Looking for a Street Legal Bulletproof Bike

I want a dual sport that meets some standards, to explain I need to divulge some personal information. Bear with me please.

 

I hunt, I ride, and I'm from Oregon. In fact, I started riding as a cheap, easy, and fun way to scout for Deer and Elk. It used to be cheap and easy because I had a 2000 KX250 that ran like a raped ape with an Air Filter change once every 5 or 6 rides, and a fresh top end once a year. I sold the bike when I got a job in Alaska, no dirt bike needed to find Game here. Walking out your front door is often the  bare minimum required. Now I'm coming back to the lower 48 and I have a whole new set of wants.

 

I'm going to be living in Novato CA (still a resident of Oregon.) My goal is to be able to hop on my bike for a weekend, ride 5 hours to Southern Oregon, hang out with the family and/or camp and scout the areas that I will be hunting. I want something that can be ridden as a daily driver without the same level of maintenance that a 4-stroke MX bike requires (oil changes every 5 hours????? a fresh top-end every 15???? how the heck do people keep up with that!) But has enough off road capability to be able to ride some reasonably rugged trails. It needs to be street legal in Oregon, which means that it needs to be manufactured as a "Highway Vehicle." (i.e. I can't throw a light kit on an XR400 and make it street legal.) I cannot emphasize enough, this will be a daily driver and my off time is LIMITED so I would like to keep maintenance needs to a minimum.

 

The XR650L caught my eye, but I have no personal experience owning one and don't know what kind of maintenance they require. Size isn't to much of an issue, I'm a small guy (5'7" and 165 soaking wet) but a lowering linkage brings it into the relm of controllability. (A KX250 was my first bike. Unless you started on a 500, it's hard to be more ridiculous.)

 

Any help would be more than appreciated, and ALL suggestions are welcome. I am NOT an arrogant person, and I would love any and all opinions.

 

JAKE

I want a dual sport that meets some standards, to explain I need to divulge some personal information. Bear with me please.

I hunt, I ride, and I'm from Oregon. In fact, I started riding as a cheap, easy, and fun way to scout for Deer and Elk. It used to be cheap and easy because I had a 2000 KX250 that ran like a raped ape with an Air Filter change once every 5 or 6 rides, and a fresh top end once a year. I sold the bike when I got a job in Alaska, no dirt bike needed to find Game here. Walking out your front door is often the bare minimum required. Now I'm coming back to the lower 48 and I have a whole new set of wants.

I'm going to be living in Novato CA (still a resident of Oregon.) My goal is to be able to hop on my bike for a weekend, ride 5 hours to Southern Oregon, hang out with the family and/or camp and scout the areas that I will be hunting. I want something that can be ridden as a daily driver without the same level of maintenance that a 4-stroke MX bike requires (oil changes every 5 hours????? a fresh top-end every 15???? how the heck do people keep up with that!) But has enough off road capability to be able to ride some reasonably rugged trails. It needs to be street legal in Oregon, which means that it needs to be manufactured as a "Highway Vehicle." (i.e. I can't throw a light kit on an XR400 and make it street legal.) I cannot emphasize enough, this will be a daily driver and my off time is LIMITED so I would like to keep maintenance needs to a minimum.

The XR650L caught my eye, but I have no personal experience owning one and don't know what kind of maintenance they require. Size isn't to much of an issue, I'm a small guy (5'7" and 165 soaking wet) but a lowering linkage brings it into the relm of controllability. (A KX250 was my first bike. Unless you started on a 500, it's hard to be more ridiculous.)

Any help would be more than appreciated, and ALL suggestions are welcome. I am NOT an arrogant person, and I would love any and all opinions.

JAKE

I ride a 93 xr600 as my daily commuter and I love it. I have put 1000 miles on it since I purchased it with NO issues. I changed the sprockets to 15/45 which is what the 650l is stock I believe. The xr is a bulletproof bike and is air cooled so, less parts. I would think that the 650l is also a low maintenance bike. It also has a ton of aftermarket accessories which is nice. I've had to modify about everything on my bike since they don't make squat for the 600 any more. Keep an eye on the valve adjustments every do often and change the oil as the manufacturer recommends and there shouldn't be any problems. Hope that helps at least a little.

Drz400 S, KLR/DR 650, XR600/650. All bombproof bikes, some better on the trails than others.

Drz400 S, KLR/DR 650, XR600/650. All bombproof bikes, some better on the trails than others.

+1

DRZ

 

Descent manners.  Can be woken up pretty easily.  Huge aftermarket support.  Bullet Proof.

DRZ

Descent manners. Can be woken up pretty easily. Huge aftermarket support. Bullet Proof.

+1

I've had a couple of DRZ400's and they are bomp proof.  Change the oil about every 1,000 miles, check your valves every 5,000, and just enjoy the riding.  The only negative for us shorter guys is the tall seat height but that comes with every dual sport bike that can actually be ridden off road.  I've got a Kouba Link on mine and the lower Seat Concepts seat.  That drops it more than 2".  The DRZ hasn't changed much since it came out in 2000 and Suzuki tries to keep the price down, so lots of used ones can be found and new ones aren't crazy expensive.  It's not a state of the art race bike and you said you don't want that.  But it's actually very good at doing everything else. 

Dr Z400s.jpg

Edited by motoinmoab

DR650SE. It's inexpensive and relatively light, compared to most current 650-class dualsports. It can be ridden like a dirtbike. It'll cruise interstate better than many streetbikes. Throw some armor and some DOT knobs on it to tackle trails. Pack a change of clothes and a debit card to ride it across the country. Air/oil-cooling and screw/locknut valves make it easy to live with. Oil changes every 3K miles or so will keep it running fine. Check out Procycle and Kientech for some of the aftermarket possibilities.

 

If you're not riding interstate, the DR-Z400S is even better offroad than the big DR. The DR350SE, WR250R, KLX250S, CRF250L, XT250, and many other small dualsports will run 55MPH+ without issue too, and they're typically easier to handle offroad. The big DR isn't bad offroad though, if you set it up well and have decent technique. Just don't expect ANY of them to be a race-ready sub-300lb enduro with a plate.

Thank you for all the info. The DRZ's and DR's were definitely in my list of possibilities, I just come from a generation of riders where the "S" word stood for Suzuki and nobody wanted them. Don't know where they got the rep from, but nobody I knew rode them and nobody would buy one.

 

The vote of confidence ya'll seem to have puts them at the top of the list, Zook really does provide a WIDE selection of street legal machines. I even visited the DR section of this forum to read up on what the diehards had to say, all good stuff, but I never trust tried and true converts alone. My Father In Law is a Honda guy through and through, even after he had to HEAVILY modify the carb on his on his '06 CRF250X to fix the bogging problem and replace his intake and exhaust valves after 17 hours of moderate riding. Never understood why it was so hard to admit that putting more than a grand into a brand new bike just to make it run decent was not OK.

 

Thanks again.

DRZ

 

Descent manners.  Can be woken up pretty easily.  Huge aftermarket support.  Bullet Proof.

+2

XR's are seriously bullet proof. I have an XR400 and I got it for that very reason. They will go anywhere and last forever with little maintenance and always starts first kick. Can never go wrong with a Honda especially an XR. They have been proven and raced so much down in Baja and the testing has turned it into a true BEAST. 

Jake,

 

I used to live in SEAK and know the pain you are feeling after back to the lower 48.  Not to mention all the damn riding rules and restricted areas.  You know, there was a time when you were actually free to do things in this country.

 

I have to say the XR650L is pretty nice.  We had two bad words in our house while growing up in Oregon.  One was California, the other was also Suzuki.  Dad was a Honda guy so that is what we still ride today.  If you are looking at something a little cheaper, there is the KLR650.  I just don;t like all the crap they put on them.  I am sure it makes street riding better, but they look funny when you get them offroad.  

 

 I can't remember what the ridge was called, but we used to hunt an area west of Ashland years ago.  I think it was 7 mile ridge or something.  Either way, there are a lot of roads to explore up there.  You on the east or west side of the Cascades where you are living.  And holy crap.  You drive all the way to Novato from Oregon.  i am assuming you stay down there for a while and then come home.

XR's are seriously bullet proof. I have an XR400 and I got it for that very reason. They will go anywhere and last forever with little maintenance and always starts first kick. Can never go wrong with a Honda especially an XR. They have been proven and raced so much down in Baja and the testing has turned it into a true BEAST.

Good bikes ... For sure

Drz400 and dr650 are both low maintenance great bikes. I would suggest the drz400 since one of your destinations is rugged trails. They are both highway worthy.

I have always been a Honda guy but I love my DRZ400S. It fits all your needs except Interstate but you could make it work depending on your finer wants. It's all in the sprocket gearing.

 

Stock (15/44) is just fine on the interstate. Balance the tires and you'll be happy at 65. You can go through lower set ups from 14/47, 15/47 all the way to 14/52 but each step gets harder to live with above 45 MPH.

 

In a real way you have the classic "Dual Sport" dilemma, you want two conflicting things from one machine.

Any of the 650 class dualsports and the drz400s would do the trick.

 

Somebody mentioned interstate travel.... honestly, I can't understand why anyone on a motorcycle, even on the big powerful touring bikes would want to use interstate highways... there are so many better rides waiting for you on the quieter secondary roads. Way more fun, way less boring.  

XR400 hands down... I have had an XR250, 400, 650L, and rode DRZ400, DR650, DR350, KLR650, WR250, TW200, XT250, XT225, CRF250L etc etc and most of the race oriented dualsport bikes out there. I own a Husaberg FE390 dualsport as well as an XR400.

 

The XR is about the most durable dualsport-able bike in existence. DRZ400 is overcomplicated, overweight, outdated, and short a gear. The XR400 will do everything in the dirt 2x better, and go anywhere on the road the DRZ will go. I converted my XR, I will post a link up here in the DS section. I am 5'10" and weigh 145lbs, have no problem riding the XR.. it weighs just a hair more than my Husaberg. put a 16T CS sprocket on and you can cruise the freeways just fine.

Edited by n16ht5

Sounds like you need one of the bigger bigger bikes. XR650L or DR650 would do much better on the long drive there, carry weight better (like your camping gear) and be reliable as it gets. Mount a simple wind screen and you have a great budget adventure bike. All out dirt performance suffers but you can go through a LOT on those bikes, your just doing it slower and more carefully than the small bore dirt bikes.

 

At 5'7" I would say look hard at the DR's. They are a couple inches shorter than the XR650L.

Sounds like you need one of the bigger bigger bikes. XR650L or DR650 would do much better on the long drive there, carry weight better (like your camping gear) and be reliable as it gets. Mount a simple wind screen and you have a great budget adventure bike. All out dirt performance suffers but you can go through a LOT on those bikes, your just doing it slower and more carefully than the small bore dirt bikes.

 

At 5'7" I would say look hard at the DR's. They are a couple inches shorter than the XR650L.

This. I am on my third DS XR4, have had a 650L, two XL600's, and two NX650's. Currently looking for a clean used DR650, best compromise bike out there now, especially considering the 5hr trip mentioned. A friend did the  RaceTech pkg on his suspension and his bike is unbelieveable in the woods. Surprises folks every time he brings it out, and still perfectly fine for DS.

Edited by YHGEORGE

true... DR650 does do extremely well when you want to slab it a long ways!

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