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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/28/2005 8:08:53 PM EDT
let me start by saying i have no real motorcycle experience, but I have managed to ride a dirtbike up and down the street a couple of times. I'm getting pretty serious about getting one of these dual-sport types of bikes. It'll be probably 50/50 trail/street use. I'm 6' and 190lbs. I'm most interested in a 250cc size. I was at a local bike shop and the sales guy says the 250 is just too small for street use, because it can't get me out of a jam. I hesitae to go bigger, because I want something light and easy to learn on, and pretty much bulletproof with regard to ease of use, maintenance, etc. I'm in Cali., so I understand some street-legal bikes elsewhere won't fly here.

My off-road use would be for trail and desert rides. I have NO interest in jumping off of anything, actually. (Call me chicken, that's OK.

If I took it to work, it would be ~8mile commute each way. I could do freeway or side streets; Of course freeway would be faster.

So what do you think? Is 250 too small for any street use? Do you have suggestions for good models? I guess Honda stopped making theirs. All they offer now is a 650.

Other good web resources? thanks!
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 8:18:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By dogcaller:
let me start by saying i have no real motorcycle experience, but I have managed to ride a dirtbike up and down the street a couple of times. I'm getting pretty serious about getting one of these dual-sport types of bikes. It'll be probably 50/50 trail/street use. I'm 6' and 190lbs. I'm most interested in a 250cc size. I was at a local bike shop and the sales guy says the 250 is just too small for street use, because it can't get me out of a jam. I hesitae to go bigger, because I want something light and easy to learn on, and pretty much bulletproof with regard to ease of use, maintenance, etc. I'm in Cali., so I understand some street-legal bikes elsewhere won't fly here.

My off-road use would be for trail and desert rides. I have NO interest in jumping off of anything, actually. (Call me chicken, that's OK.

If I took it to work, it would be ~8mile commute each way. I could do freeway or side streets; Of course freeway would be faster.

So what do you think? Is 250 too small for any street use? Do you have suggestions for good models? I guess Honda stopped making theirs. All they offer now is a 650.

Other good web resources? thanks!



If you're riding side streets, a 250 will do it. Just remember that with dirt/street tires it's a compromise on traction for either situation
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 8:20:52 PM EDT
Street or Highway?

Aren't those powerful enough to do wheelies at 40mph?
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 8:22:12 PM EDT
ANY 250 dual purpose street bike should never see the freeway unless it's the 10 freeway when traffic is moving at 5 mph and you are splitting lanes.

At 6 foot and probably 230 with clothing and helmet on that 250 is going to be too small for you in both size and power.

If you were going to use it to commute to and from work on surface streets then it would be "ok".

It will totaly SUCK ASS in the dirt UNLESS you are only riding well maintained fire roads or forest access roads.

If you could find used one at a good price it would be worth it to use as a training/learning bike.

This is America, we don't have the killer small bore street bikes like the rest of the world has.
Damn Hardley-Ableson mentality.

More than likely you would be happy with a Suzuki DrZ400.
ALMOST enough power for the freeway (65 mph on a good day).
Almost good enough for real dirt riding (weighs a ton, soft street bike suspension).
Find a used one.




Originally Posted By dogcaller:
let me start by saying i have no real motorcycle experience, but I have managed to ride a dirtbike up and down the street a couple of times. I'm getting pretty serious about getting one of these dual-sport types of bikes. It'll be probably 50/50 trail/street use. I'm 6' and 190lbs. I'm most interested in a 250cc size. I was at a local bike shop and the sales guy says the 250 is just too small for street use, because it can't get me out of a jam. I hesitae to go bigger, because I want something light and easy to learn on, and pretty much bulletproof with regard to ease of use, maintenance, etc. I'm in Cali., so I understand some street-legal bikes elsewhere won't fly here.

My off-road use would be for trail and desert rides. I have NO interest in jumping off of anything, actually. (Call me chicken, that's OK.

If I took it to work, it would be ~8mile commute each way. I could do freeway or side streets; Of course freeway would be faster.

So what do you think? Is 250 too small for any street use? Do you have suggestions for good models? I guess Honda stopped making theirs. All they offer now is a 650.

Other good web resources? thanks!

Link Posted: 9/28/2005 8:25:29 PM EDT
Kawasaki just announced a new 250 dual sport that should be the cream of the crop as far as 250s.

I've been riding a long time, and have two suggestions for anyone wanting to learn to ride.

1) Learn on dirt, you'll do things every time you ride that will be valuable learning experiences.

2) Start on a small bike. You can always move up to a bigger bike, it's more fun to master a smaller bike than to be intimidated by a bike that's too big or powerful.

Link Posted: 9/28/2005 8:56:53 PM EDT
I would advise a larger engine. I'd say something in the 400-500 cc range, especially if you're getting a 4 stroke engine. 250 is just too small for a big guy. It's whimpy on the street. It's whimpy in the dirt.

There are times, many times, especially in the dirt, that engine power is your friend. Learn to ride. It's one of the most fun experiences of my life. I like it way more than skiing, adn I love the snow.

The best off road bike I ever had was a KTM 420 2 stroke. Look at the KTM's they are truly great bikes. Their dual sport is one of the best.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:06:00 PM EDT
I appreciate the responses. It's funny, that Suzuki Team Member mentioned is the one the dealer was selling me on. As i said, I'm new and I also don'w ant to drop a bunch of $$. If I can get used for less than $4k, I'm good.

I just love the feel of the 250's. The bigger bikes are just... bigger.

Again. thanks for the input, keep it coming.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:11:21 PM EDT
BMW R100GS. Great on the trails and general off-road. Not a moto-crosser, but it will not just get you through the desert, it will get you to the desert. This was the bike used as the platform for BMW multiple Paris-Dakar winners. Skip the poser bikes and get the original adventure tourer.


Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:52:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2005 9:57:30 PM EDT by Mike_Mills]
The 400 cc KTM is only approximately 10 lb more than the 250 but is a better bike for a bigger guy.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:10:31 PM EDT
My first bike (hopefully picking up this weekend.....)



(that's not mine but you get the idea)

Suzuki V-strom DL650K5

it's almost a dual sport but more for the street then the dirt.... the "Adventure-Touring" class

I think it's going to be a good first bike- it's stable and pretty easy to ride....

then again i'm just starting....

-Roth
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 11:04:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2005 11:06:56 PM EDT by samsong]

Originally Posted By Model_One:
BMW R100GS. Great on the trails and general off-road. Not a moto-crosser, but it will not just get you through the desert, it will get you to the desert. This was the bike used as the platform for BMW multiple Paris-Dakar winners. Skip the poser bikes and get the original adventure tourer.
www.lonestarcycle.com/albums/album7/04174t27.jpg
home.versatel.nl/bmw-r-serie/images/1983%20-%201992/r100pd1%20groot.jpg
pds1.exblog.jp/pds/1/200502/24/99/c0048399_061843.jpg



I hate to put another poster's ideas in the trash can, but this post is so irresponsible I need to say something.

Buying a BMW as your first bike is just about the dumbest thing you could do. Not only do they weigh nearly 2X what any good 250 weighs, they're top heavy, and with a new price of about 13k, they're 3X what your budget is. You need to ignore this bad idea and listen to what the other posters are telling you.

A 250 will be too small fairly quickly... right up until you get into a jam on a tight two-tracker. Then, it's mountain-bike handling will seem like a real asset, right when you need it. You'll forget about it not being able to go 110 on a freeway. Start small, then go bigger. Remember to take things S-L-O-W-L-Y.

Your biggest enemy is weight. Avoid it at all costs. Weight will jack up the handling of a bike and slow it down quicker than snot. You can make a 250 run pretty hard with some involved mods, but if you're really hard-up for power initially you can buy a DRZ400 and put a jet kit, an airbox, filter, and a FMF pipe on it and have a bike that'll do 85+,

I did, and I rode it from Denver to Moab, then around the White Rim Trail in 1996 and 1997.

It was GREAT! Too bad I sold my bike to finance another loser month of a loser business I wasted my inheritance on.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 4:09:37 AM EDT
Go with the DRZ400. It the bike for you. A 250 dual sport ain't got much power!

Matt
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 4:27:24 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/29/2005 4:32:41 AM EDT by Admiral_Crunch]
The salesman is not a good person to get advice from on what bike to pick. The more you spend, the more commission he makes. He wants you to buy an expensive bike, not a good bike for you. There are a few salesmen out there that this doesn't apply to, but they are rare.

Try here for great info for new bikers:

www.beginnerbikers.org
www.beginnerandbeyond.com

They both have good forums.

In general, I'd keep it around 250-400cc for a dual-sport first bike. The "power to get you out of a jam" argument is dubious at best. Getting hit from behind makes up a tiny fraction of motorcycle-car accidents(<5%). The vast majority are caused by vehicles in front of the bike.

The most important thing to remember is that most dual-sports are very tall. Make sure that your boots rest flat on the ground while sitting in the seat. You'll have a harder time learning on a bike that's too tall.

I'd keep a 250 off the Interstate, but as a new rider, I wouldn't be on the Interstate on any bike for quite a while.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 4:35:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By NUCdt04:
My first bike (hopefully picking up this weekend.....)

www.suzukicycles.com/images/gallery/DL1000K5/photos/DL1000BK5.jpg

Suzuki V-strom DL650K5



DROOL.....

I would LOVE a V-Strom 650, but they're out of my price range right now. Maybe for my next bike. Sigh....
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 2:00:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/29/2005 2:01:50 PM EDT by Mike_Mills]

Originally Posted By Admiral_Crunch:
In general, I'd keep it around 250-400cc for a dual-sport first bike. The "power to get you out of a jam" argument is dubious at best. Getting hit from behind makes up a tiny fraction of motorcycle-car accidents(<5%). The vast majority are caused by vehicles in front of the bike.

See below.

I'd keep a 250 off the Interstate, but as a new rider, I wouldn't be on the Interstate on any bike for quite a while.

I agree, six foot tall, 200 lbs needs a bigger bike than a 250.






Power get s you out of trouble when in off road/in the dirt. It really does. Really. When in doubt, hit the gas.

I'm not kidding. It gets the weight off the front wheel so it can go over rocks and bumps. If you get some air and the nose starts to drop, hitting the gas will raise the front wheel so you land in better control. There are so many instances where hitting the gas saves your ass. Anyone who says no, has never ridden in the dirt.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 2:10:12 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 2:34:52 PM EDT
Where do people get off saying a 250 is not a big enough bike?


My first bike was an 84 Yamaha XT 250. it had the powerband (in the case of an extra barrel on the carb that opened up at 5500 RPM)

I got it when I was 15, had it until I was 22, and my weight was from 130lbs (15) to 240 (22)

Doing 70+MPH was not a problem on the street, neither was going through mud, sand, dirt, and all the other fun stuff I could find.

The gas Mileage was quite nice too.

I think I am goign to buy another dual sport bike, though maybe a 350 this time so that I can carry a passenger eaiser at highway speeds


a 250 is a great learner bike (better than what I learned on) and you will enjoy it
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 4:22:50 PM EDT
I would suggest a larger motor. The 400cc bike would be a great learner bike for someone your size.
A 400 at your size would be like a 250 for someone more averaged sized.

Unless you are a mamas boy you should be able to handle a larger bike np beginer or not.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 10:11:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/29/2005 10:11:44 PM EDT by Mike_Mills]
Just because a motor has more power doesn't mean you have to use it.

My 420 cc 2 stroke had so much torque at low rpm you could idle along, picking your way through a narrow wooded trail, then when you needed it all you had to do was roll on the throttle. Smaller displacement 2 stroke engines don't have that kind of low rpm torque. 4 stroke engines do have it, but they are much heavier than an equal power 2 stroker.

This thread is making me want to buy a dirt bike.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 10:20:19 PM EDT
I started out on an SV 650 K5. I highly recommend these, good mid weight without plastic to break on it. Handles really really well. Tends to go for about 6k new. Next bike will probably be a Gixxer.
Link Posted: 9/29/2005 11:10:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Top_Secret:
I started out on an SV 650 K5. I highly recommend these, good mid weight without plastic to break on it. Handles really really well. Tends to go for about 6k new. Next bike will probably be a Gixxer.



Think he's lookin' for a dirt bike there, sport.

An SV 650 won't do too well in the mushy stuff... 'cause it's a street bike. He gets something that weighs 363 lbs, with no riding experience, he's not going to enjoy the result.
Link Posted: 9/30/2005 10:36:10 PM EDT
There's good info here, and I appreciate it. I am leaning toward the Suzuki DrZ400s, but I wonder if I'll be ablt to find one used. My budget is ~$4k. The electric start seems like it would be good for both city and off-rooad, especially for a newbie.

Thanks for your input!
Link Posted: 9/30/2005 10:49:15 PM EDT
Dual-Purpose bikes can do both, but are good at neither. If you want a commuter, get a street bike, because offroad tires will not tolerate much lean before they start sliding on you.
Link Posted: 10/1/2005 6:00:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/1/2005 6:03:37 PM EDT by jstang]
Kawasaki KLR650

www.klr650.net



Link Posted: 10/1/2005 6:13:29 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/1/2005 6:15:08 PM EDT by wildearp]

Originally Posted By dogcaller:
let me start by saying i have no real motorcycle experience, but I have managed to ride a dirtbike up and down the street a couple of times. I'm getting pretty serious about getting one of these dual-sport types of bikes. It'll be probably 50/50 trail/street use. I'm 6' and 190lbs. I'm most interested in a 250cc size. I was at a local bike shop and the sales guy says the 250 is just too small for street use, because it can't get me out of a jam. I hesitae to go bigger, because I want something light and easy to learn on, and pretty much bulletproof with regard to ease of use, maintenance, etc. I'm in Cali., so I understand some street-legal bikes elsewhere won't fly here.

My off-road use would be for trail and desert rides. I have NO interest in jumping off of anything, actually. (Call me chicken, that's OK.

If I took it to work, it would be ~8mile commute each way. I could do freeway or side streets; Of course freeway would be faster.

So what do you think? Is 250 too small for any street use? Do you have suggestions for good models? I guess Honda stopped making theirs. All they offer now is a 650.

Other good web resources? thanks!



I rode a 250XL for quite a bit. Yes, a 250 is too small for you, and for street use, particularly if you get on the freeway at all. A 400 is a good tradeoff, and a with a 650 you will find the front wheel pushes out and digs in loose dirt and sand, if Glamis or Ocotillo is what you have in mind.

I put 8000 miles on a 250 when I weighed slightly less than you. Semis and wind will make you do lane changes you did not plan for. I rode mine from San Diego to 29 palms, and to Tucson.

You can license an off road bike if you make some equipment changes, such as a CR450 or XR serise Honda, I have seen folks do it in CA.

A 250 is a great learner bike, but you will outgrow it in 3-6 months. It is a good plan for a first bike, but buy a cheap used one, or borrow one. Always take a MSF approved rider safety course!!!
Link Posted: 10/1/2005 6:15:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By RuskEnt:
Go with the DRZ400. It the bike for you. A 250 dual sport ain't got much power!

Matt



+1...if I get a Dual Sport soon, which I plan too...it will be a DRZ400S...Great bike for the money!
Link Posted: 10/1/2005 9:58:57 PM EDT
The tires on those bikes in the photos above are gonna really SUCK if you take them in the dirt. Imagine trying to stop/slow the bike when going down hill with the tread on that front tire. You need knobbies off road. Those are like street racing tires on an 4X4.
Link Posted: 10/4/2005 10:18:13 PM EDT
OK, so I'm figuring the mid-sized Suzuki would be my BEST bet, but finding a used one in my price range is difficult. Are there other mid-sized and CALIFORNIA legal models to consider, so I can expand my options when I check the Cycle Trader?

Thanks! I have $4K to spend, but the less I spend, the more I have for guns!
Link Posted: 10/4/2005 11:27:42 PM EDT
Do some e-bay searches, just to get an idea what the market is like. Just for the heck of it, look up Yamaha 650 in Orange County and see what comes up. Looks like a few in your price range.

Not E-bay try bike-trader.com (or similar name) the bike side of AutoTrader.
Link Posted: 10/4/2005 11:39:44 PM EDT
+100 on the DRZ400, you won't be sorry
Link Posted: 10/5/2005 1:29:51 AM EDT
Dual sport. It's not quite a street bike its not quite a dirt bike? It's just not a bike! Unless you plan on touring third world countries pick one or the other IMHO.
Link Posted: 10/5/2005 2:06:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/5/2005 2:09:06 AM EDT by Hoppy]
Go with at least a 400. The 250 will only be fun for a few weeks and then you'll be wanting something with more power (especially for the highway).

I have a XR650L for my dual sport and consider it the minimum for street use. This is the first brand other than Harley I've owned in 35 years so I'm a little biased. Others call the XR a big and heavy bike, but it's a twig as far as I'm concerned. With as many unpaved roads as there are here in Oregon the XR is just the ticket and it will travel 70+ MPH all day on the highway.

The ying and the yang.
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