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Old guy motard?

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Hi All

New to the forums - and with a conundrum. Hoping for some assistance.

I'm getting on (around 50) and want something to ride with mates on the weekend. I had an interstate licence (this is in Australia) that expired over 20 years ago. That means there's restrictions on what I can ride (classed as a learner). Having said that, the range of bikes allowed could be much worse.

I have done a fair amount of research, but nothing beats first-hand knowledge. Although I have only owned dirt bikes in the past or dual purpose eg Suzuki PE 400, Honda XL 500, Yamaha XT 500 to name a few (been riding since Honda Z50 days though) . . . all these probably sound like museum pieces these days - being realistic, motard bikes might be the way to go. I feel comfortable in the riding position and like big singles.

Because of the learner restrictions and the option to upgrade to anything after the learner time (18 months) I want to go second hand. Some I have looked at include: Husky SM610 '05 model with about 6k miles on it, KTM 640 SM with about 7k miles also 05 model, XR 400 with motard wheels and 3k miles to give some examples. All street legal here. Other options - happy to hear about.

My question is - do I go all out and get either the KTM or Husky (with opinion on either if you have one) or ease into it on the XR? HELP!!!

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Have you considered the Honda XR650R? They are street legal in Oz, I believe? They don't have an electric starter, but are more reliable and smoother than the Husky or KTM.

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Motards are pretty cool, for awhile. For MOST riders, they fairly quickly find that despite the hooligan factor, riding small displacement, single cyl motorcycles on the street is not a "go faster" thrill ride.

Most are pretty darn slow.

I had a motard XR650L with 10.5:1 high compression piston, stage 1 hotcam and full FMF header/exhaust. It was a nice street bike, but still pokey if your mates are multi cyl sport bikes.

Now it was plenty fast for me, but I'm a putt putt guy and then I might as well have a true dual sport and be able to ride trails.

So I turned it back into dual sport. ;0)

09072012190_zpsff0dd521.jpg

Point is, LOTS of guys think they are neat, then tire of them quickly once they get one. Try to spend some time on someone elses if possible. If not, buy the cheapest (400) and see how you like it. If you LOVE it you can always sell the 400 and get a full boat tard. If you don't love it you can convert it or sell it and be done.

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Well I'm 45. ( this is the first time I've logged back in here for a few years ) I've just got a ktm 660 Smc which is great fun. Manual start, no ignition, no battery. Dead easy to service. Just I thought I'd try to shove you in the right direction....

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Thanks for the advice - it's always good to get different perspectives. Saw a nice KTM 640 SM and almost bought it until I checked and it is not on the learner approved list in Australia. The 625SMC and 660SM both there - just not the 640.

The XR650 idea is a good one - I like the lower maintenance idea. The XR pictured above only adds to the motivation. I will have a look around for some.

To be honest, with a dirt bike background, the thought of getting a dual purpose has merit. Plenty of places to ride them around where I live. Most riders I know nowadays are on road bikes, hence the thought of a super motard bike.

Thanks again!!

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Thanks for the advice - it's always good to get different perspectives. Saw a nice KTM 640 SM and almost bought it until I checked and it is not on the learner approved list in Australia. The 625SMC and 660SM both there - just not the 640.

The XR650 idea is a good one - I like the lower maintenance idea. The XR pictured above only adds to the motivation. I will have a look around for some.

To be honest, with a dirt bike background, the thought of getting a dual purpose has merit. Plenty of places to ride them around where I live. Most riders I know nowadays are on road bikes, hence the thought of a super motard bike.

Thanks again!!

Sportsmans setup (there's a racing class) uses stock wheels with street rubber. About 85% of the fun of motards (if you aren't a racer) and lets you find out how you like it. Handling is mind boggling'ly good compared to knobs or dual sport tires. Shinko 705's are good stuff and cheap to boot. I have them on one set of wheels and knobbies on the other of my 350. ;)

DSC00045.jpg

Edited by MLB007

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Have to say the bike looks great and sounds like fun with the road tyres.

Yesterday I bought a DRZ400SM which I pick up tomorrow night. I will let you know how it goes. I went with it thinking it was a good bike to give motard a go with the option of getting dirt wheels later. Here in Oz, loads of people are currently converting bikes to motard, so you can pick up dirt wheels pretty cheaply, whereas road wheels to go motard cost heaps.

Also, I found out that a DRZ400SM is super easy to re-sell if I want to. I managed to find a good one at a descent price.

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Have to say the bike looks great and sounds like fun with the road tyres.

Yesterday I bought a DRZ400SM which I pick up tomorrow night. I will let you know how it goes. I went with it thinking it was a good bike to give motard a go with the option of getting dirt wheels later. Here in Oz, loads of people are currently converting bikes to motard, so you can pick up dirt wheels pretty cheaply, whereas road wheels to go motard cost heaps.

Also, I found out that a DRZ400SM is super easy to re-sell if I want to. I managed to find a good one at a descent price.

Good score all the way around. You're right that it's cheaper to pick up dirt wheels than visa versa. Have fun!

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Wombat , good choice , but beware what you read about the DRZ . There are many errors in the spec`s from the manuals you can buy and some of the maintenance periods are a joke . Although the DRZ has a long oil change interval , dont do what the factory suggests . Do oil changes at 1000 klm intervals with a new filter and your bike will do well . There are some issues with factory assembly , so the loctite fixes are also a good thing to do , dont trust what the previous owner might have done . Get over to the DRZ forum on TT and start reading up on the bike and it will help you a lot with most of your questions about the bike , when you have them . The SM is an OK bike to start with , if I did it again I would get an E ( yes a real E craigo ! ) and buy some rims and sprockets . The std SM has 33-4 hp and an E has 40 , which doesnt make it LAMS approved , but does make it something you may want after you get used to it . It is different because of the carby , exhaust , air intake , cams and compression . All of which can be changed easily on the SM at some later stage and without any noticable difference for compliance . When you get it , post some pics in the aussie section , and if you have any questions , just ask , greg

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I'm an old guy too (51) and still like to ride all types of bikes. I've got a HD bagger, CRF450X, XR400R and a XR650R. I want to turn my 2000 XR650R into a play Motard bike without selling the farm. I wont be racing or even riding hard because skin and bones don't heal fast anymore. I'd rather ride longer and slower now, rather than fast because I've paid my dues on the couch licking my wounds and letting grandkids sign my casts. Slow cruses up the canyons and a few wheelies are the only thing I need to kick in my pacemaker now!

Bike is already street legal due to AZ liberal policy for putting a plate on anything. Keeping all this in mind, can someone tell me why I should change rim size from stock rims of 21F 18 B to 17's front/back? The cost savings is huge if I keep the stock rims. I'm thinking replace knobs on stock rims for something smooth and a little sticky, BAM....DONE ....Old man cheap Motard, scabs and scars not included. Any suggestions on the tires I should mount? Any other suggestions?

Thanks, Tim

USMC (ret)

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"Bike is already street legal due to AZ liberal policy for putting a plate on anything. Keeping all this in mind, can someone tell me why I should change rim size from stock rims of 21F 18 B to 17's front/back?"

The major reason for going to 17's is the change in handling characteristics that the sport bike rims/tyres provide. Along side that is the major increase in sticky tyre choices that come in 17 inch. I'm a dirt biker/sports bike rider myself and have just recently moved to the world of motards and in my opinion, it's about the best compromise between styles you could imagine. I was out on the new (to me) bike (WR400) a couple of days ago, just going for a blast around the streets where I live, after work. I saw a track leading to a new road construction area and before I knew it I was blasting down muddy, grassy tracks. Next to zero traction (akin to riding deep mud) but the fun factor was way up there! 10 minutes later I'm power sliding out of pavement corners again with the confidence that only sticky road rubber can provide! You should have seen the look on my wife's face when I arrived home with my leather jacket all splattered in mud!

"The cost savings is huge if I keep the stock rims. I'm thinking replace knobs on stock rims for something smooth and a little sticky, BAM....DONE ....Old man cheap Motard, scabs and scars not included. Any suggestions on the tires I should mount? Any other suggestions?"

If you really want to keep things cheap, then by all means, throw some duel sport tyres on but that technically isn't a motard (but will probably be just as much fun). I would highly recommend going to 17's for the handling alone. See if you can take a motard for a ride before you make your decision though (go to a dealership if you don't have a mate who has one).

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I'm an old guy too (51) and still like to ride all types of bikes. I've got a HD bagger, CRF450X, XR400R and a XR650R. I want to turn my 2000 XR650R into a play Motard bike without selling the farm. I wont be racing or even riding hard because skin and bones don't heal fast anymore. I'd rather ride longer and slower now, rather than fast because I've paid my dues on the couch licking my wounds and letting grandkids sign my casts. Slow cruses up the canyons and a few wheelies are the only thing I need to kick in my pacemaker now!

Bike is already street legal due to AZ liberal policy for putting a plate on anything. Keeping all this in mind, can someone tell me why I should change rim size from stock rims of 21F 18 B to 17's front/back? The cost savings is huge if I keep the stock rims. I'm thinking replace knobs on stock rims for something smooth and a little sticky, BAM....DONE ....Old man cheap Motard, scabs and scars not included. Any suggestions on the tires I should mount? Any other suggestions?

Thanks, Tim

USMC (ret)

Shinko 705's are popular and I think very good for the price and use. NOT what is pictured on my 350 above (OLD pic). And they come 18/21.

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"Bike is already street legal due to AZ liberal policy for putting a plate on anything. Keeping all this in mind, can someone tell me why I should change rim size from stock rims of 21F 18 B to 17's front/back?"

The major reason for going to 17's is the change in handling characteristics that the sport bike rims/tyres provide. Along side that is the major increase in sticky tyre choices that come in 17 inch. I'm a dirt biker/sports bike rider myself and have just recently moved to the world of motards and in my opinion, it's about the best compromise between styles you could imagine. I was out on the new (to me) bike (WR400) a couple of days ago, just going for a blast around the streets where I live, after work. I saw a track leading to a new road construction area and before I knew it I was blasting down muddy, grassy tracks. Next to zero traction (akin to riding deep mud) but the fun factor was way up there! 10 minutes later I'm power sliding out of pavement corners again with the confidence that only sticky road rubber can provide! You should have seen the look on my wife's face when I arrived home with my leather jacket all splattered in mud!

"The cost savings is huge if I keep the stock rims. I'm thinking replace knobs on stock rims for something smooth and a little sticky, BAM....DONE ....Old man cheap Motard, scabs and scars not included. Any suggestions on the tires I should mount? Any other suggestions?"

If you really want to keep things cheap, then by all means, throw some duel sport tyres on but that technically isn't a motard (but will probably be just as much fun). I would highly recommend going to 17's for the handling alone. See if you can take a motard for a ride before you make your decision though (go to a dealership if you don't have a mate who has one).

While 17" improve turn in a bunch and you can get super sticky tires in those sizes, I found the much heavier steering much less enjoyable.

Make no mistake, I'm not racing, for racing or track days it's a no brainer, gotta have em.

For steet use, mine (had the 350 and 650L motards) the heavier steering feel is more steet bike and less than uber-light dual sport handling that is part of what I like so much about dual sports.

For guys coming off much bigger, heavier street bikes, the feel is light. But not if you're coming off dirt bikes!

Different strokes for different folks. :ride:

Edited by MindBlower

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Sportsmans setup (there's a racing class) uses stock wheels with street rubber. About 85% of the fun of motards (if you aren't a racer) and lets you find out how you like it. Handling is mind boggling'ly good compared to knobs or dual sport tires. Shinko 705's are good stuff and cheap to boot. I have them on one set of wheels and knobbies on the other of my 350. ;)

DSC00045.jpg

Here's the same bike a few years later. I had a 19" front excel w/Honda hub built for it this winter, not mounted yet.

WP_000002_zps98a34771.jpg

Edited by MindBlower

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"Bike is already street legal due to AZ liberal policy for putting a plate on anything. Keeping all this in mind, can someone tell me why I should change rim size from stock rims of 21F 18 B to 17's front/back?"

The major reason for going to 17's is the change in handling characteristics that the sport bike rims/tyres provide. Along side that is the major increase in sticky tyre choices that come in 17 inch. I'm a dirt biker/sports bike rider myself and have just recently moved to the world of motards and in my opinion, it's about the best compromise between styles you could imagine. I was out on the new (to me) bike (WR400) a couple of days ago, just going for a blast around the streets where I live, after work. I saw a track leading to a new road construction area and before I knew it I was blasting down muddy, grassy tracks. Next to zero traction (akin to riding deep mud) but the fun factor was way up there! 10 minutes later I'm power sliding out of pavement corners again with the confidence that only sticky road rubber can provide! You should have seen the look on my wife's face when I arrived home with my leather jacket all splattered in mud!

"The cost savings is huge if I keep the stock rims. I'm thinking replace knobs on stock rims for something smooth and a little sticky, BAM....DONE ....Old man cheap Motard, scabs and scars not included. Any suggestions on the tires I should mount? Any other suggestions?"

If you really want to keep things cheap, then by all means, throw some duel sport tyres on but that technically isn't a motard (but will probably be just as much fun). I would highly recommend going to 17's for the handling alone. See if you can take a motard for a ride before you make your decision though (go to a dealership if you don't have a mate who has one).

The Shinkos are OK but Avon Distanzias kick ass in both dual sport or the SM size and SM compound. Remember these are not 100% street tires but they do Rock and work well in everything I threw at them :D But I was running 17's

While 17" improve turn in a bunch and you can get super sticky tires in those sizes, I found the much heavier steering much less enjoyable.

Make no mistake, I'm not racing, for racing or track days it's a no brainer, gotta have em.

For steet use, mine (had the 350 and 650L motards) the heavier steering feel is more steet bike and less than uber-light dual sport handling that is part of what I like so much about dual sports.

For guys coming off much bigger, heavier street bikes, the feel is light. But not if you're coming off dirt bikes!

Different strokes for different folks. :ride:

I really have to disagree with you on this. It's not just slapping on a set of 17's with bigger breaks and street tires you still need to set the suspension up for the changes as well ;) If you don't well yeah it does what you are saying ;) SM suspension is way stiffer than dual sport or mx suspension. Then to really mess with ya try running a 16.5 front vs the 17 :eek: talk about turn in hehe.

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Hi All

New to the forums - and with a conundrum. Hoping for some assistance.

I'm getting on (around 50) and want something to ride with mates on the weekend. I had an interstate licence (this is in Australia) that expired over 20 years ago. That means there's restrictions on what I can ride (classed as a learner). Having said that, the range of bikes allowed could be much worse.

I have done a fair amount of research, but nothing beats first-hand knowledge. Although I have only owned dirt bikes in the past or dual purpose eg Suzuki PE 400, Honda XL 500, Yamaha XT 500 to name a few (been riding since Honda Z50 days though) . . . all these probably sound like museum pieces these days - being realistic, motard bikes might be the way to go. I feel comfortable in the riding position and like big singles.

Because of the learner restrictions and the option to upgrade to anything after the learner time (18 months) I want to go second hand. Some I have looked at include: Husky SM610 '05 model with about 6k miles on it, KTM 640 SM with about 7k miles also 05 model, XR 400 with motard wheels and 3k miles to give some examples. All street legal here. Other options - happy to hear about.

My question is - do I go all out and get either the KTM or Husky (with opinion on either if you have one) or ease into it on the XR? HELP!!!

Have you looked at KTM450SMR's ??? should be street legal down in your area :clap: just need a headlight, taillight and turn signals ;)Oh and I'm 51 and race one of these 450smr's :D

4-13-12+023.JPG

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The Shinkos are OK but Avon Distanzias kick ass in both dual sport or the SM size and SM compound. Remember these are not 100% street tires but they do Rock and work well in everything I threw at them :D But I was running 17's

I really have to disagree with you on this. It's not just slapping on a set of 17's with bigger breaks and street tires you still need to set the suspension up for the changes as well ;) If you don't well yeah it does what you are saying ;) SM suspension is way stiffer than dual sport or mx suspension. Then to really mess with ya try running a 16.5 front vs the 17 :eek: talk about turn in hehe.

\

I had 400 forks sent out and set up for my weight and motard riding. ;)

Edited by MindBlower

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I ride a 2000 XR650L that I have done a bunch of tricks to. I won't bore you with the details, but here is a few things I found about this bike that I like, and a couple of the tricks to help an old backside live through long miles on one.

There are a LOT of parts, new, used, OEM, AM trick and all over the boards for this bike. You can add SM wheels, or street tires on the stock rims. There are AM wheels from $500 dollar converts, to 2500 dollar BST carbons to fit. Pick you limits on any part, some one will take your money.

Soft bags? Hard bags? fender bags? How about big gas tanks if you just have to cross the continent on one fill up, some one else will take your money there as well.

I guess what i am saying, above all else, the XR is one of the most customizable bikes there is, and good examples of them are not that expensive, even new...

Parts I like for what i do. A sergeants saddle. a little wider, little lower, and all day comfort.

Tag metals inch and an eighth bars, they help with any vibes you might get from the big single.

PIAA head light. I bought the biggest, brightest one i could. (there projector in the XR is glass in most of them and will hold the heat. most other bikes went the easy way and made them of plastic.)

When buying a chain, buy the highest tensile strength you can find, and don't be cheep. The XR loves chains, it eats them if they are not of the best. Buy the best.

The ease of keeping this bike is incredible. Simply buy good oil, buy E-bay filters of reasonable quality and in bulk, like 10 at a time, and change oil every 4000 miles. I know, sounds long, but it works for me, i am a mostly street rider, so no severe dusty conditions.

wash the silly thing. Keep it clean and re-lube the chain every washing. Check the tires and ride the funk out of it. Mine has been down in ice storms, dropped in a creek, hit by a car, and hit a car. Twice. Good stories those... but most of all, we have been well beyond 120,000 miles.

Yeah, lots of miles, but it is a lot of bike.

Good luck!

Blip...

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Don't even bother with the XR 400. Just not enough jam, and you will be looking to up grade rather quickly. The XR 650, while a good bike...it's heavy, and ya rather ho hum.... I have a KTM 525 on the road. I have both SM, and dirt wheels for it. That 525 is a blast!!!! I ride with guys who have a DRZ 400, a Husky 630, and an XR 650R.....My bike absolutely eats them!!!! Including the slug 650. Eats them, anywhere, anytime, and in any set-up

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