Great Dual Sport bikes that disappeared . . .

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Butters, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. Butters

    Butters Kwyjibo

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    I haven't been riding for 50 years and haven't owned a hundred different bikes, but it seems like there were some great DS bikes that vanished or were replaced with lesser bikes. I realize everybody's idea of the perfect dual sport differs, but that doesn't mean you can't recognize a good bike even if it isn't for you. I don't own a DR650, but consider it a great bike for what it is designed for and it's versatility. If Suzuki were to stop making it or replace it with a lesser bike, it would be shocking. But it seems this has happened before. Two bikes that come to mind are the DR350 and the XR600.

    I've never ridden either, but both seem to be universally loved (for what they are). The DR350 seemed like the ultimate Japanese small/midsize dual sport. Light enough for mild trail work and decent enough on the road. It was replaced with the DRZ - a bike that seems like it went backward in some areas (like the tranny). With the XR600, there just isn't a 300ish pound big Japanese thumper now. It seems with new technology, versions of these bikes should be around with more power or less weight or both.

    Is it just that as time passes we don't hear about their downsides and they really weren't that good? While there are some European bikes that seem to have improved on these, but they don't typically compare in cost or quality.
    #1
  2. ausfahrt

    ausfahrt mach schnell

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    I really miss my 1974 Suzuki TS-185. If I find a clean unmolested one on CL, I'll be on it like stink on shit.:D
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  3. marksbonneville

    marksbonneville Been here awhile

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    Having owned a few larger dual sports in the past I'm real happy with my DR350. Id probably say I miss the Yamaha XT500 and would like to find one someday.
    #3
  4. 8gv

    8gv Long timer

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    +1 on that.

    My sister had one that I borrowed for a day. Only slightly less power than my TS250 and very flickable in tight trails.
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  5. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    To me, it is time passes and people forget the bad. We are in golden age of dual sports right now. The only real holes I see are the lack of a big bore for the blue team and the red team's refusal to update their 650. Otherwise all the bases are well covered from 250 to 1200 cc. I honestly can't think of any bikes from my past that I want to ride today.
    #5
  6. HI378

    HI378 Adventurer

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    My first bike was a TS 185, but the DT 400 was areally nice bike for dual sporting.
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  7. trailrider383

    trailrider383 867-5309

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  8. Off the grid

    Off the grid Seeker of the Unf

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    I completely agree with you about the DR350, great bike.

    But yea, nostalgia is a powerful thing. I can even get misty about my ex-wife if I try. :lol3
    #8
  9. Dazed Productions

    Dazed Productions Been here awhile

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    For me its got to be the XR600/650. Would love a decent, light, reliable water cooled jap 650 updated with electric start. I had the ktm 690 and it was a bit buzzy for me and it always has queries on the reliability. I don't think there is anything on the market like this other than the KTM. The new terra is a step in the right direction but heavy. The discontinued BMX xchallenge seems closer.
    Africa twin probably should be up there as well.
    I never saw the point in the DR350, just too heavy. I had the CRM250, excellent bike with Honda reliability that again isn't matched by anything today.
    #9
  10. biensur22

    biensur22 Been here awhile

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    I think we've sacrificed broad purposes for more specialized bikes. The 350 was a great all-arounder and I too think the drz was a step back in some respects. But companies like KTM and husky are really loading their product line with many ds bikes for different needs. Not that i consider ktm as reliable (in some respects) as the Japanese bikes, but at least they make a decent range of options. So I see what you're saying, I think more companies need to make a wider range, rather than just the 200 dog, the 400 MX and the 650pig. And for crying out loud, where's 6th gear on these things!?
    #10
  11. bamfslap

    bamfslap Been here awhile

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    I will never part with my XR600R and XR650R. Great bikes. Anything at or under 300lbs is light enough to me. 350lbs with less power (XR650L) and it's getting up there (I know there's mods). The 650R is a bit too much for the average rider, but the 600 was perfect (mellow and comfortable as hell) and was popular all over the world. Would love to see an updated one but it will never happen.
    #11
  12. Carter Pewterschmidt

    Carter Pewterschmidt Long timer

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    Small and big bikes have it covered quite well, but the whole 600 to 650 single cylinder is a serious weak point. Other than an expensive KTM or a cheapened up Husky badged beemer (which has poorly built 650 single to start with) everything else is way behind with old air cooled motors and cheap suspension.
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  13. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    Yep, that was my point. I rode an XR650L a few weeks ago and it is a decade behind my decade old LC4E. I haven't ridden one, but I suspect the DR650 isn't any better. The KLR and Husky aren't really offroad bikes. And Yamaha isn't even in the game anymore.

    The hole is definitely in the big bore segment. So, if I miss anything it is a modern KLX650 or XT600. And I could say the same thing for the XR and DR since they are both a generation behind the times. But, since I am OK riding orange, you will get no hand wringing over it from me.
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  14. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    why would it be shocking if the DR650 got upgraded? geez it came out in 1996.
    i'm shocked it's still around (it's been almost 20yrs) and lame Suzuki has not updated it yet.

    time has moved on. yes it's a great bike ( i own one), but come on. approaching 20yrs w/o an update?
    Japan inc. is doing the DS community a disservice but not making great modern 650 DS!
    Yamaha did an update and refused to release it to the US. They suck.

    Only Husky & KTM get it.
    #14
  15. atomic frog

    atomic frog pavement ends, YEAH!

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    Give me a Honda XL350, Mid-80's version please, w/e-start.
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  16. Butters

    Butters Kwyjibo

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    That's pretty much it with the Japanese brands. Why not 650 that's closer to 300 lbs than 400 lbs? Why not a versatile 400 cc bike rather than one that can't do dirt or road even decently?

    You missed my point or I made it poorly. The DR650 should be upgraded. But if by "upgrading" they make it heavier, or goi to a 19" front wheel, or put even cheaper components on it, that would be a step backward even with bold, new graphics. And that seems to be what happens. Keep the weight where it is or even lose a couple pounds and add EFI or a 6 speed (not that it really needs it), or 5 HP. Those would be upgrades. I hope if and when the DR650 does get revised, it gets improved, not bastardized.

    I also was in no way flaming the European brands or questioning their quality (I ride a G650X). But they typically cost quite a bit more than similar Japanese bikes and I still think the Japanese brands (again, typically) do better with maintenance intervals and downtime. Not so much quality of parts/components.
    #16
  17. kubiak

    kubiak Long timer

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    i would love the old honda
    xl500 dual shocker to ride.
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  18. sieg

    sieg Long timer

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    +1 :clap yep. I have owned about 100 bikes and I have been riding for about 50 years. I love my new bikes and don't want any of my old ones back. Well, I would take them back, as long as I wouldn't have to ride them.:deal BTW I still have an RZ350, great bike, but I don't ride it, my FZ1 will do everything better than it.:wink:
    #18
  19. dirtydeeds

    dirtydeeds I'm alive.

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    Here we had a DT200 for a while. I think they stopped coming in 1991. They were a real blast. Good oil injection system, power valve, handled good. The little 2 stroke would rev to 9000rpm. The suspension was a bit soft. It was later updated in other countries to a DT230. I've never seen one though.
    #19
  20. Rot Box

    Rot Box Been here awhile

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    My vote is ATK hands down. I have owned a lot of bikes and the ATK's (California or Utah--2 stroke or 4) are by far my favorite.

    Its a shame, I wish they could have kept going after 03 :cry
    #20