Picking a Dual Sport bike - Need help....

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by navipro, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. navipro

    navipro n00b

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    Hi Guys,
    I have been follwoing you guys for a while and now decided to post. I have to pull the trigger on the bike. Here are some criterias:
    1) Cool!
    2) Reliable (i would like to keep it for 10 years), however I do not think i will put more than 10k/year on it.
    3) I do not want it to be overly heavy
    4) It will spend 80% of the time on the pavement/highways, 20% off.
    5) My wife will ride with me 70% of the time
    6) I do not want to close the door on gravel roads and some very mild off road.
    7) New..... This is discussable I do not want to go too old (1-2 years are ok)
    8) Budget - hopefully under 10,000 new.
    9) I would really like ABS.
    10) Heated grips are a nice addon
    11) Forgot! Upright seating for a tall guy - I am 6.3

    So I guess I am looking at the dual mode bikes. Here is what i have looked at so far:
    1) BMW G650GS - 12,500 all in, ABS, Heated Grips, Central Stand, 3 year warranty
    2) BMW F700GS, ABS, Heated Grips, Central Stand - 13,500, 3 year warranty
    3) Honda NC700XA - 12,500, 1 year warranty
    4) Kawi Versys 650 - 12,300 - no ABS, 1 year warranty
    5) Kawi Versys 1000 - 12,500, ABS+Traction+2 Bags, 2 year warranty, 2012
    6) Suzuki ???? - 10500, 1 year warranty, but I do not fit :(
    Anything else I am missing?
    So besides your opinions i would like to ask few things:
    1) All but BMW G650GS have more than 1 cylinder. How does longevity of the motor compare between BMW and everything else?
    2) How important are heated grips for YOU?
    3) How important central stand is for you?
    4) Opinions on the warranty?
    I know that Versys1000 is a different animal but it is such a good deal that I am still thinking about it. I am afraid that i will not be able to take it to ANY offroad. However for riding 2up is the best option (agree?).
    #1
  2. DerViking

    DerViking Shred

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    You may have the wrong forum.
    #2
  3. nevgriff64

    nevgriff64 Spelt with 2 ffs Super Moderator

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    Hi Navipro,

    Welcome to the Forum mate.

    This question is probably better suited to Thumpers, i'll move it there for you. :thumb

    Cheers.
    #3
  4. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    only one thumper in the lot..... he's looking for a poor man's 11/1200GS?

    the only other thumper that comes close is the KLR as the DR isn't too much of a 2 up bike. it would also be the lightest & cheapest of the lot. no abs though
    #4
  5. RidingDonkeys

    RidingDonkeys Purveyor of Awesome

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    The bike you seek has never been built. You are going to have to compromise on a few of the criteria.

    My suggestion is to really look at all the bikes in person. Sit on them with your wife on back. Test ride them. Then you'll start to find your compromise points.

    New and a sub-$10k price point eliminate most of what you seek. The 650's are great bikes, fit your price point, and do great on and off road. But a 6'4" guy won't be leaving much room or power for a passenger.

    Step into something bigger like a Tiger 800XC, F800GS, or a 1200GS and you'll have room to stretch out, but you've instantly blown your price point out of the water and bought a much heavier bike.

    You just have to find the right compromises.

    Sent from the voices in my head and transcribed by their drinking buddy...
    #5
  6. RidingDonkeys

    RidingDonkeys Purveyor of Awesome

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    Also, check out the Husqvarna TR650. I'm sort of a fan, and it is one of the best deals out there right now.

    Sent from the voices in my head and transcribed by their drinking buddy...
    #6
  7. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

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    May I suggest you fill out your profile, so we know what country you are in?

    What does 20% off-road mean? Of pavement, and on gravel? Or dirt 2-track?

    Obvious choices for 2-up and mostly road are R1200GS, 950/990 Enduro, Tiger 800XC, F800GS, KLR650. None are dirt bikes, but all can do gravel and modest trails with suitable tires (and more skill than I have). The twins on the list will all have to be used to meet your price point, and few of us ever put 100,000 miles on any bike, but who knows? Life is too unpredictable and short to plan what motorcycle I'll be riding in 10 years. I just hope to still be riding.

    Personally I find anything approaching 400 lbs riding solo off-road is a chore, but I have seen it done with aplomb by riders more skilled than I will ever be.

    Based on your original post, the bike that best fits your criteria is a KLR, except the lack of ABS.
    #7
  8. trainman

    trainman Been here awhile

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    I see this is your first post here and you are probably looking at your first bike purchase. Most of the bikes you asked about will not work for one reason or the other, mainly because of two up riding and your wife not being comfortable on many of these bikes. I would say that dual sport riding is a single rider sport and most bikes are designed that way, two up for bikes like BMW 1200GS, Yamaha 1200 Terere, and bikes of this size are popular, but come at a high price tag. Most of today's bikes will last up into the 70,000-80,000 mile range pretty easily if maintained properly and ridden correctly. Two of the more popular dual sport bike would be the BMW 650 GS and the Kawasaki KLR 650, these two bike have been known for there high mileage and low cost of ownership. Do note that doing the service work yourself on BMW's would be required. ABS and heated grips are a good thing, but when ridden off road the ABS you want it turned off if you ever plan to stop the bike on dirt. I think you would be better off telling us how you want to ride the bike, one or two riders, and ask what bikes are the most cost efficient to own over the years. The first to come to mind that would fit your needs all the way around would be the Suzuki 650 V-Strom, meets all your requirements.

    John
    #8
  9. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

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    Probably should be in Beasts.

    Tiger 800 definitely needs to be on the list.
    #9
  10. GSAragazzi

    GSAragazzi Long timer

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    Hi, I'm pretty new to the Adv riding (sport rider for over 20 years tho) and completely green when it comes to dirt. So here's my 2cents: make sure that whatever you get with ABS offer a mode to turn it OFF! You don't want to try gravel or anything like that with ABS on. Riding two up on a thumper (70% of the time) would be very hard IMHO.I think you'll need more cylinder.
    With a budget of $10k I would look for a used Triumph 800.
    Another option that seems very popular is the V Storm Adventure, it's not lite but for 80% road use this may b the one for you.
    Again, can't see a lightweight thumper been fun two up doing paved road duty.

    Hey, if adventurous and wanting to save some serious coin look for a Triumph Tiger 900i (99-01 yes it's old but bulletproof). No ABS but it would fit your frame perfectly, tons of Farkles for it, power for two up and great on and off road use.
    Cheers
    :freaky
    #10
  11. navipro

    navipro n00b

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    Well guys, i really appreciate your responses. After rereading my own post I have realized that I am really asking a question without a right answer. I am looking for a pickup that can serve as the sports car and as the bus - that does not happen.
    I live in Ontario and we have a ton of trails. My wife does not ride but really like to be on the bike. Both of us like exploring and nature. Now I am thinking of one bike and one ATV for her. THe problem is the transportation TO the trail.
    So let me rephrase the question. What would you recommend for 2up onroad bike and a single off-road bike? Where is the right mix?
    BMW does allow you to turn off the ABS.
    #11
  12. GSAragazzi

    GSAragazzi Long timer

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    How about a hack? That's my next purchase. I own a 1200GS Adv but even on that I feel bad for my wife bc she has to stare at the back of my helmet when we go on long rides. What do you think of a Ural Patrol? It's 2wheel drive so even in the snow you are ok, the sidecar is great for her or even you if she decides to give it try. Built like tanks and they copied the BMW engine deign so thy are easy to maintain. You can load them with enough gear for a weekend trip etc. Then if you deide you also need a lighter bike you can go - like I did- with a cheap DR350 as a started trial bike (here in the Dallas TX area they cost +-$1500 in Canada it may differ).
    The only downside to the Urals is that they do have some issues -even new- to address and top speed is a joyful 65mph owing the wind on you back.:lol3
    #12
  13. RidingDonkeys

    RidingDonkeys Purveyor of Awesome

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    I speak Hack fluently. The wife's Ural Gear-Up is the only bike I've ever bought new with no regrets. It is hands down the most smiles per mile of any bike we've ever owned. KneeDrachen has a great deal to be had under $10k in MD right now.

    Sent from the voices in my head and transcribed by their drinking buddy...
    #13
  14. basketcase

    basketcase lifelong reject fixer

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    I'm thinking you are joking, but in case you are not joking my main thought is scratch "cool" off the list and focus on comfortable, affordable, and functional.

    After owning bikes with ABS I can tell you ABS is useful but not essential. I've had heated grips on three BMW's and will tell you heated grips are over-rated. I prefer to layer clothing and not risk sweating and then freezing.

    Ergonomics are crucial. Sit on the bikes and see how the position feels. Are you hunched over, stretched out, or neutral and natural? If you are going to be on the thing all day, and days on end after one another, the right choice at the front end will relieve you of countless hours of discomfort.

    Dual sport bikes are typically "tall" and seat height is an issue to some people. Are you comfortable "paddling" the bike around by the balls of your feet? Granted, most of us only put our feet down when stopped, but it is important to be able to touch down firmly when stability is needed.

    Can you lift the sucker off the ground and back upright if you drop it? There are techniques for lifting heavy bikes by yourself but the videos where those are demonstrated are nearly always in ideal conditions. I know from experience that when the thing is laid over in sand -- or worse, in a foot of running water in a muddy creek, that recalling the videos will make you want to spit and cuss! :lol3

    Range, payload, and other amenities can be worked out via the aftermarket after the basic mount is chosen.

    So good luck with the bike hunt, and welcome to the asylum. :freaky
    #14
  15. montesa_vr

    montesa_vr Legend in his own mind

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    I am 6'4" and I have done long trail rides 2-up on everything from a 100cc Hodaka to an XT500, so it can be done. (I did have very willing passengers in those days)

    Why do you say the Suzuki doesn't fit you? You can get a good deal on a leftover new 2011 V-Strom 650A ABS, which accommodates a passenger very nicely. The seat on the 650 is interchangeable with the taller seat on the 1000, and will give you more leg room. Some dealers will happily swap the seats at no charge.

    It's no trail bike, but the engine is a jewel.

    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. Aj Mick

    Aj Mick Been here awhile

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    Why not go for a pair of quarter litre bikes, such as the new Honda CRF250L; one for you and one for your wife?
    #16
  17. jon_l

    jon_l Long timer

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    I agree with much of what you wrote, but your heated grip comment sounds like you're from Alabama; note that the OP is from Ontario. Heated grips here extend the already too short season. Heated grips beat thick winter gloves for control.
    #17
  18. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Been here awhile

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    Armchair research is cool. But plunk your backside down on the bike and see how it feels. If you're not legal to ride, at least have someone hold the bike up and sit there in the riding position making vroom-vroom noises. A whole lot of bikes that sound appealing in the articles may not fit you worth a shucks.

    Fitting a motorcycle is a lot like fitting a helmet. You've got to place a helmet on your head to know if it actually fits and is comfortable enough to really wear.
    #18
  19. basketcase

    basketcase lifelong reject fixer

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    :1drinkPoint taken. In that climate I can see where the grips would be a valuable amenity. And I've known others who really liked them.

    But for me, I settled on a set of winter gloves that have worked well down to 25* Fahrenheit and blowing sleet and snow -- without turning on the heated grips.

    And all that said (drum roll please), I no longer ride in that type of weather. At age 58 some things that were attractive to me at age 35 just no longer exert the same draw.

    Sooo ... I'll stay in the crib with my bride (no heated grips needed to be hot) and you young bucks can tackle the harsh elements on two wheels. Just saying ... :lol3
    #19
  20. montesa_vr

    montesa_vr Legend in his own mind

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    I saw a comparison test recently (can't remember where or what) in which one of the bikes had heated grips and another had enduro-style handguards. Testers reported the hand guards did more than the heated grips to keep their hands warm. I suppose having them together would be ideal, but something else to think about.
    #20