Looking for the best 400cc - 650cc dual sport bike

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Zldrider, Apr 22, 2007.

  1. Zldrider

    Zldrider n00b

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    Kind of an open question for anyone that wants to give their opinions.

    I had been looking at a Suzuki DRZ400SK but am now considering a KTM but don't know much about them.

    The kind of riding I want to do is going to be varied:

    - slow trail riding in mountainous areas.
    - Lots of torque for climbing steep hills.
    - mostly short distances but some long trips.
    - I would like to be able to ride highways in order to get to the trails.
    - the bike needs to be on the lighter side (which is why I am looking at the KTM now).
    - I prefer 4 strokes.
    - I would like to be able to add some containers or bags at times.
    - it has to be reliable.

    I may be eventually interested in some long distance adventure riding but will probably look for a different bike then. Lots of my buddies use the KLR650 for things like that. But, I'm not sure that I will be ever into that kind of sport on a hard-core basis.

    I used to use a Trail 90, a TW200, and a Rokon for hunting purposes but, those bikes were way too underpowered for what I have in mind now. They were great for slow exploring and hauling out deer from the woods.

    Currently, I ride a GL1800 Goldwing setup for long distance endurance riding. I have owned many bikes including an ST1100, an ST1300, a Hayabusa, a VFR 800, Trail 90's, TW200, A Rokon, and an SL90 (my first bike as a kid).

    Anyway, I am looking for opinions on the Suzuki DRZ400's and various KTM's that might compare. I want something 400cc or bigger but not too heavy.

    So, any opinions out there?

    Thanks in advance,

    Joe Zulaski
    #1
  2. Agitator

    Agitator Professional Ashole

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    Well- since I have a Husqvarna, I bet you can guess what I'll say:deal

    The new husky TE 610 is very nice. I have an older one, but love it. There's a thread about these bikes in the thumper section:evil A wide-ratio six speed tranny, dual overhead cams, 50 state street legal, and over 55 stock horsepower are only a few of the many features that make this bike a desirable dual sport.

    It cruises easily at 75 mph, but can crawl-along in first gear for those nasty hill climbs and rocky sections. At a claimed weight of ~308 lbs, it's not light, but not a burden either. Even though I have an older model, mine masks its weight well.

    Reliability, cost, and performance are top notch imo.
    [​IMG]

    Links:
    http://husqvarnausa.com/2007/07_610DEMO.html
    (second one on page)

    http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=79
    (great place to learn more about huskies)

    I've also heard great things about KLR 650s, but have no experience with them:cry

    Good luck in your search.
    #2
  3. EMrider

    EMrider Been here awhile

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    The KTMs and the Husky TEs are basically street legal dirtbikes. I own both and IMHO the off-road performance and reliability are excellent for both bikes. The riding experience, however, is very different. If you're interested, a search will turn up some good info.

    The sort of riding you intend to do is indeed quite varied, and that will require some compromises since no bike does everything equally well. If your highway mileage will be minimal, either the EXC or the TE will do fine. But if you really want a true adventure/dual sport bike and plan rides with more than 30+ miles of highway, and need good trail capability, then I'd look elsewhere. I'm thinking about getting this sort of bike myself and the TE610 is tops on my list. Owners are a generally very happy group. The new BWM x-challenge looks promising too, but is quite a bit more expensive. It may be worth every penny too, but I have no first-hand info.

    Good luck.
    R
    #3
  4. Colorado4Wheeler

    Colorado4Wheeler Been here awhile

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    I just went thru your exact process. I settled on a used DRZ400E and dual sported it. Older "E" have a better carb, etc. Lighter then the S, can get them used easily, cheap to buy and operate. Above the DRZ are a ton of very good bikes that I have no experiance with but everyone reports very good things. Husky, BMW, KTM. Enjoy the process, it's a tough choice.
    #4
  5. dhally

    dhally Hammerhead

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    Light weight, slow tight trails, some highway...

    You might consider a 200, 250 or 300 2 stroke. A 200 would probably weigh about 200 lbs, a 300 maybe 230 compared to any 400 4 stroke will weigh over 250.

    If you really want a 4 stroke the XR400 would be a good choice as well. You can buy one already dualsported about anywhere.

    happy trails
    #5
  6. halfcab

    halfcab Been here awhile

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    A true loaded question.

    The DRZ 400S would do the job after $1500 to $2000 is spent on mods, it needs to be regeard before it even leaves the dealer...way under powered stock. A DRZ400 "E" would be best if you can taged it. They both need a 6 speed trans for pavement use.

    A KTM 450 or 525 EXC would be my choice if you don't mine doing some maintenance more often because there light weight race bikes.

    If you buy the DRZ don't that a KTM for a test ride.
    #6
  7. cbig

    cbig Rift- Raft, SCooter Trash

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    But also a TE610. Seems this is what you want. I've ridden a buddy's 525 exc. Great bike. I can't complain. He did say every time lately he checks valves he needs to adjust. I said, so what's the big deal? Just put in some new when the adjusting ends... that is his plan. My TE610 does it all, but it is slightly heavier than a drz400s by about 10 real pounds or so. The power is nice - like a 525. Great for street and open dez. My only snivels on the bike are the cheap pegs really need to be sharpened - out comes the rat tail file - and the gas cap leaks. Other than that - fantastic. I almost feel like an outlaw ripping thru town on it..

    Just got back from WARPED 3 and I put on 220 miles. Some single track at Cannell Meadows, lots of dirt and street. On the single track it doesn't have as great a turn radius for those tight switchbacks .. but heck, that's not all there is to the trail! Just took longer. You'll only notice if you ride with competent friends on smaller bikes.
    #7
  8. Zldrider

    Zldrider n00b

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    Thanks for the advice. I actually did look at some Husky's at the Seattle Motorcycle show last Dec. and liked what I saw.

    Perhaps I'll have to take another look.

    Wondering whether they have many aftermarket accessories like saddle bags, etc.

    Regards,

    Z
    #8
  9. Canonfodder

    Canonfodder The first one sacrificed

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    With the mixup of riding you want to do IMO no bike will do it all well.

    Buy a cheap DS and ride for a few months. That will give you an idea of how you plan to ride over the long term and give you a better feel for what you're looking for in a bike. A DRZ400S would be a good start.

    And before you buy any bike, make sure you can plate it in your state. California has started revoking plates on what they consider questionable street legal bikes, so make sure you can plate it before you buy it.
    #9
  10. Agitator

    Agitator Professional Ashole

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    That's a good idea^
    #10
  11. cbig

    cbig Rift- Raft, SCooter Trash

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    Then you can get out it what you are in.

    TE610 does have plenty of aftermarket now - dirtbagz, seats, tanks, stabilizers... all there. Used Drz's are everywhere and a great place to start.
    #11
  12. autolycos

    autolycos True vulgarian

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    Not a thumper, but how about checking out a Ural?
    #12
  13. Teeds

    Teeds Don Quixote

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    +1 A good friend took a TE to Mexico with us in January and it was a great bike. I rode an XR650R which is good, but kick start only. I have a DR650 that I just got for long range "touring", but have a KTM 400MXC in the garage for light duty DS rides.

    As others have said, no bike will do it all. My legs are a bit short, so I lean towards smaller / lighter bikes on single track and purchased the DR specifically because it fits my stature better than the KTM 640 / 625.

    Good luck, remember opinions are like ...
    #13
  14. focallength

    focallength Long timer

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    Try to find a good mid to late 90's xr600r (good luck) get it plated.
    The XR600R will run roughshod over any bike previously posted. About reliability, well lets just say a husky, KTM, Suzuki, etc... cant do 12k miles plus with a blown headgasket, warped piston/cylinder and damaged valves, making no compression and beg for more. It may be a few ponies shy on HP with the newer bikes, but its unmatched for torque and thats where it counts. Yes a KTM 525 can start to pull away from me at 90+ on the street, but I can climb hills that the KTM cant even consider. Just my .02 :D
    #14
  15. switchback

    switchback Eatin' Dirt Since 1982

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    Ok, here are 2 key statements SLOW and TORQUE. Most posts are not properly addressing the question. New MX based high strung enduros are not as suited to slow going as the old school XRs, DRs, and TTs. Buy an XR 400 or 600 and be happy.


    Chuggability will not be found on the lighter side. The XRs are in the ballpark.

    If you want to spend $7k on a new Husky, KTM, Yamaha….. be my guest but you don’t need it. An XR will embarrass all of them in the rough slow stuff. I wish I had one!
    #15
  16. slideways

    slideways permanent ex-pat

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    The old XR's are great bikes. I have two that I willprobably never sell. They will do it all and climb just about anything but they will not out climb my KTM 400 XCW. Torque is king and the KTM has torque in spades.

    My KTM riding buddies still roll there eyes when I show up for a ride on my XR
    cause they hate getting roosted by my old XR.:evil

    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. switchback

    switchback Eatin' Dirt Since 1982

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    The KTM 400 is a great bike, much better than the 450 for most of us.
    #17
  18. ThatGuyEd

    ThatGuyEd Mud Lover

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    :rofl
    That is a hell of a thing to say. My 07 TE-610 chugs along REALLY nicely. Because of the suspension and gearing, I'd put it up against ANYTHING the XR650R can do.
    12 inches of travel, really nice HIGH stance.(Not so good if you are less than a 32in inseam.)... It is a bit heavy, but only about 30 lbs on the XR650's. I've never experienced a BIG thumper as smooth as this bike going 60-70mph. This thing has some MAJOR torque. Ridin with a passenger is smooth and VERY controllable with those 4-piston Brembo brakes... Just an all-around SOLID bike.

    Then again....you were probably talking about the XR-400.

    $2500 more than a new DRZ or XR-650? I'd pay twice that for what I've gotten in this bike. I also have no doubt in my mind the KTM's or Husky TE-450/510 could out perform the XR-400....slow or fast. Technology will do that.

    If you have a budget, the DRZ-400 with some mods is a great bike for what you asked. If not, look at the Husky/KTM/Husaberge crowds.
    #18
  19. SATEX

    SATEX Long timer

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    I own both an XR400 and a newer Husaberg, and I do ride a lot of rough stuff. The same rider is on both bikes, so that's out of the equation, and I honestly don't have a bias toward brand or even era. Yeah, the XR has a SLIGHT advantage in chugging along, but that advantage is quickly and easily overwhelmed IN THE ROUGH SLOW stuff by the suspension. When you want to speed up in that terrain or any other terrain, the differences magnify and you begin to really appreciate the better suspension, more responsive motor, lighter weight, better geometry, clutch that works hot or cold, etc.

    XR's are nice bikes, and maybe the best choice for this poster, but your statement is just hogwash. No offense.
    #19
  20. drop

    drop XR650R Pilot

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    Exactly, This is a step backwards in my opinion. Sure the XR650R is a 7 year old design and no longer in production but 30 lbs offroad is a lot. If you don't need electric start, a battery, and you don't mind doing the dualsport conversion yourself then I'd go with the XR650R. It's a race bike with stone like reliability. You'll save a ton of cash over the Husky too.
    #20