Originally Posted by Johnny Tarr
Hey guys. This is my first post here after lurker for most of the year. Yaay. Ok, anyway. I've been thinking about getting a dual sport for awhile now, and over the past few days have been doing some heavy research into what I want. After a lot of debate, and a lot of reading the back and fourth here, I decided I wanted a KLR.
Yes, I know it has downsides. But It fit everything I wanted it to do.
Very comfy on the road.
Can take it on trails (even if its more hassle than a dirtier bike)
Well, I went on down to my local Honda/Kawasaki dealership and found their KLR650 display. Wow. First impression, this thing is HUGE. I ride a ninja 650r, and I was expecting something like that but a bit taller. Not by a long shot. This bike is massive, and tall. I threw my leg over and was quite shocked when I realized that my toes were barely on the ground. I'm 6'2, and had to stretch to hold myself and the bike up comfortably. I have no idea how anyone shorter than me could hope to ride it.
Second impression: This thing is heavy. It didnt really feel top heavy like many here describe it, just tall + heavy. So heavy that combined with the height, I wasnt sure if I'd be able to pick it up if I dropped it.
So after deciding the bike was plain out too large for what I wanted, I asked the rep to show me the next bike down that they had, and he showed me the KLX250 (Though he claimed it was 230.) This bike LOOKED closer to what I was looking for. But I'm a big guy. 6'2, 240lbs. When I sat on it, it was small. And light. I loved the weight, but im not sure if I like the size. If I was -2 inches and -50 pounds, I'd probably be looking for one online right now.
So, I just don't know what to do. The KLR650 is too big, the KLX250 is to small. The BMW DAKAR and anything by KTM are out of my pricerange, so please dont suggest them. The Honda crf230 was also too small, and the honda 650 was too ugly for me to consider.
The Tiger and Vstrom are as large and heavy as the KLR, right? I'm going to try to find a suzuki dealer so I can scope out the DRZ400. If that doesnt pan out, ill just have to choose between too heavy but comfy, or light, but not comfy.
Put your location in your profile. Maybe somebody local to you would let you try a few bikes.
I really like my DR650SE. It's no 250lb woods bike, or 600lb+ touring bike, but it can chase either one on the same day. It's not prone to overheating, like air-cooled or water-cooled bikes can be. It's subframe will carry a serious load for travel/camping. The motor is smooth on slab and torquey on trails. Parts and accessories are easy to source. The 5spd tranny has a decent gearspread to cover both slab and trail situations. They can be found pretty inexpensively. Customize it with a comfortable seat, a long-range fueltank, and decent carbing. Upgrade the suspension and tires when you want more performance. My DR is now more comfortable/capable to ride across the country than my streetbike is, and it'll still run the sugarsand around here like a fat dirtbike. It's a GREAT bike for exploring the world by slab or trail, then commuting during the week with a grin on your face.
Now...Big news on the 40-50lb-lighter, water-cooled, DR-Z400S with fully-adjustable suspension, is that the aftermarket now offers a wide-ratio gearset. The DR-Z400S and DR650SE make similar stock WHP, but the DR makes big torque down low. It rides like a taller, skinnier, utility quad. The down-low tractoring torque is almost funny, especially with a flat-slide pumper carb swapped on. Either bike can be tuned to make 50WHP+ and considerably more torque than stock. The DR-Z is more of a revver, like a sport quad, but even the DR seems fine with getting spun up a bit. It's not known for burning a lot of oil at sustained high revs, like many thumpers are, and I like hearing it's throaty song going down the interstate on-ramps. Neither Suzuki is a race-oriented screamer though, even if people DO sometimes race them.