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Want to go from cr125 to a Dual Sport

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I currently ride a 2005 CR125 and  I am thinking about trading her in for a dual sport. I absolutely LOVE my CR, but I am getting older and the prospect of being able to ride additional trails, be able to night ride and drive from trailhead to trailhead is enticing! My question is what bikes would make for a decent road/trailbike that are cheaper. I've nothing against 4 strokes and as long as the bike had ample power to climb some moderate hills, blast through sandy trails and not feel pathetic accelerating I would be fine.

Any suggestions for dual sports that wouldn't break the bank and would offer a decent riding experience. I probably would never go on an expressway with the dual sport either.

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KTM, Husky and Beta offer what I call plated dirt bikes.  There bikes are great in the trails and OK on the road.  But they still have high performance dirt bike maintenance schedules so you probably wouldn't want to run them around on the road on a daily basis.  These bikes will typically have something like 10 hour oil changes, 30 hour valve checks and 135 hour piston replacement. 

Then there are what I consider the true dual sports like the Suzuki DRZ400S, Yamaha WR250R and Honda CRF250L.  These bikes are considerably heavier and less capable in the dirt than the bikes described above.  But they require very little maintenance, so it's fine to ride them around town daily, commute on them, etc.  These bikes typically have something like 3,500 mile oil changes, 15,000 mile valve checks and no specified piston replacement.  There are a lot of Suzuki DRZ400S's running around with over 30,000 miles on them and no internal engine work.  

So it just depends what you want.  I have a plated KTM that I trailer to the trailhead but will ride on the road to connect trails, go into town for lunch, gas, etc.. But I don't just tool around on it daily.  I have a Suzuki DRZ400S that I ride daily to run errands, explore two-tracks and might occasionally take on some easy single track.  But I wouldn't take that bike to Evart or Tomahawk (hoping you know these singe you are from Michigan).

Doc

Edited by Doc_d
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I've actually never been to either (Evart or Tomahawk). I usually ride trails around Baldwin and do like Bundy Hill or the local track (not on race days!). I wouldn't really use my bike for travel unless it was on a back road or trail head to trailhead. If the WR250R and CRF250L are both air cooled those may be nice options. My brother has a crf230, would you put those (Wr250R and crf250L) bikes suspension, weight and power in the same ballpark as that bike? I think I'd want something a bit better than the crf230.

Awesome information on the ballpark maintenance schedules, thank you!

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They aren't exactly comparable, but I'd say that the true dual sport bikes (DRZ400S, WR250R and CRF250L) would be more comparable to a CRF230F than to serious dirt bikes.  The bikes are pretty heavy (300ish pounds), suspension is relatively soft and  power is 22hp from the Honda CRF250L, 27hp for the Yamaha WR250R and 32hp for the Suzuki DRZ400S.  

I should mention that the Surzuki DRZ400S has a huge following and a ton of community and aftermarket support.  So they can be upgraded quite substantially to perform better offroad.  There is an entire forum dedicated to them here on Thumper Talk.

The plated KTMs, Huskies and Betas are basically raceable enduro bikes with a plate.  But that comes with the increased maintenance and price tag.  Something like a KTM 350 EXC-F is 46 horsepower, 240 pounds and has suspension that is ready to be raced in enduros and hare scrambles but too soft for serious motocross. But it also has a $10,200 price tag.

Doc

 

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Since you are in Michigan, it's pretty easy to plate bikes here.  You could even plate something like a KTM 250 or 300 XC-W or a Yamaha YZ250X. Those are high performance dirt bikes, but because they are two stroke the maintenance is much easier.  They require a piston every 80 hours or so, but on a two stroke that's no big deal. So that's something else to think about.

Doc

Edited by Doc_d
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7 minutes ago, gleadogg said:

I have wanted one of those XC-W bikes for a few years now....

I'm not sure if you're looking to buy new or used.  If you find one used you just have to go through the process of getting them plated.  If you are looking to buy new, the way KTM does the paper work they can be sold in Michigan right from the dealer with a plate.  That's nice because you don't have to screw around with putting DOT tires on for the police inspection.  I bought my KTM 350 XCF-W titled with a plate right from the dealer.  If you decide to go that route be sure to tell the dealer up front you want it titled with a plate because they can do the paperwork either way.

Beta is the same.  The 250rr and 300rr can be purchased right from the dealer titles with a plate.  I've been seeing a lot of Betas in Michigan and people really love them.  I've sat on a few and if you are shorter like me (5'8") the lower seat height is great.

The Yamaha 250X (woods version of the YZ250) can't be sold right from the dealer with a plate due to the way the Japanese companies do the paperwork.  But you could buy one new or used and then go through the process of getting it plated.

Doc

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 My plated DRZ400E is a very capable off-road bike, jetted and uncorked , plenty of power

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3 hours ago, Doc_d said:

I'm not sure if you're looking to buy new or used.  If you find one used you just have to go through the process of getting them plated.  If you are looking to buy new, the way KTM does the paper work they can be sold in Michigan right from the dealer with a plate.  That's nice because you don't have to screw around with putting DOT tires on for the police inspection.  I bought my KTM 350 XCF-W titled with a plate right from the dealer.  If you decide to go that route be sure to tell the dealer up front you want it titled with a plate because they can do the paperwork either way.

Beta is the same.  The 250rr and 300rr can be purchased right from the dealer titles with a plate.  I've been seeing a lot of Betas in Michigan and people really love them.  I've sat on a few and if you are shorter like me (5'8") the lower seat height is great.

The Yamaha 250X (woods version of the YZ250) can't be sold right from the dealer with a plate due to the way the Japanese companies do the paperwork.  But you could buy one new or used and then go through the process of getting it plated.

Doc

I am 5”7 I don’t know what a beta is, but I’m going to look into it. I’m not going to be buying new anytime for at least 3 years. I was more thinking of selling my bike n then throwing down a little more on top. I won’t buy new now, but hey I’m a patient guy n it’ll happen!

1 hour ago, Dmouse said:

 My plated DRZ400E is a very capable off-road bike, jetted and uncorked , plenty of power

I’ll have to do some research on those!

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Don’t believe the KTM Dual sport high maintenance hype. Regular oil changes and keep the air filter clean and other typical maintenance is all it takes. 500 exc is a great bike btw.

 

Now I’ll explain what I meant as high maintenance hype. I wasn’t referring to Preventative maintenance but top-end/bottom end repairs and strictly following replacement of parts in the maintenance schedule

 

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17 hours ago, gitenby said:

Don’t believe the KTM Dual sport high maintenance hype. Regular oil changes and keep the air filter clean and other typical maintenance is all it takes. 500 exc is a great bike btw.

Hype?  How many KTM EXCs are running around with 30,000 miles on them on the original motor and internals?  Zero.  That would be about 1,000 hours or more.  Most KTMs are going to need a piston and possibly head work by 200ish hours.  That's about 6,000 miles.  If you are riding it daily on the streets, that's a year or less.  

There's nothing wrong with that as long as you know what to expect.  I've seen several people in the KTM forums who are pissed because they dropped $10+K on a 500 EXC, ride the piss out of it on the street, pop the motor inside a year and then claim KTMs are junk.  The problem is no one explained the difference to those people between a true dual sport and a race ready enduro bike that happens to have a plate.

If you get a KTM, Husky or Beta and run it on the road on a daily basis, understand the maintenance schedule and don't expect to get 30,000 miles out of the motor.

Doc

 

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Your first sentence is incorrect, post it on the KTM site and see the feedback. I have 130 hrs with less than 2% leak down, would you like pics of the gauges?

Valves have not moved BTW

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4 minutes ago, gitenby said:

Your first sentence is incorrect, post it on the KTM site and see the feedback. I have 130 hrs with less than 2% leak down, would you like pics of the gauges?

130 hours is inside the manual recommended 135 hours for a piston.  Well my 350 manual specs 135 hours and I'm assuming the 500 is the same.  So no surprise there.  And we know the manual is conservative.  That's why I said 200ish hours is probably the average with some bikes going shorter and some going longer depending on a whole bunch of factors.  The 500s may do even better than bikes like the 350.  But they are still in a completely different league than the DRZ400S, WR250R and CRF250L.

The KTM EXC's require considerably more maintenance than a bike like a DRZ400S.  From the manual specified maintenance schedules to real world experience.  I'm not sure how you can try to argue otherwise.

P.S.  I own both a KTM XCF-W and a Suzuki DRZ400S.

Doc

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24 minutes ago, gitenby said:

Valves have not moved BTW

How do you know the valves haven't moved?  Did you check them?  Multiple times?  In the first 135 hours?  That's maintenance.

A DRZ400S's first valve check is st 15,000 miles.  That's about 500 hours.  That's less maintenance.

Doc

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How do you know the valves haven't moved?  Did you check them?  Multiple times?  In the first 135 hours?  That's maintenance.
A DRZ400S's first valve check is st 15,000 miles.  That's about 500 hours.  That's less maintenance.
Doc


Agreed,The KTM is not a DRZ, KLR..,
I bought KTM for performance and dirt with connectivity to trails.
I’ve checked the valves twice and l’ll check them at 200 hrs. I’ll do another leak down at 200 hrs. I don’t expect much change if any and I’ll be on my way to 300 hrs.
This engine is as good as new, my oil analyst is perfect.
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58 minutes ago, gitenby said:

 


Agreed,The KTM is not a DRZ, KLR..,
I bought KTM for performance and dirt with connectivity to trails.
I’ve checked the valves twice and l’ll check them at 200 hrs. I’ll do another leak down at 200 hrs. I don’t expect much change if any and I’ll be on my way to 300 hrs.
This engine is as good as new, my oil analyst is perfect.

 

Agreed...  And that exactly how I use my KTM as well.  The KTM is 10x the bike a DRZ, WR250R or CRF250L is in the woods.  But the trade off is some more maintenance.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with that and it's not like the maintenance is insane.  I just like people to understand because I have seen some people who buy EXCs, ride them daily, don't do the maintainencd and then get very upset when they have a problem.

OP - sorry to run off track.  If I gave you the impression bikes like the KTM EXC aren't reliable that's not the case.  At their performance level they are extremely reliable.  But that level of performance does come with some added maintenance.  You just have to decide for the riding you'll be doing and your level of comfort working on the bike which type of bike it right for you.  

Coming off a CR125 you probably won't be happy with the weight and performance of the true dual sports (DRZ, wr250r, crf250l) off road is my guess.

Doc

 

 

 

Edited by Doc_d
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I've been riding/racing since 1971, and have ridden them all pretty much, 95% of my riding is dirt. My perfect bike had to have a light, so an enduro bike of course. So Bultaco's, Can-Am's, Honda's were my diet and so found the Honda XR's from 1981 up to be the better but were heavy, these XR's lasted for years and were low maintenance in 1999 tried my luck out on a DRZ400 and found it to be awesome, not as heavy as an XR500, but more HP, liquid cooled and e-start. As the years went on and you get older, shedding a few pounds became evident, off the bike not me lol, So I now own two KTM's crazy right? Not so, my desert ride is a 690 enduro-r, 304 lbs dry, 68 hp, efi, e-start and has 18000 km's on it and is still stock, adjusted the valves for the first time at 15000 km's, second bike which is my Alberta single track bike is a '15 500 exc and love it 245 lbs both e-start and kick and has 1600 km's on it never adjusted anything on it yet, will check valve clearance this winter. I find these two KTM's to be excellent choices race ready out of the box and plated, the key thing to remember is that regular maintenance is key, not extensive but as simple as regular synthetic oil changes, clean and oiled air filter and during the off season re-grease all swing arm and linkage bearings and check wheel bearings. Happy trails!

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Since you have a 2- Stroke, check out Beta.

I have a Beta Xtrainer that is plated. Best off-road bike I have ever owned. It's a 300 2-stroke that pulls real hard down low, more like a 4-stroke. It comes with everything but blinkers and a mirror. It is wired for blinker though.

 

Same Thing with the Beta 300RR, comes with everything to get plated except the turn signals and mirror. If your state allows for dirt bikes to plated, check those out.

 

 

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