Bike Options

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Sp4Mike, May 3, 2012.

  1. Sp4Mike

    Sp4Mike Been here awhile

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    Hello!

    I'm currently (in the next couple months) in the market for a new dual sport bike. I'm having some trouble sorting through the alphabet soup that is the moto world and could use some help picking a suitable dual sport. I have a few requirements in order of importance...

    1.) Reliability, any bike that will go over 50,000 miles without a major rebuild is good. More is better! I also don't want to spend every weekend fixing something that broke. I don't drive a Land Rover for a reason (no offense), I don't want a bike that comes with issues from the factory. I don't mind maintenance as long as it's the regularly scheduled kind. Please don't turn this into a "who's bike is better" war. I know that pretty much everything out there has issues of some sort. I would just like to avoid big problems.

    2.) Fuel economy. (the only reason this is in the thumper section) I'm looking for something that gets ~70ish MPG or better. I will be using the bike for the daily 50 mile commute as often as possible, so the more mpg the better. The higherr mileage it gets, the more i can get out on the weekends! I guess that probably rules out the 650's?

    3.) Price. I would like to stay under $10,000. That rules out Ducati, but not much else.

    4.) Aftermarket support. Bigger gas tank, racks, parts availability etc.


    I'm not really interested in buying used, so it would have to be current production. I have an iron butt, so comfort is relative. I don't ride hard, so a foot of suspension travel is unnecessary. In fact, I prefer to just putt around. But being able to maintain freeway speed on long trips is somewhat important. I'm not a racer at all, as long as the bike will get to the posted speed limit before next week, I'm happy! I would say that I would be 80% pavement 20% dirt. I would like that to be the other way, but I'm trying to be realistic. Maybe someday. :lol3

    With all that being said, is there a bike(s) out there that meet most(all) of those requirements? I saw an add for the new Honda 250 that is supposed to get 100mpg! I think it had a 'C' maybe an 'X' or an 'F' and some other letters in the name. What is the deal with all the letters anyway?!?!
    #1
  2. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    70 mpg and something that does the interstate well is hard to do.
    Some of the bmw bikes seem to get close to that I hear.
    70 mpg makes me think 250 or 350 with fuel injection.
    The wr 250 might do it.
    #2
  3. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    Oh, and a bike wont sell unless its got w's, r's or x's in it, the more the better.
    You know a wrr250x would be a very fast bike.
    Z's used to be in (gpz) but are now out.
    #3
  4. Idaho_XR

    Idaho_XR Been here awhile

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    It sounded like a 250 of some sort would fit your bill until you mentioned maintaining freeway speeds for a long trip. Although a 250 would probably maintain this speed, it would not be comfortable. I think if you are going to be mostly on the street you should consider a bigger displacement bike. Good values in your price range can be had on a DR400, DR650, and XR650L's. I have a 650L which seemed like the best compromise for me. If I rode more dirt, I would have got a DR400, but I felt it would not be very comfortable on longer trips. Unfortunately their is no perfect dual sport and you have to decide what bike meets your "overall" needs.
    #4
  5. Sp4Mike

    Sp4Mike Been here awhile

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    I'm not sure what you mean. What would be uncomfortable about it? Vibration? At what speed?

    Thanks for the replies:clap
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  6. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

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    WR250R is your best bet. Your mileage expectations are a bit unrealistic though, unless you buy a scooter, which for normal people would rule out riding off-road.
    #6
  7. Sp4Mike

    Sp4Mike Been here awhile

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    I didn't think 70ish was too high! The BMW site lists the G 650gs at 74mpg I think. Wouldn't a smaller engine do even better?
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  8. Idaho_XR

    Idaho_XR Been here awhile

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    Most 250's I have road are fairly buzzy at speed (~55+) as the motor revs out quicker. A change in gearing would help this, but you would probably compromise dirt riding ability. If I were in the 250 market though, I would definitely take the WR250 for a test ride.
    #8
  9. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer

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    1.) Reliability. As you said, all bikes have small issues of some sort. Invest a little time on the bike-specific threads and you will get to know each. No modern bike has a fatal flaw. Simply stay away from street legal racing dirt bikes, get the aftermarket "fix" for the model's weakness, and you're ready for many miles of fun.

    2.) Fuel economy. 70ish is possible on many bikes at a steady-state 45-50 mph. Run a 250 at freeway speeds and you will have the throttle mostly open and get mid 50s to 60ish. Run a mildly tuned 650 at freeway speeds and you will have the engine relaxed and get mid 50s to 60ish. Wind resistance at 70+ mph takes a certain amount of energy to maintain. Energy = fuel.

    3.) Price. $10G will give you lots of options.

    4.) Aftermarket support. Not a problem for any of the thumpers from major manufacturers.

    Other:

    A 250 will reach and maintain freeway speeds on flat ground with no wind. Add a hill or a stiff headwind and you'll be at 50 mph until those conditions are past. There really are not any good options for what you are looking for between the 250s and 650s. You'll have to decide how important this is. A 250 will be about 30-60 pounds lighter than a 650. That will make it easier to handle off road but less stable at freway speeds.

    20% dirt. How gnarly? Any dual sport and many road bikes will handle a dirt road or smooth path just fine. Sjaak Lucassen rode around the world on a Yamaha R1. He probably didn't get 70 mpg but did ride 20% dirt.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    If your dirt looks like this you can choose just about anything you like.

    [​IMG]

    If your dirt looks more like this you will need something with some real off-road abilities.

    [​IMG]


    Given the criteria you provided, I'd put you in the seat of a BMW G650 Serato. Very reliable, no fatal flaws, high fuel economy, plenty of aftermarket goodies, within your price range, and is quite capable off pavement within reason. It is also comfortable even though you don't care about such things.

    The other good options include the Yamaha WR250R, which has the most power for a 250 and fuel injection for economy, and a Suzuki DR650SE, which is similar to the BMW in many ways but costs much less.
    #9
  10. Sp4Mike

    Sp4Mike Been here awhile

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    Fantastic! Thank you for the great information. I have some stuff to look up, but a quick follow up question...A few of you have recommended the WR250R, but I read an article that said the WR250X was a little more "road" orientated. Is there a reason for the R over the X preference?

    All that being said, I am starting to lean towards the BMW (it's still very early in the decision making process). I like the way better warranty, and I could actually have a passenger on a 650 while a 250 would make it a slow ride. And the mileage is about the same anyway. So many decisions.
    #10
  11. Bustyrucket

    Bustyrucket Adventurer

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    You're right, the X is setup for street and the R is setup for dirt/street.

    WR250X
    [​IMG]


    WR250R
    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. MotoRandy123

    MotoRandy123 Been here awhile

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    I have a BMW F650GS and regularly get 65 MPG. My older one (2003) got 70+. Not many other "big" bikes get good gas mileage.

    They list for ~ $8500 but can be found used for $4000 - $5000. I have heard of them getting 200,000 miles on them. They are sometimes a small bike and sometimes a big bike. I can cruise the highway all day or tackle some (smoother) trails. You can ride it like a dirt bike or load it up with 2 people and bags for a long trip.

    I used to have 6 bikes. Each were for a different purpose. The new wife and baby forced me to get rid of most. The one I kept was the BMW!
    #12
  13. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer

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    The only real difference between the two is wheel size. The X has 17" wheels F&R while the R has 21" F and 18" R. There are probably small changes in the suspension to account for the change in geometry from different wheel size.

    The larger diameter wheels on the R work better off pavement, in sand, and other rough conditions. The larger wheels ride over obstacles easier. Think skateboard wheels vs. bicycle tires.

    Just as important though is tire selection. Finding front tires with tread for any dirt use in 17" is dificult to impossible. A 21" or 19" front wheel gives you many more dual use tire options. Further, high quality road touring front tires are readily available in both 19" and 21". Road and dirt rear tires in 17" or 18" are common.

    A 17" rear tire will give you more road oriented options while an 18" will give you more dirt oriented rears. However, you can find both road and dirt tires in either 17" or 18".
    #13
  14. Xtremjeepn

    Xtremjeepn Motorhead!

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    With a 50 mile daily commute the 250 would get old...FAST!!

    The BMW F(G)650GS will be so much nicer to ride every day that I bet it would get riden more often. :lol3
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  15. Sp4Mike

    Sp4Mike Been here awhile

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    Why do you say that? The buzzing at high rpm thing? I take the freeway now, but with a bike I would take the backroads that average 45mph speedlimit with a few miles at 55mph (and a dirt road detour on the way home:evil). Would that make a difference?

    You guys are full of awesome information. It took me an hour to find the difference between the WR"R" and WR"X". You knew it off the top of your head and had some great info about tire choices! Thanks Busty and Sparrow. I can at least take the WR250X off the list.

    MotoRandy, that says a lot that you had all those bikes and kept the BMW! What other bikes did you have and did you commute with any of them? I like the idea of being able to ride 2-up with my wife on a bigger bike. The 250 would limit me to my youngest daughter (she's 11) as a passenger. But that is more of an afterthought, not that important.
    #15
  16. Xtremjeepn

    Xtremjeepn Motorhead!

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    The question is not always "can a bike do the speed" or "does it have enough power to do the speed" but more of "how easily can it do it".

    It's often about the power "under the cure". It's much more relaxing to run a bike at say 60% at cruising speeds than at 95% to do the same speeds. The 650s also tend to be slightly heavier and slightly wider which tend to make them a touch more comfortable on the road. The seat on the 650 will be much roomier than on the 250.

    No saying it can't be done. Just saying it will extend the pleasure of such riding. We all take the long way home on our bikes:lol3 So a slightly more rod friendly bike will extend this pleasure.

    If your commute were 10-15 miles a day and mostly under 45mph I would say 250 all the way. 50+ miles per day with highway possibly involved, step up to a slightly larger machine.

    No matter what you choose, I'm sure you will enjoy it:wink:
    #16
  17. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

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    Man, are you serious? Go ride a 250 single on the freeway with a lot of big trucks and with fast cars zipping in between them.
    It will be thrilling, to say the least.

    Then come back and look for a nice tight 650.
    #17
  18. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    Its not a dual sport, but I have no problems running my TU250 anyplace, and its a LOT of fun on the interstate.
    I have no problem running 75 to 80 mph at all, and its a lot more fun then the 1200 I had, or the new Bonneville.
    Guys report the wr250 has no problems on long interstate runs.
    The wr250 makes a lot more power then my TU does.

    Nothing wrong with a smaller bike, they can be very fun.
    People also say its not a good idea to run an 883 sportster on the interstate, and there might be people that think a 1200 is just too under powered to be safe.

    Well, I have had a lot of bikes over many years and my little 250 is the most fun bike I ever had.
    Every ride can be a race, but without tickets.
    I average 75 to 85 mpg (fuel injected).

    Not to say a dr650 is not fun, add a pumper carb and its a blast, throttle wheelies any time you want...
    I got about 55 mpg on that bike.
    They are very smooth at every speed.
    About 70 pounds more then the wr250, which is a lot in the dirt.
    #18
  19. Xtremjeepn

    Xtremjeepn Motorhead!

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    Well, let's set a few things straight......you are talking about Harleys which are the lest power per cubic inch on earth and an 883 is dangerous on the highway, and sometimes the 1200 too:lol3


    Secondly, you are in New Jersey.....sea level! :lol3 Here in parts of a Colorado a ride on your 250 would be no fun with a 60% power loss at elevation :lol3 So I suppose knowing where the OP is might help a bit. :wink:
    #19
  20. Capt. REDBEARD

    Capt. REDBEARD TWECO

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    go test ride a 250
    go test ride a 650

    then you will have something more to go on rather then what a bunch of people from the internet suggest
    #20