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Old 04-18-2015, 04:26 AM   #1
BMWzenrider OP
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Question Suggestions for a lightweight carry-along bike

Recently had to give up traveling long-distance by bike for medical reasons even with my sidecar rig, and am now using my Subaru Outback as a minimalist RV for travel.

I really want to bring a bike along on my trips for local fun roads both paved and non.
Very serious preference for being able to carry it along on a hitch rack rather than towing a trailer.
So I am looking for something small and light, but still capable of getting up to speeds which will keep me safe in traffic.

Because of the strength of the hitch/carrier and not wanting to take too much weight off of the front axle of the car, I would ideally like the bike to top out in the 200-250 pound range, although I might consider something up to 300lbs.

I am pretty open as to age/cost.
The most important thing is to get something with enough speed to not get run over, while being light enough to carry safely on a hitch rack.

So, what are some ideas?
Thanks!

(cross-posting in Battle Scooters for their input as well)
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Old 04-18-2015, 07:36 AM   #2
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Old 04-18-2015, 07:50 AM   #3
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250lb with highway speeds, dirt capable, and street legal is the toughy. There are not a lot of street bikes that weigh 250 and less. Even a Honda Grom (125cc) is 225lb, but cannot keep up at highway speeds, and has limited off-road capability.

The CRF230 can get up to highway speeds and is 250lb, but it is not street legal.

KTM 350 street enduro qualifies (250lb wet), but is pricey and has a very tall seat. Very dirt capable, plenty of power for highway, but with a 38" seat height.

Another choice is a plated dirt bike, then you can get a lower seat height, and less price, and might lose the plate in the future.

If you can go up to 300lb, it's either the Yamaha XT250 (low seat), WR250 or KLX250. The Honda 250 is 320lb.
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Old 04-18-2015, 08:13 AM   #4
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Wait!

What might be best for your application?

A Zero FX. The 27HP model goes 85mph and weighs 247. The 44HP model weighs 289 and has twice the range. 8.5" of travel both ends with quality suspension. No gas can required, no warmup, no noise, can be plugged into an inverter or a 120v wall outlet when you roll it into your motel room.

No chain either. No mess, no oil changes, no valve adjustments, no air cleaner, full power at all altitudes, no emission lean burn jerky crap, 34" seat. No green sticker, no spark arrestor, etc.

In your position, I think I'd test drive one. IIRC, they encourage test drives.
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Old 04-18-2015, 08:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McRat View Post
A Zero FX.
^That's a marvelous idea.

OP - whatever you get, you can usually shave 10-15lbs off whatever street-legal bike you buy by replacing the stock exhaust with a $300 aftermarket unit, and battery with a $130 lithium unit. Carry the gas in a can in your car between rides, that's another 10lbs. Remove emissions gear, giant taillight assemblies, other heavy junk. Then you get to diminishing returns (ultralight wheels, light tubes/tubeless, brake discs, etc.) but for around $500 you can get a 290lbs bike down to 265-270lbs for towing. Worth thinking about if you're trying to stay within a hitch rating.

An extreme example: I think I remember reading about a dude with a 690 Enduro who got it down to 280something pounds...nuts.
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Old 04-18-2015, 09:05 AM   #6
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The problem with the 250 pound Zero is the range at highway speeds drops to around twenty miles. I cover more than that on a quick weekend morning spin. Even babying it the bike is only good for 35 miles. I can't make that work anywhere for my riding.

Then once you double the battery for reasonable range you are at Japanese 250 dual sport weight but at around double the cost of even a WR250R. Yet you still only have seventy miles best case range down to thirty something at freeway speed.

I have been in the shop looking at one repeatedly trying to make a case for buying it because I dig the bike. Seriously, I want it. But $12,000 for a limited range dual sport weighing more than my 525 just doesn't compute. That is new 690 money and given that choice......

And I can't even come close to making a case for the lighter one. It is new EXC 500 money but with less offroad ability and barely enough range for playing in town. I love the bikes. I really do. But capability vs. cost is still crazy out of whack for those of us with a budget.

To me, any plated EXC still fits the bill. Think of them as a blank canvas and modify to suit. My two stroke 200 could do freeway speeds and still have you giggling like a little girl on trails. It was barely over 200 pounds with full DOT equipment and trail armor. It was also around $2500.

My 525 is almost as good a dual sport as my 640 but a solid 75 pounds lighter. I have no idea which is better at freeway speeds. Either of them is stupid quick and able handle lose your license speeds. Then there are things like DR200's if aggressive riding isn't in the cards.

Hell, even a Madass 125 will get you down a trail if slow is OK and still keep up with city traffic. Modifying one of those for trails might be fun.
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Grreatdog screwed with this post 04-18-2015 at 09:22 AM
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Old 04-18-2015, 09:28 AM   #7
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I like the idea of an electric bike, but I would not have anyplace to charge it. I am using the Outback wagon as a mini-RV, and boondocking most nights.
I do appreciate the cleanliness and quietness of electric, but just not practical for what I want.

As to speed, I am only wanting to get 55-60mph out of it. Not planning on any freeway work, and I can always pull out to let the real speed demons by on a two-laner. I just don't want to be poking along at 40-45 when someone comes around a curve or over a rise and be surprised by a big speed differential.

AFAIK, Wisconsin does not have the most friendly DMV for getting a dirt bike plated, but I have not ever tried personally.
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Old 04-18-2015, 09:49 AM   #8
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KLX250sf with all the unneeded bits removed under 300lbs.
http://www.cleanmpg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26861

TW200

yamaha xt250

stripped down honda cb250 nighthawk.
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Old 04-18-2015, 09:49 AM   #9
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Look at your local Craigslist and it will give you an idea of what can be plated. Older KTM's had open MSO's that usually translate to a street title. So you find a lot of plated KTM EXC's.

But certain EXC models have also been 50 state legal since 2007. Any EXC model is going to be your lightest motorcycles with honest highway and trail ability. Older than 07 usually takes some fiddling.

But a new(er) 500 or 350 is ready out of the box. If you go up to 300 pounds the world of Japanese dual sports opens up. But I am not crazy about 300 pounds on the back of my 4Runner much less a Subie.

Again, how serious are you about offroad? A DR200 will do the job you describe. It would just bore me to tears as would the Japanese 250's. But then I still like going fast.
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Old 04-18-2015, 10:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWzenrider View Post
I like the idea of an electric bike, but I would not have anyplace to charge it. I am using the Outback wagon as a mini-RV, and boondocking most nights.
I do appreciate the cleanliness and quietness of electric, but just not practical for what I want.

As to speed, I am only wanting to get 55-60mph out of it. Not planning on any freeway work, and I can always pull out to let the real speed demons by on a two-laner. I just don't want to be poking along at 40-45 when someone comes around a curve or over a rise and be surprised by a big speed differential.

AFAIK, Wisconsin does not have the most friendly DMV for getting a dirt bike plated, but I have not ever tried personally.
You get an inverter for your Outback. The charger is only 650w (55 amp circuit on a car you should have plenty of alternator even at idle). Charge the FX while you drive, or park at a campground and let it idle. But any place with a normal house outlet charges it.

If 60mph is your goal the Grom is probably the cheapest/lightest solution in a true street legal bike. Put enduro tires on it and go. It has a 30" seat height, so it's not "pit bike" sized.
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