The Adventure Begins

This is my first post on ThumperTalk so here it goes. 

 

I guess I officially started my search for an entry-level dual sport bike yesterday. I've been lurking in several forums, watching YouTube videos and reading a lot of reviews online. I don't think I'm going to buy a bike until spring next year but I like to be thorough, not rush into anything, and have enough knowledge covered in case a seemingly good deal appears.

 

After work yesterday I decided to go the Kawasaki/Yamaha dealer near me (actually 25 minutes away). My intention was to sit on a KLX250S and then just for kicks a KLR650. I'm also considering a Honda CRF250L although I'd like to spend a maximum of $3.5K on a bike so I have $500 left for gear ($4K budget) and so that most likely leaves out the Honda as an option, unless I buy new. So for $3.5K I am probably looking at a used one - spending less would always be better. First, my stats: I am 5' 10" and 170 lbs and wear 30" length pants. Here are my initial thoughts.

 

KLX250S (2013, I think)

I got the balls of my feet on the ground but another 1/2 to 1 inch or so lower might be nice. I just love the way the thing looks and I think this is blinding my no fuel injection worries. The handle bars seems a little too far away from me but would that change when riding it? - Would I lean a little forward when riding? I am not a rider now (I rode when I was a kid - 30 years ago) so don't know. The most striking thing I noticed on this bike is that the seat is hard as a rock. It would definitely have to be replaced by a gel seat if I were going to ride on it for long periods.

 

KLR650

So this was just for fun because I'm really looking for something smaller to gain confidence with first. Both my toes were on the ground sitting on it - the seat was wider but slightly more comfy than the KLX. Definitely too high for me and it would need to be lowered for me to even consider in the future when I become more experienced. The handle bars felt good though - in the right spot - and the instruments were nice looking even though non-digital. I felt like this was a real motorcycle. And it looks really nice too - this one was black.

 

So I hopped off the KLR and started walking around when the sales guy returned from the abyss and told me to check out another bike. It was a Yamaha 250XT. I wasn't really considering a Yamaha because I thought they're just too expensive - even the used ones. And honestly - I didn't care for the styling as much. So I went over and sat on it,...and you know the next line.

 

Game changer.

 

Yamaha 250XT (2014 model)

Both feet were planted completely on the ground and my legs were bent a little. Now for off road riding this concerned me until I watched some YouTube videos. Now I am okay with that and not worried about ground clearance. This would be my learning bike anyway and if its easier for me to control (i.e. less spills) the better. Next, the seat was very comfortable - maybe too comfy. I like the 2.6 gallon fuel tank and great gas mileage. The Honda and Kawasaki both have smaller tanks and that is a concern of mine. The handle bars felt in the right spot and the weight was okay - especially with my feet on the ground. The KLX's weight felt similar but that seat was literally a pain and bothering me more than anything.

 

As for my uses I plan on doing mostly off-road riding at first and trailering it to most places. I would like to ride it on the street though just not right out of the gate after I get my license. I want to practice and just ride back roads, gravel and dirt roads, then after I get better some trails.

 

Ultimately I'd like to ditch the trailer and do some adventure riding, overnight camping, and longer rides with groups or a riding partner(s). As my buying experience gets closer I'll try and update you with my choices and why because I am finding these discussion forums priceless for information and hope the information helps others.

 

Okay, the word counter on the forum text editor is glowing red and threatening to log me off if I don't press "Post New Topic" right...

 

 

Any thought to a DRZ 400 as a option?

Any thought to a DRZ 400 as a option?

 

 

Very good user friendly, lower maintenance bike. I had a off-road '02 (I think) kickstart only. Good bike off-road but a pain for any distance on road.

 

I've had 2 KLR650's, one is my current ride. Probably not a beginner bike for off road though. Heavy, poor suspension and brakes, but will do more than many think. I'm talking 1'st generation.

 

Mike

You should really look at the drz. There are tons out there and lots of parts. It's a much more capable bike on the highway though taller and heavier than the 250 class bikes. $500 for gear is a bit low for a jacket boots and a helmet. A well maintained drz is good for 20'000+ km so don't be afraid to look for something used

I was in the same boat. . Rode as a kid,1979 XR75 and late teens had short stint with a 1986 XL250R which I quickly found to be underpowered. So now finally able to get a bike, two weeks ago found a '03 XR400. At 5'8" 140lbs 32" inseam the biggest problem is seat height and the Xr is tall but the one I found had a lowering link installed, I set the preload in the rear to minimum, and set the triple to about an 1 1/4" below top of fork. I too am looking for some weekend excursions and would like to ride to locations on the street without trailering. I find the the bike is easy to start, carbureted, air cooled low maintenance are all bonuses and weight is good too. The bike was plated by the previous owner which is simple in Ohio and easy to do if not. I researched a lot of bikes, about 3 months worth. 650 too big, 250 not enough power.... 400 just right. And with big bore kits relatively inexpensive, and just as reliable as long as you maintain a decent compression ratio gives it room to grow if desired. I think a dead reliable bike for $1500 I couldn't pass it up.

As for the height, I guess that is the biggest draw back. On the bike with gear I can touch on the balls of both feet. I am considering cutting seat foam down about an inch that would make it more comfortable on trails, just not sure what the comfort level may be, maybe cut a little more foam with a softer top layer added.

Anyway, I'm lovin' it. Sure is a lotta fun!

DRZ

First bike after a long hiatus? Buy used....

Thanks everyone for the input.

 

The DR-Z400S is definitely an option.With my 30" inseam I'd need to put a gel seat on it but it looks like a real nice dual sport to grow into. The problem is finding a used one in my price range that does not look beat up, heavily modded, or have lots of miles. I have time to wait - not seriously buying until next spring so maybe one will popup somewhere near me (northern IL) a that time.

 

Are there any years I should focus on looking for (or things to stay away from)?

 

I'm really looking for something low maintenance to start out with then after a while start adding/modding things on it as I learn more to ride and see what I want out of it. If I end up buying new (last option) I would have to get a Honda CRF250L, but if I go used (ideal option, first choice) then it's really going to be what is available as far as price and features (e.g. fuel injection, etc.) - but I am now steering away from the Yamaha XT250 because that looks like I'd outgrow it fast. Making a dirt bike street legal is also not out of the picture. After reading about doing that I'm kind of thinking that might be a way to go also - but it would mean work up front that I'm not sure I am ready for at this stage.

 

Gear: Yeah I guess $500 is a little on the low side. I did some re-calculations and now am thinking $800 - $900.

 

Thanks again.

 

 

Thanks everyone for the input.

 

The DR-Z400S is definitely an option.With my 30" inseam I'd need to put a gel seat on it but it looks like a real nice dual sport to grow into. The problem is finding a used one in my price range that does not look beat up, heavily modded, or have lots of miles. I have time to wait - not seriously buying until next spring so maybe one will popup somewhere near me (northern IL) a that time.

 

Are there any years I should focus on looking for (or things to stay away from)?

 

I'm really looking for something low maintenance to start out with then after a while start adding/modding things on it as I learn more to ride and see what I want out of it. If I end up buying new (last option) I would have to get a Honda CRF250L, but if I go used (ideal option, first choice) then it's really going to be what is available as far as price and features (e.g. fuel injection, etc.) - but I am now steering away from the Yamaha XT250 because that looks like I'd outgrow it fast. Making a dirt bike street legal is also not out of the picture. After reading about doing that I'm kind of thinking that might be a way to go also - but it would mean work up front that I'm not sure I am ready for at this stage.

 

Gear: Yeah I guess $500 is a little on the low side. I did some re-calculations and now am thinking $800 - $900.

 

Thanks again.

The gel seat for the DRZ-400S will only drop you about an inch from a 36.8" seat height to 35.8" seat height. I have a 30" inseam and would have went with the DRZ-400S as first choice if it wasn't for the seat height. The weight of the CRF250L is 320 pounds. For another 46 pounds you can get a 650cc DR-650ES. For a 14% increase in weight you can get a 160% increase in engine size.

Dr may be shorter but it's a lot heavier which doesn't matter much on the road but off road you will notice. Plates on a dirt bike is the opposite of low maintenance, they don't have the oil capacity. Also dirt bikes are uncomfortable and insanely fast. They don't make great street bikes without lots of mods. If you are short then a smaller bike makes sense but less power puts limits of the gearing. Bigger bikes can pull taller gears on the highway. Small bikes need short gears which means lots of vibes. A 250 will be better off road than a 650 but you pay on the highway. Drz is the only thing half way between unfortunately. Good bike, no years to avoid. High mileage is 40'000 km

Dr may be shorter but it's a lot heavier which doesn't matter much on the road but off road you will notice. Plates on a dirt bike is the opposite of low maintenance, they don't have the oil capacity. Also dirt bikes are uncomfortable and insanely fast. They don't make great street bikes without lots of mods. If you are short then a smaller bike makes sense but less power puts limits of the gearing. Bigger bikes can pull taller gears on the highway. Small bikes need short gears which means lots of vibes. A 250 will be better off road than a 650 but you pay on the highway. Drz is the only thing half way between unfortunately. Good bike, no years to avoid. High mileage is 40'000 km

If it wasn't for seat height, I would have went with the DRZ-400 instead of the DR-650. 49 pounds lighter and more to the off-road than the DR-650. The DRZ-400 would have been exactly the bike I was looking for.

I entered the world of 2 wheels and dualsporting last summer.  I am only 5' 6" so I was taking great consideration into seat heighth.  Long story short- I ended up buying a dr650se and tried taking it into the woods.. Miserable.  Heavy Heavy Heavy.   The dr650se is great for gravel and dirt roads and longer hauls but so is the drz400, which is much more woods worthy and has plenty of top end for the road.    I have since bought another taller yz that I trailer to ride offroad because the 650 is so heavy and hard for me to ride off road.   My friend I do most of my riding with has a drz400 for both scenarios and does great just by switching sprockets for the occasion.

     

The height is only a problem at 1st. You quickly get used to it and it's a non issue. Don't let seat height keep you away from an otherwise good bike. Just my 2 cents.

I entered the world of 2 wheels and dualsporting last summer.  I am only 5' 6" so I was taking great consideration into seat heighth.  Long story short- I ended up buying a dr650se and tried taking it into the woods.. Miserable.  Heavy Heavy Heavy.   The dr650se is great for gravel and dirt roads and longer hauls but so is the drz400, which is much more woods worthy and has plenty of top end for the road.    I have since bought another taller yz that I trailer to ride offroad because the 650 is so heavy and hard for me to ride off road.   My friend I do most of my riding with has a drz400 for both scenarios and does great just by switching sprockets for the occasion.

It's a trade-off. The real question is whether or not 49 pounds in weight reduction is worth not being able to reach the ground with both feet. In my case, it wasn't. But others might consider it worth it. It's a personal choice.  

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