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Old 11-01-2013, 02:47 PM   #16
LittleRedToyota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
I work from home so I don't need a daily commuter just something to ride around town minimal freeway use and some off road type stuff. Now whether that is single track or fire roads I really don't know what I will like more.
given what your wrote there, imho, you basically want a dirt bike with a plate on it.

i own both a DRZ-s and a plated KTM 450xc-w (i have also ridden KLRs, DR650s, XR600s etc.) i used to ride the DRZ in the woods as well as around the city. since i got the KTM, though, i only ride the DRZ around the city. if i am just going out to have fun, i will take the KTM in the city instead, but i use the DRZ to eat miles.

here is my take on things:

the DRZ-s is almost a dirt bike, but not quite. it's way too heavy for tight, technical single track (can be done, i did it for years, but it's not good for it). in addition, it carries its weight high--and the suspension is not that great--which combine to make it not that great even on more open trails with lots of ruts, rocks, etc. it is not a precise bike at all relative to a real dirt bike. it kinda wants to go where it wants to go rather than where you put it (again, relative to a real dirt bike). it is also a bit underpowered (though that's the least of the issues).

the DRZ-s is a great commuting bike if you your commuting does not involve a lot of highways...it is an OK commuting bike if your commute does involve a lot of highways (would be great at that, too, if it had a 6 speed wide ratio tranny, but it doesn't). they are bulletproof, ultra-reliable bikes that require next to no maintenance. they are lightweight by street standards and handle well on the street. however, their lack of power is a bit of a downer on the street (though they do have quite a bit more pep than a KLR--but the KLR is more comfortable for long distance paved riding, not in any way good for even slightly technical trails, though).

the KTM is a real dirt bike. it absolutely blows the DRZ away in the dirt...not even in the same league. the KTM is also actually way more fun on the street due to being even lighter and having way more power. it does require a bit more maintenance than the DRZ, but it's not a big deal. the 6 speed wide-ratio tranny makes it way better on highways than the DRZ.

if you think you are going to like dirt riding and really get into it, i would recommend skipping the DRZ and getting a real dirt bike with a plate on it (something that weights like 250lbs or less...KTM, husky, gas gas, husaberg, etc. are all great choices that are easily plated in most states--some even come 50 state legal from the dealer).

imho, if you have to choose between compromising on the street or in the dirt, compromise on the street. it makes way less difference on the street (assuming you are not doing really long-distance touring) than in the dirt.

i've done 300 mile road days on my KTM. the seat got a bit uncomfortable by the end of the day, but that was it. it was still a blast. i've also ridden my DRZ on technical trails all day. that used to completely wipe me out...to the point that it detracted from the fun.

regarding the christini, for most people, i doubt it really adds much. i can't speak from experience as i have never ridden one, but we ride some of the toughest, most technical single track you can find and i've never really found myself having a burning desire for 2 wheel drive. all i really end up having is a burning desire for less weight. the 2 wheel drive system would actually add weight, so i'd be hesitant go that route myself.

you can get very nice used KTMs, huskies, etc. within your budget if your budget is enough to get a new DRZ.

anyway, just my take on it.
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Old 11-01-2013, 03:20 PM   #17
Sparrowhawk
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I'll echo what others have suggested but add a little local knowlege. I don't blame you for a lack of interest in freeway time. Baker City and Pocatello are nice enough but hardly exciting. On the other hand, the siren call of Idaho City, Lowman, Stanley, Ketchum, McCall, Yellow Pine, Halfway, Riggins, Joseph. Lolo, Kamiah, etc. can be hard to resist once the weather warms and you have wheels. You live at the edge of one of the best riding areas on earth with thousands of miles of two lane and FS roads and trails. Trust me, you will not get board no matter what you buy.

As a new rider that plans to go off pavement, bike weight is your enemy. A high seat is not your friend. Both will make your learning curve longer because they are elements to over come. You have not said much about yourself and that can make just as big a difference. If you are a big, strong, fit, crazy-ass mountain biker the transition to off road motorcycles will be easy and you can go big. The less you meet this description the more you will want a bike that works with you.

Bikes that top the easy to ride but fully capable off pavement and trails group:
Yamaha WR250R, Suzuki DRZ400S (E can be hard to plate), and Kawasaki KLX250S.

Bikes that are more of a handfull (heavier, higher, more powerful) and fully capable off pavement and trails:
Honda XR650L, Husqvarna TE610/630, and KTM LC4 (640 & 690)

Bikes that are good for gravel roads but out of their element on difficult trails:
Suzuki DR650SE, BMW 650, Husky 650 Terra, Kawasaki KLR, Suzukli V-Strom 650, Honda CRF235/250L, and Yamaha XT 225/250.

Full on off-road dirt racing bikes you can plate: KTM 2007+ EXC. These are great and very reliable but require frequent oil changes and valve checks.

Don't be afraid to buy used. It won't hurt so bad when you dump and scratch it. The WRR & KLXS 250s have plenty of power for freeway use if you weigh in at less than 250 pounds. They do take a little planning for passing lines of motor homes, especially on uphill grades though.
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:21 PM   #18
skelethon
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dr350

If you're looking at a dr-z400, have you looked into a dr350? If you're new to riding, i would consider getting something that you don't mind dropping and has a simple learning curve to work on/maintain. You can find a dr350 in good shape with under 10k miles for around 2 grand. Ride it, get a better idea of what you want or what kind of riding you're into, then sell it for what you bought it for. They are 6 speed, aircooled, relatively light, easy to work on. They are older tech but they hold up great and I would consider them a good first bike. Dead simple. Just keep oil in it and ride it.
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:05 PM   #19
Auto-X Fil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparrowhawk View Post

Bikes that are good for gravel roads but out of their element on difficult trails:
Suzuki DR650SE, BMW 650, Husky 650 Terra, Kawasaki KLR, Suzukli V-Strom 650, Honda CRF235/250L, and Yamaha XT 225/250.

Putting the DR650 and CRF250L in with the V-Strom, 650GS, etc. is a joke. Both of those bikes are roughly as capable off-road as a DRZ. I think the DRZ and those bikes both belong in the middle group.

I ride my CRF250L in a group of guys with DRZs, TE449s, KTM EXCs, and 2-stroke trail bikes. We ride steep hill climbs, loose rocks, mud bogs, and nasty, tight, single track. With no mods except good DOT knobbies, I keep up just fine. And I am NOT a great rider. There's no way I'd even get out of the woods in one piece on a 650GS or V-Strom where we ride, much less keep up.

The other thing I take away from my experience is that rider skill and tires are more important than bike. The differences between the CRF250L, DRZ, DR650, EXCs, WRR, etc. are really not that great, in the overall scheme of things. I mean, they are all 250-320 lb wet, and have 21/18 wheels, with lots of suspension travel. The jump from there to the V-Strom and 650GS is HUGE. The V-strom weighs 180lb more than the CRF-250L!

Auto-X Fil screwed with this post 11-01-2013 at 06:10 PM
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Old 11-01-2013, 07:40 PM   #20
Sig_Sour
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The Yamaha WR250R is your bike. Simple enough to maintain for a beginner and easy enough to ride for a beginner especially offroad...but when you accrue some experience it'll still have room for you to grow on it. Modern suspension, modern engine, FI, Jap reliability and maintenance, a good compromise between trail bike performance and dual sport reliability (more so than any other Jap dual sport in the US). I believe it's the only Jap dual sport in the US with inverted forks (read: modern suspension). Resale value is high because it's a very popular dual sport and will remain so for years to come so if you decide riding or at least riding the WR isn't your thing you can get rid of it easily.

Wait till next year, I've read online that Yamaha is suppose to be releasing a number of new models within a year's time.
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:14 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Sig_Sour View Post
I believe it's the only Jap dual sport in the US with inverted forks (read: modern suspension).
The CRF250L has inverted forks. They aren't in the same league as the WRR, but the bike is $2k less, so whatever.

The used WR250R has lot going for it. My friend is looking for a bike, and that's what I'm pushing him towards. There's one around here with low miles for $3600... I see that as hard to pass up.
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Old 11-01-2013, 10:27 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Auto-X Fil View Post
Putting the DR650 and CRF250L in with the V-Strom, 650GS, etc. is a joke.
Draw the lines where you like. It it more a continuum than pigeon holes. Neither the DR or CRF have what might be considered high level suspension components. A DRZ is not top level but it is a step up. Both the DR and CFRL will do dirt so long as speeds are kept within their abilities. The CRFL is easier simply because it's lighter, like the XT. Forgot to mention the Kawasaki Super Sherpa, also in the same league. Sjaak could make a similar argument that he rides his Yamaha R1 with KTM Adventures and there is no difference.

For the same $ a used WRR or KLXS will be a better tool, and will allow a new rider to gain skills faster, for dirty business than a new CFRL. The Honda is a good trail bike but it is second tier to a WRR or KLXS. The DRZ is the top > 250 bike to start with because the 650s can be a handful.

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Old 11-02-2013, 12:55 AM   #23
tkent02
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Just get whatever you want, the smaller the better. Make sure you get a good deal so when you find out you want something else you can do it without loosing any money.

I'm still looking for a better bike. After about 60 or 70 of them.
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Old 11-02-2013, 07:46 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Auto-X Fil View Post
The CRF250L has inverted forks. They aren't in the same league as the WRR, but the bike is $2k less, so whatever.

The used WR250R has lot going for it. My friend is looking for a bike, and that's what I'm pushing him towards. There's one around here with low miles for $3600... I see that as hard to pass up.
just cause' they LOOK like the inverted forks on high end dirtbikes, doesn't mean they WORK like those forks... no damping control at all on them, rebound/compression adjusters.... the one i rode bounced like a pogo stick and took nothing to bottom... stronger springs would just make it pogo more... spend $$$ to fukk it up worse....

older regular forks w/cartridge damping would be way better than those forks... but inverted forks look cool....

yeah, you could ride thru it and still hang, my friend does.... i'm sure Jason Thomas could kick some ass on that bike.... but try some really NICE suspension, and you won't go back.... the best you've ridden is the best you know....
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Old 11-02-2013, 08:55 AM   #25
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My current MO despite being at a point in my life where I can afford any new dual sport I want is to buy solid used bikes. For less than the cost of a new WR250R I bought an XL600R plus the current pair of KTM's in my garage.

The hunt and buying them is part of the fun. I made a new friend buying one of them. But the most fun is riding good stuff at low enough cost that a massive crash or blown motor doesn't freak me out. So riding them hard is guilt free.

Personally, none of the 250's make my short list. I am too big and enjoy riding fast too much for any 250 four stroke. Also if you want to do single track all of the Japanese 650's suck all of the joy out of that. They will do it but it is work.

So, to me, it always comes back to the KTM's. It is easier to make them road worthy than to bring most Japanese dual sports up to that level of offroad ability. That said, if I had to be a one bike guy and it had to be Japanese it would be the DRZ400.
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