Trading "down" to a thumper?

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by 73datsun, Aug 13, 2014.

  1. 73datsun

    73datsun Been here awhile

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    So I have my F700GS tentatively sold. (http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1000815&highlight=f700)

    And the thought of being bikeless is frightening. Realistically, the 700 just wasn't making a ton of sense. It was heavy and tough to handle in off road riding conditions (sand, loose gravel), where my friends on 640ADV and even a first gen BMW thumper really weren't having issues. And sure my twin was probably more comfortable on the slab, but they didn't really have any trouble pushing the speed or keeping up.

    I'm thinking of staying in the dual sport category. But would like something lighter and cheaper. Something I'm less concerned with dropping. But still cooler than a KLR. :lol3 However, I'm limited with short ass legs (5'11' tall with a 30" inseam). Yes, I know you can ride tall bikes, but it just isn't confidence inspiring for me. And if I'm not confident, it's going to sit in the garage.

    I like the idea of a 650 Dakar, the thumper is smooth, shouldn't be an issue for highway stints and will be a bit lighter off road than the 700GS. I could swap a seat from a standard GS on to the Dakar and be ok with seat height.

    Or is this just a stupid idea?



    The other thought is to go an entirely different way and pick up a Scrambler or Bonnie.


    Realistically my bike would be used for:
    1. commuting on slab 11mi each way
    2. weekend bike camping trips -- but often down fire roads, atv trails, water crossing, sand (ugh)



    I look forward to your advice. :freaky
    #1
  2. bobnoxious67

    bobnoxious67 Baby steps...

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    I am finding my F800GS to be no more comfortable on the slab than my '06 Husky TE610 (with Lynx Fairing and Seat Concepts seat) ever was.

    If you want to downsize, look at used Husky TE610/630, KTM LC4, Suzuki DR650, etc...I don't feel that the BMW 650 singles are lighter enough than an 800 to warrant the change (I will still pick the 800 over a KLR/Dakar/650GS any day...if I'm gonna throw 400+lbs around, they're gonna be driven by multi-power :deal )
    #2
  3. gbtw

    gbtw Been here awhile

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    #3
  4. 73datsun

    73datsun Been here awhile

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    Thanks for your thoughts!

    The Huskie is a really interesting thought. The dilemma with that and the LC4 is the tall ass seat height. With a 30" inseam, I just don't feel comfortable on a bike that tall.

    Hell even when I had the Airhawk and a sheep skin on my 700, I went down due to losing footing.

    I really don't want to lower an LC4, just seems counterintuitive.

    And the diminutive weight differences between the Dakar and the parallel make sense. I guess I didn't really think that part through.
    #4
  5. 73datsun

    73datsun Been here awhile

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  6. tempeturtle

    tempeturtle Adventurer

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    You are not short by most standards. If you feel uncomfortable with footing then you might be riding in places that require more experience then what you currently have. Being able to place your feet flat on the ground is not a good measure if a bike is to tall or not.

    The bike is a bit heavy especially compared to a lot of thumpers but is was certainly not designed for technical single track. Sometimes not having the luxury of multiple bikes forces people to make decisions to try and have their one bike do everything and in that case you will never be happy.

    Just my thoughts
    #6
  7. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    You didn't mention what tires you're running vs your thumper friends. They make a significant difference when running the loose stuff. I didn't appreciate that until I put some street orientated tires on my F800gs. Air your tires down, it improves things.

    When comparing bikes I go to a website called "Bikez". Google the model and add that to the end. It is pretty good in giving specs including things like weight, seat height and bike geometry. You can almost predict what the handling will be like.

    I did that for yours and your friends bikes. They are about 50lbs lighter, they and the F800gs has almost 1" more trail than yours.

    The F800 and F700 share the same frame, so the difference is a 21" vs 19" front wheel. Since the F700 already has a tall 19" front tire, a steering stabilizer is about all that is left.

    I don't know what you weigh, but firmer springs on my bike made it more stable, especially in the soft stuff. Riders who do sand recommend firmer suspension settings, which is hard to do on bike without any. Sag is important, check yours.

    I know from my own experience that the ability to flat foot my bike made a difference in how to ride it. It gives more confidence to me. Most of it is mental, but that is a big part in riding these heavy bikes. Maybe a lower seat would help you.

    At times I thought of selling my bike. Instead I bought some aftermarket springs sprung for my weight. I added an aftermarket shock that is 5mm shorter. Bought a Softer than normal Seat Concept foam and cover and a stabilizer. I have the same inseam as you, if not shorter and can easily flatfoot a bike that is taller than yours.

    But it is all big bucks.
    #7
  8. SOP Dirt-Rider

    SOP Dirt-Rider Been here awhile

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    This will come across as EXTREMELY rude, but it isn't meant to be. Invest in some training. Find the bike that fits you, be it a thumper of twin, learn to relax, and ride the snot out of it. Too many great bikes to recommend a particular bike. Your budget and comfort will lead you to the right one.
    #8
  9. 73datsun

    73datsun Been here awhile

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    For the most recent trip I was running brand new Karoo 3. For AK and the Yukon/Dempester I ran a TKC80 front/HK60 rear

    Nothing rude about it. I've been trying to find local classes but keep striking out. Not sure I'm ready to go do Rawhyde or one of the other ones. But maybe.

    I'd the majority of these fire roads on a Honda CB450 with sketchy ass tires. But I think because it cost $600 and it felt much more compact, I was more relaxed. Granted this trip we went much further off the beaten track. I had no problem with the water crossings, the grass, the single track/atv trails. It was the sand and the super thick/loose gravel that was the huge deal breaker for me.

    I guess if I stayed out of that, I'd be fine. :D
    #9
  10. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    Only the TKC is what I would consider a knobby tire. If Jimmy Lewis has not changed his contract, he requires that for his off road riding school and list acceptable examples. You do ride a lot sand there.
    #10
  11. NumberCruncher

    NumberCruncher Been here awhile

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    I am 5'8" and just bought a new 800. I am going the opposite direction as you. I love my DR650 and still have it for the more gnarly off-road exploring, but even that bike is 100 pounds heavier than a real dirt bike. I don't see me taking my 800 off road for more than gravel and fire roads and hopefully some off road oriented tires will be enough to get me where I want to go.

    I can't pretend to know what trying to handle a 500 pound bike is like off road as I haven't tried that. But even the DR650 could be a handful on the tighter jeep trails in Colorado I rode a year ago. Bottom line for me is that I need to practice, practice, practice with either the DR or the 800 to find where my comfort level is. A truly skilled rider can take the 800 places a knuckle-head shouldn't even attempt on the DR and I think that is very important to keep in mind. The take away is this. If you were on the same bike as your buddies are you able to keep up or do they still get away from you?

    It sounds like you know exactly the type of riding you want to do and are moving in the right direction. I spent too many years off-roading on a brand new state of the art bike where I couldn't hang with riders who were faster than me on older beat up bikes. The bike made no difference. My skills are quite good but I am not that aggressive hence the slower pace. I expect my 800 will provide miles of smiles and excitement just as my DR has and your new thumper will for you.

    NC
    #11
  12. toooldtocare

    toooldtocare Been here awhile

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    Before I bought my F700GS I was riding a R1200R. I was in the same boat as you and settled on the F7GS. BUT, before I did, I dropped by the KTM dealer and looked at a 690 Duke. This bike is based on their dirt bike, but has street tires. It caught my eye and I ordered one. I am 6ft tall and have a 31 inch inseam if I am stretching, and KTM is very easy to sit on. I am sure you will have no troubles. The KTM also has something that I find critical, ABS. There are a couple of models, and they are a cheaper than the BMW.

    When the KTM came in my wife told me that the seat would not work for her, so we went with the F7GS. If she were not riding with me, the KTM would be in my garage right now, and will probably be there in a couple of years when she decides to stay at home. We both are getting old.

    Wayme
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  13. Capt CF

    Capt CF Pontificating Nobody

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    You got lucky! I have a 690 and an F7GS and my 690 has been in the shop half the time I have owned it. You owe your wife a nice dinner for sparing you from all the problems you would have had if you had gotten the KTM. :)
    #13
  14. MTrider16

    MTrider16 Ridin' in MT

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    Are the CRF250L, WR250, DRZ400 off the list? They seem like the bee's knees for what you are describing. BigDog and Dingweeds swear by the WR250.

    David
    #14
  15. bobnoxious67

    bobnoxious67 Baby steps...

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    I hear you...I'm 28" inseam on a tall day. Stops/starts can be a challenge (especially when 2 up), but you certainly learn to keep the bike moving forward :deal

    My thinking is if you want lighter, go substantially lighter...easier to ride a dirt bike on the road than a road bike in the dirt.

    #15
  16. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    +1. The Dakar is over 400lbs,not a flyweight and still pricey parts. You sound like a candidate for a DR650,if you want it low then lower it with the factory lowering settup.
    DR cruises fine on long hiway jaunts,is slightly cooler then a KLR, cheap to buy a clean used one. Set it up to taste and go!
    #16
  17. toooldtocare

    toooldtocare Been here awhile

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    That is too bad about the 690, it sure looks sweet. Back to the question by 73Datsun, I owned a 2007 Triumph Scrambler almost since new, I just got rid of it last fall. Wonderful bike. Mine was not fuel injected, but had a carb, and it still ran well with none of the stuff you think about modern carbs.

    The seat was hard, so I sent mine off to Spencer at Great Day To Ride and had him do his magic. What a difference it made. Another mod I did was install Triumph Street Triple bars and Triumph bar end mirrors. The bars turned it into a much more sporting ride. Also added an after market luggage rack much like used in the 60's, and a center stand.

    My only negative I had with the bike, boy it was heavy, much heavier than my long gone 79 Triumph Bonnie. That said; I would have another one.

    Wayne
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  18. mustardfj40

    mustardfj40 Been here awhile

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    I looked at the specs for the F650GS twin and the DRZ 650, and the wet weight difference isn't that big: 408lbs for the DRZ and 439lbs for the F650GS twin. So the difference isn't that big at 31lbs.
    #18
  19. Dorito

    Dorito Dreamer and Doer

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    After 60K miles on my F650-twin, I decided that bike just isn't fun for me off-road. While I've kept it for long distance road trips and commuting, my new joy is a G650X-Country. I think another important parameter is wheelbase length. The G650XC handles likes butter off-road compared to the F650-Twin. And yet, you'd probably never know that from the specs alone...

    Factory spec height
    G650: 31.5" can be lowered to 30.3
    F700: 32.3" can be lowered to 30.1
    F800: 34.6" can be lowered to 32.3

    Factory weight
    G650: 386lbs / 423lbs
    F700: 410lbs / 461lbs

    Wheelbase
    G650: 58.2"
    F700: 61.5"
    #19
  20. 73datsun

    73datsun Been here awhile

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    After reading your guys feedback. I think it would be wiser to keep my so far bulletproof GS.

    Maybe lose the HUGE panniers and slim it down a bit with soft sides. And invest in off road riding courses.

    I'm having a hard time rationalizing completing this sell. Guess I'll ponder it tonight.
    #20