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Old 03-24-2013, 09:15 PM   #1
fishhuntride OP
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Suggestions: First Dual Sport

I'm a sport rider, a fairly fast one that is also big at 6'4" and 275 lbs. I have several bikes including a Stratoliner, MTS1200 & RC51 so you see the diversity. Now I'm looking to add a dual sport and I'm open to suggestions. Because of my size, I'm thinking something like a KLR650/XR650 or a Triumph Tiger 800 might be best but please, let me know your thoughts. I'll mostly ride asphalt and Forest Service roads. So what and why would you recommend bike "a, b, or c"? I'm looking to buy used so if you have something for sell in the West, let me know. Thanks for your suggestions and help!
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Old 03-26-2013, 05:48 PM   #2
phillipsrog
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Can't believe no one has jumped in yet. All I can do is endorse the Tiger. I went from a KLR to a Tiger and never looked back. I have no complaints about the KLR, and it's without a doubt the best bang for your buck. But if you've ever ridden a performance motorcycle, it's not going to light your fire.

I am just shy of 6'2" and I can ride the Tiger all day in comfort. I think it's the perfect compromise between performance, power and versatility on pavement, gravel, dirt and a little bit of trail. It also carries a load well for multi-day trips.

And if you act before midnight tonight (sarcasm), you will also be able to buy and fully outfit it for ADV riding for about the same as it costs for the base price of BMW, Yamaha or KTM.

You will still have twice into it what you will spend on a KLR, but hey, I've still never regretted the switch in any way.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:02 PM   #3
PeterW
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You have access to big fast bikes, go for something that's GOOD off road even if it is barely tolerable getting there.

250 or so - yeah, O.K. a big guy, even so, it'll be a lot more fun on a smaller bike offroad.

Forget the T800's, F800's DL's GS's until you know how to handle a bike in dirt.

Pete
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:52 PM   #4
pluric
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishhuntride View Post
I'm a sport rider, a fairly fast one that is also big at 6'4" and 275 lbs. I have several bikes including a Stratoliner, MTS1200 & RC51 so you see the diversity. Now I'm looking to add a dual sport and I'm open to suggestions. Because of my size, I'm thinking something like a KLR650/XR650 or a Triumph Tiger 800 might be best but please, let me know your thoughts. I'll mostly ride asphalt and Forest Service roads. So what and why would you recommend bike "a, b, or c"? I'm looking to buy used so if you have something for sell in the West, let me know. Thanks for your suggestions and help!
The Strom series is nice on road and would be fine for what you describe.
Affordable and easy to sell if you decide it's not for you. I have a KLR and Tenere.

The KLR is tolerable on pavement, barely. The V twin Wee Stroms are much better.

Advice threads are hard. Everyone suggests what they own and the OP ends up
buying the one bike no one suggested.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:57 PM   #5
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Read this thread

http://drriders.com/topic7561.html
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:10 PM   #6
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See, I told you so.
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:38 PM   #7
GrahamD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishhuntride View Post
I'm a sport rider, a fairly fast one that is also big at 6'4" and 275 lbs. I have several bikes including a Stratoliner, MTS1200 & RC51 so you see the diversity. Now I'm looking to add a dual sport and I'm open to suggestions. Because of my size, I'm thinking something like a KLR650/XR650 or a Triumph Tiger 800 might be best but please, let me know your thoughts. I'll mostly ride asphalt and Forest Service roads. So what and why would you recommend bike "a, b, or c"? I'm looking to buy used so if you have something for sell in the West, let me know. Thanks for your suggestions and help!
Well, to me it looks like you have asphalt and Forest Service roads pretty much covered all ready.

Do you want to add or replace?

Are you just buying something to get dirty?

And why is the Super Tenere and Big KTM not in the mix?

1 up, two up?
Luggage?
Distances involved?

I agree with PeterW if it's an addition go a real off road bike and just relax a bit as long as big distances and time is not an issue.

So if big distances to get to the off road part are in the mix the from the most easy in dirt down KTM990, S10, Tiger, DL650,. How much of your decision depends on Engine are up to you.

If no big distances from the most easy in dirt down KTM6xx, DRZ400, DR650, KLR

My final decision with big distances often on gravel and tracks was a close call between Tiger and S10 and because the importers wanted pretty much the same money for a Tiger and S10 where I lived it was a no brainer. YMMV
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GrahamD screwed with this post 03-26-2013 at 07:55 PM
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:41 PM   #8
basketcase
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Originally Posted by phillipsrog View Post
Can't believe no one has jumped in yet...snip ...
I can (believe it), 'cause there's ump-teen gazillion "which DS bike" threads already on the forums. But since the question seems to come up at least once a week I've even begun a "boilerplate" response that I have in a Word doc just for responding to the question.

Which -- incidentally, I myself asked soon after joining the asylum.

fishhuntride, I'm not trying to be a wise-arse but the fact is, Search is your friend. But what are you searching for?

And that brings us to my boilerplate contribution for this evening.

Assumptions: all motorcycles have frames, engines, handlebars, wheels & tires, drivetrains and gearing designed for particular riding contexts. And dual sport takes in a wide selection of two-wheeled options. So the chief problem becomes matching rider skill, desired riding venues, motorcycle design and suitability, and ergonomics, and budget tolerance to find one's personal "sweet spot" (to steal and apply the golfing term).

So firstly, what is your skill level in terms of off-road riding? The fact is, a skilled rider on a poorly outfitted 50/50 DS bike can ride circles around a DS noob, even if the DS noob is on the hottest full blown DS out there. Skills can increase quickly, but one needs to be realistic with him (or her) self about where he or she is at the onset. So, starting on a particular modestly priced, pre-owned bike may be the wise starting point and later transition to one's eventual bike of their dreams -- after skill can support the purchase.

Next, before buying a dual sport bike, decide just exactly what you mean when you say "dual sport."

If you mean a bike you can take onto improved dirt roads, modest grades, and solid base double or single track, then the larger bikes come into play.

But if you mean something you can take into the muddy roads, swamps, and hilly, rough, slippery, rocky -- or all four combined single track, then shifting your focus towards a lighter bike is advisable.

And if you mean a bike that is barely street legal but an off-road monster, then again, you have to look at the bikes almost as a "genre" suited to your desired riding venues. Weight, power, suspension, and other factors are all part of the the bike design angle of the answer.

Thirdly, ergonomics is a huge factor, and I personally learned this the expensive way. When I first re-entered riding cruisers were just storming the market and I bought a Honda Shadow. It looked cool, sounded cool, drew attention at traffic signals and when parked, and it rode like a mechanical pig. The feet forward seating position dealt misery to my lower back, so when I had been on it about a month when I realized I had jumped without adequate forethought.

Six months into the Shadow I traded on an old BMW K100 and within 10 miles I knew I had found a mistress worth owning. I stayed on BMW's for the next 10 years (owned four in that period) and had a blast on them. The neutral seating position, feet under my hips, and reach to the controls on the beemers was a near perfect match to my body type and height.

Then a rotator cuff and shoulder blade injury from 1998 started showing itself so I bought a Gold Wing.

In terms of road bikes, it has been a great move. Besides that, somewhere back there I forgot about cool and began to think in terms of the criteria I have laid out. The whole world is not all about me and if I drop over dead tonight my family will grieve, but the world will keep right on going. However, my bike choice is about what suits me, and if some one thinks my particular choice is un-cool, then they can stick there attitude up their rectum next to their head. Just saying...

And back to your question, "what about dual sports?"

After asking the same question and reading for a solid year here at the asylum I settled on the 650 cc class DS bikes, and then culled through those (half-dozen) options and settled on the DR650. It works for me -- in fact, it works so well that in July 2010 I took a leave of absence from work and went on a 5,000 mile trip that included 2/3's of the Continental Divide Trail.

The back issue, rotator cuff issue, and shoulder blade issue all "talked to me" on that trip, but it was a personal bucket list ride so I toughed it out and enjoyed the daylights out of every minute of it.

Finally, about budget tolerance.

Around here there seems to be a segment of the inmates who have money to burn on the newest latest fastest bestest hottest ... whatever that is, every year.

And then there are the rest of us -- those who see or use a bike as an enjoyable pastime, but not as a way of life.

If your bike will be your daily commuter, in addition to your weekend dirt ride, that plays into "how much am I willing to spend?"

As opposed to "the bike is a garage queen that sees the dual sport park maybe two weekends a year."

My suggestion (very much personal bias) is to sort through the quetions, settle on the bike you want, and then make the classifieds your friend. And be ready to pounce when you see what you want.

In 2010 I bought my 2008 DR650 "as new" with just shy of 300 miles on it. Somewhere out there is a guy who is tired of working around a bike in his carport, and that bike might just be your dream ride -- for significantly less than what you would pay at the dealership.

Naturally, all this is just my humble opinion -- which I greatly respect...



PS: Here's a useful link - the Easy Way to Search AdvRider: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=163900
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basketcase screwed with this post 03-27-2013 at 09:05 AM
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:27 PM   #9
GrahamD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by basketcase View Post
I can (believe it), 'cause there's ump-teen gazillion "which DS bike" threads already on the forums. But since the question seems to come up at least once a week I've even begun a "boilerplate" response that I have in a Word doc just for responding to the question.
Not bad. Is this free to distribute around the interwebs?
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:57 PM   #10
basketcase
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Not bad. Is this free to distribute around the interwebs?
Feel free to copy and tweak to your heart's content.

I have seveal of them, actually. My favorite is the "which oil" response.
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Old 03-27-2013, 07:37 AM   #11
phillipsrog
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We were all rookies on this site at one point, and not all know how to navigate the dark, dank recesses of it. Cut the guy some slack and give an honest answer or let someone else do it.

That's all I got to say. The only thing worse than a redundant question is a redundant bitch fest.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:07 AM   #12
basketcase
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillipsrog View Post
We were all rookies on this site at one point, and not all know how to navigate the dark, dank recesses of it. Cut the guy some slack and give an honest answer or let someone else do it.

That's all I got to say. The only thing worse than a redundant question is a redundant bitch fest.
As if you were not just bitching?

Seriously - I answered his question, which I consider to be entirely legit.

But I also gave him a heads up on how to become his own best friend when it comes to finding stuff around here.

What can I say? Life is a mixed bag of stuff anyway we look at it...

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Old 03-27-2013, 09:53 AM   #13
fishhuntride OP
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I appreciate the responses and didn't intend this to be a rehash. I did search around the site some and have talked to dealers and riders in person. I thought posting here would get some responses and that one or more might hit home and point me in a direction. I also though there might be some other larger folk that could relate their experience.

Here is a bit more info that some have asked:
-Dirt wise, call me a beginner. With the exception of the occasional FS roads, I've not been motorcycle "dirty" in 30 yrs.
-I already have a MTS1200 so don't want another big bike.
-This would be an additional bike, not a replacement. (Do you think my wife will notice?)
-Cost is important. (see line above about adding yet another to the stable)
-Comfort is important which is why I mention my size.
-I'm not looking to do "Long-Way" off-road adventure tours. More like day rides, maybe a weekend or even combo dirt/paved week trip.
-I'll be riding 1-up and like to keep luggage to a min. however, when you are my size, everything takes up a lot of space.
-I plan to ride pavement, dirt roads, some double and maybe a bit of single track but nothing too hairy.

Really, I just want to be able to get out in some country that I otherwise wouldn't. Based on all the info from all sources is seems I'm looking at something in the 600-800cc range. I just need to decide if I want a bit more on or off-road focus and that, is all on me. Plus I have to convince the wife...
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Old 03-27-2013, 12:18 PM   #14
basketcase
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishhuntride View Post
I appreciate the responses and didn't intend this to be a rehash. I did search around the site some and have talked to dealers and riders in person. I thought posting here would get some responses and that one or more might hit home and point me in a direction. I also though there might be some other larger folk that could relate their experience.

Here is a bit more info that some have asked:
-Dirt wise, call me a beginner. With the exception of the occasional FS roads, I've not been motorcycle "dirty" in 30 yrs.
-I already have a MTS1200 so don't want another big bike.
-This would be an additional bike, not a replacement. (Do you think my wife will notice?)
-Cost is important. (see line above about adding yet another to the stable)
-Comfort is important which is why I mention my size.
-I'm not looking to do "Long-Way" off-road adventure tours. More like day rides, maybe a weekend or even combo dirt/paved week trip.
-I'll be riding 1-up and like to keep luggage to a min. however, when you are my size, everything takes up a lot of space.
-I plan to ride pavement, dirt roads, some double and maybe a bit of single track but nothing too hairy.

Really, I just want to be able to get out in some country that I otherwise wouldn't. Based on all the info from all sources is seems I'm looking at something in the 600-800cc range. I just need to decide if I want a bit more on or off-road focus and that, is all on me. Plus I have to convince the wife...
Roger all that. Based on what you've told us I am wanting to suggest that you at least do a test ride on a KLR. A couple of reasons for the suggestion come to mind.

Comfort, dirt readiness, and feature wise the Kaw is acceptable to many folks straight out of the box. Yes, there are aftermarket seats and every other type of amenity out there on the after market, but in terms of bang for the out the door buck the bike is hard to beat.

My buddy from Alabama and I both rode DR's on the CDT trip, but there was a third guy with us on that trip who rode a KLR. As I recall the bike was bone stock except that he put on a set of full knobs. That, and he threw some soft luggage across the saddle and added the wiring to run his GPS. He was a big guy, and ergonomically the bike fit him fine in stock form.

Next, there are scads of KLR's available at bargain prices in the classifieds. If you buy right, you can ride it a year and still get your money back.

Finally, they have very few real "issues" and all of those issues are well known and fixable.

For me, the choice came down to "KLR or DR" and I opted for the DR (in part) because it is a slightly smaller bike and I am not a hulking guy. I found my DR on Craigslist and pounced on it.

Another I looked at was found here: http://www.bikefinds.com/kawasaki-klr650

The link will take you to KLR's but you can naturally browse to the other models.

Happy hunting.
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:26 PM   #15
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What he said.

One thing to remember is the dr and KLR style bikes are not set up as nervous street bikes. They are set up differently and generally have slower steering responses. This makes them easier to travel over rough un predictable surfaces without sapping the concentration so much, so as a dirt beginner I would tend to go that way.

You will find yourself doing more exploring that way. The lighter the bike the more you will get into it.
Since you already have a bike (MTS) that will do graded roads anyway I would go the KLR DR route and if you don't mind a bit more wrenching you could add a bit of sizzle and do a KTM 6xx. But they are not exactly noob bikes.
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"I just may as well admit that my other bikes are toast. I don't ride them. Plain and simple. I didn't want this. It wasn't the plan." - snakebitten

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