Veteran road rider, first foray into dirt?

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by ZappBranigan, Aug 10, 2021.

  1. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    Yeah, definitely sounds like somebody who will need suspension work....

    " As far as where I'd want to ride, nothing extreme, "motocross style" or even single-track, just exploring the dirt roads on 2 wheels instead of 4."

    Great advice.

    20A8D673-B68A-4909-A00D-AB5F01F8C596.gif

    Best of luck OP!
    #21
  2. Gedrog

    Gedrog 1000 mile stare a 1000 stories to tell

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  3. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junky

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    big tank = more capacity = more further = more remote = more fun

    [​IMG]
    #23
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  4. Adanac rider

    Adanac rider O.S.T.R. 62 Supporter

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    The DRZ-400 is maybe a better choice for your application , A riding buddy had one that was not bad on the hi way at no more than 65 mph but was a little lacking on single track .Jeeptrails were never a problem .
    #24
  5. MattR302

    MattR302 Awesomeness, Inc.

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    First of all, no one (ok hardly anyone) uses Craigslist anymore since they started charging to list vehicles. Like it or not, Facebook Marketplace is the new Craigslist. For every 1 DRZ400 listed on Craigslist, there’s probably 20 listed on Marketplace. If you’re one of those staunch “I don’t do Facebook” people, you’re limiting your options.

    The current DR650 goes back to the 1996 model year, parts are interchangeable 96-21. There were a couple minor changes/improvements along the way, but they are easy fixes if you find a great deal on a late 90’s model in good shape. I would definitely avoid a 90-95.

    Stock DR gas tank is 3 gallons. I have to switch to reserve at 95-100 miles. So yes, more capacity/range. And the plastic tanks are more durable for off-road drops, usually just some minor scratches, as opposed to dents in the steel tank.
    #25
  6. ZappBranigan

    ZappBranigan Still Riding

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    Thanks for all the input. One other issue I seem to be running into is how many dual sport bikes are not titled for the street. I have heard (anecdotally) that CO is one of the "friendlier" states for getting a bike titled for the street. Apparently any motorcycle can be plated as long as it has a headlight, tail light, brake light, mirror and horn. In some states, if a motorcycle wasn't originally sold as "street legal" it can never be plated no matter what, but this is not the rule in CO or at least that's what I've heard.
    #26
  7. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

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    Honda XR650 should be on the list. I would put that one ahead of the DR650 unless you plan more highway riding. the KLR is another notch of "more hiway" than the DR.

    I had a Clarke 3.9 gallon tank on my DRZ. Acerbus makes one that is 3.7

    and BTW... the KLX400 is exactly the same bike as the DRZ except for the color and the decals. they didn't make as many and were only sold in the USA a couple years around 1993-4
    #27
  8. ZappBranigan

    ZappBranigan Still Riding

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    Scouring FB marketplace I see quite a few XR650s. From what I can see it's air cooled like the DR, which is a point in its favor.

    One thing I'm seeing is that every 650, whether it's a KLR, DR or XR, is titled and plated for the street. On the 300cc and below bikes, it's hit-or-miss as to whether they're titled. The KLR just seems to be a physically "large" bike, especially the versions with what appear to be a frame-mounted fairing (in nearly 40 years of riding I've never owned a bike with a frame mounted fairing.)

    Also, a completely irrelevant question: I see 650 class bikes from Kawasaki (KLR), Suzuki (DR), Honda (XR) and even BMW (F650) as well as KTM. What I'm curious about is: Why does Yamaha not compete in this segment? Doesn't matter, really, it just seems odd, given that there are obviously sales to be made in the 650 thumper category.
    #28
  9. UtahGuido

    UtahGuido Long timer Supporter

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    One thing to consider is that dirt riding in anything but the smoothest terrain often has you to standing on the pegs. Not always, of course, but standing helps when things get rough (washouts, water bars, etc.) At 6'1" with long legs and bad knees you'll be more comfortable levering yourself into a standing position if you have a generous seat to footpeg distance. I had a KLR650 and I lowered the pegs on that as well as on a KLX250/351 that replaced it. (For me the KLR was too heavy, especially when things got sandy.) Lowering the pegs on the KLR was relatively easy as the peg mounts are bolted to the frame. It was just a little cut and weld job. I would think the same would be true of the Suzuki DR650 as it looks like its peg mounts are bolted to the frame as well. The KLX was a little trickier with the peg mounts on the left side being welded directly to frame. Most bikes seem to do it this way.

    The other alternative is to get a taller seat..

    FWIW I sold the KLX too and am currently riding a little Beta 125 four stroke. It's a gas. Scoots around like crazy and will give you an easy 60 mph on the highway as long as there are no major hills involved. With the little motor whiskey throttle is not as big an issue as a bigger bike (something to consider when you're learning) and it's light and easy to ride all day. I did replace the stock carb with a smaller old school round slide to help with the leisurely bottom end response but that's just me. Point being that one does not necessarily need stump pulling power to have a satisfying ride off-road. And at a little over 6'1" myself I fit on the Beta quite nicely.
    #29
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  10. Gedrog

    Gedrog 1000 mile stare a 1000 stories to tell

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    They don't have a 650 class they have a 660 class
    https://www.autoevolution.com/moto/yamaha/xt/

    Yamaha XT660Z Ténéré (2008-2016)
    [​IMG]
    YAMAHA XTZ660 (1991 - 1999)

    [​IMG]
    YAMAHA XT660R (2004 - 2017)
    [​IMG]
    YAMAHA XT 600


    List goes on the first link will give you all the years of the XT range
    #30
  11. ZappBranigan

    ZappBranigan Still Riding

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    Interesting. To my knowledge none of these are available in the US market. The newest XT600 I see for sale is early 1990's. It appears that for whatever reason, Yamaha decided that the 600-thumper-dual sport class in the US wasn't lucrative enough for them (or maybe they figured with the KLR, XR and DR that the market didn't have room for a competing bike.)
    #31
  12. Bitingdog

    Bitingdog That's not my dog

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    Getting a bike emissions compliant and certified for the American market is a huge and costly endeavor
    #32
  13. Gedrog

    Gedrog 1000 mile stare a 1000 stories to tell

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    It is one of those mysteries I guess it was down to demand why certain bikes are not sold in certain markets, then there is politics like for example on April 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed an action that significantly increased tariffs on imported motorcycles with engines over 700 cc displacement. Effective that month, the 4.4-percent rate then in place rose to 49.4-percent in an attempt to save Harley Davidson.
    https://www.hagerty.com/media/autom...argeted-import-bikes-to-save-harley-davidson/
    #33
  14. ZappBranigan

    ZappBranigan Still Riding

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    OK, so as others suggested I expanded my search from CL over to FB Marketplace. I'm seeing a lot of Honda XR's in my price range (sub-$3k.)

    Did any of the XR series have both kick and electric start? The reason I'm asking is that not all the ads say whether the bike has electric start or not and I'm wondering, if I see a kick starter does that mean it does not have an electric starter? Because I know some older bikes had both.

    Do you think the XR200 would be too small for a 6'1", ~200lb rider in the Rocky Mountains? I'm leaning towards a smaller bike just for the lighter weight. However there is also an XR400, might that be more suitable?

    Final question, for Colorado riders only: Assuming a bike I get is titled for off-road use only, how difficult is the process of getting the bike plated for street use? I know it needs a headlight, taillight, brake light and horn, but is the inspection/titling process difficult or burdensome? Thanks in advance!
    #34
  15. JDUBinCO

    JDUBinCO Q-bald

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    XR650L had (edit) electric start only.

    XR200 is right sized for someone around 5'6". Also the suspension and brakes are sub-optimal for your size.
    I have not titled a bike in Colorado in about 12 years. It was a pain but doable. Titled bikes usually command a $500+ premium. That is a decent representation of the effort, if a bit cheap.
    TTR250 (NOT 225) and DRZ-250 are full sized, old-school, low maintenance, billy-goat thumpers that came with kick/electric start, air cooled. and no title. Everything <250cc is a smaller sized frame. CFR-230 is a good bike and could work with bar risers. Some DR-350 came with kick/electric start and a title but those are getting pretty old now.

    One of those XR's on FB used to be mine. I know where its been and can vouch for its reliability.
    #35
  16. MotoChris521

    MotoChris521 motominded

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    " XR650L had kick and electric start "
    Nope. At least the three I've owned had e start only.
    #36
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  17. JDUBinCO

    JDUBinCO Q-bald

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    My mistake. Fix'd.
    #37
  18. ZappBranigan

    ZappBranigan Still Riding

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    There was an XT-225 listed locally at a tempting price on FB but it's gone now.

    After giving it some thought, I think it would likely have been too small for me anyway. I think I'll stick with something in the 350- 400 class. KLR/KLX 400, DR400, XR400, etc. Hopefully I can find one in good shape with an electric starter. Second choice would likely be a DR650/XR650, probably bigger than I need but has the advantage of electric start and already being plated for the street.
    #38
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  19. ZappBranigan

    ZappBranigan Still Riding

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    OK, one more question for the group: Would a DR650 likely be too big for what I need? I don't want something that's so tall or heavy that it's unwieldy. I'm seeing that the DR650 is ~ 350lbs wet, does that sound right?

    I'm leaning towards a DR650 because (1) there seem to be a lot of them out there in my price range (2) they are almost always street legal with a title and (3) they all have electric starters.

    There seem to be quite a few XR400's for sale but I really don't want to fuss with a kick starter. Also quite a few are titled for off road only. And I'm hearing that a 200 - 250 class bike would likely be too small for me. The DR650 and XR650 seem to check all my boxes and there are enough of them out there that I can shop around to find a nice one.
    #39
  20. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

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    DR650 wet is more like 380
    #40
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