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

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

  1. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

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    That's a beauty. Looks $, but I guess we'll see.

    Speaking only for myself, all I really want is a WR450R, or a 6-speed, EFI DR-Z. It doesn't need hard luggage, rally fairing, trick suspension, etc. Leave that to the accessories dept. and the aftermarket.

    I would be thrilled with a long service intervals, ~35 HP with more torque than a 1/4 liter can provide, wide-ratio 6-speed tranny, decent left-over electrical power for accessories, 300 lbs wet, 36" seat height, $7,500, decent sub-frame for camping gear, in short a plain-old dual-sport with a little more beans. Not everyone is "ready to race"; I'm sure not.

    This may be the only category in motorcycling that almost everyone agrees is virtually empty. Not everyone agrees on what spec machine should fill the void, but aftermarket can resolve some of the deficiencies from most people's wish-list, and if not, maybe KTM already has your bike. The 500 EXC looks amazing, but I'm not good enough to use it to it's potential, nor up to the $ commitment.

    Seems like the first manufacturer to the party would sell enough to cover R&D before the other mfgrs caught up. I'd buy red, blue, yellow, or green; while I have some preferences, I am not brand loyal, and would buy from any of the big 4 Japanese mfgrs.
    #21
  2. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I was not thinking they should use the same frames.
    The same motors could be used in quads, dual sports, street bikes of both the sport and vintage look.
    All would have different frames, suspension, etc.

    Having a 6 speed allows gearing a bike taller without hosing up 1st gear. A wide range 5 speed is ok on most bikes, but a 6th gear overdrive is nice for any thumper on the interstate.

    I also do the interstate on my TU250, but into a head wind and/or up hills I might have a problem with 70 or 75 mph limits. Most people would not be happy doing a lot of interstate miles on a 250. I am not one of them, but I am not like the others.



    #22
  3. Gundy

    Gundy Been here awhile

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    Count me as one who is sitting out the dual sport market until this mid sized DS comes along. Ive had amodified DRZ, modded WRR, klr685 etc,, and they all seem to just miss the sweet spot. The heavily modded WR was probably the closest to perfect, but needed just a liiitle bit more grunt....another 100cc would be ideal. By the time it was modded for power, it was too dang loud since the rpms had to be kept high. The current 350 offerings are all of the engine rebuild variety......whhhyyyyy?!


    WR 3xx or 4xx or maybe suzuki could just make the DRZ FI and six speed....they are so close it hurts on that bike. Would it really be so hard to change a couple gear ratios and slap a throttle body in there, and fix that can chain tensioner while they are at it? Not asking too much IMO. in the meantime I'm doing the american bigger is better thing on my S10, which fits most of my riding pretty well. I am sure the corporate guys at the big 4 all are looking at the pressure put on riding areas and shaking their heads....why put more R&D into this type of bike when there is nowhere to ride?


    And, while they are at it, spring the dang thing for a rider over 150 lbs. DS riders don't seem to miss many meals.....200 lbs should be the standard and al the lightweights can put softer springs in.
    #23
  4. Royal Tiger

    Royal Tiger Sd Kfz 182

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    KTM, Husky, and Beta make 300-350's. Why does it have to be Japanese? So it'll be heavier and carburated?
    #24
  5. joexr

    joexr Banned

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    Dealer network and parts availability , both OEM and aftermarket.
    #25
  6. mcjetter

    mcjetter Adventurer

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    Honda is supposedly releasing a 500 dual sport/ light-weight adv bike later this year as a part of their 3 new 500cc bike models.
    #26
  7. OrangeYZ

    OrangeYZ Been here awhile

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    I have that motorcycle, it's pretty sweet. Paid $4900 for it. Matches my Beavers shirts.
    #27
  8. RED CAT

    RED CAT Bumpy Backroader

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    You are talking about the already existing twin 500X. More street than anything. We have them here in Canukstan.
    #28
  9. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    I bet they would sell a boat load, many boat loads of drz400's with your upgrades.
    They just do not get it, and if people think someone smart is running the company, the drz 400 will prove otherwise.



    #29
  10. Off the grid

    Off the grid Seeker of the Unf

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    When I sold my XRR, I was looking for that "sweet spot" bike. If there was a Japanese offering, I would have considered it, I have no brand loyalty. But there isn't and won't be for these reasons:

    The Big 4 will never, ever produce a dual sport bike that has:

    E and kick start
    40+hp, 500 +/- cc
    Good suspension and brakes-stock (ie name brand)
    FI (or a bulletproof carb like KTMs)
    Decent ergos
    Tank that holds 3.5g+
    Under 275lbs dry
    Factory street legal in all 50 states

    It will never happen. Honda makes its money by producing hundreds of thousands of cheap, 100-175cc bikes to countries like India, China and Brazil. There are literally thousands of models of Hondas alone that Americans have no idea about....and no interest in. They are made to a specific price point and have to skimp on things like suspension and brakes to make them cheap. Does a man who lives in India with a 10 year old, 150cc Honda Tornado as his family vehicle give a shit if the ratio between first and second gear is too much of a jump? No, he could care less. Does he care if his shocks bottom out over every bump or rebound like the tits on a cheerleader? No, all he wants is the engine to start. Every day. So it does.

    The same thought process is shown in their US offroad bikes. Cheap, unchanged, built to meet a price point.

    Does the big 4 make a good engine? Sure, no one can debate that. But if you are looking for modern engineering or anything state-of-the art, look elsewhere.

    If anything, pin your Japanese hopes on Yamaha for putting out a bike close to what I described above. At least they are innovating and taking chances with new designs and new models in the offroad market. (forward-canted engine, WR250R)
    #30
  11. mtntrails

    mtntrails Been here awhile

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    Yes, Suzuki is probably in the best position currently to fill this void as it relates to their current model lineup since they don't have a 250 to steal sales from and their 650 has probably reached the limits of EPA certification. Financially they are probably in the worst position to commit R&D to a New DR-Z400. A modern, re-worked DR-Z400 would totally hit the spot. They would sell a kajillion of them and RULE the dualsport universe.
    #31
  12. Royal Tiger

    Royal Tiger Sd Kfz 182

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    I have a KTM dealer 20 minutes away and a Husky dealer about 30. As far as aftermarket there are tons of stuff out there for those bikes, and if you start out with a better bike there is less to upgrade anyway. Does anyone think a Suzuki DR-Z400 is a better dual sport then a KTM 350EXC? There are numerous Euro 450's out there as well. Maybe KTM, BMW, Husky, and Beta don't have a big presence in the empty reaches of the Great Plains but I got parts for my aprilia both at a dealer 20 minutes away as well as through the Internet from AF1 in Texas. The Euro bikes are just as reliable and better overall out of the box. Unless you take your bike to a dealer for an oil change there is nothing you can't get online that makes location a factor.
    #32
  13. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

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    True, and they're fine enduro machines. The new KTM 500 EXC is pure sex on 2 wheels. But more than I need or could utilize.

    My WR250R manual calls for oil changes every 3,000 miles, and the 1st valve check at 26,000 miles. I don't want a race bike, I want an add gas, lube the chain, and ride bike.

    A DR-Z 400 updated per the short list noted previously in this thread would suit me perfectly.
    #33
  14. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    There is one KTM dealer about 30 miles from my house.
    They do not seem to have many bikes, and I am not sure they have any that are street legal.
    I think they are very expensive, and a risky buy used.
    I think parts are also very expensive, and I can not keep track of what engines hold up well, have longer service intervals, which are street legal, which ones vibrate like mad, etc.

    So clue me in, what in the 350cc range is legal in 50 states, and would be good for a 600 mile road trip.

    With the Japanese dual sports, you have the current 250cc bikes and the dr650 all of which will be trouble free for a LOT of miles, running between $4000.00 to about $7000.00? new, the dr650 is $6500.00 new, the crf 250l is $4500.00, the klx250 is about $5000.00. The wr250 is over $7000.00 I think.

    What does KTM have?
    #34
  15. Royal Tiger

    Royal Tiger Sd Kfz 182

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    There are obviously different tools for different applications. I had a KLR650 and it was a great bike. My BMW is just as reliable, over 100 pounds lighter, has a better suspension, is fuel injected, and has 12-15 more horsepower.

    Considering all the Big 4 brands have had reliability issues of late (granted not on low stressed 20 year old dual sport designs) I have no qualms about taking a Euro bike long distances.

    As far as a street legal sub 400cc bike, check out the KTM 350EXC and Husqvarna TE311. I would ride either as far as I would take a KLX250S, CRF250L, DR200, or XT250. And I'd be on a superior machine. Especially off road. A sub 400cc dual sport isn't happy on the interstate no matter who makes it. There are other bikes for that.
    #35
  16. CMS

    CMS Been here awhile

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    Suzuki makes a Quad 400 with FI and has been around for a few years,why isn'y it in the DRZ400? My dealer had one on the showroom floor, so it's aproved here in the States. CMS
    #36
  17. Kawidad

    Kawidad Long timer

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    It must be winter again. :freaky
    #37
  18. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

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    You think?

    I suspect this will get hashed out about 205 more times before spring.
    #38
  19. acesandeights

    acesandeights Asperger

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    I didn't read the whole thread, just the first 205 posts in it, and it seems pretty obvious most people just haven't found a DR650 yet. It's a Suzuki product, pretty cutting edge, and seems to fit the bill for everyone in this thread. Check it out and you'll probably sell whatever you currently own and buy a DR650. I hope that helps.
    #39
  20. Pigford

    Pigford British

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    I don't see why everyone seems so "hung-up" with having a dealer near by? If you want a bike at a decent price - buy private :deal

    Surely in this modern age you can get stuff mailed - eBay, etc, for servicing & repairs :huh
    #40