Thinking about a dual sport/adventure Motorcycle

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Ted, Jun 7, 2021.

  1. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    The current motorcycle fleet includes:

    - 2009 Harley Ultra Classic (mine)
    - 2007 Harley Street Glide (Laurie's)
    - 2013 Moto Guzzi V7 Racer (mine)
    - 2009 Triumph Daytona 675 (Laurie's)

    The Harleys are our touring bikes, although we don't do a ton of touring. But they're still big comfy couches and have storage. Nice for highway trips. Yesterday I rode the Ultra Classic around some just because. But before that I rode the Daytona around because I felt like riding it.

    One hole in the motorcycle fleet is some sort of dirt/dual sport/adventure motorcycle. I've been thinking about getting one for some time, thinking somewhat about the fact that we have the 11 acres we live on. But I think the main use case would really be exploring the roads by my house, many of which are dirt or gravel. As an example, yesterday I just was exploring on the two motorcycles I rode for several hours. However there were a number of roads that I couldn't go on because I don't want to ride any of the current bikes on gravel - especially the Harleys.

    The standards that seem most popular are the Kawasaki KLR 650, some of the various Hondas, and I think Suzuki has another similar bike in that category. Then there are the cheap Chinese dirt bikes that are something $1,300 and ridiculously cheap. I'm looking for something more unique/unusual/interesting than the Japanese options, and higher quality/more power than the cheap Chinese bike, which I think would just get on my nerves and I wouldn't end up wanting to ride it.

    The goals are lightweight (under 400 lbs), something that can handle a reasonable speed, and interesting. I don't really care about it being too powerful, I want something more interesting. Something not too expensive either. This wouldn't be something that would ever go on a trip, just local back road riding, maybe take it to work some days if I felt like it. So something that's interesting, light weight, less expensive.

    One of my friends bought a new BMW G310GS last year. I haven't ridden it, but it seems extremely appealing to me and like it might be what I'm looking for. Even new the pricing is right. Yes, slow and low power, but for the purpose that's fine. I've also never owned a BMW motorcycle. I plan on riding it sometime when I'm in New York and seeing what I think. I'm wondering what other options might be worth considering to help round out the fleet.
     
  2. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Bro do you even lift
    Beemers are awesome bikes. My favorite ride was the 1200RT.
     
  3. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    If you want a somewhat classic setup, look at the Suzuki DR650. Air/oil cooled, carburetor, minimal flim-flam.
    Not lightweight per se but below your 400lb limit. Doesn't light the world on fire power wise, but you have other bikes for that.
     
  4. TCABM

    TCABM En-Route

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  5. wrbix

    wrbix Pattern Altitude

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    Yamaha TW200’s have a cult following.
    Low power, wide tires, bulletproof, lightweight. Some think they look kind of silly. Made since 1987!
    I’ve gotten to the age where low (weight) and slow appeals more and more to me. Got away from my Beemer R1150GS a number of years ago after it kept getting away from me off-road. My current R100GS is also a handful in the rough stuff.
    Recommend ADV MOTO LIVE Podcast #23 which is all about the T-Dub. Then check out TDubsKid YouTubes. Fun.
     
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  6. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    Suzuki Vstrom
    And We have great rallies.
    Half the price of a BMW, plus it makes you a regular guy. Unlike the Cirrus/BMW operator. :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2021
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  7. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    They are certainly a bit of an odd duck, Japanese reliability, but in a strange (these days) package. F9 did a good video on them, they pretty much will go anywhere, and the low seat height (compared to traditional dirt bikes) means you have something to get the kids started on when they become teens. I'd quite like one of these if I had 11 acres and dirt roads nearby.

    Great vid:

     
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  8. Troska

    Troska Pre-takeoff checklist

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    After 20+ years of riding only liter-class bikes in the ZX and CBR series (except for a brief stint with a YZF750 that was great), I slowed down and sold them all a couple years ago. A thread on this site about bike photos got the juices flowing again last year, and made me look for something just to cruise around and explore on that would handle gravel roads.

    I looked for the first good condition/low mile/mostly stock:
    KLR 650
    DRZ 400
    XLR 600 (or whatever the exact on/off model is from Honda).

    Ended up with an '09 KLR650. Did the doohickey fix (it needed it) and the thermo-bob just for fun - and it has been trouble free thumper fun for the past year. Just what I was looking for. Can cruise down a dirt road/trail, can also run me on the freeway to work. I know people who have ridden them Alaska and back.

    Completely different ride than my past - but it has been a great bike.

    Tim
     
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  9. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Since when am I regular at, well, anything? ;)

    Funny enough, the G310GS is significantly cheaper than the Vstrom, at least new. On the used market of course I think the Vstrom could be had significantly cheaper, and more plentiful.

    One of the problems with these dual sport/off-road type bikes is that they tend to be ridden hard and then sold in worse condition, and I don't want to be buying someone else's problems.
     
  10. a572mike

    a572mike Cleared for Takeoff

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    This. I've owned several BMW's and I've gotta say that my 2013 Vstrom 650 is my favorite of all of the bikes I've ever owned. It's not needy, just shoot some lube on the chain every few miles, change the oil, and ride it. I ride mine on a lot of gravel/dirt roads and two tracks out here in western Colorado and into eastern Utah. For as heavy as it is, it's very well behaved.
     
  11. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    Perhaps. But My perception that only 10% of owners went off road. But they can be had cheap used. The known issues are pretty minor. As you know I am still very much a newbie but I do like mine. I will be keeping mine. Although lately thinking of adding a triumph America. I am trying to get the wife to buy one so I can borrow it.
     
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  12. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    A KTM 390 Adventure would fit your needs. I'm not sure how available used ones are, and a new one is going to be 7 AMU.

    If you want to go a little farther out there, check out the Royal Enfield Himalayan.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I personally won't touch a KTM. Definitely high performance, but too many friends have had big issues with them.
     
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  14. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Counting down to the thread where Ted posts the details of swapping a Generac V-twin propane engine into a Kawasaki. Why ? Because it can be done !
     
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  15. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    It's worth noting I have a 25ish HP Generac propane V-twin from our old generator that died (the engine runs just fine) and I could do exactly that with it for... many things. I've been trying to figure out a use for it.
     
  16. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    If I was wanting a bike to do what Ted has in mind, I'd go looking for a 250 cc Japanese dual sport, but that's not what Ted wants. Remember, this is a man who voluntarily bought an old Discovery.
     
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  17. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    And is converting/installing a stationary diesel engine for use in the Disco.
     
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  18. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    You people understand me. :)

    Edit: Well, I'm not sure anyone understands me. But you at least know me well. ;)
     
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  19. MonkeyClaw

    MonkeyClaw Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Dual sport: KTM 350 EXC-F
    Adventure: BMW F850 GS

    I love my KTM EXC-F! Biggest problem with it is buying parts if they break ($$$). Biggest problem buying another dual sport - by the time you've paid to upgrade everything to be as nice as the stock KTM, you've paid the same as the KTM!

    I also love my BMW GS. Probably the bike I ride the most. Lots of aftermarket parts available, great bike for 2-track, fire roads, gravel, and highway. The 1250 is too big for an adventure bike IMO. More for looks than true adventure (I know, some people use them off road but not as nimble as the 850 and too heavy).
     
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  20. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I knew it !

    As the controls for that thing only know one rpm (3600), it'll also give you opportunity to adapt the high-flow hydraulic drive from a decommissioned skid-steer to drive the rear wheel. Oh, and because it's hydraulic, the engine can go sideways. Oh yeah, integrate the hydraulic accumulator from some old jet so the engine doesn't have to run while at idle. 0-50 just off stored energy and then the motor kicks in.

    Just a small 'Ted project'.
     
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  21. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I was thinking a go kart would make more sense.
     
  22. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    This is a little off topic, but don't you have someone in your household who is rapidly approaching minibike age?
     
  23. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    You mean three someones. :)

    Yes, my son has made the request for a small dirt bike already. Judging from how he drives the go-kart (with skill but his current motto is "I like to do dumb things"), I'm not sure that I'm entirely on board with that at this point. However, in Kansas you can get your learner's permit at 14 (what I would've given for that where I grew up...). I think that applies to motorcycles as well, and something like what I'm looking at here would also be a good first bike for the kids to learn on.
     
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  24. TCABM

    TCABM En-Route

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    Honda Grom. Plenty of mods avaialble that can be learning projects as the kids grow older and more capable.
     
  25. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    Bear in mind that many adventure bikes are mainly road oriented. Are you looking for a true dual sport bike or something that is mainly a road bike?
     
  26. Jim K

    Jim K En-Route

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    I came real close to buying an old triumph tiger, but they're kind of ugly. The new ones are really sweet, but big bucks. I really wanted a Buell Ulysses, but they're approaching cult status.

    In the end I bought an old chain drive sportster, put tall shocks & dirt tires on it, chopped the tins, built a high exhaust, and painted it flat back. Had my oldest kiddo do some tank art for it to complete the ridiculousness. It's a touch heavy, but so am I. Works great for it's intended purpose, which is riding to the field, and then going down 30" rows to scout for weeds. Way more fun than it has any right to be. Feels like a bicycle compared to my Rocket III. Probably have $2500 in it.
    KIMG0091.JPG
    IMG_20180724_131651891.jpg
     
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  27. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Hydraulic go-cart. Hydrostatic drive with launch control.
     
  28. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I’m really thinking a road bike that can handle dirt/gravel roads and light off roading.
     
  29. flhrci

    flhrci Final Approach

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    No one else mentioned it so I Will. Harley-Davidson Pan-America
     
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  30. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    Hmmm..... Wanna make another trip to Florida? My son's old Honda 50cc mini dirtbike is sitting in the shop on flat tires. Needs a new carb and gas tank but is otherwise complete.

    :D
     
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  31. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    1st gen Hinckley Triumph Bonneville 800
     
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  32. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Most ADV bikes are just street bikes that'll do a fire road or two. Mostly what they're good for is getting you into stuff they can't get you out of. Given that the Ted already has a very competent suite of street bikes, I'd think what he could use to explore the byways of his property would be a dirt bike, which can be had in a number of configurations. If he absolutely has to have a street legal bike I'd say an enduro bike like the Honda CRF300. These are dirt bikes that can handle the street OK, as opposed to street bikes that can handle dirt OK.
     
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  33. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I think nobody else mentioned it because it misses virtually all the marks. :)

    Too heavy, too expensive... might be fine enough off-road but definitely not at all what I'm looking for.

    While I appreciate the offer, at this point I think my son is better off trying to hurt himself in the go kart and on his bicycle, we'll get into giving him opportunities to hurt himself on a motorcycle later. ;)

    Interesting looking. I think that's more than what I'm looking for, but maybe not.

    As I said in the first post (and elsewhere), while having the 11 acres to explore is fun enough, the real use is for on-road riding and something that I don't mind taking on the gravel/dirt roads. Around here, there are a lot of those - I'd say that they make up more of the backroads than paved roads. Something that's not street legal would have very limited use for me - I don't generally just go in circles around the property, and if I do, it's with the kids in the go kart.
     
  34. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    With care the R1200GS will take you some interesting places, even on 90/10 tires. I ended up riding this road twice, and made it through without much problem. My friends on F750GSes dropped their bikes four times each. I had to ride back in to help shuttle their bikes out.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  35. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    I like the Honda CB500X. It’s very light, comfortable, affordable, and respectable power. There are companies that will sell upgrades like wire wheels, lift kits, racks, etc to make it your adventure bike dream.
     
  36. tawood

    tawood En-Route

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    I rode a KLR650 up to James Bay Quebec from Michigan (about 1200 miles) in two days. Then took it down the trans-taiga highway and back (over 900 miles, all dirt). Fantastic trip! I did the doohicky fix, put road bars on it, and a throttle lock. The KLR was great for putting miles on, yet could easily handle some rougher dirt trails. Later, I bought an FJR1300 sport-touring bike, and on the highway it wasn't anywhere near as comfortable as the KLR. On the KLR I'd put a big seat-bag on the back, and with the road bars that KLR was like a lazy boy. The FJR would give you monkey-butt in a day.
     
  37. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    That's an interesting observation. I've probably got 1500-2000 miles of seat time on an FJR1300. I found it very comfortable and a great highway bike. Frankly the only thing I didn't like about it was the engine - too smooth and too quiet. It would've been a much better motorcycle with the V-Max engine.
     
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  38. tawood

    tawood En-Route

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    I'm a bit of an iron butt, but seat foam shape is very important to me. I road the FJR from Michigan to South Dakota and back in a weekend, then walked funny for the next 2 weeks! I rode standing up from before Chicago all the way home. The KLR seat, on the other hand, is very plush.
    I loved the adjustable windshield on the FJR, but the engine had too low a redline for me, and when I'd "get on it", I'd often bounce it off the rev limiter by accident. Seemed like the engine just started getting good right when it redlined.
     
  39. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I think the most I rode the FJR in a day was 300-400 miles. I don't ever remember the seat causing me problems. On my Harley, the seat definitely needs to be improved and always has, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I want to do that before I do my Iron Butt run.

    I don't remember having issues with bouncing it off the rev limiter, but it's definitely a higher revving I4. Still had great torque (hard not to with a 1300...), but I always felt the V-Max engine, being a more visceral (but still nice) V4 would've been more appropriate.

    At their core, Yamaha is an engine company in my opinion. The FJR is odd because the engine is less interesting to me, but the rest of the bike is very good. I'm more used to the opposite with them. The V-Max is a great example - the engine is phenomenal, and the rest of the bike (other than aesthetics) is awful.
     
  40. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    That's the thing. Even for riding dirt roads the dual sport bikes mentioned by Steingar and others are going to be far better than buying a heavy street bike that is marketed as being an adventure bike.

    Something like a WR250, CRF250L, CRF450L, DRZ400, DR650, etc. would be much more enjoyable for those types of rides than the street bikes being tossed around in here. You already have plenty of street bikes, why buy another one that essentially will fill the same gap?