|04-21-2005, 08:10 AM||#1|
Master Bandage Tester
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Leander, Tx
So, you want a Dualsport?
Since Scott's dualsport fever seems to be spreading like wildfire, and I've been asked about DS bikes a number of times, I thought I'd post a thread regarding different DS bikes available, and where they fit. There's lots to consider, but this is an overview to provide a little direction to those considering getting dirty. This PM was asking in regard to 650's, but I touched on all popular 'DS' bikes.
They (the 650's) are all capable of racking up the miles, it really depends on the type of riding you want to do and your tolerance for pain . Unlike the big bikes, none of them are big on power, so keeping your pack weight down is something to consider. What you loose in power and comfort you gain in nimbleness and trail capability. It can be exhausting riding a 650 1500mi in 3 days on the highway, but even more exhausting riding a fully loaded GS on technical surfaces. So, you have to be realistic about what you are going use the bike for....
If you think it'll be more highway and rough paved backroads with some graded dirt roads thrown in, then lean road oriented, if you are going to be chasing deer trails or riding where there are no trails, and ride roads only to connect those trails then get a non-legal dirt bike and make it legal...
Here is the the order of dirt capability of the most popular bikes available, starting with the more street oriented and ending with trail (including the big bikes):
Suzuki DL1000/650 - hot rod (compared to most DS's) street bike with a couple extra inches of suspension travel. I wouldn't take it beyond graded dirt roads.
BMW R1100/1150/1200GS - BIG, WIDE, HEAVY, COMFY! Think of it as the 4X4 Suburban of DS bikes. Touring accessories galore. Best kept to graded dirt, but jeep trail capable if you're brave.
Triumph Tiger - I've read really good things about these. Narrower than the GS and supposedly a bit more dirt capable. Very powerful. This would be my choice of big DS's.
BMW F650GS - heavy, soft and low, they have more touring accessories than most of the other bikes.
KTM 950 Adventure - Well, actually this would be my choice of the bigguns, but cost prohibitive .
BMW F650GS Dakar - same as GS, just better suspension and ground clearance.
Kawasaki KLR650 - Heavy and soft but surprisingly dirt capable, lots of aftermarket accessories for touring, comes stock with a 6 gal tank, great value. Not pretty though.
Suzuki DR650 - Looks more dirt oriented than it is. Soft suspension, doesn't have as much after market support as the KLR for touring, or the XR for dirt/performance. Good all around compromise though; it can tour, it can singletrack. Air cooled with an oil cooler. This is probably my next bike.
Honda XR650L - Not much available for road touring, but probably has the largest aftermarket following for offroad performance than any other DS bike. The RFVC XR/XL family has been around for a long time and are known for bullet proof reliability. The XRL has nearly 12 full" inches of suspension travel and 14" ground clearance with knobbies. This is also the tallest DS with over 37" seat height (higher with large knobbies). Air cooled.
KTM LC4 (640) - Powerfull and mostly dirt oriented, more modern design and motocross-like geometry. I think KTM discontinued it in the US.
KTM 625SXC - Bad to the bone street legal dirt bike.
DRZ400 - Mostly dirt oriented. About the same hp as many of the 650's but less torque, so might be tiring on long, highspeed rides, especially loaded.
Since I put a lot of dirt/offroad miles on a XR650L, I'll expand on that experience; great bike! Slightly under powered IMHO, but the aftermarket can take care of that if you need it, and they respond well to the usual intake and exhaust mods. It's basically a stroked XR600 with an electric start (after you put it on a diet and strip it of all it's 'junk'), and set up properly, performs surprisingly well in just about any terrain. I've ridden along with 2-stroke MX bikes with no problems keeping up (if they could keep up ) and never had to avoid any obstacle/ terrain that they rode (doesn't mean I didn't have to work at it). Torque is plentiful; the dirt bike guys had to really work to keep up on steep climbs and open high speed sections. It's weight and soft (compared to MX) long travel suspension allowed it to soak up the terrain at speed. I also used it for longer rides, such as a 6 day, 1100+ mile trip to Baja. This was a mostly rough jeep trail trip loaded with camping gear. I don't recall any comfort issues, although I spent a great deal of time standing... The longest day ride I've done was almost 600 miles of about 50/50 pavement and dirt roads, with some more difficult trails thrown in as shortcuts. I did sleep well that night . The 'L' has plenty of oomf to cruise 80 all day, even with the shorter gearing I used. At these highway speeds, however, the tall, light (compared to street bikes) bike is like a kite in the wind, and can be exhausting if you aren't up to it. The seat is wide enough, and has room for modification. You'd have to be creative for more serious highway set-up. The Arizona desert is extremely unforgiving on ORV's, but the XR took what I gave out, desite my brutal abuse. Among the casualties as a result of my relentless abuse, it suffered a couple of frame breaks, a broken foot peg, a destroyed front wheel, and we won't even talk about the plasics... but mechanically it kept on ticking. To give an idea of their reputaion and demand in the west, I still was able to sell it for $2100, despite it's mileage and worn, ragged appearance, before I moved back to Texas.
Hope this helps. Now, go get a bike and prepare for the race to sign up for this.
|Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)|