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Old 08-17-2014, 10:14 AM   #1
KrazyKarl84 OP
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Thinking about getting a smaller DS (250 CC or smaller) any suggestions/thoughts?

Hi all,

I'm hoping to tap into everyone's knowledge and opinions about an idea I've had all summer that's been gaining traction, especially recently.

I've got an 08 KLR, that I currently just pulled the head off of yesterday, as the balancer shaft bearings are shot (found metal shavings in the oil, and on the magnetic drain plug) Bike's got 35,000 when I parked it on July 20th, and I was going to do the 685 kit later on this year anyway, since of course it's an oil burner. The 685 kit's from Eagle Mike are on back-order currently, and I'm pretty content to wait till they are back in. I'll probably bug mike later this upcoming work week to see if he has any news on that front. That said, my initial thoughts of being back and riding by early September have now been flung out the window.

I love the KLR, it's a great bike, fits my personality and life really well-was only the second motorcycle I've ever owned, and the only one I've put any sort of significant mileage on (32000 or so miles in 2.5 years), and fits my wallet pretty well too.

That said-enough about the KLR- I've been thinking about a second bike off and on all summer, in particular a small dual sport-I'm thinking 250 CC or maybe even smaller. A big part of that is that I still really have the bug to ride and at this point, I'm preparing for the idea that the KLR won't be rebuilt until late fall. Michigan also has a lot of sand, and a lighter bike seems a bit more confidence inspiring in the sand than the KLR, or at the very least, it's easier to pickup when (not if) I drop it haha! I'd like to do more off-road riding too, and something I can get into the back of my ranger easier if needed is an appealing thought if I decide to cage it close to the trails. Given that my KLR is down right now though (it was my primary means of transportation in reasonable weather) and my ranger is getting more and more un-reliable (trans is going) as it gets older, I'd still like something that I could at least passably use on city-superslab, even for short stretches-my commute right now is about 15 miles of slab each way-but afternoons are pretty much a traffic jam for at least half of that. When my alternator went in February on my ranger (air temp was -10 out of course-and of course I was in a situation that prevented me from fixing the alternator myself as I would have normally) the KLR was the trusty steed that got me to work on time without missing a beat-my boss never knew other than wondering why I was wearing riding gear in the middle of one of the worst winters on record. So basically, whatever I'd get, would still at least need to be capable of being used in a backup role as primary transport when/if needed.


No brand loyalty on my end, although (wait for it) I am a bit of a cheap bugger (I did start out saying I ride a KLR), so buying new is out, plus I'm looking at about 1k to sink into the KLR to get it running again (rear shock is getting replaced as well since I have the bike torn apart anyway). I've done all the maint work on the KLR myself, but tearing the head (and soon to be piston) off is as far as I've ever pulled an engine apart on my own without adult supervision (I'm 30 now ha!)-but it's been a great learning experience, and no love lost on the KLR-I knew the 08's and 9's had issues when I bought mine, and I still got a good deal and plenty of smiles out of it so far-with many more to come

Height and weight-I'm 6'2 and about 200 lbs-I have a taller seat on my KLR and can still flat foot it-in case that rules out any particular smaller bike.

So that in mind, any recommendations for any specific bikes that I should be looking at? or has the the KLR/adv riding/motorcycles in general bug just gotten to me so far now that I'll be like a crazy cat lady in 10 years just with bikes instead of cats.... Would a small DS be ideal for what I'm looking at?

I've been scrolling around the forums here, and checking out bike specific ones that have caught my eye-noteably the DR 200/250 and KLR/KLX 250s but again-overall my riding experience has been mostly limited to my 2nd gen KLR. So basically, I'm looking for something simple, lighter, relatively easy to fix, and hopefully reasonably priced for use as a second bike. Electric start is really cool too, as kicking at a bike that just stalled while in a middle lane of a busy street kind of stinks (my first bike was a kick only-and one of the lessons I learned the hard way) but I'd be willing to over-look that given I'm at least slightly more experienced at this point.
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Old 08-17-2014, 10:27 AM   #2
Bultaco206
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Hang on to your monitor. You're about to get 1,876 opinions. And some might even make sense.

I happened upon a lightly used KLX250 a few years ago. (Long, boring, story) At any rate, I threw a 351cc big-bore kit at it, as well as a suspension upgrade, and couldn't be happier. Cheap to buy, useful mods tailored to me, and maintenance is a non-issue.

Works great in U.P. sand.
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Old 08-17-2014, 10:42 AM   #3
jon_l
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Super Sherpa is a good bike. WRR too, hard to find cheap though.
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Old 08-17-2014, 10:49 AM   #4
baloneyskin daddy
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Pick up a used motor for the KLR and rebuild the other at your leisure.
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Old 08-17-2014, 11:23 AM   #5
JDUBinCO
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If you are going to throw it on the back of your ranger than any reason to not get a dedicated off-roader? A kdx 200 with heavier fork springs would blow you away. A CR250 would probably scare you half to death. Dual sport from the manufacturer means more weight off road.

I have a plated xr400. It'll do 65 all day and tear it up off road. Klr-like maintenance too.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:34 AM   #6
markk53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KrazyKarl84 View Post
Hi all,

I'm hoping to tap into everyone's knowledge and opinions about an idea I've had all summer that's been gaining traction, especially recently.

I've got an 08 KLR, that I currently just pulled the head off of yesterday, as the balancer shaft bearings are shot (found metal shavings in the oil, and on the magnetic drain plug) Bike's got 35,000 when I parked it on July 20th, and I was going to do the 685 kit later on this year anyway, since of course it's an oil burner. The 685 kit's from Eagle Mike are on back-order currently, and I'm pretty content to wait till they are back in. I'll probably bug mike later this upcoming work week to see if he has any news on that front. That said, my initial thoughts of being back and riding by early September have now been flung out the window.

I love the KLR, it's a great bike, fits my personality and life really well-was only the second motorcycle I've ever owned, and the only one I've put any sort of significant mileage on (32000 or so miles in 2.5 years), and fits my wallet pretty well too.

That said-enough about the KLR- I've been thinking about a second bike off and on all summer, in particular a small dual sport-I'm thinking 250 CC or maybe even smaller. A big part of that is that I still really have the bug to ride and at this point, I'm preparing for the idea that the KLR won't be rebuilt until late fall. Michigan also has a lot of sand, and a lighter bike seems a bit more confidence inspiring in the sand than the KLR, or at the very least, it's easier to pickup when (not if) I drop it haha! I'd like to do more off-road riding too, and something I can get into the back of my ranger easier if needed is an appealing thought if I decide to cage it close to the trails. Given that my KLR is down right now though (it was my primary means of transportation in reasonable weather) and my ranger is getting more and more un-reliable (trans is going) as it gets older, I'd still like something that I could at least passably use on city-superslab, even for short stretches-my commute right now is about 15 miles of slab each way-but afternoons are pretty much a traffic jam for at least half of that. When my alternator went in February on my ranger (air temp was -10 out of course-and of course I was in a situation that prevented me from fixing the alternator myself as I would have normally) the KLR was the trusty steed that got me to work on time without missing a beat-my boss never knew other than wondering why I was wearing riding gear in the middle of one of the worst winters on record. So basically, whatever I'd get, would still at least need to be capable of being used in a backup role as primary transport when/if needed.


No brand loyalty on my end, although (wait for it) I am a bit of a cheap bugger (I did start out saying I ride a KLR), so buying new is out, plus I'm looking at about 1k to sink into the KLR to get it running again (rear shock is getting replaced as well since I have the bike torn apart anyway). I've done all the maint work on the KLR myself, but tearing the head (and soon to be piston) off is as far as I've ever pulled an engine apart on my own without adult supervision (I'm 30 now ha!)-but it's been a great learning experience, and no love lost on the KLR-I knew the 08's and 9's had issues when I bought mine, and I still got a good deal and plenty of smiles out of it so far-with many more to come

Height and weight-I'm 6'2 and about 200 lbs-I have a taller seat on my KLR and can still flat foot it-in case that rules out any particular smaller bike.

So that in mind, any recommendations for any specific bikes that I should be looking at? or has the the KLR/adv riding/motorcycles in general bug just gotten to me so far now that I'll be like a crazy cat lady in 10 years just with bikes instead of cats.... Would a small DS be ideal for what I'm looking at?

I've been scrolling around the forums here, and checking out bike specific ones that have caught my eye-noteably the DR 200/250 and KLR/KLX 250s but again-overall my riding experience has been mostly limited to my 2nd gen KLR. So basically, I'm looking for something simple, lighter, relatively easy to fix, and hopefully reasonably priced for use as a second bike. Electric start is really cool too, as kicking at a bike that just stalled while in a middle lane of a busy street kind of stinks (my first bike was a kick only-and one of the lessons I learned the hard way) but I'd be willing to over-look that given I'm at least slightly more experienced at this point.

I had a similar situation, but not a damaged engine. I am too short to deal with my KLX650 off roading. So I went with a second bike. I plan to sell my streetbike and use the 650 as my road ride (which I did for about 10 years).

I got the 250 to actually try to do more off roading. The deep sand on the single track trails up at Indian River bit me though. Back in June I fell over and fractured my fibula at the ankle! Damn sand - where's the rain they predicted!

I went with the KLX250 because I wouldn't spend the money for a WR250R and the KLX has adjustable suspension which the Honda does not (and I wouldn't pay the money one of those either). I just found a decent deal on one and I work with a dealership on parts I buy for my sideline so I get a bit of a break on parts/accessories. A KTM would be interesting, but again the money and the size/liveability of them.

Thus the KLX250. I got an 09 withabout 15,000 miles on it for $2000 - appeals to the "cheap bastard" in all of us. Only bike I'd truly avoid is the CRF250 just because of the non-adjustable suspension.

You should keep the KLR as the road ride and do a 250 for the fun. You will be totally amazed at how light they feel under you (if you haven't learned that already). I still really like the KLX650 on the road and on dirt/gravel. The ability to effortlessly loft the front wheel with a bit of throttle when leaving a stop sign never gets old. I rode an 06 KLX250 my brother looked at and bought - felt like a mountain bike under me! So I decided to get one and do a bit of trails with my brother.

Next time I get on a single track with 8-10" of endless soft sand (we rode about a mile without encountering the slightest bit of firm terrain), I'll turn around and get out of there. If it'd been 8-10 inches of mud - kind of stuff you might experience in SE Ohio - I'd have turned around after the first couple hundred yards, figuring it ain't gettin' much better. It's one thing to hit a bit of a stretch, of mud or sand, foolishness to wallow and wobble on virtually uncontrolably through it. I hate to think what the 650 would have done to me...
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markk53 screwed with this post 08-18-2014 at 09:57 AM
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Old 08-18-2014, 05:34 PM   #7
KrazyKarl84 OP
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Thanks for the replies so far!

I'm definitely going to take a closer look at the KLX's- would be fun to have a KLR's "little brother" in the stable so to speak...

I am definitely going to rebuild the KLR, I just have this ugly feeling that there may be snow on the ground by the time I get a 685 kit in it and get it all put back together-but it's definitely my primary bike for the long term and for longer trips-I feel really comfortable on it on in most situations, plus I'd really like to get it to 100 K mileage and i'm about a 1/3 of the way there now

I've really thought about a dedicated dirt-bike, but would still feel better about having something street legal, or something I could at least add turn signals/street legal equipment too fairly easily. My gut (and the # of things going wrong per month-little by little) feeling is that my trusty ranger is on it's last legs. Just this morning the driver's side door handle nearly snapped off when I went to go to work. So it's important to me to have a backup just in case.

That's awesome about how light the 250 feels-that's why the idea is so tempting! but yeah, I don't blame you on the long stretch of sand. I've ran the KLR through longer stretches than I would have liked, and it's a miracle I haven't put it down more. There's a trail out near Muskegon that I tried venturing on two years ago, I got about a 1/4 of a mile down it, pretty whooped out and sand 4 inches deep-ended up turning around-didn't have the riding experience, or stamina (I was admittedly a bit tired at that point from riding for the better part of the day already) to feel like I could make it through safely. Hope your ankle heals up soon!

I took a riders course (through Adventure Rider's international) in vermont in july-and of the 7 or so students there including myself, all of us crashed when when we practiced sand-a couple of the bikes for the first time (my KLR is pretty used to taking naps, so it was just another day at the office for me) , and that was just about 25 feet stretch of it! I've never done serious mud, although Lorne (the instructor of our class) said that between the two sand is slightly more difficult to ride in..
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Old 08-18-2014, 05:53 PM   #8
Gryphon12
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Read through this thread. It will give you the context to go along with the recommendations that you will receive here. The context will answer the questions that you haven't thought of yet.


http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=201349
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:05 PM   #9
arctic954
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Thinking about getting a smaller DS (250 CC or smaller) any suggestions/thoug...

The WR250R's are getting cheaper out there. I too live in Michigan and that little bike does fantastic in the woods/ sand. Best part.....I ride to the trails..... (1-2 hours away). It's fuel injected, it has a 350 watt stator for touring/ heated gear, it's sub frame is steel so it will carry a good load, it has a 6-speed trans & will cruise the highway at 70-75 easily, low maintenance 26,000 mile valve checks & 3,000 mile oil changes, and it carries it's weight low making it nimble off-road. I've had many dirt bikes (WR426, KTM 450, KTM 200, 3 DR650's, and a few others). I've yet to own a bike with the capabilities of this bike.

I found mine for $3,000.......highly recommended.




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Old 08-18-2014, 07:06 PM   #10
markk53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KrazyKarl84 View Post
Thanks for the replies so far!

I'm definitely going to take a closer look at the KLX's- would be fun to have a KLR's "little brother" in the stable so to speak...

I am definitely going to rebuild the KLR, I just have this ugly feeling that there may be snow on the ground by the time I get a 685 kit in it and get it all put back together-but it's definitely my primary bike for the long term and for longer trips-I feel really comfortable on it on in most situations, plus I'd really like to get it to 100 K mileage and i'm about a 1/3 of the way there now

I've really thought about a dedicated dirt-bike, but would still feel better about having something street legal, or something I could at least add turn signals/street legal equipment too fairly easily. My gut (and the # of things going wrong per month-little by little) feeling is that my trusty ranger is on it's last legs. Just this morning the driver's side door handle nearly snapped off when I went to go to work. So it's important to me to have a backup just in case.

That's awesome about how light the 250 feels-that's why the idea is so tempting! but yeah, I don't blame you on the long stretch of sand. I've ran the KLR through longer stretches than I would have liked, and it's a miracle I haven't put it down more. There's a trail out near Muskegon that I tried venturing on two years ago, I got about a 1/4 of a mile down it, pretty whooped out and sand 4 inches deep-ended up turning around-didn't have the riding experience, or stamina (I was admittedly a bit tired at that point from riding for the better part of the day already) to feel like I could make it through safely. Hope your ankle heals up soon!

I took a riders course (through Adventure Rider's international) in vermont in july-and of the 7 or so students there including myself, all of us crashed when when we practiced sand-a couple of the bikes for the first time (my KLR is pretty used to taking naps, so it was just another day at the office for me) , and that was just about 25 feet stretch of it! I've never done serious mud, although Lorne (the instructor of our class) said that between the two sand is slightly more difficult to ride in..
We will go back a bit the wiser. We were in the eastern area toward Pellston (Douglas Lake) where there was a better mix of dirt and sand, it was great. Had we realized that it wasn't going to get better we'd have turned around after a couple hundred yards. It would have been great had there been rain as predicted. Such is life.

The ankle is healing well and hopefully we can test out the Tech 6s this fall. The old Hi Points kept me from an operation, but a less flexible boot might have made some difference.

Have fun whichever way you go.
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Ever get lost? You know, that good kind of lost - come to a dirt road intersection and you have no idea where you are or which way to turn? I like when that happens!

Mark - klx678
95 KLX650C w/Vulcan piston bigbore, Now an 09 KLX250S, selling my 90 Zephyr 550
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Old 08-18-2014, 10:23 PM   #11
UtahGuido
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Hey Karl,

You and I are remarkably similar, demographic wise anyway. I'm almost 6"2" and weigh in the mid 190s. I had an 08 KLR that I blew the engine up on too. Before that happened I bought an 07 KLX250 because I wanted a lighter bike for tougher trails than the KLR could handle, and have found that the KLX is pretty good in sand. The KLR is gone but the KLX remains. I put a 351 kit in it for more oomph, relocated the footpegs back a couple inches, and last year had the swingarm lengthened 1.25 inches. That has really helped the bike in terms of stability and ergonomics - I always felt like my KLX was like a 4/5 size bike but now it's got a nice size feel to it. I also re-shaped the seat to widen it slightly and take the dip out of it. So, now it's my go (almost) anywhere backroads tourer. It's a tough little machine. I like it.

Gratuitous photo:

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