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Thinking of getting on/off road bike...

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Ratherbfishin, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. Ratherbfishin

    Ratherbfishin Member

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    I was considering getting a dual sport for my work commute. 34mi one way. Gas is I believe going to push 5 bucks this summer so I have crunched the numbers and the gas savings justifies the payment and sill puts cash back in pocket...

    I have looked at the Suzuki DRZ 400, DR650 and I am going to look at the KLR650 today.

    Anyone have any of these bikes? Looking for input.

    My only concern is working 3rd shift my commute in will be in the dark....lots of deer up here

    Steve

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  2. bluedogz

    bluedogz Minister of Fire

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    I've had a KLR250 and have ridden both DRZs... for a 34-mile commute I would lean away from a single-cylinder anything, unless you like having your nether regions... well, you know.

    You could pick up a couple-year-old Nighthawk 750, Triumph Speed Triple, or Zephyr 750 for a song. Or is a dual-sport critical?
  3. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    How many months a year are you going to be able to ride it? Seems like a used civic or corolla would be a better solution if your only goal is to save some money on gas and not get taken out by a tick bag.
  4. Ratherbfishin

    Ratherbfishin Member

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    April to late November usually around here for bikes...used civics etc...are going for a pretty penny now that gas is up again and will keep going higher. You know the story with used stuff they will nickel and dime you to death unless you really find a gem. I have had bikes in the past but they were "crotch rockets" . On/off road I think would be the best bang for my buck since there is so many trails etc here...

    Steve
  5. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

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    Never rode one but have always been interested by the TW200, if only because they look like fun. There was one over in Watkins Glen, maybe it's still for sale:

    http://elmira.craigslist.org/mcd/2845103847.html
  6. rkshed

    rkshed Feeling the Heat

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    Now this is an area I am very familiar with. 40 mile commutes are simple and painless. If you can acquire one at a reasonable price, you can modify it to fit your needs both in comfort and ease of use. Seat foam can be changed comfort and height. Gearing for your particular type of commute. The parts are less expensive and you can repair/maintain it yourself.
    No brainer my friend and if you have any questions, write.
  7. NH_Wood

    NH_Wood Minister of Fire

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    I've been wanting to do this myself. Only a 5 min commute and my work has miles of off-road trails. I've thought about going for rides during the day when I have breaks - would be a lot of fun! Cheers!
  8. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    Will you take this bike off road at all or is it strictly a commuter? I've owned street bikes and I currently ride a Honda CRF450X. If I were going for a commuter I personally would not make it a dual sport. For the same price, or less, you could no doubt find a decent used street bike. A street bike will have substantially better lighting, a much more cozy seat and will probably be more reliable (less maintenance). There is no upside to the dual sport unless you plan to hit the dirt, in my opinion.
  9. rkshed

    rkshed Feeling the Heat

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    Abslutely right. If you will never be on the dirt, pick up an old streetbike.
  10. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Obviously you'll be wanting to do some offroad riding with it or you'd be looking at a straight street bike. I can't help you pick one, but I will tell you how much I miss mine. I used my dual sport bike for riding to work as much as possible, and of course spent a lot of time in the bush exploring trails and having fun. I've been wanting to get another one for years, but have never been able to justify the expence. Seems like there is always something to spend the money on that was more important.

    Hopefully one day I'll get another one. Let me know what you get and how you like it.
  11. jeromehdmc

    jeromehdmc Member

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    I've never had a big dual-sport, just a Kawasaki 175. Being able to take a trail or dirt road whenever you want to is cool.
    If you can afford it don't go with a small bike, the little engine just can't pull highway speeds for long.
    From what I've read the KLR is a very good choice, big enough to commute with, can even have a trunk and saddlebags, and still off road capable.
    Have you looked at a V-Strom, I think it may be better on road than the KLR but still off road capable.
    Go to advrider.com they have alot of info about dual sport bikes.
  12. Ratherbfishin

    Ratherbfishin Member

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    The expense is justified in money back from high gas prices. Obviously like a wood stove the pay back is gradual and the more you use it the greater the realized savings. I will plan on some light off road use..fields,old logging roads etc..my boy has a 4 wheeler so it would be nice to go from street to trail. I have had street bikes before but like I said the appeal of going street to trail is what is driving me towards the dual sport class.

    Steve
  13. burnham

    burnham Member

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    I just picked up a new Husqvarna te449, it's a dual sport that's really just a dirt bike that is street legal. It's been a lot of fun on the street so far, and I've been getting around 50 mpg's. The thing I like is it's fuel injected. I think a DRZ 400 would probably also be a good bike. I've seen a couple Honda XR650's for sale this spring, not sure how they are on fuel but I know they buzz a lot less than a 450 on the street.
  14. perchin

    perchin Member

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    I've spent my entire life on bikes.... don't even consider the XR650's nor the ridiculous TW200 that is ill suited for road or dirt. The XR650 is the heaviest slowest turd I've ever rode. The TW200 could be a decent first bike to learn on, but not much else as its not capable of creating enough power to get through any kind of sand. The Yamaha WR bikes are sweet!!! You can find a used WR450 in great shape for pretty cheap, and it will perform gentle enough for the road and roll out some serious thunder for the trails.... just my .02
  15. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I've got guys at work that ride year 'round. One rides a Ural, the other a Honda Shadow. Not even snow keeps them off their bikes. Both of them work 3rd Shift too!
  16. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    My coworker has a KLR650 he's wanting to unload with very little mileage, he's since bought 2 Triumphs and his wife wants one of them out of the garage.
    If you have access to a trailer it might be worth a trip south(I know gas is probably prohibitive).

    My other coworker has a 650?/ BMW enduro, that rides really nice except the seat is extremely skinny - not so comfy on longer rides
  17. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I have been riding a KLX250s for a couple of years now. Prior to that were several large Honda XRs that I rode the snot out of in competition off-road events. Prior to that were three small 200cc XRs that I learned on and got my license with. The big XRs are always about 300+ lbs and only kickstart so the new bike had to be street legal (I've had the endorsement since I was 17), single cylinder, and light weight (mid to upper 200s is fine). With trail riding it is very desirable to be able to pop out onto the road and be legal.

    I commute with and race the KLX250 and it does great after a few off-road upgrades like tires, jetting, and smaller lighting. The bike is very capable of highway speeds with me on it at 160 lbs. I can pass people at freeway speed but I need to plan for it well in advance. These tall light weight bikes are not very stable at 70 mph. The bars kind of wiggle and wind buffeting blows you around. My bike is set up properly, anybody that has a sub 300 lb bike with a 34+" seatheight will have the same issue. Yes, I can ride on freeways even double with my wife, it does it fine but my commute to work only includes about 4 miles of the 60 mph freeway and the rest is backroads. Slower speed roads and twisties is where this bike really shines. I have no problem with my butt falling asleep from the buzzing or the hard seat but some people are sensitive to this.

    You mention crotch rocket experience. Let me tell you right friggin now that a 600 cc crotch rocket is NOT the same as a 600 cc dual sport. I've zipped along effortlessly at 130mph on a 600 cc crotch rocket but on big bore dual sports it is a much longer time getting up to speed. HP is much lower per cc.

    A 34 mile daily commute on, we must assume, high speed roadways puts you into a large displacement bike. The KLR650 is best here if you want some light off road abilities.

    One more thing, you won't save much money unless you plan to have a bike regardless. These bikes get poor mpg. I can scrape out 65 on secondary roads, off-road is only about 35 mpg. Tires wear quickly and need to be replaced. You need to consider fuel tank capacity since your long commute would have many bikes look for fuel every day! The big EFI BMW roadbikes get 50 and are much more capable on the highway.

    KLR650 is the bike for you.
  18. Ratherbfishin

    Ratherbfishin Member

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    Ya no doubt the KLR is a sweet ride, comfortable. 6k out the door price though for a left over 2011. There is a couple of DRZ 400's for sale locally for half that. So I'm not sure if New in box is a good fit or not. Thanks for the info, I totally get that my 1000R rocket is a different animal that a dual sport bike. I know I wont go 0 to 140 in 15 seconds and still have 2 gears left! LOL.

    I wanted to pick up the DRZ a guy has on CL for 2600 03'. That way if i like it cool...we'll check out new stuff later but if I don't like it I can get every bit of it back right away. Buy new and your stuck with it for 5 years or better to break even.
  19. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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  20. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    People spend all sorts of money trying to make cars go fast. They think that acceleration from a super duper souped up car is fast. No car guy will ever know what true acceleration is until they've ridden a crotch rocket. Seriously, you will have tunnel vision and be well into the triple digits before you even know what happened. These things rev to the moon and for some reason you can't help but hold the throttle wide open and keep grabbing gears.

    I drive a truck and go slow.

    The DRZ crowd has a large following. They are pretty piggy but the biggest problem is that they only have 5 gears so you will have to choose to set this bike up for freeway or for off-road. Lots of aftermarket parts support.
  21. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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  22. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Yes, I quickly returned the crotch rocket. I was tasked with removing all four carburetors and cleaning them of years worth of goo. The bike wouldn't run. After I got it started he let me use it for as long as I wanted. Way too fast, I was going to die or be arrested. It was a very attractive white GSXR600. Very fast but it didn't like to cruise along at a steady speed, the drivetrain and small flywheel made it jery at steady speeds. Loved to accelerate or decelerate.
  23. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Sold my 2006 Suzuki SV1000S last season. With a 996CC v-twin and dual Yoshi Pipes, it made women blush and babies cry but I was always grinning ear to ear. Thumbing that starter never got old when that v-twin barked. Everyone was expecting the typical kitty-kat purr of the crotch rockets.

    I think I might try an F-16 the next time I get the urge to go that fast or accelerate that hard.

    [​IMG]
  24. rwhite

    rwhite Minister of Fire

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    Guess I will throw my 2 cents in as well. Most of the bikes I have owned have been Hondas but the CC class should follow whatever the make. Keep in mind your size as well. I'm 5'11 and 180

    Trail 90: Best trail bike I ever owned. That thing was a goat. It could run highway speeds (50-55 mph) but a 34 mile commute would be pushing it.
    XR 200: Good size bike but really lacking in power off road. I would imagine that the TW200 would fall into this category.
    XR 250: Great power but it's built on a 400 frame so it's a bit unwieldy on tight rocky trails.

    The best dual sports I ever owned (owned 2 of them) was an older early 80's XL 185 and XL 250. Plenty of power and small enough to manuever off road.

    My opinion the 650 class dual sports is they are made for the highway and the occasional dirt road. The KLR is a beast and your not going to do well with it on trails.
  25. gmule

    gmule Feeling the Heat

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    I picked up a 1983 Yamaha virago for 700 and I have been riding it for the last 3 years with no issues. All It needed was fresh fuel and I had to clean and tune the carbs.
    I also picked up a 1983 Yamaha IT 490 for 600. The IT needed a little work but it has a road title so I have it plated and I ride it to and from the trails. Both bikes are reliable and each one does what it is supposed to do with out compromising. I wouldn't want to ride a dual sport on the trails because they are heavy up top and the tires are not as aggressive. Bikes are cheap to insure and they don't take up much room so you can have more than one. why compromise when you can have the best of both for less than a car.

    The street bike is outfitted with heated grips a windshield and I have added a plug for a heated vest. I can comfortably ride when the temps are in the teens. As long as I have traction I ride the bike even in the winter between snowstorms when the roads clear.

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