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Please help me select a bike

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Looks like the Thumper community would be perfect for helping me select a bike.

I'm 42 years old and haven't ridden a bike in 10 years. When in high school I raced 100cc TT class and had various bikes from 90s to 400 trials to 750 crusiers. I guess the first order of business is the get my license back.

The bike I'm looking for will initially be used for 10/90 street/dirt. For dirt, it's forest roads or 4x4 trails with the occasional ride off-road to retrieve an elk. I'm not into high speed and jumping. When I'm in the dirt I usually go slow and steady, it's the trials training I had I guess.

Sound levels are important. I'd like to be able to 'glass' an area with a low profile. And, I'd like to be flat-footed (31" inseam at 150 lbs) without too many modifications.

The occasional sprint at 60 mph may be required on the street. But long distance on highways are not planned. It'd be nice to have a 200 mile range on back roads. I'd also like to use this to go to work and back which is all city streets and 10 miles round trip.

Not sure what manufactures are into these days with 35-37" seat hights that I can bearly reach the ground. Bikes these days are much lighter and powerful but just plain unconfortable regarding height and seats.

I'm open to anything you all may advise. I have some ideas but don't want to skew the results. Year, size, style are all open but wouldn't want to go over 7k (us). I realize one bike won't do it all, but hopefully something will crop up that is a good compromise that I haven't thought of yet.

Thanks in advance,

Bit

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sounds like a dual sport may be in your future. among those are kawasaki klr 650,suzuki dr650,honda xr650. these and a few others will fill the requirments you listed. i believe all can be altered to lower seat level,but will lose some suspension travel. i use a suzuki dr650. speeds to 90+,can also be a commuter bike(mpg 50-60),fairly quiet with stock muffler. new price about 5100-5300.

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A DRZ400S is more gear toward dirt however it's not a high performance bike like todays WR's and CRFx's. If you want optimum performance in the dirt, I would get a KTM or a Husky. Not sure what the models are called though.

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Just so the OP knows, the XR's are probably the most durable bike out there. However they aren't for somebody serious about performance and handling. But from what you described it sounds like you won't need the fancy stuff like KTM's and Husky's.

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The DR650 is designed with a lowering kit basically in place when you buy it, you just have to flip some things in the fork and on the shock; if I remember correctly this lowers the already low DR about another 2-3''. Great bike, bullet proof, change oil every 2-3,000miles.

I think the only bike with a 200+ mile tank stock is the KLR650, nice bike but not what you're looking for (more highway oriented). Plan on having to get an IMS desert tank, they hold about 4gal for the 400's, and 4.9gal on 650's.

The DRZ400s fits your bill perfectly... but it has a high seat and trying to lower it would be a waste. My buddy rides one with a 30" inseam, but he's all over that thing in slow traffic and slow/tech trails trying to get a foot down... it's funny to watch.

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Due to your inseam concerns and no real need to go fast - check out a Yamaha XT225 from 92-07 - they're all the same essentially. They can be had for cheap used. In 08 they switched it to a 250 which added lots of pounds and one less gear too.:)

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Thanks all. You pretty much confirmed what I had my sights on: DR650.

I sat on some bikes with 35" seat heights today and it's a mixed bag. Some were fine and others had suspensions that didn't budge when I sat on them. Sat on a 2009 KLX 250 S and was fine.

There are no new DR650s in Phoenix since gas prices went up. At least I've narrowed it down thanks to you.

Handling the DR shouldn't be a problem. It weighs more than a CB350 I had years ago. For what it does, being street legal, it's a lot of bike at 324 dry.

Laters,

Bit

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Good point Insanity.

Since there were no 400 or 650s in the area, I picked up a CRF230L to get my legs back and my license.

This 230 feels like it has the power of a 125 smoker. Very light and feels like a toy. It does pretty good in the city and in the dirt though, would make a good pit bike or camp bike. It no way has the power of a kawasaki 250 I raced in high school.

I noticed a lot of 'fluf' on the bike. There's a lot of unnecessary plastic and what's the deal with the carb? I come from the days where the carb had three holes: air, fuel and output. The carb on the 230 looks crazy with tubes, canisters, o2 sensors, etc. Add to that you have to take the panels off to get to the air filter and manual. Wouldn't suprise me if this thing has a catalytic converter on it cause it runs pretty hot. Now that's pure genius: putting a c-converter on a dirt bike.

Glad I got the 230. Opened my eyes of what to expect for a 'street legal' bike. May be better to get a dirt and convert.

I did sit on a sold DR650S last week. Not THAT felt like a bike! No problems with seat height either and it was adjusted to max height. But if that DR has all the carberator crap the 230 does, I'll probably start looking at the XRs.

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huh, idk what you are talking about. carbuerators on modern bikes are easy to work on. the hoses and crap are all just vent hoses, and overflow hoses. and the plastic has a purpose you know.

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I noticed a lot of 'fluf' on the bike. There's a lot of unnecessary plastic and what's the deal with the carb? I come from the days where the carb had three holes: air, fuel and output. The carb on the 230 looks crazy with tubes, canisters, o2 sensors, etc. Add to that you have to take the panels off to get to the air filter and manual. Wouldn't suprise me if this thing has a catalytic converter on it cause it runs pretty hot. Now that's pure genius: putting a c-converter on a dirt bike.

But if that DR has all the carberator crap the 230 does, I'll probably start looking at the XRs.

Any factory dual sport will have all of the unknown hoses and O2 sensors installed. There's no way around it unless you "de-cork" it all and remove them one by one which also voids your warranty. Have heard Cali ORV rangers give tickets for such mods.

It's running hot because it is jetted lean from the factory to reduce emissions. You'll need to richen it up and get to the fuel screw to adjust it. If the fuel screw has a brass plug like my XT225 did, drill it out.

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Interesting posts.

TJ: If I'm not losing HP then I guess all the extra stuff is okay. I have heard CA smog pumps do rob HP however. I don't live in CA so shouldn't be a problem. For me, simpler is better and if an o2 sensor stops the bike from running, it's gone. If the bike has a 'computer' it's gone. I guess in the worse case I'll have to buy a new MX carb and adjust so it's not too lean. I'd like to lose the battery and have a kick start as well, we'll see.

Shrubitup: Stop reading my mind! Right now I'm at 1500' but the bike will ultimatly be used at 6500'. I'll definatly have to re-jet the carb at those altitudes.

I know they don't make the XR's anymore but Honda does have X and R models. I sat on a 450 X model and it had an insanly high seat height. It was so high, I didn't dare push it off the stand.

The DR650S is looking better and better, but I'm still looking at the DRZ400. Guess it boiles down to how my butt feels after a 30 mile ride. My favorite bike in my early days was a Montessa 400 trials. That bike was incredable.

I did pass my moto skills test today and the 230 has done it's job.... Legally have a motorcycle endorsement again on my license and only took three days. One step at a time.

About carbs... I'm a pilot and in planes we adjust the mixture as we gain altitude in piston engines. Do the make mixture-adjustable carbs for motorcycles?

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ah, sorry, i forgot we were talking crf230"L" yeah, those come corked as hell from the factory. you will need to jet it immediately, new baffle, and take all those dumb sensors off. good luck 👍

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tjscott2012: The 230 will be on craigs list soon, it was my starter bike. I can take off all the sensors but not sure what that would do to my mixture and how to re-jet. I've already googled on how to do this and the only solution I've found is to buy a new carb.... so far.

So this brings a new question. What 400+ street legal thumpers avert these environmental controls? Which have kick starts? KLM?

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hold on. jetting is super simple, buying a new carb instead of jetting will do nothing. ok, do you see a large bolt on the bottom of the carb? if not we will have to do this differently. either way you need to loosen the clamps holding the carb on. take the linkage loose or off. (the cap on top of your carb that threads on) now on the bottom of the carb you should see 4 screws around your float bowl. there you will see a screw sticking out. the one that sticks out the farthest is your main jet. read the number on it, i have no idea what it will say maybe like 160? if it says 40 or something like that you have the wrong jet. anyways to richen it up you need a jet that is bigger. jets go in intervals of 5 or 2. you will probably need a number jet 5 bigger than what you currently have. and dont worry, you cannot screw this up. dont be intimidated. and make sure the gas is off before you do it! if you see a huge bolt on the bottom, remove that, and unscrew the jet that is right under the bolt. then do the same thing.

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tjscott2012: The 230 will be on craigs list soon, it was my starter bike. I can take off all the sensors but not sure what that would do to my mixture and how to re-jet. I've already googled on how to do this and the only solution I've found is to buy a new carb.... so far.

So this brings a new question. What 400+ street legal thumpers avert these environmental controls? Which have kick starts? KLM?

How to jet a CRF230F. Your L can't be that different. That section there will give you 101 tips how to tweak your 230 I'm sure.

All street legal bikes have environmental controls. You can add a kickstart kit to a Yamaha XT225 if you like.

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Great link shrubitup! Exactly what I was looking for.

I have no problems with re-jetting a carb mechanically. Pretty much a no-brainer till you get to the part where you adjust the mixture. I burned a hole in a piston on a smoker cause it was too lean.

I'm sure there is a happy medium between 1500 feet and 6500 feet. It'd be a pita to re-jet for a weekend in the mountains each time.

The more I ride this little 230 the more I like it. For a street bike it is really nimble in the dirt / rocks / sand trails. Took it on the highway and doesn't do bad there either with a top speed around 72 mph or so. I didn't feel like I was holding up traffic or about to be run-over. Drivers in my city are the worse especially for tail-gating but I didn't see any problems there either. I guess drivers give you a bit more space when your on a bike cause they know you'll die if they hit you.

My only complaint is the seat. It's confortable way up toward the gas tank but feels like a padded 2x4 in my normal riding position which is were the hand-strap is. Got to get more padding there with a seat-cover or make it wider somehow... and NO, I don't need a 'wide load' sign on my arse! The DR's seat seemed fine, this one is too narrow with not-enough padding were it counts. Guess it wouldn't hurt to take it to an upholstery shop and have them install thicker memory foam and see what they can do about the width.

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I figured out the problem with the seat. It's not the width, it's the design.

I took off the seat and turned it over, it was obvious. The base structure of the seat is made of plastic. Along the length of the base are three channels to give it strength. The combinded width of these channes are 3.3 inches with a height of about 1/2 inch. It's worse than a 2x4.

The result of these channels, even with foam padding to the edges of the seat, is basically putting all your weight on your tail bone instead of distributing it to your pelvis.

I seem to recall that in midevil times, one torture was to have a 'torturee' sit in a narrow board with his feet off the ground for hours or days. Honda needs to fix this, it's be very easy to do.

At least the fix is easy. Take off the upholestry and foam, fill up the channels and put strips of wood filler to even out the bottom of the seat. I don't see how this would affect the ability to move around in various riding situations.

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