Due to some hearing sensitivity issues I have to ride with ear plugs 100% of the time and it still does not cut it. Being only about 130lbs I need a light bike I can pick up by myself easily. The typical 250 dual sports do not provide enough torque for my needs. With the hearing problems aftermarket pipes and engine mods are out of the question. Been there, tried that, get a different bike if stock power is not good enough... My riding is a mixture of 40% pavement, 50% off road, 10% "enduro". No highway riding as I cannot take the wind noise even with a full face helmet. We do everything from occasional pavement commutes, day long adventures such as the White Rim, Colorado passes, etc. Mostly trailer to riding regions and go from there but I want to do more multi-day trips, especially BDRs and possibly the CDR and TAT someday. Bikes owned or tried extensively in this lightweight ADV pursuit: KLX250S: quiet, little heavy. not enough torque. Sold it. CRF250L Rally with CBR300 Engine: somewhat quiet, ok torque, way too heavy. Sold it. WR250R: lighter still, not enough bottom end torque, still too loud/revvy for me. (Present bike) DR650: lots of power, moderately quiet, way too heavy, needs 6th gear. (borrowed for a summer) TW200: No. Just no. Would try a DRZ400 but need a wider ratio transmission and fuel injection is preferred so no. Would like to try a CRF 450L but hear they need a loud aftermarket exhaust and tuner to work well and are still a little heavy compared to the competition. Betas are interesting but there are absolutely no local dealers for them. None of these can be test ridden locally unless I buy one. Then I tried a 2021 KTM 350 EXC-F for a day. It ruined me. Crazy light, overall about as loud as my WR250R, but has much better grunt torque lower in the rev range. Based of people I have spoke with a 500 may work better for me - bottomless torque and power for the roads. Being used as a dual sport / light ADV bike and not a race bike I am not too afraid of the maintenance involved with one. So we picked up a 2014 350 EXC-F locally used with crazy low hours for a good price. For some reason it is significantly louder than the 2021 I tried out. The stock exhaust has good packing and is for sure better than the FMF it came with but still not quiet enough. Are the older EXC-Fs louder than the newer ones? Are the 500s much louder, if any, than the 350s? We cannot try any locally before purchasing. At this point I am about to resign to something like the new CRF300L (non-Rally) and just deal with all it's shortcomings as it is quiet, torquier than before, but still is a LRP. But the WR250R is such a good little bike... But the EXC-Fs are nearly perfect at twice the cost - would it work? All this trial and error is getting expensive and frustrating. I can only have one bike at a time so at this point am willing to bite the bullet to get closer to what I need. Figuring I am not the only one going through this. Thoughts?