Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki & Kawasaki - Listen Up, Please...

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by mtntrails, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    I don't actually have any friends that fall in either category. Everybody I ride with does day long rides that are real dual sport rides but they don't race or travel. We all pretty much fall into the realm of wanting bikes that can commute, do day long rides and handle trails.

    When I met up with some old friends for a day long ride in the NC mountains a few months back we were on good bikes for that. The bikes were an XR650L, a KLX650 and my 640E. We had a great time carving up twisty asphalt, riding gravel and dirt roads and trying a few trails.

    The next day was mostly forest service and off road. In between those two days we were staying in a SC cabin. So, yes, we trailered the bikes up to NC. But that is because you just can't ride hard when you get to your ride when you have a 100 miles between the riding and the cabin.

    Anyway, the biggest difference between all those bikes is how much better the suspension works offraod on my 640E And that, more than weight, has always been my biggest gripe with the Japanese and 75% of why I switched to KTM. The other 25% is being sick of detuned motors.

    So, in short, I can live with 300 to 325 pounds if the Japanese would just give me top shelf suspension and a motor that rips.

    But the real question all dual sport riders want answered is: why does barbeque tast better in cinder block buildings with dirt parking lots?

    [​IMG]
  2. Royal Tiger

    Royal Tiger Sd Kfz 182

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    Nice pic. :D

    I had a KLX650 and a KLR650. The KLX had such great potential. Its a shame Kawasaki killed it off after only 3 or 4 years.
  3. Off the grid

    Off the grid Seeker of the Unf

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    We quibble about what we want in bikes, what we prefer, which is better and all that garbage, but I firmly believe that what we do and who we do it with is far more important.

    [​IMG]
  4. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    That old KLX650 beat me on top and I only pulled a bike length on acceleration. So it has motor. But gawd that purple and nuclear green........
  5. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    How do you think the KLR would fare if Suzuki just put a wide-ratio 5spd or 6spd in the DR-Z for 2014, and kept MSRP within $500 of current pricing?

    DR-Z suspension (and maybe a 6spd) on the DR650SE? (and also offered traditional yellow, black, white, and blue instead of just gray)

    I'm guessing that sales would experience a surge, and the aftermarket for these 2 bikes would benefit too. The aftermarket has these 2 bikes seriously supported. Suzuki just needs to take the step.

    Does Kawasaki even consider all streetable KTMs to be "dualsports"?
  6. Albie

    Albie Kool Aid poisoner

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    DR650 doesn't need a 6 speed. The 5 speed wide ratio tranny it has works just fine. It needs to lose a ton of weight though.
  7. Gryphon12

    Gryphon12 Long timer

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    The DR650 5-speed is a mid-ratio transmission (2.93/14.77), not a wide-ratio box. Whether it is adequate or not depends upon the range of terrain over which you ride. It is rugged and durable, however, and with stock spockets will pull 5th gear just fine - it goes the distance.
  8. Lutz

    Lutz Killer Rabbit

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    I haven't paid close enough attention to this thread to know what everyone has already said, so forgive me if I beat a dead horse. It's impossible to draw clear divisions between types of riders and their preferences. Though there is some distinction between riders who truly enjoy difficult/technical off road riding, and those who technically only enjoy riding on a road. :lol3

    There's definitely a hole in the (maybe small) market to suit riders like me:
    -who can really afford/justify owning one bike
    -who prefer to ride as often as possible, for fun and business
    -who are comfortable with any wrenching that may be required, but prefer simple procedures and infrequent adjustments
    -who put on a lot of mundane commuting miles
    -who like to ride challenging off road terrain at a fast pace, think going for a run rather than for a walk
    -who may occasionally use the bike for camping or traveling, but more often than not are just day tripping.

    I'll admit, my heart lies in off road, but i want a bike that i can ride every day without mechanical problems and minimal upkeep. So my ideal, reasonably realistic bike is, amazingly enough, a lot like the Yamaha WR250R, but with more displacement for torque and power, somewhat better supension (fully adjustable with ~12" of travel), somewhat lighter weight, and a big enough fuel tank to allow about a 200 mile range (at least). Or pretty much as described in the original post (except I don't give a damn if it's Japanese). Amazing that I came to such a similar conclusion.
  9. VxZeroKnots

    VxZeroKnots Long timer

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    I actually don't own a KTM at the moment but they are great bikes. I don't know the specifics but throughout the years the exc's xc-w's and xc-f's have had different starters, compression ratios, transmissions, and electrical systems all to suit their intended purpose. If an EXC is winning a race it is because of the rider not the bike.

    My te310 (which competes directly with the EXC line) is what YOU would call a hard core enduro race bike but it really isn't. It is a mellow trail bike/dual sport. yes you can race it, yes you can ride some hard shit on it, but it is too porky and the power is too soft for it to be very competitive. What it has been is extremely reliable, easy on maintenance, and smooth running. If it had a wide gearbox spread there would be no reason for anyone to ever think about buying a DRZ. As it is, it is still everything the DRZ should have been and I'd use it to for exactly the same mission. My Gas Gas ec300 on the other hand is a fire breathing monster of a race bike. There is no way out fo the box I could ride a TE or EXC near as fast as I can my EC and I've only put 10 hours on the thing so I'm not even all the way used to it yet.

    I would not hesitate to ride my TE from Colorado to Cabo San Lucas right now and not change the oil until I got down there. I'd keep the air filter fresh, but I've stretched oil changes pretty far with this bike and the valves haven't moved a bit and compression is still good. It could probably use a new spark plug. I would avoid the superslab at all costs, but I did the same thing with my 640ADV when I did a similar ride. You should really try out these things for yourself, it'll be pretty damn hard to wipe the smile off your face.

    You're sipping the generic brand sugar drink pretty hard here man. I paid 4500 for my DRZ with 500ish miles on it, and 5500 for my TE with 200 miles on it. The te has been MORE reliable because the engine cases can actually touch a rock without cracking and I never had to fiddle with the carb. The engine holds the same amount of oil, makes more power, and the bike actually handles like a bike, not an inverted boat anchor. The seat on both of the suck though :lol3
  10. ADV BUM

    ADV BUM Been here awhile

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    FOR ME, I would like to the air cooled bikes upgraded. I think if the XR650l and the DR650 were upgraded with better suspension, and FI, hop up performance a tad. the people would suck them up. Great durability, cheap to maintain.
  11. mtntrails

    mtntrails Been here awhile

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    Yep, it's all manufacturers - not just the big 4.

    I am most frustrated with the big 4 because their mid and big-bore dualsport lineups are soooo long in the tooth. I feel that they are perfectly content to offer up the same old stuff year after year. I'm not knocking the bikes, but given today's technology and the big 4's abilities to stay current (and even cutting edge) with so many other bike categories, I am offended (yes, I said offended) that they continue to ignore the dualsport segment. The ONLY reason that their sales in this segment may be lackluster is that their dualsport lineups are long ago obsolete.

    OK, I'm going to take my meds and get back to the game. Go Ravens! :lol3
  12. Lutz

    Lutz Killer Rabbit

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    Yep, and the same kind of inactivity by the big 4 also killed the 500 class! (I'm talking MX bikes now. Of course, "the consumer" didn't help when they finally stopped buying the far out of date 500 MXers. Made it easy for Japan to say the big bikes weren't selling and eventually end production.)
  13. Royal Tiger

    Royal Tiger Sd Kfz 182

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    The bike in the pic is a 1994, the same I had. Black with turquoise. The 95-97 dual sport version was red with purple. The off road only version was green with purple. Yes they were all bad. :D
  14. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    at a low price point...that could really put a scare on the Japanese offerings.
  15. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    If NASCAR's win on Sunday sell on Monday is true for motorcycles, then KTM is doing a lot of scaring the Japanese right now. The last offroad venues, motocross and Supercross, where you still see Japanese bikes dominating the starting grid now have a KTM championship and multiple race wins with a near championship.

    You really have wonder how much longer bold new graphics can continue to sell decades old suspension and engine technology. Especially since KTM is proving the one "innovation" the Japanese bikes sport doesn't mean a damned thing. KTM motocross bikes still use steel frames rather than those PITA aluminum perimeter frames.

    KTM is winning on motor and suspension. The two things that drove me away from Japanese dual sports in first place. Admittedly, a healthy dose of DeCoster and Dungey might be helping their efforts. :lol3 But, still, there is no doubt that KTM motorcycles are now at least equal to Big Four motocross machines if not better.

    And those big TV and live audiences are exposing KTM to a lot of younger riders these days. Especially when KTM riders are standing on the top step of the podium. I hope those motocross wins are the thing that finally shakes the Japanese out of their dual sport complacency. If not, well, my old bumblebee gear doesn't really fit anymore anyway.
  16. Royal Tiger

    Royal Tiger Sd Kfz 182

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    Great post again GD. :freaky

    While the 450 MX class might be competitive, the 85's are a KTM parade. Younger kids are seeing the dominance.
  17. Bubba Bauer

    Bubba Bauer Been here awhile

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    So intresting to see how much KTM dominates the US mind :lol3 (at least through this posts)

    In OZ Yamaha sold almost as much WR450F-s ALONE as all the KTM EXC-s combined.

    http://www.fcai.com.au/motorcycles/australia's-motorcycle-market-in-2012

    BUT I agree I`m sick and tired of the big4 not doing anything other than leading sales lists :D and lining their pockets so it seams only 1 choice left.
  18. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    But down there you can license your WR450F. Ours is dirt only while the KTM EXC's are street legal. Plus, even though it is an offroad only model, US law says if it has a headlight it has to meet EPA requirements. Therefore our WR450F comes with a throttle stop, air box baffles, exhaust baffles and detuned ECU settings.

    Therefore it isn't any wonder Yamaha doesn't sell many WR450F's here. Not when a KTM EXC is 50 state legal and basically ready ride right without as much surgery. Which is the basic lament of this entire thread. Most people know Yamaha makes a street legal WR450F but we just can't get them here in the USA.
  19. VxZeroKnots

    VxZeroKnots Long timer

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    Are you kidding me? I expect such lunacy from the EPA, but wouldn't it make so much more sense for Yamaha to offer theWR450F with no headlight and a full power engine, then sell the headlight as a "kit" item?

    That is some assbackwards thinking if true.
  20. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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