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. Hamamelis

    Hamamelis Inmate

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    I own a CRF Rally as my first and only bike. I haven't done enough hard dirt on it yet to really judge it in that regard, but it's taken me on some pretty long riding days including a fair bit of riding time on US interstate highways (though that's all East Coast mileage, for out West I'd more likely keep off the superslab because Virginia highway speeds are so much slower than say, Texas or California)

    It's no Mighty DR (in fact, I sometimes feel it has more in common with the KLR, being top-heavy and liquid cooled), but it comes with a proper frame-fixed fairing from the factory, the motor feels comfy all the way up to about 80 mph, and I am young and masochistic enough to deal with its shortcomings. A bump to 289cc and a suspension overhaul would be lovely, but that's something I can figure out well down the line

    To use a list from earlier in the thread (asterisks indicate aftermarket support exists for the preferred outcome):

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  2. The_Precious_Juice

    The_Precious_Juice The Virginian

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    Nice Table.

    When the Rally ABS came out I originally started a CRF250L Rally vs DR650, thread. But then just changed it to competition.

    I would have gotten one back in 2014 if they had a left over 2013 model on the show room floor. You know, to knock $1,000 off a left over bike and all.

    Went with the Mighty DR over the KLR and a left over 2012 S10.

    __
    An inmate on here actually owned a Rally and DR and said that the Rally is really light compared to the high COG of the 650.
    You state otherwise. interesting.
  3. Hamamelis

    Hamamelis Inmate

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    Oh, the Rally is much, much lighter feeling than the KLR, don't get me wrong - just has a bit more going on up top than some other bikes in its weight class.

    Also, the Rally is a 2017-onwards model, and all 2017+ CRF250Ls are a big upgrade from the 2012-16 CRF250Ls
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  4. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    I'm reluctantly coming to the conclusion that 'lightweight adventure bike' may not be a meaningful concept. If the idea of an adventure bike is a machine you can load up with gear to head out on a long trip on a mix of highway, bad roads, and gravel- to some remiote camping sopt, 'klibghweight' isn't going to happen -- at least not after you've loaded all that gear. Yes, there is the KTM 790 ADV, and outside of the US, the Tenere 700, but what are they really for? Are these going to get used as adv bikes or are they just a some neat hybrid of dual-sport and sport bike? The CB500X in all of its incarnations is undoubtedly awesome, but every time I look at one, I think, "Why stop at half-measures? Why not go all the way and get a DR-650?"

    Of course, my attitude is biased by living in N Cal, where long slogs on the freeway... at 80 MPH... into 20 MPH headwinds... are an unfortunate fact of life. And needless to say, I hope someone can prove me wrong.
  5. farqhuar

    farqhuar Human guinea pig

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    A DR650 ain't going to do the job for you then. 80mph into 20mph headwinds requires a bike with a 100mph speed capability + a bit more in reserve for gradients and overtaking - the DR is not that bike.
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  6. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    I quite agree! Don't ask me how I know :D

    That's also why the otherwise excellent CB500X has not been on the table. Alas...
  7. Glenn247

    Glenn247 Been here awhile

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    80mph into a 20mph headwind sounds fun....
  8. Trailrider200

    Trailrider200 Long timer

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    and that is why Big Bore kits are available. https://procycle.us/model/suzuki/dr650/engine
  9. jspringator

    jspringator Long timer

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    I wonder if a WebCams cam, racing valve springs, a high compression piston, along with carb and exhaust mods would be enough.

    Much less $.
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  10. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades...

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    Gotta love the part about the long drones into the wind. The light weights mentioned can do adventure bike riding here in the Appalachian ranges where those long drones can easily be avoided by doing some back roads. Of course that requires some definition of adventure riding. Seems so many consider anything under several days going thousands of miles and suffering the long boring crap as not being adventure riding.

    Not everyone is in the west where, as beautiful as the landscape looks, it sets up for long straight riding and high speeds. Some live in the east where the older rounded mountains and hills worn by wagons and livestock over the centuries has developed a network of shorter winding roads. These roads are of various make up from smooth asphalt state and U.S. routes, to rougher county and township type roads, and the seldom used access roads that may be smooth dirt or rutted jeep trails not to mention some abandoned roads that are still passable by motorcycle and on the maps.

    Then there is the kind of riding some do where they set up a camp or (heaven forbid) a motel room and range out on day trips or overnight runs around an area where there are lots of good trails and places to ride, things to see. They just don't make it one long string of rides. That brings in the question of is it the riding or the total experience of multiple days and nights without break? Is it not adventure riding if the rider runs with a light load staying in motels and doing laundry every couple days, but riding the same tough stuff as the campers who stack up the gear on their bikes?

    Lots of good stuff across the country, but sometimes giving advantage to different sizes of bikes to do the adventures. It still offers the month long ride with camping and all the roughing it, but also allows the day trips and short runs of a couple days. It opens up the choices for size of adventure bike for riders of differing needs and opinions.

    There in lies the problem for all adventure conversations - it's like sport riding. What is sport riding? Track days? Racing? Pushing limits hard on back roads? Riding "the Pace"? Casual sport bike riding? Short spirited sport rides or week long sport rides? Can a rider sport ride on a standard bike or cruiser, does it have to be a sport bike?

    It really does come down to what is defined by the rider and no one else. Plus what a rider can do. Few can knock off for a month to go ride some long adventure, some are tied by family or work to the day trips and occasional week long runs if fortunate. Riders who can benefit from the light weight over the heavy weights. Does it make the bike "a myth" because they can't do the month long or see that the heavyweights don't make sense for their adventure time and rides?

    And the discussion goes on...
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  11. Hamamelis

    Hamamelis Inmate

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    I definitely see a lot more dual-sports on the winding roads of Appalachia than I did in California - lower speed limits, lower elevations, tighter roads, and so on. My CRF250L would have been workable out there but certainly more stressed.
  12. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    A particular bike works for you or it doesnt. No one can prove you wrong nor should they try.

    When I picked up a 790 this year I took off on it for a month long spin around the US loaded with camping gear and the bike worked well for me. Much better overall than bigger or smaller bikes Ive used previously on long trips for the variety of riding I do when traveling.

    Though most folks (including myself) would not consider ia 790 or T7 a lightweight bike. Just lighter than the really big ones. ;)
  13. DesertPilot

    DesertPilot Been here awhile

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    Thanks for your impressions of the 790. I'd been wodnering how well they worked loaded up for long trips. Your comment about the 790 and T7 nopt being lightweight was pretty much my thought too. I found myself asking, "What advantages -- aside from KTM-ness in the case of the KTM -- does either have over my Tiger... which is paid for?"

    There are too challenges: 1) finding the right bike for one's purposes and 2) learning to stop fanmtasizing about something better. I fail dismally at the second :D
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  14. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    @DesertPilot

    I still have a Tiger 800XC in the garage. It's my "sensible" low maintenance all arounder. Not as capible offroad by any means as the KTMs but whenever I'm wrenching on one of my KTMs it's there ready to go for a ride with just a turn of the key.
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  15. Pantah

    Pantah Jiggy Dog Fan from Scottsdale Supporter

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    OP - I read your review of your 2012 KTM 690. I have one I bought that same month and I have about 19k miles on it now. It is pretty stock except for travel mods. Your criticism of it was pretty spot on... that is its motor is jerky jerky, geared too high at the bottom, and it has lots of power but no bottom end torque. You are wrong about the ergo's, though, and it suggests you've never ridden one. My 690 is VERY tall pegs to seat and that means roomy. More so that my new Honda Africa Twin by a long shot. On the plus side, adventure riders are not doing single track. They are traveling. I rode my 690 in the 2018 Alcan 5000, which involved 4500 miles in 9 days of event, and another 2500 miles getting back to my truck in Seattle. I must admit the bike is a very capable long range bike despite its motor. I find it even comfy. I understand the 2020 690 has a much more friendly motor and smoother too. Even the Husky 701 has a better motor than my 690. I think if that is true, the new 690 should be the best there is for adventure after increasing its fuel capacity. Mine has no problem cruising at 80-85 all day except that it sucks fuel. Much more longer range cruising at 70. I've also toured on a Yamaha WR250R extensively. I think my KTM is better for it than that Yamaha. The KTM is about 15lbs heavier is its only handicap.
    [​IMG]
  16. Bar None

    Bar None Long timer Supporter

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    Who in the hell would want to do that?
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  17. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Smoove, Smoove like velvet.

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    You don't always get a choice.

    Worse is actually catching a 40-60mph crosswind from a quarter, that turns into a major wrestling match....one that closes interstates in the South West every year. Usually by a combination of dust and/or 18 wheelers getting blown over.
  18. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

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    DR790 with cam might be enough...and then some. TR650, TE610/630, G650XC, 690E, etc. might be fine too.

    I run near-stock DR650s at 80+MPH over some long trips sometimes. They aren't bad for being basically a chunky enduro, IMO. I've ridden worse multi-cylinder streetbikes on the slab.
  19. david61

    david61 Queue, a word with 4 silent letters....

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    The trouble with this thread is everybody seems to want a [ lightweight ] motorcycle, that can carry 300 kg's, while cruising on 80mph and getting 100 mpg and being totally reliable and not wearing out tyres/chains/sprocket ever and costing pennies to buy and handling real good. And stuff.

    Buy a 250. Don't load the shit out of it. Ride at a pace so you can see the countryside.

    It's not hard....
  20. farqhuar

    farqhuar Human guinea pig

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    Absolutely right David. I'm a tight arsed lazy bastard, always have been, even when I was in my 20s, always will be.
    90kmh (55mph) is my preferred cruising speed on any of my bikes (including my Goldwing).

    At that speed I can relax without exhausting myself holding on in the wind blast, enjoy the ride, get decent fuel consumption and tyre life, and still put plenty of kms under my belt each day.

    80mph? I might ride that fast for maybe 5 minutes in a year of riding. :lol3
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