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Old 11-14-2013, 05:41 AM   #1
Soldier311 OP
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Completely new to this - suggestions?

I'm a brand new rider - haven't ridden since I had my old XR75 and XL75 back in the early...oh well, never mind.
I'm planning a pre-retirement "trip" of some sort and had initially thought of getting myself an off-road bike and trailering it across various parts of the U.S. and stopping at interesting spots along the way and going on day-long sighseeing trips. Then, I came across info. on the Trans America Trail and thought that it would be just the ticket. My plan is to buy a bike and ride it locally for a year or so to get back into the spin of things and get comfortable riding again (I still have my endorsement).
Sooo, my first question is about bikes: Should people generally get a bike based on their size? I'm 6'2, 200 lbs., so should I be looking for a 650-class bike since they are generally taller than the 250-400cc class bikes?
I'm envisioning something like a XR650L or DR650, etc.?
I'm not asking WHICH bike to get, but what SIZE bike I should be looking for. I don't want to get a 250 or 400cc bike only to find that it won't haul my ass.
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Old 11-14-2013, 06:12 AM   #2
sieg
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Any bike will haul your ass, even a DR200. Get a bike for your ability not your weight. If you are strong and can muscle a 450lb bike then a XRL or DR 650 or KLR is fine. If you're a weak old man like me get a 250 or 400, or a light bike like the 690 KTM. And if in doubt, go with the smaller size.
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Old 11-14-2013, 07:19 AM   #3
NJ-Brett
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Keep in mind, dirt riding heavy bikes can end badly for older guys.
The dr650 is a great bike, but if 370 pounds drills you into the ground, even at low speed, it can result in a long hospital stay.
Heavy, top heavy tall bikes and old bones do not mix very well.

Then add luggage, fuel and it gets worse.

Get something you get a good deal on used for your training, that way you can sell it for little loss, then get what you decide you really want/need for the trip.
xt225, xt250, dr350, crf230/250L, wr250, etc.

A dr350 might be good for both, as would the wr250, but people do long trips on almost everything ever made..
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:26 AM   #4
dhally
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If those old minibikes made you giggle, then get a small bike. It will make you giggle all over again, and it has electric start. I have a 250 and weigh 240 lb, no problem.

OBTW make sure it is short too. For new bikes I would suggest the Honda CRF250L or the Yamaha XT250. For used bikes, the XT250 (newer model), TTR250, or Suzuki DRZ250. The last two would need work to be street legal.
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Old 11-14-2013, 09:35 AM   #5
uraberg
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Lighter bikes are much more pleasurable to ride than the heavier ones off road. Get a dr350 for little money, and adventurize to your liking (bigger tank, better seat etc.) If you need more power, add a 440 big bore kit for about $500. More power, keep the same low weight.
Spend the rest on good gear and luggage.
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Old 11-14-2013, 10:09 AM   #6
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At your size I think a 650cc would make for a good bike. The DR650 is short compared to a number of other bikes, and there is a "factory" way to lower it another 1.5" - 2.0" or so. The Honda CRF250L for example has a seat height of 34.7" and the DR650 has a seat height 34.8 (the Yamaha WR250 is two inches taller still). The Honda CRF250L is 320 lbs and the DR650 is 366 lbs (wet weight, so realize about 12 lbs of that difference is the fact the DR650 holds more fuel). The DR650 is lighter than most other 650cc bikes in its class. Most of the weight will already be low as well (engine).

The weight is mostly a factor the slower you're moving. Once you're moving the weight becomes less of a factor until you begin slowing, usually due to terrain or while turning offroad. Most of the places you'd ride a 650cc bike you're not going to need a bike that weighs less, and a bike that weighs less isn't that much less (~40 lbs). It's more a matter of where the weight is.

As far as luggage, you just put it as low as possible (i.e., saddle bags, not on the rear seat).

You can buy any bike and have a blast. If you think you're going to be riding across the country, I'd rather have a 650cc bike than a 250cc bike. You'll save ~40 lbs in weight buying the 250cc bike, but I think the gain having the extra ccs is significantly more smiles per mile.
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Old 11-14-2013, 10:48 AM   #7
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See if you can have a go on a few Soldier and see what feels comfy, I think something in the 250-450 range should suit your power needs so its just finding something that "fits nice", don't worry about the farkles as you can customise to your hearts content later, be safe and have fun auld yin
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Old 11-14-2013, 03:39 PM   #8
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I have a DR650 and love it. I am a younger guy at this point so according to older gents I am less apt to break something and have more energy to wrestle the big pig around. I took one 25600 miles to Alaska from Florida this year and it was a brick, but it can be really heavy if you get in mudpits and are wrestling it up and down harsh rock gardens.

Having done a portion of the TAT however, I would personally point you towards one bike: Yamaha WR250R. Its a miracle bike. It will fit you as well as a DR650, it weighs about 60lbs less, and it will be more capable in the dirt. It does have a taller seat height, but you are definitely tall enough for it and the lower weight makes it just as easy to handle.

The WR has a strong subframe to carry gear, it has enough power for highways, its reliable, and it has a good aftermarket to customize it.

I know you say you are looking only for a SIZE, but ultimately with the options we have available I would say it boils down to a few bikes. I say WR250R, but the CRF250L and DR650 are options. The gnarlier the dirt, the more the 250s make sense (especially when they crash on you).

I would normally recommend a KLX250S as well, but it needs significant subframe enhancements when carrying a load offroad. The DR can take a load, and so can the WR250R.

If I was setting out around the world, id take a DR650 hands down. If I was setting out around the US especially the TAT and doing a lot of dirt, id take a WR250R hands down. Its that good...
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Old 11-14-2013, 04:28 PM   #9
Soldier311 OP
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Thank y'all so much for the replies and suggestions so far - I really appreciate it. I really don't intend to do much highway riding at all, and don't plan in camping a whole lot, if any if I can afford not to, so hopefully I'll be traveling light.

Please keep the suggestions and discussions coming.

I'm 47 yrs. old and in pretty good shape for my age, except for a bad knee. But, by the time I get around to doing this, I'll probably be 50+ and a little more beat up by then.
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Old 11-14-2013, 04:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soldier311 View Post
Thank y'all so much for the replies and suggestions so far - I really appreciate it. I really don't intend to do much highway riding at all, and don't plan in camping a whole lot, if any if I can afford not to, so hopefully I'll be traveling light.

Please keep the suggestions and discussions coming.

I'm 47 yrs. old and in pretty good shape for my age, except for a bad knee. But, by the time I get around to doing this, I'll probably be 50+ and a little more beat up by then.
If youre focusing on dirt, go 250. Most of us here will give the same advice..
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Old 11-14-2013, 05:37 PM   #11
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Don't be afraid of a 250. And remember that not all 250s are created equal. An XT250 is simple, air-cooled and makes 15hp. The newer injected ones probably another horse or two but same difference. The WR250R is liquid cooled, EFI and makes 24hp I think. That makes the difference between struggling on the highway, or staying off the highway altogether, and being able to ride the highway with ease. They are also very different bikes in size and suspension. The XT is low and soft, the WR is tall with better suspension for hard offroad riding. If you putt-putt like me then low and soft works fine.

I bought an XT a few years ago and I tour on it. It serves me just fine (I'm 6ft, 190 lbs). But I don't ride highways on it. I can go in any direction from home and ride dirt thru several states. When on a trip I cruise forest and blm roads, camp as I go, with the occasional jaunt on minor highways to get gas or link dirt roads. I wouldn't hesitate to ride the TAT on my XT. I would have to figure a "scenic route" to the start and back from the end, but that is half the fun. If I wanted to get somewhere quickly a few days away and then get off the highway, I would get the WR. But if you intend to stick to the lonely highways that nobody else uses, where you can go 55-60mph and not be in the way, and aren't in a hurry, something like an XT250 will do you just fine. Sometimes I think about trading the XT for a WR, but I kinda like the simple, slow nature of it. I have a wee-strom if I'm in a hurry and the route isn't too rough. It's a nice combo.

The nice thing about a smaller bike is it's harder to get into trouble when you are solo. It doesn't end up on the ground very often in the first place because it's almost like riding a mountain bike, when it does it's trivial to pick it up, and I can practically pick it up and turn it around if I get in a jam. -al
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Old 11-14-2013, 06:00 PM   #12
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Sounds like you are getting good advice, both DR650's and WR250's would be great choice. Your size and age, any of the bikes you get recommendations will work.

I see you live in North Carolina, you got dirt roads/interesting sights that don't take an Interstate to get there? If you gotta spend some time on the highways/freeways that bigger motor sure is nice.

I got a WR250R and I can "Keep Up" with most speeds of traffic, but there aint much left when you wanna pass somebody, or climbing long hills etc. It's doable, just not a lot of left over power. The big advantage of the WR250R is once you get to your off pavement riding, it's a great bike. It's light enough to handle jeep roads and trails if you wanna try that type of thing, and like said above it's controllable, which is nice when you are first starting out. It is a "High Bike", but if I can handle it at 5'-10", a 6" - should have no problem. It will feel top heavy, but you'll get used to that soon. The worse the road gets the better the 250 is going to be over the 650, and the inverse is probably true.

A year is a long time, no matter what you buy you will likely find that you didn't make the best choice for you riding and adventure style. Buy used, so when/if you need to switch to something else you won't take a huge hit.

Also don't discount the DRZ400, not as good offroad as the WR, but a little more power on the freeway (Though needs another gear) and a much better offroad bike than the DR650. I started riding just a couple of years ago and my first choice was a KLR650. Few on this site will recommend that (even though a large number of us have had one), but I don't regret it at all.
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Old 11-14-2013, 06:18 PM   #13
Craiger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soldier311 View Post
Thank y'all so much for the replies and suggestions so far - I really appreciate it. I really don't intend to do much highway riding at all, and don't plan in camping a whole lot, if any if I can afford not to, so hopefully I'll be traveling light.

Please keep the suggestions and discussions coming.

I'm 47 yrs. old and in pretty good shape for my age, except for a bad knee. But, by the time I get around to doing this, I'll probably be 50+ and a little more beat up by then.
I would also suggest a Yamaha WR250R...

Go to Bigdog's page and see what can be done on WR250R...

http://www.bigdogadventures.com/WR250R.htm
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Old 11-14-2013, 06:59 PM   #14
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Yamaha TTR 250! If I had to go around the block, or around the world, this is the bike!!!
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With a 1150 GSA, Tenere 1200 and DR650 to choose from, this little baby is my fave!!
Just get your mindset to 250 speed and performance and enjoy yourself. The TTR is a physically big machine, about the same as myDR, so should suit your size.
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Old 11-20-2013, 04:40 PM   #15
Soldier311 OP
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OK, guys - I'm taking your advice and looking for a (tall) 250-class bike.

I sat on several different bikes today including a KLR 250 and 650, a DR 650, and lots of true MX bikes. I can see that the 650-sizes bikes wouldn't be much fun on a woods trail or rocky mountainside. The KLR 650 felt like it would be a wallowing pig in such stuff. The DR650 felt much better, but still appeared ate hefty for riding tight trails.
I'm hoping to find a Yam. WR250 or TT250 to try out next.
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