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Old 07-30-2010, 07:44 AM   #16
bigalsmith101 OP
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many good points!


Lowbudget: The DR-Z 400 could be a head turner. From what little you mentioned, it's spot on, but I simply never thought much of it. 3 of my friends have Dr400Sm's, and the damn thing is just too little for Tom or I. Never liked it much.

Dahlin: The main and sub frames of the DR650 and XR650L are steel. Refering to what Debaisley has mentioned, The main frame of the wr250r is aluminum while the sub frame is steel. The 650's are easily welded while parts of the wr250r is not. Also, engine rebuilds and other things have been taken into consideration in our budget.

GSBS: The Bmw 650X had been on my mind a while back but, as you mentioned yourself, the up front cost is a bit much, cheapest on the good old craigslist is just under $5k. Though the reliability of the 650 rotax is not an issue, and I ride a BMW K75, so Im even a fan of the BMW's, I just don't think the higher price is worth it in the end.

Tattewell: My sentiments exactly concerning a loaded down wr250r versus fuel economy. Also, regarding the KLR, as I wrote earlier,

"The KLR is 432lbs wet, a full 134lbs heavier then the WR250R, and 77lbs over the XR650, and 87 over the DR650. It too runs a 17" rear wheel, which is more difficult to source while traveling the globe. Also, it is liquid cooled, something I would not prefer. It only has 8.3" of ground clearance, and has less travel in the forks/suspension then the other 3 bikes. The only pro it has over the other bikes (like you mentioned) is that it is generally cheaper, and comes stock with a 6.1 gallon tank (2008 Model)."

Yellow Pig: We will all most definitely be riding the same bike. That is agreed upon.

Keep 'em coming. I'm off to work now though. I'll have more to say this afternoon.
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Old 07-30-2010, 08:22 AM   #17
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I wouldn't hesitate at all to ride my WR250R on that trip, but I think $$ will be an issue if you are trying to stay under $4k geared up.

If you can get a smokin' deal on a used one - say $3,500 . . . you still need the big gas tank - $400, luggage - if you want waterproof (I wouldn't go any other way) - the new Wolfman dry line bags are $400, then you'll need sprockets, chain, and I would certainly take a spare fuel pump with me ($200+), along with any other mods you'd want to make $$$ will put you way over your $4k initial budget.

BTW - a WR250R will run w/o a battery.
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Old 07-30-2010, 08:35 AM   #18
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These are my picks. DR650, WR250R or XT250.
Go with a light bike and pack light. If you want to go heavy ride a DL650.

After rereading your post I must say get 3 DR650's and lower one of them. Redundancy is GOOD.
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Old 07-30-2010, 08:35 AM   #19
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As someone who owns a farkled out WR250X (I have the R wheels too, so it's both an X and an R when I want it to be) I would have to go with the DR650

As has been mentioned, the high compression of the WR will be a hinderance when you get to the stans and russia.

From reading some of the other ride reports about that area, the availability of high octane gas is not guaranteed so you'll be forced to carry lots of octane booster or risk major problems with the WR.

The DR, on the other hand, can handle lower octane just fine so you'll be less likely to encounter major engine problems as a result of the use of lower grade gas.

Additionally, the Honda is a little too oriented towards trail use to be of comfort on long rides (at least in my opinion)

I think the DR would be the best compromise
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Old 07-30-2010, 08:38 AM   #20
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One more thing to think about . . . I use heated gear on my WRR. The electrical system on the WRR (350 watts) will support my gps, heated grips, heated gloves, and heated jacket no problem. I don't think any of the 650's you've got picked out can handle that much electrical load. Just something to think about if you think you might want to use heated gear.
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Old 07-30-2010, 09:43 AM   #21
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Maybe look at this another way....

a lot of what you have listed has no real impact on the bikes ability to move you and your stuff--which is the real key. What you don't want is to be stranded\stopped by mechanical or terrain issues--my assumption.
Given that I would list the things that will stop you--flat tires, bad fuel, difficult terrain, engine failure etc. Get that list and then weight it for importance on a scale say 0 to 1 with 1 being very important. Some examples....

Ease of flat tire repair --would be on my list, with an importance of say .8

Starts with dead batt by bump starting--importance 1

Runs on bad\low octane fuel--importance say 1

Frame can be Welded with electric or gas say .5

No special tools required say .6

Local availability of parts (how common is the bike worldwide) 1

Very similar to what you have started but weighted and focused on what is really important--to keep moving in inhospitable places with only local support.

Originally Posted by bigalsmith101
Our key points are listed below:

Xs represent Cons, and Os represent Pros. Two Os are better than one O. But you already knew that now didnt you?

All specs are for stock bikes with no mods



Tank Size2.8gl3.4gl2.0glXXX
Tank Range112-150mi153-187mi100-120miXXXX
After Market Tank5.8gl6.64.5glOOOO
Max Tank Range290330279OOOO
Fuel Economy45-5545-5555-65mpgOOOO
Sub FrameSteel Steel SteelOOO
Comp Ratio8.3:19.5:111.8:1OOOOOO
Fuel SystemCarbCarbFuel InjectedOOX
Cooling SystemAir CooledAir Cooled Water CooledOOX
Rear Wheel 18"17"18"OXO
Front Wheel21"21"21"OOO
Seat Height37.0"34.8"36.6"OXO
Ground Clearance13.0"10.4"11.8"OOOO
2008 Model Cost Avg3,500.00 3,500.00 4,200.00 OOX

Don't make the mistake of believing everything you think.
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Old 07-30-2010, 12:20 PM   #22
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I own or have owed all three.

Picked up an '06 XRL off CL in '08 with 300 miles on it (new condition). Spent a lot of time and money farkeling it out.

Picked up an '08 WR250R in Jan '09 off CL because it was a great deal.

Picked up an '07 DL650 (Wee Strom) in May '09 also a great deal.

Picked up an '08 DR650 as well off CL in Jan '10.

Here's my observation for your use....

The XRL has a VERY weak sub frame (tail end) for hauling any type of luggage. This can be corrected but you would have to strip the bike down and weld an 1/8 thick steel plate along the frame to the tail tubes. A lot of work!

The battery box is also and after thought and have been known to fall off. It vibrated so bad my hands would go numb. The CG is very high and the bike very tall. A couple of degrees off center and the bike wanted to go down.

I'll throw in the Wee as well. Great STREET bike. No personality, just a great bike that won't turn any heads but always get you where you're going. A much better value then a BMW GS if that is what you're looking for.

Once I started alternating between all three bikes I soon quite riding the XRL, then the V Strom. In the end I sold them both and only had the WRR for a while. The WR is a fun bike to ride. Very nimble and light feeling even though it's not that much lighter on paper then the DR or XRL. It has a strong sub frame and is well built. The down side of a WRR for what you're doing is it's a complicated bike with FI, water cooling, high compression (high octane gas), spark plug is buried, very complicated wire harness when compared to the DR or XRL. It also starts loosing steam going up hills with bags and gear on it. I have no doubt the WR250R would work for your trip but may not be the best option.

I bought an '08 DR that had sat on CL for 6 months or more in Jan 2010. I've put about 2,000 miles on it so far and have been getting it ready to ship over to Cape Town for a 6 week Africa ride.

It's the best bet going as far as low vibes, build quality, after market parts availability and design. Nice and simple, easy to work on and understand, strong frame and sub frame. No need to beef anything up. Low CG with reasonable seat height. Easy to lower if that's what you want.

What it needs is a Sargent seat, a TCI or WSFB windshield, a 4.9 gallon IMS gas tank and luggage (I went with Wolfman expedition dry bags) . Figure about $1,000.00 per bike to get it ready to go.

Take care,

AK Greg
1978 Yamaha TT500, 2008 Yamaha WR250R, 2008 Suzuki DR650

AKoffroader screwed with this post 07-30-2010 at 12:43 PM
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Old 07-30-2010, 05:52 PM   #23
bigalsmith101 OP
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Thanks guys!

Krabill: The goal is to remain under $7500 for everything, including the bike, riding gear, modifications to the bike, luggage, and accessories. The WR250R would still be doable. Wolfman bags are on the list of potential sidebags, and most likely the choice if I go for soft bags, haven't decided yet though. Good to know that the WR250R will run sans battery too. I guess I just assumed it wouldn't. Also, the alternator output on the the wr250r is about 150watts great then either of the other bikes. An upgraded stator for the 650's is not impossible however, and can up the output by about 40-50 watts. Still a very valid point though.

Clayjars: Opinion noted. +1 for the Dr650's

AKASY: You make a very valid point. I am going to get to work on something similar to what you have mentioned. A weighted scale on importance on issues that are vital to the journey is a very good idea.

AKoffroader: I have heard that the xr650's subframe is considerably weak and in need of enforcement. I was unaware of the battery box issue on that bike as well. I was also unaware of the intricate wiring harness on the wr250r. Your suggestions for mods to the DR650 is helpful and about what I had in mind as well. The fact that you have owned each of the three bikes at some time is good to know. Your opinion is dually noted as well.

So far we have a couple of guys for the xr650l, a few more then that for the Dr650, and only 1 or two for the wr250r. Anything else guys?

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Old 07-30-2010, 06:01 PM   #24
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one thing i can add is that on all the forums out there that i have read , the only problem i have ever seen for the wr250r was a fuel pump going bad.

for the XR / DR , there is countless posts about random issues , although usually not too complicated or hard to fix , its one thing ive never seen posted about the WR.

i have owned the xrl and now ride the WR , i would choose the WR anyday. It might seem complicated at first , but soon you realize that you never have to do any real work on it.
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Old 07-30-2010, 06:10 PM   #25
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I own a WR250R - but I would take a DR650 if I was making the trip.


1. Simplicity - A carb and air cooling are superior in 3rd world countries.
2. Abundance of parts - the DR650 is more ubiquitous than the WR250R
3. Fuel Octane - The WR250R requires premium, I would be the DR650 would happily run on 70 octane fuel out of a glass bottle.
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Old 07-30-2010, 06:33 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by error cooled
3. Fuel Octane - The WR250R requires premium, I would be the DR650 would happily run on 70 octane fuel out of a glass bottle.
good point , didnt think of that.
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Old 07-30-2010, 06:44 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by error cooled
I own a WR250R - but I would take a DR650 if I was making the trip.
3. Fuel Octane - The WR250R requires premium, I would be the DR650 would happily run on 70 octane fuel out of a glass bottle.
Mine has run through many tankfuls of 87 when 91 wasn't available, so far the piston hasn't come out through the exhaust valves...

That said, I'm not sure I'd want to try running 85 (or worse) through it on a hot day with a big load of gear.
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Old 07-30-2010, 09:15 PM   #28
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I have a xr650l and I love it. When I am riding local I have it set up for mostly dirt. I have done a few 400 mile days on it. I have a alot of parts I can add to it to make it a touring bike. Butwith that being said. i think the dr650 will be a better bike for the ride you want to do. Xrl do not like to do alot of highway miles. not all but most xr650l burn oil at high rpm's. The weak sub frame is something that I have been a victim of. The rear wheel does not have a crush hub. The wheel bearing will blow out during your trip on xrl. don't get me wrong its a great bike. But not for this trip. I vote for the dr650. It will also cost you less to get it ready too. Goodluck whatever bike you choose. It sounds like a hell of a trip. Ben
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Old 07-30-2010, 09:56 PM   #29
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Another point to add about the WR250R... the valve check is every 26,600miles. This leads me to believe that it is the easiest motor to maintain as it has long service intervals including oil change (3000miles). I could be wrong but I think it is the longest of the three.
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Old 07-30-2010, 10:12 PM   #30
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Until Yamaha gets the fuel pump issue worked out I wouldn't even consider it for a ride like this.

'06 DR-Z400S
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