Originally Posted by devo2002
the bottom line is if you never did dirt you need to start small, period. You will be struggling with anything else, even a dr650. Just a few hours of practice on a nice 250 is all it takes to really understand what is possible and what isn't. Plus it is just plain old fun, you really have no idea. On a KLR you will be too nervous just to not fall over. I know you want to get what you want right out of the gate but you need to work up to it.
Totally agree with devo. I can't imagine trying to learn how to ride dirt on a 650 dual sport. I'm 6' 4", have many years of dirt riding experience, including a few motocrosses, and I HATE the DR650 off road. I have seen several beginners crash painfully, hurting themselves and their bikes, by trying to ride bikes that were too tall and/or too heavy for their ability. They got discouraged and they no longer ride dirt. I can think of two that don't even ride motorcycles any more.
If I were you I'd find something in the 225-250 range. If you don't go on the freeway, anything bigger than a 125 will get you there. See what kind of riding you really want to do. Learn how to use your brakes on slippery surfaces and go up and down steep hills and cross trail obstacles. Learn how to pick up your bike on a hill and get started again without falling all the way back to the bottom with the bike on top of you. Learn how to cross a stream without the risk of being stranded in the middle with a motorcycle too big for you to push out.
Will you be doing all this riding solo, or do you have a buddy in mind? When you ride with somebody else, it's nice to have a compatible motorcycle.