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Dual-sport for the heavy guy - KLR 650, DRZ400, or something else?

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Here's a question you never hear: What dual-sport should I buy? :applause:

Here's my dilemma: I live in Upstate New York and thanks to New York liability laws renting a bike is impossible. So I have no realistic way to try several bikes to see what will work for me.

I'm a large guy (300lbs) and I'm looking for a bike that can do not just the fire roads, but go truly off road on ATV trails and such. I want something that can get some speed out in the dirt but I'm not looking for 20' in the air jumps. If I did that it would be a question of who would be in worse shape on the landing: me or the bike. :eek:

I'm looking at dual sports because I don't want to have to put the bike on a trailer everytime I want to use it off road. At the same time I'm not looking to take the bike out on 400+ mile highway road trips; I have a Concours for that.

I've read some info on the KLR650 and the DRZ400. They both have their strengths and drawbacks, but one of my concerns is getting a bike with an engine that can't lug my bulk around reasonably well. I remember the 250 cc street bikes from the MSF class and I occasionally looked for the pedals to see if I could make the bike go faster, and that's not a situation that I want to end up in.

So what's your opinion?

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i ride a drz400s and i only weigh 170 soaking wet in the shower, MAYBE 195 loaded up w/ boots, gear, water bag, helmet, etc.. i love it, but it might be a little small for you.. not height wise.. this bikes stand 36.5" tall stock, but engine size wise.. just my thought.

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The Honda will be better on the street and can be put on a diet to lose some weight for the trails. The KTM and the Husky are fine bikes but much more dirt oriented. I weigh 230 and consider myself pretty big and the Honda I rode around for a couple hours a month or two ago seemed fine. I ride more street than trail so I went and got a Duzuki DR650. Do not get the KLR if you plan on more trail than street. You will not have fun unless you sink major bucks into the suspension and tweak the intake and exhaust. Not worth the minimal gains IMO.

After you make your pick, you might consider putting yourself on a diet too. ;-)

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The drz will be fine for you. I weigh close to 300 with gear on. There is enough power there but it is lacking in suspension for big boys. I still think it is better than the KLR of off road.

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I'm right up there with specialK and my brother has a DRZ I ride once in a while, it'd be great for you. Way more than enough power for us bigguns. I ride a KTM 450.

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I'd say for real dirt work between the KLR and DRZ400, get the DRZ. If you really want to haul a big butt, go with the Honda XRL650. It has the suspension and torque for the bigger guys.

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IMHO the bike you want is the Husqvarna TE610.

Street legal. Dirt ready. E-button.

www.husqvarnausa.com

Others to consider:

KTM 625

KTM640

Honda XR650L

Why is it I never see a listing for this TE610 on the Husky site? :applause:

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Try this site.

http://www.husqvarna.it/

I must say, it looks pretty sweet. I'll be in the market for a new DS soon and I'm a larger framed fella myself (6'3" @ 210ish). Does anyone out there have a TE610?

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My bias should be noted, but in your situation you should consider the paragon of pure dual sports, the quintessence of rally bikes, the standard against which all lesser dual-sports pale....the KTM 640Adventure R. There are very few available, but to be among the true believers of dual sport, it is a singularly worthy quest. You must ask yourself if you wish to simply ride a dual-sport bike, or if you have what it takes to be one of the few, the proud....

Too much?

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theres a few guys with TE610 Husqvarnas on the Husky forum.

word has it they will be bringing in a limited number of '06's soon.

they will look like these pics-but without the funky roll chart things.

https://thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=260606&parentpage=5

the TE610 is a great bike-its been refined for a few years now. very reliable.

parts are not an issue as they also sell a motard version that is now in the stores with the same stuff...

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I weight 240 with all my gear. I ride a KTM 640 AdventureR. ATV trails are no problem, single track is challenging but totally do-able.

If I were you I would not be looking at anything under 600cc. XR650R, 640 SXC, 640 ADV, KLR650 (Last choice). The AdventureR has a huge gas tank which is great for true DS riding. I can cruz at 80 MPH on the hiway all day no problems.....except my ass hurts. :applause:

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How far are you from Caz??
About 30 miles southwest along NY-13; in Cortland NY.

Caz is a nice place, but a bit...er...snobbish for me. And don't forget the ice fishermen out there in the dead of winter out on the lake. :applause:

Now Watkins Glen, the Finger Lakes, the wine trails, and the Adirondacks...those are places to be in New York if you don't know the locals well enough to ride on private property.

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I can cruz at 80 MPH on the hiway all day no problems.....except my ass hurts. :eek:
Ahh, "Ass on Fire" syndrome. I know it well.

It's what stops me from those 500+ miles tours on my Concours. I'm gonna try an Airhawk cushion in a few hundred miles, and if that doesn't work spring for a Russel seat.

The Adirondacks are so close, yet so far.... :applause:

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Thanks for all the replies everyone. It's helped a lot.

The KTMs sound good, but there's no dealer in Upstate New York, at least according to my local phone books (Cortland, Ithaca, & Syracuse) and the KTM web site. That scratches them off my list simply because it would be too much of a hassle if I ever needed to bring the bike to a dealer for work.

About the KLR: My thinking about the bike was that it leaned heavilty towards the road portion of dual sport. It's good to know that I wasn't off base at all. :applause:

And I was leaning towards the 600+ models, but I wasn't sure that the power in the two-smoke world would be the same as in the four stroke.

Again, thanks for the replies. Now to go see what's being sold in the Swap Sheet. Maybe wait until the fall when everyone's trying to get rid of their bike before the winter. :eek:

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The DRZ will pull your weight without any problems. Gear it for the type of riding you do and have fun. You will want to put in the proper rear spring, but the motor has pleny enough hp and torque to move you down the road, trail, over downed trees, etc.... It is the perfect DS bike.

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No one in their right mind would take a KLR off-road, unless it was a gravel road or something casual. Pushing that bike in any way would cause nothing but problems. The DRZ is lighter, better suspended, and as close to a street-legal off-road bike as you can get without a dual-sport kit. If you can plate an off-road bike in NY, then go that route and get a KTM 520 or any of the 450's.

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You didn't say how tall you are, but I am 6'4" and weight 250-lbs. I had an XR650L for 10 years and was quite happy with it, but if you plan to ride in challenging off-road situations, you need to be fairly long-legged as the bike is tall and has it's weight up high. I now have a KTM 625-SXC which I like even better (lighter, faster, stiffer), but it may or may not be easy to get licensed in your area, and it does give up some comfort on the street.

There is a guy with a DR650 who comes the MX track who I would guess to be around 5'9", 275 lbs, and he does fairly well as long as he doesn't try big jumps. The DR is definitely lower to the ground, but supposedly does not have as good of suspension as the XRL.

The KLR is a very fine bike, but is oriented towards the street / dirt-road side of dual sporting.

The smaller bikes (DRZ400, KTM525, etc.) listed by some of the other posters will have better suspension, and have plenty of power, but may physically be too small for you. My friends used to kid me that I made my XRL look like a mini-bike. Personally, I like a lot of low-end torque, for which "there's no replacement for displacement".

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I'm 6'1" with a 30" inseam. I ride a Concours on the street which is a 600 pound bike that is VERY top heavy. I've nearly dropped my Concours standing still it's so bloody top heavy.

I don't see a problem getting plates for any of the bikes mentioned here in New York so long as they have their "street-legal" kits applied. Availability in the used market will probably be an issue though.

From what I've read here I'm leaning strongly towards the DR650/DRZ400 and bikes similar to it. Have a bike that I can ride on the road so I won't get a ticket, but something that is easier to manage off road (Which the KLR really isn't).

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