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Old 09-02-2013, 09:30 AM   #1
mikem9 OP
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: North Georgia
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Street Bike Preferences of Long Time Dirt Riders?

Have ridden dirt bikes and dirt oriented dual sport bikes for 40+ years. Started riding street bikes about 6 years ago. Currently ride a Bandit 1200s on the street. Really like many things about that bike. A lot of bang for the buck.

I notice though, that when I ride friend's adventure style or motard style (KTM 950 SM for example) bikes, I feel more comfortable in the tight twisties. The "dirt bike" position just feels more natural, in control and safer to me. Although I realize that true street bikes (like the bandit) were evolved with optimal street handling in mind.

For you long time dirt riders, who came to street riding later in life, what are your Street bike type preferences and why?

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Old 09-02-2013, 09:50 AM   #2
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I know exactly how you feel. I've been on dirtbikes for 15 years, and recently made a transition to street. I just can't get used to my vfr, however. I feel vulnerable on it and although it corners and accelerates extremely well, I don't feel like I can ride it as as I'm able to ride a more upright bike. Decided to pick up a new drz400 for the lo maintenance and fire road exploration, have yet to decide whether lll keep the vfr or not. There are faster and more exotic bikes out there than the drz, but the lower entry cost and long maintenance intervals seal the deal for me.
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Old 09-02-2013, 11:29 AM   #3
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Try a first generation Tuono. It's like my CRF450 with mo' power and shitloads of traction.
you don't see luggage racks on a hearse..........act accordingly
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Old 09-02-2013, 11:32 AM   #4
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KTM 990 SM-T. Just go sit on one and maybe take it for a test. You'll be right at home.

Another one you'll like is a Ducati air-cooled Hypermotard. But it won't travel like the KTM will.
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Old 09-02-2013, 02:39 PM   #5
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KTM SMT is my current favorite bike. I also won't sell my Triumph Speed Triple. The KTM takes some work to make it perfect however.
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Old 09-02-2013, 03:07 PM   #6
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I started out street riding but soon soon turned to dualsporting and dirtriding.
I loved my DR650 with a motard wheelset for street (and light dualsporting). Maybe when my kid is older and my wife and I can travel I would like an adventure touring type bike.
Rented a R1200GS once on a 4 day trip and thought it was great.
Wouldnt mind one of those or maybe a cheaper Strom (though Ive never actually ridden one).

Ive ridden my buddies KTM950 and really liked that too.
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Old 09-02-2013, 04:07 PM   #7
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I rode dirt bikes, (Bultacos, Husky's) for years, and when I sat on my '01 speed Triple, it was just right. Wide bars with lots of leverage, and a semi upright position... Fun as hell.
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Old 09-03-2013, 02:16 PM   #8
mikem9 OP
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Originally Posted by Tallbastid View Post
I just can't get used to my vfr, however. I feel vulnerable on it and although it corners and accelerates extremely well, I don't feel like I can ride it as as I'm able to ride a more upright bike.
That's a good description.
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Old 09-03-2013, 04:23 PM   #9
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A Triumph Triple
“Watch out for everything bigger than you, they have the "right of weight"
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:14 PM   #10
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Same story.

I tend to ride street bikes as if they were dirt bikes.

Finally started riding an Adventure bike and it was like coming home. They do it all. Cruise for hours, loaded, on a trip. Rip it up in the twisties. Then still love getting back to my roots, dirt. Exploring dirt roads and paved back roads is an addictive pastime.

First adventure bike was a KTM950 Adventure. I really can't say enough about how this bike performs. It is like the ultimate dirt bike. Once the suspension is dialed in for rider weight, maybe do some valving on the front, it is able to manage things you would never believe a liter bike could do. If you have the skills. It rides like a dirt bike, just got to remember the weight when entering places you might want to change course.

But you would also want to love mechanic'n. The bike is reliable, but it is a high strung thoroughbred and wants your attention.

So, I bought a Triumph 800XC. It is 85% of the KTM, and I get to ride it all the time. That engine is mesmerizing. It comes on like an electric motor, or a turbine. The powerband is remarkable as it puts out a steady 50 of torque across several thousand RPM. It is a sleeper that sneaks up fast. Wheelslip is easy to control. It lacks the tuneability of the springers on the KTM, and a little travel. With a tuned suspension I think it will be everything I need.

The 950 is everything I wanted.
(I drool a little over the 1190 now and again)

Like Dakez, I'd second taking a look at the triples and what Triumph has done with them.

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Old 09-03-2013, 06:37 PM   #11
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Yamaha TDM 850

I rode a '72 Kawasaki 500 triple (& survived!) before I began racing mX, then flat track. Took 20 years off for college/marriage, before returning to riding.
I now ride a DR650 Suzuki on the seasonal/dirt roads. Funny, I always thought dual sports were for riders not good enough to race.

My go-to street bikes are an '81 XV920 Yamaha & a '92 Yamaha TDM 850. The TDM's long legs & standard riding position do it for me.

I recently sold my 2003 FZ1 Yamaha, before I ended up in traffic court/the hospital/morgue.
"Win without boasting...lose without excuse!"

2004 DR650 Suzuki,1978 Yamaha XS750,
1981 Yamaha XS650 Street Tracker,1981 Yamaha XV920 Chain-drive
1986 Yamaha YZ490-Vintage MX project, Yamaha TW200(Girl Friend's Ride) Yamaha TDM 850
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:53 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by mikem9 View Post
That's a good description.
Thirded. My buddy keeps telling me to trust my tires, but how can I trust them when they aren't pushing up a berm?

The 17" front tire and more limited degree of lock-to-lock with a street bike bothers me at very low speeds. I guess it's because I spent my "formative" years squaring off turns, right when I get to what I subconsciously mapped out as the apex where I (expect to) square off and change directions, I run into the fork stops and bobble or dab, or both.

I could relearn in time, but I'm thinking I might be happier with a more dirt oriented bike. This bike has to do for now but that may change down the road. Or I'll change. Just have to wait a bit to see which way it will be.

Dammit, the Tiger fever is back again ... the pills do nothing.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:35 PM   #13
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Things change. I'm at 41 years in the dirt, and 36 on the street. I used to love CR500s, been through a string of them. Several 250s , too. TT500. YZ400, 465, RMs, I could get used to anything, rapidly. Then Supersport street bikes, I used to love clip-ons and being tucked in, and 140 mph roll ons. As I got older, I bought a YZ450F, and found that I couldn't ride fast or hard enough to make it work well. Then, on street bikes, those damn clip-ons and high foot pegs were making me sore at the end of a day of riding. So now, I've been through everything from a Daytona 955 to a couple CBRs, 1200 Bandit, just a whole variety of stuff, ending up with a KTM 950 SM, a bike that works very well. But I'm thinking, maybe a ZX10, or R1, or GSXR1000, or CBR1000 with a handlebar kit, because my 950 won't pull the front wheel off the ground at 120mph.
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:45 AM   #14
High Country Herb
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Another guy with a dirt background here. I prefer having the leverage of wide handlebars. I'm sure I could make better time in the twisties on my Aprilia Dorsoduro than on the Ninja 636 I used to own. A pro rider would probably disagree.
2009 Aprilia Dorsoduro 750 (adventurized):
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:47 AM   #15
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Ducati Multistradas have an upright seating position and wide bars similar to a dirtbike. The air cooled older ones are reasonably light and flickable.
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