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What makes a bike street capable?

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I read reviews of bikes and people say things like it’s not good on the road for more than some number of minutes.

 

The way my brain works (no smart ass comments here) is to break things into causal facts? So. WhT makes a bike comfortable on the road?

 

Seat? This is probably important and could be changed on any bike.

 

Tires. Usually when referring to the dirt orietned dual sports like husky or beta etc. I wonder if it’s the aggressive ninnies that create the wobbly? But. Could easily be changed.

 

Gearing. Obviously 6 speeds wins here right? And sprockets can be manipulated to a degree.

 

Engine vibration. This one I don’t know that you can fix. Either it vibrates. Or it vibrates a lot?

 

Is there more? If not then almost any bike could be made to be comfortable on the road? Is this true?

 

I used to think wind protection was important. But. On my klr I notice way less buffering if I stand and get well above the wind screen. So not sure on this one.

 

Thoughts? Trying to justify buying a beta 500 rr-s by the way. But my riding is predominantly paved. Some dirt road fooling around. Occasional off road.

 

Weight perhaps? More weight is probably better on the road?

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3 hours ago, Dkrad1935 said:

 

I read reviews of bikes and people say things like it’s not good on the road for more than some number of minutes.

 

The way my brain works (no smart ass comments here) is to break things into causal facts? So. WhT makes a bike comfortable on the road?

 

Seat? This is probably important and could be changed on any bike.

 

Tires. Usually when referring to the dirt orietned dual sports like husky or beta etc. I wonder if it’s the aggressive ninnies that create the wobbly? But. Could easily be changed.

 

Gearing. Obviously 6 speeds wins here right? And sprockets can be manipulated to a degree.

 

Engine vibration. This one I don’t know that you can fix. Either it vibrates. Or it vibrates a lot?

 

Is there more? If not then almost any bike could be made to be comfortable on the road? Is this true?

 

I used to think wind protection was important. But. On my klr I notice way less buffering if I stand and get well above the wind screen. So not sure on this one.

 

Thoughts? Trying to justify buying a beta 500 rr-s by the way. But my riding is predominantly paved. Some dirt road fooling around. Occasional off road.

 

Weight perhaps? More weight is probably better on the road?

 

Service intervals too.

 

Personally my struggle with comfort on the street is with:

the wind at HWY speed. Better with a street helmet and earplugs would be better again.

Gearing. whats good for the dirt is not great in the street. A bike with a wider spread would be nicer.

Throttle response on/off for commute riding. Needs a lot of clutch work.

Bike is a 16 WR250F20190825_113038.jpg.e708a5810264318d64cb3be181ec6d86.jpg 

A big bore Beta would be far better for this.

Edited by BushPig
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What makes a bike street capable? - A plate and lights...   

I've only owned dual sports, so to me that's all the comfort I know.  I typically don't do more than an hour or so on pavement at highway speed, but have done long days, 8+ hours on mixed roads, gravel,dirt...  any more than 30 minutes on the highway is tiresome, mostly due to a combination of semi sketchy 50/50 tires at highway speeds, high wind from nature or large vehicles, buzz of a thumper at some RPMs, which are typically more noticeable and frequent at highway speeds.  My commute is between 2.5 - 25 miles each way.

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Well, my KTM 200 is awful on the street and my Ford crown Victoria is really good. But they can't really switch roles very well. Wind protection, smoothness, quiet, loads of torque, all help on the street and usually hurt off road. You just have to pick the balance in your machine to get what you want. If you get a Beta 500, put some sumo wheels on it and it will make a kickass street bike for short rides, but will require fairly regular maintenance. An electraglide is a lot better for long road rides but sucks on the trails.

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I can ride my old 525 a couple hundred miles at a go. The F800gs farther at much higher speeds. Occasionally, I'll ride somewhere totally inappropriate for a given bike design.DSC_0118.jpeg

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Well, my KTM 200 is awful on the street and my Ford crown Victoria is really good. But they can't really switch roles very well. Wind protection, smoothness, quiet, loads of torque, all help on the street and usually hurt off road. You just have to pick the balance in your machine to get what you want. If you get a Beta 500, put some sumo wheels on it and it will make a kickass street bike for short rides, but will require fairly regular maintenance. An electraglide is a lot better for long road rides but sucks on the trails.


I don’t think I’ll ever buy an electraglide. Those big bikes don’t make my heart go Pitter/patter. When I look at smaller adventure bikes it sparks something. If I did get s street bike it would be like a cb500x. Or a cb650.

I’d like to trade out of the bikes I have into a crf250l for my wife and perhaps a beta 500 Rr-S. Pretty solid on the small crf. Not very solid on the beta. I understand that ds bikes are compromises.
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I read reviews of bikes and people say things like it’s not good on the road for more than some number of minutes.
 
The way my brain works (no smart ass comments here) is to break things into causal facts? So. WhT makes a bike comfortable on the road?
 
Seat? This is probably important and could be changed on any bike.
 
Tires. Usually when referring to the dirt orietned dual sports like husky or beta etc. I wonder if it’s the aggressive ninnies that create the wobbly? But. Could easily be changed.
 
Gearing. Obviously 6 speeds wins here right? And sprockets can be manipulated to a degree.
 
Engine vibration. This one I don’t know that you can fix. Either it vibrates. Or it vibrates a lot?
 
Is there more? If not then almost any bike could be made to be comfortable on the road? Is this true?
 
I used to think wind protection was important. But. On my klr I notice way less buffering if I stand and get well above the wind screen. So not sure on this one.
 
Thoughts? Trying to justify buying a beta 500 rr-s by the way. But my riding is predominantly paved. Some dirt road fooling around. Occasional off road.
 
Weight perhaps? More weight is probably better on the road?
My thoughts:

Seat? This is probably important and could be changed on any bike.

Tires. Usually when referring to the dirt orietned dual sports like husky or beta etc. I wonder if it’s the aggressive ninnies that create the wobbly? But. Could easily be changed.

Agree, both are important, and both are easily changed. I also believe balancing the tires is important, and also more difficult with a single rim lock. I added two rim locks opposite each other on my DR650, as running just one meant I needed a ton of weights to balance out. And unbalanced made a very noticeable difference by 60 mph.

Gearing. Obviously 6 speeds wins here right? And sprockets can be manipulated to a degree.

Engine vibration. This one I don’t know that you can fix. Either it vibrates. Or it vibrates a lot?


I think these two go together. A vibey engine will want to be geared way tall to reduce the buzz. In this case, tall gearing, 6 speed, wide ratio, will matter. However, a smooth engine can get away with more "wrongs". Running high rpm, 5 speed, low gearing, etc doesn't matter as much if a bike runs smoothly at those rpms.

I used to think wind protection was important. But. On my klr I notice way less buffering if I stand and get well above the wind screen. So not sure on this one.

Wind is somewhat a personal preference. In my opinion one either needs a full coverage, Pope-mobile style windshield to keep all the wind blocked, or something much shorter that keeps wind pressure off your chest, but leaves your helmet in clean air above the shield. Something that sticks your head in the buffering zone is worse than nothing at all. Street helmet and ear plugs make a massive difference.

Weight perhaps? More weight is probably better on the road?

I hear weight is better all the time. Not worth the trade off, in my opinion. I think some of it that gets lumped in as "weight" is really the high profile of dirt bikes (more susceptible to winds), and geometry. A bike made to carve trail corners at 15 mph won't be as stable as a touring bike at 70 mph on pavement. Other things like a dirt bike front fender vs low mount fender can change the perception of stability as well, and is often just blamed on weight.

Maintenance was mentioned and I believe is relavent. I wouldn't want to commute 300 miles per week on a bike that needs 500 mile oil changes or 3000 mile top end rebuilds. Waste of a machine using it for that.

As said, it's all a compromise. I wish my DR were better in dirt, and better on the road. But its ok enough at both after mods.
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A small wind screen having quick removal knobs as a suggestion if your planning on some highway riding. I myself hate them but there are several small ones available not looking like a barn door coming at you plus not that expensive. https://www.google.com/search?q=small+motorcycle+wind+screens&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=e0v7S-KMjqXtKM%3A%2CGXY7SaCb2_tYXM%2C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kTl_WYL5r3roShg. One manufacture (name escapes me) I saw every year at the Hollister rally, it was 12" wide x 15" tall, the last 1 1/2" went from angled to almost vertical lip that kicked the air blast above the helment, no helmet buffeting problems. Took 30 seconds to remove, made somewhere in central California. Almost a half round lower cutout above the headlight, clean and neat looking with function. Sorry I sold it liking naked bikes, off the 75 R90/6 BMW.

As mentioned above, taller gearing, proper tires your ready to explore. With no need to have crazy ground clearance as well lower center of gravity with better stability is to lower a bike slightly. A XL350 street only run around bike that will see some highway action. Not running around town but long highway road trips is were the 76 R90s BMW and 850 Norton's shine. Man must own several bikes. ......~~=o&o>......   

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If it is a street bike or factory dual sport bike, it will be better on the road because if will have slightly "slower" steering (this is all rake and trail stuff that I kind of get but don't want to take the time to try to explain).  If it is a dirt bike that is plated, the steering will be much quicker and the bike will seem "twitchy" on the road at any fast speed. They can both be ridden on the road for as long as you care to sit on the seat but the "twitchy" one will tire you out faster because it will not be as "relaxed" of a ride.

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1 hour ago, scott_01_xr400 said:

If it is a street bike or factory dual sport bike, it will be better on the road because if will have slightly "slower" steering (this is all rake and trail stuff that I kind of get but don't want to take the time to try to explain).

This is a big part of it, long, heavy and lazy handling are the key to a nice relaxed road bike.

I grew up back in the early 80's riding trailies on the road, the greatest road going trailie back then was the XT550, smooth, averagely fast, counterbalanced and fairly comfy.

Off the road they were dreadful, heavy, clumsy and prone to stalling, spongy soft suspension and handled like a wheelbarrow full of walruses. Trail ride one at your own risk.

Real dirtbikes are good fun around town, but they suck on the open road.

Edited by DEATH_INC.

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scott_01_xr400

Riding a 'twitchy" bike I can first hand agree it's tiring also making for a love / hate relationship with the bike if it can't be cured.

How it's loaded down, where the weight is placed behind the axle, how far back, left to right side not being equally weighted, mounted too tall then factor in the turbulence created by the luggage another factor your dealing with. 

I'm not into straight concrete highway 1,000 mile stretches (Texas) but into two lane open highway mountain riding 45+ mph sweepers. I'll ride the R90/6 or R90s BMW's with thin flat Krauser saddle bags. Turbine smooth touring speeds on up to 90 mph rock solid until I encountered one eye opening issue. Cruising down the highway went to stretch the legs out straight, talking placing a boot heel on top of one of the jugs at the heads and valve cover location. This created turbulence off the leg calf and boot causing turbulence to the saddle bags a massive shaking of the back of the bike like a front fork speed wobble. Considering these bikes are rock solid cruisers it got my attention at 75 mph. Next ride from the S.F. Bay area up to Seattle Washington I had taped short lengths of yarn to the saddlebags and repeated those leg turbulence events and saw yarn being sucked forward as if I had a 70 mph tail wind while standing still besides a lot of turbulent buffeting and swirling the yarn pieces. Aerodynamics pays a big part in bike design as well having legs tucked in, knees snug against the tank a normal riding position. I'm not your Harley type doing the splits knees spread way out away from the tank with that "I'M KOOL LOOK". Yeah right unstable not connected as one with the bike stability also lost, talking physically as many already mentally unstable. 

Short wheel based tall bikes if attention were given to the suspension should reduce some of the bikes "twitchy" at speed issues. You thought about mounting a bracket for a steering head for road use? Just thinking besides agressive knobbies on the street another handful to deal with besides the buzz. 

Enduro's are bad enough with a lot of ground clearance already top heavy, full on dirt bikes a little worse also not designed to be ridden 70 mph with long travel suspension, swing arms steeply angled downwards, long travel fork travel fully extended riding high.  Not to cause a pissing war I intend on lowering front and rear within reason not slammed a 85 XL350, street tires, forks and shock dampened for street for increased stability by lowering the center of gravity for a solid riding bike now purpose built for street use. Geared taller running 60-65 mph a runaround bike. I live in a concrete jungle. Local to within 100 miles away max on the the XL350, why beat it longer? Longer rides the BMW's or Norton's shine as traveling bikes not so good as runaround town bikes being happy galloping down highways at speed to the mountains up into the Sierra Mountain Gold Country.

Ride safe, keep dry and warm. Merry Christmas to everyone on TT forum. Carl......~~=o&o>....... 

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15 hours ago, DEATH_INC. said:

This is a big part of it, long, heavy and lazy handling are the key to a nice relaxed road bikes.

Real dirtbikes are good fun around town, but they suck on the open road.

I wouldn't class my R90/6 & R90s BMW's as well the 850 Norton's in my collection as "heavy and lazy" road bikes. Harley's as well Japanese wantabee Harley clones yes. Sorry had to spout off riding these above bikes several years, my choice on long highway adventures and mountain passes.

Have a safe and happy Christmas everyone, 2020's just around the corner. Get your bikes in shape. Carl.....~~=o&o>.......

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40 minutes ago, ThumperHead said:

I wouldn't class my R90/6 & R90s BMW's as well the 850 Norton's in my collection as "heavy and lazy" road bikes. Harley's as well Japanese wantabee Harley clones yes. Sorry had to spout off riding these above bikes several years, my choice on long highway adventures and mountain passes.

Have a safe and happy Christmas everyone, 2020's just around the corner. Get your bikes in shape. Carl.....~~=o&o>.......

They are, if you compare them to the race replica 'sports' bikes (which is what I mostly rode). And they also are much better 'road' bikes.

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8 hours ago, DEATH_INC. said:

They are, if you compare them to the race replica 'sports' bikes (which is what I mostly rode). And they also are much better 'road' bikes.

We ride different bikes by choice as well riding style. Had to ask, how many miles a day day in day out riding to a distant destination on a said "replica 'sports'" bike you ride? BTW Merry Christmas to you and others on TT forum. Ride safe everyone......~~=o&o>.......

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10 hours ago, ThumperHead said:

We ride different bikes by choice as well riding style. Had to ask, how many miles a day day in day out riding to a distant destination on a said "replica 'sports'" bike you ride? BTW Merry Christmas to you and others on TT forum. Ride safe everyone......~~=o&o>.......

It was a sport bike, I didn't ride it every day, it was a toy like a dirt bike. We often did 3-400 mile day rides (a couple of times a month), but at pace of course, and always on tighter, more interesting roads, and not to a destination...it was about the ride, not getting somewhere.

I did do a couple of more boring trips on them, but they really sucked for that, you got tired and sore cruising on them, gimme one of your Nortons or Beema's for that stuff any day.

Also rode 'em to work and back a bit, but that's just a few miles so it doesn't really count.

Merry Christmas!

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12 hours ago, DEATH_INC. said:

It was a sport bike, I didn't ride it every day, it was a toy like a dirt bike. We often did 3-400 mile day rides (a couple of times a month), but at pace of course, and always on tighter, more interesting roads, and not to a destination...it was about the ride, not getting somewhere.

I did do a couple of more boring trips on them, but they really sucked for that, you got tired and sore cruising on them, gimme one of your Nortons or Beema's for that stuff any day.

Also rode 'em to work and back a bit, but that's just a few miles so it doesn't really count.

Merry Christmas!

Sounds like 500 to 800 plus miles a day, rest then repeat everyday a week plus on end is out of the question you mentioning "you got tired and sore cruising on them" bikes you ride. Not "boring trips" the ones I take able to enjoy the scenery along the way each day with very capable brands of bikes I enjoy riding which also have character. Never liked riding a bike having my butt higher than my head, weighted forward on the hands and wrists which isn't practical on any adventure tour rides crossing several states a trip in the Western USA. Worked for a tow service years ago, contracted with the local police department. Picked up several smashed up bikes, saw several half alive mangled bodies plus a few dead ones. "Yup he was a racer up to the moment of impact" people would mention at the scene of the accident.  Nothing to prove how I ride, making it accident free being 67 years old riding 52+ years not by good luck alone. 

Had to ask, how did you do those 3-400 mile day trips in New Zealand you mentioned without doing several laps around North or South Islands? Sorry had to toss that comment out there. Ride safe......~~=o&o>......    

Edited by ThumperHead

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30 minutes ago, ThumperHead said:

 

Had to ask, how did you do those 3-400 mile day trips in New Zealand you mentioned without doing several laps around North or South Islands? Sorry had to toss that comment out there. Ride safe......~~=o&o>......    

Lol, it's not that small here. The roads we rode were long, lotsa corners.

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