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Old 09-01-2011, 01:28 PM   #1
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Dual sport beginner

So, I'm tired of these bullshit gas prices and want something really fuel efficient. But I like to have fun too. In my mind, the reasonable middle is a motorcycle. I have done some research, and basically decided a dual sport would be the best option for me. Obviously I have pavement driving for commuting, but I drive on a lot of gravel too. Plus, there is the enduro aspect, which appeals to me.

I have pretty much zero experience
on a motorcycle, so I'm thinking a 250. I'm not gonna buy anything until next spring, as I wouldn't use it over the winter anyway. I'm planning on taking all the classes and stuff too. Going to buy used for sure. I have lots of friends that know tons about bikes, so I'll take them when I go to buy.

I'm just looking for suggestions on good 250 dual sports. The fastest I will be going on road is 70ish on the freeway, so if like something that will do 75 without much problem. Other than that, I'm open to suggestions.
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:31 PM   #2
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I used to have an XT 350 dual sport and it was screaming to hold 65. I don't think you'll find a 250 that will be comfortable in the 70 mph range. They are great fun but if you plan on being on the road more, I'd look at the 350 - 400 cc range. They're not much heavier but will be more comfortably at speed.

Also, you might want to consider buying at the end of the summer/fall. Bikes tend to be cheaper since you can't ride in the winter. On the flip side, bike prices are typically the highest they get all year in the spring, right before riding season.
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:50 PM   #3
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I was kind of hoping the newer bikes would be able to hold higher, but was kind of expecting that response.

I didn't consider the prices fluctuating like that. I'll look into it.

On of the main reasons I was looking at a 250 besides lacking experience is that they are pretty cheap. How big of a price jump is it from a 250 up to a 400?
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Old 09-01-2011, 02:01 PM   #4
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Kawasaki KLX250s, cant beat it for a reliable decent priced 250cc bike.
It can hold 65 all day long, but it is screaming to do it. Ive done it plenty on mine but I guess I wouldnt want to make alot of long trips with it like that.
Keep in mind, the larder cc bikes may scream also, its all in the gearing.
If you are only on the highway every so often the 250 is just fine.
I started out on it and picked it due to it beign very light weight and smaller compared to many others.
Now that I am more experienced I also have a Suzuki DL650, but still love riding the light weight nimble KLX!
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Old 09-01-2011, 02:27 PM   #5
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Been looking...

DRZ400SM

Looks to be exactly what I'm looking for, and I can pick em up used for under $4k. Anyone have experience with them?

Still open to ideas!
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Old 09-01-2011, 02:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdubSam View Post
Been looking...

DRZ400SM

Looks to be exactly what I'm looking for, and I can pick em up used for under $4k. Anyone have experience with them?

Still open to ideas!
Awesome bike! A little more high strung than a dual sport but tons of fun. I haven't been able to find one near me for anywhere near $4k. They have the same problem with speed though. They're going to scream doing highway speeds.
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Old 09-01-2011, 02:56 PM   #7
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DR650 1996 or newer. I recently bought a 2006 in Co springs and rode it 400 miles home at 75mph no problem. Plus its still slow enough that you cant get into any trouble on it.

Also air cooled + EXTREMELY de-tuned engine = reliable.

The KLR650 would also be a good choice I think.

Edit, also I only paid 2800 for it with 3200 miles on it. These bikes are known to go ~50k no problem before minor engine work.

Edit again: I also average between 53-55 mpg and have seen 59 once.
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Old 09-01-2011, 03:15 PM   #8
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There are a lot of DRZ400's out there. Im sure you could find one of those for a decent price. They're a great bike too.
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Old 09-01-2011, 03:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve o 77 View Post
DR650 1996 or newer. I recently bought a 2006 in Co springs and rode it 400 miles home at 75mph no problem. Plus its still slow enough that you cant get into any trouble on it.

Also air cooled + EXTREMELY de-tuned engine = reliable.

The KLR650 would also be a good choice I think.

Edit, also I only paid 2800 for it with 3200 miles on it. These bikes are known to go ~50k no problem before minor engine work.

Edit again: I also average between 53-55 mpg and have seen 59 once.
I'd like to go smaller than a 650 just because I'm a newbie in the motorcycle world. The vast majority of what I drive on would be 55 and under. Maybe 5% tops on freeways.
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Old 09-01-2011, 03:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdubSam View Post
I'd like to go smaller than a 650 just because I'm a newbie in the motorcycle world. The vast majority of what I drive on would be 55 and under. Maybe 5% tops on freeways.
I think what he's saying is don't get too fixated on the engine size. A 650 dual sport is a long long long ways away from a 600 cc race bike. Dual sports are generally very timid and forgiving, even the 650's (there are obviously exceptions, some are absolute power houses). For what you're looking for something in the 250 - 400 range would probably suit you well. If you don't trail ride, I think the 350 - 400 cc range would be better, you'll appreciate the extra power for street riding (the first time you attempt to pass someone, you'll really appreciate it).
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Old 09-01-2011, 06:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pugga View Post
I think what he's saying is don't get too fixated on the engine size. A 650 dual sport is a long long long ways away from a 600 cc race bike. Dual sports are generally very timid and forgiving, even the 650's (there are obviously exceptions, some are absolute power houses). For what you're looking for something in the 250 - 400 range would probably suit you well. If you don't trail ride, I think the 350 - 400 cc range would be better, you'll appreciate the extra power for street riding (the first time you attempt to pass someone, you'll really appreciate it).
This is true. For example, my old KTM 250SX made around 50 horses at the crank. My new 650 makes roughly 36 or so. And I think the 600 sport bikes make something like 80HP nowadays (just a random guess). All Im saying is the DR650 is perfect if you plan on any extended trips on the highway because it wont be so strung out like the smaller bikes. The only thing is the bike weighs A LOT compared to say a DRZ400 or WR250.
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Old 09-01-2011, 06:28 PM   #12
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I am also looking at duel sports. The Kawi KLX250sf looks like a ton of fun, but is not meant for highway use. The DRZ400 is a popular choice, but I personally hate their look. So I'm currently leaning towards a KLR. They are a dime a dozen, so they are super easy to find, and they have been around forever and there is a ton of info on them and there isn't much they can't do.
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Old 09-01-2011, 06:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samhain View Post
I am also looking at duel sports. The Kawi KLX250sf looks like a ton of fun, but is not meant for highway use. The DRZ400 is a popular choice, but I personally hate their look. So I'm currently leaning towards a KLR. They are a dime a dozen, so they are super easy to find, and they have been around forever and there is a ton of info on them and there isn't much they can't do.
My roomate has a 1991, great bike. It weighs about 4 billion pounds and the brakes suck, but it is not meant to go fast (even though it will smoke most street cars in any kind of race). If you don't plan on anything more hardcore than dirt roads, the KLR is great.

BTW his is a 650.
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Old 09-01-2011, 06:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pugga View Post
Awesome bike! A little more high strung than a dual sport but tons of fun. I haven't been able to find one near me for anywhere near $4k. They have the same problem with speed though. They're going to scream doing highway speeds.

Mine runs at decent RPMs at 70-80mph. I picked it up for $3,800.00 used and in perfect shape. Check my gallery for a pic. I wouldn't want to do much gravel/fire road work, however, I do have strictly street tyres on mine, and you can shoe one up to suit your type of riding. If I rode it easy, it would get 65-70ish mpg, but since a big-bore kit, cams, carb/jetting and a full TI Yoshi TRC pipe, it only gets around 40ish, but, It'll make you grin when you twist it up a little..
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Old 09-01-2011, 06:41 PM   #15
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2008 KLR650 Go with the KLR if you plan to do any freeway riding...
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Old 09-01-2011, 07:24 PM   #16
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You are going to have to decide between light weight, easy to ride, and nimble, but a bit slow, and screaming on the highway
or, heavy, harder to whip around and a bit more of a handful, but able to go faster, and not with as high of rpm.

Yes, you can have the best of both worlds, but those will have engines that have very short service intervals.
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Old 09-01-2011, 09:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtice View Post
You are going to have to decide between light weight, easy to ride, and nimble, but a bit slow, and screaming on the highway
or, heavy, harder to whip around and a bit more of a handful, but able to go faster, and not with as high of rpm.

Yes, you can have the best of both worlds, but those will have engines that have very short service intervals.
Very well put, I'd bet that's experience talking right there...
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Old 09-02-2011, 05:52 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t4daddy View Post
Mine runs at decent RPMs at 70-80mph. I picked it up for $3,800.00 used and in perfect shape. Check my gallery for a pic. I wouldn't want to do much gravel/fire road work, however, I do have strictly street tyres on mine, and you can shoe one up to suit your type of riding. If I rode it easy, it would get 65-70ish mpg, but since a big-bore kit, cams, carb/jetting and a full TI Yoshi TRC pipe, it only gets around 40ish, but, It'll make you grin when you twist it up a little..
Damn, nice bike and great price! Every once in a while a dealership around me gets an SM in the door and they slap a $5-6k price tag on it (even for the DRZ400sm). If I find a good deal on one I might jump but for now I'm rolling on a Katana 750 and don't have a good reason to sell it yet. I'll stick to 4-cylinders for a while and maybe pick up a small single cylinder dual sport or SM for in-town driving.
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:16 AM   #19
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Had a 1991 DR650 S great all around bike, I am looking for another enduro. I have a GSXR1000 now. You will find that if you dont get a 650 now you will grow out of it after 1 season and you will be looking to buy a bigger bike. the most important thing about the bigger bike is passing power and starting off speed. Whether you are trying to pass someone or starting off you want to be able to get up to speed quick. Where I live they will eat you alive if you are crawling............
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:58 PM   #20
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Yamaha Xt250

Check out a Yamaha XT250 dual sport. Yamaha's are bullet proof my sons raced motocross for years on yamaha's and we never had problems other then normal maintenance. I am in the market for an XT as well. I just missed a 2009 for $3400 with less then 1000 miles on it. It is not a heavy bike and looks awesome. I hope to own one soon. I am also a beginner to medium rider. Mostly trails a little road, so this should be fun. Good luck on your choice.
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