these people paying big money for big bore kits, exhaust systems, etc. but they want the improved power and torque so badly that they are even willing to spend HOURS of their time and potentially risk damaging expensive parts to perform those modifications themselves. It's obvious, then, that there IS a market for this (many people who are WILLING and ABLE to pay more money for marginally more performance [NOT competition-enduro performance] in a bike otherwise identical to, or very similar to, the KLXS, CRFL, WRR, etc.)! A huge market? No. But definitely enough of a market to justify the Japanese manufacturers offering SOMETHING. I mean look at Suzuki, they pretty much nailed it many years ago with the DR350, which offers many of the qualities all these people want. That's just another example of what IS possible and what DOES sell (besides all the current big-bored Japanese 250 dual sports out there).
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