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Old Yesterday, 09:41 AM   #1
CollinsB OP
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Favorite dual sport bike?

Curious about other's experiences with various dual sport bikes in the 250 to 690cc range. What bike has been your favorite, most reliable, fun to ride/own etc.?
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Old Yesterday, 10:32 AM   #2
babar69
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ttr

600 TTRE is a dry 150 kg bike with enough torque to have fun on trails, even if it's too heavy of course. And power enough to crash in a cow in some Bulgarian roads...
No electronics, big thumper.. Production stopped in 2004. :(
Of course, suspension is worst than previous 600TT, electric start put more kgs, etc... But after 6000 kms in 9 days through Hungary Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Turkey, I won't change for another bike, literally swimming in 87 cm of water passing roads after crazy rain, even took sewers to avoid the crazy Istanbul traffic jams, I won't change even for a KTM. I want to sleep without waking up morning with no more bike... And ktm in those countries are a good second-parts-stolen job :(
Of course, under your helmet, you're complaining about vibrations, ridiculous autonomy, lights like candle at night, etc ... But when comes the time shit hits the fan, you are happy to be able to go home, especially riding alone ...


Every bike makes the job. Next bike will be a 250 yamaha, just to see the more condescending look of bmw bikers we all meet on our way... ( The satnav explorers)

I got one thing from Advrider forum , thanks to you guys : less than 10 kg of luggage, small camping gear if needed, and that's all... And take defaults as advantages : Stopping every 140 km to find fuel made me a lot of friends. Positive attitude ?

maybe with economic crisis, Motorbike factory will stop making monsters and people will stop to think that heavy big bikes will make them look having bigger ...penis ?
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Old Yesterday, 10:48 AM   #3
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Had a 1997 Honda XR650L. Simple bike with poor power. Never really liked the bike and ended up selling it. After that a 2008 KLR 650. Liked the engine better than the Honda, but bike was very top heavy with marginal suspension. Did a lot of upgrades that really did not help that much. Sold it. Then got a 2009 KTM 690r enduro. That's what I'm talking about! Incredible dual sport bike. Rode it hard for 4 years including a Baja trip. Great power, reasonably light, good suspension. Just a hoot to ride. Fun to ride fast. Very composed. But.....a little heavy compared to the KTM 500 EXC, so sold the 690 and got 2014 500. OMG! This thing is really a race bike with lights. Much lighter and more nimble than the 690, better suspension, and generally a simpler design. This is the bike I always wanted to tell the truth. Higher maintenance intervals and marginal on the highway but so so sweet off road. So at this point I feel like the 500 is the ultimate street legal dual sport and really there is nothing out there any better if you want something that rips in the dirt, can do a little highway, and is street legal. Not the bike you want if do not like to do oil changes, but so far the engine has been very durable with zero issues.
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Old Yesterday, 11:12 AM   #4
DrKayak
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Depends on your definition of "Dual Sport". For me dual sport is 50/50 - equally fun on dirt and street. That's the KTM 690 for me. It has the HP to thrill on the pavement and can be ridden as a dirt bike by the skilled.

The 450/500 exc is a plated dirt bike to me. Sucks on the street. Rules on the trail.

Ultimately any bike will do. Not being afraid to scratch it up in the woods is a bigger factor than "which bike".
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Old Yesterday, 11:14 AM   #5
lamotovita
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25000 miles, many miles 2 up, lots of gnarly single track, nothing ever broke, countless grins.
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Old Yesterday, 11:37 AM   #6
dogon2whls
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well of course i have to jump in here to make the case for the DR650

i know , not great at anything , but pretty darn good at many things .

and like a lot of bikes , you can throw money at it to take it a step further in the direction you want .

but wait , this thread is about " favorite " , not " best " , so considering my DR is the first , best , and prolly the last dualsport i'll ever own , it gets my vote .
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Old Yesterday, 12:26 PM   #7
CollinsB OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrKayak View Post
Depends on your definition of "Dual Sport". KTM 690 for me. It has the HP to thrill on the pavement and can be ridden as a dirt bike by the skilled.

The 450/500 exc is a plated dirt bike to me. Sucks on the street. Rules on the trail.
I suppose my interpretation of Dual Sport is a "plated" dirt bike, as the EXC's mentioned above. 100 -150 mile days will likely be the max for me.
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Old Yesterday, 12:30 PM   #8
itsatdm
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Mine is a 1995 KLX650c model. A short run of 4 years and expensive in its time. I have the dual sport version, which is more suitable for roads and easier dirt. It fits an old man like me.

http://www.ridermagazine.com/manufac...1993-1996.htm/


Mine has been modded a tad, with a 678 big bore, 20 liter fuel tank, typical carb/air intake/ exhaust modifications and different rear suspension. It still stands the test of time, if compared to other carbureted bikes.

I wouldn't recommend it now, due to the sparsity of parts, but I have a spare low mileage engine that will keep it running longer than I will be able to ride it.
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Old Yesterday, 01:27 PM   #9
rufus
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I have owned.


2003 KTM 525 dualsported. Barely tolerable on the highway. Fantastic everywhere else. It's a dirt bike. I did the TAT on this bike. Excellent choice

2006 KLR 650...OK on the road, OK on dirt roads, terrible on the trail. You can ride it just about anywhere if you go slow. Heavy with terrible brakes and suspension. I had it for about 2 years and didn't ride it much (4,000 or so miles). Competent but boring.



2007 KTM 990 adventure.... An absolute blast to ride. Uncomfortable on long street rides, heavy, top heavy and moved around in the wind a lot. Great power and handling.
FANTASTIC on a dirt road. I felt more comfortable at 80 mph on a dirt road than I did at 80 on the HWY. Too much power and weight for trails. I didn't like it on trails or on the HWY. I had it setup to ride the TAT, but I took my 525 KTM instead. I put about 8,000 miles on it. Never took it on any trips.


2005 XR650L. .....Very good all around. Acceptable comfort on the HWY. Better than the 990, but not enough power at higher altitude. I put an FCR carb on mine and it helped a bunch.
Gear ratios are terrible. Not too noticeable at sea level, but horrible at 10,000 ft. It would barely pull 5th gear at high altitude. (13:48) My buddy on his Yamaha wr250r could hang right with me at high altitude. I couldn't pull any distance on him.
Excellent on a dirt road and very good on trails, as long as you didn't push it too hard...I rode the continental divide on this bike. Excellent choice except for the lack of power at high altitude. It was better on the HWY than my 525 because it was quieter and a little more comfortable.
Also did the UBDR on it. We also rode poison spider mesa and golden spike trails south to north. The smooth torquey power and good suspension made it a fun easy bike to ride. But it is heavy.

2014 KTM 500 exc. Best one so far. It is better than the 650L on the HWY. Better gearing and more power. Quieter more powerful and geared better than my old 525. It is as acceptable as any DS without a windshield on the HWY. Fantastic on dirt roads and trails. Best handling bike I have ever ridden. Makes my old 525s (03 and 06) feel like a dump truck. No trips on it yet.
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Old Yesterday, 02:12 PM   #10
Duken4evr
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It really depends on how much road use it will see. A heavy bike will be less capable or even suck off road, but the weight and squishy suspension actually helps on the highway. Light, tall and firmly suspended dirt bikes that have no wind protection suck on the highway for the same reasons they are better off road - they are light and tall and firmly suspended and they are unencumbered by the added weight and size of wind protection.

A favorite "do it all" bike is the Husky TE610/630. They look cool, are easy to maintain, are capable off road and decent on the highway. They are not light, but they make up for that in part with decent suspension, far superior to the big Japanese bikes.

The KTM 690 is probably the "best" do it all bike right now. The engine has gobs of power which makes street riding a breeze and the suspension is good quality. The 690 is heavy of course, but because it has quality "real" suspension, a good rider can deal with the weight and take it everywhere, if not anywhere near the pace it's far lighter 500 EXC sibling can manage, but worlds ahead of a KLR or DR. That is a good compromise! This comes at a cost of course. 690s are not cheap. You get what you pay for

The KTM 500 EXC would be my choice if buying right now, as the street part of it is handled by my street bike. For me, the "dual sport" bike only needs "incidental" street capability as it really is for 95% dirt. I have a Husaberg FE450 with a plate on it. It will cruise 60 to 70 mph no problem, but after about 15 street miles, the seat, which is awesome when riding off road, becomes a weapon of ass destruction, the wind blast gets tiring, and the light tall bike dances around in the wind. There is no way I am doing a lot of road miles on the 450. I do not have the cash for a 690, but am tempted to find a clean older Husky 610 for finding out where some of those dirt roads go.

If you have the money, are serious and are primarily focused on dirt but want a street legal package, the new KTM 500 EXC is hard to beat. A friend has one, I rode it, and the love affair was instant :)

To be honest though, what I really want next after I am done with my 'Berg (which I like lots) is KTM 300 with a plate. Two strokes rock. It is too bad such a project is not turn key from the factory. One needs to roll their own, live in a state where such things can be done and then still have to find a friendly DMV clerk.
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Old Yesterday, 02:46 PM   #11
JerryH
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Yamaha XT225, any year. I've had 3 of them and still have 2. I have been hoarding parts for awhile. This bike is so great I plan to ride it for the rest of my life, and need to be able to keep it going. It is not a cross country bike, but I have no use for one of those. I've had a KLR650, and found it awful for long rides (mostly the seat) and too big and heavy for local off road use. As long as I'm staying within a couple hundred miles from home, the XT is simply unbeatable. It also has a lousy seat, but I have not seen a dual sport that didn't. With a 4 gal. Clark tank, I can ride all day. It is light enough to throw around, and seems practically indestructible.
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Old Yesterday, 03:06 PM   #12
abruzzi
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I'm partial to either my 640 adventure or my 950 adventure. My contention is the most important thing for a dual sport is top notch properly tuned suspension. The KTM suspension starts off better than most of the others and so needs the least to bring it up to speed. The 640 is better offroad, but 950 is more exciting (100hp...)
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Old Yesterday, 04:15 PM   #13
danketchpel
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It's have to say my Husky TR650. It's a hoot on the street, very smooth on the slab, and feels like a big DRZ in the dirt, very much a dirt bike feel.

If you're really talking 50/50 use it's hard to beat. For something more like 70/30 in favor of dirt then a KTM 350 or 500 EXC would be my pick.

Not bashing KTM but I sure wish their were more choices in that segment. The DRZ is a pretty good budget choice if not too much slab is involved.
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Old Yesterday, 04:43 PM   #14
hugox
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duken4evr View Post

The KTM 500 EXC would be my choice if buying right now, as the street part of it is handled by my street bike. For me, the "dual sport" bike only needs "incidental" street capability as it really is for 95% dirt. I have a Husaberg FE450 with a plate on it. It will cruise 60 to 70 mph no problem, but after about 15 street miles, the seat, which is awesome when riding off road, becomes a weapon of ass destruction, the wind blast gets tiring, and the light tall bike dances around in the wind. There is no way I am doing a lot of road miles on the 450. I do not have the cash for a 690, but am tempted to find a clean older Husky 610 for finding out where some of those dirt roads go.

If you have the money, are serious and are primarily focused on dirt but want a street legal package, the new KTM 500 EXC is hard to beat. A friend has one, I rode it, and the love affair was instant :)
I fully agree with you. The 690 seems to be the total dual sport bike but on the dirt you feel that you are riding a heavy bike.
On the other side de 500 exc is lightweight and narrow with big capabilities on dirt and with acceptable performance on road.

The people I know that upgraded to the 690 then most of them later changed again to the 500 ( and/or 450 exc‘s) to recover dirt maneuverability without loosing too much on the pavement.
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Old Yesterday, 05:12 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by DrKayak View Post
Ultimately any bike will do. Not being afraid to scratch it up in the woods is a bigger factor than "which bike".
I'm not afraid to LEAVE my KLR in the woods
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