road rider looking for ADV advice

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Hikingtigger, Jan 14, 2021.

  1. Hikingtigger

    Hikingtigger n00b

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    Hi all,
    Need some advice. Been lurking for years, dreaming of having time to do this as I worked 6-7 days a week for far too long

    Been a road rider for 30+ years, currently on a BMW RS 1200R and just swapped from a triumph speed triple into a more relaxed Speed Twin.

    Haven't ridden dirt since I was 12 (so 40 years ago).

    Now in semi-retirement, have time and finally able to pursue some hobbies along with some mates in the same boat.

    My goal is to go out ~10x a year - a few overnight, some day trips with pals.
    Utah and ID terrain mostly.

    I'm guessing skills will return quick, but not at the skillset you guys have

    Would like advice on an adventure bike that will be easy enough for a relative newb but good enough to not want to immediately swap out once I feel at home.

    Reliability a factor as well as on the Haynes guides I'm a 3 (2 if electric cause I hate that crap) .

    Right now thinking I'd trailer it down, vs looking for something that would be comfy on a multi-hr highway ride.

    Was initially thinking 250-500cc range , though I got a friend who is instantly looking at the tenere 700 vs KTM.

    Just need reliability, suspension and clearance good enough for my 200# ass and an engine that will keep me grinning and out of trouble but not be over the top.

    I doubt Ill be breaking any speed records in the dirt, but don't want to piddle. Something in the happy middle.

    Thank you kindly.

    Looking forward to being an active part of the community instead of daydreaming at work!
    #1
  2. glory racing

    glory racing Been here awhile

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    Someone offer this gentleman some advice.
    #2
  3. DSchmidt7of7

    DSchmidt7of7 Been here awhile

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    A couple of thoughts. If you're planning to haul bikes I'd lean toward smaller/lighter dual sports. It will be easier to throw around when things get "technical" vs a fat pig that might be good on the road but no fun at all in the sand.

    As far as getting your skills dusted off, you might consider a used 2-3 year old bike that's in good condition. You'll save a lot on the depreciation on a new bike and you won't feel bad when it takes a "nap". Look for something in the 400-500 cc range. If all goes well you can ride it for a year or so and add stuff to make it a long range camper bike. Better yet, you'll figure out what you ACTUALLY need and want and then can move up/down/over to the "best" bike for you.

    You should seriously consider a riding class and buy some body armor. You can find some schools that provide bikes and are run by very experienced coaches (and not your buddy - saying "just gas it!")

    Standby for suggestions on what specific bike checks most of your boxes.

    Good luck, ride safe.
    #3
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  4. sieg

    sieg Wearing out tires......2 at a time, day after day. Supporter

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    Hmmm........Help us narrow it down a bit. What kind of terrain does your "adventure" take place on? Pavement, gravel, unmaintained two track, single track? Ever two up? Ever carrying camping and cooking gear? Do you have a budget?

    DR 650?
    #4
  5. davidji

    davidji bike curious

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    A used DR650 really seems like a good answer (unless maybe an XR650L is a better fit for him). Buy it. Do some riding. See how it works. If it doesn't meet the needs, replace it with something that does.
    #5
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  6. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    If looking at 650-class bikes, don't forget the F650GS/G650GS. They are not much heavier than a KLR and substantially more comfortable to ride on the street (more ADV-touring than strictly ADV - whatever that means.) You could also consider the KTM 690, which is lighter and more powerful but taller and more demanding maintenance-wise.

    However, if the preference really is for trailering a bike to/from the dirt roads, then something in the 250/300cc range would probably be a better choice. The Japanese offerings in this range probably offer the best price/performance/reliability balance. The new CRF300L is likely to be a winner when it hits the showrooms later this year. For a slow-speed play-bike that is absurdly easy to ride on rough roads and can carry a 200-pound rider with ease, the venerable TW200 is hard to beat.
    #6
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  7. severely

    severely almost a noob

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    A DRZ 400 should fit the bill, a ton of them out there already accessorized. Reliable, fairly light and fast enough.
    #7
  8. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    How tall are you? You don't want T700 at 466lbs it's still handful to pickup. 790 ADV is about the same weight but much lower CoG and better ADV bike.

    Personality these would be on my shopping list:
    KTM 390 ADV
    CRF 300 Rally
    SWM Superdual
    AJP PR7
    Husqvarna Terra
    Husqvarna 701 LR
    BMW G650x (country or challenge)
    BMW G310GS
    RE Himalayan
    Versys X
    Honda CB500x
    DR650
    KLR

    IMO smaller, lighter, cheaper bike is way to go. Here's 390 review
    #8
  9. Hikingtigger

    Hikingtigger n00b

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    thanks. To answer some of the follow up -

    goal is single track.
    Mostly desert (Southern Utah), some alpine mountain areas in Northern UT and North ID, and some rocky mountain trails

    weight = 200# without gear
    Ht 5'9"

    initially planned to haul it down, which seemed to open it up to anything from a 250 to a 700
    starting to debate riding it to some of the destinations, which would restrict the cc to the upper limits, but I'll likely stick to trailering it.

    Great advice to look int oa scool and I am, though insane to believe that on the MSF site, I cant find any in UT. A few in CO and ID about 300 miles away, but I really wanting to do that as its been so bloody long since on anything aside from brief gravel.

    I'm getting older and the back isn't what it used to be, so am conscientious about weight for the many times I'll go down.

    have been looking at honda, KTM and Yam, Kawa and Husq then my eyes go blurry

    used market here is really tough to find midweight less than 10-15 years old. although that would be my bias just knowing its going to be going down a lot, if its within a few grand to buy new without the concern over inheriting someone else's problems or jury rigged solutions, im all for it despite the bashes itll take. Mostly what im finding os more race oriented dirt bikes vs single track.

    Been looking for anything in the 250-400 range for the past few months and its been slim pickings. Utah is outdoor country

    If this goes well, Ill look to move to something for camping multiday trips, but am not looking to jump into that just yet. I figure a few day trips and a few overnighters to get my bearings and go from there.

    so cc: 250, 390-450, 600?

    On the lighter side (250-300), is there a bias of honda, Kaw or Yam ....

    if mid range: im looking at Honda (450), KTM (390 and up), Husk, Yam and Kaw.

    Im sooo tempted to buy a mid weight to have the option to ride down and and not trailer it, but think a lighter bike for a year or two would be easier from a learning, lifting and fixing standpoint.
    #9
  10. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    If this is for riding desert get dualsport, WR250R, KLX 300, CRF300/450L, etc. If you are looking for bike capable of long distance travel (Adventure) the list is in previous post.

    Dualsport is like side-by-side and ADV bike is like SUV. T700, 790/890 Adventure, etc are capable bikes but they are less forgiving, more likely to injure you and much harder to pick up. More important they're not the best platform to get your chops.

    It would be helpful for you to sit down and put a list of your goals (BDR, elephant hill, white rim, Lockhart, etc) then look what bike is the best tool for it. Since you are not sure it probably doesn't make sense to put top dollar into purchase, and I would look at something which wouldn't require investment and easy to resell to move on.
    #10
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  11. ShaftEd

    ShaftEd Long timer

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    Hikingtigger, I have a feeling you don't really know what you want yet. Your thread title is about Adv, but then in one of your goals you list single track. That's two different things. Probably best at this point to get a basic single dualsport and see where that leads you. I would go with a used DRZ400. They have been building them for years, are reliable, have better suspension than DR650. Plus you can drop it and not even worry about it. After awhile you can see where you want to go from there. Bigger twin adv bike or stick with the singles.
    #11
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  12. TennesseeJed

    TennesseeJed Been here awhile

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    As others have mentioned what you are describing is a dual sport not an ADV bike.

    Buy a $3,500 WR450 off craigslist and beat it like a rented mule or if you have the cash buy something new by KTM/Husky (501) with electric start. Once you've honed your off road skills a bit and met some ADV riders you will have a better idea what sort of ADV bike you might be interest in.

    With any luck you'll eventually end up with a $24K BMW 1250GS farkled out garage queen that sees one mile of dirt for every thousand road miles.
    #12
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  13. Vark

    Vark Been here awhile

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    I like the earlier suggestion to look at the new Honda CRF 300L. Should be available to purchase late-winter or this spring at the dealership.

    It also comes in a “Rally” version, which has some nice features that make it a good choice if some of your off-roading is mixed with pavement riding. More “dual-sport” than dirt bike. It could be a good option for those multi-day camping trips you foresee down the road.
    #13
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  14. radmann10

    radmann10 Old fart Supporter

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    KTM 525, 530, or 500, Husky 501 all very easy to pick up will do the asphalt and dirt, 500, 501 are EFI so mega altitude changes won't make that much difference.
    #14
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  15. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    Aging rider, new to dirt but knows how to ride, don't want a bike you will out grow, want to do some single track at elevation, and likely don't want to have to work any harder than necessary when picking it up, and planning on trailering to the fun.

    A simple recipe: Get thee a 500/501 and get it sprung for your weight and leave the damping plush. Slap a seat concepts seat on it and go have fun.
    #15
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  16. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum Super Moderator

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    You have that option on a lightweight small displacement bike too and when you arrive at the good stuff, you won't be limited by your bike. Don't buy into the myth that a small displacement bike can't comfortably or competently cover huge distances.


    :beer
    #16
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  17. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    ^ Agree.

    And if you decide that you prefer the comfort of a bigger bike to cover distance AND still want to challenge yourself offroad you will be better equipped to do so after time spent on a lighter bike to develop not only skills but also confidence offroad. I don't think the importance of confidence and the willingness to commit 100% to a new challenge can be overstated. Holding back and half assing something results in lots of failure. Heavy bikes promote holding back...

    Furthermore, big bikes tend to cut the offroad lessons short due to fatigue and bike damage/cost to repair. You can't learn if you aren't riding.

    Learn basic techniques on a light bike including how to step off and not get tangled up with it when it gets away from you and those skills will pay big dividends if you choose to move to something bigger and more comfortable later.
    #17
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  18. radmann10

    radmann10 Old fart Supporter

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    If your big bike takes you down and is laying on your leg, you tend to think, I sure wish I had a smaller, lighter bike!
    #18
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  19. radmann10

    radmann10 Old fart Supporter

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    I have a 990, 630, 450, and 220. The 450 is the choice for BDRs and most rides without much slab.

    With limited slab the 450 with a wide-ratio 6speed does great, if I added some wind protection she would be fine for longer slab sections.

    Last week we rode slab to Lake Havasu, I took the 990.
    #19
  20. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

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    Some pretty good advice here. Didn't see and age/health risks? It is important to get some basic schooling asap if for no other reasoning but to avoid the 9 most common mistakes of dirt riding. I didn't see anyone mention renting? Rent small bikes to start, 200-300cc. Use school bikes if available. Makes the re-learning curve a lot faster and easier and FUN. 350-500cc will give you some respect for power in the dirt. Rent at least one big ass, heavy adv bike just to now how bad they can be in the challenging stuff. The heavier the bike, the harder it is to muscle around and the more it needs technical/trials skills for rewarding fun.

    Let us know how much fun you are having.
    fran
    #20
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