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Looking for a light dirt bike (street only)

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I'm a long-time lurker, first-time poster. I keep coming back to TT and I realized what the hell, I need to join.

 

I want a dual sport bike erring on the side of dirt bike, but for riding on the street most of the time. I live in the middle of a field and want to ride there, but also want to be able to ride across the country if I wanted to. I don't need tons of power, but I want a light, sporty bike.

 

I think the CRFs are &%$#@!ing cool as hell and I'd get a 450-x in a heartbeat, but I've heard they require TONS of work. I'm partial to Hondas, but a 650 is kinda heavy and a bit too much of a fuel hog. I've heard that the DRZ400s are excellent bikes, but they seem heavy too. 

 

What makes a bike like the CRF-450x so maintenance heavy? Is there any way to make a CRF bike go for longer without rebuilding, oil changes and the like? If not, where should I look?

 

 

 

Thanks!

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A 650 isn't "kind of heavy".... it is heavy!

 

The drz is ~320 pounds. You can easily drop about 10 pounds off the bike with bolt ons. I had a drz and it was super fun. It didn't feel heavy at all, coming off of an R6.

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Basically anything really good on the street, especially for riding long, cross country trips, is going to be way too heavy and awkward for the dirt.

 

Anything light enough, geared right and with proper tires for the dirt is going to be very ill suited for anything more than local riding on the street.

 

You're going to have to compromise somewhere, which usually means figuring out exactly what you want to do with it, and what you're willing to sacrifice to use it for that.

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Thanks for the replies. I'm a novice when it comes to road biking; my love for motorcycling comes from the dirt. I've ridden dirtbikes recreationally for most of my life (i'm 23) so I'm really looking for a bike that rides like a dirtbike because I really want to recapture that feeling when I ride around. Feeling like you could toy around, hop around and pump the shocks ya know. Like you could go anywhere and do anything, if you have the skill to do it.

 

When I rode a KLR 650 it was the right power and speed, but WAY too heavy and tippy when riding in the dirt for my taste. On the other side of the spectrum, riding a GSXR-600 was a crazy thrill ride, it was maneuverable, nimble and literally gave me a new definition of fast (I haven't ridden many speed bikes) but I'm too cautious to want to push a bike like that. AND it's uncomfortable. AND you could never ride dirt.

 

I want a dirt bike that is light, reasonably powerful, bulletproof and requires little maintenance (I'm not asking for much, am I?). I've heard great things about XR400s, and I've heard that KTMs are truly excellent bikes too. 

 

It feels like every day I change my mind. Originally, when I decided I wanted a bike, I thought CRF-250L would be my choice hands down. Then I realized that you really can't ride at highway speeds and it's almost as heavy as an XR-650L.

 

I want my bike to be the personification of freedom. So the question is: light-weight, durable, street-capable dirt bike. does it exist? am I fooling myself? Help me narrow this one down guys, I am a noob and I want everything at once.

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Basically anything really good on the street, especially for riding long, cross country trips, is going to be way too heavy and awkward for the dirt.

 

Anything light enough, geared right and with proper tires for the dirt is going to be very ill suited for anything more than local riding on the street.

 

You're going to have to compromise somewhere, which usually means figuring out exactly what you want to do with it, and what you're willing to sacrifice to use it for that.

 

 

Is there a bike that I could have a dirt set of rims and a street set of rims (with different sprocket sizes too) that comes to mind?

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Is there a bike that I could have a dirt set of rims and a street set of rims (with different sprocket sizes too) that comes to mind?

Get a DRZ 400SM then buy a set of dirt rims, tires, and the other stuff needed to make it dirt worthy. The SM will suit you perfectly for what you want on-road and is plenty capable offroad with the right wheels and tires.

Edit: the SM has upgraded components over the S (dirt) model. Especially the USD forks.

Edited by mayorblurps

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Is there a bike that I could have a dirt set of rims and a street set of rims (with different sprocket sizes too) that comes to mind?

 

Just like Mayor said, try a supermoto type bike, and have two sets of rims and tires for it.

 

Another thing you might look at that's kind of an off the wall suggestion... Look at a 1970s Yamaha RD350. They're a street legal, road race oriented 2 stroke. You can find them for around $1,500 to $3000 for a nice restored one. It won't be a dirt bike at all, but they're quick, fairly light, wind up like a 2 stroke should, and are a ton of fun without making gobs of power that will scare the crap outta you. They make around 30-40HP and are a blast. The motor is basically an early air cooled version of the 350 banshee motor.

 

For myself though, I would look at something like a Husky TE series dual sport, since I'm actually looking at one of them now for a dual sport. I'm leaning more towards dirt with a little street though than you are. I've been looking at the 2010 to 2012 era Husqvarna TE310. Light, powerful, street legal, and then just get a second set of wheels and tires for it.

 

Also keep in mind that WA state finally passed a law that allows any bike with the proper equipment to be plated again. So you could go in for any dirt bike you like, and just plate it.

 

Just be aware though that with the type of bike you want, a cross country road trip isn't going to be very fun.

 

 

Edit---- Here's some pics of RD350s.

 

Stock:

yamaha-rd-3501.jpg

 

Some Cafe modded pics:

 

yamaha_rd350_custom.jpg

 

custom-yamaha-rd350.jpg

 

And my personal favorite:

yamaha-rd-350-2.jpg

Edited by ripsnorter

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Also, personally I would get more than one bike. Look hard enough used in the winter, and you can find what you want fairly cheap.

 

Get a good street bike that does street well.

 

Get a good dirt bike that does dirt well.

 

If you want everything all at once, just get a couple that do what they do, and do it really well!

 

Right now I have 5 bikes. 2 of them are runners that I use a lot. A Suzuki Bandit 1200 for the street, and a KTM 300 2 stroke for the dirt. The bandit is fast yet comfortable on the street. I can knock over 120MPH without breaking a sweat and still have 30 or 40 MPH to go without concern, yet my back isn't hurting after riding for 5 hours. The KTM is everything I could ask for in the dirt. And manages to scare me more than my Bandit or even my Ducatis ever did.

 

I also have 2 RD350s that I need to get the time to cafe and restore, and I still have my first bike. And old late 70s Suzuki 100 dual sport.

Edited by ripsnorter
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Also, personally I would get more than one bike. Look hard enough used in the winter, and you can find what you want fairly cheap.

Get a good street bike that does street well.

Get a good dirt bike that does dirt well.

If you want everything all at once, just get a couple that do what they do, and do it really well!

Right now I have 5 bikes. 2 of them are runners that I use a lot. A Suzuki Bandit 1200 for the street, and a KTM 300 2 stroke for the dirt. The bandit is fast yet comfortable on the street. I can knock over 120MPH without breaking a sweat and still have 30 or 40 MPH to go without concern, yet my back isn't hurting after riding for 5 hours. The KTM is everything I could ask for in the dirt. And manages to scare me more than my Bandit or even my Ducatis ever did.

I also have 2 RD350s that I need to get the time to cafe and restore, and I still have my first bike. And old late 70s Suzuki 100 dual sport.

Best suggestion yet! Though I imagine he's like me and probably doesn't want to or cannot spend the money on 2 bikes. Thus why I got a drz400s. Mostly to ride trails but also to get there by road since I can't trailer a bike.

The DRZ is undoubtedly a very fun bike in dirt or SM outfit! Easy to work on, reliable, and aftermarket is endless. Sure I'd love a ktm exc but right now isn't the time for me to chunk down 10grand. Wouldn't mind a 2014 husky either :D but the DRZ is just fine!

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Here's the way I look at it..

 

If I spend a few minutes every night checking craigslist through the winter, I can find some good deals. I bought my 2001 KTM 300 for $1,100 2 years ago. Fantastic deal on it. You can find a reasonable street bike in the winter for a couple grand or so. $3500 isn't out of line for 2 bikes.

 

If you spend a bit of time you should be able to get 2 good bikes in the winter for the price you'd pay for one of them in the summer. 

That's if you have a place to store 2 bikes, and as you said, have a way to haul the dirt bike.

 

During the winter I always feel like a kid in a candy store about bikes. So many good deals on great bikes with lots of extras thrown in!

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Yep, I'd do the 2 bike setup (currently 7 for me, and counting,) and right now is the best time to pick them up, nobody want to store them plus the "itch" has been scratched for now.

If you go with a DRZ400SM( great bike btw) you can get a better cam setup for additional power to deal with highway running(more power can gear down to lower rpms=less vibes). The S versions have milder cam profiles than the dirtbike motors so it's a quick hp gainer. Aftermarket cams can gain more and still retain reliability .

 

Most of the "added" maintenance issues with other motors is reduced or eliminated by using quality oils and changing frequently. Not running the motor at high revs constantly and always shifting early so it doen't rev up and down so much greatly reduces the pounding of the valves(which is where all the "extra maintenance " comes from).

Edited by jjktmrider

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If u are mostly riding road you will never feel the weight of the bike in the first place, so i don't see how that would matter.   But if you are dead set on that, i'd go with a Wr450r,  yes the crf450x is expensive maintenance but that is because it's a performance model 4 stroke dirt bike. If u want something that is less maintenance i'd go with something air cooled but those are generally more heavy, so you have a conundrum on your hands man.  

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A 650 isn't "kind of heavy".... it is heavy!

 

The drz is ~320 pounds. You can easily drop about 10 pounds off the bike with bolt ons. I had a drz and it was super fun. It didn't feel heavy at all, coming off of an R6.

 

This post is confusing to me,  the 650 is "heavy" but the DRZ, which is @20 lbs heavier dry isn't?  I have never picked up a DRZ but they can't be that much different.

 

 

I have an XR600R and it's not real heavy,  295'ish dry.  I can run it up to 70 on the highway for short bits, and it's crazy good offroad.

 

there is a guy on advrider that has a 250 he rode across the TAT on.  you might want to look into that.

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