Mid-Life Crisis Decision!!

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Bridude, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

    May 30, 2010
    seal beach, ca.
    Bingo! This may be your best best. Don't be intimidated by the '650'. Your size and weight are the key.

    I sold my KLR 650 cause i'm 53 and I got tired of trying to move that bike on the trails. I picked up a KLX, which has made trail riding fun again. But, my son is 6'4" 210lb and he has a new xr650l which is size appropriate for him. Prior to him buying the 650 he rode my KLX a few times, and after a short while his knees were killing him. Way too cramped.

    My klx in Capitol Reef NP, UT.

  2. JWhitmore44

    JWhitmore44 pistolero

    Aug 7, 2006
    NW Kansas
    You don't say where you are from or the type of trail riding you are talking about. If you are talking trails that are big enough to put a quad on, and they are not rocky or foll of roots, a 650 size bike shouldn't be an issue if you have some experience riding to begin with. The 650 size dual sports like the DR/XR/KLR don't have the snap or short twist throttles like the 450 size off road and mx bikes. They are a bit more sedate, and that's not a bad thing. If you do much "road" work, dirt roads, back road blacktop, you'll appreciate the bigger bike. On the flip side of that, if you are talking trails that aren't much wider than your handle bars, or they are full of baby head sized rocks, and it only takes a few miles to get to them, then I'd speculate that the DRZ would be a better option. If mostly what you are doing is trail crawling then maybe something in a 250 or 230 range would be ok, but those are going to feel really small under you.

    I'm over 50 and ride an XR650L on anything from cow paths and rocky trails in the Colorado mountains to twisty back roads both dirt and paved. I'm 6'1" and about 195 and about a 36" inseam. The XR650L is tall which can be a unnerving in the tough trail sections. I think the DR650 is shorter. If your buddy has a DR650, take it for a ride and see what you think.

    Don't bother with those young punks that think you are too feeble when you hit 50 to ride the dirt anymore :lol3
  3. bomber60015

    bomber60015 Anatomically Correct

    Sep 11, 2008
    I won't offer advice on specific bikes, but, as a 60-something fella that, a year ago, was in exactly the same boat you are now (I learned to ride in the dirt, like most folks did), don't over think it.

    A buddy and I went out and found some ugly but perfectly operational KLR650s, rode the snot out of them all this spring and early summer, and then enjoyed the Trans-Wisconsin-Adventure-Trail in August . . . .

    I don't care (much) if I EVER see pavement again ;-}

    Buy a bike (that feels comefortable to you), and just enjoy the thing . . . . . . ..
  4. Bridude

    Bridude Adventurer

    Oct 31, 2012
    Thanks for all the replies! I think I agree that the 225 and 230 are going to be too small/underpowered. I am going to look seriously at the DRZ400s. Only concern is the 13000 miles on a 2003. And not knowing how the engine was maintained. I will definitely learn to work on it....I was saying that I would be willing to spend $75 to let the local Suzuki dealer go through the bike before I buy it to make sure it checks out.

    I am in NC and will be riding more trails than on the road. I will probably trailer the bike TO the trails as a matter of fact.

    Do you guys see a concern with the mileage? What do I look for when looking at a bike of this age.mileage to make sure I don't get a clunker??

    Thanks again for all the help!!
  5. mrchristian

    mrchristian Been here awhile

    Nov 23, 2008
    LA, CA
    When you buy it, make sure it wasn't warmed up first before you got there. Start it cold. It should start easily. Look at the oil to make sure its not a black mess. Not an indicator of anything really, but that might give you a heads up. A smart seller would change the oil before showing off the bike, but lots of guys are too lazy to do that. Listen for any weird knocking or clicking in the top end that's out of the ordinary. Some thumpers are a little noisy to begin with, so take that into consideration. Check to see that the chain hasn't chewed up the subframe and is tensioned properly. There should be no squeaks when you compress the rear suspension. If the bearings haven't been greased or have been neglected you could be looking at replacing all the bearings in the rear linkage/shock which isn't a fun job.

    If you do buy a dog, it's not the end of the world. Single-cylinder motorcycles are pretty easy to fix.

    Make sure there isn't a thousand dollars worth of back fees though.
  6. The Jester

    The Jester Been here awhile

    Aug 26, 2005
    From your list I would go for the drz. A set of bar risers which also move the bars forward from the stock position will make the bike more comfortable when you ride standing up on the dirt. I wouldn't have an issue with 13k miles.

    If you're going to be riding anything tight, gnarly or steep stick to 400, if you are looking at wide, fairly flat 2 track then a 650 can work well. They tend to pick up revs a little slower than a 400 which can make them seem a bit more forgiving. They are usually a bit heavier and slower steering, better on road but not great for serious off road.
  7. dhb400

    dhb400 No Regrets

    Feb 19, 2012
    Jersey Shore
    Go with the DRZ. I got back into riding after 20 years and I am over 50. The bike is great and will do everything you need. For your size the DRZ is perfect.
  8. sledrydr

    sledrydr Adventurer

    Sep 28, 2012
    Just another 2 cents worth of advice here from a recently un-retired rider! After sitting out since '04 I rejoined the riding world this summer. Can't believe I ever quit riding to begin with. BTW I bought a couple 200cc bikes and have not regretted it at all. No power to speak of compared to my old XT 500 but trail friendly and easy on fuel. I am 5'11" and 180lbs. Just depends on what you intend to do. Have fun.
  9. TNC

    TNC Candyass Camper

    Mar 22, 2007
    I'll throw something out that can be a kind of "stair-stepped" process. Find a clean '06/'07 KLX250S. It's fine if it has a slip-on aftermarket muffler and such, but find one that's close to stock. Ride it for awhile and see where your preferences take you. If you find you don't get more interested in any rougher off road, you're probably fine with the bike where it is. Now, if you want more power, you can invest in a 351 kit. This will put you on a level with the DRZ400 but at a lower weight. The 351 kit has been around for awhile and proven very reliable...not a fragile, time bomb by any means. Now, let's say you do get more interested in some decent off road and want to mod the suspension. The 11" travel of the '06/'07 KLX is a great starting point, and when you do a Race Tech or Moto Pro revalve, you get some damping quality that comes close to some real competition bikes.

    The KLX has been around long enough to have a huge aftermarket supply, and it's basically based on the off road only KLX300. What I like about the suggestion of the ability of stair-stepping the level of the bike, you can go as far as you want/need or leave it as is. And not that you can't do this with some other bikes, but the KLX might offer more aftermarket options due to time and availability. The DRZ is a great bike, but it's slightly heavier and even has a heavier feel for some reason. That is not an issue if you're not going to do any semi-serious off road. Yes, people ride it in some gnarly stuff, and I rode my KLR650's in places that would curl my hair now, but I'm talking more optimum off road performance. Because of the 351 kit, you can basically get the power of the DRZ while maintaining a better weight. My '06 KLX250S with a 300 cylinder, full Race Tech suspension, and TM36 pumper carb is highly capable in real off road conditions like rough singletrack and such, but it retains its bulletproof character when on the pavement and such.

    Truthfully we have some good options out there for a capable DS bike...the DRZ, KLX, WRR, and now the Honda CRF250L. The Honda probably needs the most modding in the suspension department at a fairly high cost, but it's a solid bike and may be fine just as is depending on where your riding will develop. Again, the thing I like about any KLX250, but especially the '06/'07 models, is their ability to morph over time as you develop and if you develop in your riding preferences.
  10. drxr650r

    drxr650r n00b

    Nov 7, 2012
    AT YOUR SIZE,, go with the 400.. the 250 class bikes will be to small for ya.. Go with something with a little more Power, you dont have to use it all, but in a couple of weeks you'll get you sea legs back, and wanting more and more power, which you wont get out of the 250 class bikes with you size..
  11. DirtViking

    DirtViking SKOL!

    Sep 28, 2011
    I wouldn't go with a 250. I owned a KLX-250S and it was ok. It got me into riding in the dirt, but after about 4 months, I was yearning for more. Of the bikes you listed, I would look at the DRZ.

    One thing to keep in mind is that whatever bike you buy, you'll eventually need heavier springs in it that match your weight, riding, etc. That probably doesn't have to be done immediately, but once you start pushing the bike you'll be fighting against the underweighted springs. Just something to keep in mind. Obviously, if you find a bike for sale, and the owner has done all that work, you'd be a step ahead.

    I agree with the other poster that said we don't have enough information about where you intend to ride. It would help if you identified that. Dual sport is different for everyone. Might be hard to put your finger on, but what kind of riding does your buddy do? Explain the offroad stuff...

    At your size, I would find a bike that has comfortable ergo's. An anemic engine might sound ok to you right now, but how about cramped too???? Seems to me a DR650 or XR650 might be appropriate. If your buddy owns a DR650, then it might help in owning the same bike. You could learn together, help each other out, etc., etc. Ideally, you'd like to find a bike that's been ridden and maintained. I'd pay a premium for the maintained part...

    Engine power should be managed by proper throttle and clutch control. Two fingers on the clutch all the time will help against whiskey throttle. That's what you're trying to prevent, right? I try to get everyone I ride with to do it.

    An MSF dirt rider course and just some basic instruction from a qualified instructor would go a long way, especially in your first few months. You may be able to do that prior to buying a bike. With proper instruction, you might be able to outride your buddy in a few months... That would be cool!

    Good luck.

  12. BygDaddee

    BygDaddee Where do I get a pie

    Oct 26, 2012
    Brisbane Northside, OZ