myth of the light weight adventure bike for dirt and adv riding?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by B1, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. manybike

    manybike Omnipresent Supporter

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    looks good
    anyone ever ride one ?
  2. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Kinda has that shopping cart bag lady vibe going... :hide




    Sorry, the thought just kinda hit...:lol3
  3. BobintheMtns

    BobintheMtns Been here awhile

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    Mesoman- I actually had a gran canyon for a while- 100% brilliant bike.. And the same motor as the elefant 900, except they fitted fuel injection to the gc.. But yeah, great bike, not quite as off-road worthy as the 'fant, but the sound from the gc's dual exhaust..Mmmmmmmmm
    mesoman likes this.
  4. fullmonte

    fullmonte Reformed Kneedragger

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    In the same boat in regards to the 2013 690 I bought this spring. Not sure whether to sell or put some money into it. Do you remember the mileage when you had the valves checked on yours?
  5. Caesars_ghost

    Caesars_ghost Air Cooled.

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    It all boils down to "intended use." I want a bike that I can run errands around town, easily pop a wheelie or take a shortcut over some curbs or up some stairs... then take it out on some local dirt roads and rip around, maybe hit some woods and single track (not hard and fast, I'm not a hardcore dirt bike guy, I just like to explore.)

    But I also want this bike to fuel my dream of one day riding the TAT, and exploring South America, exploring every rough and boulder-strewn dirt road in the higher Andes I come across. Practically speaking, this South America trip is a pipe dream at the moment, and I probably won't be able to ride the TAT for a long time either. Even a week-long road trip is a bit of a stretch at present (and I have a pretty versatile street bike for that, which I'd probably take instead.)

    So, for guys with a champagne taste for ultimate versatility, and a beer budget... I suspect most people either dream big and get a GS or somesuch, so they can ride on the street and tour on weekends, or they get a full on street bike/tourer/sportbike of their choice, and a small lightweight dirt bike (plated or not) for local fun. The tricky middle ground costs a lot of money to do right, and while it sounds ideal, I suspect most guys don't want to make the compromises it takes.

    Marketing-wise it's harder too, because people have been fed the line for years that bigger is better, so anyone coming from the street can be more easily persuaded to part with a lot of profit-margin coin for a 1000-1300cc bike than for a "wimpy little 350." Whereas the dirt riders are going to feel that a more road-oriented bike is a pig. It's easier and more profitable for the dealer to sell you a dirt bike and a cruiser than a compromise with low margins.

    That being said, there are a few options I've seen that don't involve a lot of dough and lots of maintenance.

    1. DR650 with suspension and diet
    2. DRZ400 with ACT/big bore
    3. DR350 with big bore
    4. KLX250S with big bore
    5. WR250R
    6. Super Sherpa/XT225
    7. XR650R
    8. XChallenge

    How they stack up in the real world? I have no idea. It's hard to find comparisons of modded machines with stock ones that are ordinarily of a different class.
    keepshoveling likes this.
  6. The_Precious_Juice

    The_Precious_Juice The Virginian

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    It would be great if Motorcycle.com did a shoot out on those bikes.

    The Adv Shoot outs they do have a average price tag over easily $19,000.

    The DR would be the S10 of the bunch. hahaha.
  7. mesoman

    mesoman Been here awhile

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    Hey! nice list! But I'm Suzuki biased. :D The "Tricky middle ground" does not have to cost a lot ... you've listed several examples above. Not only are they "Beer budget" bikes and have tremendous versatility .... most are owner serviceable, tough and reliable.

    I would add on the venerable KLR650 (another relic) and XR650L Honda ... and don't forget the long XT line (ceased production in 2003) Plenty around in UK and EU. Good bike, lighter, simpler than 660 versions.

    Breaking away from job/family/kids will be your biggest challenge to doing dream trips of any length. Not easy to do. I wish I'd done more when young ... now I'm a bit old/weak to tackle long, tough RTW type trips. We all make our choices. I've seen S. America ... "retired" at age 23, spent 7 years in S. America working/traveling (only partly on bikes). Now retired again and I've put 65K miles on DR650 ... about 100,000 more on XL's, KLR's, XR's, DRZ's since 1987.

    I love the 250's but they are a challenge to set up for a year long S. America trip. Plenty do it, but prefer just a bit more room/power, which the heavier DR650 (among others) others.
  8. Pantah

    Pantah Jiggy Dog Fan from Scottsdale Supporter

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    The mileage was about 8500 or so. Maybe 9k. The fellow who did the valves did something to the electrical connections. Maybe a plug wire or something. When I picked it up it wouldn't run once it got warm and left me stranded. The dealer picked me up twice and the bike was out of commission for a month while they tried to figure it out. But when I got it back it finally runs like it should have when I bought it. I am not sure why, but they did remap the ECU a few times. Now it is very smooth at most speeds. Certainly under 68mph, and interestingly at 75 too. In between is not really bad, though. I can see in my mirrors, which I couldn't before above 65mph. I bought OEM folding mirrors too, because my stocker broke. The shorter mirror seems to have helped in the vibes too. I still have a little throttle snatch that surfaced today on a NH dual sport charity ride. It happens after closing the throttle on a downhill. When I crack it open there is sometimes a delay and then bang, a power surge. But I think most Euro FI is pretty snatchy. Probably something about emissions tune. I'd like to get rid of it, though...
  9. mesoman

    mesoman Been here awhile

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    This describes perfectly typical ON/Off F.I. throttle snatch. It can screw up your flow in tight, slow twisty sections. Can be hard to "ride around". Sometimes an ECU tweak can reduce or eliminate. I've had 3 F.I. bikes that did exactly the same. A higher idle can also help. But the hard fuel cut off is what's doing it, then when you re- open the throttle after it's been shut ... as you say ... bang! Not good when leaned 40 degrees on sandy pavement. Go easy.

    I really surprised your dealer did not offer a firm explanation for the "no start" condition that took A MONTH to figure out. I would want to know WHY ... if it happens again maybe there is a simple fix side of road? My guess is they simply started swapping in "known good" components until they found a faulty unit, bad connection or something. Basically, guess work for $100
    an hour. (free to you on warranty)
    Basically a GREAT bike if you learn it and stay up with maintenance. (two buddies have newer ones, all good ... so far)
    :beer
  10. Taurkon

    Taurkon Long timer

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    Not going to read all 32 pages here, but at least contribute based on my own experiences.

    My wife and I have traveled throughout most of Western Canada, the Western US, and parts of Africa. These travels have brought us on a very good mixture of gravel roads, dirt roads, quad tracks, secondary highways, some interstate, and even old x-railroad routes. We typically pack as light as possible but it includes all our camping gear, a couple changes of clothes, and tools for repairs. All this done on a KTM 990A and BMW F650GS. Yup, not the cheapest bikes but imo we were able to cover more distance in more comfort than most alternatives with no major mechanical issues whatsoever. In total, we probably rode ~ 30,000 km of true adventure riding (I'd define as anything off an interstate geared up so you can stay away from hotels and restaurants for at least 2-3 days).

    That being said, we are currently kitting our Husky 350 & 501 for extended trips and am looking forward to seeing how these singles will handle the long distance rides (motivated by Motonomads movie).
    The_Precious_Juice likes this.
  11. jcat5503

    jcat5503 Been here awhile

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    I'm very torn as to what my next bike should be as well!! I am digging X-Challenges but cant seem to find any for sale..

    It seems like a much more friendly long pavement bike than a 690...
  12. AlexWS

    AlexWS Adventurer

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    You have described exactly what I'm looking for in my "white whale" lightweight adventure bike, you even nailed the part about wanting to do the TAT and South America on it some day. The only other thing I'm looking for is a low seat height, I have a 30 inch inseam so I'm not a midget or anything but I REALLY like being able to put both feet on the ground and seat heights around 30-32 are the sweet spot. So basically I'm limiting myself to the Super Sherpa.
  13. mesoman

    mesoman Been here awhile

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  14. mesoman

    mesoman Been here awhile

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    I would not let seat height limit your bike choices. Super Sherpa is a cool little bike, if not a bit outdated. For a 250 I'd rather go for the new Honda CRF250L or WR250R.
    Lowering links makes lowering seat height cheap and easy. I've 29" inseam, ride stock DR650 fully loaded, no problem, even off road. You get used to being on tip toes.
    Just not problem. Most experienced off road guys know this. If it was a GS or big KTM 1290, that's different. There, weight is the enemy. 250's are light, easy to control.
    Sherpa a bit heavy for a 250 IIRC.
    Good luck. Ride a few, get a feel for them. Stay off freeways! :D
  15. Caesars_ghost

    Caesars_ghost Air Cooled.

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    Hey, I hear you on the inseam too. I wear 30" inseam pants. My street bike is 31.5" and I can basically flat-foot it. My feet are up just a hair at the heel but I can't really even tell unless I'm paying attention.

    So I conclude that a Super Sherpa would feel about "right," bearing in mind that DS bikes are "expected" to be taller, and that a KLX250s or DR650 would be taller-but-doable. I think the Sherpa seat is in the 33" range, the KLX is around 34 3/4 IIRC.

    The DRZ with its 36.8" seat looks like a skyscraper at the dealer, and I confess I haven't had the courage to try to mount it on the sales floor, for fear I knock it and all the other nearby bikes down, domino style. That said, the natural sag of the suspension, a 1" lowering link and 1" lower seat could shave some of that height off, but I think it'd still be a bit on the high side for me. I know there are 5'7" guys out there riding 38" bikes, but that doesn't give you much margin of error if you find yourself having to come to a stop on less-than-level ground. Seems like a lower height would be more practical, so I'm looking hard at the DR650 and KLX250. The Sherpa seems like a good machine but I'm afraid it wouldn't be as exciting as the others, and there's not a lot of aftermarket since they're fairly uncommon in the US.
  16. Mountainhound

    Mountainhound Long timer

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    I find it odd the talk about inseam and seat height. My bike 16 ktm 500exc has a 38" seat height and I have a 31-32" inseam and my feet touch ground with not much problem.
  17. AlexWS

    AlexWS Adventurer

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    Once again we are on the same page, my street bike is 30" and obviously it's very easy and comfortable to flat foot. I've been riding for five years and doing a little exploring on forests roads so while a little of it is noob apprehension I'm not completely new. I prefer a very standard rising position and being able to put both feet on the ground not only for confidence but also comfort.
    I actually DID sit on the DRZ and it not only looks like a skyscraper but feels like one, at least to this noob. I wasn't comfortable swinging my leg over it to get on and when I went to slide off I was definitely having anxiety about knocking it over. While sitting on it the sag did allow for me to get both feet down but only barely and it was toes only.
    I know that finding a dual sport that allows me to go flat foot will limit my ground clearance but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. As you said, I'm not ripping up technical single track, I just want a bike that will let me explore and get to some of the far corners of this globe.

    Funny thing though, after climbing down from the DRZ I hopped on the TU250X and I'll fully admit, that bike felt good!
  18. manybike

    manybike Omnipresent Supporter

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    A lot of sag ?
    That helps a lot with a high seat.
  19. AlexWS

    AlexWS Adventurer

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    I get that I would get used to being on tip toes but for me it's not only confidence but comfort. Another thing I like about the Sherpa is simplicity, air cooling and a carb and throw in a six speed tranny? All that and a bag of chips.

    I do need to look at the XT250 though.
  20. Mountainhound

    Mountainhound Long timer

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    I will say that it was harder to touch comfortably when new but once broken in not so much.
    Harsh likes this.