"Heavy" Guy advice needed.

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Coach1974, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. wizz

    wizz Up a creek......

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    He’s in Santa Cruz, it’s not like blasting I 95. A klr or dr would do really well fir that part of the CA coast, and a good cheap entry to the dual sport/adv thing down there.

    Personally I wouldn’t want anything that doesn’t have decent suspension travel on public roads in earthquake country.

    Op, forgot the whole highway thing, get something for the majority of the riding you want to do, which sounds like secondary twisties and dirt roads, and frankly that’s the best stuff the coast range has to offer anyway.
    #41
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  2. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    I'll throw another vote for the Versys. Plenty of power for cruising at 80mph, more nimble than the Vstrom and will easily handle the dirt roads you are looking to ride.
    #42
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  3. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

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    First generation Kawasaki Versys 650.
    Often obtainable on the cheap. Dirt road capable and they love twisties on blacktop.

    Reliable, a cheap date, and somewhat ugly.
    Serves me well. I'm on the plus side of 250. :-)

    R923-998.jpg
    #43
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  4. JETalmage

    JETalmage Been here awhile

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    You don't want a KLR or DR650 or any other 650 single for riding at 80 MPH all day. They're all breathing pretty hard at 80. That's not something you want to maintain for hours. Plus, if ambient traffic is 80 MPH, you still want some roll-on reserve when you need it.

    If you want a single for what you describe, there's really only one: KTM 690. The 690 engine makes at least half again as much power as the other 650 single dualsports.

    While making much more power, the 690 Enduro (it's a dualsport; "Enduro" in this case is just a model name) also weighs significantly less than the other 650 class dualsports. So for a "dirt bike" feel on your dirt road ventures, it can't be beat. But put a 16 tooth counter sprocket on it, to make better use of its power advantage at highway speeds. Since you're only targeting off-pavement (dirt roads are still roads; don't call it "off-road"), the higher gearing will not hurt you on the low end of the gear spread.

    Also because you're only targeting off-pavement, a 690 in SM (SuperMoto) trim would be arguably just as good, would be a bit more sprightly on pavement, but would not be like abusing a street bike on unpaved grime.

    Even the 690 Duke would be arguably almost as appropriate as the SM, since you don't really need off-road suspension for mere dirt roads. But it would handle more like a street bike, 'cause that's what it is. Plus, it's kind of a shame to abuse a nice street bike on dirt and gravel surfaces.

    But 690s are not cheap as the comparatively outdated Japanese 650s, because they're fully modern and very high quality.

    Now if you're not really looking for a truly dirt-worthy kind of nimbleness, that's where a multi-cylinder Adventure Bike comes in. They're not dirt bikes. They're somewhat more ruggedly built road bikes that you don't have to feel like you're abusing by taking them off-pavement. Compared to dirt bikes, though, they are very bulky, heavy, and limited soon as you get them off-road. But so long as you intend to ride those dirt roads relatively casually and cautiously as opposed to sportingly, they may be just what you want, because any multi-cylinder 650 or larger is going to provide significantly greater comfort and road-going versatility.

    V-Stroms are some of the best bargains going, both new and used. Be aware, though, that one of the unusual characteristics of V-Stroms is that, largely because they are V-twins of similar design the 650 and 1000 are more similar in bulk and mass than one might expect from their displacements. The 650 is rather overbuilt; it's not really much less a handful on a dirt road than the 1000. But the 1000 is a marvelous highway engine that can just stroll along at 80, and makes an exceptionally versatile road bike for everything from around town to highway touring.

    JET
    #44
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  5. wizz

    wizz Up a creek......

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    There’s nowhere around Santa Cruz where youre going 80 for hours, certainly a plethora of options to not need too even if you could. Again, this is not like blasting down 75 to freakin Florida or 85/985 to get to Richard Russell, there is no interstate on the coast. Take a look at the map of the area, and what a person can get into between there and San Luis Obispo. If youre going 80 for more than brief stints between sc and Monterey or sj then youre doing it wrong. Even the hwy to San Jose has curves.

    A 690 would be a great bike for that area as well, sure, it’s niche is the kind of riding the ca coastal range provides, that’s why I have one, but it can be a steep entry price to see if it’s somethng youre into.

    And if a person has never ridden any dirt, twisty dry washboard steep slick dirt roads in the coastal range, a street twin is not the way to start imho. A thumper and a class with jimmy lewis would be mucho better.

    Klr or dr, very capable, you can sell em for what you buy em and they seem to be really popular with “heavy” guys probably for a reason. If you like it but it’s not enuff power go 690 or adv bike. Plus, the big thumper dual sports are fantastic for lane sharing, one of the best things about living in CA.
    #45
  6. Elderber

    Elderber Adventurer

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    I just browsed through Craigslist for Oakland (I just had surgery today and am jacked up on oxycodone so it seemed like a good use of my time!). There looks to be a lot of bikes in the $4000-$4500 range. In my experience $3500-$4500 is the range in which you can buy a decent bike where you are not going to be buying somebody else’s problem.

    There are some sweet bikes in that price range on the SF Bay Craigslist. I saw KTM 950 Adventures and supermotos, BMW GS 1150s, BMW 650Dakar, Suzuki Vstrom 650 &. 1000s. It looks to be a very good used bike market. Take your time and take a buddy who rides to go with you to check out some bikes. You don’t even need to ride them to get a sense of the quality you are going to get at whtever price point you decide. I think that you’ll find if you dip below $3500 you’re going to find bikes that need a lot more (new tires, brakes, tune up, etc..) than bikes that cost a little more.

    Good luck, buying bikes is fun!
    #46
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  7. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    Isn't there almost nowhere where you can go 80 for hours and still be there?
    #47
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  8. wizz

    wizz Up a creek......

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    You can go 80 fir hours and still be in the Central Valley bowl, Or texas, Nebraska, North Dakota, hell, most of the middle of the country you can go 80 fir hours and feel like you haven’t moved a mile. :lol3 Goldwing country. But the reeeeeegion from sc to San Luis Obispo isn’t really that kind of country.
    #48
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  9. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    Stick with the sport bike for the road and get a light, simple bike for the dirt. Most anything that can do both will do them both quite badly.
    #49
  10. Bruincounselor

    Bruincounselor North Plains Drifter Supporter

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    +1 on Jimmy Lewis Off-road. Best bang for your bucks.
    #50
  11. jwaller

    jwaller Been here awhile

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    KLRs can do 80 but are much happier when being used up to 65-70 mph. This sounds crazy, but a Versys X-300 seems better on pavement than a KLR. You just have to make the engine scream, but it will happily do so. For what you described in your riding, I think any of the 650 twins from Suzuki or Kawasaki, the 500s from Honda, or the 700s from Yamaha, or even anything from the air-cooled Triumph Bonneville family would suit your needs. For years I've used a Triumph Scrambler with cheap Shinko 705s for just the kind of riding you're talking about.
    #51
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  12. goodburbon

    goodburbon Been here awhile

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    If youre coming from sport bikes don’t klr or DR , you’ll find the engines boring and the handling like a lumbering fat giant. The 5 speed trannies are very limiting and the klr isn’t happy over 75 or so ( never rode a DR but rode with DRs that asked to keep speeds under 65)

    For what you describe the bmw f700 f800 Honda cb500x nc700x ktm/husqvarna 350, 500, 690 and older 950 plus newer 790 1090 1190 and 1290 adventures, beta 350-500s, the Ducati scaramblers, the triumph tigers and scramblers, the Yamaha scrambler, the Yamaha super tenere, the Suzuki DL bikes, Buell Ulysses, the sport standards with aggressive tires will do (ninja 650, sv650) or almost any sumo... there are literally dozens of bikes that can fill the role easily what limits you is high speed cruising vs dirt exploring ability.

    Just know that a Ktm 350 has more power than the DR650 or klr650 and can cruise as fast or faster. Also, the wrong bike can make the experience suck. (Cheap ass suspension... looking at you Yamaha Xt)

    For reference I started on a KLR>Buell Ulysses>BMW 700gs>Yamaha XT225> bmw f800gs> Buell 1125>Ktm 350 (with a few bikes in between)

    And yes, as posted above.... 2 bikes is best, one designed for each task..
    #52
  13. silentsnake

    silentsnake Adventurer

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    Here are several bikes to look at that others haven't mentioned:
    • BMW G310GS;
    • Royal Enfield Himalayan;
    • Kaw Versys 300; and
    • KTM Duke 390.
    These have a lot to offer and are cool. I think that the Versys is the best fit.

    When you are shopping, be sure to note seat heights. Not everybody is comfortable with a 35"+ perch.

    All of these bikes are fine for short (30-60 min) hops on the freeway. None are great beyond that. If you want to tour, please ignore this post.

    I am 6'1" and 240# and ride a XR650L. I am 40% dirt.
    #53
  14. mikehailwood

    mikehailwood Been here awhile

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    What is our budget?
    #54