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Old 11-11-2014, 07:43 PM   #1
TwoSixSided OP
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How to go from sportbikes to dual sports?

Hey guys, I'm Travis from Florida.

I kind of had an epiphany lately about dual sports. So far I've had a Ninja 250 and a Yamaha R6. I had "fun" on them but not anything really.. soul moving. Kinda like something was missing. Then I recently stumbled upon dual sports, not even knowing bikes like them existed. I feel like a kid in a candy shop.

It just seems incredible to be able to drive on highways, interstates, etc. And then just cruise into the woods down a trail or into a nice field or.. whatever really! It's like there's no limits anymore. So I think I'll gladly trade some crazy speed that I'll never even be able to use, for endless possibilities and adventures into the unknown.

I've been doing lots of research, and it seems the best ride for me would be the DR650. Able to comfortably cruise at 65+ mph. and then turn down trails to cause some havoc. I had my doubts about if I'd be happy with the DR in the trails, but then I found a video on the forums of a motocross guy destroying a track with a XR650L, so I am now convinced it is mostly the rider that matters. BUT ANYWAY, this leads me to the title of my thread.

Coming from street bikes to dual sports is there anything different I should do or buy? I see that the DR doesn't even have a tacho, and I have no idea what gear I'm supposed to be in for trails, etc. So that firstly seems like it will confuse me, I don't want to blow a engine by accident or anything. Thanks guys!
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Old 11-12-2014, 05:32 AM   #2
oneway
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It would help to know where you are. There are off road skill building classes and schools available. You'll eventually become so in time with your machine, you'll never look at a tach. Go to a Noob rally. Death valley is in March, and there's lots of good info there. Jimmy Lewis has a class before the rally.
And you'll need to dress a little differently for off road.
You can take the dual sport thing as far as you want to:
Mild to wild.
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Old 11-12-2014, 05:49 AM   #3
DreadGear
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DR in SA

Hi Travis, I own a DR650 here in South Africa, great bike!





The Dr 650 is extremely versatile but needs to be modified to make it truly great. It can cruise at 70-80 mph no problem and is light enough to make it enjoyable on light trails.

If you are mostly going to be doing offroad stuff the Xr650 is slightly better.

If you are going to be traveling mostly on highways with some moderate offroading the KLR 650 is legendary.

If you are looking for a lighter ride the DRZ400 is very capable but isn't as enjoyable on long stretches of road as the DR.

Don't worry about the tachometer, it really isn't necessary. If your engine is overreving like crazy change gear the DR engine is very solid and easy to work on.

Concerning riding style, it might be worthwhile investing in doing a dual sport course as this will give you very solid basics in off-road riding. (You don't ride a super bike the same way you ride a dual-sport). Also if contemplating any sort of off-road riding wear MX boots, this will save your ankles many times over and will allow you to stand on the foot pegs for extended periods of time. (another thing you will need to learn.)

If you are buying a DR don't get one new. Get one that possibly has an aftermarket exhaust, new front springs, a larger tank and possibly a tougher handlebar with bar risers for increased comfort.

Trust me you will modify this bike and throw some money at it so might as well buy it modified second hand.

have at read at this brilliant article written by David Peterson of bestrestproducts.com to learn some valuable dual sport info.

http://www.bestrestproducts.com/imag...213%200900.pdf

All the best,
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Old 11-12-2014, 08:06 AM   #4
shrederscott
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Hey

I live in colorado, and I wanted a very dirt worthy dual sport.

Ktm 530exc for me and 450exc for my son. Both bikes have 6 speed trannys, so 65-70 mph speeds on the road is a breez , bikes only weigh 250 lds + or - , have way more power than a dr, klr, xr650l, and way more suspension travel, hydraulic clutch, tons of after market parts, tanks, saddles, lights, luggage ect...

Some say KTM cost more, not sure that is true after all the mods a klr or drz needs, but to be fair the KTM's we have, have some expensive mods to, Rekluse clutch. ..Wow great clutch !! Sterring dampner, larger tank, upgraded lights, Baja design squardon Xl lights...ROCK the night.

Or you could go to the other end of the sport, and get a rough road capable bike, but not really for the hardcore jeep roads, and single tract like a suzuji dl 650 or 1000 and of couse the mighty BMW 1000-1200 gs, the KTM 950-990-1150 ADVETURES, or the Bmw 800 gs.....

You have LOTS of bikes to chose from, just need to decide how much, and how difficult the dirt you want to ride.

More dirt = lighter bike less pavement confort.

Think of dual sports like a suv, you can get a very off road capable jeep, but road comfort suffers, or get lexis suv, great road comfort, but limited off road ability.

All the bikes are fun, and all will bring a smile to your face.

hope that helps

scott
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Old 11-12-2014, 12:12 PM   #5
High Country Herb
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The rpm range is very forgiving on the single cylinder dual sports. Just keep it somewhere between lugging and revving and you'll be fine.

Buying a used one with a few upgrades is good advice. If you find it doesn't suit your needs, resale will probably be about what you paid for it. You will save about $2,000. There should be plenty of them on the market, as lots of people upgrade to the higher tech KTMs or BMWs. Personally, I like the simplicity of the DR.

Riding technique is a bit different than sport bikes. Most riders keep an upright posture, using the big handlebars to manhandle the bike. When riding off road, be prepared for the bike to move around under you in loose terrain. Just let it do its thing.

With your background of starting small and working your way up (a smart way to go), you might also consider one of the smaller DRs. My wife's DR350SE will cruise at 70 mph fully loaded. They are even cheaper.
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Old 11-12-2014, 12:35 PM   #6
KawiTexan
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I think a DR650 or a DRZ400 would be the way to go. Great entry level bikes, and about as reliable as they come. Or explore the Kawasaki dual sport family. I too have traded the sport-bike scene for the dual-sport scene, and the funny thing of it is, you can do damn near everything you can do on a dual-sport that you can on the sport bike. And yes, it all comes down to the rider not the bike. "Its all about the archer, not the arrow"
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Old 11-12-2014, 04:22 PM   #7
TwoSixSided OP
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Wow thanks for all the quick replies fellas, I can already tell this is a great forum community. I'm pretty set on a DR650, but I see a 1994 DR250 on craigslist, I don't really know anything about that model or if it's a good bike. It looks like the speedo says it only has 2500 miles so.. that's kinda weird.

http://orlando.craigslist.org/mcy/4753874070.html
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Old 11-12-2014, 05:18 PM   #8
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That seems like a good price for a low mileage bike.
The DR350 is much better in my opinion. Really nice power band and bullet proof. I run about 65 for extended pavement with mine.

SE models have electric start and all the hwy stuff. 6 speed, under 300 lbs. Simple stout engine. Good bike.

DRZ400 is a newer water cooled bike and another excellent model, slightly heavier and lacks the 6 speed. Better suspension.

DR650 is slightly more weight with e-start and simple like the 350 but lacks the 6 speed. So sprocket change for extended dirt or pavement.

DRZ for mostly dirt. DR350SE for touring/dirt combo.
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thetourist screwed with this post 11-12-2014 at 05:25 PM
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Old 11-12-2014, 05:49 PM   #9
TwoSixSided OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thetourist View Post
That seems like a good price for a low mileage bike.
The DR350 is much better in my opinion. Really nice power band and bullet proof. I run about 65 for extended pavement with mine.

SE models have electric start and all the hwy stuff. 6 speed, under 300 lbs. Simple stout engine. Good bike.

DRZ400 is a newer water cooled bike and another excellent model, slightly heavier and lacks the 6 speed. Better suspension.

DR650 is slightly more weight with e-start and simple like the 350 but lacks the 6 speed. So sprocket change for extended dirt or pavement.

DRZ for mostly dirt. DR350SE for touring/dirt combo.
It's funny you mentioned that, I just now stumbled upon a 1992 DR350, but he's 4 hours away. only has 4k miles and new tires and other things though..
http://fortmyers.craigslist.org/lee/mcy/4753279854.html
He said he would make the drive to meet me, but not until thanksgiving so I'm not sure if it's worth the 2 week wait.. Hmmm. If it can cruise comfortably at 65 and tear up most trails with the same reliability as a 650 then I'm interested.
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Old 11-12-2014, 05:57 PM   #10
eakins
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how? buy one and ride it.

florida on a streetbike had to be one of the boring-est thinks i've ever tried on a motorcycle.
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Old 11-12-2014, 05:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoSixSided View Post
It's funny you mentioned that, I just now stumbled upon a 1992 DR350, but he's 4 hours away. only has 4k miles and new tires and other things though..
http://fortmyers.craigslist.org/lee/mcy/4753279854.html
He said he would make the drive to meet me, but not until thanksgiving so I'm not sure if it's worth the 2 week wait.. Hmmm. If it can cruise comfortably at 65 and tear up most trails with the same reliability as a 650 then I'm interested.
only 4 hrs away??? i've traveled across the country for a bike I wanted.
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Old 11-12-2014, 06:07 PM   #12
TwoSixSided OP
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I wouldn't mind driving to pick it up haha, I just don't have the resources.
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Old 11-12-2014, 06:10 PM   #13
JagLite
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Dr 650

I have two.
Highly recommended but they are a bit heavy.
Lighter than the Kawasaki KLR though.
Depending on your size and weight a 250 or 350 might suit you better.

Off road = lighter bike
On highway = bigger engine
Figure out how much of each you want to do to help decide what bike.

I have a Yamaha TW200 and it is excellent for low speed exploring off paved roads.
Difficult single track to dry roads it is great.
On paved roads up to 45 mph it is fine.
It will go faster but I don't enjoy riding it with the engine screaming and no power.
The DR can travel at 65+ for hours and then head of on dirt roads and trails.
The slower and more technical (difficult) the trail, the less I like the DR because it is heavy to pick up.
If I could just stop tipping over, or had friends with me to help pick it up…

I am 60 so picking it up is not as easy as it used to be.
The problem is usually when I am trying to ride a trail that I know I should be on a lighter bike.

A tachometer on a dual sport? Yeah, I put Tiny Tach's on both my DR's but I never look at them off road. I use them mostly for tuning.

BTW, if you decide on a DR 650, get a '96 or newer bike.
The pre '96 are completely different bikes and not near as good.
Depending on your price range, get a newer one in good shape.
Mine are both '02's but that was coincidence. Only the 98 & 99 bikes have a potentially catastrophic failure in the starter gears.
That can, and should be replaced, at about $250 for parts.
Easiest is to stay away from those years unless for a super low price.

KTM's are excellent bikes but I would not recommend one to anyone who doesn't know what he/she is getting into.
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Old 11-12-2014, 06:12 PM   #14
Knute Dunrvnyet
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Buy the DR, and learn. a very good basic steed. Reliable, lightweight, farkles available,as you grow. I've had all kinds of DS bikes; when Iget the $$ I'mm getting a DR650. Knute.
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Old 11-12-2014, 08:01 PM   #15
TwoSixSided OP
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I think I'll probably go with that 350.. I mean when I had my street bikes I only used them for weekend leisure rides so I'll probably do the same with the dual sport, except this time I'll be scouting out some trails.. And probably as a commuter for no more then 100 miles, but definitely upgrade to a newer DR650 in the future when I have more cash. Thanks so much for the help guys, this forum is really nice.
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