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Old 12-09-2012, 09:49 AM   #1
Butters OP
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Great Dual Sport bikes that disappeared . . .

I haven't been riding for 50 years and haven't owned a hundred different bikes, but it seems like there were some great DS bikes that vanished or were replaced with lesser bikes. I realize everybody's idea of the perfect dual sport differs, but that doesn't mean you can't recognize a good bike even if it isn't for you. I don't own a DR650, but consider it a great bike for what it is designed for and it's versatility. If Suzuki were to stop making it or replace it with a lesser bike, it would be shocking. But it seems this has happened before. Two bikes that come to mind are the DR350 and the XR600.

I've never ridden either, but both seem to be universally loved (for what they are). The DR350 seemed like the ultimate Japanese small/midsize dual sport. Light enough for mild trail work and decent enough on the road. It was replaced with the DRZ - a bike that seems like it went backward in some areas (like the tranny). With the XR600, there just isn't a 300ish pound big Japanese thumper now. It seems with new technology, versions of these bikes should be around with more power or less weight or both.

Is it just that as time passes we don't hear about their downsides and they really weren't that good? While there are some European bikes that seem to have improved on these, but they don't typically compare in cost or quality.
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Old 12-09-2012, 09:54 AM   #2
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I really miss my 1974 Suzuki TS-185. If I find a clean unmolested one on CL, I'll be on it like stink on shit.
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:11 AM   #3
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Having owned a few larger dual sports in the past I'm real happy with my DR350. Id probably say I miss the Yamaha XT500 and would like to find one someday.
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ausfahrt View Post
I really miss my 1974 Suzuki TS-185. If I find a clean unmolested one on CL, I'll be on it like stink on shit.
+1 on that.

My sister had one that I borrowed for a day. Only slightly less power than my TS250 and very flickable in tight trails.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:18 AM   #5
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To me, it is time passes and people forget the bad. We are in golden age of dual sports right now. The only real holes I see are the lack of a big bore for the blue team and the red team's refusal to update their 650. Otherwise all the bases are well covered from 250 to 1200 cc. I honestly can't think of any bikes from my past that I want to ride today.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:35 AM   #6
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Ts 185

My first bike was a TS 185, but the DT 400 was areally nice bike for dual sporting.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:47 AM   #7
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[QUOTE=Butters;20211138]I haven't been riding for 50 years and haven't owned a hundred different bikes, but it seems like there were some great DS bikes that vanished or were replaced with lesser bikes. I realize everybody's idea of the perfect dual sport differs, but that doesn't mean you can't recognize a good bike even if it isn't for you. I don't own a DR650, but consider it a great bike for what it is designed for and it's versatility. If Suzuki were to stop making it or replace it with a lesser bike, it would be shocking. But it seems this has happened before. Two bikes that come to mind are the DR350 and the XR600.

I've never ridden either, but both seem to be universally loved (for what they are). The DR350 seemed like the ultimate Japanese small/midsize dual sport. Light enough for mild trail work and decent enough on the road. It was replaced with the DRZ - a bike that seems like it went backward in some areas (like the tranny). With the XR600, there just isn't a 300ish pound big Japanese thumper now. It seems with new technology, versions of these bikes should be around with more power or less weight or both.

Is it just that as time passes we don't hear about their downsides and they really weren't that good? While there are some European bikes that seem to have improved on these, but they don't typically compare in cost or quality.[/QUOTE]

Uh oh, you just opened up a can of worms. Prepare for the flaming from 3 certain inmates that spew about how KTM's are built with much higher quality parts than Japanese bikes. Let the show begin....

Oh, and the DR350 i had wasn't decent on the road. If that road was 55 mph speed limit it was fine, but no interstates.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:54 AM   #8
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I completely agree with you about the DR350, great bike.

But yea, nostalgia is a powerful thing. I can even get misty about my ex-wife if I try.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:56 AM   #9
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For me its got to be the XR600/650. Would love a decent, light, reliable water cooled jap 650 updated with electric start. I had the ktm 690 and it was a bit buzzy for me and it always has queries on the reliability. I don't think there is anything on the market like this other than the KTM. The new terra is a step in the right direction but heavy. The discontinued BMX xchallenge seems closer.
Africa twin probably should be up there as well.
I never saw the point in the DR350, just too heavy. I had the CRM250, excellent bike with Honda reliability that again isn't matched by anything today.
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:27 PM   #10
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I think we've sacrificed broad purposes for more specialized bikes. The 350 was a great all-arounder and I too think the drz was a step back in some respects. But companies like KTM and husky are really loading their product line with many ds bikes for different needs. Not that i consider ktm as reliable (in some respects) as the Japanese bikes, but at least they make a decent range of options. So I see what you're saying, I think more companies need to make a wider range, rather than just the 200 dog, the 400 MX and the 650pig. And for crying out loud, where's 6th gear on these things!?
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:32 PM   #11
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I will never part with my XR600R and XR650R. Great bikes. Anything at or under 300lbs is light enough to me. 350lbs with less power (XR650L) and it's getting up there (I know there's mods). The 650R is a bit too much for the average rider, but the 600 was perfect (mellow and comfortable as hell) and was popular all over the world. Would love to see an updated one but it will never happen.
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:00 PM   #12
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Small and big bikes have it covered quite well, but the whole 600 to 650 single cylinder is a serious weak point. Other than an expensive KTM or a cheapened up Husky badged beemer (which has poorly built 650 single to start with) everything else is way behind with old air cooled motors and cheap suspension.
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:14 PM   #13
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Yep, that was my point. I rode an XR650L a few weeks ago and it is a decade behind my decade old LC4E. I haven't ridden one, but I suspect the DR650 isn't any better. The KLR and Husky aren't really offroad bikes. And Yamaha isn't even in the game anymore.

The hole is definitely in the big bore segment. So, if I miss anything it is a modern KLX650 or XT600. And I could say the same thing for the XR and DR since they are both a generation behind the times. But, since I am OK riding orange, you will get no hand wringing over it from me.
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:29 PM   #14
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why would it be shocking if the DR650 got upgraded? geez it came out in 1996.
i'm shocked it's still around (it's been almost 20yrs) and lame Suzuki has not updated it yet.

time has moved on. yes it's a great bike ( i own one), but come on. approaching 20yrs w/o an update?
Japan inc. is doing the DS community a disservice but not making great modern 650 DS!
Yamaha did an update and refused to release it to the US. They suck.

Only Husky & KTM get it.
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Old 12-09-2012, 01:37 PM   #15
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Give me a Honda XL350, Mid-80's version please, w/e-start.
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