Street Bike Preferences of Long Time Dirt Riders?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by mikem9, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. mikem9

    mikem9 Wanderer

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    Have ridden dirt bikes and dirt oriented dual sport bikes for 40+ years. Started riding street bikes about 6 years ago. Currently ride a Bandit 1200s on the street. Really like many things about that bike. A lot of bang for the buck.

    I notice though, that when I ride friend's adventure style or motard style (KTM 950 SM for example) bikes, I feel more comfortable in the tight twisties. The "dirt bike" position just feels more natural, in control and safer to me. Although I realize that true street bikes (like the bandit) were evolved with optimal street handling in mind.

    For you long time dirt riders, who came to street riding later in life, what are your Street bike type preferences and why?

    Thanks.
    #1
  2. Tallbastid

    Tallbastid Let's get tropical

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    I know exactly how you feel. I've been on dirtbikes for 15 years, and recently made a transition to street. I just can't get used to my vfr, however. I feel vulnerable on it and although it corners and accelerates extremely well, I don't feel like I can ride it as as I'm able to ride a more upright bike. Decided to pick up a new drz400 for the lo maintenance and fire road exploration, have yet to decide whether lll keep the vfr or not. There are faster and more exotic bikes out there than the drz, but the lower entry cost and long maintenance intervals seal the deal for me.
    #2
  3. anotherguy

    anotherguy unsympathetic

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    Try a first generation Tuono. It's like my CRF450 with mo' power and shitloads of traction.
    #3
  4. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    KTM 990 SM-T. Just go sit on one and maybe take it for a test. You'll be right at home.

    Another one you'll like is a Ducati air-cooled Hypermotard. But it won't travel like the KTM will.
    #4
  5. Kafn8td

    Kafn8td Been here awhile

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    KTM SMT is my current favorite bike. I also won't sell my Triumph Speed Triple. The KTM takes some work to make it perfect however.
    #5
  6. Bucho

    Bucho Long timer

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    I started out street riding but soon soon turned to dualsporting and dirtriding.
    I loved my DR650 with a motard wheelset for street (and light dualsporting). Maybe when my kid is older and my wife and I can travel I would like an adventure touring type bike.
    Rented a R1200GS once on a 4 day trip and thought it was great.
    Wouldnt mind one of those or maybe a cheaper Strom (though Ive never actually ridden one).

    Ive ridden my buddies KTM950 and really liked that too.
    #6
  7. rbrsddn

    rbrsddn 3banger

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    I rode dirt bikes, (Bultacos, Husky's) for years, and when I sat on my '01 speed Triple, it was just right. Wide bars with lots of leverage, and a semi upright position... Fun as hell.:deal
    #7
  8. mikem9

    mikem9 Wanderer

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    That's a good description.
    #8
  9. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    A Triumph Triple :D
    #9
  10. MotoTex

    MotoTex Miles of Smiles

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    Same story.

    I tend to ride street bikes as if they were dirt bikes.

    Finally started riding an Adventure bike and it was like coming home. They do it all. Cruise for hours, loaded, on a trip. Rip it up in the twisties. Then still love getting back to my roots, dirt. Exploring dirt roads and paved back roads is an addictive pastime.

    First adventure bike was a KTM950 Adventure. I really can't say enough about how this bike performs. It is like the ultimate dirt bike. Once the suspension is dialed in for rider weight, maybe do some valving on the front, it is able to manage things you would never believe a liter bike could do. If you have the skills. It rides like a dirt bike, just got to remember the weight when entering places you might want to change course.

    But you would also want to love mechanic'n. The bike is reliable, but it is a high strung thoroughbred and wants your attention.

    So, I bought a Triumph 800XC. It is 85% of the KTM, and I get to ride it all the time. That engine is mesmerizing. It comes on like an electric motor, or a turbine. The powerband is remarkable as it puts out a steady 50 ft.lb. of torque across several thousand RPM. It is a sleeper that sneaks up fast. Wheelslip is easy to control. It lacks the tuneability of the springers on the KTM, and a little travel. With a tuned suspension I think it will be everything I need.

    The 950 is everything I wanted.
    (I drool a little over the 1190 now and again)

    Like Dakez, I'd second taking a look at the triples and what Triumph has done with them.
    #10
  11. NYTrainer

    NYTrainer Been here awhile

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    I rode a '72 Kawasaki 500 triple (& survived!) before I began racing mX, then flat track. Took 20 years off for college/marriage, before returning to riding.
    I now ride a DR650 Suzuki on the seasonal/dirt roads. Funny, I always thought dual sports were for riders not good enough to race.

    My go-to street bikes are an '81 XV920 Yamaha & a '92 Yamaha TDM 850. The TDM's long legs & standard riding position do it for me.

    I recently sold my 2003 FZ1 Yamaha, before I ended up in traffic court/the hospital/morgue.
    #11
  12. Thorgrim

    Thorgrim Used'ta could

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    Thirded. My buddy keeps telling me to trust my tires, but how can I trust them when they aren't pushing up a berm? :D

    The 17" front tire and more limited degree of lock-to-lock with a street bike bothers me at very low speeds. I guess it's because I spent my "formative" years squaring off turns, right when I get to what I subconsciously mapped out as the apex where I (expect to) square off and change directions, I run into the fork stops and bobble or dab, or both.

    I could relearn in time, but I'm thinking I might be happier with a more dirt oriented bike. This bike has to do for now but that may change down the road. Or I'll change. Just have to wait a bit to see which way it will be.

    Dammit, the Tiger fever is back again ... the pills do nothing.
    #12
  13. corndog67

    corndog67 Banned

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    Things change. I'm at 41 years in the dirt, and 36 on the street. I used to love CR500s, been through a string of them. Several 250s , too. TT500. YZ400, 465, RMs, I could get used to anything, rapidly. Then Supersport street bikes, I used to love clip-ons and being tucked in, and 140 mph roll ons. As I got older, I bought a YZ450F, and found that I couldn't ride fast or hard enough to make it work well. Then, on street bikes, those damn clip-ons and high foot pegs were making me sore at the end of a day of riding. So now, I've been through everything from a Daytona 955 to a couple CBRs, 1200 Bandit, just a whole variety of stuff, ending up with a KTM 950 SM, a bike that works very well. But I'm thinking, maybe a ZX10, or R1, or GSXR1000, or CBR1000 with a handlebar kit, because my 950 won't pull the front wheel off the ground at 120mph.
    #13
  14. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    Another guy with a dirt background here. I prefer having the leverage of wide handlebars. I'm sure I could make better time in the twisties on my Aprilia Dorsoduro than on the Ninja 636 I used to own. A pro rider would probably disagree.
    #14
  15. SRG

    SRG SRG

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    Ducati Multistradas have an upright seating position and wide bars similar to a dirtbike. The air cooled older ones are reasonably light and flickable.
    #15
  16. corndog67

    corndog67 Banned

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    I've ridden both. There is no comparison to the water cooled 1200. Old tech vs. new tech.
    #16
  17. Mr Fast

    Mr Fast Slowly striving

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    When you've ridden in the dirt for years & start riding street you will naturally gravitate to the dual sports; GS1200, KTM Adventure, etc. The other thing is when you get older the upright riding style is way more comfie.
    #17
  18. OldPhat

    OldPhat Adventurer

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    I have not been on a dirt bike for nine years when I sold my 2000 XR 600, I to have 40 plus years of riding under my belt. At 67 year young I have put a lot of miles on in the dirt, and I also done street at the same time as well. The first bike was doodell bug, fifth grade, in the dirt. In 1970 I got a Suzuki 250 Savage Duel Sport, my first real Motorcycle. Over time and many bikes, Street and Dirt, I am down to just one a 2007 Harley Road King Custom. I still wish for the thrill of riding dirt again so I find myself on Craigslist once a week looking.
    #18
  19. ebbanflood

    ebbanflood Riff Raff

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    That Bandit is a great bike, I talked 2 nephew's into buying it. I rode dirt bikes for many years from age 12 to 17 almost every day. When I started riding street bikes I ran through Honda's, Suzuki's, Kawasaki's, Yamaha's, Triumph 650's, Harley Panhead, Shovelhead and Evo's. One day while riding with a friend who was on a BMW GS, he said "lets switch bikes for a while". A short time later I bought my first GS, that was 3 GS's ago. It went like this, 1994 R100GSPD, 1995 R1100GS, 2005 R1150 GS Adventure, 2002 R1150 GS Adventure. When I first rode it I said to him " I don't like it, it's like a dirt bike on steroids". Now when my friends, all still Harley die-hard's ask why, I say "I love it it's like a dirtbike on steroids". When you hit the start button, you are 16 again, when you leave the road and head into the woods, you are 13 again. I still keep a Yamaha TW200 to ride on the beach. Good luck in your search. The great thing about motorcycles is they are all good.
    #19
  20. northy185

    northy185 n00b

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    As a long time dirt rider, I got bitten by the sportbike bug when I was between dirt rides. Of course, being 21 and having a good job meant I walked into the Honda dealership and out 2 hours later with a brand new 600RR. Since it had been awhile since I rode dirt, I enjoyed the positioning and how fast I could rip the twisties. After a few speeding tickets and several impound threats, I picked up a dirt bike to burn off the aggression in a "safe" manner again.

    My Beta RS with the sumo wheels is really hard to beat. I still have the RR, but I find myself jumping on the Beta. I still get the rush of dipping it into the corners, but at a much 'friendlier' speed :evil
    #20