Suitable dual purpose bike for short ass

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Mainjet, May 7, 2013.

  1. Mainjet

    Mainjet Adventurer

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    Looking at touring with significant offroad sections and some serious miles, maybe RTW. So the bike will be loaded with gear.

    First trip will be the Trans America trail in a few weeks.

    Missus being a short-ass we are looking for a suitable bike for her.
    We are shortlisted the following for her as having a low seat height at 32" or 810mm:

    Honda CRF 230
    Yamaha XT225
    Yamaha XT250
    Suzuki DR200

    The XT250 2013 has Fuel injection, but is 23kg heavier than the XT225.

    BTW, in the dirt she normally ride a gasgas250 2stroke with no issues apart from when she needs to touch the ground with both feet, ie deep river crossings etc.

    We are not particular worried about highway speed as long as we can sit on 60MPH or 100K/hr or there about.

    Anyone care to comment on any of the above bikes with their opinion as to suitability, longevity etc or anything obvious we have overlooked.

    Much appreciated

    K
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  2. Mainjet

    Mainjet Adventurer

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    BTW, buying in the USA.

    Also a very good condition late model Suzuki DR350 could be the go, tho they have a seat height of 35"

    K
    #2
  3. bigalsmith101

    bigalsmith101 Been here awhile

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    Have you considered the newer model Honda CRF250L? Though the seat height is 34.7 inches, it's not too difficult to lower the seat height a couple of inches. They are also priced competitively as well.

    As for the difference between the fuel injected XT250 vs. Carbureted XT225. I'd go for the cheaper, lighter version if it'll help her. The Xt225 is a bulletproof engine and will handle the terrain with no carb related issues. Save the 23kg and take the carb. It's time tested and proven.

    DR200's are used around the world and are bulletproof as well. Easy going, reliable bike.

    I'd take the XT225. Slap a 4 gallon Clarke aftermarket gas tank on it, and you'll be set. I've got 2 friends that each rode an XT225 over 10k miles a piece. One road it from Colorado to Panama, and the other then bought it and road it to Vancouver, Canada. It's still running today, sold to another ADVmember.
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  4. oldxr

    oldxr Long timer

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    There is a company called kouba link that makes lowering links for lots of different dual sport bikes.Replace a link in the rear suspension with new part-loosen front forks in triple clamps to lower front.The most popular small bore bike used by alot of members on here is the yamaha wr250r.Moose and another company called motorcycle lowering links make parts for the wr250r.The yamaha has a modern water cooled engine with efi and e-start.I have worked on a dr350 suzuki and liked it but you need to find the later version with e-start.The trans is a 6 speed with a good ratio spread.The problem with most modern japanese dual sports is weight-most are in the 300lb range.Another thing to try is a Seat Concepts wide seat.Alot of the new bikes come with the same 2x4 seat that was sourced from a moto-x version of the same bike-not good.I have a Honda xr650r that has been lowered and uses the Seat Concepts seat.No problems with the Kouba link or the Seat Concepts seat.
    #4
  5. Woody2627

    Woody2627 Skinny Decaf Latte Thanks

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    BMW 650 single. Lower seat height than the ones listed, and good for serious miles. Use less juice than the others as well. Worth a thought maybe.
    #5
  6. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    Although the BMW F650 single is a great bike, its way too big & heavy for a short person to ride on significant off road sections. My wife is pretty decent off road and she much prefers the small DS bikes off road.
    #6
  7. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    How tall is your misses and how is she built?

    My wife is 5'4"/115lbs/29" inseam so bike weight & height are big factors for her. You definitely are being smart about this keeping her on shorter and lighter bikes.

    She's had a couple XT225's and loves them. Her current one is setup with the Clark 4.1gal tank, TCI Sequoia Rack, lots of protection, etc. She took it on the Eastern TAT last year and did great. The XT225 has a wonder 6spd transmission and going up 1 tooth on the front makes it handle the road sections even better. There is no reason this bike couldn't do what you ask for it. The biggest thing going for the XT225 is it does have the Clark 4.1 gal tank available which gives the bike a great range. None of the others you listed have any aftermarket tanks available.

    I would stay away from the DR200 as I think it gets a bit anemic on the road sections, more so than the other bikes. Very little aftermarket too for it.

    The XT250 is also a very good bike, but unfortunately not as much aftermarket including no big tank. The 250 also only has a 5spd transmission, although the engine is a bit torquier than the 225. It does get FI for 2013, but its pretty pricey even coming in higher than the new Honda CRF250L.

    The Honda CRF230L probably has the lowest seat height of the bikes you listed. Only problem again is not much after market available.

    We did recently buy my wife one of the new 2013 CRF250L's to add to the stable. This bike is quite a bit porkier than the XT225 and that was something she really noticed. The extra height and weight definitely were a struggle in the beginning, but she's starting to get more used to it. She's fallen in love with the water cooled 250 FI engine on the Honda and I think that is the biggest thing going for her, otherwise she's still way more comfortable on the XT225 when it comes to challenging off road sections. She did get the low Seat Concepts seat (didn't really lower her much) and we took out quite a bit of preload so it actually sagged with her on it. We dropped the forks a bit to compensate for the lower preload in the rear, but there isn't much there to work with as the forks get thinner just a little ways down. IMOP, the CRF250L isn't the best bike to lower as you'll never get the front down as much as the rear if you use a link or do the re-drill method on the rear shock and therefore you'll end up with a front end to high and a bike that won't turn. The correct way to lower the CRF250L would be with new shock/fork internals.

    Overall, the CRF250L is a great bike if someone can touch on it and doesn't mind the extra weight, but if weight/height are an issue, the XT225 or XT250 make better choices. Since you are looking at 32" seat heights, the CRF250L might just be too tall for her.

    BTW, my wife did spend about a year on a KTM125sx dirt bike so that definitely helped her with taller dual sports, but in the end if they get to off road sections where they are struggling and can't get their feet down comfortable and fall over, they risk getting hurt and damaging the bike. Neither which are good when you are on a long trip like the TAT or RTW Trip.

    My overall vote is for the XT225. Best aftermarket available, pretty robust & simple engines. They do 60mph okay as long as the rider and the gear isn't too over loaded. No big hard luggage cases as that just slows it down way too much. The XT225 could use a suspension upgrade to really handle the off road more smoothly, but its a great bike overall.
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  8. Mainjet

    Mainjet Adventurer

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    BlueLighting:
    Yes, sounds like the XT225 is the right bike. Wasn't aware that a large aftermarket tank was available.

    Missus is 5'1" and about 120lb. Pretty strong as well. She does out-ride half the guys on tough enduro sections, so she can ride.

    When traveling you always have a loaded bike which is top heavy and you want to get off, often, to take photos, look at stuff etc, so it important that you can do that easily.

    Woody:
    BMW too heavy off the road.

    bigalsmith:
    CRF250 is too tall for her, even when lowered.


    I guess if the bike is not right, we can always sell it and get something else. Its no like bikes are hard to find in the States :-).

    BTW, for myself I'll most likely get a DR650, though the current deals on the Husqvarna 650 looks very attracting. Have had a few DR650, so know them reasonably well.
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  9. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    Yeah at 5'1", the CRF250L is definitely too tall. She might even be a little on her toes on the XT225, but at least its one of the lightest ones out there at 120lbs, she'll be perfect for that bike. I think the XT225 probably makes the best option for you guys.

    The Clark tank is definitely nice and with 4.1 gallons, it gives the XT over a 200 mile range. Since you are looking at the DR, you have lots of options available too including the 4.9 or 5.3 tanks.

    Good luck and please link into this thread if you start doing any type of ride report, that way we can follow you.
    #9
  10. woofer2609

    woofer2609 Been here awhile

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    very easy to fix en route in the unlikely event something does happen. I might suggest that with this and probably and carb'ed bike, you look at an airbox slider that will allow you to let more air into the airbox at higher elevations to correct your air fuel mixture. This has been my only real qualm with the bike. The starter clutches seem to go at around 12,000 miles if used heavily, or the bike is started while in gear. I LOVE the fact that you can get an available kickstart as well for this bike and have both. Many available aftermarket options as well. Have you and your wife read "Lois on the loose" yet?
    (She used a ttr230, which is the same as an XT in many regards)
    http://www.loisontheloose.com/
    #10
  11. bigalsmith101

    bigalsmith101 Been here awhile

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    Are you looking at buying new bikes, or are you in the market for used bikes? As you mention that you are most likely getting a DR650, I feel that I should tell you that I've got a 2009 DR650 very well set up that I listed for sale last winter. It's located 50km north of Seattle. Feel free to P.M. me if interested.
    #11
  12. muddyrabbit

    muddyrabbit Lost Boy

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    Why not pick the best bike for the job and then have the suspension lowered (the right way by a reputable suspension shop) to suit her height? My missus is about the same height, and rides a WR250R. When we bought it she couldn't even come close to touching the ground. Now she can nearly flat foot on one side or get both toes down.

    Also, i highly recommend the wr250, super reliable, injected, tons of after market parts. This is about the best pic I can find in it's current form. Oversize tank, skid plate, happy trails panniers. Her previous bike was a DR350, she says the handling is better on the WR and the injected 250 feels more powerful than the carbed 350. Her longest single day on this bike was from Coco's Corner to Loreto in Baja, 360 miles.

    [​IMG]

    This was the bike in stock form, you can see in the pic she barely has one toe down. What you can't see very well due to camera angle is she is hanging off one side of the seat. She also had to have help to get the bike off the sidestand, with the bike on the side stand she could not touch and stand it up.
    [​IMG]

    Now with the suspension properly lowered she can do this:
    [​IMG]

    Keep in mind the bike is actually sitting on slightly uneven ground making it an even farther reach to the ground.
    #12
  13. Mainjet

    Mainjet Adventurer

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    Like the WR setup very much.
    Actually she used to race a WR250 and still raves on about the bike.

    Any indication of cost for a setup like that, excluding the bike cost and panniers

    Kim
    #13
  14. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    Klx250?
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  15. Mainjet

    Mainjet Adventurer

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    I guess this also brings all the other 250's back into consideration.
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  16. muddyrabbit

    muddyrabbit Lost Boy

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    with you wife being light you could use the same springs in the forks and just cut them for the shorter stroke, which will save quite a bit. so 300-400 dollars.
    #16
  17. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    I'm not a suspension guy, but I believe cutting springs will end up making them stiffer. There is less spring to compress over a certain distance. So although the bike might sit lower, they are going to end up with a stiffer ride which isn't going to work well for a light rider either.
    #17
  18. muddyrabbit

    muddyrabbit Lost Boy

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    It has a lot to do with how much it will be lowered, and how much weight overall the bike will carry(and I really didn't convey the whole thought very well posting from my phone either). Yes, shortening the spring is going to effectively make it a stiffer spring, but if you are only taking an inch off it won't make that much difference. Combined with the fact that most bikes are pretty lightly sprung to begin with. Also factor in that in addition to her weight there will be the weight of whatever luggage and gear she is going to have on the bike, a bit stiffer may be good.

    Case in point, when we did Mala Bunny's WR250R we shortened the fork stroke by 1 inch, which required a 1 inch shorter spring. Her riding the bike by herself in stock form the forks springs were about right, maybe a little soft. But then we added an oversize gas tank that carries 2.5 gallons more fuel right up front, and luggage, and whatever she packs in the luggage, and she needed a slightly stiffer spring. So cutting the stock spring happened to work out pretty good. It could actually be a bit stiffer, but she does not use it for very difficult trail very often, more like a super lightweight adventure tourer. But if she had been a 180 to 200 pound rider (instead of the significantly lighter weight she is which shall remain undisclosed, because, you know she's a woman and would kill me), then we would not have been able to get away with cutting the stock spring once you factored in the added weight of the tank and luggage.

    So knowing how the math worked out for Mala's WR, and that she could have a heavier spring rate to make it "perfect" and knowing that Mainjet's wife is 120 pounds which makes her XX.x pounds lighter than Mala, if he were going to equip a WR250 in a similar way shortening the springs would likely be pretty good. If not there is always the option of replacing the springs, which will add about $100-$120 to the cost of doing the forks.

    When it came to the rear of the bike, we did three things. First, the WR has a threaded height adjuster on the bottom of the shock, setting that all the way to the lowest setting helped, she could at least tip-toe one side without hanging completely off the bike, but it was not enough for her to be comfortable. So we did the lowering link next, we used a Yama Link, same thing as a Kouba, except it's blue and matches the bike, and well, she's a girl... Better, but still not there. So we opened the shock and did an internal spacer to shorten the stroke a bit. Any decent suspension shop will tell you this is the "right way" to lower suspension. One of the reasons we did a combination of lowering link and internal spacer is that to do it internally and get it low enough for her we would have taken away a significant amount of suspension travel. So in this case after checking clearances the combination was the best solution. Once again after doing all the math on the spring rate, factoring in her weight, accessories, amount of pre-load adjustment, and most importantly riding style, we were able to keep the stock spring (it did not need to be shortened). It should also be noted for anyone doing a lowering link that since you are changing the length of a LEVER in the suspension it affects your spring rate. Whenever you put in a lowering link you are making the spring rate softer because you have given the forces working against the spring more mechanical advantage. Honestly, Mala's SHOULD have had a stiffer rear spring put on, but once again she doesn't ride it on hard off road very often.
    #18
  19. Krazyjohnny

    Krazyjohnny Been here awhile

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    Check out a post here about two Texans do the TAT. Jordan and his wife went through this same scenario. She rode a nicely equipped KLX250 and she was a petite lady. Super nice folks and were more than helpful when my wife was looking for her ride.
    #19
  20. BillMoore

    BillMoore Been here awhile

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    The Honda CRF230L is a great bike for a shorter person. 267 lbs, and a 31" seat height. My wife rides one, and is very happy with it. Pretty gutless at speeds over 60 mph, but great for off road and around town.
    #20