How big should I go in DP?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by DC2wheels, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. DC2wheels

    DC2wheels Castle Anthrax troll

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    30+ year road rider here. Did a couple of years of amateur road racing a LONG time ago.

    Keeping the K100RS for road trips (solo and 2-up) but the Boxer Cup will be in the Flea market and elsewhere soon.

    But here's my question- looking to get off the pave. If I want to do some trails- no nuts jumps or otherwise- but also would like to do some of the ADV long range kinda' stuff- what bike/engine size should I be looking at?

    I am 6' 2" 175# w/ 35" inseam.

    Any suggestions will help.

    You listening OTG?

    John
    #1
  2. cjbiker

    cjbiker Nobody's Robot

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    I think the question you want to ask is "how small can I go?". Little bikes are way more fun off road, and are easier and safer to learn offroad skills on. Stay away from KLRs and DR650s and the like. Look at the WR250R, KLX250S and CRF250L (listed in order of my preference). If you get bored after a year or two with the little bike, you'll have no problem selling it to some hapless soul who thought they would get into dirt riding and bought a KLR (like me!), and moving onto a bigger bike.
    #2
  3. Trayvessio

    Trayvessio Super Strom Trooper

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    If you are really looking to do trails, and not just forest service road type stuff, then I would suggest looking at something in the 250cc-500cc range. As already mentioned, the Yamaha WR250, Kawasaki KLX250, and Honda CRF250L are worth considering. I would also check out the Suzuki DRZ-400S as they are often more readily available used than are WR250's or KLX250's. I'm 6'3 185 and I loved the fit of my KLX250, but I also love the DRZ. Haven't ridden the DRZ, but I did love my KLX. For longer trips, you can fit an aftermarket tank, which on a 250cc would help significantly if you want to do longer range trips in more remote areas.

    Also, what's your budget? If you are looking to stay under, say, 4K, you will probably be looking at a Japanese bike, but if your budget is greater that opens up more choices like KTM and Husqvarna.

    Good luck in your search! I would sit on some bikes and see what you think.
    #3
  4. DC2wheels

    DC2wheels Castle Anthrax troll

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    Thanks so far folks.

    I really wasn't looking to go big. Few years ago we had a Kaw 250R- the little Ninja- for our daughter and son to learn on. That thing was FUN- rev the piss outta' it, feel like a GP rider at low speeds. My long arms and legs are my biggest concern.

    The budget is pretty good- buy now + sell the '04 R1100S next spring, so I'm not limited to Japanese bikes.

    What say you?
    #4
  5. cjbiker

    cjbiker Nobody's Robot

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    WR250R, hands down.
    #5
  6. DC2wheels

    DC2wheels Castle Anthrax troll

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    The Yamaha, huh? Will look at one tomorrow.

    and if I want a similar type bike for our 25 y.o. daughter (5'-7" 115#- & rides street bike ZX6R) who would ride with me? BTW, she road her cousin's CRF150 (first time off the pavement) and felt v. good- looked crunched up- maybe a 230 for her?
    #6
  7. ChrisC

    ChrisC Amal sex?

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    There is a huge punchline for this thread title... :eek1
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  8. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    It depends on what kind of offroad riding you want to do, and what kind of pavement riding you want to do.

    Lighter bikes are typically better on technical dirt, but heavy sand can be easier with torque and power. Some light bikes are better than others too.

    Heavier bikes tend to be more stable on the interstate, but this isn't written in stone.

    If you're riding much interstate, you probably want smoothness, gearspread, and stability.

    If you want to travel much, you're likely going to want something with a decent subframe to support luggage, economical MPG, easy maintenance/repairs, and some long-range tank options.

    All that said, for rocky, sandy, rutted singletrack, a 370lb 650cc is about as heavy as I want to have to deal with. A 280lb 250cc with 20WHP is about as light and low-powered as I want to deal with on the interstate. If you're going 2-up, you may want to check the spaciousness of any potential purchases beforehand. I like having the torque of my 650 when hauling a passenger and luggage.

    I chose a DR650SE and, with some mods, I haven't been disappointed. It's been pretty darn versatile, durable, reliable, economical, easy to work on and find parts for, and fun. I ride it like a chunky-butt dirtbike on trails or around my mom's hilly wooded farm. I load it 2up and tour on it. I bomb slab or commute without thinking twice. It's smooth and has decent gearspread for a 5spd. The stock carbing/intake makes the DR a lot more "tame" than it has to be, and the stock suspension is way too soft for 175lb+. Braking can be improved immensely with some simple upgrades too. Several different fueltanks are available, and you can expect around 50MPG with decent tuning and moderate throttling. The stock TW41 and TW42 tires are not the best either. Cheaper and better tire replacements are available.
    #8
  9. DC2wheels

    DC2wheels Castle Anthrax troll

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    Double pene... OOPS

    Dual purpose...dual purpose. Repeat after me..:rofl
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  10. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    Since you are young, you could get away with a dr650, which is very good on the street, can do the slab all day, and can still be fun in the dirt.

    The wr250 would be good if the road work is more limited and the dirt riding is rougher.
    All the bikes need a seat upgrade to be good for all day rides.
    #10
  11. ADVNCW

    ADVNCW Banned

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    Over an hour and not a word from the KTM guys yet?

    I went in the other day and spent an hour looking at and sitting on a dual sport kitted KTM 500XC-W. Probably on some levels the ultimate. Light, high tech, flickable on the trails and will do 100MPH:huh With a big tank like $12,6 or so. A beginner will need to learn how to keep the wheel from spinning in the dirt on a big open-class bike.From all that I can find on the web and talking to mechanics and KTM owners the new bikes and the 500 sound pretty dependable...although you can research for yourself all of the threads about $9-$10k KTMs with big or little problems. As well the KTM350 EXC looks interesting...

    The clear winner for dualsport is the WR250R, with its limitations of weight and power, but all reports are good for traveling.The WRR has the low maintenance, frame that will support luggage, smooth, dependable. I think still my favorite in my personal quest for a CDR bike...

    For real trail riding for me, I want something lighter than the WR250R, so if I get one it will be for traveling. I rode twice, briefly, a WR250R and was not impressed. For the tight and gnarly my much-maligned Honda 230L has much better power curve- I lived it, climbed stuff hauling my large carcass that the WRR did not get up...:evil. And the 230L is so small and light enough to do whatever one wants on dirt- except go really fast in the open or huck:eek1 Going fast in the open and hucking does not require a small bike with tractable power...something else entirely. Oh, and my trail bike 230L carried me 7000 miles since May including about 1/2 on trips crossing the state on dirt roads, trails, beach, and highway:D But it is a joke on the highway...

    Cannot recommend the 250L at 317 lbs except as a street/ gravel road bike at least for the trails that I ride...but it would be super nice for highway and gravel roads.
    #11
  12. McB

    McB Joe 40 ouncer

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    Buy something used and well cared for. The market's good, and depreciation is negligible if you go back 3-5 years. That gives you the option of trying something you think will work for you and backing out painlessly if it doesn't.
    #12
  13. DC2wheels

    DC2wheels Castle Anthrax troll

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    :rofl:rofl:rofl I only wish.

    I raced at Bryer Motorsport (you young guys now know it as New Hampshire Motor Speedway)
    #13
  14. McB

    McB Joe 40 ouncer

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    Yep
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  15. ping

    ping Been here awhile

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    I would recommend the dr650. Lots of advriders enjoy it. Easy to fix and maintain.
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  16. seabee1

    seabee1 we build, we fight

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    Same thing I thouht of when I read the title!

    I think the listed bikes will suit you fine for trails. Any length of Tarmac, and you won't like them much, though. Fantastic for the trails. Light, flickable, and easy to pick up when the inevitable happens.
    #16
  17. bobnoxious67

    bobnoxious67 Baby steps...

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    My first dual sport was a 1983 Honda XL600R...:deal
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  18. SportsGuy

    SportsGuy icanhazdirt?

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    KTM 500 EXC or 690 Enduro R - those are my votes. (I have a 690)

    Having ridden the Yamaha WR250, I can honestly say it's an awesome bike. For the riding I do, the 690 is a better choice for myself, however.
    #18
  19. ADVNCW

    ADVNCW Banned

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    Forgot to say...you need to define for yourself what is dual sporting.

    I rode my '75GT750 Suzuki two-stroke on something like 1200 miles of gravel on the AK Hwy, through ruts...never went down. Nowadays it seems that would be called dual sport, we just called it motorcycle riding...:wink: Rode the 600 miles mostly FS Roads WABDR on my 230L in August and I think on the toughest section I put a foot down once...:norton because a small, light motorcycle is really easy, easier with the right weight and geometry:D (yes, KTM enduros are small, light motorcycles, along with the smaller Japanese dual sports).

    There are smooth gravel roads and roads rocky and rutted like Jeep trails. I cruised gleefully the WABDR last August on a little dual sport, and one can look at TRs and see folks dropping 650s and 800s quite a bit on these WABDR roads. There are trails that you could easily ride a street bike on if dry- have done it. And there are trails in the mountains here that I have ridden since the '80s that are still scary...as in go off the 18 inch trail and it is a vertical fall in places:huh And the really fun stuff are the switchbacks- series of switchbacks in places- that are tough even on dirt bikes (thus I like my little Hondas). Back east (have lived in OH and NC and ridden woods) there are tight trails, really narrow between trees, up, down, around.And slick mud. So if you take something like a 650 into the slick, tight and rough, if you ride it then all good, if not, one could be in for work and pain:cry

    I would agree with the big motorcycle guys that if one is riding reaslonable gravel roads and highway a big 650 and up is fine....
    #19
  20. NJ-Brett

    NJ-Brett Brett

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    Oh, I thought you were 30.
    You can get away with falling on a big heavy bike when 30, not so much at 50+.
    The weight and height of a bigger bike and brittle bones can end up badly sometimes.

    wr250 or back roads and one of the other modern smaller lighter bikes.
    A clean used dr350 is a good inexpensive pick.

    The euro brands are great, but are tall and seem to take more looking after.



    #20