Advice on a lightweight alternative to my R1200GSA

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by lhendrik, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. SQD8R

    SQD8R Eat squids and be merry

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    7,422
    Location:
    The Village: 75°53'34"W, 45°17'42"N
    I bought a Husky 630 but imo a 610 is easily as good if you read the fan base reviews in Thumpers and a KTM 500 series bike or Husaberg 570 is even better offroad. Sure there are cheaper bikes that are great in their own right but the cheaper bikes will not perform as well offroad. And no amount of money poured into a cheaper bike is going to make it a match.

    I've owned my Husky for 2 seasons and negligible issues, IOW nothing requiring a dealer visit.
    #21
  2. Velociraptor

    Velociraptor TrackBum

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,214
    Location:
    Seattle
    I had a 2008 KLR and sold that to get a 2009 KTM 690r enduro. The KLR is a good all-arounder but is very top heavy and is not made to go fast. If you try to ride a KLR fast off road, even with upgraded suspension, it gets very sketchy. The 690 is much ligher and not top heavy since the tank is under the seat/rear fender. It loves to go fast and handles off road speed very well. I am not sure the 690 would be a good bike to learn riding off road on. It is very fast and could bite a rider with no experience. Maintenence on the 690 is more like a normal dual sport. The EXC bikes are plated race bikes so upkeep on those bikes is more intense. The KLR and DR650 are probably more reliable than the 690 but I just love the 690s power and handling. On the highway the 690 might be slightly worse than the KLR but not by much. A big plus is the 690 has way more power so passing is way easier. The 690 will require a new or redone seat. The stocker is a plank. Hope this helps.
    #22
  3. tlwood99

    tlwood99 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    173
    Location:
    Dallas
    I am a R12GS rider that got hooked into more and more off-road stuff that led me to buying a light weight dual sport. I see myself a little a head of you and can readily identify where you are.

    The advice that I got over and over was that the KLX250, WR250R, and DRZ-400 are the best of the lightweight, easy to handle, great low maintenance platforms to both learn on and ride forever.

    I had to be different and ended up with a Husaberg FE390, which is essentially an uprated KTM. The bike is a blast and handles a lot like a mountain bike. Feels plenty light, lots of low end torque. I am confident (but without the actual experience to say) that it is more nimble and responsive that the lightweight DS's I mentioned above. The downside is that it, like many of the KTM's, have to be converted to be street legal--no big deal but can add to the costs depending on the bike, have very small oil reservoirs demanding frequent oil changes, and the foam air filter needs to be cleaned constantly. The bikes often have small gas tanks requiring an aftermarket fuel tank, and the lights often suck. It short, the exotics are lots of fun but you pay for it in time and money.

    The KLR's and DR650s are easier to handle "big" bikes akin in a lot of ways to the GS in my view. You won't cry when you drop these bikes like you will the GS, but in my view it was just a variation of the same genre of bike. They may be easier to handle than the GS (maybe), but I don't think by much, and certainly not enough for me to have justified that path.

    Anything much bigger in the dirtbike class like the 450s and up I gather are a lot of bike for a beginner, although there are ways to tame them down.

    For what its worth. Hope this helps.
    #23
  4. Masterpotter

    Masterpotter Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    Eastern PA
    A smaller Dual Sport like a WR250r , or the 250 Honda or Kawaski . Cheap and easy to ride and pick up.
    #24
  5. bigkatie

    bigkatie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    109
    Location:
    Southwest Ohio
    I also have a 1200gs and am looking at a second bike for the same reasons you are. I have had many bikes over the years and to find one bike to do it all is pretty difficult. I,ve had Ktm 950 adv. ,640lc4e,525exc 250exc,200exc,.I had a Yamaha Wr250r and a Kaw klr and a few more. All great bikes in there own right..Of all the bikes I mentioned I found the Ktm 640lc4e to be the one closest to what I am looking for now.So that being said I will be looking at a used Husqvarna TE610 or TE630 and possibly the new Husky 650 Terra come spring, although I think that the Terra may be a little heavier than I want but maybe a great bike for you . I think the mid size adventure platform (650cc) is the best compromise for what you may want .It will go on the interstate at a pretty good clip and is capable of doing so decent off -roading ,dependent on your abilities.They also have a enough power to put a grin on your face on the gravel backroads.This is just one old man's opinion and I hope it helps.
    Good luck on your choice.
    #25
  6. NoVa Rider

    NoVa Rider Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,420
    If range and carrying gear weren't prime factors, this could work. . ..

    [​IMG]
    #26
  7. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
    6,862
    Location:
    Anchorage, formerly Spenard (hub of the universe)
    after riding my GS off road then switching to the KLR, the klr feels like a bicycle. my KLR has Ricor valves in the forks & a Moab shock on the back. tittied up with a 705, a bit of head work, & FMF exhaust, etc... I've ridden it side by side with the KTM640 and it's really close. I know orange guys will hate that but its true & my friend with the 640 agrees. it takes $$$ and time to make those changes, but it has 8000 trouble free miles. (the 690 is a definite step up). the DR is pretty good out of the box, a little lighter than the klr & only needs a tank to go rtw. the DRZ is better off road because of the weight... trouble is the gearing is short and the seat is butt floss. the WR250 can stay with the KLR on the highway if packed light (very light)... it also need premium gas. it's all trade offs

    learn the dirt on a half beat dirt bike if you can

    P.S. I still have the GS and use it a lot. I'm still looking for that 400-500cc light weight mostly dirt bike that can hold the highway speeds
    #27
  8. DirtViking

    DirtViking SKOL!

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Oddometer:
    372
    Location:
    Happyville

    I was in a similar situation about a year ago. I have a 1200 GS and found that I had very little offroad riding skills. I ended up buying a KLX-250S. After a few weeks of riding I found an offroad riding school and attended a one-day class. Best thing I ever did for my offroad riding.

    My instructor told me that my choice of bikes was excellent. The power delivery was mild compared to the fire-breathing 450's, but the bike could still get the job done. He suggested that I keep that bike for about a year to build up my ability. I think that was pretty good advice. I did keep that bike for about a year but in the meantime ended up buying a kdx-220 for purely offroad stuff. (Night and day difference between that and the klx in the offroad environment.) Eventually, I found the KLX wasn't enough for me. I was pushing harder and wanted more... It didn't make sense to try and upgrade everything on it. I sold that and bought a WR450 that I plated.

    So where is my advice in all this? Buy the nicest, well-maintained, 250cc bike you can find in your local area. I would pay a premium for the maintenance part. Go out and ride the hell out of it. After a few months of ownership, I bet you'll have a clearer idea of the type of riding you'll be interested in. After you know that, the bike choice will be easy.

    Good luck.

    Jon
    #28
  9. lhendrik

    lhendrik Truffle Rustler

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,529
    Location:
    New York
    This all sounds like good advice to me. Thanks.

    #29
  10. Pickup man

    Pickup man Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Oddometer:
    334
    Location:
    People's Socialist Republic of Ontario, Toronto
    I learned to ride dirtbikes since I was a kid and have been riding mostly off road most of my life.
    I actually regret selling my DRZ 400 S, as it was a bike that could do everything I ever asked of it
    while riding trails and water crossings etc. But at the end of the day it really had its limits when
    taking it to the tarmac. Which is why I wanted something bigger.

    That being said, what about not getting another bike at all? With the riding you described, you
    can just take your hard luggage off and put soft on. Balance? For more confidence, put a low seat
    on and for traction put some Heidenau scouts on. I have takin my GSA through the fire roads, gravel,
    hard and soft dirt, and in the end? I was very surprised just how good these big bikes are off road, and
    there is tons of power when you need it. Of course if you want to do deep water crossings and lots
    of rocky terrain... then sure a light dirt bike would be better.
    #30
  11. lhendrik

    lhendrik Truffle Rustler

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,529
    Location:
    New York
    I thought about keeping and using the R12GSA for offroad. It is heavy even unloaded, especially with all that gas up high. In the Ride Reports across the rocky trails, water and sand, it seemed that dropping the bike was a pretty common thing, and the idea of lifting the GSA, alone (how I tend to ride most of the time), multiple times a day (hour?) scares me, especially when the ground is not flat, and the bike is laying downhill :) (DAMHIK)

    I may take a look at the 650 size BMW's this weekend, 200lb lighter, and definitely road capable. With the right tires and soft luggage that may work.
    #31
  12. oalvarez

    oalvarez Resident Raggamuffin

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,864
    Location:
    CA HWY 2
    Good idea, i like those bikes too, but being road capable in this case will come with its fair share of "buzziness" when riding the slab. If you don't tire from such then it could be the best heavy bike alternative for you.
    #32
  13. Pickup man

    Pickup man Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Oddometer:
    334
    Location:
    People's Socialist Republic of Ontario, Toronto
    Good idea, a BMW 650 single would be a great bike for that. They have been proven to be very good off road bikes
    capable of trekking the world. With weight down low and miserly fuel economy you would have bike that should fit what you're looking for. They are maintenance friendly as well.
    #33
  14. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    11,218
    Location:
    India Wharf
    Take a look at the new Husqvarna Terra 650. It has the BMW motor, but uprated and the bike is lighter than the BMW version. Plus it's $7k MSRP. 400lbs I think. With the right tires I think this is a good option.

    Meanwhile I ride a Yam WR250R and a new KTM 690R. The Yam is in Phoenix to visit winters. Both bikes are about 300lbs. Both are capable off road machines, but are good on the highway as well. They are not hard core dirt bikes like KTM's smaller offerings. I use both of mine for travel and exploration. But I can pick them up by myself when solo, which is the main reason I bought them. MSRP on a new Yam is mid sixes. The 690 lists for low tens and I have about $13k into mine. She's mighty hawt, though. :raabia
    [​IMG]

    If you want a street legal enduro bike, consider a new KTM 350 EXC-F. It comes with everything you need for street riding (including pollution control), larger oil capacity and longer service intervals. However, it is still an enduro bike suitable for competition. My son bought one to race the Mexican 1000 in Baja last April. He won his class and was 4th overall bike. Top speed according to his GPS was 96mph in the desert (and he was WFO a lot). The bike is about $9k new.
    #34
  15. oldfool

    oldfool Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    805
    Location:
    San Pedro, california
    I like the hp2 because it will go interstate and do well offroad. That being said I am considering a ktm. When I go on the real dirt rides with people it seems there is always alot of ktm's. There is probably a reason for that. The hp2 handles like a real dirt bike and is much lighter then a gsa but in the real deep sand it is a fight. So consider the actual riding your going to do. If you want real serious offroad capability ktm,husky,ect...If you want to be able to handle some serious offroad and still use the bike for other stuff I recommend an hp2. Richard
    #35
  16. longslowdistance

    longslowdistance Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    872
    Location:
    Virginia
    #36
  17. MotoBoss

    MotoBoss Bad Influence

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4,881
    Location:
    Martinsville, Indiana USA
    I too ride a pig GS and recently was in the same position. At 6'3" and 235 lbs. it is a little easier for me, I assume, to handle the GS off pavement. BUT, I bought a 2011 DRZ400S (used), added an IMS tank, higher bars w/ROK risers, Seat Concepts seat, Cyra Had guards, IMS shifter and pegs, case savers, Wolfman brackets and bags, skid plate and so on and so on.
    All in all I spent an additional 1-11/2K on the bike and it is PERFECT! Just what I was looking for, a capable off road motorcycle that can haul the pavement in comfort and easy to ride in the rough stuff for under 6K.
    I was so pleased that I sold my KLR and now have just two motorcycles that cover everything I love to ride, from trails to super-slab.




    I'm happy :clap :clap Hope you find your combination.
    #37