recomendations for an inexpensive trail worthy dual sport

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by alcontrast, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. alcontrast

    alcontrast at least I'm trying

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    I admit this is not really what this forum is focused on but it seemed like the best option out there.. although the "Thumpers" forum might be better I am not sure if what I am looking for will neccesarily be a thumper although I tend to think it will be..


    I'm looking for some cheap options for a trail worth dual sport bike.. Ideally I'd want to spend under $1000 so don't go saying I should find a WR250R.. I would love one of those but obviously out of my price range.. I'm looking for around $1000, can hit 65mph (ideally with a little rpm to spare) and trail worthy for rocky muddy single track.

    for example the bikes I have been looking at lately have been mostly late 90's, early 2000's bikes like a Dr350, Super Sherpa, KLR250, and XR250L.

    I'm just new to this whole dirt thing and I am not familiar with some of the late 90's early 2000's bikes so I may be looking in the wrong direction or totally missign some great options...

    what do you think?
    #1
  2. c_m_shooter

    c_m_shooter Ninja Warrior

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    At your price range, you can't be too picky. An old DR200 will probably be your best bet, but it's hard to find anything with a title for under $1500 around here.
    #2
  3. alcontrast

    alcontrast at least I'm trying

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    I'm not trying to be to picky.. I just don't know what some decent bikes were ten years ago since I've only been looking at dual sport bikes for the past year or two and most of that time I was more geared towards long distance touring.. So the 250cc range of bikes is all just letters and numbers to me (since they almost all seem to be along the lines of DR350, XT225, etc)...

    It's definitely hard to find a solid roadworthy/trailworthy dual sport for under $1500 which is why I'm trying to expand my search.. I just saw a 1999 DR350 on craigslist recently for $1200 which is tempting.. I might call the seller this weekend after I get paid.. but that's the sort of thing I am looking for I think. I am just wondering what ELSE I should plug into my searches....
    #3
  4. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Aspiring advrider

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    I've seen some good deals on TT-R250s. Mine is a blast. Air-cooled, 6 speed, decent suspension with a seat that can actually be comfortable. Plenty out there for a reasonable price. :norton
    #4
  5. Jonex

    Jonex Long timer

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    When the XT225 Serow came out I was a wrench at a Yammy dealer and I put together the first one we got and took it for a ride. I was pretty impressed - for what it was, it really worked well.

    That engine shares basic architecture with a bunch of Yamaha 200cc +/- a bit engines that are positively indestructible and easy to work on.
    #5
  6. concours

    concours WFO for 44 years

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    an older one that's a little rough can be had for a grand. If your new to the dirt, you WILL be dumping it.
    #6
  7. Mista Vern

    Mista Vern Knows all - tells some.

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    I think you are on the right track and searching is half the fun. You may want to check out older 500 and 600 cc Yamaha thumpers, as they were pretty indestructable and are usually in your price range.
    #7
  8. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

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    If you can find one and plate it one of my old favorites is the 1987 TT350 Yamaha. Great on gas, good torque, 6 spd trans (in 87!). Biggest bummers drum rear brake and a little heavy. Also kickstart not e. But should be in your range if you can find one.
    #8
  9. concours

    concours WFO for 44 years

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    #9
  10. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    I had a Yamaha XT350 back in 1987, and it was a terrific bike. I'd happily own another one.
    #10
  11. Zecatfish

    Zecatfish XTique Rider

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    I would say that you can find most anything built in the early to mid eighties for that amount. I've seen Honda XL500 for under $1000, lots of XT500's out there too. 80-82 XT250 can be found for under $600 alot of times.

    your just starting out, and mainly doing dirt roads and forest type roads, light and reliable is more important than a MX type suspension.
    #11
  12. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Most likely if you go cheap and buy a bike for a grand you will find yourself fixing it as you go to the tune of what ever it costs to keep fixing it. Could be more pricey then biting the bullet and buying a better bike to start with,especially when you look at the hassle of fixing bikes and down time.
    Ive had a bunch and have bought a few fixers,it gets old quick.
    #12
  13. alcontrast

    alcontrast at least I'm trying

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    I've seen the newer xt225 and those seemed about right but wasn't sure how far back they made those... There are a couple of other good suggestions here as well although I am trying to avoid the 600cc range. Mostly since I have the BMW f650gs that I ride off road now but it's also set up for touring. 500 pounds easily and although I don't mind dropping it things do break on that bike fairly easily ($).. But mostly I'm looking for something more nimble to hone my off road skills.
    #13
  14. 45LC

    45LC Been here awhile

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    Having owned a Xt225 and a TW200 I would not reccomend either of them to an experinced rider.
    Might be ok for someone learning to ride but if you're anything like me you'll be shocked at how poorly they handle. Even brand spanking new.
    Both of our bikes were bought for my wife to ride, Which is fine BUT I could not stand riding either one.

    Suspension. Soft,weak,very short travel and not adjustable or upgradable. Very old technology by any brand standard.
    Weight. Very heavy for small bikes. My KX125 4 stroke is about 100lbs less than the TW200 and much faster.
    Brakes They just don't work period. Great at locking and skidding but thats it. Who still uses drums anyway?
    Even 60's hot rod guys upgrade to disc brakes. No kit I've ever seen to do this conversion.
    Then all the little things, notchy non-tactile shifting, poor head angle, short seat height,low handle bars, dim headlights, soft foam seat, melting platstics, paratitc battery drain, no kick start, etc. I guess I just expected more for $3,000 bikes.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    For under a grand I'd highly reccomend the Honda XL200R or XR200. Extremely durable bikes and most often still plated for occasional on road use.
    Another option I'm a fan of (owned 3 personally) is the DR250 and DR350 dual sports. DR's weigh more but many come standard with electric start which can be nice. The Hondas tend to cost a little less.
    Both are bulletproof with lots of aftermarket parts still produced.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    #14
  15. concours

    concours WFO for 44 years

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    car:rofl
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  16. BHW

    BHW Long timer

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    There's on older XR600 for sale locally here for $500. It needs a little work, but could be fixed up nicely for a $1000 budget.
    #16
  17. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    If you can find a '98-'99 DR350SE for $1200US or less in good shape, you're doing pretty well. Those years came with the dirt suspension.

    The DR350 has the 6spd, travel, subframe, curb weight, power, and aftermarket that make for a good DS bike in your price range.
    #17
  18. alcontrast

    alcontrast at least I'm trying

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    how's the 1997 suspension? I may be looking at a 1997 dr350 later this week.... street legal version
    #18
  19. 685

    685 Scarred Adventurer

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    One of my favorite bikes. Really a dirt bike that you can ride on the road. There's a 91 or so for a grand on CL here. Beware, older DRs are kick start only!!!!

    I have an 08 KLR, it might be okay off road (as in off the gravel roads around here.) But the plastics and the position of the radiator are a problem. I'm getting a fugggly 91 DR 650 (swapping a bike I no longer ride) and I'm thinking that it's gonna be perfect for what I want. A bike that it doesn't matter if I bend it, I don't care. Cheap, disposeable.
    #19
  20. frog13

    frog13 Long timer

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    Hmmm,my TW does just fine...goes places alot of bikes won't..not fast,but look into how the engine/gearing is set up.Also,60ish mph is not a problem for this engine!.
    #20