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Why Is Your Thumper The Best Dual-Sport ADV Travel Bike?

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If you actually go places (or plan to go places) on your Thumper ... then this thread might be for YOU!  :thumbsup: 

 

Lots of guys do Dual Sport/ADV travel on big twins ... BMW GS's, KTM 950/990/1190, Vstrom, Capo Nord, Guzzi Stelvio, Multi-Strada, Yamaha Tenere', more. Great bikes, FAST, comfortable, Two up OK, good on highway, easy to pack like a Mule, great sport touring bikes all.

 

Who here has done that?  ... and why is your Thumper a better choice than a big Twin ADV bike?  Or would you rather go on your Twin? Why?

 

I see many riders here on this TT Dual Sport ADV forum are focused on Dirt bikes/Motocrosser with a plate. Don't hear much about ADV Travel or even extended rides on

Thumpers. Seems many truck their bikes to an area, ride around, come home. No free time? Family restrictions? Work? Lack of funds? ... or lack of interest?  Whatever, seems very few have the inclination to get out of their own back yard and challenge themselves in UNFAMILIAR situations.

 

Like many riders here, I've done ON/OFF dual sport and road touring on both singles and twins. I prefer singles for true dual sport/ADV travel now, where at least 30% will be dirt ... maybe 50% or even more. I've managed a few long distance rides, both ON and OFF road on a fully loaded Thumper. Some bikes worked out, others did not.

 

I Started doing long Baja rides in the late 80's. (XL600R, XR250R) Usually 15 day, 1600 mile group rides, about 1000 miles OFF ROAD. These were tough rides (done 3 or 4 times), with 10 to 15 riders. NO CHASE TRUCK or back up.  :jawdrop:  You had to travel light ... and fast through some tough routes: deep sand, rock Hell Holes, Cactus and more. You had to be self sufficient, have a well prepared bike. Many riders were not ... and were just left in the Desert to walk out. Tough group. (we used the "buddy system" so no one died) We stay in Hotels, no camping on those rides as pace was fast and furious back then.

 

So that's my background. Since then, I've done lots of ADV riding on my former V-Stroms and a couple BMW GS's. Great for big distance at speed. But on the small technical back roads (paved) I prefer a Thumper. And off road, the Thumper (for me) rules. Seems obvious, no?  But preaching to the choir here I guess. :smirk:

 

But why is YOUR Thumper YOUR  CHOICE? Be it a 250, 450 or 650 (or big twin) ... why does it work for you?

What bike do you use for Dual Sport/ADV travel ? 

What is the longest distance you've covered in a day? How did it go?

How many days/weeks/months have you traveled on one trip?

What is your bike's range? (miles/kms.) How many Gallons/liters do you carry?

What mods have been done? Why? How much invested? $$$$  Results?

How many miles/kms. on your bike?

Any problems?

What is your ideal Dual Sport/ADV bike? Why?

 

All opinions and input welcome!  :banana: 

 

Patrick

 

:cheers:

 

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2006 DRZ 400 E (plated), bought new in 06, very low maintenance with only valve checks and oil changes on 12k miles, 225 mile range with 3.6 gal tank and 1 gal Rotopax, able to ride all day with my reworked seat from Fishers, .... has worked well as a trail bike, desert bike, commuter, and Dual Sport bike ..... 

 

IMG_4758_zps8625bd21.jpg

 

Why do I think it's the best ... it might not do one thing great, but it does all things well

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I have on road figured out, still working on long distance off-road. Done the Az. portion of the GWT. Basically retired at 49 I'm on a budget, so trying to adapt street gear with limited success. I ride solo.

Currently on a KLR650, I'm looking at the KTM690. When I'm DS'ing, the pavement is just a distraction. A 400# bike is bad enough off road, a 500# bike would be unacceptable to me.

There is something called the AZBDR, an adventure ride, I rode a section labeled "difficult, damage possible" a month or 2 ago. Maybe on a GS, and I wouldn't want to on a GS, but I ride worse than that every day.

Mike

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2006 DRZ 400 E (plated), bought new in 06, very low maintenance with only valve checks and oil changes on 12k miles, 225 mile range with 3.6 gal tank and 1 gal Rotopax, able to ride all day with my reworked seat from Fishers, .... has worked well as a trail bike, desert bike, commuter, and Dual Sport bike ..... 

 

IMG_4758_zps8625bd21.jpg

 

Why do I think it's the best ... it might not do one thing great, but it does all things well

I had the plain DRZ, kickstart only. For me, painful on the street quick, but probably better than the WR450.

Mike

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I've taken the trip from Los Angeles to Death Valley and done some dual sporting on a bmw GSA 800.

While there it did occur to me the dirt stuff would be more fun on my WR450.

So there is the dilemma one does street real well the other does the dirt real well. It's the issue with dual sporters. You don't get both.

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I have on road figured out, still working on long distance off-road. Done the Az. portion of the GWT. Basically retired at 49 I'm on a budget, so trying to adapt street gear with limited success. I ride solo.

Currently on a KLR650, I'm looking at the KTM690. When I'm DS'ing, the pavement is just a distraction. A 400# bike is bad enough off road, a 500# bike would be unacceptable to me.

There is something called the AZBDR, an adventure ride, I rode a section labeled "difficult, damage possible" a month or 2 ago. Maybe on a GS, and I wouldn't want to on a GS, but I ride worse than that every day.

Mike

I'm quite sure you would do better on the KTM 690 ... but "Budget" and KTM don't always go together! The KTM would be pretty good off road ... but needs some doing to make it a true long range dual sport for the "Paved Road" part of dual sport. If you learn the KTM and all it's ins and outs regards maintenace ... I think it's a good bike reliability wise. Certainly more FUN than the KLR if going into more challenging terrain.

 

But packing it up for a week or three solo ride might be a challenge?

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2006 DRZ 400 E (plated), bought new in 06, very low maintenance with only valve checks and oil changes on 12k miles, 225 mile range with 3.6 gal tank and 1 gal Rotopax, able to ride all day with my reworked seat from Fishers, .... has worked well as a trail bike, desert bike, commuter, and Dual Sport bike ..... 

 

Why do I think it's the best ... it might not do one thing great, but it does all things well

I think the DRZ400 is one of the best dual sports out there. Despite it's age (introduced in 1999) the DRZ still holds up, is affordable, reliable, versatile and a pretty fun bike overall.

I also owned the "E" model. Bought new in 2001, sold in 2003. Mine was never street legal but in Baja I rode it on the road a lot. Not a great street bike but I agree ... with a good seat (and gearing changes)

it would not be bad for long distance travel.

 

Lots of ADV travelers have picked the DRZ as THE BIKE. Many have done RTW rides. The bike seems pretty much problem free with minimal easy maintenance and only a few key mods need be done. Thousands of Suzuki dealers worldwide and very strong DRZ owner support on internet forums like this one. This support it vital IMO when in another country.

I ride a DR650 now ... but would consider swapping it over to a DRZ seriously. The DR is an even simpler bike and better on highway ... but it's heavier and chassis and suspension can't match the DRZ.

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I had the plain DRZ, kickstart only. For me, painful on the street quick, but probably better than the WR450.

Mike

What are you riding now Mike? The DRZ with a good aftermarket seat becomes a different animal. Not quite all day comfortable .... but really OK for hours in the saddle.

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I've taken the trip from Los Angeles to Death Valley and done some dual sporting on a bmw GSA 800.

While there it did occur to me the dirt stuff would be more fun on my WR450.

So there is the dilemma one does street real well the other does the dirt real well. It's the issue with dual sporters. You don't get both.

If you're a BMW guy ... have you thought about a nicely modified BMW X Challenge? Lots of them still around. IMO, the bike has potential if you have the time and money to put in.

No, it won't match your WR450 off road ... but might just be "good enough" for a long range travel bike. Certainly much better on the road and with careful mods ... can go just about anywhere off road too.

See Colebatch's ride reports on ADV Rider. He went to crazy $$$$$$ extremes on his X Challenge ... but you don't really need to do all he did to get a pretty good dirt bike. :cheers:

Edited by 54321

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If you're a BMW guy ... have you thought about a nicely modified BMW X Challenge? Lots of them still around. IMO, the bike has potential if you have the time and money to put in.

No, it won't match your WR450 off road ... but might just be "good enough" for a long range travel bike. Certainly much better on the road and with careful mods ... can go just about anywhere off road too.

See Colebatch's ride reports on ADV Rider. He went to crazy $$$$$$ extremes on his X Challenge ... but you don't really need to do all he did to get a pretty good dirt bike. :cheers:

Yeah a nice bike but when it comes to highway riding I think a twin is the real doer.

I was riding two up by the way.

Somehow someway they just don't make a real do everything bike.

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What are you riding now Mike? The DRZ with a good aftermarket seat becomes a different animal. Not quite all day comfortable .... but really OK for hours in the saddle.

 KLR650 now. I'll probably stay with it for now. The Husky 650 was on my radar, but with new ownership, I'll wait and see what they come up with.

 

The DRZ was the off road version, followed by a WR450. These were for mostly single track, but didn't like either on road. Both the seat and powerband. The WR was worse.

 

Mike

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Started to reply .... but am getting Rik Roll audio (commercials) I think I'm done with this crap ass forum. It just never stops!

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Started to reply .... but am getting Rik Roll audio (commercials) I think I'm done with this crap ass forum. It just never stops!

 

 

You too. I thought I was the only one. I had to turn off my speaker. The more people complain the better. Maybe they will get it, maybe.

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Like you guys stated ... the DRZ platform is bulletproof in terms of reliability, but it is still technically a dirt bike. Suspension setup, Fisher Seat, gearing (currently running 15/47), some ergonomic adjustments like Pastrana Pro Tapers with riser (I'm 6'3") and the Z is a solid all day bike for forest roads etc. She does get a bit "buzzy" for extended rides on hardtop. One thing that has always impressed me about the Z is the fuel mileage ... since day one it has always gotten a consistent 50 MPG, single track, two track, hardtop, no matter .... 50 MPG. makes mapping out routes and gas stops easy! 

 

IMG_4327_zps68daee88.jpg

 

 I've asked myself many times ... what would my next bike be? should I consider buying something new since the current ride is an 06? ... and I always default back to the fact that this current bike runs like a top, is set up for me and my riding style, and it does everything that I ask it to do .... 

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Have to agree ... the DRZ is very hard to beat as a good all round dual sport/dirt/Adventure bike. My former "E" model also got around 50 MPG! Impressive. I thought I'd have to go with a bigger tank, but never did. (did carry an Acerbis jug on a Baja ride ... extra 1.2 gallon) Yes, vibes on road are noticeable for sure. slower speeds, not too bad.

 

I've not ridden a new KTM 500EXC but have ridden the 450, 520, 525 and 530 ... and the 690 several times. The 450 was my fav.  All great bikes and all better than the DRZ off road ... except the 690, which surpisingly is NOT nimble on single track or in deep sand, nor that great on tricky up hill climbs. Sure, it's better than my DR650 ... but the "real" KTM dirt bikes are far better, in my experience.

 

But ALL my buddies who ride (and have ridden) the Katooms have many more maintenance issues than those in the Yam, Honda or Suzuki camp. Regular rebuilds part of life ... and this going back 10 years to the first 520 KTM's. As years go by ... the have gotten BETTER AND BETTER.

 

But of all these dirt biased bikes, for me, only the DRZ and KTM 690 would qualify as a long range dual sport ADV Travel bike. I would also toss the Husky 510, 610 and 630 into the NO GO pile. Love those bikes but like clock work, the top ends need service right at 10K miles. (the KTM race bikes that service must come by 4K to 5K miles if ridden hard ... which means about once a year for my KTM Desert riding buddies.

 

If the KTM 690 wasn't so expensive I might risk buying one and trying it on a long trip ... but that would require putting an extra $2000 to make it travel ready. Price of admission is around $10,000. All that and they are certainly not 100% reliable ... and not as reliable as a DRZ, DR, WR450, XR650L or KLR650, XR400 to name a few, in the very long run.

 

I hope KTM step and redesign a more long term reliable KTM 690. Hopefully add a real sub frame, stronger wheels and better MPG. Allow for luggage, extend the service intervals to match Japanese competition (4 to 5K miles) I don't need 60 HP. Go ahead, De-Tune it, lower compresion ... all the better for running crap 80 Octane fuel.

40 HP is just fine. I would like at least 50 MPG ... maybe better.

 

KTM are far too focused on racing. And how many really race? Who do they think they're kidding?  :lol:    I'd guesstimate less than 10% of buyers race. The remainder are dreamers, day trippers, wanna be's and weekend warriors. No harm in that ... but lets get real here.

I think more guys would step up and actually grow a pair and be brave enough to leave the USA (without an Army backing them up) and do some real travel, if KTM made a more well rounded

ADV dual sport bike.

 

In the meantime ... my over weight DR650 is all I need. Mild power, yes, but a GREAT travel bike. Tough as nails, practically NO maintenance ... and if not over loaded, not so bad off road.

Even the Australians have trouble killing the DR650. That is saying a lot!  :thumbsup:

 

P1010942.JPG

DR650's crossing Nevada and California Sierra

 

P1020416-L.jpg

Edited by 54321

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Problem with the KLR 650 is:

Weight, can't do a whole lot about that.

Power, you can get more, but I'm not racing, it's a would like, but not a need.

Suspension, I was basically given a RaceTech setup, F&R, to test and do a write up. Made all the difference in the world. I was going to do the front anyway, but the combo is great.

Brakes, the suspension and EBC pads greatly improved the front brake, or at least the perception. Didn't really see a problem off road but I can now lock up my nobbies easily on the street. Fork dive is way less.

54321, my off road is much nastier than your photos. Is that typical of DS/ADV riding? I've seen videos of the various BDR's and rode a section of the AZBDR labeled "difficult, damage possible" and it was much easier than my typical days ride.

I ride my KLR pretty much like I did the DRZ and WR, except the single track that they shut down.

Mike

Edited by Flagstaff

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If you want cheap, go with an XR400R or DRZ400E. I used to have an XR4, have rode a few DRZ's. You might have to convert them to street legal or find one already plated. The DR650 and XR650L / R are great bikes as well, but are borderline on the heavy side. Super comfy for the highway though.

I rode my old XR650L 4,000mi around Alaska and Canada with my wife on the back camping the whole way, and hit some gnarly mountain riding that the KLR and BMW riders could only dream about. I sold it with over 40,000mi on the odometer, never touched the top end once. Truly a do it all bike. When my daughter is old enough to ride I'm getting another XR to do the same trip again.

I have a Husaberg FE390 now.. Awesome singletrack bike, but not very comfy for 2-up riding.

Had a WR450F.. But they lack a 6th gear... Achilles heal. Otherwise great fun bike.. Just gear it tall and go

XR400 is like an XR650L lite. Some say the lack of E start is a problem, but it does keep it light weight. I'd almost sell my Berg for another one.. So simple yet functional

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Edited by n16ht5
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Beautiful Pics! Wow!

Impressive record with your XR650L. I owned one in '92 ... bought new. Did one Baja trip and a few dual sport events and sold it. I fell off it too much ... it was too tall for me for dual sport riding, I never got the set up right. (my fault, not the bike) But I've seen(and ridden) some really nice ones since then that were set up properly. They really can perform :thumbsup:  

 

I also owned an XR400 that was plated in California ... I liked that bike a lot and never had trouble kick starting it. I wished I'd kept it.

 

But I'm lightening the load ...thinning out ALL the crap. I once had 8 bikes ... at some point, could no longer keep up with maintenance and money to keep all on the road, registered, insured and maintained.

 

KLR

Most discount and undervalue the KLR. Yes, it's an old design ... but a pretty good one.  I'm guessing more KLR's have done RTW rides than just about any other model. A well set up one is a true revelation ... I owned a KLR600 in 1986 (not good) ... then got a Press bike in 1998. I took that stone stock, brand new KLR to Baja, Cooper Canyon and all over Mexico and back to USA. I was not happy with it off road, but it made a good travel bike. Very tough to ride in Baja sand and rock but OK on bad roads and highway. 5500 miles on that ride.

 

Years and many bikes later I got the chance to ride some really well set up KLR's and was STUNNED how good those bikes were compared to my recollections of the stocker I had ridden to Mexico. One had the 790 kit! Wow! A great ADV Travel bike. Not fast, not ideal single track weapon, but for general dual sport riding fully loaded, a good KLR is impressive and pretty FUN! :thumbsup:

 

I think most of the KLR guys stay over on the KLR forums (KLR.net) I rode with some of those guys a few years back in Colorado.

333587754_cjrAW-L.jpg

5 KLR's, one KTM 690 and ... me on the DR650 with street tires .. Imogene Pass, up over 13,000 ft. These were some of the coolest KLR's I'd ever seen,

all guys from KLR.net.

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I got my XR400 in 2006 with paint still on the tires and not a scratch on it. I paid a whopping $2750 for it then. I rode on trails only until 2010 when I got it plated. Now I would never own a bike that wasn't.

After a couple years of still mainly trail riding, I decided the 400 wasn't wild enough and got a 2004 ktm 450 exc. Only 2500 for that. I actually sold the XR to a friend in spring 2012. He rode with me until last winter when for whatever reason he decided a snowmobile would be more fun. Long story short I bought the bike back and am trying to set it up for longer distance rides. Great platform bike for people who don't wanna spend 10k for it but still love to do it. Ive rode Honda xrs or xls since I was 12 years old. Love those bikes and I won't be without one again. I still have the ktm though, motor never touched and its never let me down. No idea how many miles or hours on it but the guy I got it from was in a local ds club so I know it was ridden and not a barn queen.

Anyway, mines the best cuz its what I got, its cheap and I like it! Lol!

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2007 DRZ400S. Reliable, easy to work on, does most things well enough, and it's paid for. I will admit, it is a little heavy in single track but I come from riding XRs so I'm used to a little heavy. If I had an extra 10k lying around I'd go out and buy a 500 EXC, but sadly I do not.

Edited by george68

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