Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Advice on buying first motard

Recommended Posts

Hi all, I am new to the forum. I have ridden dirt bikes most of my life, I am 35 years old currently. I also have ridden sport bikes and cruisers, for some reason I always enjoyed most taking a rip on my CRF on the streets where I live, thus when I discovered supermoto, well I finally found my home. With that, living in the US, not much to chose from as far as motards already set up. I do not know alot about upkeep on bikes other than oil changes, I just do not have the time to learn, at some point I hope to find the time, so for now, I am at the mercy of bike shops. The big question is, all I see available is the DRZ400SM, and Huskies. The Huskies seem like something I am looking for, the DRZ seems like it may be too tame. But, I am concerned for maintanance on a Huskie, I live in southwestern PA, awesome twisties, bumpy roads, heck you could catch some air on some of the roads in my neck of the woods, but anyway, I need some advice on what I should do about selecting a SM, what bike, DRZ400SM, Huskie, or pay to mod a KTM, and any opinions in Huskie reliability? Pro's Con's for each bike, I will mostly road ride, not track time, maybe in the near future though. Thanks, to anyone taking the time to help me out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in the same boat, cant wait to see some opinions. I was pretty dead set on the Suzuki until I got here and now everyone is making me second guess myself :ride: !! So what do you guys think :thumbsup: ????

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Fang" attracts attention wherever I ride and I haven't been embarrassed on the street by anyone running the twisties.

TankBag011.jpg

It's as much the rider's willingness as it is the bike's native power. You modify anything you ride, anyway and Fang's not showroom original by a long shot. The kicker for me was maintenance. I ride every day. Ev-er-y day. That's alot of tinkering on a Husky. I love Huskies, but I 'd rather work on mods than maintenance and I'm not going to race it beyond holliganism, so why put up with the overhead? Plus, there's a Suzuki dealer in every town, just about.

When you're on the track looking to shave a few seconds for that trophy, then maybe the weight and native power makes the Husky a good starting point. When you're on the street riding to work every day and playing around with your friends jumping and wheelieing, you can swing a leg over just about anything under 300 lbs and have fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have only had my SMR510 for a week. but I like it better then my KTM525sx/SM. I used to own a WR400 in 99 thru 05 that was street legal so I knew what I was getting into when I purchased the Husky. For the past year I would take the KTM out for some street riding from time to time (no headlights or plates) and it left some doubts to just how much fun a street legal version would be. At first the Husky felt just like another dirtbike with street tires. But the past few days the Husky has been noticably more comfortable then the KTM or the WR mainly in terms of less buzz and vibrations. Not to say that its like a GoldWing or anything cause its still a hardcore race bike and it does vibrate, but they have seemed gotten it a few percentage marks better then the other two.

At high speeds the KTM felt a bit twitchy as if it needed a steering dampener another owner noticed the same with his. This is where the Husky really impresses me, its smooth and stable and handles fantasitic it feels like they designed the SMR for the street (meaning its hard to believe that it shares the same parts as the TC, other then the wheels, tripple clamps, brakes...) On that note; at a track like BeaverRun you the KTM does just fine.

As for reliability the Husky is not a new bike, however being a new owner I am not able to comment other then saying the information on reliability is out there.

I am not trying to sound like an advertisement here but for price and outright readiness the SMR is going to be hard to beat. The 07 EXCs (street legal) are a tempting choice if you have the extra $1,500.oo for the SM kit. and don't count out the DRZ/SM it may not be the fastest or nastiest but it will have the least maintenence and most comfortable ride.

th_Beav_077.jpgth_SuperMoto__34__copy.jpg

th_SMR510rr.jpgth_SMR510s.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Suzuki makes hot bikes. Good enought for Rickey Carmichael, lol. He's the undisputed best there is. Make up a matrix with every bike and every factor you think is important (its a lot of work), and the bottom line will be test drives AFTER you've done your homework (so you don't get overwhelmed with smiles after riding).

Never believe anyone on net, unless you have back up evidence of the decision and that person. Good luck.

I'm in the same boat, cant wait to see some opinions. I was pretty dead set on the Suzuki until I got here and now everyone is making me second guess myself :ride: !! So what do you guys think :thumbsup: ????

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want a low maintenance durable SM bike then the Suzuki DRZ400SM or a Honda XR650 is the way to go. With a few minor mods they can gain some easy power. Most of these bikes come street legal from the getgo.

If you want more power, lighter weight and more trick stock wheel, brake, suspension components then look into the KTM's, Husqvarna's, Husaberg's, Honda CRF450's, etc. You'll need to change the oil every 6-10 engine hours and check the valves every 25 hours but that's the price you pay for high performance. Street legality of these bikes is a complicated subject but possible.

SM bikes are the shiz in the city and canyons but are uncomfortable and unhappy doing more than 15 minutes on the highway. Gas tank range is typically under 90 miles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Best bang for the buck (Maintenance, Quality, Performance, Reliabilty) is the KTM 625SMC. Plenty of HP, low maintenance, and you get all the good stuff i.e. Brembos White Power, etc

My 650L is about equal HP wise with the DRZ and maybe just a tad heavier (not by much), I've ridden the KTM plenty and it's got noticably more power, I almost got a motard EXC but opted for the Honda instead due to parts availability, smooth motor, and the motor is bulletproof and been around for like 20yrs. Any Euro bike will smoke me but it's still a TON of fun.

RE: above post, it depends on the bike regarding fuel range. I added a 4.7Gal tank to my bike and it's good for ~200miles, I've done 350mile days before and even hit the highway for stretches of 100miles at a time before although it's not the most comfortable or pleasant ride it's not untolerable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Never believe anyone on net

Um... you just said that on the net. :thumbsup:

Fang has the stock tank, 14CS and 44Trear sprockets (3.14:1 ratio), 3X3 mod and FMF SM rejet of stock BSR36 with a Supertrap IDS2 exhaust and gets 105 miles to the tank (before reserve) around town or 90 miles hooliganing. With stock gears, I got 65 mph after breakin.

That was 1 year and 12,6XX miles ago. Gas, tires, oil and adjustments. Trouble free. Just about everything I've done on the bike was a protection or performance mod by choice.

Having said that, I'd be on a Husky in a Jersey second if I had the extra time and didn't NEED the bike other than as a toy. This Zook must start every time and go the distance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about maintenance on a KTM ? I want something dependable that I dont have to work on all the time. Im used to riding two strokes :ride: and Im afraid the Suzuki may be under powered. My local dealer doesent have one so all I can go by is what i've read. The 07 450 KTM looks to have more power and the weighs the same, thats why I was considering it. I would just have to put some street tires on it. :thumbsup: Any thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Consider the following points:

1) Web "experts" on things like power and it's usage don't have to prove anything, they just have to type.

2) The bikes that put out alot of power were not designed to do so and apply it to paved surfaces with sticky tires. Even the "underpowered" DRZ will park you on your ass or loop if you don't understand that. These were dirtbikes. You will "hook up" in a harsh way and the power-to-weight ratio will keep you happy for quite a while on the street and in limited track expectations. A decent rider on an average bike will still smoke 90% of the track "experts" out there with exotic bikes and more credit cards than track hours.

3) It is fun to go into a poolhall, grab a beater stick off the wall, roll it on the table so the d%^&*bag with the custom stick can watch it wiggle and then kick his ass.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the street? Get the DRZ. Rock solid reliable. More than enough power after a few mods to get you in over your head. I ride mine to work 4 or 5 days a week. Awesome in the twisties - I can drag it through the corners just as fast as I want to.

On the track - forget the DRZ. Sure you can get more power out of it - but it'll take some serious $$$. Take the same amount of money and pick up a used MX bike and switch out the wheels and brakes. Or pick up a KTM SMR. I run a KTM offroad and I don't find the maintenance to be much worse than the DRZ400K I used to ride offorad.

Rode a KTM SMR450 and SMR560 on the track on Monday. Check the report here. No way I could push the DRZ (even with race slicks) as hard as I could the KTM.

Now I just need to save some more dough and pick up another TTR125 to convert to a track bike. And a bit more to pick up a CRF/YZ/etc to convert.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While the DRZ is a good bike in terms of reliability and maintenance, it definitely is lacking in quite a few areas... They are underpowered, overweight (as are all factory street legal bikes, with exception of the new husky's and a few KTM's), and a dime a dozen...

Some people claim they have enough power "to get you in over your head", but so does my little brothers KLX 110 when I'm racing it recklessly with friends. I forget who mentioned Suzuki being "good enough for R.C., and he's the best!" but I hope they were joking, and not just displaying their ignorance. Comparing R.C.'s Makita Suzuki to a DRZ (of any type,especially in stock form), is essentially the equivalent of comparing a dodge neon to a dodge viper... They aren't even in the same boat!!!

I just finished a complete "ground up" rebuild and supermoto conversion on my CA plated '99 WR 400, and I must say that it's the best money I've ever spent (actually, I'm wondering why I didn't do it earlier). I've only had it done about a month now, and am already craving more power (currently searching for a 426 motor so that I can send it to L.A. sleeve to get punched out before getting a slipper clutch:)!!!) But here's my dilemma, I only ride on the streets (can't afford track days, still in school), and have literally stomped out every DRZ I've come across (ran with quite a few @ Moto GP). So why is everyone so pumped on theirs??? Am I missing something???? Or am I just young, dumb, and full of c*m???

Not to say that the DRZ is a bad bike, It's affordable and reliable, but it seems like it would just leave you wanting more. And I'm not claiming my WR is the $hit, it's a dinosaur compared to the modern competition bikes, but it kills all of the DRZ's that I've come across, already has a California plate, has never let me down (had it for a few years before the conversion), and I got everything said and done for under $5000(bought the bike in late 2002).

Now I do my own repairs, adjustments, and maintenance, so maybe I don't mind it cause I'm not getting charged an arm and a leg @ local shops, and I know that the job is getting done right when I do it myself. But it seems like before you purchase a supermoto you gotta ask yourself "do I mind spending a little more time maintaining in order to get a high performance machine, or do I want something that rarely needs to be tinkered with but leaves me wanting more". In my eyes it's a no brainer! Besides the first time you smoke your buddy and your smiling from ear to ear, you'll realize it's worth all of the oil changes and valve adjustments in the world!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been watching this thread with interest because I'm concidering my first SM bike too. I can appreciate the delema between dependable but wanting more and high preformance along with higher maintainence. As I start to rule out the Suzuki I've concidered two different KTMs in recent days; an '01 640 LC4 and an '04 SMC525. What are the pros/cons of these two bikes for someone wanting a fast twisty surfer plus fairly comfortable on the longer straights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

u hit the nail on the head SLOsupermoto...I think what we need is a high performance , low maintenance supermoto...if it was only possible.... :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SLO pretty much said it all but I think that he's a little harsh on the DRZ. I guess it depends on what you're used to. If you did some MX racing with the high power bikes then the DRZ will dissapoint. But on it's own the DRZ is a great and fun bike. Probably the ultimate city bike that can still play on tight weekend track days.

I test rode one and while I liked it I found that it wasn't enough better than my old DR350 to justify the upgrade costs. But when I test rode a buddy's Husky 510 I had to have one and it would have been worth selling my soul to get it.

The 610 feels a lot like a slightly heavier 510. Here again I got to test ride one and found that it was a blast. Far more pulling power than a DRZ but it'll likely be a bit more tempermental as well. However Husky seems to be getting better at their dealer network every other day so warranty and future parts issues should not be a bother. For general street duty and some fun track days it would be a superb upgrade over a DRZ. But for serious racing it's just a hair too heavy, ecept against other 600's of course, and doesn't fit in the CC classes.

Oh, and all the Husky's shake like paint mixers. For casual shorter rides this won't be a biggie at all. For longer rides with not many stops you'll want to do some of the tricks to reduce the bar vibes. This usually involves adding serious weights to the bar ends or even filling the bars with lead shot. Aftermarket gel grips are a must.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have owned a husky sm610 for a few months. They say much better than sm510 with new upgrades this year.

Today a thunderstorm came in quick, pooring rain, in unfamiliar road, 35 mph suddenly didn't see stop sign, locked up.... cross the intersection into and semi-over a 3' stone wall. I flipped and landed on someone's lawn, got taken to hospital by ambulance, nothing broken just bruised back.

I got a cab ride back to the bike, it was on kick stand no damage and it started right up. Then replace some of the stones in the wall. As I drove it home the handle bars tweeked a bit.

Great Bike after I get done icing down I'll straighten out the front end

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, the 'tards crash "good" for the most part. Not like sportbikes at all. Glad to hear that you came out of that "Flying Wallenda" without any long term damage. Next time PUMP that suspesion and bunny hop the damn wall! :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Smitty...hows the maintenance on your 610? I hear about alot of oil changes and valve adjustments is that true? Im lookin at an 06 and was wondering the pros and cons. Any help would be appreciated :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:

Sign in to follow this  

×