Racer1ab New Reader
3/13/09 6:31 p.m.

Just to give you folks a real quick introduction into my riding experience, I grew up riding a Honda trail 70 and then rode an old Honda XR80 until about high school.

Recently, a buddy of mine has been teaching me to ride on the street on his girl's old Honda Rebel, and I'm looking at taking the MSF class and getting my license within the next month or two.

I've got kind of an odd taste in bikes, and I really find myself looking at dual sport or motard bikes. I believe I have it narrowed down to two, but I'm not 100% sure.

I'm also looking to finance all my equipment and keep this bike for a LONG time, so I'm really wanting to buy new. Also, while I love sport bikes, I'm not comfortable on them...and frankly I don't trust myself with that much capability and power on a public road. Frankly, that's another mark in the column for the dual-sport bikes.

Anyway, the first candidate is the Kawasaki KLR 650, which I love for it's on and off road capability, massive fuel tank, and it's ability to handle a passenger and a good deal of cargo.

I'm also considering the Yamaha WR250X, since I like the idea of a tossable commuter bike as well. While this doesn't have the range of the KLR, it would be better suited for just flat out fun...and it might just have enough juice to handle a track day or two at nearby Summit Point.

Um, to summarize. I'm looking for advice from experienced riders on which bike they'd recommend to a new rider or maybe some issues/concerns that you could point out that a squid like myself might not have considered.

As always, any thoughts are appreciated!

ManofFewWords Reader
3/13/09 6:46 p.m.

Dual sports make great first bikes. I would NOT buy a new one. Invariably in about 6 months you'll want something else, and if you buy used, it will hurt alot less when you drop it. And you will drop it. Depreciation on bikes, especially in this economy, make for some good used deals, but its up to you. Personally, I seem to be drawn to smaller lighter bikes as I get older even though I'm 6'2, 220lbs...

Woody Dork
3/13/09 7:05 p.m.

I'd suggest either a DRZ400 or my '71 Honda Trail 70.

ManofFewWords Reader
3/14/09 12:19 a.m.

I'm liking the Kaw Versys lately..

xci_ed6 New Reader
3/14/09 1:07 a.m.

From what I have heard, the Versys is quite the wheelie monster.

Go sit on some of them, pick the comfy one in your budget, hardley ever see a bad bike out anymore. Some might be better than others, but it's not like the Lucas/AMF days. You have ridden small bikes, and it sounds like somewhat limited experience, so you will probably want to change up bikes w/in a year or two. That's really the fun part though.

wherethefmi2000 Reader
3/14/09 1:36 p.m.

Vstrom 650, drz400sm (supermoto) the klr is a tank. The yamaha 250 ehhh after a while you'll want more power, ask me how I know

alex Reader
3/14/09 5:23 p.m.

Another vote for the DRZ400SM here. One of the KLX400 Kawasakis from the 'alliance' years might have a cheaper buy-in, but you'd have to do the motard conversion if you wanted street rubber, or you could run DS tires on KLX and leave it alone.

They're really fun bikes, and they're very well balanced in terms of power and weight, and in terms of the line they walk between on-road and off-road ability. Basically bulletproof, but look over a used dDS/dirtbike carefully, as they can be pretty abused.

The KLR is definitely a good bike, quite a bit heavier. The V-Strom/Wee-Strom and Versys are very much on-road bikes with offroad pretense. If you're thinking motard, these will likely not satisfy your urge, even though they're great all-around bikes. The 250 will likely leave you wanting for more power if you ride anywhere but super tight twisties or dense cities. It's a scalpel, but some driving situations call for an axe.

I've actually considered selling my TL1000S for a midsized motard, but I'm addicted to the stupid power that thing makes. Still, I'll be tearing around the city like an idiot on a motard before too long.

Appleseed Reader
3/15/09 12:28 a.m.

If your made of money, KTMs are killers.

skierd Dork
3/15/09 12:46 a.m.

Read this thread over on ADVRider.


Cliff Notes: The WR250, X or R, is a better highway bike than the KLR and an R is a damn good dirt bike too. Also, fuel Injection is good. If/when I buy a new bike, thats what I'm getting. Also, you can still find some leftover '08 models at significant discounts if you're willing to shop around.

Also, finance as little as you have to. Financing everything is a big part of how the economy got to where it is...

Opus HalfDork
3/15/09 2:22 a.m.
Woody wrote: I'd suggest either a DRZ400 or my '71 Honda Trail 70.

Another vote for the DRZ400 or DRZ400SM. Depends on your use. If you plan any offroad, get the standard and buy tires that fit your use (80% on 20% off) I ride with DOT Knobbies, but they wear quickly. If you do a lot of both, look at a 2nd set of wheels and tires for quick swaps. If $ is a problem, start with the street tires on the standard.

Have fun

alex Reader
3/15/09 11:58 a.m.
skierd wrote: Read this thread over on ADVRider. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=329337 Cliff Notes: The WR250, X or R, is a better highway bike than the KLR and an R is a damn good dirt bike too.

You mean the WR250 is a better highway bike than the KLR250, right? 'Cause I think the KLR650 likely outclasses it on the highway for a variety of reasons.

skierd Dork
3/16/09 3:05 a.m.

I thought so too. My only experience with either so far is sitting on them at a dealership, I was just stating basically what was said in that thread. Something about lower vibrations with just about as much power (and fuel injection!), no doohickey to worry about, better gearing, arguably a better seat, and a 350w alternator. A lot of it comes up around page 70 or so, find posts by HighFive and krabill especially regarding KLR's.

3/16/09 2:16 p.m.

Dual purpose bikes have for 20 years been my first choice for all around bike and Kawasaki (KLR / Versys), Suzuki (V-Strom) combine the best features and value.. based on months of my shopping around for such a bike last year (I ended up on a Versys - love it!). They are far from 'beginner' bikes. I've ridden lots of bikes over 40 years and wish the Versys had been around a lot longer! Strom and KLR are equally good, it's all what fits you best and you'll know which one you feel right on.

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