Low seat height dual sport questions

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by pnw, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. pnw

    pnw Been here awhile

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    I have searched this topic out as extensively as I could on the internet including ADVrider but want to ask the question before buying. I want to get a low seat height dual purpose bike for my son who has a short inseam. I have a DR350 with a stock seat height of 35” that I lowered with a Kouba #1 link on and slid the fork tubes up in the clamps, that is supposed to lower the seat by 1.5” but it feels like maybe an inch different. He can’t flat foot it and would prefer a lower, lighter bike. He is athletic and weighs about #200 without gear. The bike is for mostly back road camping trips but some stints will be required on highways (not freeways) with fairly prolonged speeds around 60, roads with significant grades at 55 and some trail riding. My old DR350 works great for this.
    I don’t want to spend too much, likely it will only be ridden for hundreds, not thousands, of miles a year.
    I rode a DR200, good size but it seemed way underpowered. From what I have read a Super Sherpa sounds right but they are impossible to find around here, late model XT250s are plentiful but get criticized on boards like this and professional reviews due to lack of a sixth gear. Very limited miles older small 6 speed XT225s and some Honda 230s seem to show up regularly but given my limited experience riding the DR200 I would be concerned about ability to ride 60mph for any amount of time.
    So, should I hold out for a Sherpa or would a newer XT250 with the 5 speed do about as well. Would an XT225 be too underpowered to consider? The seat height really limits choices, maybe there isn't a really good fit bike.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.
    #1
  2. dirtyron

    dirtyron never grew up

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    one option would be an xt350. low seat, 6spd. would work fine as long as he isn't going to try to go fast off road
    #2
  3. sagebrushocean

    sagebrushocean Harris's hawker

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    You've made a pretty good list of the "lower and lighter." My CFR230M will run 60-65mph on the flat for long periods, but it is spinning pretty fast. Nothing that I would worry about -- it's made to spin fast. Depending on the grade, it may or may not hold 55mph. Top speed will be in 5th, not 6th, when going up hills or into the wind. Very low (32-ish inch seat height) and light (267 pounds full of fuel). My daughter (5'4") learned to ride on it. It MAY do what you require, but it will be a close thing.

    You might consider getting a previously-owned example of one of the bikes on your list and letting your son learn to ride, at which point he will probably be comfortable with a taller seat that comes on the higher performance small bores (CRF250L, WR250X or R, etc.).
    #3
  4. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    I'm 5'8"/200lb/30"inseam/strong-like-bull. I ride an unlowered DR650SE as my first dirty bike. I got used to it after about a week.

    If he'd be fine on the DR350 if it was just lower, you could shave the seat. You could also look at ways of shaving some weight off of it, especially up high (lighter bars, mirrors, headlight, signals, tank, muffler, etc.). You could also have the forks professionally lowered.

    Don't sweat the 5spd on the newer XT250. It has quite a bit of overall gearspread. The motor is similar to one used in an ATV that has some aftermarket support, so power can be improved a bit over stock. The newer XT also has discs front and rear.
    #4
  5. plugeye

    plugeye mc caregiver

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    He can’t flat foot it

    not really necessary to flat foot a motorcycle, try it and see.
    #5
  6. pnw

    pnw Been here awhile

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    Thanks.

    I thought of the xt350, problem is they are getting pretty old now, like my DR350, seals, rubber and plastics get old and brittle/cracked and I haven‘t seen any really low miles ones for sale. There doesn’t seem to be much to be gained by shaving off of a DR350 seat and it is a nice comfortable seat that I really don’t want to ruin. I tried the Kouba #1 link mostly as a test without messing with steering geometry much, myself I don‘t notice much difference from stock. I would like to try an xt225 because they are relatively cheap, plentiful and have a 6<SUP>th</SUP> gear but fear it will end up being a waste of time if they are as under powered as the DR200.
    I’ll probably keep checking for a Sherpa and go for a used xt250 if a reasonable priced Sherpa doesn’t show up. I’m tired of checking though.
    #6
  7. frog13

    frog13 Long timer

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    From what I've read,the 250"s/230 do well on the highway.....considering their smaller displacement.They'd do fine for what your wanting to do. I currently ride a TW200,it will hold 55mph easily on the road....possibly even lower 60ish.The short stroke engine of the TW was designed for the higher rpm's....1st gear is a stump puller. Alot of folks want to change the stock gearing (14/50)but, in doing so.....going to a 47 tooth rear or a 15 tooth front.....you loose torque up top and then you have to down gear on some hills!. If you know the calculation for the piston's,I believe it is Feet Per Minute,you would see the TW's engine is not close to it's designed red line even at 60 mph!.Good luck in your decision.
    In regards to the 5 or 6 speed gear box debate.....the 5 speed gear boxes are usually wide ratio and the added 6th doesn't make much,if any difference....again,if you know the calculations for gear ratios,you'll see what I'm refering to.
    #7
  8. ADVNCW

    ADVNCW Banned

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    The CRF230L will do it! Except on the mountain passes where you will slow to 50MPH on the steeper grades.:cry Otherwise I rode with traffic. It did with my 230lbs loaded with my 40 lbs of gear or not. Since buying it in May I put 7000 miles on my 230L, did the WABDR, twice from east of the mountains to the coast, back and forth over the Naches Pass Jeep Trail- loaded- several times. Ton of fun riding the WA and OR coast beaches, twice!:D Pulls off the bottom well, unexpected for such an anemic little moto, but it is lightest, lighter than the DR200.

    230L is designed for driver + passenger, so the 6 inches of rear travel on the stiffest preload work if one stands to ride over rough when appropriate. You will not get away with being lazy on the seat like having 13 inches travel...But the point is, I am impressed at how the 230L carried me and my load on long trips across WA! Just be ready to pull over especially on mountain passes instead of passing traffic like on bigger bikes...:huh Other than that, FUN and EASY! Fun and easy on dirt!

    As shown loaded in the photo, similar weight to the new 250L stock (317 lbs)!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I really like the small size, short wheelbase and low gearing/ low end power for tight and gnarly mountain trails.

    For the Continental Divide next year I have decided to ride it instead of hauling the moto, so I will be buying a WR250R for the open-western miles to and from WA to the CDR.
    #8
  9. acesandeights

    acesandeights Asperger

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    I think I'd consider a used DR650. It has a factory low position that would cost you nothing to do yourself, then you can lower it further the same way you did the DR350 (by dropping it). It'll run as fast as safe on the highway and pull like a tractor anywhere else.
    #9
  10. ADVNCW

    ADVNCW Banned

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    If you are talking about highway performance, I totally agree, need something more. 230L is frustrating, it runs 50 to 65, sustained- I have done 70 miles like that-, but it depends on the grade, gutless over 50 MPH. :huh On dirt, sweet, I have run 40 to 50 MPH on flat dirt stretches with that load on the 230L!:D
    #10
  11. warewolf

    warewolf Tyre critic

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    For hundreds of miles a year, you can forget worries about ringing the tits off the motor or lack of 6th gear or comfort or anything long-term! You just won't be doing enough miles to worry about any of that stuff.

    Small displacement bikes are built to be thrashed mercilessly. I had a DR200SE for a while, it spent hours at 70 mph, that was standard cruising speed. On big hills (NZ isn't flat!) it'd be held at redline/full throttle in the tallest gear it'd pull, for minutes at a time. I'd ride it to weekend adventure & trail rides 3-400km away, loaded up with camping gear. A Honda SL230 or Yamaha XT225 would be a bit gruntier for a bigger bloke, with the extra cubes.
    #11
  12. Gryphon12

    Gryphon12 Long timer

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    You need to read the "shortypants" thread. It will avoid ALL of this duplication.
    #12
  13. pnw

    pnw Been here awhile

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    Very sweet setup! Last I looked there were a couple 230s and an xt225 close enought to consider. It takes some time in the seat to figure it out so thanks for sharing your experience. Gifford Pinchot is in my backyard but a North Cascades ride would be awesome.

    The DR350 is about 300# wet and that is as heavy enough, lighter than a DR200 is better.

    Thanks to all.
    #13
  14. BillMoore

    BillMoore Been here awhile

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    I'm 5'7", 30" inseam and ride a KLX250S with 1.5" lowering links, and bar risers so the front forks could be pushed up about 3/4". The rear suspension has been stiffened up some to counter the softening from the lowering links, so my actual ride height drop with me sitting on the bike is pretty close to right at 1.5". Initially the 1.5" links resulted in an actual ride height drop of 2".

    In my riding boots I can almost touch my heels down, but there is no weight on them. Good solid contact with my toes though, and that is all you really need.

    My wife is 5'5" and rides a CRF230L. The CRF is about 30 lbs lighter, which is nice offroad, but the KLX is way better on the pavement. The KLX has a top speed of around 84 actual (92 indicated), while the CRF tops out at about 72. The KLX is pretty comfortable up to about 65, while the CRF gets pretty uncomfortable once you get over 55. Neither one has enough power for passing at highway speeds. The CRF is geared a little lower stock, but that is an easy fix on the KLX if you want to go lower.

    For what you are planning on doing with your son, sounds like highway usage isn't really in the mix, so the CRF is probably a good choice.
    #14