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Topic: new to dual sporting - WR250R, XR650L, DRZ400S/E, DR650... KLR650???  (Read 48232 times)

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« on: February 26, 2008, 01:57:31 PM »

Well, a friend was VERY kind and lent me his tagged XR650R for about a month - thus completely hooking me on riding dirt & street on the same bike.

Prior to this, my only dirt experience was riding around our back field a few times on a cousin's old XR350 - maybe 10 years ago!

Anyway, as we know the XRR is a beast of a dirt bike, and could probably climb trees if the rider had the skills to do so!  But I gotta face it - I'm not anywhere close to being able to match that bike's potential - and might not ever be.  So during a ride, I swapped with another friend to try his DR650.  Although the suspension was noticeably squishier, I actually felt a lot more confident on the DR on tight trails - lower height, softer power delivery (which I appreciated in that situation!), and E-start really made the dirt a lot less frantic and a lot more "fun", for me when on the DR.  On the street the DR was awesome - reminded me of several streetbikes I'd ridden and not really lacking in overall power.  Full gauges/factory legal is a bonus as well...

(don't get me wrong - lofting the front wheel at will or roosting up a power line over ANY terrain on the XRR was also fun - but man that thing was a PITA in the woods - for a newb like me!)

So based on this admittedly small pocket of experience, I'm wondering which D/S would best suit my needs:

- something that can do some fairly gnarly terrain (I don't care a whit about how FAST I ride through it - just that the bike CAN get through it).  I'm doing this recreationally/for fun - and I have a Blackbird for getting my adrenaline fixes! Bigsmile  

Does this exclude the KLR?  Are they really THAT piggish/poor on the dirt (remember - my point of reference is mostly street!)

- something that is street capable.  this is way more than just HP for me (heck, like I said I actually preferred the DR to the faster, yet more brutal XRR).  I wouldn't even mind thinking of this purchase as somewhat of an "adventure bike" that can go several hundreds of road miles a day.

Does this knock out the DRZ400??

- E-start.  Gotta have it.

- Cheap to buy & ridiculously cheap to maintain & service].  I want something simple as a rock and more reliable.  Always been a Honda guy, don't even know what a service bay looks like.  Sorry, but the Huskies and KTMs that are superior to Japanese bikes - on paper - just don't cut it for me in these two categories, from what I've read.  Especially not the "cheap to buy" part!  If not, I'd be wanting a Husky TE-610!

So of the bikes: XR650L, DRZ400S/E, DR650... KLR650 - which might best fit?
« Last Edit: October 21, 2009, 01:07:03 PM by bpg » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2008, 02:59:32 PM »

DRZ400S, XR650L, DR650, KLR650 listed from most dirt-worthy to most road worthy. They're all a compromise of some sort. They can all be had for cheap if you shop around. An aftermarket gas tank from Clarke, Acerbis, etc will get you 200+ mile range. The seats all pretty much suck for really long days on the street. Not so bad on the dirt because you're standing up. Aftermarket seats are available. I've done 300+ miles of twisty two lane on my DRZ400S with the stock seat. The last hour or so wasn't much fun, but I wasn't a cripple at the end of the day either.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2008, 03:01:37 PM by garry » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2008, 03:37:16 PM »

I didn't like Jammin's DR650....just not comfy....the KLR650 was a comfy couch compared to that...I have a friend with DRZ400.....but Suzuki and Honda ergos seem.....weird to me. The KLR650 with a 6.1 gallon tank rules...the DR650 with it's tiny 3.2 or 3.4 tank Thumbsdown And the KLR had this awesome Pearl Green colour.
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2008, 05:19:59 PM »

I have a drz 400s with around 7000 mostly offroad miles on it. I have yet to find any terrain that my friends crf250 could handle that the drz couldn't. I have run it in a 90 mile enduro, on 400 mile 2 day adventure tours, in tight woods, loose sand, california mountains and commuting 80 miles round trip at 75+ on the highway with no problems.
Yes there are other bikes more comfortable, others more off roadable, many much lighter, but none that could do all of what I can on the drz, especially for the money.
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2008, 06:19:31 PM »

see, that's what I mean - I want a great ALL-ROUNDER - not the best/fastest dirtbike, or to replace the great sport-touring bike I already own..  Just something that does "pretty good" at lot of stuff, instead of great on dirt and miserable on road...

I really like the Z - seems reliable too!
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2008, 08:39:09 PM »

The KLR is a tank when it comes to single track...been there, done that. It is great for everything else
as long as you're not fully loaded.
Since I don't do single track, I sold the KLR and IMHO upgraded to a KTM 640 Adventure. Less weight,
less cc's, more power, nice cushy seat/suspension, but just as tall if not a tad taller with the D606's.
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2008, 08:50:38 PM »

The DR-Z400 is a very capable and reliable dualsport. It's about as dirt-worthy as you can get in a dualsport without getting into the type of maintenance schedule you'll find on the true dirtbikes/enduros which have had turn signals slapped on them. As for comfort, I've seen my buds ride 'em all day. Four of us did the Copper Canyon thing last year -- 2 were on DR-Z400's. RR is here: http://www.dm.net/~bahwolf/mex2007/mex2007.htm

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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2008, 09:22:13 PM »

The drz 400s with a corbin is nearly a iron butt contender.




Not quite, but way better than stock!!
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2008, 09:39:16 PM »

DRZ400S, XR650L, DR650, KLR650.......no real winners here. Street bikes dressed up in dirt bike clothing.
And some real technological dinosaurs to boot.
 It's a shame your so negatory on the Husky TE-610, in could conceivably run circles around the other four.
 To expect a Japanese designed bike ( after all, they aren't actually all made in Japan ) to be superior in terms of maintenance and serviceability is so archaic. The "always a Honda guy" song is getting old.
Compared to the other bikes I've owned my last Honda was a maintenance nightmare. Don't confuse repairability with reliability.
 As far as purchase price is concerned, all four of the Japanese bikes mentioned typically receive considerable upgrades to engine, suspension and frame to enhance their on- and off-road performance.
Their lower initial purchase price doesn't necessarily make them cheaper.
 Lastly, to truly ride off-road, where light weight and good suspension are your friends, places you at the opposite end the the spectrum from adventure-touring, where on-road comfort, range and the ability to carry larger loads suggest a larger, stouter bike. I don't think any of the four bikes mentioned split the difference as well as the TE-610.
 I not trying to be a smart-ass, but take a few moments to read some of XLR8's ride reports from Idaho and then ask yourself if you could talk him into trading for a Japanese bike. I doubt it.
Hey, it's late and I'm tired, so I'm posting this without proof reading it, I hope it makes sense.
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2008, 10:23:36 PM »

Brendan, head over to  ADV rider and spend some time in the thumper section. There are threads for each bike you listed, and tons of info.
'07 DR650 owner myself.
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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2008, 10:37:54 PM »

No doubt, the Husky's a great bike. I wouldn't mind having one myself. But as an introductory bike for someone with little dirt experience ... I'd say overkill. He can pick up a used low-mileage DR-Z400 for just a little over 3 grand. After a couple years on that, if he's really pushing its envelope in the dirt, he can get most of his money back out of it and upgrade to something like the TE.

Just my 2 cents. I don't own a DR-Z. Never plan to. But it's a reliable machine, as are all of the others mentioned in this thread. Not sure what your beef is with the Jap bikes, but thousands will tell you otherwise if you're saying they're unreliable.
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2008, 10:45:26 PM »

It's all about the tradeoffs. From the OP, it honestly sounds like you haven't narrowed down your requirements enough to make a decision on any basis besides price. And that's fine. You could choose any of these bikes from the used market and spend some more time figuring out what you like to do. And once you have any bike, how you set it up (gearing, tires, etc) will allow you to optimize it to one thing or another.

My own very personal take is that I'd rather ride a DRZ on the road than a KLR in the woods.   Smile

Even the Husqvarnas seem to have a growing used market (I've been looking....  Wink ) and it's a good time to be shopping
« Last Edit: February 26, 2008, 10:49:31 PM by kurtw » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2008, 10:46:49 PM »


DRZ400S, XR650L, DR650, KLR650.......no real winners here. Street bikes dressed up in dirt bike clothing.
And some real technological dinosaurs to boot.
 It's a shame your so negatory on the Husky TE-610, in could conceivably run circles around the other four.
 To expect a Japanese designed bike ( after all, they aren't actually all made in Japan ) to be superior in terms of maintenance and serviceability is so archaic. The "always a Honda guy" song is getting old.
Compared to the other bikes I've owned my last Honda was a maintenance nightmare. Don't confuse repairability with reliability.
 As far as purchase price is concerned, all four of the Japanese bikes mentioned typically receive considerable upgrades to engine, suspension and frame to enhance their on- and off-road performance.
Their lower initial purchase price doesn't necessarily make them cheaper.
 Lastly, to truly ride off-road, where light weight and good suspension are your friends, places you at the opposite end the the spectrum from adventure-touring, where on-road comfort, range and the ability to carry larger loads suggest a larger, stouter bike. I don't think any of the four bikes mentioned split the difference as well as the TE-610.
 I not trying to be a smart-ass, but take a few moments to read some of XLR8's ride reports from Idaho and then ask yourself if you could talk him into trading for a Japanese bike. I doubt it.
Hey, it's late and I'm tired, so I'm posting this without proof reading it, I hope it makes sense.

I understand what you're saying, but:

- Frankly, the 610 is out of my budget.  I have no shame in admitting that, but even if it were (and trust me, I was eyeing them on ebay), it's really too much like the XRR - way more than what I want or need, with my limited skills.  

- Also, I'm looking at used XRL/DR/DRZ - most the upgrades you mentioned are "nearly free" when buying these bikes used, since accessories add little value to a used bike price.

- If the 610 is anything as rip-snortin' as the XRR on trails, I feel it'd be a lot to handle for a newb (though that magic button would save me a lot of grief!).  

Really, I'm just looking for a 2-wheeled jeep.  A tractor.  Something fun and simple (I have another bike that's technology-laden and fast - kinda looking for a contrast!).  I want something that other bikes "run circles" around, while I chug along with a dumb grin on my face... Bigsmile

Something I can disappear to the mountains with for a few weeks in the summer (I teach!) and just mosey around all over trails and backroads, with the occasional gnarly singletrack.  Hell, something to tug a deer out of the woods in the fall, LOL!

Remember, I'm new at this.  I might love it and love the speed eventually, at which a KTM 525 or Husky 610 would be great!!  Just not yet...

Anyway, not poo-pooing your thoughts, they are excellent!  I just want to explain why I boiled it down to the 4 (well, 3!) bikes in the title, for MY current desires...
« Last Edit: February 26, 2008, 11:03:08 PM by bpg » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2008, 10:50:05 PM »



My own very personal take is that I'd rather ride a DRZ on the road than a KLR in the woods.   Smile



That's the kind of stuff that's good to know, LOL!  thx.
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2008, 10:57:16 PM »

From what I've seen I don't think you can go wrong with any of the three bikes.  Unless you want long range touring/adventure riding, I think the KLR is out of the picture.

my $.02,

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« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2008, 06:46:55 AM »

The only one of the lot I have experience with is the KLR. For off-road meaning off pavement, it is okay for fire roads, acceptable for jeep roads, but your requirement
Quote
something that can do some fairly gnarly terrain
I'd not really recommend it for that. I did some single track--it's a lot of work on a KLR.
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« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2008, 07:24:23 AM »

Interesting info guys Bigok I need to ride all 4 bikes back to back before I pick a bike for the ride to Alaska with Jammin. All I know is I immediately fell in  Inlove with the KLR. It spoke to me Bigsmile
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« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2008, 07:43:40 AM »


Interesting info guys Bigok I need to ride all 4 bikes back to back before I pick a bike for the ride to Alaska with Jammin. All I know is I immediately fell in  Inlove with the KLR. It spoke to me Bigsmile


your requirements are significantly different from bpg, unless you intend to ride trails all the way to Alaska. I'm just sayin'.
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« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2008, 07:44:27 AM »


Interesting info guys Bigok I need to ride all 4 bikes back to back before I pick a bike for the ride to Alaska with Jammin. All I know is I immediately fell in  Inlove with the KLR. It spoke to me Bigsmile


Nothing wrong with the KLR and going to Alaska. It's perfectly capable and fun on the gravel roads
like the Denali highway, Top Of The World Highway and Dempster highway. Just don't expect to
go really fast when fully loaded, and forget about passing when going uphill.
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« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2008, 08:19:24 AM »

BPG,

IMO, the only real advantages to the KLR is the that it is better suited for longer highway rides and a lot of after market support.  
I have a 04 KLR and I'm coming to the realization that I really don't need the range that it offers. Most of my rides consist of, at most, 50 miles of pavement, followed by dirt riding so I really don't need what it offers. The DR, DRZ or maybe the 09KLX is a better match for what I do.
If I were doing a fair amount of highway miles or weekend trips I think the KLR would be the best.

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