First, you have to ask yourself a couple of questions in which can really narrow down the right bike for you. 1) How many miles a year do you ride? (less than or more than 10,000 miles) 2) Do you want to do single track, woods riding? (leisure, aggressive, race pace) 3) Will you bring lots of luggage and/or passenger? 4) How much highway do you plan on riding? (short or long distance) If you’re riding more than 10,000 miles per year than you’ll want to look at bikes with lower maintenance schedules and designed for longevity. Riding less than 10,000 miles you can really pick any bike because none of them will need any major services during the season. People get all up in arms about motorcycle weight however they only time weight is really an issue is if you’re trying to ride single track, woods riding or picking the bike up off the ground. Comparing race bikes from the Dakar Rally and the International Six Days Enduro, they are both offroad race bikes but have just about nothing else in common. The point is that most bikes can do desert, gravel roads, dirt roads and even two track so you’re not really limited on your choice selection. If you’re doing single track, woods riding than deciding how fast you want to ride it will impact the best bike for you. The luggage and/or passenger question is one of hardest to predict what you really need. Single people get married and there significant other may or may not want to ride with and/or change their mind. Add kids into the equation and all of a sudden dreams of cross country riding disappear. Then camping and cooking play major roles in the amount of luggage needed. Highway riding requires larger displacement bikes and/or bikes with wide ratio transmissions. Short distance of highway can be accomplished by most motorcycles. Riding for hours at a time will require a larger bike with more fuel range. Stopping every 100 miles on even a 300-400 mile day trip isn’t fun. There are many popular dual sport bikes for many different reasons. The WR250R gets its popularity because of its ultra low maintenance with a chassis and suspension that satisfies all but the hardcore single track, woods riders. The DR650 and XR650L give up some single track, woods riding due to the extra weigh and dated chassis/ suspension however the extra power and torque make it easy to ride leisurely both on and offroad. Those looking for more performance though will look towards the KTM 690 and Husqvarna 701. Both of which are awesome machines and some of the most road worthy dual sports with the only real down fall being range and expense to increase fuel capacity. With people wanting more longevity and lower maintenance the street legal enduro race bikes have come a long way. While manufactures are keeping to the race level maintenance schedules, most of them are going +10,000 miles before major services (rebuilds). There are lots of aftermarket companies making all kinds of great parts and components for them. Their only down fall being the cost of engine rebuilds however with the average rider doing less than 3,000 miles a year, the $1000ish dollar rebuild will last 3-4 years ($250-$350 annual costs). Most adventure bikes aren’t capable of single track, woods riding. Manufactures are seeing peoples desire for adventure bikes to be more offroad capable which is bring some great new bikes to the market. There are so many different adventure bikes on the market and they range greatly in size. The new BMW G310GS is the lightest in class with the most suspension travel. While it may not be single track, woods ready, it can certainly tear up some two track. However, those looking for more luggage capability and/or passengers will probably want something larger like the Africa Twin. Those who don’t need as much offroad capability might look at something like the V-Strom 650XT or CB500X. The compromise between size and power is up to the rider. Scamblers are the latest craze and offer great around town riding and the ability to handle gravel roads, dirt roads and maybe even two track. They give up some range to the adventure bikes however generally smaller and lighter. Just some food for though.