road rider looking for ADV advice

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

  1. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    Have a riding buddy who has X-Challenge and GSA and watching him ride different bike is like watching 2 different people. He has zero confidence to lean GSA on slightly loose surface or at low speed.
    #21
  2. RatBikeRandy

    RatBikeRandy Adventurer

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    Can't go wrong with the top 4 depending on if highway will be ridden. Would go for the bigger engine if answer is yes. Others are good options.
    Yamaha XT225 (very lightweight, easy to mod, 6 speed wide ratio, peppy) or 250 little newer, heavier
    Yamaha TW200
    Suzuki DRZ400
    Suzuki DR650
    New Honda CRF300
    Kawasaki Versys 300
    Royal Enfield Himalayan (I want one but already have XT225)
    #22
  3. JETalmage

    JETalmage Long timer

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    Weight is everything. Based on your description, if I were going with you, I'd take my 500EXC, no question. And I wouldn't want anything heavier.

    As others have alluded to, you kinda skew feedback by throwing in the 'ADV' word, which to some (including me) holds its original meaning as a motorcycle genre, and which to others is just a word for 'whatever I like to do'. Sounds to me like you're just talking off-road trail riding and a little minimalist camping, but (I assume) want it to be street legal. That's not an Adventure Bike, it's a Dualsport. You don't need the lumbering bulk, awkwardness and weight of an Adventure Bike. That's no fun.

    If we were riding any significant highway distance to the off-road area, I'd say KTM690 (or Husky 701). But they wouldn't be nearly as nimble and confidence inspiring off-road; they'd be significantly heavier. But you've said multiple times that you intend to haul the bike. So there's no need to compromise the off-road capability.

    The 690/701 are big Dualsports. That means they trade off a lot of off-road agility and lightness for highway suitability. The EXCs (350 or 500) are dirt bikes simply made street-legal, but are not high-strung 'white knuckle' race bikes unless you want to ride them that way. You can ride them as aggressively or as sedately as you want off-road, but feel much more comfortably in their element as you do so.

    JET
    #23
  4. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Long timer

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    Just a few basic thoughts.

    Heavy bikes suck to pick up when you fall over. The more times it falls over during the day, the worse the suck. Similar the bigger and heavier the bike.

    Common brands can be repaired anywhere. Weirder brands are more problematic. This matters not only at home, but when you’re our riding far away.

    Ride/borrow some friends bikes, if you can, to see what you like, or don’t, and why.

    Really do think about how you’ll ride. If you see yourself barreling through whoops and screaming with joy, that’s one thing. If you more likely will be puttering and taking pictures, that’s something else entirely.
    #24
  5. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

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    I’m not a Japanese guy but I agree the DRZ 400 would be tough to beat to buy cheap and already farkled. From what you say I definitely would not go bigger than 500. My 525 is a whole lot easier to pick up than my 640. Yeah the DR650 is nice but I don’t think I’d start with that if I were you. Lots of folks do big miles on WR250’s so they go just fine. Good luck.
    #25
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  6. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    If you need to carry camping gear, get a Suzuki DR650. If you don't, get something like a KTM 300-500 dual sport. The Euro bikes are typically lighter, and the old 525s are coming down in price.

    My wife has a DR350SE that she likes. She picked it up for $1500. I don't find it to be particularly light or fast, but it does everything except freeway (top speed 75 mph). The MMoto rack she put on it could carry another motorcycle. My bike is about 150 lbs heavier, so she runs away from me off road.

    [​IMG]
    #26
  7. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

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    And the 300 class of new bikes has a lot to offer, Kawi is coming out with a new one, the KTM gets good reviews as well as the BMW. Hard to beat if it's in your price range.
    #27
  8. Tinomazz64

    Tinomazz64 Adventurer

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    I'll add my 2 cents if for nothing else but to increase the market share of bikes you can make available to yourself. I know you said Idaho has slim pickings. I own a vehicle transport company based out of AZ and transport to all 48 states. If you find something out of State you really want I'll get it transported to you at my cost if it helps. Otherwise I agree with most on here in that the 2 step approach makes most sense. Start small, get used to it all again, pick it up when it falls and decide then if you'd be better off picking something up that weighs 50/75/100% more?? Stay light and nimble right now. You'll thank yourself later. I have a 300, 530, 620, 900 and 950. The most joy I get is relatively in that order as well. I love them all but it is what it is. Been riding 45 straight years. Just my 2 pennies
    #28
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  9. dirt hokie

    dirt hokie Long timer

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    you are about my height and weight, a shorter bike will also help you pick up off road skills with more confidence. sit on some bikes, see what you can flat foot.
    #29
  10. skibum69

    skibum69 slave to gravity Super Supporter

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    Be ready to fall off. My first off-road bike I can only get 2 toes on the ground. I got used to falling off. All good.
    #30
  11. CopaMundial

    CopaMundial Wow, that broke easy

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    Weight #1 and suspension #2 are everything.
    If you sacrifice on those two things then that will have a very direct impact on your ability to try, learn, and master off-road skill.

    If you were to follow your friend to the T700 route than neither one of you would feel comfortable trying anything that looked challenging, and you would miss out on a lot of great skills and great spots.

    Get something used, and light, and get a 2 place trailer (you will feel more willing to push your limits off road if you know you can get the bike home in pieces if needed).
    Spend 3 years learning with it. You will have a blast learning and after that you will know what to get next.

    (Edit to add. Do not enter into off road riding without protecting yourself. Good boots are absolutely necessary, and I think knee braces are great at preventing injuries... although many people don’t start using them until after they have damage)

    (Edit to add #2. One thing that will amaze you is how cardio-intense it can be to ride a motorcycle off road. Even if you rode dirt bikes as a kid your adult self will still be shocked by this. As you are shopping around and making plans take every opportunity you can to do cardio workouts. It will save you a lot of pain later)
    #31
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  12. HickOnACrick

    HickOnACrick Groovinator Super Supporter

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    I made the move to mostly dirt about 13 years ago. If you are on the Wasatch Front, you can get away with a dual sport most of the year as you can pretty much get to dirt within an hour. There is an area called Five-mile that is just a network of quad and jeep trails. It is where I cut my teeth years ago. It has plenty to explore and enough variety to offer challenges if wanted. And it is all accessible on backroads from downtown SLC. There is a more challenging area called the Knolls but it requires a little jaunt on I-80. It's a great place to learn how to ride sand without making a huge commitment because you can park right at the dunes.

    I am with a lot of others on this. Don't drop a lot of coin on your first off road bike. Get something as light as possible that will suit your needs, spend the extra coin on safety gear for you and your bike. Maybe a trailer for those getaways to Southern Utah during the winter. You'll probably want to look at extending your fuel range as well.

    Outside of gasoline, I think suspension and tires are the place where I would spend money to improve my skills. If you were the kind of road rider that noticed suspension differences on the road, you will likely really notice them off road.

    If you are like most of us, you're going to be picking up your bike more than a few times. Often in suboptimal conditions. Bigger bikes mean more dirt naps and more picking up the bike. It's really easy for things to get pear shaped after picking up a big bike a couple times. It's a good way to lose riding buddies as well.

    Learn how to fix a flat and change a tire with whatever tools you normally carry. It's not that difficult, but it can save your life.

    Look for a bike with a lot of aftermarket support. One can completely change their bike for a fraction a new bike, just by swapping out aftermarket parts. Many dual sports can be swapped between a much more road-worthy ride to an off road ride just by an afternoon spent swapping wheels and making some adjustments to the suspension.

    As to performance, I think one has to ask about their personality. If you are the guy attacking whatever you are doing, always looking for the performance edge, then you may want to consider a higher-performance platform to start. You can drop $5K into a DRZ and it may still not perform as well or be as light as a stock KTM.

    Ultimately, though, it's your ride. Just put gas in the tank, be safe, go places you want to go, and the rest will sort itself out.
    #32
  13. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    You already have a street bike, I'd say do a small-mid size dual sport. KLX/CRF/DRz type. Low entry price used or new and totally capable of starting out and running for as long as you wish. Why buy another big top heavy bike just to get some street capability. Take the bike in a truck or on a trailer to where you want to ride. It's always nice to be able to relax in a comfortable car/truck on the way home instead of some road drone. I haul my 250 about 120 miles east to ride roads, then back when done. I can ride all day then drive home far more comfortable in the truck. Heck, when I broke my ankle I drove the 5 speed truck home far more comfortable than had I needed to ride home. Went and got an X-ray next day.

    I have a 700 street bike and a 250 dual sport and it works great. I figure with the dual sport the goal is riding at some location, not the ride to get there. That's more the street bike thing, the goal is the road ride from the start.
    #33
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  14. Vark

    Vark Been here awhile

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    Agree.

    I’ve got an 800cc light-ADV that makes a fantastic, versatile touring bike. My plan is to add the new CRF300 Rally to the stable for primarily off-road focussed riding (but with ability to comfortably connect to the dirt via pavement.)

    With these two machines, I will have the bases covered - - at least as far as the kind of riding I want to do.
    #34
  15. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    I think that is a great combination. For a while I was running a KLX650 for the street and some dirt/gravel roads, after picking up a KLX250. I now have the XSR700 and KLX250 as a complementary pair. It just doesn't make sense to me, where I live, to have some big dual sport and a street bike. The lighter less top heavy 250 is a great town runabout if I want to use it that way and is like riding a mountain bike on dirt/gravel. Where I might be tentative on riding with the 650 I am no where near as concerned with the 250.

    The 650 needs a rod kit right now and will probably become a supermoto.
    #35
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  16. jay547

    jay547 Long timer

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    Similar set up here. I have an FJ-09 for street/highway riding and a CRF450L for dirt roads and trails.
    #36
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  17. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Long timer

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    #1 I have gone from not using knee braces to using to using again. Why stopped? For one my knee healed and second I am mostly ADV rider, with long days in saddle.. knee brace pads mixed with sweat and heat will eventually get through skin to raw meat. The final reason was a 60mph off on which I touched down on protected by brace leg. Yes it saved my knee but ended up messing up ankle (lots of torn ligaments) so you realize at some point something's gotta give. If you are lucky it will be bone, ligaments take longer time.

    #2 this is mostly true when you start, it is lesser load as you get efficient in technique, choosing lines, body positioning. Knowing when to sit and when to stand makes huge difference. And dirt riding uses different muscles, it is less load as they get more efficient.

    #AGATT
    #37
  18. jay547

    jay547 Long timer

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    Back when I was racing motocross, I asked my ortho doc about wearing knee braces. He said something to the effect of "don't use knee braces unless you have weak knees or are recovering from injury."
    #38
  19. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Life is for good friends and great adventures Supporter

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    I have worn knee braces in the past - not because I needed to protect the joints but because the braces hold the knee protection off my kneecap. The pressure of regular kneepads in riding pants, after multiple long days in the saddle has, in the past, left me standing up and popping pain pills all day long just to be able to keep going. Wearing knee braces removes this issue altogether. I have had to carefully add moleskin patches to the braces to avoid nasty chafing - mainly anywhere the tiniest bit of velcro touches bare skin.
    #39
  20. CopaMundial

    CopaMundial Wow, that broke easy

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    I find wearing the knee braces over top of my assless chaps solves any skin irritation issues. Well, except for the seat, but I’m working on that.
    #40
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