Motorcycle Noob Researching Dual Sport/Adventure Bikes...

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Designer Jake, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. hayduke.klr07

    hayduke.klr07 Been here awhile

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    Mar 28, 2007
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    Location:
    Black Hills, West Dakota
    Please start off by introducing yourself and the bike you ride, skill level or rider experience, how often you ride, what type of riding you do, and hobbies... etc.

    My name is Chris, I ride a KLR, moderate amounts of experience, daily when in season, I commute and ride two tracks on the weekend and really enjoy week plus touring trips. Oh yea, I am a Pisces.
    Questions:

    Do you ride your Dual Sport/Adventure motorcycle more On or Off the road?

    i ride both but end up 60% on the asphalt due to commuting.

    What features about the bike do you most admire or lead you to purchasing the motorcycle?
    reliability, ease of DIY maintenance, style
    What do you generally look for in a motorcycle when it comes time to purchasing one?
    Value, sub $10k
    What type of emotions or experiences are evoked when riding your Dual Sport/Adventure motorcycle?
    freedom, sense of adventure,
    Again, I would really appreciate your help!

    Thank you![/QUOTE]

    Do a search for "ccm adventure". That moto has me enamored and I really hope it comes to this continent.
    #21
  2. twasp

    twasp Adventurer

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    48
    Hi Jake. I will try to give you some info. Your request seems to be biased towards what most of us would consider Adventure bikes. BMW and KTM are expensive marks that do not always come equiped with quality equipment. ie. seats, suspension brakes reliability ergonomics to name a few.

    I am in my 60s, don't get out to ride too often, used to be at least a low intermediate rider. Now have a DR650 that I have modified extensively to try to achieve these goals. Long range solo dual sport rides, tar 60 to several hundred miles to get to dirt roads, back roads, two track and then normally an even longer ride home on tar to get back to work on time.

    These are my goals that I modify to achieve. Comfort, seat, bars, pegs relationship. Handling, If it won't handle on dirt and tar it is worthless. Power, we ride for the thrill of the ride, no power then why are we out there? Range, how much MPG does it get and how much fuel. Three hundred miles, minimum and preferably 500.
    Reliabilty, air cooled, carb, easy to work on, wet sump, light enough to handle off road and light enough to pickup by myself . Lights, can you see where you are going above 25 miles per hour. Can you see against the headlights of oncomming traffic? Electrical capacity, can you run extra lights, heated clothing? Do the brakes work ? Will they stop in an emergency? If a car turns left or a deer runs in front of you can you at least scrub enough speed to survive the impact? Suspension, can you ride a hundred mile of washboard roads on it, or some of the California freeways?

    Does this bike put you in the flow when you ride it? As one with the bike, riding effortlessly without fear on any road or terrain?


    This is what I think they are building today.. ill handling, too tall,top heavy pigs, underpowered, poor quality suspension, set up for ultra light riders, inadequet brakes, with known problems that are not rectified from year to year for years on end. Poseur bikes not meant for anything except graded dirt road or tar. And those are there good points, with seats that would be outlawed for use in prisons. Tom
    #22
  3. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Delaware Ohio

    You must mean a KLX650 with a bigger gas tank! They already made the base model without the tank, but KLR riders wouldn't pay for the better suspension, increased performance, and a bit lighter weight. Never have, never will.
    #23
  4. Fishenough

    Fishenough Team Lurker

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2009
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    North of 56
    Please start off by introducing yourself and the bike you ride, skill level or rider experience, how often you ride, what type of riding you do, and hobbies... etc.

    Hi, and good luck on a successively project! I'm 46 and have been riding since 11 or 12 like most rural Canadian males. Riding style has changes with the years and the plates bolted to my spine, but I will firstly seek dirt roads, even when I own a purely street bike. Where you live and where you plan to ride dictates what bikes you want/need. The last five years I covered 130,000 km plus, but that was with year round riding in SE Asia, now I'm interested in the western chuck of Canada and Alaska. I'd have thought different 10 years ago, but I feel anything bigger than a 650 for riding between Europe to Japan is completely unnecessary, and even worse would take away from your enjoyment. (Yes, yes, anything with a motor and 2 wheels can be riding around the world)

    Edit, I recently bought a 2012 DR650.


    Questions:

    Do you ride your Dual Sport/Adventure motorcycle more On or Off the road?

    The longer, the rougher the road, you just know the destination with be that much sweeter, or breathtaking, or unspoiled.

    Aim for off road primarily, paved roads just connect the dots.


    What features about the bike do you most admire or lead you to purchasing the motorcycle?

    Reliability and track record, available parts and accessories, stock offroad capabilities. I try and leave emotion aside to a degree, this has lead me astray a couple of times - though I still had fab times with those bikes.

    50 hp and 150 kg would be all I ever need in a dual sport, for anywhere in the world. Have owned a kitted 500 2 stroke MX bike, and honestly using more than 40-50 hp offroad is best left for playtime, or racing. Long paved stretches, it needs to be smooth BUT I will never be riding over 120 kph, or 75 mph. And unlike 20 years ago, speeding tickets are a big fail to me.

    I did far more group riding, than ever before in these last 5 years, and many a time I would comfortably ride 50+ mph on dry, hard packed dirt roads with a 250 motard with street tires, yet the fully loaded big adventure bikes would be slower in all but the long straights. On all but the highways, all surfaces, passing big GS's, and such, was normal and common with 200 to 250 cc low powered bikes. Heck once every month or so, a big dual sport would just about end up in the weeds trying to pace riders on smaller bikes on twisty paved mountain roads. Sadly one 4 month old 1200 did ended up jammed under a guard rail well trying keep pace (the well kitted rider was ok, only bruised).

    I don't mean to sound like I'm bashing big dual sports, I drool over them extensively. Read Colebatch's, and others, (AWESOME) ride reports to understand. Emotion and desirability play hugely of course into motorcycle purchases.


    What do you generally look for in a motorcycle when it comes time to purchasing one?

    One that best fits the riding I have in mind. I really don't want to compromise and buy something that will be great for one thing and lack in another type of riding that I've enjoyed all my life - this has kept me from considering the big dual sports. But note, if my riding style changes again, a big gravel goldwing would be a treat - this is easy to picture in my mind.

    Tend to compare all dual sports to the models that have been successful and are still being sold in a similar model today; look at the XR650L and the DR650, seemingly unchanged since I started riding, yet even the top of the line choices really are so similar with improvements in a handful of areas.

    You can modify a lot on a bike, but I'm am really found that I prefer a fuel injected thumper for several reasons.


    What type of emotions or experiences are evoked when riding your Dual Sport/Adventure motorcycle?

    To ask this indicates you need to try it yourself!!! SO many others have elaborated wonderfully on this, but for me it's the wonderful feeling of giving a sustained 100% focus that is neither tiresome demanding, that is like reaching and sustaining a state of nirvana effortlessly. Falling asleep with a clear, and content, mind after a full days riding is guaranteed. Traffic sucks that away, hence the desire to get off the beaten track.

    Thank you! :freaky
    #24
  5. Plaka

    Plaka Brevis illi vita est

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,615
    Your job is styling the motorcycle. You come up with a "look" that will sell the product. This is 85% of your job. The other 15% is communicating the design so you can sell it to management. You can sell the worst idea with good communication. Your rendering skills count far more than your styling skills.

    As far as the function of the machine, marketing is going to figure up what will sell and tell you and engineering. They will get a lot wrong. Engineering will try to do it and get more wrong.

    Pay attention to that comment about the GS. It's salient. The bike is a comfortable, good handling road bike, dressed up to give a studly adventurer image. Some people do take them off road. But the image is what is selling the thing, along with the road manners. You want a style that totally conveys "studly adventurer" without all the compromises, cost and discomfort of a real studly adventurer bike. look at how real cross county racing bikes look and copy as much as you can. The wanna-bees will eat it up. Don't worry about the function in the least. The schools make a big deal about Ergonomics, function, user interface, blah blah, blah (I'm UC DAAP grad, BS industrial design) but you get hired to do little of that. You're a product stylist.

    Ask here what about the look of a bike really turns people on. They may have a trouble saying. Ask for pics of the bikes people think look the best, irrespective of performance, and you'll get somewhere.
    #25
  6. smj

    smj Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2010
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    Location:
    Colorado
    Hello Everyone,

    My name is Jake. To be honest, I am a college student studying Product Design and a complete beginner to Motorcycles (only rode once on my Uncles KTM 450 MX, but I do ride quads). I am currently designing a mid to heavy weight Dual Sport/Adventure motorcycle (not a mx conversion dual sport, but more like a KTM 690 or BMW G 650GS) for a Project and I would really appreciate it if you could take the time to help me out with a few questions I have!

    Please start off by introducing yourself and the bike you ride, skill level or rider experience, how often you ride, what type of riding you do, and hobbies... etc.

    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Hi Jake, I am Steve. I ride an 07 Honda XR650R and a 2012 KTM 990 R, and have average skills. Never raced, but have been riding for ~40 years, mostly dirt bikes converted to street legal, or enduro type bikes. MX360, DT250, XT500, WR426, TT600, KLR650, XR650R, F800GS, 990R. Currently I enjoy exploring the back roads and unpaved passes here in Colorado. Don&#8217;t do much single track anymore. I ride back and forth to work, and try to ride something fun on weekends.<o:p></o:p>
    Jake &#8211; if you are really going to try to design a bike, you need to narrow your choices here. You state that you are interested in a mid to heavy weight bike: KTM 690 BMW 650GS. You really need to think about what type of rides you intend this bike to do. Be specific! Road work: how long, how high, twisty or straight lines, with gear or without, big gas tank, minimum comfort or much comfort? Off pavement: same questions as above, but add type to it off pavement &#8211; gravel road, mud, snow & ice, rocks (baby heads and volleyballs), ledges, hill climbs, tree roots, stream crossings, combinations? <o:p></o:p>
    You have set out to design a bike, and you don&#8217;t even understand its use. Hence some of the comments you&#8217;ve gotten here. I think you&#8217;d do better if you explained a ride, what would be involved, and then ask for some input. One bike won&#8217;t do it all perfect. Your design will be one of compromise, and you will have to figure out what that will entail.<o:p></o:p>
    That said, I&#8217;ll take a swag at your questions.<o:p></o:p>

    Questions:

    Do you ride your Dual Sport/Adventure motorcycle more On or Off the road? <o:p></o:p>
    Depends on the week. Back and forth to work adds up. When I ride out, it is to find something off pavement, but ride pavement to get there. A trip to Moab is pavement out, 3 or 4 days of riding off pavement. Miles wise, probably more on pavement. Hours wise, maybe not&#8230;

    What features about the bike do you most admire or lead you to purchasing the motorcycle?
    Durability and suspension. Then power. But the bike has to hold up for me. I really hate it when some minor part fails, in the interest of saving a few pennies, and I end up stuck in the middle of nowhere. All the power in the world isn&#8217;t much fun when there is no suspension/handling capabilities to the bike.<o:p></o:p>

    What do you generally look for in a motorcycle when it comes time to purchasing one?<o:p></o:p>
    When I buy a bike, it is for a specific purpose. That can change a bit each time, based on what I am thinking at the time. More road work, commute to work &#8211; then more comfort. Rocks and roots &#8211; light weight dirt bike.

    What type of emotions or experiences are evoked when riding your Dual Sport/Adventure motorcycle?<o:p></o:p>
    As bikes get more expensive to fix, I worry a lot more about the cost should I crash. <o:p></o:p>
    I live for those places off the beaten path, where I can&#8217;t see another person, and the only sign of others is the trail/road I am on. Solitude. The joy of still being able to do what I enjoy, even if not the level I used to do it at.

    Again, I would really appreciate your help!

    Thank you! <o:p></o:p>
    #26
  7. Grreatdog

    Grreatdog Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    13,142
    Location:
    Annapolis, MD
    Questions:

    Do you ride your Dual Sport/Adventure motorcycle more On or Off the road? Even split but prefer off

    What features about the bike do you most admire or lead you to purchasing the motorcycle? Light weight, quality offroad suspension

    What do you generally look for in a motorcycle when it comes time to purchasing one? See above but basically a street legal bike that can handle hard offroad use and abuse

    What type of emotions or experiences are evoked when riding your Dual Sport/Adventure motorcycle? Seriously? Fun
    #27
  8. SoSlow

    SoSlow Having fun

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    933
    Location:
    Manitoba
    My dual-sport bike is a 2009 KLR650, it's my first bike. This will be my fifth riding season. I do not consider myself particularly good at any type of riding, there's always lots to learn. I will ride any time there is not ice on the ground and my bike is serviceable. Most of my riding is commuting in town to work, but I enjoy taking trips and doing some (slow) trail riding with a very patient buddy of mine.


    On road, for sure. I'd like to ride more off-road, but I need some serious practice.


    I wanted a bike that would do the following:
    - wouldn't drive me to tears every time it got dropped or scratched (although I will admit the first couple of times I was a little choked up anyway).
    - would let me sample a bunch of different kinds of riding
    - didn't cost a ton of money (goes hand in hand with the first point in this list)
    - would be a little forgiving (i.e. I wouldn't flip over backwards if I sneezed whilst opening the throttle)
    - ease of service for the things I'm comfortable doing, and local shops to help me or do the things I'm not


    Pretty much the same as the previous list, although I would be sure to add that there has to be good support out there. If the best mechanic in the world can't get parts, they won't be riding.


    The bike feels alive to me when I'm riding. It "feels" like it has good days and bad days - some days it feels like the bike is eager to go places, while others it feels like it's tired and really, REALLY doesn't want to climb that next hill. Some days I feel like the KLR and I could just trundle out onto the highway and ride forever.

    I enjoy the sights, meeting new people (both riders and non-riders) and how everything smells and feels so much more vivid when I'm on the bike. You don't really notice that cloud of bugs you just drove through in a car... but being on the bike adds a whole other dimension to the experience. The faint smell of cigarette smoke from that guy having a puff while he's watering his lawn... the perfume from the woman walking the two daschunds... you just don't experience that when in a car.

    Riding clears my mind. Paying attention to what's going on around me and what I need to be doing leaves no time to think about work or money or how I'm going to make that deadline... even though I'm thinking hard, I'm always in a better mood and more relaxed after riding than I was before I got on the bike.

    I don't enjoy driving the car, and I don't not-enjoy driving the car. I "nothing" driving the car. But the bike... it's a whole different experience for me. I can be wet, miserable, hurt, and scared, and I still feel more connected to the bike than I would to the car.

    It's probably silly to anthropomorphize to this extent, but when I'm riding, the bike and I are a team.

    I've been assured by a friend of mine who has been riding for 40+ years that these feelings will wear off. So far, they haven't.

    Hmm... it appears I've gone on a bit. Sorry about that.
    #28
  9. raebear

    raebear Been here awhile

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    Ely, NV; Grand Junction, CO
    Jake, just saw this thread and would like to comment. It will take a few days though, I am headed out tomorrow at 3a for a first Saddle Sore on a new bike. So I can give you a fresh perspective from an 'old rider' who just went through the process of finding the 'perfect' bike.-- wish me......... and my butt; - luck
    #29
  10. Greenflyfarmer

    Greenflyfarmer I'm better now.

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    I think what helps a good dual sport handle well in a variety of conditions is simply a 18 inch rear wheel and a 21 inch front. A 21 inch front works in the dirt, has great feel every where and gives a added margin of safety. Keep the front just a little skinny rather than fat. That will help turning in the dirt.

    Bikes that have the old dirt standard of 18/21 do better in dual sport conditions. Start there where the bike meets the road/dirt.

    I'm a KTM guy, 990 and 625 SXC, riding all my life, now in my 50's.
    #30