Next step after a WR250R

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by xathor, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. xathor

    xathor Not actually Gnarly

    Aug 2, 2009
    Huntsville, Alabama

    I'm looking for a suitable upgrade from my 2009 WR250R that I have put a few thousand miles on. Unfortunately I haven't gotten to ride it as much as I would have liked to because of my job.

    I'm trying to find the successor to my WRR. If Yamaha had come out with a WR450R... I'd be all over that! There really isn't anything wrong with the WRR, just a few things I would like to improve upon with my next bike.

    1.) Interstate manners. I feel the WRR is tapped out cruising at 75-80mph. With any luggage at all it feels like I am nearly pegging the throttle just to maintain that speed. I feel like something with a bit bigger displacement would alleviate the issue.

    2.) Torque. After riding my WRR elusively for quite a while, I hopped on my KLR650 that I also owned at that time. I realized that I missed having that little extra power. I think #1 and #2 go hand in hand.

    3.) Kick Starter. After suffering a dead battery one day on my WRR after I left the heated grips going... I had a really hard time push starting it. I eventually had to go get my car and jump start it. I've searched and it seems KTM is the only brand still putting a kick starter on their new bikes.

    4.) Pedigree. KTM, BMW, Husqvarna, Ducati... they all have that name that kind of oozes class. Well at least in my mind. Of course these all come with a price tag. I have a bit of money burning a hole in my pocket so I don't mind spending that extra money when it comes to getting a better product.

    5.) After market support. I plan on turning this bike into a very nicely farkled adventure tourer that isn't a overweight street bike.

    6.) Low maintenance. I plan on using this bike for long distance. TAT/Alaska/Whatever. I want to explore while I am still young (27/Single/No Kids) and don't want to have to worry about having to rebuild the motor every few thousand miles.

    7.) Light weight. I'm not a very big guy. I'm 5'9 and 160lbs with a 31-32" inseam. I can easily pick up the WRR off the ground repetitively. I'm not so sure I can pick up my Tiger 800xc more than once. I remember getting stuck on a trail and having to pick up my 2009 KLR650 out of the mud. That sucked. Heavy bikes do not inspire confidence in me.

    So far I have looked at the KTM 500EXC and the KTM 690 Enduro R. Unfortunately the 690 does not have a kick starter and the 500EXC seems to have very frequent maintenance intervals. I don't suppose 6000 miles for a valve check is that bad... but certainly not the 26,000 miles on the WRR. I used to check the valves every 1000 miles on my 2276cc engine I built for my old 1964 Beetle. Checking the valves on it was painfully easy and somewhat fun to do. I suppose if the bike has short maintenance windows but they are easy to do then that isn't a problem.

    My internet is painfully slow here and most image websites are blocked... I plan on buying this bike when I get back state side and start farkling it for my TAT trip in June-ish. Any help finding bikes that I may not have considered is greatly appreciated.

  2. DirtDad

    DirtDad Green Chile Guru

    Apr 28, 2006
    Albuquerque NM
    Seems like you have a pretty good spread of bikes right now. I have owned too many D/S bikes, in the last several yrs, trying to find that one
    special bike. I think you have narrowed it down to two of the best lighter
    D/S bikes available. I would vote for the 500. I owned a 08 530, which was extremely capable off road, and tolerable on slab. Not as comfy as a
    klr on the road. Being that you have a tiger, get the lightest bike available, which would probably be the KTM500. Gives you a big difference between the two. One bike that I really liked was an 06 Husky TE 610. It still was not as light and powerful as the KTM, which made it
    a little more challenging off road. Anyway good luck. Always fun getting a new bike. :D
  3. wannabe1

    wannabe1 Been here awhile

    Oct 28, 2006
    Hey X, you won't get your kickstart and you will still have a bit of a pig, but the DR650 is hard to beat. Huge aftermarket, simple to maintain, and rock solid reliability. I would not trust a Ktm from AL to AK and back.
  4. Lance Hardwud

    Lance Hardwud Long timer

    Aug 31, 2006
    Hinckley/Wheaton Illinois
    I went from a WRR to a KTM 350exc and loved it. But, I was wanting more off road and street legal from connecting sections. Judging by your needs I think you want a KTM 690! If I remember correct the 690 and WRR are only about 10lbs difference?
  5. Dakar Dan

    Dakar Dan Long timer

    Feb 4, 2007
    New WR450F. Fit a cush drive rear hub and bigger tank and you're away. Ah bummer, you can't road register them over there :(:
  6. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

    May 29, 2002
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    How about Husky TR650 or a DR650 and upgrade the suspension?
    You can go soft bags with both of those.
    Sounds you like like the 650 power but want it more dirt-worthy than the KLR.
  7. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Jan 18, 2010
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    Hey Nick,
    Having ridden a WR450 all through Baja (with lots of highway in the mix) I can assure you it's NOT a fun road bike. If Yamaha made the 450 street legal they would probably gear it higher for highway ... which the 450F needs badly. It's revving hard at 55 MPH.

    Yep, I know the feeling. (see above)

    Torque is nice. I'd be looking at something in the 650 class. Since you have money burning a hole in your pocket and are impressed with the Euro offerings ...
    I'd test ride the Husky Terra. Initial reports are good ... but its future is questionable.

    Push starting off road (like in sand or Mud) is tough. You will have to be more vigilant with Battery maintenance ... and learn to bump start a bike properly. I learned at age 14 where I learned to bump AJS and BSA 650 singles, old Bultaco's and my TR-6 Race bike. I'm only 5'7" and can Bump Start a fully loaded R1200GS. It's Technique, not technical. Size and strength can help .... but a big Spase will never be able to do it. Practice.
    PS: The DR650 can be easily bump started with a DEAD battery ... and it will charge right back up. Japanese electrics.

    Once again, test ride the Husky Terra ... but also see if you can get aboard a DR650. It may surprise you. Smooth at 75/80 mph. I've done many 400 mile days, back to back to back. With a few upgrades handles Desert, Two track and even deep sand just fine. Really OK on long highway rides, even fully loaded at 12,000 ft. Been there, done that.

    The DR650 has vast aftermarket support. If the Terra sticks around (???) it will have good support too. But right now ... no one knows for sure. IMO, it is the future.

    The Loncin, China, Husky version motor in the Husky Terra is new, but based on an old platform. Should be reliable, easy maintenance. My DR650 has done 50,000 HARD miles ... including several Mexico and Cross country trips, fully loaded and is truly no brainer maintenance. It's nearly maintenance free really.

    Any fully loaded ADV bike will be tough to pick up in mud. Get help. Back damage is forever. Pick your trails carefully or ride with friends .... up your riding skills. Riding in the AMA Enduro and Hare and Hound series helped me become a better rider. I'd bet at your age you could become a Giant on the bike in a year or two. Do it ... you WILL get better.

    The KTM 500 EXC is, by most accounts, the very best street legal dirt bike on the market today. Nothing comes close. But it's expensive ... AND it's a RACE BIKE. Consider that in your choice and ask current owners how many put 20K miles a year on their 500. The 690 is a more mild, de-tuned motor .... but seems to have several nagging issues. I would not choose either for true LD riding. Just my humble opinion. :D

    Have fun and consider yourself lucky to have money burning a hole in your pocket. :freaky
  8. Harty

    Harty Bloody Good Bloke!

    Mar 29, 2010
    Devon, UK
    I went from the WRR to the KTM 690. My 690 is the dogs bollocks, best bike I have ever ridden and answers all your questions above apart from the kick starter query. Have turned mine into an adventure bike now.

  9. Gundy

    Gundy Long timer

    Nov 6, 2010
    Philly 'burbs
    I too wish an updated DRZ or bigger WRR would hit the market and the lack of that is part of the reason i dont have a replacement bike yet.

    ADV Grifter raises some good points.....some more time working on aggressive offoad speeds will make ADV pace riding seem easy and hopefully avoid the need to pick up the bike as often. Then, get in the weight room and do some dead lifts. Then you will have no problems riding any of the porky 650s offroad, and still have a bike that is ok on the interstate.

    I started on a 650, but turned the dial back a bit and spent some time ripping around on 250s and a 400. After a while I found I could handle the weight of the 650 better just from body English and better line choice, throttle/clutch use etc., and tended to choose the 650 more due to its comfort on the way to and from the dirt. I am in no hurry offroad so poking along in 1st a d 2nd gear on a 650 is fine....but I do avoid any sort of technical hills though because of the weight thing.

    The Sertao, Terra, 690R, and DR650 are all in the will just depend on price and availability when I get a chance to get back at it.
  10. baloneyskin daddy

    baloneyskin daddy bikaholic

    Oct 21, 2009
    southcentral PA.
    Put a 450 motor in your WR.
  11. bigkatie

    bigkatie Been here awhile

    Dec 19, 2006
    Southwest Ohio
    Look for a used low mileage Husky Te610 or 630. The 6th gear makes a big difference on the highway.
  12. montesa_vr

    montesa_vr Legend in his own mind

    Mar 24, 2006
    Yes, you are nearly pegging the throttle to maintain that speed. Is the problem that you don't feel it's safe to have so little speed in reserve, or are you worried the motor is working too hard?

    The WRR is geared slightly too high for maximum speed, and will go a little faster with lower gearing, especially if you are trying to push saddlebags through the wind. (The same volume of luggage sitting behind you will cut through the wind a lot more efficiently.) It may seem like the engine is spinning too fast, but because of the very short stroke on the little motor, the piston is actually moving slower than a KLR or DR at highway speed.

    Highway comfort is highly subjective. None of the single cylinder dual sports will give you Gold Wing level refinement. Most of them vibrate a lot more than the WRR. You won't be able to choose a successor to your WRR without taking it out on the highway and making a nice long run at 75-80 mph, preferably with your WRR along so you can switch back and forth for reference. You might find out you have it better than you realize.

    If you want something more reliable running at 75-80, you won't find it. If you want something smoother at 75-80, you might find it. If you want something really light that has more torque and is just as comfortable at 75-80, I don't know what that would be. If I were you I would find a fellow ADVrider who would let me ride his 500 EXC. If you love it, great. If not, you need to at least get something a lot heavier than a WRR.

    I personally feel the otherwise excellent DR650 is just way too stinking heavy to ride off road. I tried it and I truly hated it. It seemed like a trip to the emergency room waiting to happen.
  13. xathor

    xathor Not actually Gnarly

    Aug 2, 2009
    Huntsville, Alabama
    While the Terra certainly looks nice, the 5 speed and 400lb wet weight are a bit of a limitation. The Terra is not far from the KLR650 that I sold and replaced with the Tiger 800xc. I'm looking for something more like the WR250R.

    The Husky TE610 looks excellent... I just don't find good examples near me regularly. DeBandi had a nice one that he sold while I was in Iraq. :cry

    Are there any brands that I am missing or that I should consider?

    Honestly for something like an Alaskan ride I would most likely take my 800xc, that's why I bought it... super long distance tourer. I'm still on the fence of how I feel about the Tiger though; I only have 612 miles on it. If I find something that I really like that combines everything about the WR250R but with more power for the interstate... I'd probably sell the 800. Great bike, just heavy for me. Maybe if I get more miles on it I will start to enjoy it more.

    My main issue is the idea of taking my WR250R on something like the TAT... then riding it for four days straight on the interstate home. Riding the 250 on the street isn't that fun anymore... it doesn't feel that fast. More power, same weight, better interstate manners...

    Sorry for rambling. I'm trying to ween myself from Caffeine.
  14. byron555

    byron555 Lame Duck Adventurer

    Oct 30, 2007
    Central Wisconsin
    It is worth the extra time to wire a relay to the ignition to prevent accessories from draining your battery...

    Just saying. I put one on my WRr when I installed heated grips, if the key is off the grips are off.
  15. mousitsas

    mousitsas Long timer

    Oct 10, 2008
    Athens, Greece

    or XR650R...

    but if I had a WRR I would stick with it and do some power mods to it. There are just so many nice things about this bike to let it go that easily, especially on the maintenance/reliability front. Battery is not a problem, just carry with you a LiPo battery as a spare and connect it if necessary.
  16. Off the grid

    Off the grid Big Meanie

    Jan 3, 2008
    That buzzing in your earhole, NorCal.
    What's your budget?

    Are you planning new or used?

    I would look at a 05-07 KTM RFS bike, or the 500 EXC or 690 as suggested.
  17. 35xj

    35xj Long timer

    Oct 30, 2008
    asheville, nc
    see if you can find a low mileage 2011 Husaberg 570. Awesome bikes, plenty of power, light, no kickstart, but....
  18. allroadrider

    allroadrider Been here awhile

    Aug 12, 2009
    I also went from a WR250R to a KTM690 and am very happy, KTM are very expensive but seem to be worth it. The 690 is great on the road, and down right awesome off road, weight with extra fuel and the normal stuff I ride with is around 325 which is around the same weight that my WR was but with a lot more power. Also its a lot more stable at speed than the WR was. IMO the 690 is the way to go with whats available in the market now
  19. bobnoxious67

    bobnoxious67 Baby steps...

    Jun 21, 2008
    Harrisville, NH
    Fixed it for you...:rolleyes

    2012 Yamaha WR250R-$6590
    2012 Yamaha WR250F-$6890 (not street legal in US)
    2012 Yamaha WR450F-$8090 (not street legal in US)

    Expect the magical WR450R to cost between $8-9k, and our (mine and my wife's) Husqvarnas are more reliable than our Japanese bike(s). We just bought my wife a 2012 Husky TE250 (street legal) left over for $6000 (let me spell that out...that's $590 less that a WR250R).

    It would be so much easier and more honest if the Japanese bike fanboys would just say "I just like Jap bikes better" instead of trying to hammer us with these false statements and arguments:deal
  20. bobnoxious67

    bobnoxious67 Baby steps...

    Jun 21, 2008
    Harrisville, NH
    To the OP...

    If you want a bike like your WR250R, but with upgraded everything, I would urge you to look at the 2006-2009 Husqvarna TE 610's, or the 2010-2011 TE630's. No, they don't have a kick start back up, and you need to inspect the valve lash more often than 26,000 miles. They do have 3000 mile oil change intervals, tons of power, wide ratio transmission, close to the same weight, and are fairly reliable...along with having top shelf components (brakes, suspension, exhaust, etc)