Middle displacement thumper for ADV riding and touring?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Sid Post, Mar 8, 2021.

  1. Sid Post

    Sid Post Middle aged rider

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    Hopefully, this thread isn't redundant but, I didn't see anything particularly close to my initial thoughts. I have my first COVID shot in my arm so, I'm starting to think about hitting the road, at least in Texas with eased restrictions. While a 300 HPE Vespa would be fine for local use and errands (I have a KTM-450XCW for dirt), it isn't viable for me for longer distance touring as I will want some 'dirt' capability beyond modest suspension travel and small tires.

    I have a tired 2007 KLX-250S that either needs a significant rework or, I need an upgrade. Like many around forums like this one, Itchy Boots had me thinking about a RE Himalayan but, it lacks enough get up and go to be safe on a lot of asphalt roads I will see. Heck, my KLX-250S is a lot lighter and the mods I did put some fire in its belly but, highway use was a bit dicey for such a lightweight with modest power!

    A Honda CRF-450L is simply too extreme to be a good 1,000 mile a month ride on something other than rural roads with little asphalt. The classic 650's and even the Honda CRF-250/300 seem awful heavy for use with added luggage if I want to take anything more aggressive than a forestry service road I could drive in my car.

    I am going to avoid the temptation of a KTM 790/890 ADV option but, I am really having a hard time finding something in the 400cc class that excites me. A Honda CRF-250/300 with a 400cc engine and weight loss program would be sweet. A Yamaha WR-250R with more displacement would be even better.

    What I seem to be stuck with is old obsolete tech with small displacement Suzuki and Honda options and, apparently the now discontinued Yamaha WR-250R. If I were to take a Yamaha WR-250/450 and convert it to ADV use with street tags, I would just be recreating the CRF-450L or one of the KTM Enduro's.

    Is anyone making a ~400cc streetable Enduro that has the durability and maintenance of a more traditional dual-sport meant mainly for street use and a country road or two? And no, a Suzuki DRZ-400S does not work with its 5-speed transmission and design from the history books! The classic 650 thumper options lack reasonable suspensions and are VERY heavy! The Husky 701-LR was tempting but, they seem to be effectively a unicorn on this side of the Atlantic and I wonder about overall weight too. Would a KTM 690 Enduro work in this role and does its subframe have enough support for boxes and/or fuel cells? Of course, when we get to the KTM 690 Enduro, we are easily in the $12K range so, something like the new Triumph 900 Tiger becomes viable if you can get past the sheer mass it has. Of course, the Triumph 900 Tiger really misses the point of the travels I want to do as it is bigger and heavier than I really want though the thought of 900cc's is intoxicating!

    Heck, I wonder about something like a Honda 650-L with the 471cc parallel-twin from the little 500's Honda pushes towards returning riders in various CB forms, assuming it isn't too portly. Has COVID just tamped down new motorcycle releases or have COVID-related financial constraints just stopped new motorcycle development in this area? With the Triumph Trident and Aprilia RS-660/Tuono 660, some nice models are starting to hit the USA streets! Maybe an Aprilia Taureg is the one I'm waiting for but, I guess I'm in the wrong sub-forum for that question! ;)

    TIA,
    Sid
    #1
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  2. gnarlynate24

    gnarlynate24 Live, love and ride on :D

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    I have the exact same question about 3 years ago before I left on my RTW trip... The 701 is awesome but an expensive dirt bike to take two countries where you cannot get insurance. The 450L needs an oil change every 600 miles.... This led me to a 2007 BMW X-Challenge 650. They are pretty rare as only 955 of them made it to the United States and the one year they were produced by Aprilia for BMW.

    After swapping out the suspension adding a larger fuel tank and a more comfortable seat I can report back I've done about 36,000 mi with X-Challenge across Mexico through Europe and now in Turkey... Absolutely fantastic 50/50 adventure machine! Very capable on the road and very much at home on the dirt. I think to have one of these motorcycles bought and outfitted for heavy adventure work you'll have about six or seven thousand US dollars invested into the bike but she will be good for a hundred thousand miles and plenty of adventure.

    The 701 long range is really a unicorn and is probably the best out of the box option maybe besides an APJ 700 but they are also even more rare and harder to find in the United States.

    If you want to see my X-Challenge in action you're welcome to follow me on Instagram and see some of my trip from the last two and a half years on the road. If you have any more questions or ideas about this X bike hesitate to ask or reach out!

    Follow me on Instagram!
    Username: natethenomadallen
    https://www.instagram.com/natethenomadallen?r=nametag

    IMG_20210308_123856.jpg
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  3. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Why not the new fuel injected KLX300 dual sport?

    Past that it's old tech DRZ or $$ CRF or $$ KTM.
    #3
  4. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    I looked at all the options and ended up with a tagged WR450F, KTM 690 and F650GS. Each have their work and needs to get them right.
    #4
  5. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Any major issues to speak of with your bike on the road?

    I have my 05 650GS setup with Mosko bags like that and the bike has Cogent F&R suspension done so it tours well. I've done the IDBDR with it but I'm leary of traveling farther with it and always choose my 650 Vstrom. I'd like to trust it more.
    #5
  6. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    What kind of roads and loads do you see yourself? My 690 carries a load and is a blast but extra fuel is an issue for sure.

    20201030_112230.jpg

    What about the 390 ADV? Fun bike to ride and plenty of power.

    20201102_104411.jpg
    #6
  7. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    This is my tagged WR

    20210306_125702.jpg
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  8. Sid Post

    Sid Post Middle aged rider

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    I lived in Arizona for ~15 years so, fuel range and water are a high priority for me. When I'd come back to the midwest, friends always questioned why I carried a couple of cases of water in the trunk of my car! When mom came out, she never understood while I filled a half-empty tank back to full either. :D

    When fuel range gets to be less than 300 miles, I get nervous. Less than 250 is a no-go for me. Even my little fuel-sipping KLX-250S got a Clarke 2.7G tank though I did consider the larger Acerbis and the mods it would have taken to fit it. I did end up adding extra fuel via bottles when I upped the power via carb and airbox modes and added 3 teeth to the rear sprocket.

    For the money, it just doesn't seem like good value to start with. The one example I sat on did not 'feel' like a real KTM to me either. If it looked more dual-sporty or even more classically ADV style, maybe I would warm up to it easier. I'm sure it is a good enough motorcycle and capable enough but, like a RE Himalayan, it doesn't move the soul much in anticipation of throwing a leg over it.
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  9. Sid Post

    Sid Post Middle aged rider

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    For similar money, I find from my own personal experience Honda reliability and longevity to be better. Honda's in general have a better build quality too. At the time I bought my KLX-250S, the suspension was far superior to anything else in its class at the time and the engine was more powerful stock than the CRF-230. Suzuki at the time was archaic and the Yamaha WR-250R was off in the shadows and a lot more expensive at the time (like twice as much new!).
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  10. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Well that's all I've got. Got luck finding your unicorn.
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  11. Sid Post

    Sid Post Middle aged rider

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    A lightweight like that WR is appealing to me. I wonder about getting it registered for road use in Texas though.

    Did you need to do driveline mods for it to be durable on asphalt? What all was involved with getting it tagged where you live?
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  12. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    No driveline mods needed, that's overkill as it has big flexy knobs not street tires. DRZ do not have a cush drive.

    Colorado is very easy.

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/plating-a-dirt-bike-in-the-usa.1273341/

    Register it in South Dakota like everyone else does.
    #12
  13. gnarlynate24

    gnarlynate24 Live, love and ride on :D

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    Only major issue I have had is instead of running the genuine factory BMW front sprocket I was using a Sunstar front sprocket which I have on many Japanese bikes in the past... It screwed up the spline shaft teeth and I had to weld it on. That mistake is completely on me and not the motorcycle. Other than that she's been flawless... Have not even had to adjust the valves in 36,000 mi! I ride the bike pretty hard and take her down some pretty gnarly trails most of the time and she always asks for more without hesitation.

    Sooooooooo the GS650 is good road bike but is a completely different animal than the X-Challenge. The differences are astonishing honestly because this is not a BMW it's actually made by Aprilia in Italy and then rebadged. First and most importantly for me is the weight difference between the X-Challenge and the GS is nearly 90 pounds... Also how it holds the weight is very different because on the X the whole theory behind the bike is mass centralization. This makes a huuuge difference on how the bike feels on the trail. It feels very similar to a WR250R but with a lot more braaap
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  14. Sid Post

    Sid Post Middle aged rider

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    The windscreen on the new Honda CRF-300 Rally looks really nice. The air blast on my chest from the KLX-250S gets old pretty fast on the street. And on a cold morning, it can be brutal, or at least it was on this desert dweller.

    The new Rally also has a larger gas tank at over 3 Gallons! That right there saves me several hundred dollars even though I really like my Clarke 2.7G tank on the KLX-250S.
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  15. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Thanks for the feedback & heads up.

    I did add a 1 tooth smaller JT front sprocket to mine but have not heard of anyone having output shaft damages on the GS with those. Yeah I agree yours is higher performance than mine.
    #15
  16. Bitingdog

    Bitingdog That's not my dog

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    Texas is easy for tagging a dual sported enduro bike
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