First dual purpose, need some help

Hi, I am looking to buy my first dual purpose bike. I've only road trails and offroad stuff before and this will be my first street legal bike. I will most likely use it probably about 70+/30- on/off road. So im looking for something leaning more toward street but wont compromise too much offroad because although it wont be used as much offroad id like for it to perform well(enough). Like I said im new to street so handling would be huge to me(at higher speeds).So far ive considered the xt225, klx250s, and drz400(not sure about the weight and height;im 6'and would like to be able to put both feet on the ground because of being new to street and weight; b/c im not sure about the maneuverablity it would have on tighter trails). And if it helps in narrowing/widening my choices im 150#'s & 6'. Also i'd like to keep it 400cc or smaller

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

My take on DS riding is that it is hard to enjoy the asphalt portion when you have to wring the guts out of a bike just to keep up with traffic. Not having the power to ride hard on the road when the conditions are right for it takes a lot of the fun out of a dual sport ride. Not having the power to pass a minivan full sightseers takes all the fun out of it. So you can guess where I am headed with that list of choices.

First, with apologies to people that own them, the XT225 would be at the very bottom of my list. The suspension is way out of date and it is way underpowered for the street. But it is cheap, simple and reliable. So, if you want an inexpensive bike that is likely to never die and even less likely to ever excite you, then go for it. Otherwise X it off the list right now.

The KLX's that I rode with last year look like your best bet if you really want to stay that small. The two I rode with on the Shenandoah 500 DS ride obviously could not keep up with big bikes on two tracks and fire roads, but they sure looked like sweet rides on the single track trails. I talked to the guys on them between rides and they were generally very happy with the bikes. If I could have two bikes, I would park one of those next to my XL600R for trail riding.

But, I'm a one bike guy and my personal preference is to have as many cc's under me as possible. Especially for street riding. For an experienced rider, the extra power more than makes up for the extra weight offroad. So unless you plan to ride mostly technical trails with a lot of manhandling the bike over obstacles, then you should consider putting as much bike as possible under your butt for asphalt riding.

So the obvious choice to me is the DRZ. Plus the magazine guys all loved the SM version of the DRZ400. So there must a bit of streetbike hiding in it. Then factor in the aftermarket being full of goodies for it and the potential for more power with a few mods. It would be an easy decision for me.

how do the klx and drz compare in the tighter tracks, odviously the klx would have the advantage but how big of one? also how is the sm offroad and the s on street?

thanks for the help

For the most part, people that knock the XT225, have not ridden one. I was kind of sceptical when I was first looking for a D/S bike. After researching, I did end up buying an XT, and I couldn't be happier. Most everyone you talk to will say it's a girls bike, but some people that I know that have ridden their DR, then have ridden the XT, really like the XT, and some have changed to the XT.

Before you make your decision, you might want to check out these sites:

http://www.thumperpage.com/articles/Serow.html

http://www.XT225.com ....:applause:

For the most part, people that knock the XT225, have not ridden one.

i've ridden one. that's how i got my start offroading. it's a good beginner bike. it's a good bike for a street rider who wants to get his feet wet offroad and maybe use the bike for getting around town too. it's hard for me to imagine someone with any serious level of offroad experience not being pretty annoyed by it tho.

imho, the drz400 is the only bike in that list that someone with offroad experience would take seriously and not end up throwing a ton of money at.

leaning toward the xt but still not sure. hows the drz's handling when compared to the xt. and will my feet touch the ground when at lights?

I started out on a small XT's also. And I have ridden about a 100 different XT's over the years including the XT225. In fact I still have an old XT200 that i bought new in 1980. So my point was not to knock the bike. I actually like them enough that I rode my unkillable XT350 for 17 years.

Like I said, the XT is simple and reliable and it will get you down a trail at a reasonable pace. But the technology in my XT's from the 80's is still pretty much what you get in the XT225. So my 25 years of owning and riding XT's of all flavors also taught me that they are old technology and that Yamaha has let every other Japanese company pass them by.

That is why I didn't replace my XT350 with another XT despite having ridden nothing but Yamaha DS's since 1980. Unless your goal is to just explore trails, you will outgrow an XT225 within months. Whereas the KLX and DRZ give you the power and suspension to attack some tough trails at speeds that will keep you entertained for years to come.

Again, I am not saying it isn't possible to attack a trail on an XT. I did it for years and years. But I also know from experience that it is much harder work on an XT than the KLX or DRZ. So I still say go for the bikes with modern suspension and motor unless you are sure that you just want a trail bike. In my opinion it is better to quickly grow into a bike than to quickly grow out of one.

Besides all you need are your toes down on one side at lights.:applause:

ok now between klx and drz :applause: would the klx be better than the drz for me due to the weight and height or would it be best to go with the drz. havent stood next to one yet. klx seems pretty big but havent sat on one yet so not sure.also how is the klx when it comes to power? I do agree, id rather grow into a bike instead of get to big for one. and yeah for most only toes on one side would work but being new to street not sure if id be comfortable with that.

once again thanks to everyone who has and ones who will put in their 2 cents

The Klx is a good bike I have rode one and like it. However it is not a bike you want to ride a lot on the pavement it is a bit underpowered. It is also a tall bike, but still a little lower thant the drz. I have a DRZ I have a 30 inch inseam i ride it fine. I just put on a lowered seat. If thats not enough get a lowering link. The drz is a better choice much more all around bike you will like it.

how is the drz on trails that are tight?

The DRZ is a good dirt bike not a great one but a good one, it is overweight, and with a couple simple mods you can find the power. On tight trails you will have to work more than if you had a 100% off road machine but it will tackle most all terrain well. The DRZ is a great dual sport (road/dirt) very reliable and versatile but its not the best at any one task, but is good at most.

Between the s and sm I like them both i have a set of dirt wheels and sm wheel, they are two differnt bikes. if your going to ride all roads the sm is a fun bike. If you want to do dirt get the s. They are basicly the same bike execpt for suspension and wheels, you can get either one and set it up for both or specialize it for one or the other.

The DRZ is good on tight trails. This is a very predictable, stable, reliable example of the Dualsport bike the manufacturers thought we wanted. It does a lot of things well. It does nothing great. They have a cult like following and a good used one with low miles can be had for 3k or less. 2002 or later is preferred due to the upgraded suspension, so they say.

You cant get hurt financially by buying a used one and testing the waters with this bike.

The XT is a bit less evolved, again, no offense to the owners of them. (I own a TW200) The XT is very reliable and bulletproof, they just go forever. The seat is more comfy on the XT, you can and should upgrade the DRZ seat. The XT has a lower seat height and may be better for someone starting out due to the ability to paddle through slow speed terrain.

All the bikes you're considering will get you out there and back if you're smart about your abilities and planning. If you get bit, this probably wont be your last bike anyway. You will know what you want in your bike though and upgrade accordingly.

The XT would be too small for you. I'm 5'10" and I'm tippy-toe on the DRZ-400S. I have no doubt that you'd be happier with the DRZ. KTMs and Huskys are more geared towards off-road.

A few years ago when I was looking for a bike to get back into the sport I rode a XT225. In 3 minutes I knew it didn't have the suspension I wanted.

One of my bikes is now a KLX400 (the green DRZ). It is a very good all around bike like others have said. I wouldn't be too concerned about the seat height. My son was riding it when he was much shorter than you are.

We also had a KLX300 which I think is a very similar chasis to the KLX you are looking at. Compared to the DRZ it was much easier handling in the tight stuff and the seat is noticably lower. The place it lacked was suspension. On the rocks it would beat you up on stuff the DRZ just bounced you a little. On the road the DRZ was a much better bike but if your highway use is limited to shorter runs at 55 mph or less the KLX should do fine while using gearring that would still work on the trails.

Bottom line is that all dual type bikes are a compromise. If possible try to get a ride on some of them. You may fall in love with something that I wouldn't want to ride around the block but that doesn't mean that either one of us is wrong. That's why there are so many arguments about which one is better.:applause:

I have a 2003 DRZ4000S that I bought new that now has just over 20,000 miles. I am 5'8" and and the seat height is not an issue. I think that it is by far the best true dual sport bike on the market. I am running 15/42 gearing and can run 70 mph all day. I do usually gear down a bit when I go to Colorado to ride.

this is gonna sound weird since ive been asking about smaller bikes but anyone have any experience with the DR650SE?

the 650 is in a different class. Less offroad oriented.

Okie, tell us about that 20K miler you have. Now that's a long term test there. Any work to the top end yet? Surprises?

how is the drz on trails that are tight?

If you have the "S" model drop the front sprocket one tooth and the bikes' personality completely changes...

Not sure if anyone is looking at this thread anymore but I'll be going to check out the ones I'm interested in, see which one I'd be more comfortable on. I've sadly made my list bigger instead of narrowing it down. It's now between the xt225, klx250s, drz400, and the dr600se. leaning toward the drz and dr. But I don't know yet. Holy crap, this is stessful :applause: I've been researching everyday(about 3-4 weekes now), whenever i have spare time.

I'm sure you've heard this before, but I've had tons of street and dirt bikes over my lifetime. Dual-sporting is great, but you have to tell yourself seriously what your intention is. If you plan on riding ANY freeway to get to your destination, the 250ish class will probably feel too twitchy/unstable for medium to long rides. Lighter is great in the dirt (usually) unless the suspension is not capable. You may love the 250 when you first get it, but will probably outgrow it in a short period of time. If you are financially capable of trading up as you gain experience, then go for it! But...you will NEVER regret getting the larger bore bike(s). The DRZ400S is probably for you, where you are at your stage of riding. I think the 650 will be too large right away. I've got an XR650L, and it's a bit of a pig in the dirt, but I love having the power to break the tires loose at any second, and climb any hill with ease. But...it's a pig. I would not recommend starting on a bike that size. Who knows, you may come to a point (financially) in your life where you just want a dedicated street and dirt bike. Also, no matter what you decide, my opinion of the one "must-have" accessory for a dual-sport is a steering stabilizer. Made such a difference on my dual-sport that it changed the way I ride on it dramatically. Also, much more confidence in uncontrollable situations.

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