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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/2/2005 5:14:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/2/2005 5:30:13 PM EDT by Boomholzer]
It's late in the summer but, the price of gas is an excuse to trade in the YZ-125 for a street legal thumper. Something I have been debateing for awhile now.

The Suzi DR400 is probably the best logically for my use but the KTM 625SXC is cool.

Also been looking at the XR650L, DR650SE and the DR400SE. The KTM has by far the best suspension but the worst in the DR (for offroad) is still adequate for what I'll be doing. The DRs feel the smallest, to small, probably the lower seat height. My only requirement is that it have awesome brakes and does'nt plow in the corners. No jumping, just some cornering agility.

The XR is air-cooled, the DR oil & air, and the KTM liquid.

NO experience with KTM, how reliable are they? Little more power than the XR but a beefier price tag too.

Usage will be mostly street for weekday work commutes and Sunday rides. Hell with current gas prices, I can save $90/month running the motorcycle 50% of the time figuring a concervative 30MPG. A few weekend trips into the woods and on trails.

That KLR650 is just to homely and I don't want something thst will get me hurt off-road. I do like the larger fuel tank. I wont be going nuts but running it as a woods bike and on mild fire lanes.

Any inputs?

It doesnt need to be as nimble as the little YZ but I want enough power to hold wheelings and have a top speed of 100+. All the ones mentioned should be able to do that. It needs to be comfortable at highway speeds at a minimum. Electric start is a big plus.

What do you have? There isnt much locally for sale used and the few are not to far off buying new.

Asthetically, I can't keep my mind off spending more than I intended for this: I wont be riding hard but atleast the KTM is mostly MX technology.
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 6:35:23 PM EDT
I'm on my second KLR650. The Suzuki is supposed to be a better off roader. The KAW has quite the aftermarket following to make it what you want. I get 51.4 MPG, ugly or not they have a reputation of being bullet proof. I looked at them all, you can't beat the value. klr650.net
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 6:50:47 PM EDT
I don't know if you checked out the DRZ400SM yet, the SuperMoto is pretty hot. Nice sticky street tires to play around on, little bit lower and stiffer suspension. A nice little hooligan bike.

Be honest with yourself though. Make sure you really know how much time you expect to be off-road. A larger bike will handle nothing like your YZ off road.

My choice would either be the DRZ400SM or a XR650R with the aftermarket Baja designs on road kit. This makes it street legal and still keeps it sporty. You keep the plastic gas tank and so forth.

If you go KTM I'd make sure that you get along with all departments of your local dealer.

It just depends on what your defintion of off-road is, a motocross track or a dirt road offer very different characteristics. Some bikes will be better than others.
Link Posted: 9/2/2005 10:10:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/2/2005 10:12:32 PM EDT by kato4moto]
The mid-bore dual-sports are nicer in the dirt, but you've got to work them harder on the highway to keep up with traffic. That tends to kill your mileage quest. Heck, I've had to keep an XR650L pinned a few times while going uphill into a headwind, with a resulting loss (almost alarmingly so) of mileage.

I spent six days in Baja two years ago on a 625 SXC. KTM introduced it at that time to compete with the niche that the XR650R fills nicely, with the added features of electric starting (big plus), suspension tuned for the more aggressive rider out of the box and the legacy of KTM's factory Dakar Rallye racers. In the dirt, it's great compared to the other bikes you mentioned, but that's because it wasn't really designed to be a street-legal bike in this country. You can get away with it, but it's just not going to be quite as smooth on the street as the dual-sport bikes from Japan, simply because those things were designed for what their marketing research showed: The guys who bought their bikes tended to ride them on the street (back and forth to work/school, errands, etc.) 80 percent of the time. Hence, the emphasis on streetability.

That said, converting something like an XR650R to license-legal status (as opposed to just buying an XR650L) results in something more akin to the KTM. It was designed as a dirt bike so it won't be quite as comfortable and smooth on the street, more so on longer rides. It will, however, be superior in the dirt to the bikes that were designed in the first place as dual-sports with the emphasis on street.

You've got to truthfully (to the best of your ability) answer the question of how much street and how much dirt use do you likely forsee? If you wanted the nimblest all-around machine, then the DR-Z400S is pretty good; just be aware that it won't match the bigger bikes on long, fast road rides, especially when loaded down and heading uphill.

If you're interested in the best dirt performance in a big-bore, KTM hands-down. Just don't expect it to be quite as comfortable and smooth on long road rides. Don't worry about reliability; the LC4 engine is what they base the factory Dakar Rallye racers on, and those things are next to bullet-proof.

Of the three big-bore Japanese machines, IMHO the Honda 650L is by far the best if you're most concerned with dirt-worthiness. It's tall, but you can pound whoops pretty darn fast as long as you keep it straight (ride the rear brake lightly and keep the thing pinned).

The Suzuki is an oft-overlooked sleeper. It probably strikes the best compromise of the compromise bikes in that it's not quite as good in the dirt as the Honda, but I think it's better there than the Kawasaki.

Ah yes, the KLR650. Best bike if you're into long-distance riding. Definitely not dirt-oriented, though you can certainly ride it on trails better than a 2002 BMW GS. My complain about it (besides its overall girthiness) is that the fork flexes way too much, and the front brake is way too weak. Both are byproducts of the bike's age; these things were fairly contemporary (though not really state of the art) when they were introduced 15 or 20 years ago. Kawasaki hasn't changed them significantly (beyond Bold New Graphics) since.

If you can, beg or borrow rides on each to see which you like best. Then, buy it and have fun!

ETA: I had an XR650L as a long-term test bike for a little over a year, and it averaged around 70-75 miles before I had to flip it to reserve when ridden primarily as a commuter bike.
Link Posted: 9/3/2005 8:07:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/3/2005 8:08:41 AM EDT by Boomholzer]
kato4moto,

Great info and it aligns with I have been reading online. Thank you.

The XR560L I don't think offers e-start. Also is it air cooled only.

If I don't spring for the KTM, the DR looks to be next in line. It seems a far better value for what you get over the Honda.
Link Posted: 9/3/2005 12:17:36 PM EDT
I really liked my old KLR 250 from years back. 4 stroke, water cooled and topped out at 100mph or the highway, plenty of power off the line and handled like a cat. And it still did pretty damn good offroad.... I miss that old bike....
Link Posted: 9/3/2005 9:25:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/3/2005 9:26:45 PM EDT by kato4moto]

Originally Posted By Boomholzer:
kato4moto,

Great info and it aligns with I have been reading online. Thank you.

The XR560L I don't think offers e-start. Also is it air cooled only.

If I don't spring for the KTM, the DR looks to be next in line. It seems a far better value for what you get over the Honda.



You're welcome. Also, the XR650L does come with the electric leg, as the Aussies call it. You may be thinking of the XR650R. IIRC, Baja Designs makes an electric-start kit for the R, but it's fairly bulky. Does come in handy, of course. (The 650L does not have a kick start back-up so if the battery goes dead, pray you're at the top of a monster hill--but Honda's battery-powered bikes rarely have that problem.)

As for being air-cooled, I haven't found that to be much of a problem. Doesn't take too much to keep the top end cool on the 650L. If you put in a 670cc kit or otherwise pumped it up, it'd generate a lot more heat, of course. In that case, you might want to investigate whether XR's Only still offers the service where they weld extensions to the fins. Back in the late '80s/early '90s when Honda and other teams were looking for big power from the XR600Rs, Al Baker was the first, I believe, to do that. Looked cool, too.

If you end up getting the Suzuki, I think you'll be pretty happy. Like I said before, it's a rather decent compromise. Personally, I'd put better handlebars and a bigger tank on it (as I would on the Honda), get the suspension worked on and call it good. If you were going to do more dirt riding, definitely opt for more aggressive tires--that holds true for any dual-sport machine from Japan. Sadly, they don't last as long on pavement, of course, nor do they let you reliably/safely chase knee-draggers in the twisties, but you'd be surprised at just how fast you can corner on pavement with knobbies. I've followed some pretty wild Euros in Italy and other countries during transfer sections of enduros, and they rail. Of course, they're also changing both tires at the end of each day.

Edited to fix code.
Link Posted: 9/6/2005 6:08:07 AM EDT
Went to a KTM shop, it seems the availability of the SXC will narrow my choices. The dealer said is was also discontinued.
The dealer says he would get one SXC a year and it has a waiting list.

I found a few west coast ones that could be shipped for a hefty price.

Link Posted: 9/7/2005 3:49:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2005 3:52:52 PM EDT by Boomholzer]

Originally Posted By absolute:


My choice would either be the DRZ400SM or a XR650R with the aftermarket Baja designs on road kit. This makes it street legal and still keeps it sporty. You keep the plastic gas tank and so forth.



Will the XR650R title let me title it on road or is that a per state thing and perhaps involves DOT inspection?

I looked closely at the XR650L today and I felt it is somewhat low-tech. Yes, totally different from the 650R. Not too much different from 10 years ago.
I would have to squat the rear suspension a bit (even at 5'11") for comfortable stop n go street riding, it is a tall bike. Having enough experience, I could make some handling judgements just sitting on it. I did put a mear hour on a 650R a few years ago in Texas sand. Both are not really too tall, but a tad bit up there for the street part. I did'nt remember the R feeling as heavy as the L or the seat as wide.

I have read mixed opinions on the DR-Z400 at highway speeds, and its comparible power to the XR650L. If it can handle 70-75MPH and hit 90, that looks the most attractive right now for size.
The DR-Z400SM has inverted forks and the non-SM does not. I did'nt research on if the rake was also steeper, it should be.
Again, if the Dr-Z400 can't cruise at a reasonable RPM, I am expecting too much and most commutes would be 35MPH. I want to be able to hit a cabin up north about 100miles away.
Link Posted: 9/7/2005 5:25:55 PM EDT
A couple of good informative sites;

http://www.4strokes.com/

http://www.thumpertalk.com/

Perhaps you could get some opinions there.

Brad
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 3:34:00 AM EDT
If you plan on doing any dirt it's much easier to convert a XR650R or DRZ400E to DOT standards than it is to get the XR650L or DRZ400SE to run in the dirt. Both offroad versions will absolutely destroy the street versions when it comes to power. With stock gearing the DRZ400E will run 80-85mph and the XR650R will run 90-95mph. The XR650R comes stock corked up, runs like shit and has to be rejetted and have a different endcap installed before it becomes a monster. It is kickstart only unless you buy an aftermarket starter. The DRZ400E will run fine with the stock jetting and endcap, but will benefit from jetting and a pipe. The E comes with electric start with no kicker backup.

As far as the true dual sports bikes go the KTM is gonna be the winner in the dirt, with the DRZ400SE taking second followed by the XR650L.
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 6:34:51 AM EDT
The DR-Z400SE should have taller gearing and a higher top end over the E, even with less power..................correct?
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 10:49:36 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Boomholzer:
The DR-Z400SE should have taller gearing and a higher top end over the E, even with less power..................correct?



I'm thinking a tooth higher, so yes. The 400's are also liquid cooled. Goto thumpertalk.com and goto the DRZ400 forum. The DRZ forum has the biggest following on the sight and those guy's love there DRZ's and are very helpful. Most our true dual sport motorheads and will steer you in the right direction. Watch out the DRZ's are kind of like black rifles, very addictive and have a huge aftermarket. I have two in the garage.
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 3:32:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By mtchristman:

Originally Posted By Boomholzer:
The DR-Z400SE should have taller gearing and a higher top end over the E, even with less power..................correct?



I'm thinking a tooth higher, so yes. The 400's are also liquid cooled. Goto thumpertalk.com and goto the DRZ400 forum. The DRZ forum has the biggest following on the sight and those guy's love there DRZ's and are very helpful. Most our true dual sport motorheads and will steer you in the right direction. Watch out the DRZ's are kind of like black rifles, very addictive and have a huge aftermarket. I have two in the garage.



I had to work later and the local Suzi shop closed at 6. Tomorrow I'll take a closer look at the DRZ.

Could you give me some examples of the power of the 400? Hows the acceleration flat out of third or forth?
80-85mph on the top-end should be acceptable. Is it getting the piss rev'ed out of it at 80mph?
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 4:17:31 PM EDT
Both of mine are the offroad/enduro models, have been rejetted, have pipes and different sprockets. They have been that way for so long that I can't remember stock. I would guess they would cruise at 70-75mph all day the way they are geared now. I would think 80-85mph all day stock would be easy. You can pull third gear wheelies easy enough, probably fourth gear wheelies even, but I'm not that brave. You can be in any gear and roll on the power and the bike will accelerate like a raped ape. If your looking at the street version I would definately goto thumpertalk.com, those guy's can give you more answers on the street version than I can. I believe the street version comes with a thicker head gasket for less compression and has a smaller old school carb, the offroad version has a bigger FCR pumper carb. Out of that the motors are the same. I know that if you plan on doing any offroad that the stock tires are crap on the street version, the guys over on thumpertalk refer to them as deathwings for some reason. It's cheaper and easier to get the offroad bike street legal than it is to get the street version dirt worthy. Both of mine have been bullet proof(knock on wood).
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 4:35:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/8/2005 4:52:00 PM EDT by Boomholzer]
I've been on the TT site and posted the last two days and have been reading up. Not a bad site but, I've gotton better info here, believe it or not.

Yea the tires suck, the front tires look like (from pics) a real liability in dirt corners. I cornered pretty tight with no issues on pavement with that YZ and the knobbies, you just need to be carefull with the steep power band when coming out of a corner. With the V-force reeds, its very "on-off" with the throttle and not real tractiable (sp?) even with the laguna cross rear tire.

I can't remember if I posted here or there but I was wondering if the cam profile is the same. If so, I would think that a slight shave to the head (or thinner gasket), muffler/silencer, a open air box, larger filter, and a larger re-jet would get the dual-sport model close to the off-road model in motor response. I didnt look into exhast pipe options.

If that bike will attempt a wheelie out of a hard 4th gear, (good traction NO clutch), and still be able to hit 90+ max, I am game. Sounds like what I am looking for. After sitting on the 650L I've changed views quite a bit but need to keep shopping. After some thought, I don't really want to deal with converting a Enduro or KTM to a DOT legal bike.

I look forward to the Suzi shop tomorrow.
Link Posted: 9/8/2005 5:21:09 PM EDT
I played the dual sport game a few years ago. I came off a CR-500 and never found anything in a dual sport that really satisified me power wise. The DRZ400 has come along since I went to street bikes, but I'd like to give one a try.

I had an XR650L that I modified quite a bit. I lowered the rear suspension, added a bigger (plastic) tank, opened up the air box, rejetted, added a Big Gun pipe. The motor work really woke it up. Still it was a marginal dirt bike, and a pretty poor street bike. What it was ideal for was high speed fire roads and jeep trails.

The KLR650 is a much better street bike. I've even thought about getting one now (in my advanced age <G>) to play around on. Any of these bikes are really best ridden on the street, dirt roads, or mild off road trails. They are just too heavy to go at it like you would on an MX bike.

Tires are a very limiting factor. The stock tires stink off road, and wear quickly on the street. knobbies wear even faster on asphalt. The tires that come on the BMW "dual sports" are probably the best compromise, they still suck off road but at least you aren't changing tires once a month.

The KTMs are really nice, but just too tall for me. I'm sure I could lower one and make it work, as it is the seat on the KTMs hits me somewhere between the belly button and nipple. Too damn tall.

A couple of years ago my neighbor bought a blue DRZ400 (the street legal version). I rode it and thought it was pretty gutless, he rode my XR650L and came back with his eyes WIDE OPEN! The DRZ was bone stock, so a pipe and rejetting would probably do wonders.

One of the most fun dual sports I ever rode was a Kawasaki KLX300 that a friend in Colorado owned. He had registered it and gotten a license plate on it (very easy to do in Colorado, at least back then). The KLX was ridden 99% on the dirt, just enough asphalt time to get to a gas station and back.

Check out www.dualsportnews.com for some good info.

Link Posted: 9/9/2005 5:49:11 AM EDT
I think you can just buy the 400E headgasket and get the compression up. You can just take the snorkle off the top of the airbox and put a uni filter in. Some guys just cut holes in the side. Either way you'll want to rejet. The expensive part would be buying a FCR pumper carb, but it would probably get you the most gain in hp. I would buy a couple front sprockets, going a tooth or two smaller and see what you can live with off the top end. Sprockets are cheap, easy to change, but make a big difference the way the power comes on down low. You can find a slip on Yoshimura pipe pretty cheap on e-bay. If you ride it stock then do all of the above mods you won't believe the difference. Just remember the bike will be a pooch off the showroom floor.

Terra Flex makes a monster DOT legal rear tire. They wear like iron and work really well off or on road. I think they only do internet sales.
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