Best thumper, on the highway?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by BigCanoe, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. BigCanoe

    BigCanoe Been here awhile

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    Hey!

    I know the highway is NOT the native element for most thumpers, but I am shopping for one and I intend to use it on the highway on occasion.

    Are the 250s able to compete with the 650s at all in terms of stability, comfort, and smoothness?

    I am all over the map:

    KLR650
    DR650
    WR250
    G650 or F650
    CRF250L
    KLX250

    I dont ride anything very technical off road, I just want to be able to enjoy fire roads, gravel while also being able to do a few hours on the highway to get there. Price is a factor as well, I have a budget of $5000 or so, plus trade for my DR200
    #1
  2. TexBiker

    TexBiker Been here awhile

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    Hard to beat an F650 (Funduro or GS) for that type of riding. We have a pair of F650's and a pair of KL250 Super Sherpas. The 250's really can't compare to the comfort and stability of the bigger bikes on the highway.

    With your budget, it wouldn't be hard to find one of each. We paid less than $3k for our Funduros and less than $2k for our Sherpas.
    #2
  3. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I hear the wr250 is very smooth and has the power to do the slab.
    The DR650 is smooth and has the power also.

    The wr has a 70 pound advantage over the DR and better suspension, but the dr has a boat load of torque and more power.

    Buy clean used and move it on for no loss if you do not like it.
    Buy whatever you can get used for a good price.
    #3
  4. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    People say a 250 has enough HP to cruise hiways,I cant imagine it.

    Most any single made can always use more power for passing,pulling headwinds,hauling a load uphill. Any 250 would be revved to the melting point for these sorts of things,some guys like to run high revs all day,its not for me.

    My DR650 does pretty well on the road,doesnt vibrate enough to bother me,gets 50 mpg no matter what I do to it,cheap to aquire one and is more then decent on gravel roads and dirt. Very simple bike to keep going.
    80mph all day long is no problem,Ive done it more then a few times.

    The BMW 650's are good Ive heard,at least for road use,they're heavy enough to be a twin but who's counting?

    Some love the KLR's cause they have a windshield and huge seat stock,the ones Ive ridden shake and vibrate pretty good,the newer ones have that huge bloated bodywork thing on the front,more stuff to break and more weight.Pig wallow in the dirt.

    Really most any twin is way better,passing power is a safety factor in my eyes,the ability to zip out of the way when needed is a good thing.

    My DR will pull off passes at speed but its giving it all its got to do so.
    #4
  5. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Im wondering how you get the 70 lb factor? WR250 is said to weigh a little over 300 dry by Yamaha,a DR650 runs around 335 dry.
    One has a teeny piston pushing it,one has a pretty large piston thumping away,both heavy bikes.
    I have no idea how the Asian factories can make a 250 weigh that much but they do it time and time again. From a 1972 300+lb XL250 to a 2013 250 dualsport from Japan of any brand,all over 300lbs.

    They tend to claim about 50 or 60 lbs less but...............
    #5
  6. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    I guess the definition of highway would be the key. If it's 2 lane state highways and farm to market you could get by with anything that would maintain 65 mph well. If your talking west Texas interstates it thins the herd a bit. KLR 650 or DR 650 if your on a budget, but they arent happy for long trips in big winds at 70 mph plus. I have found the stability in cross winds really suck on my KLR.

    I (for me) would probably look for an F/G 650 if I had it to do over again. The ones I have followed didnt seem to be fighting the wind like me and they have good horsepower.
    #6
  7. BigCanoe

    BigCanoe Been here awhile

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    I am talking 70mph speed limit, 2 lanes per direction, interstate. To at least have that option is my plan. Not that it will be my first choice :)
    #7
  8. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    If your not getting into hard off road I'd look for a BMW and not worry about it.
    #8
  9. TexBiker

    TexBiker Been here awhile

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    Yeah, around here all the two and four lane highways are 75mph. Our Sherpas are running WFO at that speed. Not fun. Add a decent hill or headwind and you'll be lucky to hit 65mph...then you risk getting run over by traffic.

    The Funduros can cruise all day long at 80mph without breaking a sweat. I did 1058 miles in 17 hours on one of ours to complete a SS1K and kept it between 75mph and 85mph on the interstate all day long. Never missed a beat. I know riders of DR and KLR that do the same sorts of riding, but the BMW is a bit more refined and I like the extra HP from the Rotax motor.
    #9
  10. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    Wet weights I think are about 290 for the wr and 370 for the DR650.

    <TABLE id=post9066098 class=tborder border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=4 width="100%" align=center><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD style="BORDER-RIGHT: #575757 1px solid" id=td_post_9066098 class=alt1><HR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #575757; COLOR: #575757" SIZE=1><!-- / icon and title --><!-- message -->

    </TD></TR><TR><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #575757 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #575757 1px solid; BORDER-TOP: #575757 0px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #575757 1px solid" class=alt2>[​IMG] [​IMG] </TD><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: #575757 1px solid; BORDER-LEFT: #575757 0px solid; BORDER-TOP: #575757 0px solid; BORDER-RIGHT: #575757 1px solid" class=alt1 align=right><!-- controls --></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    <TABLE id=post9066098 class=tborder border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=4 width="100%" align=center><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD style="BORDER-RIGHT: #575757 1px solid" id=td_post_9066098 class=alt1><HR style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #575757; COLOR: #575757" SIZE=1><!-- / icon and title --><!-- message -->I decided to weigh my three dual sports this morning.

    Procedure:
    Tip bike sideways onto side stand (as if oiling the chain).
    Slide bathroom scales under front and rear tires (centered correctly, of course).
    Stand bike upright.
    Record front and rear tire weights.
    All fully fueled.

    Results:

    2008 WR250R (stock)
    F 132 lbs / R 158 lbs / total 290 lbs
    Book claims 295 wet - An honest weight!

    2006 KLX250S (stock)
    F 136 lbs / R 161 lbs / Total 297 lbs
    Specs say 262 dry
    1.9 gal gas = about 15lbs
    Maybe a gallon of oil and coolant should be about 8 lbs
    Comes to 285 wet - a bit optimistic.

    2005 DR650SE (Corbin seat, rear rack, aluminum bark busters)
    F 167 lbs / R 199 lbs / Total 366 lbs
    Specs say 324 dry
    3.4 gal gas = about 25 lbs
    10 lbs oil and coolant?
    Comes to 359 without the accessories - Quite accurate.
    <!-- / message --><!-- sig -->__________________
    Adventure commuter 5 days a week.
    '09 WeeStrom
    '08 690 Enduro
    '08 CRF150R Plated
    <!-- / sig -->
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    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=433074

    The WR has a 6 speed trans and makes very good power for a 250, with more on tap with some easy mods.

    My 20 hp TU250 does fine on the interstate up to about 85 mph, and running 70 is no problem.
    And both the WR and the TU have no problem running flat out cross country, they do not wear out or melt down, the TU seems to love that sort of stuff.

    A lot of people let their ego's get in the way, and buy big heavy pigs with plenty of power that are really not much fun on the slab or in the dirt.
    The power makes the slab easy and boring, and the weight sucks in the dirt.

    Gee, you might have to think and plan, and learn how to get the most out of a smaller bike, its a lot easier to just twist the throttle and forget about all that skill stuff....

    But everyone knows you need a big bike to go places:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v457/guzzidoug/011 magadan/P1020964.jpg

    I vote for a rocket 3.





    #10
  11. gplassm

    gplassm Been here awhile

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    Interestingly enough, I have found that the performance of the big bikes is *not* directly proportional to their displacement advantage. The smaller motors are simply "happier" at higher revs than their big bore brethren are.
    My DR650 was no happier on the slab than our little Ninja 250 is (in fact, the little 250 certainly feels more comfortable performing that duty). And I suspect that the same hold true for the WR-R, or perhaps even the new CRF-L. Ergonomics does play a rather large part, when it comes to slabbing, though.
    As mentioned above, the BMW 650's are probably the way to go, as I have heard that they run really smoothly - but you will have to put up with all of the nonsense that may or may not come along with owning a BMW.
    #11
  12. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

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    Just like some people let their egos get in the way and try to convince everybody that a 250 will do anything thats needed.

    Thinking and planning doesnt work as well when you have 10 days off and the place you want to ride is 1,200 miles away. From my front door you can get to Moab on two lane roads, but you wont do it in 2 days on two lane roads. You cant make a blanket statement that a smaller bike will work just fine if you plan. You can do it, but it takes some of the fun out of it
    #12
  13. TexBiker

    TexBiker Been here awhile

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    Well, to be fair, the Ninja is a parallel twin, not a thumper. That makes a rather large difference when it comes to revs and smoothness on the highway. My wife had a Ninja 250 and the redline was ~14k, IIRC. At 70mph, it was pulling about 8k on the tach. A DR650 redlines at 7800RPM and is pulling about 5k at 70mph with stock gearing. That's why the Ninja feels more comfortable on the slab. It's not working nearly as hard.
    #13
  14. kubiak

    kubiak Long timer

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    i would choose the f650gs. great on the freeway and not bad offroad either. cruise 80 mph all day.
    #14
  15. PacificPT

    PacificPT Been here awhile

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    Husky TE 610. I have ridden most of the bikes on your list, the Husky just does it all better. Wish I still had mine.
    #15
  16. TNC

    TNC Candyass Camper

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    I gotta agree with most of the comments here about 250's not being the best candidate for the OP's list of needs/preferences. I'm a strong proponent of the WR250R and KLX250 for some applications, but they're wrung out way too much for any decent highway use. Since it appears that the OP won't be pursuing any rough off road, there's absolutely no reason to capitalize on the 250's lower weight at the expense of comfortable and more powerful highway cruising. I'd look at nothing less than a 650. In fact with just dirt roads listed as the roughest arena the OP will be riding in, I'd even look at a 650 Strom.
    #16
  17. bogie52

    bogie52 n00b

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    I would say the ideal for both would be the KTM 690 endure from 08 up.I have one. It has lower weight and more power than any BM single and very minimal vibration. The price is probably too high but what a ride! To compare 250s with 650s, a really major difference is in the torque. You need to scream the 250 to make power that the larger engine just thumps thru in fact its probably wrong to call a 250 a thumper! The little Nip 250s feel like you could rev them forever so that is not a very big problem, but if hills or deep sand or goo is part of the ride more torque will be the charm. Highway stability will depend a lot on tires, their pressure, load mounting etc. but in general a longer wheelbase with more weight will be more straight line stable but less turnable on tight trails. Pick your priorities!
    A fun way to build a bike could be to start with a BMW airhead twin from the '70s or '80s and make your own R80GS. There were about 25 years of parts interchangeability and plenty of aftermarket parts. The american
    R80GS was about 400 lbs. although they claimed it was 380 . We got them with kick and e-start and so the extra 20 lbs over the basic euro model.
    Some longer travel rear shocks might be the first step, an acerbis tank, high pipes, a half seat, strip off the headlight and ears-use off road plastics, lace up a 21 " front and you are on the way, Some have stretched the swing arm and driveshaft for more wheel travel but having owned both the r 80 and r100 gs-s I think the shorter wheelbase is better unless the conditions are very rough. The early forks had about 8' travel on street or the GS model. Modern forks could be a later upgrade,
    #17
  18. kubiak

    kubiak Long timer

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    one other important thing to me when choosing a bike is durability. like how long can the motor go before a rebuild. i know the f650gs can go and go and go. i heard some guys with a couple of hundred thousand miles and still running strong with no engine work.
    #18
  19. Longboardr

    Longboardr Been here awhile

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    The WR does decent up to 70, but you're really ringing it's neck to do it. It will do 80 or a little more but above 70 you're at the mercy of headwind and hills.

    I recently rode mine for the last hour home on slab loaded down with camping gear doing 70-80. I'm glad there wasn't much traffic becasue the bike simply doesn't have the power to ride like I'd normally ride in traffic at those speeds.
    #19
  20. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    BMW 650s and 2nd gen KLR would be best
    #20