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Old 08-31-08, 11:02 AM   #1
MillCreek
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Thoughts on a street-legal small-mid displacement dual-sport motorcycle?

Many, many years ago, I had a 125 cc street-legal dual sport from Suzuki. I cannot even remember what year it was, but was probably built back in the 80's, when you could buy numerous motorcycles under 500 cc in the USA. The bike was just a blast to ride, virtually indestructible and was easy to maintain. I gifted it to a relative who took it to college and used it for three years until it was stolen.

I have been thinking about another off-the-shelf street-legal dual-sport as a fun bike, commuter, grocery getter and the like. This would probably be a 70% street/30% logging road/trail machine. I have been looking at the major manufacturers and see that Honda/Kawasaki/Suzuki all have some bikes in the 200-250cc range and Suzuki has one model in the 400 cc range. Nothing really after that until you get to the KLR 650 at 650 cc. The KLR would probably be too big for what I am looking at, and it seems to be a two-person job to lift them upright on the trail after dumping them.

Any thoughts or recommendations? I have noticed that the new Yamaha XT250 and Honda CF230L are getting some good reviews.
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Old 08-31-08, 11:22 AM   #2
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Yamaha has the YZ450F which is a 450CC dirtbike (throw a street kit on there and you have a dualsport). It's what I rode before I got my Gixxer. Plenty fast for everything except maybe the highway (freeway speed in SoCal is 75+...)

Never ridden any of the smaller displacement bikes but you can't really go wrong with the big three (Suzuki/Yamaha/Honda) so just go for whatever one you like better. Paying attention to any mechanical defects of the bikes of course.
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Old 09-02-08, 05:45 PM   #3
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Carefull trying to plate a non-registered bike. Most states are cutting way back on letting people put dual -sport kits on dirt bikes.
I have a Yamaha XT-225. Pretty small unless you're all in town riding but easy to throw around the trails. I also have a KLX 250. Bigger and better for the road but still light enough to hammer the single tracks.
I'd get a DRZ 400/supermoto if the road portion was a much bigger percentage. (Got the Harley for that). Another good all around choice is a BMW 650GS. If you go the bucks and really want a dirt bike looking one, check out the new fuel injected Yamaha WR 250 dirt and supermot versions.
Check out www.advrider.com and cruise through their forums. Look for a regional forum as well as the "thumper" forum and see what people are riding.
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Old 09-03-08, 09:08 AM   #4
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I have discovered that in Washington, you cannot license a dirt bike with a street kit installed. So it will have to be an off-the-shelf dual sport. I already have the long freeway tours and work commuting handled with my maxi-scooter, so I am looking for something with actual dirt capability that I can still ride on the back roads to the trailhead. The other issue I have noticed is seat height. I am 5'10" and have a 32" bicycling inseam, and I prefer to be able to put at least one foot down without having to lean the motorcycle way over. Some of these bikes with a 35-37 inch seat height are just going to be too tall, I think. If anyone has any ideas on this, I am all ears. I have chatted with one rider who had a Suzuki DRZ-400 SM with a 35.1 inch seat height and he is 5'11" and can just put down one set of toes on the bike. He has consequently dumped it a number of times. He is looking at spending upwards of $ 300 or so to have it lowered a couple of inches.

I might be leaning more and more toward the Yamaha XT 250.
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Old 09-03-08, 12:56 PM   #5
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I like the old Classics....Have you thought of one of these? Reliable as anything out there, Easy parts availability, not as much seat height as the modern equivalent, and good lookin to boot!

1974 Honda Cl 450...
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Old 09-03-08, 01:13 PM   #6
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Nice, but I would not call that a dual-sport, at least by the contemporary definition.
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Old 09-03-08, 01:24 PM   #7
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Sounds like fun to me. I wish I could justify having one.

They call them Motards now. Everybody makes one. Even BMW.
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Old 09-03-08, 06:03 PM   #8
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If you want to motor along a freeway in Ca. you have to have a 250cc or greater. I don't have any suggestions regarding a motorcycle tho.....

Steven
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Old 09-03-08, 06:56 PM   #9
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I'm a Honda fan, and though I ride a 750, I don't have an aversion to smaller bikes. My wife has a 250 Rebel, which is about as simple of a piece of machinery you can buy. Duel sport bikes are perfect for a lot of people, and as long as you don't plan any extended highway riding it should work well for you.
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Old 09-04-08, 06:02 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Figment View Post
I like the old Classics....Have you thought of one of these? Reliable as anything out there, Easy parts availability, not as much seat height as the modern equivalent, and good lookin to boot!

1974 Honda Cl 450...
Dude, that made me drool almost as much as the ladies of Foo thread.
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Old 09-04-08, 06:46 AM   #11
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Those sort of older motorcycles are fun until you try to stop, especially in the rain. Those drum brakes tend to fill up with water. Here in the Seattle area, with our hills and rain, it really added an exciting dimension to our riding!
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Old 09-04-08, 07:38 AM   #12
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KLR650... you can do anything with it.
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Old 09-22-08, 01:27 PM   #13
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I had to come back and update this thread. Those of us who are a certain age or who ride motorcycles other than the USA will probably know about the popularity of the Kawasaki Super Sherpa. I was reading another board today and learned that the Super Sherpa is coming back to the US market: http://www.kawasaki.com/Products/Detail.aspx?id=371

This is a deservedly popular bullet-proof bike dual sport bike that was last sold in the USA in 2003. I am definitely going to have to take a look when they hit the dealers.
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Old 09-22-08, 01:33 PM   #14
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KLR650, nothing better.
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Old 09-22-08, 09:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Figment View Post
I like the old Classics....Have you thought of one of these? Reliable as anything out there, Easy parts availability, not as much seat height as the modern equivalent, and good lookin to boot!

1974 Honda Cl 450...
Nice! Those are fun bikes. Wouldn't wanna take that on a long ride but for short rides they're cool.
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