Midsize Dualsport Suggestions ?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Ever Onward, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. Ever Onward

    Ever Onward Older,Wiser, Smarter

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    Im thinking of upgradeing out of a Yamaha XT 350. Not interested in going up to a full 650. Something in the 400 to 500cc or so range would be best.

    It needs to be reasonable seat height, street legal, and for the most part able to cruise highway a bit faster and stronger than my 350.

    It will be mostly gravel and sand roads for off road, with the occasional rocky or rooty woods and hillsides. No real hardcore rough stuff. A KLR 650 kinda bike, but lower, lighter, smaller. Had a few KTM's in the past, dont wanna go orange again though.

    Maybe Suzuki DR series, or whats another option. Thinking in the range of '09 and older.

    Thanks !
    #1
  2. Buliwyf

    Buliwyf Been here awhile

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    I chose a DRZ400 S for what you decribe.

    I prefer hitting 55mph backroads instead of highway. But that's the way it's supposed to be with ADV travel.
    #2
  3. Blakebird

    Blakebird Solo Backwardo

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    DR350SE

    factory legal, six spd... can be found cheap and they're XR reliable
    #3
  4. Ever Onward

    Ever Onward Older,Wiser, Smarter

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    The DRZ 400 was one of my thoughts. I have to wonder how much more capeable it is of 60 MPH on the pavement for a stretch than my XT 350 ?

    I have rode a KLR 650 and found it more than adequate for the use Im intending it for. My old 350 just hasnt got the H.P. to comfortably swing 60 MPH into a headwind for any extended stretch.

    I need a bike that can easily be happy for a 30 mile stretch of pavement at full highway speed without too much strain. The old XT isnt happy at those speeds if it goes on for more than a few miles........it will do it , but you can tell its a strain. What I need is something midway between the XT and the KLR 650.
    #4
  5. trainman

    trainman Been here awhile

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    You want the bike that everyone wants, a Japanese built 450 with, 6-speed trans, water cooled, 6 gal. fuel tank, fuel injection, 320 lbs. total weight, rear rack, and for a list price of $6500.00. I want one too, in red, lime green, blue, or yellow, who can every get one to production 1st is the one I will buy.

    John
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  6. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    +1.

    '98-'99 DS models came with the dirt suspension. Throw a big-bore, exhaust, and pumper carb on it. If you can find a more aggressive cam, that might give you a bit of boost on power too. I believe the DRs all have screw/locknut valves and are either air-cooled or air/oil-cooled. The SACS air/oil-cooling works great. The DR-Z400s have shims and liquid-cooling.

    The DR-Z400 can be built for plenty of power, but it's tall and has a close-ratio 5spd. You can gear it for dirt or gear it for slab, but it doesn't have a great gearspread for doing both. You would think Suzuki would make it as easy to change sprockets as on the DR650SE, or spread the gearing out by now, but they don't seem to care.
    #6
  7. Keithert

    Keithert Long timer

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    What don't you like about the XT350? I have an XT225 and was thinking the XT350 would be just right. Only 25 pounds heavier but with a larger more advanced engine.
    #7
  8. Ever Onward

    Ever Onward Older,Wiser, Smarter

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    Basically the XT 350 is about the right ergos Im looking for. However the suspension is very outdated, and it hasnt got the power to swing highway gearing at full highway speeds comfortably for any distance.

    Like I said, it will do it but I can tell its not happy being pushed like that.

    A KLR 650 is the right idea for what Im going toward.....its just a bit too big and heavy for my likeing. I wonder how bulky and tall a Suzuki DR 650 is ?

    (By the way, I have been riding for allmost 40 years and have had a huge amount of all kinds of bikes.....just need to find the right midweight dualsport for semi-retiree easy going backcountry adventure. )
    #8
  9. Falcon86

    Falcon86 I just work here.

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    Sign me up for one of these!


    OP, I love my DRZ, but there are times when I'm in 5th on the highway and I find myself upshifting for a 6th gear that isn't there. It'll do 65 all day, I don't know that I'd want to.
    #9
  10. Ever Onward

    Ever Onward Older,Wiser, Smarter

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    On the DRZ 400, I dont like the idea of a close ratio 5 speed. Also if its a tall bike to start with, thats not what will fit me well. Im aware of all the custom seat options, but want to start with a basically right machine as a start.

    The lowish seat height of the XT and all the ergos fit my 5' 7" size nicely. It allows you to both kick start from a standing position and paddle with your feet in the tough deep stuff easily.

    I suffered my share on skyscraper tall KTM's a decade ago ! :lol3
    #10
  11. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fartografist

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    KLR owner myself

    As a dirtier alternative, I am considering a Yammie WR250R someday as a 2nd bike. They have lower links to cover you needs. Also plenty of aftermarkets, seats, bags, it's injected and has six speeds and gets great MPG.

    Otherwise, check out the line of Husky's, they got one in every size you could ever need, 250-650 and several tweeners, great value for the money, I uncrate and assemble them at work.
    #11
  12. LittleRedToyota

    LittleRedToyota Yinzer

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    with stock gearing, the S model will cruise at 60mph all day long 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year without any problem (15,000 miles on my 2009...i've changed the oil and cleaned the air filter regularly...change the fork oil every now and then. i had to replace a leaky counter shaft seal and worn out wheel bearings. other than that no issues at all except broken turn signals, etc. from me crashing it in the dirt).

    i have mine geared down to 14/47 and it still will cruise at 60mph comfortably for 30+ miles.

    it's *heavy* in the woods, though.

    btw, my plated KTM 450 xc-w is also geared down for tight single track, but is still happy to cruise at 70mph all day long (it has a 6 speed, wide ratio tranny)...and it is absolutely awesome in the woods. more fun on the street than my DRZ, too.

    gotta change the oil fairly often, but if i were to suggest a bike for what you want to do, the KTM 450 exc or plated xc-w is what i would recommend...and whatever comes in 2nd isn't going to be even close.
    #12
  13. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    The Suzuki and Kawasaki websites have the weight and height specs. The KLR is heavier, taller, and more complicated than the DR650SE. It simply feels much bigger than the DR. No bike is going to be exactly what you want right off the showroom floor though. The DR is heavier than it seemed like you wanted, at around 325 dry and 367 curb. I usually have no trouble picking it up in the sand and mud repeatedly, at 5'8"/200lb/30" inseam, but I'm ridiculously strong for my size. Many people complain about the weight of the DR. Heck, many people complain about the weight of the DR-Z, and even the DR350SE. I'm guessing that they must not ride streetbikes much though, where 400lb is considered light. There are even people that complain about the seat height of the DR, but it's the lowest jap 650 dualsport, and it can be made considerably lower pretty easily...down to about 30" before one really has to get creative/custom.

    The suspension on almost any new bike is going to need some work. The DR suspension is a bit antiquated and undervalved/undersprung if you're over 160lb. Most DS bikes are. Even the fully-adjustable WR250R is not really up to race specs. I have just heavier springs in my DR's suspension and it works fine for slow-to-medium pace offroad for me. I don't try to skim whoops or clear doubles with it though. I ride a more exploratory and playing around kind of pace. With a few mods, it runs 70MPH slab better than my Yamaha Radian 600 now, and I still ride it in the sand and mud like a dirtbike on weekends.

    For the DR...Bigger tanks are easy to find. Better suspension is easy to find. Better seats are easy to find. More power is easy to find. Shaving much weight can be a challenge.

    Take some different bikes for test-rides, and study their aftermarket options. See what is a deal-breaker for you and what isn't.
    #13
  14. Ever Onward

    Ever Onward Older,Wiser, Smarter

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    So, the Suzuki DR 650 is all around smaller and lighter than a KLR 650 ?

    This is sounding like a possibility. 325 dry is not a deal breaker.......I rode alot of street bikes in the 500 pound range, and Im betting some of my older larger enduro's were a solid 300.

    Are the DR 650's easy to maintain ? Do they last long with average maintenance? Are there certain years that they have substancial improvments over older editions ?

    Im not looking for a serious dirt machine.......I woulda kept my 300 EXC if that was the case. No, its just a easy exploring bike mostly for fire roads and gravel / dirt roads. Just have to ride highway sections at normal traffic pace for 30 mile stretches in between off road areas.......this is where the old XT 350 is the biggest drawback, it just isnt strong enough for the 60 MPH pavement sections.
    #14
  15. oldenuf

    oldenuf Been here awhile

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    Just sold the DR650 and got a DRZ400S. Both will cruise 60 to 70 mph all day. I'm 6' 1" and the seating is just a bit different on the two. For me the DRZ wears me out quickly at speeds above 60. Seems I'm more upright on the DRZ. Cruising 55 to 60 on the DRZ works for 6 to 8 hour day of riding.

    Art
    #15
  16. Butters

    Butters Kwyjibo

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    Te 610/630?
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  17. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

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    Yep. Smaller & lighter. DR650's carry their weight fairly low too. They haven't changed much since 1997. Reliability & ease of maintenance is pretty good. The suspension won't be any improvement on your XT though.

    Light yes, short no.

    Cheers
    Clint
    #17
  18. cnj

    cnj Adventurer

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    Agree, but fixed it for ya! :D
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  19. Moore

    Moore Adventurer

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    The DRZ400 fits your description the best. I used to have one, now I have a DR650. Both are great bikes, I went with the DR because it is better for long distances on the roads. I also got a brand new one for less than people wanted for lightly used DRZs.

    The DRZ was fine for power and gearing at 120 (for what it is), every bike I've ever had I tried to shift to the next non-existent gear on the highway...

    It is however a little bit lighter, a little bit taller and seems to catch a little bit more wind from the side vs a DR, so I find the DR more stable on the highway, where the DRZ would blow around a bit more.

    If you can't decide between these two economical, stone dead reliable bikes, just see which one you can get a better deal on and I'm sure you'd be happy with either.
    #19
  20. trainman

    trainman Been here awhile

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    I purchased the new Honda CRF250L for just the type of riding that you described you wanted, but let me say here that after 60mph the bike is pretty much out of power but will run 70mph if you want to wait a little wile to get to that speed. The bike on the trails is a blast for this 68 year old guy and I wouldn't have a problem riding it on the TAT or the Continental Divide ride, which I have done on a WR250R. Let me say here that I do own a KLR 650 that I do ride when longer paved road riding is required in the ride, but now days I pick the CRF250L just because of the fun factor. If you watch the BigDogAdventures rides on YouTube you will see why the 250's are becoming so popular. Good Luck on your choice of bike, all the bikes that have been talked about by others are good bikes and very dependable and all have their good and bad points, I've owned most of them over the years, I know.

    John
    #20