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Old Yesterday, 07:09 AM   #1
Soldier311 OP
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Is a "650" a "650"?

I don't know how to thoroughly explain what I'm trying to ask, but I'm interested in how a 650 thumper differs from a twin cylinder 650. I'm talking about how they perform, or ride, or whatever. Why would you choose one over the other, etc.?
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Old Yesterday, 08:12 AM   #2
Paebr332
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Twin will generally run smoother and rev higher. Thumper will have more torque and weigh less. Of course, there are exceptions to these generalities.
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Old Yesterday, 10:19 AM   #3
ukiboy
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I owned a Yamaha 2009 XT660 Tenere and now have a 2014 650 Vstrom..

In a nutshell, the Yamaha was agricultural, vibey, pokey low down in the rev range but ran out of revs quickly. It's useable rev range was limited.

The Vstrom is far smoother, more refined, cruises easily at 80mph whereas the Yamaha felt harsh and vibey at that speed.

IMHO the Yam is better only off road and it's more economical. That's it. The twin 650 is far better..

A 650 single has a wacking great piston flying up and down the barrel, which gives character and traction, but doesn't make for the same longevity as a 650 twin; all that inertia takes it's toll..
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Old Yesterday, 11:37 AM   #4
merkava
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Ukiboy said it pretty well. Depends on what you like and what you're looking for.

Twin will generally give you longer service intervals, more power spread over a wider rpm range, probably longer engine life, smoother operation etc. Specially if you do a lot of freeway riding a twin will definitely have an edge over a single.

Thumper will give you less mechanical parts = easier/cheaper services (even if maybe more often than a twin), they're lighter and... hmm... well I have a thing for thumpers so I just dig them but there's really nothing I can explain that with except for "character".

I own a thumper myself and sure, sometimes when riding on a freeway a thought of a twin creeps to my mind, but when I go offroad I'm happy again.

If possible, go take some test rides and see for yourself. That's what it all really boils down to, what makes you tick.
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Old Yesterday, 04:41 PM   #5
Soldier311 OP
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Thanks for the responses, guys.
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Old Yesterday, 04:48 PM   #6
wavygravy87
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To me, a twin is better anytime on the road. The powerband is just better.

But offroad or in a dirt worthy dual sport, thumper all the way.
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Old Today, 01:45 AM   #7
PeterW
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DR650 ~45 HP ~160KG 240km+ range. Will run all day at 110kph

DL650 ~65 HP ~200kg 440km+ range. Will run all day at 160kph.

The DR is more capable than the DL on worse than dirt roads, the DL is a lot more comfortable, will cover longer distances in a day and is generally easier to live with day to day.

I prefer the DL, but there are no dirt roads close to me, so in a 300km ride it might be 200k road, 100k dirt if I were lucky. If you live within say 40k's of where you plan to ride, DR.

The DL is also a lot more durable than the single, engine life being 100,000k's +.
From memory with the DR's 60,000k's is getting pretty worn.

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Old Today, 02:49 AM   #8
Pecha72
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I choose at least as many cylinders on the bike, as I have people on board. No thumper is a two-up bike, they are much much happier ridden solo, and going on smaller roads and occasionally off-road. The twins can do two-up, are quite ok even on motorway speeds, can carry a lot of load, and can do all kinds of roads, but they suffer off-road, just too heavy. The *average* mileage, when you need to start thinking about some major engine overhauls, is higher on a twin as well, but used bikes are always individual cases (even a low mileage twin could be in a bad condition, if neglected).
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Old Today, 05:07 AM   #9
Soldier311 OP
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As the OP, I'd like to describe what my dilemma is. I currently own a DR650 - love it, generally. My previous bike was a DR350 - loved it too. I "grew up" on dirt bikes - XR75, CR125, etc.- so I'm very comfortable on the dual-sport type bikes such as the DR's, XL's, WR's, etc.. For an almost-50 yr old man, I can ride the shit outta a dual sport bike.

BUT...but...as much as I keep telling myself I'm going to go on some U.S. TAT-type tour, or even trailer my bike to the mountains here in NC for a trail ride, I just won't. I spend 99% of my time on the road, locally, around town, occasional 50-100 mile day trips, just riding.

And every time I get out on the highway at 60 mph, the thumper engine buzzing along, I keep wondering if a twin-cylinder more road-oriented bike would fit me better. Then I see an interesting dirt road and realize that if I drop a V-Strom/Versys/CBX in the dirt it's gonna be much more of a pain in the ass to get it back up and things straightened out than the old DR650.
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Old Today, 05:09 AM   #10
steve68steve
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As mentioned, the twin makes more HP.

A 650cc thumper has one big piston moving up and down thru its stroke. The total volume inside the cylinder would be (theoretically) 650cc. It fires once every other revolution of the crankshaft (intake-compression-power-exhaust), so there's a lot of "coasting" between power strokes.

In a 650cc twin, the total volume of both cylinders together is 650cc, so each is 325cc - half the volume of the thumper. So each cylinder is either smaller or has a shorter stroke length, or both. Smaller = less mass flinging away from the crankshaft (smaller piston); shorter stroke = it's flinging less far.

Having two cylinders means there's a power stroke on each output shaft rotation, and it's intrinsically better balanced. So, less power per cylinder, but more frequently per revolution, and less vibration.
A shorter stroke and lower piston mass also means higher revs are possible, because there's less mass that has to stop and change direction thousands of times per minute.
All else equal, higher revs = higher hp, advantage: twin. But, more power on the power stroke = higher torque, advantage: single.
You would want torque for "muscle" - hauling loads, starting from a dead stop, not stalling loaded at low rpm, etc. You want hp for "speed" or maybe "acceleration"- zipping from 40mph up to 60mph quickly to pass, for example.

I'm not an engine expert so I might have something wrong here, but if I do, it will quickly be corrected by subsequent replies.
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Old Today, 05:21 AM   #11
Soldier311 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve68steve View Post
You want hp for "speed" or maybe "acceleration"- zipping from 40mph up to 60mph quickly to pass, for example. .
I really like mid-range acceleration! Like the powerband on my old 80's vintage CR125 or MX100. I love that powerband hit, as long as it's controllable.
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Old Today, 06:09 AM   #12
Dao1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soldier311 View Post
.....I keep wondering if a twin-cylinder more road-oriented bike would fit me better. Then I see an interesting dirt road and realize that if I drop a V-Strom/Versys/CBX in the dirt it's gonna be much more of a pain in the ass to get it back up and things straightened out than the old DR650.
Absolutely, imo, a twin cyl will fit you well in this stage of your riding experience. You're obviously more dirt advanced than most ADV riders. If the dirt road's too much, then you would just simply turn around.
Besides, all that dirt knowledge you've gained w/ your 650 thumper is going to directly transfer to the twin cyl.. You're not starting from ground zero. YOU won't be at a disadvantage at all.

I say just do it now. If there's ever a time in your life when you still have your strength, mental clarity, and stamina to ride and enjoy an ADV bike, it's now, not 4-5 yrs from now.
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