Add a machine or Replace?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by bryantjt, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. bryantjt

    bryantjt Long timer

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    *****Updated on page 5****

    Found a 2006 450 EXC locally that is plated and has the "magic" number in the VIN to keep it plated. I take delivery this coming Saturday.







    Hey gang, I'm experiencing the winter no bike/riding withdrawls and have spent way too much time on here reading all the owners threads and am faced with several options and questions.

    First, a little background:
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    My first machine was a 2006 KLX250S that I bought new in '06. I had put 9,000 miles on it when I traded it, in 2008, for a leftover '06 V-Strom 650. The trade was made so that my girlfriend could accompany me on day rides/trips where the KLX just wasn't comfortable. I also found it down on power eventually. I added a stock KLX300 exhaust with the end restrictor removed and rejetted accordingly which helped but wasn't enough. I even bought a used cylinder to get the Bill Blue treatment but traded it in before going to the 331.

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    Fast forward to today, the V-Strom has 25,000 miles on it and I've given up on the thought of it being a "dual-sport", its realistically more of an all road sport touring bike for me, given its weight and size. It has also become bland and kinda boring to ride. I don't foresee taking too many long trips on it in the near future since my girlfriend hurt her back last winter and now the bike is very uncomfortable after an hour or somedays even less. She ends up with one leg going numb and a sore back. Until then we had ridden to Virginia Beach and regular trips to VT, and planned to go to South Carolina last year but our schedules didn't align for that one.

    That being said, I'm considering three options:
    1. Add a CRF250L to the garage and keep the V-Strom ($200 left to pay off on the Strom). I sat on one at a local dealer and it seemed ok and they were willing to let me take a short (<10 mile) test ride but I declined since it was near closing time. Pricewise they offered a few hundred under MSRP but were vague as to how much under.

    2. Add a WR250R and keep the Strom. There is a dealer about an hour away with 2-2012 demo models with 300 miles on them and they are asking $5500 with an 18 month warranty. I've never even seen one in person since the 2 other dealers I've visited don't even order them. I think I can manage the seat height as I sat on a KTM250SX which has a much higher seat and I could get my toes down (5'-6" ~30" inseam, occasionally dropped my KLX due to short legs but never really a huge concern).

    3. Trade the Strom in for a 2012 or 2013 KTM690 Enduro. I would want to trade the Strom because of the $10K sticker on the KTM. The only 2 dealers that have/can get them are 3 hours away, one in VT and one in NY so I have never seen or sat on one but the spec sheet and owners reports make it very appealing, similar height and weight of my KLX but triple the HP.


    I primarily would use it for a 40 mile roundtrip commute to work and hitting the few legal trails we have in St. Lawrence county. My girlfriend's father just got hooked on motorcycles last year with a TU250 and loves to take day rides through the Adirondacks so comfort is a bit of a concern but I've made the same trips on the KLX. I also miss being able to ride the machine hard.....legally. The Strom will break all local speed limits at the very top of second gear so it gets ridden hard for a few seconds and then 4 upshifts to top gear and set the throttle lock for the rest of the trip to work :cry. All in all the Strom is quiet, reasonably comfortable (for me), holds a pile of stuff in the luggage and just plain works. I've considered changing the bars for something like the KX High bends I had on my KLX to help with some wrist issues and maybe a Scorpion can for a little more interesting exhaust note but I don't think there's much excitement/interest to be had with it.


    Long story short, I'd like a bike that is light (relatively), has more power and better handling than my KLX (power wheelies to clear trail obstacles?), capable of 2 up riding for short distances (100 miles or less in a day), dirt oriented, and doesn't vibrate like crazy. My KLX would put my hands to sleep in 30 minutes or less on the pavement even with new bars and aluminum bark busters, it was also running 7,000 rpm at 60mph though. If I were to take longer road rides with option 1 or 2 it would most likely be on the Strom. With option 3 I'm thinking that a different seat and maybe mini screen might be needed but otherwise I think it would be manageable.

    Does anyone here have experience with the 690 AND the KLX, or WR, or CRF? What about the road use of a 690 compared to the Strom?
    #1
  2. OrangeYZ

    OrangeYZ Been here awhile

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    No experience with any of those motorcycles, but I do know a little about adding vs replacing.
    Since you only have one motorcycle, the answer is easy: Add. When you get up to four or five start looking at replacing :D
    #2
  3. Lost Roadie

    Lost Roadie Rider

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    I've never ridden a 690, but in my experience going through various bikes trying to cover various riding, whenever you try to have one bike that does it all there's inevitably compromises on either end.

    I would go with a CRF or WR and keep the Strom personally, then you have both worlds covered and it's nice to wake up and have a choice for how you're going to connect with the ground through a motorbike.

    When it comes to CRF vs. WR take a look at my recent posts in the CRF owners thread. If you believe you'll be the kind of guy that wants to upgrade all of the shortcomings of the CRF and tryt o turn it into a higher performance 250, then a WR might be better since it already has better suspension and is lighter. If you want a great entry level DS bike that should be very reliable for years to come at that price point, there's nothing else out there that would be better IMO.

    We love our CRF250L, for what it is it's one hell of a nice bike, Honda really nailed it with for the cost, but it does have shortcomings that come along with it's low price tag, at least when directly comparing it's performance to more expensive bikes. I've pushed the CRF well beyond it's intended design, it's holding up nicely and is more than capable of going just about anywhere, it just takes a little longer to get there.
    It's smooth on the highway at highways speeds, and tackles trails or fast desert rides just fine.

    Good luck!





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    #3
  4. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junkie

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    2 up, commuter and something that will power wheelie over obsticles are at opposite ends of the spectrum, one speaks of a woods weapon, the other is DR/KLR type of capability. I'm afraid you'll find that if the bike you choose does one of those things it won't do the other acceptably. The 690 would probably come close bit it's allot of machine to trail ride without taking your height into consideration. If it was me, I'd keep the weestrom for commuting/2 up riding and get a more focused trailbike that covers your dirt requirments. Your skills will vastly improve on a more focused machine, the fun factor will be much greater.
    #4
  5. bryantjt

    bryantjt Long timer

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    Here in NY I can't plate a trail bike so it has to be street legal from the get go hence the models listed above.
    #5
  6. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fartografist

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    Great post.

    I have a chum with three bikes, a late model KLR, a Suzuki 400, and a newish Super Tenere. He's way smarter than I am. I think the short answer is add to the herd brother. ADD TO THE HERD!

    A Wr is a fantastic choice. Very versatile, dependable all day, and the aftermarket stuff is there for what you need. Heck, put some Wolfmans's on the back and it's a tourer in a pinch.

    But keep that Strom.

    Let me ask you this, I understand that you may not be thrilled with the feel or performance of your Strom anymore, but would you say it's been utterly reliable, cheap to maintain, never left you walking, never went squirrelly and laid you down in a corner, etc, etc?

    I dont have one, so I have to ask. But my guess is that is she has been good to you, am I right?

    It may not set you back in the seat, but they will get you up to speed quickly. They haul twice their own weight, and you are more likely to find a Suzuki dealer on a cross country trip vs. some other brands....

    Just making conversation brother. :deal

    I would value your spin on my Q's. Some day, a Strom might be in my sites. I think more of reliable and cheap to maintain vs. making my Adrenalin flow during lift off from a stop light...
    #6
  7. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    Keep the Strom, add the WR. Spend some $ on a custom seat for the DL and maybe rear suspension if the seat extends the GF miles significantly.
    I do have back problems, and it's amazing how much more comfortable a DL is with decent suspension.
    You probably won't get a much better touring bike for that use (more powerful yes, more gf friendly, probably not) without really spending lots of money - and that's still a gamble. The DL may not be 'exciting' but it's 2-up capable and trouble free - and 'exciting' and a pillion isn't exactly the best combination anyway.

    The 690 is a damn nice bike, but two up it's not as good as the DL and it's not as single track friendly as a WR. So, if you got that way, you have a worse compromise bike than the DL was.

    I also wouldn't bother with the KLR/DR's - too many compromises still, while they are better offroad than a DL, they are a lot worse on road and they aren't ENOUGH better offroad to make it worthwhile - and the DL will still get you to an offroad campsite 2-up without real problems.

    Just comments, your $, your life :)

    Pete
    #7
  8. whisperquiet

    whisperquiet Long timer

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    Keep the VStrom and take a look at the new Husqvarna 650 Terra or a well set up used Suzuki DRZ400S.
    #8
  9. SRG

    SRG SRG

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    Life's too short for boring motorcycles.

    Whatever is in the garage, be it one bike or ten better wind you up, otherwise what's the point? Might as well have a 'nice" washing machine.

    For the price of a new 690 you could get a used (street legal) rfs KTM and more exciting (used) 2 up bike if you want to have 2 bikes, but don't settle for boring.
    #9
  10. PatrickM

    PatrickM Been here awhile

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    If you have the means, it's always better to add then subtract versus subtract than add.

    Why? Something may pop up stopping you from adding (accident, job loss, moving to Alaska)

    Get the WR, then decide if you need to trade in the Strom. The KTM lines are pricey to say the least (to purchase, the plastic is dirt cheap when you scratch it), and I don't see the need for one right now based upon what you're saying.

    A Goldwing? A space shuttle BMW because of your girl? Sure...
    #10
  11. Cali Native

    Cali Native Adventurer

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    A DRZ was mentioned and I have a DRZ400S and a WR250R and share the 30" legs also. I doubt your gf will want to spend 10 miles let alone 100 on the back of either bike in stock form with a good back let alone a bad one. Both seem to be about the same height at the seat but picking up the WR is much easier as its quite a bit lighter or at least feels that way. I bought the WR to leave at a place we have in Idaho but wish it was here it is so much smoother than the DRZ there's no comparison and with the 6 speed it's IMO a more versatile ds it doesn't work nearly as hard as the DRZ at highway speeds.
    My DRZ doesn't have any performance mods and I love it too and if you are looking for the more exciting and even much less expensive ( used) ride I think the DRZ with the huge amount of easy and otherwise power mods is hands down the winner.
    #11
  12. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    Wheelies over trail obstacles, low price, and 2up? Used DR650SE. Fix the suspension, tune the carbing, adjust the comfort, and trim some weight.

    I'm 5'8"/200lb/30"inseam, and she's 5'4"/petite/30"inseam. With lowered pegs all around, the DR fits us, and the suspension is still on the high setting. Phreaky Phil even set up his DR to do the TAT 2up. I ride mine in the soft sugarsand around here without issue. It feels a bit agricultural in stock form, but some inexpensive power mods can change that right quick. This bike responds well to smart mods.

    See www.procycle.us and www.kientech.com.
    #12
  13. bryantjt

    bryantjt Long timer

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    I had just finished a 10 hour shift when I made my original post so I need to clear it up a bit. Adding a wr or crf means the strom is still here for 2up. I just find it a bit much for commuting alone sometimes and would want something significantly lighter for solo use. I would love a used 450 exc but they are hard to find up this way. I changed the oil on my klx every 700-1000 miles and checked the valves every 2000 so I think I would be OK with the rfs upkeep.

    The 690 would have to be an only bike due to cost. fwiw we had ridden the klx on several day rides over 100 miles, it was cramped but not altogether miserable.

    Will update more shortly when I get to my PC.....
    #13
  14. bryantjt

    bryantjt Long timer

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    I have ridden a KLR for about 20 minutes total on the road and in the yard and didn't care for it in the least, it just felt blah compared to the KLX due to weight and even a bit compared to the Strom since it lacked the grunt to come up out of corners. The KLX road better 2-up than the KLR did solo.

    I sat on a DR 650 before my local dealer closed (no test rides allowed) and it felt ok, felt lighter than the KLR but it also had no fuel in it. It seemed like an ok gravel road machine but would probably be tiring in tighter quarters given that it is almost 70 lbs heavier than my KLX was.


    I've looked at a DRZ400S and it felt much taller and heavier than my KLX and from all the comparison threads it doesn't have the gearing spread that I would want since it is either dirt oriented or street oriented depending on sprockets.


    The Husky Terra is out since there are no dealers around here and it sounds like that line is going to be killed off with the new buyout.


    Also, when I say trail riding, I'm referring to quad trails, jeep trails, and abandoned rail road beds. There's no single track (legal) around here unless some NNY residents know of any. I asked in the regional forum years ago when I had the KLX and the closest anyone could come was the Tug Hill region which is several hours south.


    Probably 60% of the offroading I would do could be done on a Strom with guards and knobbies, I've seen people take them on worse on here but there's just so much weight and fragile plastic that I'm not interested, not to mention the cost of knobbies when using it as a commuter with only a single set of wheels. As you can see above I had 2 sets of wheels for the KLX. Prior to that I would go through 2-3 sets of tires a year, which for that size machine isn't too expensive.
    #14
  15. DirtDad

    DirtDad Green Chile Guru

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    Don't sell, add! I owned a 06 KLX250. It was a pretty nice bike. It was pretty capable for off road, but it was just way unpowered for my liking. I was trying to ride it like my 05 KTM300EXC, when in the woods. :D Good way to get yoursefl hurt. I replaced it with a 08KTM530. Now were talking. There seems to be alot of later model street
    legal KTM's for sale around here. Ranging in price from 3500-5500. But if you are not really going to be riding in real
    technical single track, I would go with the WR. I must say I sold my 530 and totally regret it now. It would be worth it to search on craigslist for a KTM RFS, and have it shipped out to you. Lots in AZ, CO. Either way enjoy which ever bike you get!
    #15
  16. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    You should pick up this month's Cycle World. It does a 250 comparison of the CRF, KLX and WR. The article spoiler is that the CRF is the best bargain bike, the least intimidating beginner bike and a good commuter. The WR has the best performance everywhere, best suspension and best seat but is the most expensive. And the KLX splits the difference between the two with the lightest weight and solid offroad performance but no EFI.

    You can tell from my signature that I prefer the two bike route with a big dual sport and trail weapon over one do it all bike. So, I would take a hard look at what you plan to do with that second bike. If your trail riding isn't very aggressive the Honda saves a pile of money. A little more aggressive and the Kawasaki is capable and still saves money. But if you want something closer to a real offroad bike and with better highway performance the WR.

    Out of the bikes and options mentioned and with money not as the deciding factor then keeping the Strom and adding a WR250R would be my choice. As much as I would love a 690, having two bikes that do two different things well is fun.
    #16
  17. bryantjt

    bryantjt Long timer

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    I read the article that was posted here and saw that they chose the Honda. I've had a KLX, the power and suspension didn't do it for me when riding fast on rough open trails. The Honda seems to have a touch more power but still budget suspension. Going back to my first post, the Honda and WR are only $1000 apart, provided the demo's are still available so that's not a big deal. I paid close to $6000 for my KLX when I bought that due to dealer fees, and them being the only Kawi shop around so it was a take it or leave it price.

    As far as buying something used and having it shipped, I don't think I would do that with an RFS bike just given that there is no way to inspect it closely or take a quick ride to see if it is in ok shape.



    I'm not looking for a beginner bike necessarily, I put 9000 miles on my KLX in 2 years and about 40% of that was offroad since I could take trails to and from the office.
    #17
  18. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    Sounds like you have your answer. If the KLX didn't have enough power or suspension then the CRF is also going to be out due to the even more budget suspension under it.

    I have ridden some rough trails with guys WR250R's. They are pretty capable offroad bikes. Given that they do OK against orange bikes the suspension can't be too far off.

    Personally, I could never be happy on any 250 dual sport. But the WR has significantly more power then the other two. So, to me, it is the obvious choice for a second bike.

    Unless, of course, you want to go the plated dirt bike route. Then it is orange Koolaid time.
    #18
  19. Lost Roadie

    Lost Roadie Rider

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    The WR is probably a more capable off road bike stock, but the CRF is no slouch either. :evil
    The motor is good, drop the front sprocket to a 13 and it's good all around, soft suspension, yes, but still capable.
    I think most of the comments are spot on though, if a WR demo was available that's a great deal.



    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/58411544?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" width="1279" height="719" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/58411544">Death Valley Daze</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/lostrider">Lost Rider</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
    #19
  20. SRG

    SRG SRG

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    WR, KLX, CRF are all underpowered and overweight when compared to even a 400exc, never mind the 450 or 525. The RFS engine is very reliable when properly cared for. The rest of the KTM has better components, hardware, design quality and build quality than any of the 250's being discussed. Used ones are plentiful and reasonably priced. The OP said he would love one. Dirt Dad regrets selling his. That's the kind of passion that makes owning the bike fun. Buy one now for less than $5k. Sell the boring V-Strom (OP's words). Get a used second bike (that excites you the way the RFS does) for the 2 up and longer rides for another $5k (check out first gen. Ducati Multistrada's or Buell Ullysses for example). Ride the hell out of both and say goodby to boring bikes.

    Edit - The flea market currently has 2 Buellls, a couple of Multistradas have gone by recently, EXC's appear often, a beautiful Beta just went by and a Husaberg or 2 lately - all @ $5k or so (some much less). Not a boring bike in the bunch.
    #20