Best All Around Dual Sport Bike?

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by BerndM, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. ADVBedouin

    ADVBedouin fly pelican!

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    It was well said earlier that the preferred bike all depends on the intended riding, but it also depends on what you enjoy riding & seeing parked in your garage. After having a '91 DR650, '88 R100GS, '95 R100GSPD, '01 KTM 640ADV, '04 DRZ400S, & an '07 KTM 525EXC, & currently an '06 HP2 Enduro(chosen over the F800GS) & '05 DR650, I must honestly say my '05 DR650 is the best yet. No sexy European build or components & I've not tried the 'Berg or Husky yet, but...

    I would've never guessed how smooth running, lightweight (300 lbs), agile, reliable, well designed, stable, simple to maintain, & generally capable it is on everything. There's good reason why the DR650 thread in ADVR Thumpers is the largest & guys routinely report 30-40-50K without ever seeing a dealer but for tires. Lately I'm just riding narrow, windy country roads & fire roads, so the DR fits that requirement & it is a blast. If I was slabbing it or doing lots of single track, my requirements would be different, but I'd still keep the DR.

    For under $3-4K you can find a very low mileage, clean, '04-'09 & put an IMS 5.2 gal tank, Sargent seat, laminar windscreen, etc (see my posts if interested), & you have a bike that will go anywhere. I'd choose this as an RTW bike over any other NA available bike, hands down. Just my .2 cents worth Gents.

    [​IMG]
    #21
  2. Ed~

    Ed~ What, Me Worry?

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    The best dual-sport has to:
    A. Carry you and your kit comfortably for long distances.
    B. Go fast enough to keep up with city and highway traffic.
    C. Have close to 300 mile range before running empty.
    D. Be able to handle dirt/uneven roads without too much difficulty.
    E. Be reliable, or easy to fix or limp home from in the wilds.
    Note: I don't include single-tracks or off-road ability.

    There is a reason KLR's are so popular and not just because it is cheap. In stock form, it can most easily accomplish most of the above if on a basic experiential level. No luxuries here but it will get you there and back.

    The GS is an excellent and comfortable road bike and takes the cake for long distance days: full of torque, good range, and excellent seats and wind protection (with a Parabellum shield). Most BMW's have weight against them. Regardless of rider ability (and that does count for alot for where you can and cannot go) sand and mud will always do you in quicker on a heavier bike. BMW's are more difficult to repair and are not as reliable in the wilds.

    The DR has an excellent motor, good suspension for dirt and street, but not enough wind protection. Even if you add an IMS tank, Corbin seat and some windshield, it is still tiring to ride long distances. Excellent and fun city bike because of the responsive motor however.

    The KLR with a tall shield and Corbin seat is actually more comfortable than the DR riding long distances at highway speeds as the placement its headlight assembly and tank somehow gives you better wind protection so you are less tired at the end of the day. The engine vibrates which causes its own kind of fatigue.

    Both the DR and KLR seem to hold up better on rough & loose surfaces, possibly because they are lighter weight so hard bumps don't stress the frame, suspension, or drive-train assemblies as much. If something does break, it is usually easier to get at and fix. Moto-mechanics in most countries are usually more familiar with Japanese designs even if they commonly work on smaller displacement versions.

    This is my personal assessment based on 10 years of ownership of the bikes above, riding solo on the AZ highways, exploring the 4-Corners, to Baja and Copper Canyon, and much of Mexico & Central America.

    Consider that the best all around anything is always striking a balance between requirements so what you get is by definition a compromise and not the best riding experience. In fact, possibly quite the opposite. This may be heresy but if part of Adventure Motorcycling also includes getting to and appreciating the destination, then maybe some sacrifice of the riding experience can be made...

    ergo the KLR.
    #22
  3. Ed~

    Ed~ What, Me Worry?

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    Interesting review of the TE-610 here:
    http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?t=45410
    #23
  4. boatmole

    boatmole Druken Wildebeest

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    I've owned a BMW R1100GS and have ridden the R1200GS including the 2010 model, which I realy liked the new motor. I have ridden an 06 KLR 650, have owned an 08 KLR 650 and presently own a 2009 KLR 650. To put in my perspective, some may disagree, but thats ok, I think neither bike is light and agile enough to be considered a true dual sport; more apropriately should be classified as adventure touring bikes. As adventure touring bikes the BMW excells in long road haul high speed travel and the KLR despite it small cc manages the job for us quite well.

    We sold our BMWs in favor of the KLR due to lower initial cost, lower maintenance and outfiting costs, better gas milage and less curb weight and the KLR seat doesn't kill my butt.

    The BMW GS will probably last longer than the KLR, you can make anything last longer if you throw enough money at it; on the other hand you can buy 3 KLRs for the cost of a BMW, if one blows up, hasn't happened yet, or accidently roll a KLR off a cliff, I'll go buy another one, not so with the BMW. If you lunch the BMW, to replace it you may have to mortage the house, prostitute the wife and sell off one of two kids:lol3

    Loaded touring up to 75 mph on the KLR works for me. If I need to go faster take the BMW, if you realy need to go fast in total comfort get a GL1800 Gold Wing 110 mph for the most part L.A - Tracy, CA. :wink:

    The best bike, is the one you ride.
    #24
  5. NachoRoto

    NachoRoto Meet you there. OK?

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    Like someone else said earlier. The Klr and gs are too much alike. The drz400s would be a better second bike if keeping the gs. But I never got to ride my Klr with real knobbies on it. I sold my Klr to get my gs. When the right deal comes along I will own either the Klr or drz400 again. But ad a beater for exploring this time.
    #25
  6. Jafo28

    Jafo28 Been here awhile

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    "If you lunch the BMW, to replace it you may have to mortage the house, prostitute the wife and sell off one of two kids:lol3 "

    Would glady do all three to keep the GSA up and running! Only change I would make is getting rid of both kids!!! If you buy one, I will throw the second one in for free!!!!:lol3
    #26
  7. TWINGS

    TWINGS Adventurer

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    This could be a contender.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #27
  8. FatChance

    FatChance Road Captain

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    Since no two people will agree on what dual sport really is, no two people will agree on the best dual sport bike. Do you want a dirt bike that can be ridden on the road some distance to an offroad destination so it doesn't have to be trailered or a road bike that can be ridden off road to the limits of your dirt abilities? Everyone has a different set of compromises. I want something that I could ride to Montana to take off road once there if I wanted. That is MY type of dual sporting. For me, the DR650 is the best compromise but that will vary for everyone else...
    #28
  9. ADVBedouin

    ADVBedouin fly pelican!

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    TwinGS, that's a contender, if not the ultimate DS bike IMHO. I've both a DR650 & HP2E & often wonder which I'd go RTW on, (probably the DR650 though). You've set yours up perfectly with the HPN tank & bags.

    The HP2E is great b/c of the threaded valve adjusters, shaft drive, tubeless tires, air/oil cooling, 386 dry weight, 600w alternator, etc, plus it's all day comfortable. A BVMarkus underseat tank would give it all the range needed. I fabbed a Vstrom screen on my HP2 & can sit behind the thing all day now, & I just need some heated grips. I'd likely beg Al Jesse to make me some quick-click Odyessy bags & call it good.
    #29
  10. tallguy-09

    tallguy-09 Smile 4 Miles

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    I had one in the 1992 in Germany; loved the engine and the high seating position.
    My R1200GS is a road bike at least for me. The XR650L was a lot more fun
    because it was less heavy so I'd recommend this for the more casual off-road application if you can say so.
    I'm surprised to see that Honda has not made any real changes to it for at least 15years or so, can that be?
    #30
  11. Mr Head

    Mr Head PowerPoint ADV

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    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"><meta name="ProgId" content="Word.Document"><meta name="Generator" content="Microsoft Word 11"><meta name="Originator" content="Microsoft Word 11"><link rel="File-List" href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5Cnowelsre%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml"><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:punctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><style> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> I’d place the KLR higher up on the ladder for the best all around dual sport bike, over everything else out there.<o:p></o:p>
    Cheap, fairly simple, crappy suspension, brakes and comfort. But, they are cheap. Lots of aftermarket parts and glitter. Big tanks and the like.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    My definition of dual sport any bike will need to travel on highways at highway speeds. The 400’s, 250’s and like are out of this group. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    If I used my head instead of my heart, I’d probably get the Honda XR650L. If I used my heart, I’d get the Husky. I can add bigger tanks to either the Husky starts toward customizing from a little higher plane. <o:p></o:p>
    But, I still have to wear out my Adventure and I have no time to do that or ride any dirt for that matter. So, I’ll remain confused and ill-informed. <o:p></o:p>
    #31
  12. tallguy-09

    tallguy-09 Smile 4 Miles

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    I like that answer.
    I sold my XR650L right away because it wasn't the bike for me and I think the same would happen with the KLR since I'm not looking for a cheap but the best motorcycle for me, that brought me to the R1200GS, admitting that it's not for everyone and it's expensive but for me worth the money spent, maybe it has to do with age? I was surprised to read how much older the average motorcycle rider is now (~43) compared to 10 years ago (~35) at least in Germany.
    Dual Sports for me (42 years) means mainly a more relaxed seating position and nice low end torque vs. high rev. engine with a folded sportive seating position...

    #32
  13. Big Mistake onWheels

    Big Mistake onWheels Banned

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    Interesting. I use a modified DR400 a lot.Pretty good trail bike,actually. But NOT comfortable for trips. Had a 1200GS.It was astounding for what it would do on nasty back mtn & desert roads.It was only on asphalt to get to dirt. For what it was, it really worked well. Used it a lot for 2 up,on nasties even. Stability was incredible. BUT ,I've had 2 BMW's,15 or so jap bikes. The reliability of the beemers was HORRIBLE. Unbelievable. Hope you guys have better luck.I guess Germans don't like me. Pissed off a lot of the "blue & white" afficionados on here sqwaking about it.Just ordered a Yamaha Tenere & glad I did. Back to worry-free motorcycling. For everything axcept real trail riding & maybe deep sand & mud , that GS was fine--when it wasn't broken.
    #33
  14. tallguy-09

    tallguy-09 Smile 4 Miles

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    Hey, I'm German but not at all offended. I'm often surprised how many GS you see out there especially up in northern BC, not many Japanese bikes up in Alaska. I'm thankful for everyone buying BMW's made in Berlin, there are many alternatives...somehow the incredible sales success must be rooted in something and to me that's mainly a clear differentation in product and image, I love the BMW brand. I'm sure you're right about reliability and so on.


    #34
  15. jeffs900s

    jeffs900s Prophet of Doom

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    I've owned several KLRs. I certainly wouldn't call them reliable, though they were cheap and relatively easy to repair (assuming that you have access to a new one of whatever broke or fell off). They definately dont last forever either, but they're not really supposed to. 40,000 miles and then throw it away and buy a new one. You can essentially buy 3.5 KLRs for the cost of a GS (US market), so there is a strong arguement to be made for the more disposable KLR. Having said that, I simply got tired of the crap suspension, terrible brakes, and lack of power in my everyday bike. If I was planning on riding through third world countries or very remote locations and all that really mattered was making it through with the least hassle, I'd probably get an XR650L or DR650.
    #35
  16. daq7

    daq7 Been here awhile

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    Huh, my klx 250 rides at freeway speeds.
    #36
  17. Big Mistake onWheels

    Big Mistake onWheels Banned

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    Hay Tallguy, my ancestors were Germans too. But they left almost 3 centuries ago. I was looking at a 2011 GSA. It was anything but simple. Hi tech stickin out everywhere. My experience with BMW just wouldn't let me trust it.And imagine dropping a $22,000 machine HARD on rocks. So I ordered the recently available Tenere(I've been lusting after a jap equivalent to the GS for years). To each his own. Are the Suzuki DRs & Kaw KLRs the SAME bike now? I heard they are. My DR400 has had a very rough life.It has never been broken(cracked case once, my fault---it got me home). These jap bikes are bulletproof .Mine have been anyway & were much abused on both road & dirt.
    #37
  18. FatChance

    FatChance Road Captain

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    Would you ride it from Denver to Moab for a couple days of offroad riding there?
    #38
  19. tallguy-09

    tallguy-09 Smile 4 Miles

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    My first Yamaha SR250SE actually wasn't slow either, even 2up around Europe, it's not ideal but back then no complaints coming from a Moped and Vespa 50cc scooter :-)

    #39
  20. tallguy-09

    tallguy-09 Smile 4 Miles

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    I don't blame you, I'm an engineer myself and have no clue what all these parts are there for sticking out of the engine, I'm natuarally curious so I find it fascinating that they are all somehow required :-)
    Love my 2010 GS, the sound is great and the workmanshift and look&feel is better than anything I had before and more expensive...
    I'm also way to scared to leave the road with it but that's only me, you could spend hundreds of dollars in one afternoon replacing mirrors, signal lights, valve covers...
    The new Tenere seems to be a real winner, only the engine seems to be a little lifeless? in the lower gears, I'm not sure why but I read that the Kawasaki Versys with much lower displacement has equal pull in the lower gears...don't worry it will be quick enough.
    The R1200GS just won the "Motorrad" Alpen Masters, basically they looked at different motorcycles and the GS won because of the overall package. German motorcycles seem to collect awards in Germany, I'm sure Triumph's win in GB.


    #40