Trying to pick out my first dual purpose bike. This is hard.

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Johnny Tarr, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. Sierra Thumper

    Sierra Thumper Been here awhile

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    Smart man, you got the red tank instead of the crappy white one that turns birdshit yellow over time, and looks like hell the whole time its on the bike.....I hate those f%@#ing things.....wish the po would've put a red one on mine :becca:baldy:baldy
    #41
  2. Murphy Slaw

    Murphy Slaw Long timer

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    I'm surprised nobody thought of the obvoius.....

    There's a "Rat Ninja" thread in here somewhere. Just mod your 650 into a dualsport that fits you. It's pretty much already a Versys, and a very popular and dependable powerplant.
    #42
  3. Sierra Thumper

    Sierra Thumper Been here awhile

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    I guess I'm old school, but when I hear dual-sport I think of a dirt bike with lights and a license plate.......something you can really take in the dirt....hillclimbs, jumps, bermshots, some track action, log hopping, wheelies etc. That was the kind of dual-sports I was around growing up.

    Not sure how they can now slap some semi-aggressive rubber and higher fenders on a street bike and call it a dual sport?
    Guess I'm too old :rofl
    #43
  4. RandoCommando

    RandoCommando Wannabe

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    Your best bets are the DR or KLR. Both are easily fixed, with an abundance of after market farkles and parts.
    Both are inexpensive and parts can be found pretty much anywhere.
    The KLR is a better road bike than the DR, but the DR is a better bike in the dirt.
    But it seems you'll be on the road more and the KLR is roomier with better ergonomics for road.
    #44
  5. TOzman

    TOzman Adventurer

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    Just goes to show it's all about perspective/background. I'm 5'8", 29" inseam, and just bought a 2013 KLR this week. Coming off a Fatboy, this bike is 300 pounds lighter, so it feels like a featherweight, which is why I dont mind only being able to put the balls of feet down. The Fatboy was light compared to the Ultra Classic I had before that.

    I also looked at the DR, but after sitting on one it just didnt feel as good as the KLR.

    My new Sargent low seat should be delivered today, which should give me an even better foothold. :D

    You have to buy what is comfortable for you, or else you won't enjoy the ride and will always be nervous when you're on it. Good luck in whatever purchase you make.
    #45
  6. RandoCommando

    RandoCommando Wannabe

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    I have the same inseam and I too was on the balls of my feet.
    That is until I changed my rear shock to the Progressive 465. Now I tip toe, or slide to one side of the seat and flat foot one foot.
    Yet I ride my KLR through single track, dirt, mud, sand, gravel and highway without any problems.
    I bought lowering links for the bike but never put them on.
    I want the ground clearance for going over the rocks and logs.
    Hell. A dual sport needs the ground clearance if you're going to ride it through those conditions.
    I also bought a 16 tooth sprocket for highway and a 14 tooth for single track, but never changed from the 15 tooth as the bike does everything I ask of it.
    It has great low end torque off road but has nice gear ratio for highway.
    Oh. And he can save on buying a seat if he just takes the cover off the stock seat, shaves the foam down and recovers the seat using the same stock cover. That will lower the bike enough for him.

    Here I am with my bike loaded up for a trip to Laurel Fork in West Virginia
    [​IMG]
    Take note that I'm sitting comfortable due to the weight of my gear lowering the bike.

    Here it is at a pit stop for some food
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #46
  7. hiADV

    hiADV Island Explorer

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    This. I have the KLR, DR and KLX, all good for different things but from what you describe, the DR would be the way to go on the cheap. That said, you should try to actually ride a KLR if you can. When I first got mine I has the same impressions but once I rode it around a bit it seemed to "shrink" and really is a fun, easy to ride bike. Any ride more than a 50/50, I'm taking the KLR.
    #47
  8. Johnny Tarr

    Johnny Tarr n00b

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    Ok, so the options appear to be:

    1. Get a KLR and dirtify it, or
    2. Get a DR and streetify it.

    So, here are some more questions for you guys.

    How much would each of the above cost me? I'm probably going to replace the seat either way, so you can leave that cost off of the suzuki, which as I understand is a mandatory upgrade for it.

    I know neither bike is any good for two-up, but if I HAD to, which would be better?

    I noticed that the KLR seems more suited to carrying a bunch of luggage. Is it far enough ahead in this catagory to be worth factoring this into my choice?

    Though I come from an atv trail riding background, I'm a complete newbie at dirt riding two wheelers. The suzuki is significantly lighter, but several people in this thread and others say they ride their KLRs in single tracks. As a newbie, will I be able to?

    The DR, by way of having a lot less plastic, looks to be less sensitive to being dropped. I am expecting to drop my bike on the trails. Can the KLR survive drops, and if not, how hard would it be to add that protection?

    I've never owned anything oil cooled like the DR. Is that an advantage or disadvantage? Can anyone elaborate on this for me please?


    I'd love to, but the local dealer doesn't allow test rides on anything but cruisers.

    Edit: I am buying used, for those who have commented on that. I just keep mentioning dealers because its the easiest way for me to get up close with the bikes.
    #48
  9. mikesova

    mikesova Michigander

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    I may be in the minority, but I don't mind my dual sport not having the same amount of power as my street bike. I am pretty happy with the KLX250s and I'm over 200lbs.

    :D
    #49
  10. hiADV

    hiADV Island Explorer

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    How much would each of the above cost me? I'm probably going to replace the seat either way, so you can leave that cost off of the suzuki, which as I understand is a mandatory upgrade for it. I WOULD EXPECT 2,500-3,500 DEPENDING ON HOW "USED" IT IS

    I know neither bike is any good for two-up, but if I HAD to, which would be better? KLR FOR SURE. MY WIFE AND I 2UP ALL THE TIME WITH NO ISSUES AT ALL.

    I noticed that the KLR seems more suited to carrying a bunch of luggage. Is it far enough ahead in this catagory to be worth factoring this into my choice? NO, THE DR CAN HOLD ALL YOU WOULD NEED

    Though I come from an atv trail riding background, I'm a complete newbie at dirt riding two wheelers. The suzuki is significantly lighter, but several people in this thread and others say they ride their KLRs in single tracks. As a newbie, will I be able to? MUCH EASIER ON THE DR, BUT WITH EXPERIENCE, THE KLR CAN JUST ABOUT GO ANYWHERE THE DR CAN

    The DR, by way of having a lot less plastic, looks to be less sensitive to being dropped. I am expecting to drop my bike on the trails. Can the KLR survive drops, and if not, how hard would it be to add that protection? PLENTY OF AFTERMARKET PROTECTION ACCESSORIES TO AVOID THIS ISSUE AND FAIRLY SIMPLE TO INSTALL HANDGUARDS, CRASH BARS, ETC...
    #50
  11. TOzman

    TOzman Adventurer

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    Holy crap! Were you loaded up for a trip, or running away from home?
    #51
  12. acesandeights

    acesandeights Asperger

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    I would 2nd hiADV comments, except you will not likely be able to ride either on single-track, but that's more due to lack of experience than the bike. The rider skill accomplishes most of the riding. The DR is a better "dirt" bike, but you'll need practice, practice, practice to take either on single-track. The DR will likely have less to break than the KLR, and I anticipate you'd drop either multiple times.
    #52
  13. supercoyote

    supercoyote Adventurer

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    I would go for the DR, or even if you're looking at a new bike the new husky 650's aren't too pricey but look like they'd check most of your boxes.
    But after all, if you're buying a cheaper bike to spend money upgrading it to make it better you might as well just spend that money on a more suitable bike from the start. Once you start adding up all the farkles to make a KLR able to tackle single-track (without having the patience of mother teresa) you might as well buy a beemer or ktm.
    Of course YMMV
    #53
  14. FlowBee

    FlowBee Just me.

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    People make a big deal about the differences between the KLR and DR, but compared to other machines out there the differences are small. Neither are 250 motocross bike. Neither are a huge tourer disguised as a dual purpose bike (eg GS-ADV, S-Tenere). The key is how much bike you can pick up, even when loaded with gear. If you're taking it off of gravel you will eventually drop it.

    The nice thing about the DR and 1st gen KLR is the plastic is the same stuff they make laundry baskets out of, so it usually flexes and scrapes instead of shatters.
    #54
  15. doogiepooch

    doogiepooch Been here awhile

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    Yeah he's right. I know you guys with DRZ's, DR's, WR's etc etc etc have great bikes and they all have their place. But 500 mile day, you need something with some good wind/weather protection. For cheap price and a go cross country ability in reasonable comfort, a KLR is hard to beat. I went from an 07 ZXR to a KLR and if felt really weird and really tall. But any dual sport is going to feel that way, especially a 650. That feeling will dissappear after the first ride. Honestly best move I ever made, in July I did NC to Yellowstone and back in 10 days. Would go again tomorrow if I could. Buy a KLR, spend $125 on the doo-kit, spend $300 on a seat, Terry Adcox or $150 for Seat Concepts seat, spend $240 on SW-Motech crash bars (you will drop it) and go ride the friggin wheels off it.
    #55
  16. devo2002

    devo2002 -Devo

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    you are asking too much out of a bike, hahah. comfortable on highway for hundreds of miles, then maybe single track, oh yeah 2-up as well. :lol3

    the bottom line is if you never did dirt you need to start small, period. You will be struggling with anything else, even a dr650. Just a few hours of practice on a nice 250 is all it takes to really understand what is possible and what isn't. Plus it is just plain old fun, you really have no idea. On a KLR you will be too nervous just to not fall over. I know you want to get what you want right out of the gate but you need to work up to it.
    #56
  17. RandoCommando

    RandoCommando Wannabe

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    To make the KLR better in the dirt, put a new shock on the rear and new springs in the forks, or intiminators.
    Cost to do that will range from $500-$700 depending on what you go with.
    I put a Progressive 465 w/RAP shock and Progressive springs on mine for just under $500. You can do it cheaper if you don't get the RAP.
    You'll need decent tires that are DOT approved for street and good for dirt. I went with Pirelli MT21.

    2up you're better off with the KLR. It has a larger seat than the DR.
    You'll want to upgrade the subframe bolts. That will cost between $5 and $20 depending on what kit you go with.

    As a noob, take it slow on the single track until you get more comfortable. You'll drop the bike. No doubt. As many others have and continue to do. Myself included. I added a skid plate and crash bars to mine for a cost of about $350.
    As far as the plastics go, they are just to make the bike look pretty. You can take them off if you're worried about damaging them. But I still suggest you get protection for the engine and radiator.
    #57
  18. RandoCommando

    RandoCommando Wannabe

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    Hey. I was a boy scout. You know, "Be Prepared"
    You never know when the Zombie Apocalypse is going to come. :rofl
    #58
  19. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    Yup. Perspective carries a LOT of weight in a decision like this. I came from streetbikes too, but 400-900cc streetbikes that weighed less than 600lb. I'm 5'8"/200lb and I much prefer the DR over the KLR for dualsporting. I wouldn't want to ride anything bigger or heavier on singletrack than the DR. KLRs feel monstrous to me, while the DR feels fine on the slab to me. I don't even need a windscreen, while a lot of people feel serious windblast without one. I was also fine, solo, on the stock DR seat. Many people can't even handle it for an hour. I prefer the Seat Concepts, by far, when 2up though.

    I'd even be willing to downsize a bit, now that the WR250R can be powered up a bit, and a wide-ratio gearset is available for the DR-Z400.
    #59
  20. montesa_vr

    montesa_vr Legend in his own mind

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    Totally agree with devo. I can't imagine trying to learn how to ride dirt on a 650 dual sport. I'm 6' 4", have many years of dirt riding experience, including a few motocrosses, and I HATE the DR650 off road. I have seen several beginners crash painfully, hurting themselves and their bikes, by trying to ride bikes that were too tall and/or too heavy for their ability. They got discouraged and they no longer ride dirt. I can think of two that don't even ride motorcycles any more.

    If I were you I'd find something in the 225-250 range. If you don't go on the freeway, anything bigger than a 125 will get you there. See what kind of riding you really want to do. Learn how to use your brakes on slippery surfaces and go up and down steep hills and cross trail obstacles. Learn how to pick up your bike on a hill and get started again without falling all the way back to the bottom with the bike on top of you. Learn how to cross a stream without the risk of being stranded in the middle with a motorcycle too big for you to push out.

    Will you be doing all this riding solo, or do you have a buddy in mind? When you ride with somebody else, it's nice to have a compatible motorcycle.
    #60