Dual Sport? If so, Which one?

I am a new rider, I started riding this spring on a 2006 ninja 250r, a great beginner's bike. As the summer is starting to wind down here in Nebraska, I am starting my journey into the motorcycle market, looking to buy in early spring. Ever since I started riding, I have always been fascinated by the dual sports I see on the roads and thinking about them, they look like loads of fun! Plus they would fit my need to daily commute to work/school, with exceptional fuel mileage. I tried out a friends DRZ400E the other day and even though it was worlds different than what I am used to, I liked the style of the dual sports. Although, I don't need the power of the DRZ. I am 5' 9" and about 140lbs with a 31" inseam and while I could deal with the high seat height, I would prefer a bike that is a few inches shorter while stock and with my low weight, I don't need all that power... This is the reason I was looking into the 250 range. Would these bikes be enough for me? (CRF250L, KLX250S, WR250R, etc.)

The main purpose of the bike would be a fun commuter... Maybe a little urban fun on some curbs and whatnot.. I am definitely a beginner in the dual sport world so i won't be running motocross tracks and the bike i do choose would be taken offroad maybe only one or two times a month, and even then it would just be some gravel roads and such... Maybe a field or two a year.. Not much offroad at all. I also wouldnt be on the highway much, If i did it might only be for a mile or two on a commute. What would you guys recommend? Budget is $3500 or less.

I have some seat time under my belt on a KLX250s.  Its not mine but a good friends.  I have drz400s.  The KLX250s has a way lower seat height than my drz400s.  The KLX250s is very slow compared to the drz.  In stock form its borderline lame.  Me and my friend installed a full exhaust and jet kit on the KLX and it made the throttle response 100x better.  It's actually pretty fun now but in stock form it has no throttle response.  The KLX has a very nimble feel to it and I like the looks of it however it doesn't seem to be built all that well.  Something is always falling off of my friends bike.


The drz400s is a better bike.  Its faster and seems to be built better but it is heavier and has a higher seat height.


I don't have any experience with the other bikes you listed.  Oh and as far as price goes you can get the KLX for cheaper than the drz.  If your budget is $3500 and you want the KLX I would try and get one for ~$2800 and spend the rest on an exhaust system and a jet kit.

Edited by GaDRZ400sMan

Thanks for the input, I liked the DRZ but felt like the height was a bit much for me.. Also the ones for sale around me were in the $3500 - $4500... All the good ones were out of my price range.. I am not really concerned with power, just as long as it is enough to have fun in the urban areas and abandoned places and as long as it can do highway at 65 or 70 for 10-20 minutes.. I would also like a well built bike, something that doesn't fall apart like you mentioned with the KLX.. I was looking at the Honda, heard great things about it. Ive seen a few used ones pop up for $3500-$4000 around here..

Edited by TiAg3er

Before I got my drz400 I was looking at the WR250.  That would probably be my pick if the drz was off the list. 

Isn't the seat pretty high on those? I guess ill have to go sit on one and find out if I like it.. My problem is that the suspension doesn't sag down enough to make it comfortable to ride on the higher bikes. I could deal with being on toes or flatfoot one side and lean, but as it being mostly a commuter, the few inches shorter makes a difference.. I could opt to get a different seat or shave it down, butid prefer if while stock it was set up to be a little shorter..

Edited by TiAg3er

That is true the seat was pretty high.  I'm 6' 1" so its the opposite for me.  I don't like bikes that feel too low. 


Don't let me completely steer you away from the KLX250s.  That bike has been on the MX track several times and through some pretty hard trails.  The main area of concern is the radiator shrouds.  They are two pieces and after a few hard jumps they were breaking in half at the bolts.  It's not really the best design.  Also after a few drops the blinkers were breaking off.  My drz400 has been jumped and dropped just as hard if not harder and my radiator shrouds are perfect and I've never broken a blinker.  Not to mention I've never had a part break or come off of my drz at all.  It really is a well made bike. 

Edited by GaDRZ400sMan

Thought I might add my 2 cents here as I am doing the same analysis as you are, but for my wife.  I really have narrowed it down to the KLX and the WRR.  I feel the WRR is the best of the bunch.  Clearly most dirt worthy with then best suspension of the bunch, a real engine and real 250 power,  I believe its about 10 hp more then the KLX and CRF.  The WRR is also much better made and has EFI.  Made in Japan, (KLX and CRF are made in Thailand) so QA/QC is much better and I guess that's why it costs more.  That said, it is also about $2700 more (thats +50% more) than the KLX and the seat height is in the stratosphere in comparison the the KLX, so if that's an issue you'd have to seriously lower the WRR.   So today we are leaning KLX.  


Now, why not the CRF250L?...two real reasons. First, is the weight.  Its about 30 lbs heavier and second it is really set up for more of a street bike while the KLX is more dirt oriented and that's what we want.  


Why not the DRZ?  A little too much power for a beginner, and its tall and is really heavy.  But it is a quality bike. 


So if money is an issue, then KLX is your choice, unless you aren't planning to go offroad.  If the dirt isn't in your plans, and you aren't especially good at carburetor tuning, then the Honda is the bike. 


If money is no object, Id go with the WR250R, without a doubt it is in a class by itself. 


Just my opinion!

That is a great point! Unfortunately money is a bit of an issue and most of my riding would be on the streets.. For that reason, the Honda or Kawasaki are my best options. I have seen a few "kits" out there for the Honda that look like they are worth mentioning.. Best Dual Sport Bikes makes a worthy kit that adds 3-6 hp and completely changes the feel of the bike, adding more throttle response as well.. They kept fuel mileage in mind as well while putting this together, looks like a nice kit!

Have you sat on both the klx250s and crf250l?


My favorite thing about the klx250s is how light it feels even though it is only 20lbs lighter than the crf250l.  Some bikes carry their weight better than others.

Edited by GaDRZ400sMan

I have not been able to sit on the klx just yet (they seem to be nonexistent in my city) but i have sat on the crf. I really liked the feel of the crf, the seat was reasonably comfortable and the bike actually felt lighter than i was expecting.. I need to keep my eye out for a klx and try it out too.

I have not been able to sit on the klx just yet (they seem to be nonexistent in my city) but i have sat on the crf. I really liked the feel of the crf, the seat was reasonably comfortable and the bike actually felt lighter than i was expecting.. I need to keep my eye out for a klx and try it out too.

a good friend of mine has a klx250s. Very nice bikes. His has just a full fmf system and when I rode it the throttle feels awesome. And the weight feels really good. But I couldn't get that little motor to go anywere over 66 mph. So for a daily commuter it's fine, unless you need to run an interstate that is 75-80mph. I enjoy his bike and am considering selling my R1 and picking up a drz400. Just couse it's more powerful and has a taller seat hight. But my friends is as high as my crf450r! I can just touch flat foot on his bike. The klx would be my choice out if the bikes you listed if you didn't need the extra grunt and power of the drz!

The KLX250s will hit 90 (indicated on the speedo..probably more like 85 with GPS).  It just takes a while to get there.

Honda has always had a very good reputation for reliability and yamaha for speed kawasaki and Suzuki would be my last choices for bikes I've heard they are very unreliable and there engines are cheap

Honda xr400, any year is good, sure some may argue that. DRZ is good but heavy, but you can get a lowering kit I've heard. Don't be fooled by the pumpkins, they sure look nice but you'll most likely do just as good is not "gooder" with a Honda or Suzuki. A kawi KLR 250 is a solid bike to start out on, and like the DRZ, will most likely have the factory stuff already....turn sigs, mirrors (which if you're riding in the good stuff will promptly break off). The 99 KLR 250 I started out on was awesome, not too much power but it had everything....a key start, speedo, rear passenger pegs, helmet lock.


Good luck, welcome to the best damn pastime in the world! Well, maybe the second best.....

WR250. Bomb proof.

Are those XR400's street legal?

Xr400s are not street legal from the factory.  Some states are relatively easy to turn a dirt bike into a street legal bike and some states are a pain in the arse.

I am not too familiar with the rules of getting one to be street legal, do they just require a headlight, tail light and some signals?

Nevermind, found the requirements and saw that everyone was having trouble getting bikes plated.. Looks like ill stick to street legal stock bikes. So are all these DRZ's as good as they are hyped up to be? I have heard mixed things and have always thought suzukis were a bit cheaper feeling than the hondas or kawasakis.. I guess more power would be nice and there would be ways to lower the suspension.. If I did open up to the 400 range where I could grow into the bike rather than outgrow a 250, what other 400 range bikes are out there? Ones worth considering at least..

I wouldn't lower it.  I bought my bike used from a guy that had installed lowering links and it felt squishy off road.  I put back on the stock links and the bike was WAY better off road.


Also a bike like the WR250 has plenty of power.  Its a better engine then the KLX250s.  I think It has more than 10hp stock over the klx.


5'9" isn't that short unless you have really short legs.  You could shave the seat down and make the bike a little lower with either the drz or the wr.

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