Thinking about a dual sport/adventure Motorcycle

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

  1. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Depends how far you want to adventure. A combined roads/trails trek of 1200mi would be pretty tiring on a 250 dual sport. I'd really like to test ride a Yamaha T7, it looks like a porridge just right kind of bike, good on the highway, yet smaller and more nimble compared to a GS in the dirt.
     
  2. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Pattern Altitude

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    I’ve owned two dual sports, a Suzuki DR350S and a Kawasaki KLX250S. I’m currently looking for a Suzuki DR-Z400S or a DR650se. The 400 is better off-road and the 650 is a better road bike. The 400 has Water-cooling and shim-type valvetrain which makes adjustments more complicated. The 650 has air-cooling and screw and locknut adjusters. They are both capable of more than fire roads even by relatively inexperienced riders. Both have proven reliability and have been in production for over 20 years.
    KTM’s are lighter and faster, but are you a rider that needs/wants to go fast and probably ride above your skill level?
    You’re not a kid so you’re probably just out there to do some exploring on a bike you’ll be able to pick up not if, but WHEN you drop it. We do fire roads, rocks and single-track so light-weight bikes are easier to handle when the going gets rough. I also don’t want to break the bank spending $12k on a Dualsport when a $7k bike will do everything I need. Just my .02 on what works for me.
     
  3. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Were I buying an ADV bike or one of its relatives I'd be very concerned about the mechanicals and how difficult it could be to do maintenance. Bikes are built to be light, and can't really take the punishment cars can. That said, most street bikes will run without a lot of maintenance for a long, long time. I suspect dirt bikes take a LOT more punishment, and need far more maintenance as a result. I do want to stress that I've never really intentionally ridden dirt outside of my Central American adventures. That said, those adventures did a number on my little street bike.
     
  4. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Me? I 100% agree with you! I'm looking to get 250-350cc dual sport to augment the GS as some point, but I have no illusions about my offroad skills. Bikes like the KTM and Honda 450's have a ton of power, and even lifelong good offroad riders are getting badly hurt on some of these bikes, they're just too powerful for most.

    I want a nice labrador retriever of a bike, one that is my friend in the woods, not a bike that is trying to kill me. I really like this, ~$5200, spend a few hundred on a better aftermarket shock, and you have a nice bike that will take you wherever you want to go.

    https://powersports.honda.com/street/dual-sport/crf300l-crf250l
     
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  5. szwinger

    szwinger Pre-Flight PoA Supporter

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    Lot's of good advice here. I love the converted Harley dirt bike (post 26). I was always in awe of the Harley hill climb bikes.

    All of the choices suggested look like fun. If I was trying to make the choice I would figure out who you are most likely to
    ride with (I'm personally uncomfortable riding alone) and get a bike similar to that. If you're going to ride with your kids
    get a dirt bike (KTM, CRF, WRF, TW, etc). If you're riding with others on an Adventure bikes get something similar.

    When I rode with my kids in the desert my favorite bike was a Honda CRF230. Lot's of fun. When I rode with my buddies
    it was a 250 2 stroke or 450 4 stroke MX bike. Riding in the dirt is way more fun when everyone can keep up. If your skill level is
    higher than the rest of the group a lesser bike will make the ride a lot more fun. When riding with my friends I had
    the best bike I could afford to make up for my lack of talent. I might not be fast but my bike was expensive.

    Without knowing the details and from what I think I can glean from the posts (and your question on kids dirt bikes) and without
    knowing your dirt riding experience I think a used TW would be my first suggestion. If that doesn't work sell it for
    what you bought it for and get a KLX, WRF, CRF or similar. If those aren't enough get a SXF, CRF-R, YZF, EXCF or similar.

    Sounds to me like you have a great adventure bike at your disposal. I think you should put a 300lb limit on your next bike and
    put on real knobby tires if it's not already equipped. At a very high level, if it doesn't have a 21" front wheel it's not
    a dirt bike. Of course you can make other size front wheels work, but nobody does. That said, I had a 20" front wheel
    on my bike mid-2000's. It was a fad back then (see more money than talent quote).
     
  6. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    This might win the award for highest percentage of helpful and useful responses out of any POA thread. :)

    I'd started quoting a bunch of posts to respond to, but realized that was going to be too cumbersome. So, I'll just do a more general response.

    I definitely agree that one of the standard Japanese "big four" dirt bike offerings would make the most sense for a pure dirt bike in terms of cost, general availability, and then also my skill level. Off-road, absolutely a newbie. On road I'd still consider my skill level as "moderate." Definitely can outride some, definitely can be easily out-ridden by a lot of more avid motorcyclists.

    The big things (and why I think I'm struggling with this as much as I am) is that I'm always looking for something that's unique, unusual, has some personality. Japanese vehicles (whether cars or motorcycles) normally just don't do it for me. Yes I know I loved the MU-2, that doesn't count. :)

    I also really just don't enjoy 1-cylinder engines, the sounds etc. that they make. That said, I enjoy our little 1-cylinder go-kart that is stupidly slow (when it runs) so maybe for dirt bike purposes of bombing around, I can enjoy it enough anyway.

    The adventure bikes have a lot more personality, As motorcycles, they're more up my alley. As far as the riding that I'm actually most likely to do, they probably fit most of it well. I think the real answer is probably two bikes, one adventure and one dirt. And so to that end, maybe the answer is I keep on riding the BMW and also look for a sub-300 lb cheap Japanese dirt bike, something in the 250cc or less category, that I can run around on and that maybe my wife can play with some as well more comfortably.

    I feel like a used dirt bike is where I want to end up price wise for that, but also something where I'm not sure it's where I want to end up maintenance wise. Just due to the nature of what they are and how they're ridden, they seem entirely beaten up. Plus add in that I don't want to mess around with carburetors anymore, that really limits my options if I want to go that specific.

    More to consider. I really should probably just do the normal Ted thing and pick up something that looks like it would work, ride it around some, learn more about what I want from there. All this thing means not enough doing.
     
  7. szwinger

    szwinger Pre-Flight PoA Supporter

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    Not cheap (if you can find one at all) but this checks the unique box:

    https://www.cycleworld.com/alta-motors-redshift-mx-electric-motocross-bike-full-test-review/

    I've always wanted one of these:

    https://dirtbikemagazine.com/ktm-freeride-250r/
     

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    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  8. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Don’t make the same mistake I did. When I wanted a dirt bike I went looking around and bought a KX500 two stroke. It was fun but every time I rode the thing it was an adrenaline rush because I was literally close to death the entire time. It’s the only dirt bike I’ve ever ridden. Not sure how I’m still alive. It was Ricky Bobby kinda fast
     
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  9. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    A 500 two smoke? You have a death wish or something? Holy cow!
     
  10. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I read an old archived article about the kx500 from the early 90’s. The author commented that he never thought it was possible to have to much HP on a dirt bike until he rode the Kawasaki 500. That sold me. I had to have it …

    yes I was an idiot. It was a lot of fun. Every time I got off that bike I was high. Adrenaline is some crazy ****.
     
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  11. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Thank you for the chance to reminisce.

    In 2003 I rode the length of Baja and back with 2 friends, doing about 90% of it off-road. I was on my R100GS/PD, Pete on his KLR650 and Mike on his R1100GS:

    [​IMG]

    I agree with the "unpleasant meaning of the word road":

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Truth be told, Pete's KLR was the best choice for the trip, except on the rare paved sections, avoiding stuff like this:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm very glad to have done it, though it beat up me and the bike pretty good.

    [​IMG]

    Like I said, at 72 this is more my speed today:

    [​IMG]

    "A man's got to know his limitations" - Dirty Harry
     
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  12. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I’ve been continuing to mull over the question of what I want for a dirt bike. It was clear that I wanted something lighter than the big BMW (although I do actually like it off road). But I really just wasn’t feeling what I could find on the market. Most were all beat to hell. Also, I’m Ted, which means I like things that are weird and unusual. Engines also really matter to me, and I’m not a fan of single cylinder engines.

    So while browsing and waiting for something to catch my attention, this came up:

    419A733B-B996-438C-B9D0-DCAE27BB8AA0.jpeg

    It’s a 1986 Moto Morini 501XE Camel. This is a really unusual Italian dirt bike/dual sport/enduro. 340 lbs wet so a little heavier than I’d like in a perfect world, but light enough. And the best part for me? A 500cc V-twin, way more interesting than a single cylinder.

    It doesn’t run, hasn’t in some time. But it has compression or at least seems to when I kick it over. The brakes are also physically missing other than the rotors (weird one). But it only has 6k miles on it and is in very nice shape. I didn’t want another project, but couldn’t pass this one up. I’ll look at it a bit closer next week and start getting some parts in.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2022
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  13. TCABM

    TCABM En-Route

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    Yeah, that’s definitely different. I keep my eyes open for a Lucky Strike Cagiva but man they’re rare, too.
     
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  14. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    Nice score! I've been wanting a Camel for a while now.
     
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  15. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    It may end up being for sale at some point. :)

    I took a look at date codes. The tires both look to be from 2000. The battery is labeled September of "6". I need to pull the battery and look closer, but it's unclear whether that is 86, 96, 06, 16. It looks like it's probably 06 or earlier. I don't think this has been run or ridden in a long time. But it looks to be in really nice condition overall.
     
  16. AlphaPilotFlyer

    AlphaPilotFlyer Pre-Flight

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    My 2 cents...I have 2008 klr650. I looked at the BMX and others but wanted something parts cheap and easy to fix with a lot of options. ....I've gone thru many plastics. It's big and heavy for real off road, but comfy to ride long distances to get there....there no free lunch in dual purposes.i do wish it had EFI.

    My buddy has a BMW GS and our last ride cost him a small fortune to replace a few parts after 2 slight crashes on a trail. It really took the fun out of it....but he had a more comfy ride getting back and forth to trail..... Klr is a good compromise unless your want to ride it like a 250 motox.
     
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  17. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    Keep me in mind if you decide to let it go. Until then, I'm looking forward to reading what you have to say about it. :)
     
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  18. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I'm really looking forward to getting it running and riding. Compared to what I normally work on, the thing is stupid simple.
     
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  19. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Pattern Altitude

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    Good luck with you Italian job. May not be as reliable as a Japanese bike, but you’ll never meet another rider on a similar machine off-road, even if you live to be 105. Good luck and happy trails!
     
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  20. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Very interesting! Always the road less travelled!
     
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  21. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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  22. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Interesting choice.

    My advice would still be to buy a small-to-medium sized adventure/dual purpose bike. You know, to have something to actually ride while you restore your unicorn!

    Unless your main goal is just to have a project, which I can understand since you probably don’t have enough projects already!
     
  23. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I’d had that thought. Although something being a unicorn has never stopped me from using it. First I’ll get this running and see how I like it, then go from there. If I like it, I’ll use it for what it was designed for.

    As far as projects go, this one should be simpler than normal. :)
     
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  24. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I got to look at the parts catalog a bit and look through the documentation. I found some receipts from the person who'd owned it previously who died, so that part of the story certainly seems legitimate. I also see receipts for parts relating to the brakes, so my guess is that he'd had them removed for service/rebuild at some point, and they never got back on the motorcycle.

    From what I can tell, stock brakes are essentially junk anyway. So, I'll probably just find some other parts to put on and make them work. That should be the simplest solution and be an upgrade in the process. I found a couple of NOS parts for very high prices, so, no thanks.

    It seems that it was running 5 years ago and the battery was replaced in 2016 (found a receipt for that). The 2000 year date code tires are hard as bricks, but no dry rot. So I figure once I get the thing running and riding I'll order new tires for it.

    A receipt indicated that it wasn't running great at higher RPMs 5 years ago, but doesn't state whether the complaint was resolved, just that the carburetors were cleaned and new spark plugs were put in. The gas tank is in significant need of cleaning inside, so I'm going to take care of that and look at the rest of the fuel lines (and replace the filter), plus go through the carbs. But given how rare these bikes are, I doubt anyone who really understands them looked through this hardly at all.

    The brakes may be a bit more of a question as to what I should go with. eBay/Amazon are full of "universal" brake calipers and master cylinders. Those may be ok, but I probably target a bike that seems similar enough with ok brakes and go for that. The rotors look new and are in perfect condition.
     
  25. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Pattern Altitude

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    I guess you have yourself a small project. Trying to adapt a different caliper may require some machining and use of a different master cylinder and lines. All the brake parts should be compatible with the same DOT fluid. Everything else seems to be just a matter of elbow grease, which I’m sure you have plenty of.
     
  26. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I'd stick with Brembo, Nissin, or other name brand brake components.
     
  27. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    That's my thought as well. I was looking at the other motorcycles in the garage to see if any of them might bolt up close enough to work.
     
  28. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    I believe the OE brakes were Brembos; fairly standard looking stuff for that era of Italian motorcycle. I'd suggest sticking with the same. The components are somewhat standardized and you can likely find some replacement or upgrade components if you expand your search to other marques from the same era that were more popular. Ducatis, Guzzis, etc. are where I'd start looking.
     
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  29. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I tend to agree and if I can find some Brembos that will fit, that's probably the way to go. I was looking at the R1150GS brakes to see if it looked like those might bolt up, or at least be close enough to bolt up with some minor modifications. I'll probably need to just spend some time looking at options, taking measurements, and then figuring out what mostly fits.

    The rear brake master cylinder may be a bit more of a challenge to figure out. The picture below that I found shows what I think it should look like:

    upload_2022-1-4_7-52-45.png

    Note that when you push the brake pedal down, it pulls on a lever which then pivots and pushes on the master cylinder. I've not seen a setup like that before, so may be a bit harder to find an appropriate master cylinder for it. Maybe some on here have seen something like that.

    The calipers themselves look a little more straightforward, either single sliding pin calipers or twin-piston, both front and rear. Since on a motorcycle (at least all the ones I've ridden, I know some are different) the brakes are completely independent from one another, I could just get one or the other working for initial riding.
     
  30. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I found a decent enough picture of the rear brake setup to see that the factory seems to have had a bracket/adapter for the rear brake:

    upload_2022-1-4_8-7-46.png

    So, I think that helps me out some as finding a caliper goes.
     
  31. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    That sort of master cylinder was common on Guzzis and Ducati’s. I’d look there again. I don’t recall seeing one with that exact casting style but close.
     
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  32. TCABM

    TCABM En-Route

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    Hell, I’m curious if it might be just as easy to rebuild the master cylinder. The hard part is probably going to be part number cross referencing to the OEM piece.

    Last moto project I did was an early 90s two-stroke YZ250 about ten years ago. Hardest thing to find was a rubber boot for the airbox and carb rebuild kit.
     
  33. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    The issue right now is that there are no master cylinders or calipers on the bike at all. Otherwise, I would rebuild them. :)
     
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  34. Hang 4

    Hang 4 Cleared for Takeoff

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    OK, have to ask, have you ever bought a vehicle that was just ready to go with no modification?
     
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  35. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I have, but it's rare that I don't modify a vehicle at some point in ownership.
     
  36. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    Now all you need is a Laverda and you'll have the triumverate of old school Italian motorcycles.

    Back in the 80's when I owned a Moto Guzzi, the place that sold them also hadLambretta scooters and Moto Morinis. I stopped by one day for a new clutch cable, and noticed there were no more Morinis in the store. I asked the owner if they'd stopped selling them, and he said something that gave me the impression that they never actually sold one. I'm impressed you found one, or it found you, and may the gods of spare parts smile upon you.
     
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  37. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    Now you're talking... :)
     
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  38. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Ooh, never heard of one of those. Now that's on the list. :)

    I'd never heard of the thing before it showed up. I was actually searching Facebook marketplace for Moto Guzzi, and then this popped up. But the more I looked at it, the more it spoke to me.

    From what I can tell they only sold a few hundred of them in the US. Do you remember what the pricing was at the time when they were new? From what I understand, they were very good mechanically, and priced accordingly. The engine is a very interesting design, and apparently (I haven't ridden it yet, obviously) had a 6-speed transmission which I think may have been the first.

    The one article I found said it came with 28mm carbs initially, but this one has 30s. Don't know if that was changed at some point in production or if it got changed over the 40ish years since it left the factory.

    Everything I've read spoke highly of their mechanical design and reliability, but apparently the ignition system requires some understanding of how it works. I found a receipt showing the previous owner had taken it to a shop because of poor running at higher RPM, which sounds like it could be an ignition issue. So, I'll go through the whole thing, we'll see what I find.
     
  39. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    IIRC a Morini was priced similarly to a BMW, which is to say more than what a similarly sized Japanese bike went for. My Guzzi was more than a similar sized Honda or Suzuki, but it really suited my (mellow) riding style better than the Japanese offerings.
     
  40. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Thanks, that's more or less what I figured, and probably part of why they didn't sell many.

    I got to look at it a bit more and exposed the timing belt. It has been replaced, but it is old. So I'll change it (requires removing the alternator) and otherwise go through the basics on the engine before attempting to start it.