Great Dual Sport bikes that disappeared . . .

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

  1. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    The reason I have never been able to part with my 82 XT200 is to remind me why I don't like riding old bikes. A couple of years back a friend let me ride his DT400. I was psyched because that was THE bike I lusted after back in the day. But I wasn't even out of his yard before I wanted off.
    #21
  2. motomike14

    motomike14 Thumper Crusader

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    [​IMG]

    While these weren't supposed to be dual sports, I had a 2002 Cannondale E440 with the sorted out ATK motor/electrics. Fun bike, and nicely suspended. Just found myself (or my dad, depending on who rode it that day) praying to every god that nothing broke inside the motor. These had a habit of throwing rod bearings like there was no tomorrow.
    #22
  3. dirtydeeds

    dirtydeeds I'm alive.

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    In the same regard, I recently parted with a 76 Gold Wing LTD. Beautiful bike in almost new condition. Brand new 1976 brakes, new 76 suspension, 1976 ergos and bias ply tires to top it off. I really did not like to ride it.
    #23
  4. Mudclod

    Mudclod Mojo Moto

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    Oh yes, XT500!
    #24
  5. Rot Box

    Rot Box Been here awhile

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    I had an impeccable 06 ATK 450 (basically an ATK upgraded 03 C'dale). INCREDIBLE handling and suspension--the bike was seriously magic in the desert terrain. That said it would run for at most 10 minutes at a time then would randomly shut off and not restart until it had completely cooled down. I never figured it out and eventually bailed on it. I can't help but wonder how they would have faired with a reliable crank and FCR carb instead of the crappy EFI...
    #25
  6. Reposado1800

    Reposado1800 Juicy J fan!

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    The Suzuki Trailhopper of the early 70's was a great bike. It would sell if brought to the market again.
    [​IMG]
    #26
  7. YamaGeek

    YamaGeek Ancient trailbike padwan

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    Seem to recall that a friend's DT175 had a really wide ratio 6 speed transmission. It had an 'overdrive' in sixth that could pull you along at almost 75-80 mph in the right conditions. Yet first was low enough to cow-trail ride.

    I think in our quest to make our bikes slightly less polluting, ( 2 vs. 4 stoke ) we've lost some of what made light, small bikes fun.
    #27
  8. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    I just rode a virgin, low mile, bone stock DT175. Yes, it was almost as light as my MXC. But OMFG it was slow. I almost can't believe that back in the day that bike was so far ahead of my KE that it almost made me cry. :lol3

    Today my MXC 200 seems like it is from a different planet rather than a different generation.
    #28
  9. Birdmove

    Birdmove Long timer

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    I remember my 2 DT250's with fondness. Original 1968 DT-1 250, and later, a 1972 DT250 (red). I think they were the first decent dual sports from Japan. Had friends withe the AT-1 125, CT-1 175, and a DT-360.
    #29
  10. mojave

    mojave Been here awhile

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    I had a 1975 Yamaha CT175 that seemed unusally sweet - peppy engine and very light and fun on trails. I rode it all over the San Diego area in the 1977-78 timeframe. Did have one piston seizure while going down the "8" freeway at 60mph in traffic! Rear tire locked up, I pulled the clutch and coasted a few seconds and when I let it out the bike ran well enough to get me home. Simple and cheap to put a new piston in. Forget why I sold it (???)

    Much later on I owned the single shock version and it wasn't the same, engine was not as peppy.

    But, the XT500! I've owned three SR500's and would like another, or the XT500. That engine thumps, and the bikes are good sliders (the SR is the same frame). I can only imagine what that XT suspension is like on a rough trail!

    I owned a 1982 XL500 that was a decent highway capable DS bike but doubt it would fare that well in a back to back comparison with say a DR650. I say it that way because it is a precusor of the modern -the XT500 is more comparable (style and function) to Brit thumpers than to modern big dualsports.
    #30
  11. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    I still remember the first time I ever laid eyes on an XT500. It must have been about 1977 and somebody blew past my KD175 on a muddy two track leaving the most glorious roost I had ever seen. I little ways down that road I found the guy's headlight laying in the mud. Remember the little spring clips holding round headlights in the shell? When I finally caught up with the guy at a creek crossing to return his headlight he was on a brand new XT500. It was the coolest dual sport I had seen at the time. Then my buddy bought a new DT125 with that monoshock and my Kawasaki days were over.....
    #31
  12. motomike14

    motomike14 Thumper Crusader

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    I've got 3 TT500s in various forms/builds. The motors still make a good, laid back dual sport. Electrics are composed of 3 parts, so repair is easy. And, takes all of 30 minutes to check the valves, camchain, and any other adjustment (as in, 30 minutes for ALL of it). Love the old tanks. Wish more of the today's stuff was as simple to work on/ride.
    #32
  13. badweatherbiker

    badweatherbiker Been here awhile

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    One of my favorite bikes I have owned was my 1978 DT250, couldnt kill it!
    Wish I still had it sold it 15 years ago for 300 bucks and it ran fine, the buyer destroyed it in 2 weeks and I had it for 8 years.
    Always wanted an XT500 though...
    #33
  14. 2wheelsgone

    2wheelsgone Been here awhile

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    I have a 78 and a 79 XT500. When I go out for a day ride just to have a good time, I always jump on one of them first. Like most of you all, I rode them in the late 70's and have never lost my love for them. Still a great dual sport for the back roads, dirt and creeks in my neck of the woods.
    #34
  15. xaviator

    xaviator Luv Vintage Thumpers

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    I love my '81 DR500, awesome bike, must know the procedure to start her, if I can find an SP500 frame I will make it street legal. In Canada, the bike has to have a frame that is street legal, ugh. My DR500 has lots of torque and a comfy seat for my old body. Kinda like riding a Man-Chair in the woods and with my custom paint, I get lots of comments. In regards to no updates on the DR650, if it works well and is reliable, leave it alone. They're dirt bikes that are street legal, not GP bikes, I like the old school stuff, I think it's nice to see something that's moving a little slower than the auto industry or computer industry.

    1983 Suzuki DR 125 (restored and kept running)
    1981 Suzuki DR 500 (restored and ridden)
    #35
  16. Birdmove

    Birdmove Long timer

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    About 1983-4 I traded a 1980 Suzukin GS450ST for a new leftover 1982 Suzuki SP500. Liked it and kept it for almost 20 years. That seat, other than some bicycle seats I've ridden on, was the absolute worst butt torture rack I've put a cheek on@!! Mine was pretty temperamental about starting. I still think a 500cc is a great size compromise for a motorcycle. Why the hell are they all dissapearing?? I know Honda is going to sell a new 500cc series of street bikes for 2013.



    #36
  17. tshelver

    tshelver Been here awhile

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    I've only ridden an XR500R, IT250 and DT250. At the time all 3 blew me away, especially the XR, easy to slide around corners on gravel roads.

    But the bike I wish had not been dropped is the Husky TE610E/630. WTF Husky was thinking by putting the BMW-pig-origin bike on the market I don't understand.
    A lot of the good bikes that have disappeared are due to the bean counters and marketing guys. The TE630 was 'disappeared' as BMW probably told Husky to cut down on the number of platforms and reuse as much BMW tech as feasible.

    My perfect dual-sport (not dirtbike or roadbike) would probably be the TE610 (324 lb wet), but built by Honda.
    With an aftermarket saddle and headlight, the TE could do it all except really tight single track and two-up distance work, and off-road it is at least as competent as the DRZ400, let alone any of the bigger Jap dual sports. And it was fun to ride with a lot of personality, something you could never accuse a KLR of. :D

    Here in SE Asia we are still riding 'classic' bikes, at least as far as technology goes. I've ridden the local XR200, and while it has real easy servicing and a great vintage feeling motor, torquey (for a 200) and a bit raw, the riding position is old-school dirt bike, very close coupled and not that comfortable for me seated or standing.

    I'm riding a YBR125G as a commuter / touring / dual sport, which is very much a 70s-style dual sport in concept and design with some 21st century tech thrown at it. Twin shocks, carb, air-cooled, it works really well for what it is, but does not come close to state of the art when you are pushing it with limited suspension travel and action.

    Most folks are still on updated Honda-cub derived bikes, followed by 'business' bikes, usually based on 70s and 80s technology, single cylinders with twin- or 4-shock rear suspension (for carrying loads) in 125 to 175 cc capacity.
    Riding any of these makes the YBR feel totally modern and sophisticated...
    So no thanks, I'd prefer at least some modern tech.
    #37
  18. ntm1973

    ntm1973 Been here awhile

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    There are a lot of cool old bikes, especially if you count the stuff Europe had.....but I wish Suzuki still made the dr350se.

    Why did Suzuki stop making the DR350se? It was relatively light, 6 speeds, no radiator to break and had valves that could be adjusted without taking out the cams. I know a lot of guys like the drz400 but I'd rather have a dr350se with a suspension upgrade.
    #38
  19. mojave

    mojave Been here awhile

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    Sure seems to be love for the XT/TT 500 out there. Hard to find them in good shape in Kali now. I see pretty ragged out ones for 1500-2000 on CL, I would pay some bucks for a clean TT500 just for the experience and pleasure of looking at it in my garage, pretty bikes.

    I would like to ride or own a DR/SP 500 sometime but those are even rarer. Don't have direct experience with the DR/SP but the XT and especially the SR is notorious for starting. The SR have this complicated pumper carb, I kind of hated them. I learned the DRILL on my first SR and it all got to be a subconscious ritual - pull the compression release, open throttle, few thru a few times to clear the intake/head, let out compression release and kick thru till the lever gets hard, pull in compression release and retract kick lever, Now the KICK. With compression lever in kick smoothly and at the 3/4 point let the compression lever out. A MIRACLE occurs and the bike is thumping away. Using the little cam position window more or less does the same thing but it doesn't work at night without a flashlight, and clearing the intake, as XR owners know, really helps out. BTW, my SR's routinely got 60-65 MPG.

    I assume the Honda XL500 engine is in some way counterbalanced. I could cruise along on the freeway at 70 on mine and it all seemed pretty composed. The first time I rode my SR500 on the highway I had various parts of my anatomy vibrated either into sleep or arousal. I mean it was a new level - I had ridden a 750 Bonneville for ever and thought I was used to vibes, you had to laugh.

    I did own a DT250 for a while, late 70's forget which year. I thought it was OK but so much heavier than the 175 with not much more power.

    A bike I'm interested in is the Honda MT175. This follows the Yamaha 175 format - take the 125 and put a 175 topend on it. 200 pounds and 20 HP, what's not to like? And I think the Elsinore styling is a notch up on the Yamaha. Apparently the MT250 was a heavy mutha.
    #39
  20. XT_Driftwood

    XT_Driftwood Been here awhile

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    I would add the MZ 660 Baghira. I lusted for one for years but never owned one. Came close the last year they were available, but my dealer could only get one with sumo wheels.

    It had that wonderful XT motor, only available stateside in the Raptor ATV from Yamaha. Europe had the XT660R and the Tenere, but from what I've read the Baggy was a more capable dualsport off road.

    I still look for one on CL regularly.
    #40