Unreasonable Expectations: Trail AND Long-Haul Capable

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by KonaTheHusky, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. KonaTheHusky

    KonaTheHusky Adventurer

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    Hi All,

    If there's already a thread asking this, please feel free to redirect (but I couldn't find one).

    After owning a DR350S for a month now I'm getting a feel for what I want in a Dualsport/Adventure bike. I'm hoping I can solicit advice from everyone here on what bikes I should try next.

    My intended uses: Segments of the CDT and other extended (3-7 day) rides that include dirt, gravel, and pavement. I live in the front range of Colorado, so if there's a trail network I want to explore for the weekend on the western slope, I don't want to have to trailer my bike out there. I'm a light packer, so I don't need weighty hard bags. By light I mean 35 lbs of: food, water, water purifier, personal items, tent, sleeping bag, ground pad, and cook stove for a 5 day trek. I know tools and riding gear add a bit to that. To a lesser extent, I also want to do a bit of intermediate trail riding close to home (I'm thinking easy and intermediate OHV trails and single track). I'm hoping for a middleweight bike that can take being loaded down with gear and taken on extended journeys, then take the saddlebags off, possibly swap on some knobbies and it handles well on abusive trail ride.

    I'd like an older bike for simplicity, pricetag, and the fact that I won't cry when (not if) I drop it. I'm hoping <$2.5k price tag,

    I like the weight of my DR350S (310lbs wet) and the handling, but the lack of tachometer, speedo, and high beam are a big issue. I know I can add accessories and mod the hell out of a bike, but if there's a bike that fits the bill and already has the accessories I need - winner winner chicken dinner.

    Kawa KLR 650 is definitely on my list to try, but I'm wondering if there's anything lighter... say, 350lbs ballpark wet? After all, the title of this post is Unreasonable Expectations. I know that longer hauls usually mean bigger gas tanks, and bigger gas tanks mean more wet weight. But humor me. :D

    OH, this may go without saying, but it must be 4-stroke. Not that I'm lazy, I just can't bring myself to burn crude.

    Thanks so much!
    #1
  2. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    XR650R


    [​IMG]


    360 pounds in that picture, full of fuel, gear and food for a week.
    #2
  3. East Coast Rider

    East Coast Rider Just Me...

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    Well, even with a 1st gen KLR you won't get anywhere near 350lbs wet. Let's be clear: I love my Pig ('02 KLR650), but light it ain't. I have no trouble picking it up, but then again, I travel light.

    The XR650L is listed at 346lbs wet, but only carries 2.8 gals of fuel. Upgrade to a lighter, but bigger plastic tank, and you have some added range. I have ZERO experience with the XRL, but were I to buy one it would get an aftermarket oil cooler just for giggles. I know that folks who have owned them will most likely say they aren't necessary, but again I was just stating a personal preference.

    Not sure about the curb weight of a DR650 (I am seeing 355-360ish on the interweb), but it is an equally bulletproof bike as the XRL or KLR. I have an air cooled 82 GS1100EZ with more than 80K original miles. Suzuki knows how to make a bulletproof oil/air cooled engine. :nod

    New Husky TR650? Seems like a fantastic bike!! It would be on the very short list to replace the Pig if/when that becomes necessary.

    DRZ400S should be on your list as well, in addition to any of the Husky TE series (about which I know nothing)

    Good luck!!
    #3
  4. Tom_C

    Tom_C pinned underneath

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    XR650L (and I've lookd at everything for the last year). Was going to go with a KTM ADV, but couldn't justify the weight or the price for how much I woudl get to ride. (Price wasn't a concern, although my wife would say I am a cheap so and so)

    I just picked up a '95 with 5k original miles for $1700. For about $500 I can have it looking just like a new one, and they haven't changed (hardly) since '93. Air cooled, bulletproof, and easy to maintain. Cons would include heavy at #350lbs stock, down on power stock (easy mods to wake them up, I'm told, and in the middle of myself) and braking is a little weak on road.
    #4
  5. Luke308

    Luke308 Been here awhile

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    I know everybody will have a suggestion for you, so I'll throw mine in the mix. It doesn't meet all your criteria, but it's kinda close. Yamaha WR250R.

    It's light-ish. Plenty of power for intermediate trail riding. Enough power to run up I-70 to the mountains in a pinch (not real fun, but I've done it a few times). Very reliable, even though its a fancy-schmansy new bike with fuel injection, etc. Plenty of aftermarket products to farkle it up with. Since it's small displacement your tires/drivetrain last longer. Can be easily set up light for trail riding, or with bags for long distance stuff. It's not real cheap - Usually $3500-$4500 used. You will probably not like it if you're an adrenaline junky and love bombing stuff at high speed, or slabbing at 85mph to get where you're going. It's more of a take it easy, cruise at 50-60mph and smell the roses kind of bike that will go just about anywhere you'd ever want to go (aside from super-hardcore single track). It's light enough I can lay it all the way over to the ground and still maintain control of it. It's not such a big bike that when it starts to tip you yell "timber!" and dive away from it. Great gas mileage (~70mpg), pretty decent headlight, plenty of stator power for electrical toys. Just read www.bigdogadventures.com ride reports and you'll see it's quite a capable little bike.

    FWIW I would stay away from the KLR 650...that's the bike I sold to buy the WR250R because the WR250R does everything the KLR doesn't.

    Now...if you want a bigger motor, I think larryboy is spot-on with the XR650R suggestion...

    What about a DRZ400? it's a pretty diverse bike...

    A few pictures of my WR250R:

    Up above St. Mary's glacier:
    [​IMG]

    Mill Creek Road above Vail, CO:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Loaded up heavy for a trip from Denver-Phoenix:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Just north of Avon/Beaver Creek, CO:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    On the road to Rollins Pass, CO:
    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    Nice bike Luke, but I doubt he can find one in the $2500 range yet.
    #6
  7. L.B.S.

    L.B.S. Long timer

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    ? My '91 DR350S had high beam, speedo, tach, turnsignals etc. Was yours in a wreck or mucked with?
    #7
  8. KonaTheHusky

    KonaTheHusky Adventurer

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    Very Nice bike Luke - but after a quick search, Larryboy was right: not in the $2500 range.

    I did, however, come across this little guy: http://denver.craigslist.org/mcy/3651573686.html

    My sister lives in the Butte, so I don't exactly need an excuse to go up there.
    #8
  9. KonaTheHusky

    KonaTheHusky Adventurer

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    Most likely mucked with, no signs of significant wreck or I wouldn't have bought her. I only have a trip odometer - not too helpful.
    #9
  10. Luke308

    Luke308 Been here awhile

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    You're right, they are a bit out of his budget. It was about $1200 over budget for me when I first started looking at them a few years ago, but I'm glad I saved a few extra pennies and shopped Craigslist incessantly for a few months and found one cheap enough to afford (I paid $3200 for mine). Looking forward to hearing what you decide on Kona! :clap
    #10
  11. KonaTheHusky

    KonaTheHusky Adventurer

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    Thanks Luke! I appreciate your input. And once I'm situated with a ride I'll ping you about riding in the area. Cheers!

    P.S. if anyone is looking to pick up a 91 DR350S, I need to finance a bigger ride. :D
    #11
  12. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    The price is right on that one. They need additional cooling on that engine, I'd budget for a big fin install and a top end rebuild...probably still under your 2.5k budget. Try to get that one for $800 max.
    #12
  13. OrangeYZ

    OrangeYZ Been here awhile

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    The easiest answer is to get the high beam, tacho and speedo for your DR350 and rock on. You already like the bike, and you're looking at 2-400 dollars worth of parts.
    Being in Colorado the best answer is to get a 400-650 dirt bike (WR400-450F, KTM400-530, XR400-600-650R) and plate it. I liked the XR600 a lot. The only problem is that the newest one out there is 13 years old, so finding one that's not trashed can be tough.
    You're right to stay far away from the KLR. It's a bike that sacrifices every measure of performance for cost and reliability, and then doesn't always deliver on the reliability.
    #13
  14. JensEskildsen

    JensEskildsen Long timer

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    Use current bike, it seems like very small issues with that one, and you know the history of the bike.
    #14
  15. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    #15
  16. Canuman

    Canuman Crusty & Unobliging

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    +1 on that. Trailtech speedo/tach and an aftermarket headlight would solve the issues. Are you sure it's an "S" model? There was a straight DR350 out for a while which was a trail bike -- no signals, mirrors, speedo, tach, etc.

    #16
  17. Luke308

    Luke308 Been here awhile

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    The guys make a good point about just getting the neccesary fixes done on your bike. Most often what we need is right under our noses, but want we want, well that's another matter altogether :) A new headlight and a GPS for speedo, will set you back a couple hundred bucks. Ride the heck out of it this coming season and you'll have a better idea of what you're really looking for in a new motorcycle, especially if you've only had the DR350S for a month. It took me a year of riding a KLR 650 before I decided I wanted to lean more towards a 60%Offroad/40%Road bike as opposed to a 40%Offroad/60%Road bike. Not sure of your riding background so excuse me if I'm preaching to the choir :D
    #17
  18. SkiBumBrian

    SkiBumBrian DualSport Crazy !!

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    He's looking for a reason to trade up, don't take the wind from his sails.... Since money is an issue I think the best idea I have heard is the XRL. It will give you decent on road comfort and still get dirty without pumping a bunch of money into it. The KLR is more comfy on road but takes considerable upgrades(money) to make it acceptable off road. At the very least suspension mods that don't come cheap, don't ask how I know......
    #18
  19. KonaTheHusky

    KonaTheHusky Adventurer

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    Looks like I forgot to mention in the OP that I'm also looking for a little more powa. I guess it comes from the fact that I have a litre sport bike and I have far too much fun ripping it outa turns. If this wasn't a consideration I'd be happy to look into adding to the DR350, but I want a lit more zip.
    #19
  20. Luke308

    Luke308 Been here awhile

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    #20