What am I missing?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by past_tense, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. past_tense

    past_tense Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    61
    I currently own a Yamaha XT250. This bike replaced a Kawasaki Super Sherpa that was stolen. At the time I was looking for a replacement I could not find a Sherpa anywhere within 1500 miles so I ended up with the XT250.

    The reason I selected the Sherpa and then the XT was the seat height. I'm 62, 5'8", I have a knee replacement and a femur held together with a plate and screws. I need the security of a low seat height. I need to be able to put my feet on the ground when I'm off road. The dual sports with 37" seat heights just don't cut it in the areas I've ridden. The low seat height has saved my ass many times.

    Now for the question. While the XT is OK for some of my travels, it is really out of its element when I want to ride the back country of Utah and Nevada. On those rides I need speed and comfort on the highway to just get to some of the off roads starting points. I also need a large fuel supply due to the remoteness and distances between towns. On these rides the real low seat height is not an issue.

    My answer was to add a KLR to the stable, and I may still have to go that route. The problem is that the KLR would be bike number four and it would really get cramped in the garage. So I got to thinking that maybe there is a bike out there that would do the job of the XT and the KLR. Along those lines, all I can come up that might be a possibility is a DR400 with lowering links and a larger tank.

    And here is where I need help. Since I'm not up-to-date with available bikes, I must be missing some other alternatives. Google is no help since it is not setup to find what I'm asking. So...any suggestions? What is out there that I have no clue about? Thanks.

    BTW, I'm looking for used.
    #1
  2. CMS

    CMS Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    295
    Location:
    Southern,OHIO
    Had a DRZ 400 , great bike but I found it a little heavier than I wanted IMHO. I liked it for the street, it does need a larger tank and I put on a Corbin seat on the first day I had it, [no # 1 mod in my book] at 5'9 I didn't lower it ,but my riding was 80/20 sreet /offroad. The new Honda 250 really appeals to me at this time. I sure it will need a better seat [at least for me] and a bigger tank down the road . Its so new I doubt if any one has one made yet. CMS
    #2
  3. kingbee

    kingbee Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    180
    Location:
    Western U.P.
    DR350, '98 or '99 if you can find one. 6 speed, not too tall but can still be lowered more (Kouba link), big tanks and better seats available, air cooled, carb'd, simple, bulletproof. Love mine, had a Sherpa, still have an XT225.

    Cheers,
    Dave
    #3
  4. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,533
    Location:
    Newnan, GA
    If you are worried about falling off road and with your leg, don't get the KLR. It's a heavy pig, especially when you compare it to the XT250 or Sherpa. Now I'm not sure what kind of off road riding you are doing because we all have differences on what is difficult to us.

    My wife owns an XT225 and I've spent time on both the Sherpa and the XT250, so I'm familiar with all of them. The one thing all 3 of these have in common is they are all air cooled and do get a bit anemic on the road. I'm guessing that's where your issue is? Did you have this issue with the Sherpa? One thing the XT250 doesn't have going for it is the nice 6 speed gearbox the Sherpa and XT225 both have and instead is left with a 5spd gear box and a pretty narrow spread.

    My first obvious solution would be looking at the KLX250S. Its water cooled so it handles the road sections a bit better than the air cooled counter parts and its still fairly small and light. It's been around since about 06 and redesigned around 09 I think. I believe there's now a few larger fuel tank choices also.

    New this year in that same category is Honda's CRF250L which Honda introduced at an amazing $4500 new. They cheaped out in a few places to get the price point there, but its certainly worth looking at and is uber quiet in stock form. Only issue with the Honda is there is very little aftermarket since its new and its 2gal fuel tank won't get you very far. My wife who is 5'4" can get the balls of her feet down on this bike with the preload pretty soft so at 5'8", you should be able to flat foot it with ease. This might be her next DS when she wants to move up from the XT225 although we have her XT setup pretty nice with a Clark 4.1 gal fuel tank, nice rack and lots of other extra bits and she loves that bike for herself. I've got the WR250R, which rocks the 250 class, but its super tall (although many people successfully lower it) and of the 3 water cooled 250's its the lightest and has the strongest motor. The FI on the WRR is perfect and its a joy to ride. It has no problem holding 65-70mph with me at 6'4" and 250lbs riding it. It does suffer from a puny 2gal tank, but there is a 3.1 & 4.7 available from IMS and a 3.7 available from Safari for it. The WRR is one of the easiest dual sports I have ever ridden and am really enjoying it even coming from a Husky TE610. The only issue as I said is going to be seat height in stock form, although my understanding is it has a built in lowering option, but I've never messed with it since I want it as tall as I can get it.

    In the 400cc category is the DRZ400 or the KLX400 that Suzuki built Kawasaki for a few years too (They are identical except colors). I've owned one of these, but honestly it was my least favorite bike to do any road miles on. It's got everything else going for it off road, but on the road, its got one of the worst narrow 5spd gear boxes you could put on a DS bike. It's absolutely pathetic on how stupid Suzuki was with that gearbox. If Suzuki would just put a nice wide ratio 6spd gear box in the DRZ, it would transform that bike and make it a front runner. As it sits stock, you are either stuck gearing it high for the road and suffering off road with poor low gear choices when you need to take it slow or gearing it low and having it be terribly buzy heading down the road.

    If you really did want to move up to the 650cc category, my first choice between the KLR, XRL, & DR would be the DR650. It has the lowest seat height of the 3 and is way more easy to handle off-road then compared to the KLR (which I've also owned). I'm a good rider off road, but the KLR to me is just too much bike to really have fun with. The KLR does has a bit more comfort going for it in stock form and the largest fuel tank of the 3, but the DR650 certainly handles the road miles fine and is air cooled keeping things lighter and more simple, and way easier to handle off road. There's also a huge choice of aftermarket fuel tanks for the DR with most being around 5gal mark. If you are looking at DR650's look at the '96+ models as they are the same from that year to today with a huge availability of parts. Stay away from 95 and older models. You can see in my sig I've got a WR250R and DR650 right now. The DR650 is my "exploring" bike when I just want to go venture out and find stuff to go ride in the dirt. My WRR is my "play bike" when I really want to ride aggressively since its so light and easy to handle. The WRR is actually less buzy on the road than the DR and is so smooth, but it doesn't have the low end grunt of the DR.

    To date, besides for my Husky TE610 which was just stupid fun, the WRR has been my most favorite DS bike. The FI is perfect and the bike is so smooth and easy to ride.

    Someone mentioned the DR350 and that's a good possibility as long as you can find a 98-99 SE with e-start. Other wise they were all kick.
    #4
  5. past_tense

    past_tense Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    61
    Thanks for the replys. I've ridden the newer KLR and loved it. When visiting a friend in SC he suggested I ride his 2008 KLR. I'd ridden the older version and did not care for them. He was confident I would like the bike and he was right. I felt comfortable within less than a mile. We rode forest service roads all day and then hooned on the twisty mountain roads on the way back to his place. I was 100% comfortable the entire time.

    That being said, I am fully aware of the limitations of the KLR. I selected the Sherpa (which I really liked, and would rather have than the XT) and now the XT specifically because I needed a bike that was light enough to get myself out of trouble when off road by myself, or on really challenging trails. I rode the Sherpa over Black Bear and Imogene to give you and example. I've also ridden on very technical trail/goat paths in Utah.

    I'm not afraid of having to pick up the KLR. It would be restricted to back country roads in the boonies of Utah and Nevada or on forest service roads where dumping it wouldn't involve steep hills or tight single track type trails.

    While the XT is great for local or trailered rides, 100-300 road miles before I hit the back country areas would not be fun. I'll definate check out the suggested bike, even the WR which I had dismissed due to its super high seat. If it could be lowered to the point where I was comfortable, I think I could live with the reduced ride quality.

    I'm heading to Death Valley this weekend and will be riding the XT. The other guys will be on a pair of KLX250s and a DRZ400. I'm looking forward to riding those for comparison, though I did ride a KLX250s when looking for the Sherpa replacement. I didn't like it then, but maybe a few miles on one this weekend will change my mind.

    What I'd really like is a Sherpa with 10 more horsepower. :clap

    BTW, the others in the stable are a Ducati 695 Monster and an FJR1300.
    #5
  6. SportsGuy

    SportsGuy icanhazdirt?

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    545
    Location:
    redmond wa
    ...clearly a man of class an taste... :D

    That's my "other" bike, too...LOL
    #6