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Old 06-28-2015, 10:58 AM   #1
srfsdr OP
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Thumb Help me pick a bike, please

New rider here. I rode my friend's XR100 a lot in middle school and high school 10 years ago, but other than that I am totally fresh. I don't currently own a motorcycle, but I am planning a motorcycle trip to Baja to explore the remote surfing breaks. I have been to Baja before but only in a passenger car. I'm going to strap a surfboard to the side of the motorcycle. Inspiration: http://www.bugsonmyboard.org/

I will be mostly doing dirt road riding in Baja, gravel and two tracks with the occasional low-tide beach riding. However, I am 1000 miles from the border so I will be doing a lot of pavement miles, too. I would like to stay on backroads as much as possible though.

I was thinking that a DR650 might be too much of a bike for me. I'm only 5'7" and 150lbs. I will be packing gear but I have a lot of ultralight backpacking gear. I probably won't even bring a tent, just a tarp. The DR350 is appealing to me due to the simplicity. I plan to really familiarize myself with the bike (strip it down, put it back together again) before I go (still 6 months away). Other bikes I have considered: Yamaha XT350, Xt250, pretty much any other 250cc cycle should be short enough for me, just not sure about power.

  • Budget: <$3000
  • Riding: 50/50 pavement and dirt, try to stay off highways
  • Experience: Novice
  • Rider height/weight: 150lbs, 5'7"
  • Gear: surfboard plus ~80lbs other stuff (food, water included)
Any input would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-28-2015, 12:23 PM   #2
sieg
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Wr250r
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Old 06-28-2015, 12:43 PM   #3
srfsdr OP
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I haven't seen any WR250r's in my price range. Ideally the bike would be closer to 2k than 3k because I will probably want to make some modifications (larger gas tank, racks) and can use the money for that. Have been seeing lots of klr650's in my price range, a lot with a lot of upgrades, too but I think that bike might be too big for me.
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Old 06-28-2015, 12:54 PM   #4
AdvLars
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If you're going to look at small displacement bikes get one with a 6 speed transmission or you will haaaate the 1000 miles of slab you have to ride. The dr350 and wr250 fit the bill on that front. The wr sits really high though. I'm almost 6' and can barely ride my roommates wr. My 5'8" ish Gf can just touch the ground on my dr350. Some 100$ lowering links will make the Dr fit and ride really well.

I wouldn't necessarily write off the bigger bikes (dr650/klr650 etc) for long tours though. You'll probably drop the bike a few times but you'll get the hang of it over the next 6 months. My buddy bought a klr650 with no experience and was riding harder than me in under a month. Again, some lowering links will probably be key.
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Old 06-28-2015, 12:54 PM   #5
villageidiot
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xt 250 would suffice, but a lowered DR650 would probably be a little better for the haul down to baja.

no one complains about too much power.

a DR350 is a great bike too, but its about as big as the 650.

what size board do you plan on taking?
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Old 06-28-2015, 12:59 PM   #6
cachorroLOUCO
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Xt250,crf250l,wr250,drz400,xr650l would all be more than capable. Since you'll be doing a lot of distance and on the desert i would go with a "low tech" bike such as xt250 or xr650l. Big maintance intervals,simple air cooled designs.. even i can fix one of those at the side of the road with a decent kit of tools. Sit on both of them and see what you like best. Wr250 is cool too but more high-tech.. crf250l same thing but the maintance intervals are bigger.
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Old 06-28-2015, 12:59 PM   #7
stevo7706
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I used to take my board to P.E. on the airplane, but even that was a hassle. I leave my board and rent from locals. Plus you can get some valuable advice. The board is going to be a pain in the ass on a motorcycle. JMHO.
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Old 06-28-2015, 01:03 PM   #8
srfsdr OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by villageidiot View Post
xt 250 would suffice, but a lowered DR650 would probably be a little better for the haul down to baja.

no one complains about too much power.

a DR350 is a great bike too, but its about as big as the 650.

what size board do you plan on taking?
I will be taking a small board, 5'6" fish type board (I may buy a hypto-krypto if I save some money from moto expenses)

I guess my concern with a bigger bike is managing it through sand. Not only directly on the beach but sometimes sand blows onto the road down there.
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Old 06-28-2015, 01:07 PM   #9
AdvLars
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Another point to consider: your surfboard is going to be a giant sail that's going to catch wind and buffet you around at hwy speeds. Something heavier with a low center of gravity like the Dr650 out klr650 will be a lot more stable and require a lot less fighting. I carry my bouldering crash pad on a nice big rack I fabbed on my 350 but I wouldn't want to carry it on the freeway, or in the wind. Too much of a fight for long distance on a little bike
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Old 06-28-2015, 01:19 PM   #10
srfsdr OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdvLars View Post
Another point to consider: your surfboard is going to be a giant sail that's going to catch wind and buffet you around at hwy speeds. Something heavier with a low center of gravity like the Dr650 out klr650 will be a lot more stable and require a lot less fighting. I carry my bouldering crash pad on a nice big rack I fabbed on my 350 but I wouldn't want to carry it on the freeway, or in the wind. Too much of a fight for long distance on a little bike
Yes, thanks for pointing this out. I would like to stay off the freeways as much as possible. I have 6 months of time for this trip (I work seasonally) so I'm not in a rush to get to the border and wouldn't mind taking back roads. Even just going down the california coast on hwy1 I don't think the speed limit exceeds 55mph. But yeah, it seems like the dr650 would be the ideal bike (low seat height, lots of power), unfortunately they seem to be a bit more pricey and harder to come by.
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Old 06-28-2015, 01:35 PM   #11
Scott_PDX
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Dr650s can be had for the same or less than a street legal DRZ. I'd go with a DR or KLR 650 too.
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Old 06-28-2015, 02:03 PM   #12
AdvLars
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srfsdr View Post

I guess my concern with a bigger bike is managing it through sand. Not only directly on the beach but sometimes sand blows onto the road down there.
I feel like the right choice of tires is going to be the more important factor regarding the sand. Especially if youre just trying to track a straightish line in open terrain. the agility and clearance the light bikes provide is super nice if you want to go exploring but might be moot if you don't plan on riding single track.
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Old 06-28-2015, 03:37 PM   #13
simbaboy
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+3 on the DR650.
A newbie should probably reconsider carrying a surf board on the bike. Buy one at your destination used and resell it before coming back. Not that I know even one thing about a surf board!
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Old 06-28-2015, 04:22 PM   #14
cachorroLOUCO
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+4 on the dr650,if hard to find then go for a klr650 or xt650l or xt660. Carrying a surf board on a bike is a terrible and dangerous idea. Buy or rent one at your destination and sell it afterwards as mentioned above.
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Old 06-28-2015, 04:41 PM   #15
Scorpiobane
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Klr 650

65 MPH all day long.
Water cooled, you don't have to worry about extremely slow off road overheating your bike.
The largest seat of dual sport bikes unless you move up to a BMW, big KTM, or Triumph.
You can probably find a pre 2007 in your price range. Maybe even a 2008 or 2009.
I have ridden one on a 5 day 2071 mile trip with no problem. I have taken mine to Rampart range in Colorado.
From what I can see and what I have heard, they are the best all around low maintenance, low cost bike you can find.
At 432 pounds, they are easy enough to pick up on the trail, twice in Rampart range. Once it was wheels up, I grabbed the back rack spun it around and picked it up. They are easiest to pick up like a dirt bike. Use the handle bars and stand it up.
I keep wondering if I would want something else, then I realize it does everything I want a bike to do.
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