Appropriate bike choices for travelling across North America and beyond?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Spyrothedragon9972, Sep 29, 2021.

  1. Spyrothedragon9972

    Spyrothedragon9972 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2021
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Ontario
    Hello everyone. I've been a street bike person and I've toured a little bit on a naked bike, but I'm now planning a cross Canada road trip with a friend of mine who's only owned ADV bikes. I sort of have this idea in my head that I want to ride the seemingly endless number of trails that surround me in the Ottawa Valley, Quebec region on a dual sport. Thing is, some of these trails are up to 3 hours away. I was hoping that if I found a bike that could fit that role, that I could also ride is across the country with my friend on his V-Strom 1000. I have no experience with dual sports or ADV bikes, but I'm realizing that I may be looking for the impossible.

    The closest thing I could find was Honda's CRF300L Rally, but I don't really think a 300cc is anyone's idea of a worthy cross country machine, even if it may be a stellar bike for backroads and trails. If only they made a 400-450 version with a street engine.

    I also happen to think that riding trails on a 400+ lbs bike would be leaving a lot of fun on the table, so to speak, but again, I have no experience with this.

    Is there a bike that could do both jobs are am I legitimately better off buying myself 2 separate bikes? I'm on a fairly limited budget, so I definitely need to sacrifice something.

    If I were to focus on getting a bike that could handle travelling across Canada and the U.S. and maybe even someday South America, while also being capable of really exploring off the paved roads, what direction would you point me in?

    I don't exactly have the best experience dealing with my carbureted bike, so I definitely have a pretty strong preference for bikes with EFI.

    Thank you for your time.
    #1
  2. dave0

    dave0 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    413
    Location:
    there
    Maybe something along the line of a KTM 790?
    #2
    Migolito likes this.
  3. Motomantra

    Motomantra Registered Lurker

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,375
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    I'm sure you already know this, but there is no unicorn bike. Think harder on what you want to sacrifice. Give up some off road ability, or deal with the discomfort of a smaller bike on the long distance rides. Also, generally speaking a larger bike will last longer.
    I've been riding more than 50 years, street & dirt. For now I'm riding a V-Strom 650 & a DR 650. IMO the DR 650 is as close to the unicorn as I can find.
    #3
    Wetfeet and SidewinderX like this.
  4. WindBlast

    WindBlast Jesus and Tequila

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,537
    Location:
    New Sweden
    I did a 1500 mile week-long trek around CA and NV on a DRZ400S. The only problem was the 100 mile fuel range. I would do it again with a Clarke tank. No real long stints on the interstates are recommended.
    #4
    jazzer and Grinnin like this.
  5. Spyrothedragon9972

    Spyrothedragon9972 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2021
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Ontario
    I love KTM and what they do in the same way I love BMW and what they do with their cars. But I don't think I'd ever own a BMW car because I've known too many people and heard too many stories about simple fixes that cost thousands of dollars because the cost of parts, import and labor being much higher than that of a non-European car, while the frequency of such events seems to be higher as well. I know there's many stories on both sides of the fence, but it just seems hit and miss enough to worry me if I were to buy into such a vehicle.

    Is KTM's reputation for having fairly expensive to maintain/fix and fairly unreliable machines warranted? It's just a question I have to ask. I know I've heard a lot about their 390 engines, specifically the RC bikes.
    #5
    spokester likes this.
  6. radmann10

    radmann10 Old fart Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Oddometer:
    2,849
    Location:
    Valley of the Sun/hot part of AZ
    Look at KTM 500 XC-W or 500 EXC
    #6
    Natgeo14 likes this.
  7. radmann10

    radmann10 Old fart Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Oddometer:
    2,849
    Location:
    Valley of the Sun/hot part of AZ
    The baloney about KTM maintenance is just that, baloney, you have to do some work an all bikes if you want to complete the ride!
    #7
  8. Spyrothedragon9972

    Spyrothedragon9972 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2021
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Ontario
    Hmm, I can't say that I've ever heard that larger bikes tend to last longer than smaller bikes. Oddly enough I've seen a lot more small dirt bikes from the 80's and 90's than I have street bikes, but that's just anecdotal. The DR650 is definitely on my radar, but I do have a problem with spending $7,000 CAD on a "new" motorcycle straight out of who knows what year? The late 90's/early 2000's? I definitely want my money going to manufacturers who make high value and competitive product with modern tech. I just see more effort being made there. You could just call that a personal problem of mine though. Of course buying used is always an option, but the used market of dual sports near me is absolutely insane.

    I was considering the V-Strom 650, but I think that bike literally have the same engine as my Gladius. I think that would be a little funny.
    #8
  9. Spyrothedragon9972

    Spyrothedragon9972 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2021
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Ontario
    I have heard that the DRZ400 is the most highway worthy of the small Japanese dual sports. I've always wondered if that was the result of the horsepower or gearing. Do you know if the DRZ's 5th gear is taller than say the new KLX300's 6th gear?
    #9
  10. WindBlast

    WindBlast Jesus and Tequila

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,537
    Location:
    New Sweden
    No idea. My dizzer will do an indicated 80mph pretty easily but it doesn't like it. It will go 60-65 mph all day. I converted it to SM wheels last year which is even more fun on the asphalt.
    #10
  11. randypower

    randypower Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2016
    Oddometer:
    436
    Location:
    Spring Branch, Texas, USA
    I think it depends on how you want to travel on pavement... How much Interstate? I just put 5,000 miles from Texas to Northeast USA on my CRF300L Rally and had a blast. This included some Interstate, but not a lot. It also included NEBDR and MABDR, plus many miles of 2-lane paved county highways.

    I'm an anomaly, though. I chose to bias my bike choice to the dirt side of dual sport. Most others doing this tend to go for midsize or even large ADV bikes.

    You'll need to make your choices based on the compromises of size, agility, comfort, etc. that are right for you. Some of that will only come from your own experiences.
    #11
    Blaise W, lvscrvs and ZoomerP like this.
  12. Spyrothedragon9972

    Spyrothedragon9972 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2021
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Ontario
    The 2022 500 EXC-F definitely looks like a SWEET bike. Expensive though, but if it could do both jobs, I'd call it a bargain. What do the service intervals look like on those bikes? Are they dirt bike or street bike intervals?
    #12
  13. Spyrothedragon9972

    Spyrothedragon9972 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2021
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Ontario
    I definitely need to get my hands on a SM. They're what got me into motorcycling in the first place. It's sort of ironic that I've never ridden one. I love me a naked bike, but I can't help but wonder if a SM would be more fun. If only I had the money and space for 10 bikes, lol.
    #13
    WindBlast likes this.
  14. radmann10

    radmann10 Old fart Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Oddometer:
    2,849
    Location:
    Valley of the Sun/hot part of AZ
    [QUOTE
    ="Spyrothedragon9972, post: 43073314, member: 472353"]The 2022 500 EXC-F definitely looks like a SWEET bike. Expensive though, but if it could do both jobs, I'd call it a bargain. What do the service intervals look like on those bikes? Are they dirt bike or street bike intervals?[/QUOTE]

    The intervals in the manual are for dirt racing and can be extended if you want to complete a BRD or a longer ride. Look at 2012 or newer 500 EXCs they are fuel injected and have no problems at any altitude.
    #14
  15. Spyrothedragon9972

    Spyrothedragon9972 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2021
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Ontario
    That's a good question and that sounds like a killer trip! I haven't been on enough long trips to really know how I'd like to do them. I suppose that's a question I need to find the answer to first.
    #15
    randypower likes this.
  16. Spyrothedragon9972

    Spyrothedragon9972 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2021
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Ontario
    The intervals in the manual are for dirt racing and can be extended if you want to complete a BRD or a longer ride. Look at 2012 or newer 500 EXCs they are fuel injected and have no problems at any altitude.[/QUOTE]
    Good to know. I'll swing by a dealership sometime and see what's what.
    #16
  17. radmann10

    radmann10 Old fart Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Oddometer:
    2,849
    Location:
    Valley of the Sun/hot part of AZ
    #17
  18. Sid Post

    Sid Post Middle aged rider

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    470
    Location:
    Texas, USA
    You can do what you want on a 250/300cc dual-sport but, I think you will be much happier with a Suzuki DR-650. Sure it is heavier off road but, will go down reasonable trails without much complaint. It is also easy to patch up if you make an unplanned get-off somewhere.

    Going down the road, the weight makes it more stable on the road around cars and trucks and, has the power to pull hills at interstate speeds and run with traffic. All this with very easy service intervals. I considered a CBR-500X twin but, for similar money, the DR-650 is simply a better option. Plus, any farkles for it are plentiful and cheap.
    #18
  19. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    6,045
    Location:
    CA dez (it's a dry heat)/West Yellowstone,MT
    I'd say it depends on what you mean by "trail?" I doubt the vast majority of Vstrom riders ride what I consider a trail as in singletrack. If by "trail", you mean hard core 4X4 dirt roads, the lighter weight single cylinder motorcycles mentioned are good and can be made to work on pavement. If by "trail" you mean gravel forest service roads, I'd look at the twin cylinder motorcycles as they will be fine on the gravel and way better on the 3 - 4 hours of pavement to get there.
    #19
    randypower likes this.
  20. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    30,993
    Location:
    Western Sierras
    DR650 with an extended range tank.
    #20
    AngusMcL and Sid Post like this.