Another "Which Dual Sport Bike is For Me?" Thread

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by S8W7, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. S8W7

    S8W7 Libertarian

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    :dhorse

    I know this question is asked ad nauseum on here, and I sincerely apologize for creating another thread on the matter. However, after much research and reading many similar threads, I still don't feel like I'm informed enough to make a solid purchase decision. Your advice would be immensely appreciated!

    I'm looking to get into the lightest bike that will still handle itself well in "adventure" mode. Lots of highway mileage, bags, etc. I don't want to get into too much bike, and I'm constantly reading on here about people having to wrestle their giant litre bikes through the gnarly stuff and how utterly exhausted they are afterwards. I'd like to avoid that if I can, which is why I'm leaning towards the smallest bike that will still take me down the highway, get me to work, and still let me play in the bush every once in a while without making me feel like I'm wrestling an alligator. I want a machine that isn't going to be a total pig in the dirt - I don't plan on doing any single track or motocross stuff with it, but I don't want to have an uphill battle just trying to explore an ATV trail every once in a while. The bike will be my fair-weather daily driver (mostly in town), so my overall usage will probably be 80/20 pavement/dirt. Even though the machine won't see dirt every day, I would rather not compromise too heavily in that regard.

    I think my needs are simple, but I'm still not sure what best fits me. I've only ever ridden dirtbikes (this will be my first street bike), and nothing larger than a 125. I was also a teenager when I last rode, though I've done a lot of downhill and uphill mountain biking since then. I'm now in my mid-20's, 6' and 200lbs (fit) so I've outgrown a few of the bikes that felt just right when I was a kid.

    Anyway, I'd really appreciate some help in selecting the bike, or bikes, that will be right for me. Thanks!


    Edit: After some continued discussion on this thread, I've noticed a tendency for some serious debate between the owners of different brands of motorcycles. As an all-around motorcycle enthusiast (in fact, I'm an all-around motorsports enthusiast), it was never my intention to incite a riot or a flame-war here. I love BMW, Kawasaki, Suzuki, KTM, Honda, Harley Davidson, Triumph, Moto Guzzi, Ducati, etc. all equally. There is ZERO discrimination here and I'd prefer to avoid it here. I am simply seeking information from those with experience. Thanks!
    #1
  2. milkfiend

    milkfiend Adventurer

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    You've already listed two excellent options, but have you also considered the G650GS?

    I'm still looking for my first dual-sport myself. The market here is nuts - I picked up a 600 sportbike in decent running condition for some $2k less than a rubbish KLR would cost me :huh
    #2
  3. Thanantos

    Thanantos Ride hard.

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    Begin KLR vs DR fight to the death......NOW!

    :defend :shoot

    Now that I got my sarcastic comment out I'll try to add something useful.

    DR = Better off road and simpler.

    KLR = Better on road.

    The KLR will go anywhere off road that a DR will. It will just do it more slowly and with a tad more work. However, for 80/20 work I think I would take the better on road manners of the KLR. YMMV.

    This link will get you started with HOURS of reading on the KLR vs DR debate that rages on, and on, and on, and on.....:
    https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=site:advrider.com+klr+vs+dr
    #3
  4. TrashCan

    TrashCan Scary Jerry

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    Yes...

    :1drink
    #4
  5. 51%

    51% ReadyToRide

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    How far and how fast on the highway sections?
    #5
  6. GoGoGavin41

    GoGoGavin41 Isn't this that guy?

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    :huh

    All the KLRs I've ridden on the highway must've been defective haha
    #6
  7. Thanantos

    Thanantos Ride hard.

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    Well, compared to a DR the 2008+ KLR is like a Goldwing on the highway.
    #7
  8. Whitebread117

    Whitebread117 I do what I want

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    If you're a dirt bike rider who's looking for a bike that'll handle highway trips, get the DR.

    If you're a street bike rider who's looking for a bike that'll handle dirt, get the KLR (and yes, atv trails are no prob with decent tires).

    I'm a 1st gen KLR owner - either is a very good swiss army knife type bike. They are not as far apart in actuality as they appear on the interwebs.

    Both are cheap and easily modified to fit your specific riding type. Both are a compromise and neither are as good as a little dual sport AND a bigger street bike. If you can have two bikes, don't pick either. If you can only have one bike, either is an excellent choice.

    Keep in mind you've asked a chevy vs ford type question, and blood will likely be spilled with no clear answer.
    #8
  9. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I think if you are going to do dirt, go as light as you can.
    Even the 'light' dr650 can bust you up good if you fall wrong.
    Add luggage and its gets a lot worse.

    Its not so much handling the bike, with good tires, most bikes will do ok in the dirt if you are not motocrossing, its when you get out of shape and fall with 370 pounds of bike behind you that can ruin your day.

    I also tend to think people these days are street wimps.
    Back in the day you rode a badly vibrating bike with no windshield or heated gear cross country and it was fine for us.
    Now, if you don't have 150 hp, heated grips, electric start, power adjustable windshield, gps, music, cup holders, and air suspension, its only good for around town.

    30 years ago, a dr650 would have been one smooth street bike.
    #9
  10. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    Have you ever owned a motorcycle?

    I dont get all the hand wringing and gnashing of teeth over this. Buy one and move forward. It doesnt really matter which you buy since either will do what you want. They are both pretty damn cheap used so if you dont like it you wont likely get hurt in resale.
    #10
  11. enigmatic_redhabu

    enigmatic_redhabu I really wanna be....

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    Yamaha WR 450R? I think it's a perfect bike for what you want to do.

    #11
  12. Thanantos

    Thanantos Ride hard.

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    So far there are a lot of good answers to this post, but this one explains the difference between the DR and KLR more succinctly than I have ever read on this forum or could do on my own.
    #12
  13. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    The DR is better on road, off road and in every way than the KLR… But to make it so you need to add an IMS tank and modify the seat.
    #13
  14. Thanantos

    Thanantos Ride hard.

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    And here's your first example of the Chevy/Ford argument.
    #14
  15. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    Chevy/Skoda

    Pete
    #15
  16. duxrneet

    duxrneet Been here awhile

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    How about you try riding a bit slower on road and enjoy the scenery? Then you can get as light a bike as you want! Or XR600R :)
    #16
  17. S8W7

    S8W7 Libertarian

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    My intention wasn't to kick over the hornets' nest here, I genuinely need advice.
    #17
  18. LngRidr

    LngRidr Been here awhile

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    Husky TE511
    #18
  19. S8W7

    S8W7 Libertarian

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    Care to expand on your suggestion? How hard are they to find parts for?
    #19
  20. rgoers

    rgoers Been here awhile

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    Lots of questions to ask BEFORE any of us would be able to give you a useful recommendation...
    - How much highway, and how fast? (If highway; 55 MPH, or 75 MPH?)
    - What level of 'adventuring' are you talking about? (3000 mile trips with multiple overnights, or 1 night stays closer to home?)
    - Will you camp, or stay at hotels?

    The reason I ask is; I love my KLX250. I bought it for the type of riding ***I*** am into. Some back roads (55MPH or less), lots of dirt roads, and lots of single and double-track. I need to carry a day's worth of "stuff" for a full day of riding, or an overnight camp-out (within a couple hundred miles from home). Of course, I *can* do 75+ on the interstate for short distances, but this is NOT the bike you'd want to do that with very often. For ***ME*** the klx250 is the ultimate adventure bike. For ***YOU*** it may be totally wrong...
    #20