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Old 10-12-2010, 05:51 PM   #1
LCubanaso OP
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DR650SE vs. KLX250S.....how different offroad?

Need some opinions from those with more knowledge than me (presumably you all).

Background and important stats:

Noob.....especially offroad (have the scratches to prove it)
5'8" with 30" inseam....weigh 240, I'm in my early 40's

I have a 2009 DR650SE. I like the on-road capabilities of the DR just fine. I've also been offroad with it somewhat, but to be honest, I feel like I have a very hard time controlling the bike offroad. The following sums up my problems with it:
  • I can barely flat-foot the DR650 in the std height configuration
  • The stock Trailwings feel horrible on gravel (like riding on marbles) and light mud.
  • The gearing seems a bit tall.....gotta pull in the clutch often during technical stuff or when I need to creep along slowly
I just recently (yesterday) replaced the Trailwings with MEFO Explorers. We'll see if those help.

My main question is this: Would I feel tremendous benefits/differences from going with a lighter bike for offroad use? I'm still talking dual-sport (need plates for some areas I can get to). Also, no crazy MX type stuff like catching air or anything like that (too old for that).

I'm considering the KLX250s primarily because it is lighter, and still has a reasonable seat height. I would primarily throw the KLX on the back of my pickup truck and drive it to trails.

Would the KLX250 be much better than the DR650 offroad, or should I just concentrate on improving my offroad skills with the DR650?

Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also, any feedback from someone who has experience with both a DR650 and a KLX250 would be welcomed.

Thanks,
Ed
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:41 PM   #2
LILBIT
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If your going to haul it in the truck why not get an even lighter "real" offroad bike?
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:16 PM   #3
LCubanaso OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LILBIT
If your going to haul it in the truck why not get an even lighter "real" offroad bike?
Ummm - "My main question is this: Would I feel tremendous benefits/differences from going with a lighter bike for offroad use? I'm still talking dual-sport (need plates for some areas I can get to). Also, no crazy MX type stuff like catching air or anything like that (too old for that)."
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:29 PM   #4
Kommando
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I'd go older for your first dedicated offroad bike. You're gonna dump it...repeatedly. Look at little Honda XL250s, DR250/350s, XT225s, KLR250s, and KL250 Super Sherpas.
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:34 PM   #5
243Win
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Staying within the parameters of the OP's question, I've got a lowered 2006 DR650 and a 2007 XT225. Yes, some days it is just easier to ride the XT225 especially when practicing new skills. Whole lot easier to pick up repeatedly.

Also makes a great loaner bike for riding buddies that might have a street bike, but lack a dualsport for the time being.

If you can afford it, go for it.
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:31 PM   #6
Bucho
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You can lower the DR w/ the stock rear shock, and for less then $20 put a smaller sprocket on the front. Go down to a 14 tooth (or even a 13 tooth).
You might try that before you go buying a completely new bike.
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:36 PM   #7
TheMightyQuinn
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Ed,

I have the DR650 and had an older XL350. Three things in particular have transformed my DR to a much better off road machine. Knobbier tires at lower pressure (12-16psi), lower gearing (one tooth down on the front and three teeth up on the back), and a little carb tuning (Jet kit, cut airbox, idle screw adj.) I've read that suspension work makes a big difference as well. The old XL was still easier to throw around off road at speed and easier to muscle around in the really technical single track as well. If it were not for the fact that I use my DR to ride two up regularly and also for long haul dual sport rides I would probably consider something like the KLX250 as well, not because I can't handle the DR off road but because the lighter bike would be a little more fun off road.
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:01 PM   #8
tbirdsp
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I don't have a DR650, but do have a KLR650 and until earlier this year has a '07 KLX250S. I have also owned a '86 XL600R, '02 DR-Z400S, and a '06 Husky TE250.

I'm close to your size (inch taller and 20 lbs lighter) and age (late 40's).

Tires and gearing will make a huge difference on *either* bike. I geared my KLX250S down from stock 14/42 to 13/45 and ran Dunlop D952 non-DOT knobbies.
I have run various tires on my KLR and usually use 14/43 gearing (stock 15/43).

Now - in addition to the tires and gearing mentioned above, my KLX had a pumper carb, FMF Q4, and WER steering damper. Honestly though the tires and gearing made the biggest difference IMHO.

The KLX is WAY better off road than the KLR, huge difference. Not even a fair comparison. And with the nice wide ratio 6-speed you still have decent top end even geared way down. The KLX is no lightweight, but compared to the KLR it's a feather.

IMHO - it would be worth it to get the KLX250S too.

(The Husky TE250/310 are awesome machines, but pricy and too hard edged for what you want in my opinion. Seat height (38") and close ratio tranny killed it for me. KLX was easier to ride at my moderate trail pace.)

I was wishing I had the KLX250S here (Black Hills, Centennial Trail, May '09, my KLR on left)



And was glad I had it here, except the KLR's big gas tank would have been nice (Moab, White Rim, Apr '10)
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tbirdsp screwed with this post 10-12-2010 at 10:08 PM
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:16 PM   #9
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I had a DR650 and traded it in on a KLX250S last year. The tire and gearing issues are easy fixes, and you will have to do them for either bike for offroad riding. I geared down my DR and added better tires, then I bought the KLX and geared it down and added better tires.

However, what you cannot fix with the DR is the weight. I think the weight difference between the 2 bikes is about 50 pounds (I may be off on that), but more importantly you feel each and every one of those pounds when you have to pick it up. The first time I was offroad and had to pick up the DR more than once on the same day was the day I decided to get rid of it.

Oh, and the KLX does handle much better off road as well. Mine was lowered by Devol Suspension (I also have a 30 inch inseam, but about 75 lbs. less compression), and it is very good. Crashes well, too.

In short, yes, you will definitely see a noticeable difference off road between the DR and the KLX.
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:18 PM   #10
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You WILL miss the power of the DR, though
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:46 AM   #11
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I had both the DR650 and an 06 KLX250. Yes, the KLX will be much better offroad than the DR. Mainly because the KLX has much better suspension, and it is lighter. I could actually hit the whoops pretty good on the KLX.
Would not even think about it on the DR. I did alot of stuff to the KLX, but
I just did not like the lack of power. This coming from an experienced off road rider. For a beginner, the KLX would be good.

The DR however was one of my favorite bikes. I loved its reliability, and comfort for long D/S rides. If you could keep your DR, and get the KLX
as well, that would be a good setup. Now if the DR only had much needed
upgraded suspension, and a tad bit lighter, with 6 speeds, it would be one of the best D/S bikes available.
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:49 AM   #12
LCubanaso OP
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Awesome info and perspectives

Thanks folks. This is exactly the type of information I was looking for.

I won't miss the power of the DR because its not going anywhere. Basically, I want to keep the DR for adventure riding. I love the DR.

I'm thinking of adding a lighter weight, more single-track capable bike for the gnarly stuff. Also, perhaps a smaller/lighter bike will inspire a little more offroad confidence and help me to become a better rider.

Ed
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:51 AM   #13
gplassm
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I currently own a DR650, and I used to own a dual sported '94 KLX250. The KLX 250 was a *great* off road, tight trail machine! The biggest issue I had with it was that the foot peg brackets hang fairly low. I also had full Race-Tech suspension, a TM-33 pumper carb., and on oversized head pipe.
IMO- The KDX200 and the KLX250/300 were two of the best trail bikes ever made.
The DR650 is not even close in trail capability.
You might want to look for a KLX300, and plate it.
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Old 10-13-2010, 05:48 AM   #14
NJ-Brett
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Tires really make a BIG difference.
Maybe you wont be picking it up much with good tires on the DR.

I have had a bunch of older 250 size bikes, and wanted more power, so looked for a DR350, rare, so got the 650. It had street tires (80-20) on it and I was picking the bike up a LOT.
Put some kenda k270 tires on the bike and have not crashed yet (500 miles).

Little light bikes are much easier to ride, but riding big bikes will get you or keep you in shape!

I would still love a dr350 tho....

Brett
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Old 10-13-2010, 06:39 AM   #15
gplassm
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"My main question is this: Would I feel tremendous benefits/differences from going with a lighter bike for offroad use?"

The short answer: YES!
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