First Post Go Easy On Me

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by ericthered, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. ericthered

    ericthered Rookie

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    I searched the categories and didn't see any introduction or newbie section so this seems closest to my topic.

    I recently received my endorsement and am planning on shopping for a bike over the winter. I have limited riding experience and don't know exactly what I want to do.

    I work from home so I don't need a daily commuter just something to ride around town minimal freeway use and some off road type stuff. Now whether that is single track or fire roads I really don't know what I will like more.

    I originally started looking into the CRF250L but I am afraid that I will grow out of that in a month. I also looked into the KLR650 but I want something more dirt bike-ish :huh

    That brought me to the DRZ400S. I know there are a TON of supporters in this section and I have answered a lot of the basic questions myself but there are a few things that I'm still not sure about. I am already stretching my budget to buy one new or close to new so KTM seems a bit out of reach at this point. I have also looked into the Christini bikes. They have a couple dual sport models but I'm worried about the additional maintenance required to run that AWD system and the "Knock Off" engine. Now correct me if I'm wrong but I hear its a knock off Honda engine made in China or somewhere? They only have a 30 day warranty on the engine so that kind of freaks me out.

    I am starting to wonder if I should just buy a dirtbike and get a plate for it? Im in Idaho now but plan on moving to Washington state next year.

    I would like to try Adventure riding but I'm not sure how often I would be able to do it. I have my own business so its hard to take time off. Can a DRZ400 keep up with the KLR's? Same on the dirt can it keep up with the more dirt oriented bikes?

    That was long thanks for reading
    #1
  2. FlowBee

    FlowBee Just me.

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    Just get a DR650 and call it a day. The Goldilocks bike.
    #2
  3. Velociraptor

    Velociraptor TrackBum

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    DRZ would be OK. Since it's a first bike you don't want to spend a lot of cash then decide you prefer riding something else. I hate KLRs off road. Very heavy overall and even worse they are top heavy. The KLR is a good all around bike but I am a very experienced off road rider and I had a number of tip-overs on a KLR just because the weight got away from me. Don't discount the 250s either. I started out on a Honda CL-100 back in the late 60s then graduated up to a Suzuki 185. Usually you can abuse those bikes to no end and they just keep going.
    #3
  4. Bump Stop

    Bump Stop 2 Wheeled Drifter

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    Yamaha Wr
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  5. Gripsteruser

    Gripsteruser Got a handle on it

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    This isn't exactly a thumper-specific issue. It's the same issue all newbies have - choosing a bike.

    Since you don't know what you'll like to do you don't have much of a basis for choosing. You may like one kind of riding and in a few years move somewhere or make new friends that change that direction for you.

    250-500 cc street bike is the standard solution to start with. But since you're in great dual-purpose country, you'll have more to explore with a dual-purpose bike. At your altitude a 250 might be a little underpowered but I guarantee you can still learn a lot and have a lot of fun with it. (I moved to Colo with a 185 and had a ball exploring the jeep trails within my range.)

    While most of us start off aspiring to ride bigger, faster, "better" machines it seems that many really experienced riders here are choosing smaller machines after tiring of pig wrestling.

    BTW- I did a solo cross-country ride many years ago and rode a Honda CB900F a long ways next to the Boise river on a dirt road. I was pretty nervous about that bike on dirt with my camping gear on it and relatively little real dirt experience at the time. But I survived. But it was part of what planted the seed of trading that bike for something more dual purpose.

    Now I'd never be without a dual purpose bike. There's too much to explore to stay on pavement only.

    Have fun!
    #5
  6. ericthered

    ericthered Rookie

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    Thanks everyone

    I would love a KTM but unless I can do a partial barter it wont happen. There is a group in Washington called ADV Camp. I want to do there courses but if I got a crf250l could I do any adventure stuff? I Know gear will add to an already heavy bike.
    #6
  7. NitroRoo

    NitroRoo Been here awhile

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    Be careful not to be caught up in the "bigger is better" mentality. Especially if you are considering doing some off-road and adventure type riding. I think the little Honda and Yamaha 250's are fantastic bikes to start on. The 650's and even the DRZ400 are much larger bikes overall and a bit more to handle off-road.

    My $.02, sit on a few and imagine riding it over all kinds of terrain. I'm not sure how tall you are, but if you have a hard time reaching the ground and are also a newer rider - you might have a lot more fun on the smaller bikes. They can keep up with the bigger bikes just fine - just have to ring them out a little more on the road.
    #7
  8. scudrunner82

    scudrunner82 combustion addict

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    this
    #8
  9. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    drz.... keep up with a klr.... yes & no. the klr is better on the road hands down, but nearly 100 pound more. the z is a good bike but geared too low for long highway. it needs to be geared up for decent hiway travel.... and then it fair but the seat is butt floss. it's a good start though. the WR is a good bike too but needs hi test gas. how big are you? if under 200 the WR will prolly do almost all you need (at least for a while). if you are close or over 200, then I'm thinkin the drz is a better choice. the DR650 is a good bike but noticeably heavier than the z. some data says it weighs 330 or something... bull. it is within 30 pounds of a klr. your call, depends on how much dirt you want to do.
    #9
  10. Night Falcon

    Night Falcon Adventure NZL

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    DRZ great beginners bike! By the way....whats an endorsement and how do I get one? :lurk
    #10
  11. mountaincadre

    mountaincadre Been here awhile

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    Agree with the general thrust of what the inmates are saying, its your first bike so chances are your going to drop it quite a bit so try and get something that's cheap to fix and easy to pick up, that club your on about sounds like a good idea, get out with them and just enjoy some riding.:norton
    #11
  12. boingk

    boingk Been here awhile

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    Hey there mate, I owned a DRZ-400E for a while as a first bike to learn on. It was a lot of fun!

    I do think its a bit limited if you want to use it on the freeway (gets buzzy over 60mph) but is great offroad and a hoot to ride around town.

    The DR650 is good, too, but heavier and more road oriented. They cruise better at freeway speeds and return similar fuel economy.

    Both bikes have electric start and modern suspension as well as good reliability and aftermarket.

    Personally I love my XR600R - big grins, learner suitable and great both offroad and on. They owned Baja for a decade for a reason!

    - boingk

    EDIT: Saw you're looking for 'around town with minimal freeway use and some offroad type stuff' - the DRZ-400 is your friend! I'd highly recommend a plated DRZ-400E version as they come with 21" front wheel and flatslide carb (better power and throttle response).
    #12
  13. Auto-X Fil

    Auto-X Fil Been here awhile

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    Check out the CRF-250L owner's thread... most of the owners are very experienced riders. I would not suggest a CRF250L as a first bike, just because they are brand-new. Get something used.

    You can't go wrong with any of the popular dual-sports:

    TW200 (cheap, fun, not good on the highway)
    KLX250
    WR250R (EFI and great suspension would make this my choice. Wide-range gearing and smooth motor makes it better on- and off-road than any of these bikes)
    DRZ400 (super-popular for a reason)
    DR650 (kinda big for real off-roading, but it'll get 'er done way better than the KLR. Great, smooth motor for highway use, from what I hear.)

    Just find a good deal on one of them, and buy it. Ride it, see what you think, and then maybe try something else if it doesn't suit you. If you buy new, you're kinda stuck, as you'll lose your shirt if you try and sell it quickly.



    Yes. The 250s can do ANYTHING.
    #13
  14. davesupreme

    davesupreme grand poobah

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    rode a CRF 250 last weekend... suspension wasn't much, didn't take much for my 200lb. butt to bottom it, and there was no rebound, pretty much a pogo stick.... the stock tires sukk too in real dirt, there was a S12 on the front that was nice, but the rear was pretty bad.... the motor was nice though, had some definite azz, so.... i wouldn't do the honda, myself...

    the XR650L is a pretty nice bike, i ride w/a guy that hauls azz on one....
    #14
  15. byron555

    byron555 Lame Duck Adventurer

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    I had an XR650L, and now a WRr. IMHO the WRr is a better bike in nearly every category except torque. Purchased used, you could buy one, use it for a year and if you decide to get a KTM after that, you could sell it for probably what you paid for it.

    It's a really good all around bike. Certainly one of the best 250's on the market and among the larger Japanese DS, DRZ400 etc, it can hold its own.
    #15
  16. LittleRedToyota

    LittleRedToyota Yinzer

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    given what your wrote there, imho, you basically want a dirt bike with a plate on it.

    i own both a DRZ-s and a plated KTM 450xc-w (i have also ridden KLRs, DR650s, XR600s etc.) i used to ride the DRZ in the woods as well as around the city. since i got the KTM, though, i only ride the DRZ around the city. if i am just going out to have fun, i will take the KTM in the city instead, but i use the DRZ to eat miles.

    here is my take on things:

    the DRZ-s is almost a dirt bike, but not quite. it's way too heavy for tight, technical single track (can be done, i did it for years, but it's not good for it). in addition, it carries its weight high--and the suspension is not that great--which combine to make it not that great even on more open trails with lots of ruts, rocks, etc. it is not a precise bike at all relative to a real dirt bike. it kinda wants to go where it wants to go rather than where you put it (again, relative to a real dirt bike). it is also a bit underpowered (though that's the least of the issues).

    the DRZ-s is a great commuting bike if you your commuting does not involve a lot of highways...it is an OK commuting bike if your commute does involve a lot of highways (would be great at that, too, if it had a 6 speed wide ratio tranny, but it doesn't). they are bulletproof, ultra-reliable bikes that require next to no maintenance. they are lightweight by street standards and handle well on the street. however, their lack of power is a bit of a downer on the street (though they do have quite a bit more pep than a KLR--but the KLR is more comfortable for long distance paved riding, not in any way good for even slightly technical trails, though).

    the KTM is a real dirt bike. it absolutely blows the DRZ away in the dirt...not even in the same league. the KTM is also actually way more fun on the street due to being even lighter and having way more power. it does require a bit more maintenance than the DRZ, but it's not a big deal. the 6 speed wide-ratio tranny makes it way better on highways than the DRZ.

    if you think you are going to like dirt riding and really get into it, i would recommend skipping the DRZ and getting a real dirt bike with a plate on it (something that weights like 250lbs or less...KTM, husky, gas gas, husaberg, etc. are all great choices that are easily plated in most states--some even come 50 state legal from the dealer).

    imho, if you have to choose between compromising on the street or in the dirt, compromise on the street. it makes way less difference on the street (assuming you are not doing really long-distance touring) than in the dirt.

    i've done 300 mile road days on my KTM. the seat got a bit uncomfortable by the end of the day, but that was it. it was still a blast. i've also ridden my DRZ on technical trails all day. that used to completely wipe me out...to the point that it detracted from the fun.

    regarding the christini, for most people, i doubt it really adds much. i can't speak from experience as i have never ridden one, but we ride some of the toughest, most technical single track you can find and i've never really found myself having a burning desire for 2 wheel drive. all i really end up having is a burning desire for less weight. the 2 wheel drive system would actually add weight, so i'd be hesitant go that route myself.

    you can get very nice used KTMs, huskies, etc. within your budget if your budget is enough to get a new DRZ.

    anyway, just my take on it.
    #16
  17. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer

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    I'll echo what others have suggested but add a little local knowlege. I don't blame you for a lack of interest in freeway time. Baker City and Pocatello are nice enough but hardly exciting. On the other hand, the siren call of Idaho City, Lowman, Stanley, Ketchum, McCall, Yellow Pine, Halfway, Riggins, Joseph. Lolo, Kamiah, etc. can be hard to resist once the weather warms and you have wheels. You live at the edge of one of the best riding areas on earth with thousands of miles of two lane and FS roads and trails. Trust me, you will not get board no matter what you buy.

    As a new rider that plans to go off pavement, bike weight is your enemy. A high seat is not your friend. Both will make your learning curve longer because they are elements to over come. You have not said much about yourself and that can make just as big a difference. If you are a big, strong, fit, crazy-ass mountain biker the transition to off road motorcycles will be easy and you can go big. The less you meet this description the more you will want a bike that works with you.

    Bikes that top the easy to ride but fully capable off pavement and trails group:
    Yamaha WR250R, Suzuki DRZ400S (E can be hard to plate), and Kawasaki KLX250S.

    Bikes that are more of a handfull (heavier, higher, more powerful) and fully capable off pavement and trails:
    Honda XR650L, Husqvarna TE610/630, and KTM LC4 (640 & 690)

    Bikes that are good for gravel roads but out of their element on difficult trails:
    Suzuki DR650SE, BMW 650, Husky 650 Terra, Kawasaki KLR, Suzukli V-Strom 650, Honda CRF235/250L, and Yamaha XT 225/250.

    Full on off-road dirt racing bikes you can plate: KTM 2007+ EXC. These are great and very reliable but require frequent oil changes and valve checks.

    Don't be afraid to buy used. It won't hurt so bad when you dump and scratch it. The WRR & KLXS 250s have plenty of power for freeway use if you weigh in at less than 250 pounds. They do take a little planning for passing lines of motor homes, especially on uphill grades though.
    #17
  18. skelethon

    skelethon Been here awhile

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    If you're looking at a dr-z400, have you looked into a dr350? If you're new to riding, i would consider getting something that you don't mind dropping and has a simple learning curve to work on/maintain. You can find a dr350 in good shape with under 10k miles for around 2 grand. Ride it, get a better idea of what you want or what kind of riding you're into, then sell it for what you bought it for. They are 6 speed, aircooled, relatively light, easy to work on. They are older tech but they hold up great and I would consider them a good first bike. Dead simple. Just keep oil in it and ride it.
    #18
  19. Auto-X Fil

    Auto-X Fil Been here awhile

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    Putting the DR650 and CRF250L in with the V-Strom, 650GS, etc. is a joke. Both of those bikes are roughly as capable off-road as a DRZ. I think the DRZ and those bikes both belong in the middle group.

    I ride my CRF250L in a group of guys with DRZs, TE449s, KTM EXCs, and 2-stroke trail bikes. We ride steep hill climbs, loose rocks, mud bogs, and nasty, tight, single track. With no mods except good DOT knobbies, I keep up just fine. And I am NOT a great rider. There's no way I'd even get out of the woods in one piece on a 650GS or V-Strom where we ride, much less keep up.

    The other thing I take away from my experience is that rider skill and tires are more important than bike. The differences between the CRF250L, DRZ, DR650, EXCs, WRR, etc. are really not that great, in the overall scheme of things. I mean, they are all 250-320 lb wet, and have 21/18 wheels, with lots of suspension travel. The jump from there to the V-Strom and 650GS is HUGE. The V-strom weighs 180lb more than the CRF-250L!
    #19
  20. Sig_Sour

    Sig_Sour Been here awhile

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    The Yamaha WR250R is your bike. Simple enough to maintain for a beginner and easy enough to ride for a beginner especially offroad...but when you accrue some experience it'll still have room for you to grow on it. Modern suspension, modern engine, FI, Jap reliability and maintenance, a good compromise between trail bike performance and dual sport reliability (more so than any other Jap dual sport in the US). I believe it's the only Jap dual sport in the US with inverted forks (read: modern suspension). Resale value is high because it's a very popular dual sport and will remain so for years to come so if you decide riding or at least riding the WR isn't your thing you can get rid of it easily.

    Wait till next year, I've read online that Yamaha is suppose to be releasing a number of new models within a year's time.
    #20