I am looking into a new bike for mostly trail dual sport rides in the Colorado mountains and the occasional trip around town or sunday poking around on fireroads. The trail rides are generally about 100-150 miles (rode, until my 93 XR628 suffered massive engine failure and was retired) with people on WRs and KTM 520s and include between 20 and 50 miles connecting trails. I like to ride fast (for me anyway) on the trails and the XR was just too big and heavy, I want something lighter. Having ridden a WR a few times I love the performance but am skeptical of riding it for long distances (I don't wear a thong either, for much the same reason). I don't want to sacrifice trail ability uncessarily for pavement comfort, but for me pavement comfort does play a significant role in fatigue which then sacrifices trail performace for the rider regardless of the bike. I see those guys getting off thier WRs after a long ride and they look like they hurt (although they would never admit that)
The KTMs are nice but out of the price range for now, this is a stop gap bike that I plan to ride for three or four seasons until I save up cash for a new (really new, not just new to me) bike of my choice (probably a KTM). I have not seen a KTM in even decent condition for what a used WR or DRZ goes for.
I have heard good things about the reliability and relative comfort of the DRZ. How does one of these compare to a WR426 both in terms of power and suspension for pushing hard on trails and in terms of comfort (vibration, touchy steering etc.) on the street. Can a WR or DRZ be modified within reason to make up for some of the difference (WR for more comfort, DRZ for more performance)?
Thanks ahead of time for your resposes!