What are my options in the 400CC range...

I was looking at a DRZ400S and it was brought to my attention in their forum that I would be better served by buying a DRZ400E and dual-sporting it (supposedly easy since I live in NV).

When I thought about that, it occurred to me that I don't need to necessarily get a DRZ400E, but any bike in that size/power area.

I had a KLR650 which was WAY too big and heavy for me (5'10"/145 lbs), so I basically want to keep the bike under 300lbs (like the DRZ400S). I'm also planning to use it as a 50/50 bike with some time spent on the highway, so a wider ratio in the gearbox would be best so I can ride on slow trails yet cruise at 80mph.

Is there any bike out there that you think is as good or better for this role than the DRZ400E with a dual-sport kit and some DOT tires?

Most 400cc 4 strokes are hard pressed to cruise at 80 MPH. You would have to change the final gearing to get the speed you what.

That gearing change would really make low speed dirt use in technnical off road stuff a clutch smoking affair.

If you really want 50/50 bike the DRZ-S is a good choice. A used KTM LC4 would be another option too.

Not sure which bike has better gearing, but the DRZ-400s That I have has the worst gearing. The close ration gear box is most likely the biggest shortcomming of the bike. If you choose the DRZ, witch is really a great play bike, buy an "E" and dualsport it. The DRZ-s is nose heavy, and the weight and lower power is really noticeable. I think the weight on the front may make for a better street ride? The seat is very uncomfortable as well. I run 12/44 gearing for the trail, and have no top end gearing. My old DT-1 had a much better spaced gearbox. I will be trading for an "E" in the near future, or maybe just sell the Z :naughty: Witch I don't want to do and repalce it with something else. Good luck on your choice.

There really isn't a 400cc sub 300 pound bike that will do what you want. You will either have to ride slower on the highway (the best solution) or trailer the bike to the area where you want to ride.

There are plenty of 650s that will handle the freeway. You might consider buying a DR650 or XR650L and putting it on a strict diet. Or how about a Honda XR650R with plates? That might come close to what you are looking for. it's kick start only tho.

My choice is a plated KTM 525EXC, but no way would I ride at 80 on the pavement. Low weight and 80 mph cruise just don't go together well..... Welcome to the frustrating dual sport market.

John

There really isn't a 400cc sub 300 pound bike that will do what you want. You will either have to ride slower on the highway (the best solution) or trailer the bike to the area where you want to ride.

There are plenty of 650s that will handle the freeway. You might consider buying a DR650 or XR650L and putting it on a strict diet. Or how about a Honda XR650R with plates? That might come close to what you are looking for. it's kick start only tho.

My choice is a plated KTM 525EXC, but no way would I ride at 80 on the pavement. Low weight and 80 mph cruise just don't go together well..... Welcome to the frustrating dual sport market.

John

Thanks, John. I am looking into the KTM 525EXC now. I hear that the engine maintenance on that bike is kinda crazy. Has anyone gone this route? If so, do you find that the engine is much more tempermental than the Japanese bikes?

The KTM RFS (Racing Four Stroke) engines are pure race engines. Even when driven easily as trail bikes they require very frequent oil changes and valve checks. When maintained properly they are extremely reliable. You can't just run them into the ground with nothing but 5000 mile oil changes. While the maintenance is frequent, it's not especially difficult. Valve adjustments take very little time since there are screw adjusters rather than shims. It seems as if most owners who dual sport these bikes change their oil about every 300 miles and the filters about every third time.

There are concerns with the engines when run at high speeds on the pavement for long periods of time. The drivetrain has no rubber dampeners. Without a cush hub there are worries that the transmission may not last with that sort of usage. KTM strongly recommends against highway driving. Here is one solution:

http://www.joeracerproducts.com/OilCooler.htm

The bikes are phenominal off road. The guys who are riding them as dual sports understand the limitations and don't mind the extra maintenance in order to get the off-road performance. They ride them on the highway primarily to get to more dirt, not as a regular routine.

If you haven't checked here, please read the following forum. Then check out the other forums at that site.

http://ktmtalk.com/index.php?showforum=73 "What Bike Should I Buy?"

http://ktmtalk.com/index.php?act=idx Forum Index

It is rumored (strictly unsubstantiated) that KTM may bring out a RFS-based street legal dual sport in the near future. If it has a larger oil capacity, cush hub and other desirable street features, it would make a killer bike for you. I'm waiting to see what happens before I buy orange...

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=75937

John

Thanks for all the info, John. The low oil capacity sounds like a deal breaker for me. I don't want to change the oil after every ride or every other ride... and I do plan to put quite a few highway miles on it.

I'll be keeping a lookout for the factory-based version in the future, though. :naughty:

Even when driven easily as trail bikes they require very frequent oil changes and valve checks

You must be referring to the Honda crf250x and crf450x, not the KTM. :naughty:

Only problems with my bike have been rapid rear tire wear. My only pavement rides are trail connector roads (55-65 mph for 5 to 20 miles). If by "dual sport" you mean long 200-300 mile trips cruising 65+ on pavement, it'll be hard to find something light enough to be really good in tight woods. If you're focus is on woods performance, the KTM (especially the wider ratio 6 speed EXC) will be hard to beat.

You must be referring to the Honda crf250x and crf450x, not the KTM. :naughty:

Or the drz! My brother has a 450exc and I have a drz 400 both have been great bikes! I really like my brothers 450 but for the price difference I love My drz. It will sone be a 440 anyways :naughty:

Must be nice to easily to get an off-road bike registered for the street.

My recently purchased DRZ400S is a blast around town,on backroads and quad trails but anything more serious than that and the fun rapidly dimishes!!!

I would not want to try the trails we do with out CRF's and YZ's!!

I would really like to be able to buy 1 bike that would suit all my needs but here in Alberta it is very difficult to get an off-road bike registered on road.

Some guys do but I don't know how.

If I could I might dual sport a WR450,supposed to good for 70+mph with stock gearing(with a fairly low 1st gear still),the motors are just about bulletproof to boot.

So until someone comes out with a serious dirt minded dual sport I am stuck with 2 bikes in the garage,the funny thing is that the DRZ is getting alot more saddle time than the CRF!!

:naughty:

Hi

I thought I would mention that I am currently running a 99 WR400F as a dual sport, it is Nevada street legal. Still running the stock gears, 14/50 I get enough speed to get down the highway, about 65-70 with ease, and also it works well in the woods and mountains. I am using the Baja Designs kit, added a GYT-R/ White Bros pipe combo, and Race Tech suspension. Its a lot of fun to pull off the road, and tackle about any other terrain. I too go through rear tires, but I've been having pretty good luck with the Kenda 760, which is DOT approved in Nevada. Hope this helps...

Matty :naughty:

The more I read this thread...the more I realize (confirms) that buying my KLX (DRZ) was the best choice I could have made.

my 01 drz weighed in at 325lbs with a 3.2 ims tank I also had it going 96mph top speed with my wife on back I might have squeezed a little more out of it but :naughty:

The close ration gear box is most likely the biggest shortcomming of the bike. If you choose the DRZ, witch is really a great play bike, buy an "E" and dualsport it. The DRZ-s is nose heavy, and the weight and lower power is really noticeable..

I have the S, a wr426 and a CRF250X. The gear spacing is wide-ratio on all of them and similarly spaced...not trying to be argumentative, but I don't know what you mean about the S tranny ratios being the biggest shortcoming of the bike (it is geared slightly taller overall for street so for mostly dirt you'd want to gear down a little for first gear to be lower). Also the first time I took the new DRZ-S on real trails it felt nose heavy too, especially off of small jumps etc...but I was able to get rid of that by setting sag, turning up the fork compression clickers by about 4, and increasing the shock rebound by about 2 as I recall. Most of the extra weight - lighting, reflectors, horn, etc.. is a very GOOD trade-off for street safety IMO -

I have the S, a wr426 and a CRF250X. The gear spacing is wide-ratio on all of them and similarly spaced...not trying to be argumentative, but I don't know what you mean about the S tranny ratios being the biggest shortcoming of the bike (it is geared slightly taller overall for street so for mostly dirt you'd want to gear down a little for first gear to be lower). Also the first time I took the new DRZ-S on real trails it felt nose heavy too, especially off of small jumps etc...but I was able to get rid of that by setting sag, turning up the fork compression clickers by about 4, and increasing the shock rebound by about 2 as I recall. Most of the extra weight - lighting, reflectors, horn, etc.. is a very GOOD trade-off for street safety IMO -

Thanks, Sputter. After all my research, I wound up buying the DR-Z400S last weekend. The bike is great. First gear might be a little tall for tight stuff, but I think it'll be totally fine for the type of trail riding I do... and it was smooth and easy at an indicated 70mph in 5th.

If I find the nose is too heavy, I'll try making similar suspension adjustments and I'm sure it'll be fine. I really don't do much jumping, so I'm not worried about that at all.

I'll know more as I ride more. :naughty:

I have an '02 DRZ400E, both off road and dual sport equipped, and I am very happy with it. I have ridden both Yamaha and Honda four stroke trail and track bikes. Unless someone offers electric start on a YZF, you will have to modify most any bike you buy.

The YZF has the light weight and power, but no street manners. The DRZ front end is a little heavy, but tracks well in supermotard trim. And it is not bad in the dirt either. Like all bikes, it has its shortcomings, but it is the best do it all bike I have owned or ridden for the money(under 4K). Good luck! :naughty:

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