best bike for desert riding

I'm curious as to what bikes forum memebers think work the best for prolonged desert riding. No doubt this arises in part from the problems I recently experienced after about 10 hours in the dez on my DR. Of course any bike can have problems, but lets face it some are more likely to than others. The DR is a great bike and in fact it's one of my two favorite dirtbikes... but I wondered what others think.

I'm not talking about adventure touring, where you start to get into beheamouth twins with big integrated luggage -- but rather the long baja style day rides I love. Breaking down can be more than an inconvenience, unlike say MX or even day riding in ATV areas. Terrain and climate are different.

Heat is a bigger issue in the dez than anywhere else. Air / liquid cooling? Rocks are bigger and meaner than in the woods, and a lot more of 'em.

I know this is the thumper forum but is there still a case to be made for ringy-dingies when it comes to prolonged desert riding. Certainly the bit KX and CR 500s were the top guns of choice for a while there.

Just curious what the forum members think are the top choices.

WR450F. Reliable. Fast top speed.

The DRZ has been reliable and has the cruising range(clark tank) and suspension for long desert trips. I do 2-5 day rides from sandy eggo to the western deserts. It's good for this type of ride. Longest single day miles I have done was 600 in 14 hours. The electric fan kicks on in slow uphill sections. I would like a kick start and the ability to run w/o a battery.

i agree on the WR450. Either that or a XR650.

Oh, come on. The XR650R OWNS the desert.

Oh, come on. The XR650R OWNS the desert.

True dat

CR500 owns it!! :excuseme:

KTM 525 EXC with MXC tank and optional OEM fan with coolant recovery system.

The best bike would be the Husaberg FE650e with optional electric fan, except that larger accessory gas tanks are not yet available for it.

yz250 or yz450f with high gearing and desert tanks are my personal preferances.

Isn't the KTM prone to blowing its top? I mean it's not exactly a ringing endorsement that you need extra parts in the coolant system. As for the Service Honda thing do people really own these? It's not exactly a factory bike, is it. I just have this idea they have built five of them, one of which is in continuous testing with bike magazines (look, isn't this clever!) and one of which is for sale by persons posting on the BBS.


I think there's quite a few of the Service Honda 500s floating's certainly not a factory bike though.

WR450F. Reliable. Fast top speed.

Ditto. Although if you want to also race desert...I'd get a YZ450F and modify it with off-road in mind.


WR450F. Reliable. Fast top speed.

heavy,handles like crap, or ktm. :excuseme:

Oh, come on. The XR650R OWNS the desert.

yea,if you are on the honda a or b team,otherwise it is a big,heavy,soft motorcycle. :excuseme:

CRF 450! :excuseme:

KTM pretty much owns enduro racing, so Id give them a serious look. The WRs are good bikes too. The XRs are OK, but they are air-cooled. Not that anything is wrong with an air-cooled engine, but liquid-cooling is better.

Id pass on a CRF because they have too many problems with the valvetrain. Honda reliability aint what it used to be! :excuseme:

KX500 Geared to about 115mph thats my vote.

Screw the 500's and XR 650's. Go ATK 700 cc 2-stroke! :excuseme:

I believe the question was about prolonged desert riding, not racing. In that requard the racing 2 and 4-strokes will not have an advantage. The idea here is to get there, not get there first. Long term dependability and ability to run on crap gas is the key. I vote for the lowly DR650SE or Honda XR650L or a few other similar sized or larger dual sports.

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