First bike, what to look for?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Dropsix, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. Dropsix

    Dropsix Adventurer

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    Thanks everyone! Lots of good replies.

    Skibumbrian, in my OP, i mentioned the type of riding I'd be doing. No freeway. All country roads (80km/h limits) and gravel and dirt roads. Would definitely be using the streets to mostly look for nice long dirt trails through the woods.
    #21
  2. Dropsix

    Dropsix Adventurer

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    Fair enough. 6th gear would be nice, though :D
    #22
  3. Dropsix

    Dropsix Adventurer

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    Good points! I'll leave the KLR out of my search, I think.
    #23
  4. 8lives

    8lives Dharma Bum

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    I need to learn how to add links(help) but their are a couple of guys on ADV who are heading for the tip of South America from Oregon on a couple of DRZ400's,slightly modded but mods you would do eventually if Dualsporting was where you end up.When you decide what type of riding will fit you there are many options,the only limit is your finances,and damn you'll have a lot of fun as you experience the world of bikes,just ask anyone here,oh you did!Oh and I am partial to KLR's at the moment cause that's what I have at the moment,it's ever evolving for me,have gone through 6 bikes in the last couple of years,hey I can't get a new wife so it's motorcycle for variety.
    #24
  5. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    You're likely to want something at least a little bit "roomy", at your size. The KLR is roomy, but can seem too much so for a noob. Try one on. The DR-Z400S is fairly roomy for a dirtbike and can be opened up a little, as can the DR650SE. The XR650L is tall, but the riding position often needs to be opened up a bit for taller people. The WR250R and KLX250S are full-sized 250s, and might be able to fit you fine. Anything much smaller in the rider position than these 250s is likely to be uncomfortable after much time. For no interstate, I'd lean towards the DR-Z with it's close-ratio 5spd. If you want to run slab as well as trails, I'd lean towards the wide-ratio 5spd and lazy torque of the smooth DR650SE.

    All of these bikes can be made MUCH better with mods.
    #25
  6. Dropsix

    Dropsix Adventurer

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    I like that wife bit, haha. I'll look up that South America thread.
    #26
  7. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    For the riding you describe its got to be either KLR650 or DR650.
    Both are more comfortable than the DRZ400S. Much better on road, easier to pack up with gear and can cruise highways at 75 mph all day long.

    I prefer the DR650, having owned the KLR, DRZ and most of the other bikes mentioned so far. 50,000 miles and counting, NO PROBLEMS.

    The DR will need:
    A better seat
    Up graded suspension (ALL the bikes listed would need suspension help for a rider your size/weight)
    You can do more but the basic bike is good. Reliable, tough, low maintenance. Win Win.
    #27
  8. trainman

    trainman Been here awhile

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    Dropsix, I think we have given you the best bikes as far as, reliability, cost, resale, and what may or may not work for you. Now, until you get out there and start checking them out you are not going anywhere with this back and forth thread. We all have our favorites and what works for us, may or may not work for you. These threads are informative to a point, but somewhere you have to decide for yourself. Now get out there and do your homework, we all picked our favorites, you pick yours by ridding them.

    John
    #28
  9. montesa_vr

    montesa_vr Legend in his own mind

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    Do you care whether you get a carburetor or fuel injection? With the quality of gas today, carburetors tend to require cleaning every few years, especially if your motorcycle sits a lot. I used to think that was fun. Now I think it's a pain. I probably will never buy another motorcycle with a carburetor.

    Fuel injected bikes that might suit your purpose include Honda's CRF250L and both the XT250 and WR250R from Yamaha. The XT is probably not suitable for sustained speeds over 60 mph. Many people find the WR250R more comfortable on the highway than Suzuki's DR400S, but the Suzuki has substantially more power, especially at lower rpm.

    For your purpose I wouldn't get anything heavier than the Honda or Suzuki, which both come in just over 320 pounds with gas. To me the DR650 and KLR650 at 367 and 442 pounds respectively, are just way too heavy to offset their power or their comfort. And I'm 6' 4" and 230.

    There isn't a dimes worth of difference in reliability in any of these bikes, so you don't need to decide on that basis. They're all good.

    For a first bike for the use you described, I think the Honda has a lot going for it, particularly because the engine is noted for being smooth, quiet, and pulling strongly from lower rpm.
    #29
  10. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    Good post and some good points.
    I would add that F.I. bikes tend to have MORE problems with modern Ethanol laced fuel than old Carb'd bikes do. In any case ... a monthly dose of something like Sea Foam will solve those problems and keep Carbs clean and F.I. running great.

    I would agree with your weight comments if it wasn't for the fact that the OP stated he would be doing very little off road. If doing mostly paved roads then bikes like the DR or KLR make perfect sense ... and both are easy on dirt or gravel roads. Also, both are better if Two Up enters in the mix ... or luggage needs to be added.

    I do like the 250's though. Mostly for their stellar MPG and low maintenance. But if you get an F.I. bike ... it may require dealer service where both the KLR and DR650 are ALL Do It Yourself. Easy Peasy.
    #30
  11. montesa_vr

    montesa_vr Legend in his own mind

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    Interesting, Adv Grifter, have you had some specific experiences? I know a few of the early WR250Rs had fuel pump failure, but that's the only problem I'm aware of.
    #31
  12. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    I'm referring to F.I. bikes in general, not specifically the 250's. Most of the nightmare stories I've heard come from the BMW forums. F800's, R1200GS,
    et al. Lots of warranty issues with Ethanol fuel causing major problems.

    Seems the Japanese bikes tend to have fewer fuel related F.I. issues, but I'd still be running a bit of Sea Foam or Star Tron in the fuel every month or so. YMMV.
    #32
  13. Dropsix

    Dropsix Adventurer

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    I agree and I am out there checking out the bikes and doing my research. This thread was only meant to further my research. Thanks
    #33
  14. Dropsix

    Dropsix Adventurer

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    Good points. I don't care at all about carbs or F.I.

    I take care of all vehicles and motors around the house so I'm not afraid of doing any work on the bike.

    May I ask what type of riding you mostly do?
    #34
  15. montesa_vr

    montesa_vr Legend in his own mind

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    [​IMG]
    Mostly this kind:

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
    #35
  16. montesa_vr

    montesa_vr Legend in his own mind

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    I ride motorcycles too, although the horses have taken over a little bit. This was 35 years ago on the way to Alaska on the XT500.

    [​IMG]
    #36