Ugggh, I give up - help!!!

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Akhenaten, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. Akhenaten

    Akhenaten "I wanna go fast!"

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    I've been lurking around here for many hours each day, trying to find myself just the right bike to buy. I have my loan in my sweaty hand and I'm ready to buy.... something.

    A few details about me:

    1. I'm a 140lb, 32 year old female - I lift heavy weights so bike weight is of less concern. I'm 5'8" with a 33" inseam.

    2. I live in the Pacific NW and have very little riding experience and very rusty mechanical skills. I love the power of motorcycles so I'm not afraid of something that suddenly goes fast.

    3. I intend to ride around town and to/from work (20 highway miles each way). I also intend to ride it approximately 100 highway-speed miles to the mountains on the weekends, where (my main goal) is to learn how to ride off-road. If I had to assign a ratio, it would be 40 on/60 off.

    4. Comfort on the highway is less important than having a decent platform on which to learn how to ride off-road. And off-road meaning fun singletrack with mud, creeks, obstacles. I'm not really into crazy jumps and boulder-hopping.

    So there it is. The perfect dual-sport, which I know is impossible. I've been two seconds shy of laying down money on the following bikes:

    - BMW G650GS (not as good off-road)
    - Kawi KLR650 (not as good off-road, too top-heavy)
    - Suz DRZ400 (I forget why I knocked this one off my list)
    - KTM 450EXC (KTM dealer said too much bike for my experience level)
    - Husky TE310 (definitely not an on-road bike to get to the mountains)

    I'd appreciate any thoughts/insight/wisdom/advice/jokes, any info anyone might have to share in the torture of finding just the right bike.

    Thanks so much :D
    #1
  2. dirtdiver

    dirtdiver Long timer

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    Good luck with this one. I do not think you will find the bike you want. Perhaps the DRZ.

    Learning to ride off road in the conditions you want to try begs for a small bike. Like a crf230f or similar. Learning to ride in the dirt on any of those bikes you mentioned is going to be hard work.

    I think the drz would give you a taste of both worlds but would work well for neither. I had one and put 12K miles on it. It was a great bike. And I learned to ride the dirt on it. It got more dirt worthy with new tires and lower gearing. 100 miles on the freeway would be a killer with those changes.

    I think you will be headed for 2 bikes like the rest of us. :lol3

    DD
    #2
  3. dirtdiver

    dirtdiver Long timer

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    welcome to the group I also meant to say. :D
    #3
  4. bullittman281

    bullittman281 Been here awhile

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    hello,
    Just to throw it out there, WR250R??

    lite-ish weight. Good-ish suspension.
    It will go 90-ish.
    25K valve intervals.

    Definitely stay away from the 450s for now.

    bullittman
    #4
  5. gunnerbuck

    gunnerbuck Island Hopper

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    If your going to choose one off this list:

    - BMW G650GS (not as good off-road)
    - Kawi KLR650 (not as good off-road, too top-heavy)
    - Suz DRZ400 (I forget why I knocked this one off my list)
    - KTM 450EXC (KTM dealer said too much bike for my experience level)
    - Husky TE310 (definitely not an on-road bike to get to the mountains)

    I would say go for the DR 400... With you been fairly light the DR would have no problem on your highway haul while at the same time giving you a good platform to build up your dirt skills... The DR is fairly tall which can be difficult to deal with... Some people recommend to lower the bike with links or suspension cuts, but I am more of a firm believer in getting used to the seat height if at all possible... With practice the height of the bike will become a non issue as you learn to ride with balance and to stop where you can get a foot down... You'll appreciate the long travel suspension left as is {not shortened} when you get into the off road side of things ...
    #5
  6. zeeko

    zeeko shiver me timbers

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    Yeah, what they said. As far as a first bike goes you are going to want something smaller/lighter/less powerful. I have known many many people (men and women) get their first motorbike (usually in the 600cc range) dump it at a stop sign, wash out the front wheel, or end up very intimidated by the power and acceleration. Not to say that you would fit in the category but just some friendly insight.

    I would also suggest a 250cc to start out with-all the big manufacturers make a good one and even if you get bored with it in six months it will empower you with confidence that will make it all worthwhile.

    I have had an XL 650, the 650GS, an 1100GS, etc. and now I ride a KLX250SF and love it. I'm 175lbs. and 6'2" and find it to have adequate power and you can't beat the quick maneuverability.

    Good luck with your choice and welcome to the two-wheeled-world!
    #6
  7. KTBen

    KTBen Barrrp!

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    I'd say a DRZ 400 or a WR 250 "R" (not the "F") would be perfect for someone learning because a bigger heavy bike can be hard work offroad there for turn you off riding. Don't forget to post up a photo when you get it :deal
    #7
  8. Mudguts

    Mudguts when in doubt GAS IT

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    The new ktm's have 3 maps. Soft ,standard ,aggressive
    The soft setting would be less then a drz only just
    With a better suspension package and being a lighter bike I would take one for a test ride see how you like it , but not the best for HWY miles thou

    You need to ride all the bikes on your list to see what suits you .
    #8
  9. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    I gotta agree... the 250s have a lot going for them, especially the new ones, especially for a 60% off road profile. I have an older Sherpa & it goes 70 on the hiway with me (230#). I rode to Dawson a few years ago with a friend that had a new WR & he pretty much kept up with my highly modded KLR (he was packed very light & I was heavy but still...). we did 75 most of the way (1000 miles). the only time he couldn't keep up was when he had to run regular gas. when we took off road excursions it was no contest.

    there was a 250 shoot out in one of the magazines last month. the Yamaha came out 1st & Kawi a close second, followed by Honda.

    the DRZ is nice but needs another gear. I don't think there is much advantage over the 250s. if any
    #9
  10. sintax

    sintax Been here awhile

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    lets not forget the DR650 its a great option as well
    #10
  11. Off the grid

    Off the grid Unsmooth Operator

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    WR250 or CRF250

    Good little bikes.
    #11
  12. lastmanout

    lastmanout Been here awhile

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    I went thru a bunch of dual sports 5-10 years ago. Dr65o Suzuki (very good, little heavy off-road), DRZ400 (nose heavy, needs a 6th gear for highway, HARD seat, I liked the DR650 better), XR650L honda (rented for a week- Good, heavy, more engine vibes than the DR650), a plated, street-legal WR426 - light, better seat than the DRZ400, better everything than the DRZ. LAst bike was a 2006 Kawasaki KLX250s -the BEST. Light, low engine vibes, seat not too hard, OK for short freeway hauls, top speed 70-75 mph. I weigh 180#, should be better with a lighter rider, way better off-road than the DRZ400. Any bike can be too heavy in a bad off road situation. A 250 was my sweet spot, and should prove your best choice (for now). My old knee said I had to quit the off road.
    #12
  13. greer

    greer Long timer

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    "very little riding experience"

    That tells me you might not need to go too fast too soon. Could we make this a two-part process? Spend part of the loan money on a used 250 (I'm thinking Yamaha WR250R or Kawa KLX250S) or Suz DR-Z400 to spend a year or so on. Then use the rest of the loan money to move up and on once you've had a bit of experience.

    And if I had those legs of yours, I'd probably look hard at the DR-Z because of the torquey motor. The 250's only weigh 20lbs or so less than the 400.

    Sarah

    Edit: Forgot to mention: When you fall down, you've got to be able to pick it back up. Factor that in.
    #13
  14. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    plate an xr250, xr400, or just buy a drz. the drz is the biggest pig of the bunch.


    when you buy and fall in love with whichever, post up some pics. :)
    #14
  15. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

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    Congrats on learning. but get some training/good gear. Costly at first but the amount of damage it will prevent to woman and machine will be a savings.
    It seems like you are doing the analysis well though.
    Good luck.
    #15
  16. nevermind

    nevermind sLOW Rider

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    I'm partial right now to the Honda. The CRF250 looks like a fantastic bike and I'm even leaning towards one right now due to the low price and substantial features.

    I don't like the GS, DRZ or KLR because of their weight and the KTMs require a touch more maintenance than I'm willing to perform. I want to ride, not wrench.

    So, from your list, I'd say none! :D
    #16
  17. Boatman

    Boatman Membership has it's privileges ;-)

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    Kawasaki Super Sherpa fits your wants perfectly. Small, lightweight, capable of all the points you asked about, and easy to maintain. I would suggest picking up a used one and learing on it until you feel comfortable with a bigger bike.
    #17
  18. bobnoxious67

    bobnoxious67 Baby steps...

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    Either a Yamaha WR250R, or a 98-99 Suzuki DR350S will make you happy and do what you're asking for.

    My wife loves her DR (441 kit/pumper carb/2" lowered)...it's her second one. She recently bought a 2012 Husky TE250 Low (factory lowered 2") and loves it, but we dual sport locally. There is no way this thing can do the long miles to/from the riding area as you describe...really need a wide ratio transmission for that.
    #18
  19. jwdub

    jwdub Been here awhile

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    OK, my 2 cents. Since I currently own a number of dual sport bikes including the Yamaha WR250R and the DRZ400S, the DRZ would be the one. It only weighs about 15# more than the Yamaha and has a lot more usable power. Like others have said, it strikes a good balance between road worthiness and off road capability and fully adjustable suspension. The only caveat is to make sure your inseam is long enough that you can comfortably put your foot down --- especially in traffic. I also have a KLR and a DR650 -- while they have their place, they're between 45 and 75 pounds more than the DRZ. Try picking one up that's full of fuel. You're going to have to do that if you're going to ride in the PNW mud. -- unless you're east of the Cascades.
    #19
  20. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Transient

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    I'd go with something low maintenance like a Yam XT225, Kaw Super Sherpa, or the new Honda 250.

    They're all relatively light, low seat height, moderate power, and decent on the highway.

    Learn to ride one of the them, and then decide how much further you want to go in terms of height, weight, and power.
    #20