Need help deciding

I am fairly new to the motorcycling world and would appreciate some help. I am looking to buy my first bike, but I don't know what to get. I am looking for a good dual-sport bike. I would like it to handle highway speeds (at least 70 mph) and dirt roads well. I live in the mountains, so dirt roads are abundant. It doesn't necessarily need to be great for trail riding, I will be primarily sticking to the roads. Any advice? I have been researching and the KLR 650 and WR250R seem like my best two options at the moment, but I am open to suggestions. Or help on which of these two would be better.

Seems like you have a good idea what your mission is. Since Bikes today are really purpose built, you need to know what you will be doing with it. So first Where in Co are you? Will you be ridding I-70? Or doing single track around Stillwater, or Rampart range? The KLR will be fairly nice running around town with a little jeep trails etc thrown in. It will be ok with your camping gear on it. but will be a handful for a novice rider on single track, or tight trails. the 250 will be good on single track, but suck with your camping gear, and marginal around town, or on the freeway. Also, if you are younger, you will be ok with a less comfortable bike, like the 250's. I am 54 yrs old. I have a DRZ400s. Great all around bike, well built, realiable, fun, low maint. etc. It works great for short rides, is good around town, ok on single track. I wouldn't want to take a long trip on it, but some have. Plenty powerful at altitude to do what you need. the seat is uncomfortable, and the lack of a 6gear really hampers it's usefullness as a dualsport. But I would buy it again, considering your purposes. I have done 200 mile dualsport rides on it. But I consider that a stretch for a days ridding.

I live in the mountains above Boulder, at 9000 feet. From your descriptions, it sounds like the KLR is what I want. I won't be doing much heavy/difficult trail riding. I do want it to be able to haul a bit of gear for camping and otherwise. And it needs to be highway capable. Thank you for the help, it was very useful.

I guess I should start by saying that I have been riding since I was 8yrs. old and I have grown up on motorcycles, both street and dirt. Riding is my greatest passion, other than family.

I currently own a nice off road bike (05' CRF450X) and wanted to get a dual sport for getting around town and to use on the trails for whan I go riding with the kids and also when I travel out of town (in search of that perfect retirement spot). My other street bike is an 02' ZRX1200 and it is just getting to be a bit much for those short trips around town. I used to own an XR600 that was converted to street legal status back in the early ninties. I rode that bike for years on many dual sport rides and much off road from extreme single track to mild fire roads and everything in between. As of late, California has changed thier registration requirements and it is (basically) impossible to convert a dirt bike to street legal status.

With this in mind and still wanting a dirt capable street bike, I started my research. At the time of purchase I was torn between the DR650S and the XR650L. Prior to choosing the 650cc, I had considered the 400's but after talking to some owners about extended highway speeds, I felt that the 650's would better suit my needs. I didn't want to over work my bike on the highway. Although getting a lighter machine would be ideal. I have had experience with the heavier thumpers.

I ended up choosing the Honda. I have always considered myself a Honda guy, until I bought my REX a few years back, when I learned that there was more to life than just Honda :thumbsup: . So anyhow I bought the XR650L and made some upgrades because I like power, more than just stock, and I do like to have the ability to attach difficult trails. I just wanted you to know I am very happy with my choice.

I would say depending on your experience and size, the DR400S may work fine for you. I stayed away from the KLR because it has the least abount of travel between all the bikes. I understand that you are just cruisin' dirt roads, but I believe in always getting something that allows ya room to grow and expand. The 400's are lighter, and easier to control from the start, but a larger, heavier bike can be controlled just as well after you learn to do so. It is a different kind of ride.

Good luck to you, I just wanted to chime in and throw my ten cents worth. I am sure you will be happy with which ever machine you choose to purchase.

What is your riding skill and age?

I just turned 55. This is my first motorcycle. The WR250R is more than I will ever be able to master.

If you are 25 and have plans to become a racer, the 250 is probably on the small side for you and you will be trading up.

I will never trade up. I will stop riding from age before the WR wears itself out.

+1 on the xr650l, i got mine last year and i love it. will hall all my camping gear and run down the high way 75 no problem. my buddy got a klr650 so we could ride all the great dirt roads up here in maine.

i have to say that the xr will smoke it on road and totaly eat it alive off road,first few times we went off road he said he almost dumped it sevral times trying to stay up:p

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DRZ400s model and change the tires (death wings)...its the most versatile well rounded dual sport bike period........that being said I ride a wr450f more fun off road

+1 Xr650l

I'd also consider the DR650. It's plenty capable on highway or dirt roads. It's lighter and shorter than the KLR. It has good aftermarket support. It's cheap and stone reliable. It'll take the abuse of a novice rider well.

I was in same situation. I ended up with a DRZ 400 SM and I am perfectly happy. I do more road then dirt, so I got the SM model with is perfectly suited for any road or freeway. I looked at everything else and the DRZ fit me the best. the 400S is good too, but it has knobby tires instead of the street tires the SM has. Gearing is different too.

The KLR was nice, but I cant image what it would be like offroad. Especially the new KLRs which have a boat anchorish front end. The XR650 was too tall and heavy for comfort. Yamaha didn't make anything with any real highway power, nor are they geared for it (Same with CRF). KTM was too expensive compared to similar bikes. etc etc.. All my opinions of course and I am sure every one of those bikes would be fun as hell to ride. :ride:

I own both a KLR 650 and a DRZ 400, and owned an XR650L for a while. For the type of riding you described, I'd take my KLR. I think the DR650 might be a good choice, too.

I have a DR650. Rides great on the HWY with the "Deathwing tires". Off road D606 in the rear, stock deathwing in the front. Maybe the DR400SM. You might be able to buy some extra rims for off road tires and half best of both worlds dual/SM. Fun Fun Fun

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