2003 Harely Fatboy or dual sport?

I have a 2003 fatboy and it is a wonderful and beautiful bike, BUT it is boring. I used to race motocross and would like to pop a wheelie again before I die. I like the KLR and XR for their simplicity, history, price and aftermarket parts. I also like the KTM,WR, Honda, Husky and the newer dual sport bikes. I am 250 pounds (am trying to slim down-power lift) my fear is that if I buy a KLR or XR that I will need to spend enough on "fixing" them up (shocks, forks, any motor mods and etc) that I should just buy say a KTM 690R or etc, but then I hear that the KTM's have some dependability issues and cost a lot to fix. My second fear is this, if I get rid of the Harley, really a piece of art, and do not like the dual sport I get will never have the opportunity to ever get a Harley again or anything else for that matter. Long story I intend to ride 65% on road and the other on dirt/gravel. I really life the KTM 690R, I also was initially hooked on the BMW 800GS, but the prince seems a but much. I mean with the KTM there is a shop w/in 30 miles, with the BMW 175 miles and with everything else minus the Husky 10 miles. I also fear that as soon as I got a KLR or XR those companies would finally update the line and then I would be "sorry" stuck with an antiquated bike. I can also get bogged down in the details and choices of bikes and options so any assistance would be great. I was leaning toward the XR recently over the KLR, because the KLR appears to be a work horse, but a little dogged. I also like the cost, modern features of the 250's, but again do not want to get stuck with a slower bike. I do not see why they do not build a bike that is in the 450 to 650 range. I even like the KTM 500 or 530 whatever it is. Thanks for reading this rambling, any assistance would be helpful.      
 

I just lost a reply I wrote...

 

I'll start off by stating I'm not a dual sporter.

 

But the KTM 530's and 500's are simply large capacity enduro bikes. People tour on the similar purpose XR650Rs, but I hear the older style Xrs are better for it.

 

The big DR's are good also, but it sounds like something more road oriented/adventure style could be your ticket. I don't know much about these so wont comment, other than the 500 and 530 aren't what you want.

This is a bit of a coincidence, like you, I have an 03 HD (electraglide), and I too am wanting to get a dual-sport bike. I also was looking at KTM's, but rather the EXC 500 or 350. Though unlike you, I've never ridden dirtbikes. I initially thought about a BMW GS or a Triumph Tiger, but recently I've been leaning toward a more dirt oriented bike. And as you know, in the dirt, lighter is better. I'm just not sure how these KTM's would do as a true dual sport bike, where there could be a lot of pavement mileage. Common sense tells me to get an  older cheaper dirt bike to learn on, and then get a used low mileage DR, or an XRL big bore for doing the pavement and limited dirt riding. And I could do that for less money than a new KTM. However, if the KTM's can be ridden comfortably on the road, as well as single track, it might be the way to go. Either way, I'm still keepin' the Hog. Anxious to see replies to your post. --- gman

I'm kinda thinking any of the bikes mentioned would be less boring than a Harley.

Mike

This is a bit of a coincidence, like you, I have an 03 HD (electraglide), and I too am wanting to get a dual-sport bike. I also was looking at KTM's, but rather the EXC 500 or 350. Though unlike you, I've never ridden dirtbikes. I initially thought about a BMW GS or a Triumph Tiger, but recently I've been leaning toward a more dirt oriented bike. And as you know, in the dirt, lighter is better. I'm just not sure how these KTM's would do as a true dual sport bike, where there could be a lot of pavement mileage. Common sense tells me to get an  older cheaper dirt bike to learn on, and then get a used low mileage DR, or an XRL big bore for doing the pavement and limited dirt riding. And I could do that for less money than a new KTM. However, if the KTM's can be ridden comfortably on the road, as well as single track, it might be the way to go. Either way, I'm still keepin' the Hog. Anxious to see replies to your post. --- gman

 

The KTMs can be ridden on the road. Its not going to be particulary comfortable though.

 

Road legal tyres are going to compromise it on singletrack and gnarly stuff compared to pure dirt.

 

I'd get a dirtbike and plate it for your offorad adventures. If you want something easy to manage, whilst still having something pretty competent to grow into, probably look for a 250f enduro bike. Keep the harley for long distance or cruising or whatever you do with it.

 

KTM-250-EXC-F-Six-Days3.jpg

Ampro_WR250F_1.jpg

Bit of a long reply coming up:

 

First off, my suggestion is to do none of the above. Instead, before you do anything, go take a dual sport riding course where they supply the bikes. You'll get firsthand experience of all the types of riding, and see if you even like it. Then beg, borrow, or rent some of the different individual bikes you want, and see how you like them. It gets too expensive to just buy and try.

 

Also, buy used at first, not new. If you look hard enough, especially buying in the winter, you can easily buy 3 or more GOOD bikes for what you'd pay new. You may even look at getting a bigger dual sport, and a dedicated trail bike.

 

Another advantage to buying used in the winter is you can try it out all winter and spring long, then sell it during the summer and still make a profit if you don't like it.

 

That said...

 

I've been doing some of the same type of searching and thinking lately. Right now I have a Suzuki Bandit and a KTM 300 2 stroke trail bike. Thinking of getting a Harley, and thinking of getting a dual sport.

 

My problem with just about all of the dual sport bikes 400cc and bigger on the single track twisty, muddy, rutted trails where I ride is that it's not if you're going down, it's when. My KTM at 260ish lbs spends a goodly portion of it's trail day on it's side. I can't even count how many times the only thing keeping that thing up is sheer arm strength. On a big BMW or KTM bike that's 400+lbs, it's going to be impossible to ride, or at least extremely tiring and very unpleasant.

Sure the big dual sports would be fine on a fire road, or out in the dessert, but if I drop a BMW I'm going to be very frustrated at breaking something spendy.

 

So my advice, other than to take a course, and then try different ones out, is decide EXACTLY what kind of off-roading you want to do. If it's wide open and not tight at all, sure go with something bigger that's more comfortable on the street. If not, then seriously consider either getting a dedicated trail bike, or a very light dual sport like a Husky TE310 or TE450 type bike. It won't be nearly as good on the street, but it's going to be a LOT better in the dirt.

Edited by ripsnorter

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