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New Bike.. What is better?


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hey all.. I'm new as you can see..

I currently own and ride a sport bike.. however I'm looking to get into the whole on and off road thing.. for a second bike and possible commuting bike.. (as I only live 5km from work..)

Now one of the main things i was looking at is seat height.. I got short legs.. (5'7") and a 33'' - 34" would be the Max that I would be comfortable with, without installing some lowering links or something..

The other thing is top end speed.

Now having said that.. I won't be selling my Sportbike anytime soon.. so if I want speed.. I can use that! But some of my friends have KLR650's and they do some off road riding quite a bit.. but getting to some of the trails is sometimes quite the distance.. so Highway speed is a lil bit of an issue as I don't want to be someones obstacle on the road.. but top speed of 120km-130km is fine..

Oh.. there is one last thing.. I would "Possibly" want to "maybe" do a long distance trip or two with it.. like a 1500km round trip...?!

I was looking at some used bikes.. as not to spend too much $ on it...

Super Sherpa 250

XT350

any recommendations??

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Two issues for the original poster with both the DRZ400 and the WR250:

1. Range. Both have relatively small tanks and relatively poor fuel mileage. I don't know how far his friends ride to get to the offroad stuff, but depending upon where the offroad stuff is in relation to a gas station, he might be worried about getting home. For the long "possibly, maybe" 1500km trip, fuel planning in advance will be critical with the stock tanks on both.

My bone stock 2009 DRZ400SM with 2,000km on it runs onto reserve with the stock tank at:

175km if I stay under 85kph for the entire time and lots of it at 65kph or slower.

155km if I run most of it at 90-105kph.

145km if I run it mostly at 100+kph.

On the stock tank it looks like reserve is at exactly 7L.

Now that I think about it, range with the stock tanks might be an issue for the original poster's plans with any of the bikes suggested so far. Not necessarily a showstopper but certainly cause for careful planning of refueling stops. And a good idea to run the tank onto reserve in safe situations a time or three to be sure he knows when he's going to run out under different riding conditions.

2. Seat height. Both of these bikes are tall. The WR250 and DRZ400S are really tall (well, they are if you're vertically challenged!!) .. pretty much as tall as a KLR650. The DRZ400SM (supermoto version) is a little shorter. I can ride the DRZ400SM and tippy-toe both sides at a level stop. I can't do that on the other two. One foot on tippy-toe at a time is it. I'm 5'6" with a 29" inseam.

So I bought the DRZ400SM. I've installed a thinner seat and dropped the rear spring preload all the way to the softest setting. Both help a little.

A friend just bought a 2009 Kawasaki KL250 Super Sherpa. It's one of the sweetest dual purpose rides I've ever been on (includes a couple of Yamaha IT175 and DT200 two-strokes, multiple XL250s over the years and an XT250). And it fits really well.

I don't know how much you would want to ride any 250 or smaller displacement bike at 120kph or 130kph though. You could cruise the Sherpa at 100kph. But after about 95kph a 250 or smaller has no power margin for acceleration if you need it. Except maybe the WR?? It was too tall for me to test ride so I couldn't say.

I don't even like my DRZ400 much when I get it over 105kph. It will go way faster and still has lots of acceleration ability at that speed. It's just at the fat part of the powerband there. But it's really buzzing by then and doesn't get any smoother as you twist the throttle farther. I've done an hour at a steady 110-115kph and that's about as long as I want to do that without a butt break. ­čśĆ

...ken...

Edited by Ken in Regina
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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a 2008 Yamaha XT250 and have used it extensively both on and off road. I have done some fully loaded camping trips of 200 or so miles and found it pretty comfortable. It will cruise easily at 60 mph and top out a little over 70. The seat height is low and the gas mileage is excellent. Last week I did a 90 mile round trip ride on dirt roads/single track at 20-35 mph and ended up putting in 1.1 gallons of fuel--that's 82 mpg. I usually can count on at least 70 mpg. I am not criticizing the larger dual purpose bikes, but I have found them just too cumbersome and tall for any serious off road use, although they are certainly nice on the highway. The xt weighs about 300 pounds and is very maneuverable. There is a long thread on this site dedicated to the 2008 and newer xt250 that has a ton of good info on this bike. I like your idea of an XT350 also, but you get a bike that is a little dated. I think any of the 250 to 400 cc bikes discussed here would work well and it is just a matter of seeing which one fits you best for the price and what you want to pay. Sorry about my non-metric units.

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