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  1. #1
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    I am seriously thinking about purchasing a dual sport bike for fun and commuting to work on. Does anyone know anything about the DRZ 400s? I don't need a huge bike, but something I can take right from the single track to 75mph on a weekday commute to work.

    If not the DRZ, what else should I look at for a dual sport bike in that class?


  2. #2
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Stupid newbie! This is a BICYCLE forum











    Seriously it looks like a cool toy

  3. #3
    Canadian eh?
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    mmmm.. I really want a motorcycle too..my dad said id have to move out though.

  4. #4
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Gardner
    I am seriously thinking about purchasing a dual sport bike for fun and commuting to work on. Does anyone know anything about the DRZ 400s? I don't need a huge bike, but something I can take right from the single track to 75mph on a weekday commute to work.

    If not the DRZ, what else should I look at for a dual sport bike in that class?

    Its a very good bike and not much else in its class currently exept some eurpean makes like KTM, husaberg(450/550fe but needs convertinghttp://www.chblock.com/dualsport/conversion/), VOR (convertion also) and a few others. The Europeans are quite proud of there dirtbikes however($$$), the KTM LC4 400 or 650 are both very fine DP bikes but checking http://www.ktmusa.com it seems they are not importing them this year. No duke 2s either

    http://www.vor.it/
    http://www.husaberg.se/bikes/fe550e.asp#

    I don't know how long DR400s last but I have heard much good about them. Very offroad capable for a dual-sport(most are to big or have soft suspention or just not enough kick. XT600s are pretty sweet for the $$ but they've been sold only in europe for 10 years now, used ones are still around), and the dr400 has enough power to do well over 75 but probably shouldn't be run that fast for really long stretches as it's not geared for highway cruising.(just wears it out faster has to do with piston speed, my 1982 XT250 tops out at 75 but I keep it under 50 for normal riding)

    It is one of the few bikes I have not test ridden but most DP bikes like to stay under 80 for handling reasons anyway. Unless of course you go with the advenure touring bikes which are generally 2 cylinder, bigger, heavier, not for fast single track, and the choice of Europeans, they do have bags however which is good for commuting and will do high highway speeds, bikes like KTM adventure 950, BMW GS1200, Triumph tiger 900, Aprilia caponord 1000 or pegaso 650(single).

    Of course supermotard is always a hoot.(street legal versions availible from some companies, like ktm)
    Last edited by capsicum; 08-16-04 at 02:41 AM.
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
    "yuo ned to be deadurcated"

  5. #5
    Senior Member Patch29's Avatar
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    I have a DR-Z400s. I bought it used in May. It has been a great ride, but it depends on what you want to do with it and where you will ride it most.

    How far do you plan to ride it at 75 mph?

    It is designed to be a much more dirt worthy dual sport than a street model. The seat is probably the biggest missing part for the road. It can wear you out. I rode 260 miles one day last week to see how far I could take it. It was not too bad, but the ride can also get a little buzzy and a lot of vibes on the highway. I probably did 40+ miles in one stretch on the highway at 70+mph. If you have a short commute and mostly want to ride it for fun in the dirt, I think you would be very happy with it. It should last a very long time.

    If you were to ride more street and fire roads a KLR650 might better suit you. It has better street manners, goes in the dirt and will be in a similar price range. It is probably the best value in a dual sport for longer distances. Suzuki also make a DR650 which is similar to the KLR, and Honda makes the XR650L that is probably the best of the 650's in the dirt.

    KTM makes some great dual sports. I have a few friends who ride the LC4 (640) (better in the dirt than a KLR) and LC8 (950). They are great machines. I would not mind having an LC4 myself. They tend to be a little more maintenance intensive, expensive and at times part can be more difficult to find than bikes from Japan.

    BMW also makes a 650 that would not be a bad choice, more street, ok in the dirt, fine for fire roads. It is a little more expensive, but offers ABS that the others do not.

    Out west you should be able to find deals on most of these bikes if you look for them. One other thing to keep in mind is aftermarket support, from storage to accessories, there are more items for certain models. Some vendors can be found here, here, here, and here.

    Some online resources for dual sports can be found here (more dirt riding specific), here (more dirt/street, larger bikes) and here (more long distance remote touring). They also have bikes for sale, which would help you save money. I have bought my motorcycles used and think it is the way to go to get the best value, plus you can get them with the accessories included.

    If you search on those sites you will get a lot of opinions on the different bikes you are looking for. Good luck with your search. I am still fairly new to the motorcycle world. I started about two years ago and have enjoyed riding. Most motorcycles will get 40+mpg, so they can help save on gas money. Coming from a bicycle it was an easy move and I think that background helps me to be comfortable on two wheels. I still probably spend more days on my bicycle and my dream rides I hope to go by bicycle, but sometimes there is only a short period of time and the motorcycle can help you log a lot more miles in a day and get somewhere you might not see. Let me know if you have any questions I can help with.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Patch29's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by capsicum
    Of course supermotard is always a hoot.(street legal versions availible from some companies, like ktm)
    OLN has been showing the AMA Redbull Supermoto races. They are wild to watch, similar to supermotard, but make have the track dirt. It is worth watching if you like supermotard.

  7. #7
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    I don't have OLN(I'm cheap and little time for tv) Supermotard is generally a mixed track; mostly paved, a dirt/gravel section or two and a jump or two.

    My '82 XT250 generally gets 75 miles to the gallon, but at a fairly steady 35-40mph, on a trip I did(heavily loaded), it was getting between 85 and 92mpg my dads '00 XT350 also gets about 70-75mpg around town.
    Single cylinders get better milage because they have less internal parts and friction. Narrow light bikes(like most DP) also get good milage, bikes intended for low to midrange power(think cadence) get better milage than high RPM race machines but power is slightly less. (Big old Harleys get better milage than light crotch rockets- because they are designed for low rpm)

    Tire choice makes a big difference on DP bikes, its the same as tire choice on a mtb that is ridden on and off road, but unlike an mtb you can't switch tires day to day or week to week(unless you like chores). I like the IRC GP110 but I spend a large part of my riding on road (it does quite well off road too but not super duper)

    DON"T FORGET THIS: Get a copy of "Proficient Motorcycling" by David Hough from Motorcycle Consumer News, it is the best I have come across, very scientific, easy to read, it covers physics, technique, group riding, traffic skills, foul weather and a little about chosing the right bike for the job. There is a part 2 out now that expands on the first but I have not bought it yet.
    I recommend this book because it has correct information and there are a lot of motorcyclists, even those with many miles of experience, that just don't know what the heck they're talking about, are badly misinformed (lots of "old wives tales" out there), and or just plain full of sht.
    There were studies done that show taking a certified riding class is best by far(duh), but self taught riders are less likly to be in an accident than those taught by friends.
    Last edited by capsicum; 08-17-04 at 05:53 AM.
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
    "yuo ned to be deadurcated"

  8. #8
    Senior Member Stor Mand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Gardner
    I am seriously thinking about purchasing a dual sport bike for fun and commuting to work on. Does anyone know anything about the DRZ 400s? I don't need a huge bike, but something I can take right from the single track to 75mph on a weekday commute to work.

    If not the DRZ, what else should I look at for a dual sport bike in that class?

    So, are you gettiing it? There isn't much competition in this class of bike, especially for the money. It does both on and off road pretty well.

  9. #9
    Senior Member phinney's Avatar
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    Great all around bike. Light and buzzy on the highway, ponderous and heavy on single track, the perfect dual sport bike! I've always thought a bike like this is the best to learn on. Upright riding position, stable, easy to look around, dosen't disintegrate if it tips over, etc.. I also think a bike like this is the most fun and enoyable too.

  10. #10
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phinney
    Great all around bike. Light and buzzy on the highway, ponderous and heavy on single track, the perfect dual sport bike! I've always thought a bike like this is the best to learn on. Upright riding position, stable, easy to look around, dosen't disintegrate if it tips over, etc.. I also think a bike like this is the most fun and enoyable too.
    Thats about right(a little exagerated maybe), my first 30,000 miles was on a DP; '82 XT250(odo reads 40k), it doesn't seem heavy on the trail or light on the road(low gearing, but what are ya gona do) to me, but then it's all I ever rode much so how would I know the difference.
    Still have it, still goes. As long they get their regular scheduled adjustments and oil swap they will go and go and go.
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
    "yuo ned to be deadurcated"

  11. #11
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    The DRZ 400 is a nice bike, however; Why not go with the CRF 450 made by honda? Its handling and performance is a little bit better than the DRZ (but not much) and the CRF is around the same price maybe a little bit more in cost, also there is an a bunch of after market parts for the 450 and it's a four stroke. I was a motorcycle mechanic for years, quit doing it about four years ago, worked on honda,Kawas and Suzies. Honda usually had the less problems when it came to service and maintenance. Do not get me wrong Suzi makes a dam good bike and puts alot of quality into there products, also they have a lot of after market parts as well, but based on maintenance, quality, performance, and experience, I have learned Honda makes the best bikes. Good Luck and go on the feel if it feels right than get it. Nothing like the feel of a new bike. For your first bike I would go with a 125 you do need anything bigger than that, unless your a big person, or really small person. If your small go with a 100 if your big, big go with the 250 all of these bike are two stroke.
    Last edited by GoodBoy; 08-28-04 at 11:45 AM.

  12. #12
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! This will be the first bike I have owned, but I have put alot of time on friends bikes, from crotch rockets and cruisers and just about every size dirt bike.

    I took out the DRZ for a spin, and really enjoyed the ride, the size is perfect, I am 6'4" / 180lbs. I also like the fact that it is road ready. I really don't want to buy a street legal kit for a dirt bike, and then worry about getting it road ready.

    If all goes well, I can afford to purchase the bike some time next month.

  13. #13
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    BTW, I am really looking for more of an adventure touring bike, something I can load 40 lbs of gear on, ride down the freeway 300+ miles then spend the weekend on old mining roads.

    I want to replace my old jeep, but get more then 7mpg!

  14. #14
    Senior Member phinney's Avatar
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    On a budget, 6'4", 40lbs of gear, and mining roads sounds like a KLR650 to me. Huge gas tank, better mpg than the 400 and they've made them for 20 years so used is a real option. Less dirt oriented than the 400 but just as good on dirt roads and better on paved ones.

  15. #15
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    You can get a new klr650 for $4,000 list is $5,100 but with end of season sales and talking them down I've seen them go for a smig over $3,000 and there is a diesel version made for the military that gets over 100mpg but some rumer has it that the military version is now multi fuel spark ignition engine that can take gas, diesel, cooking oil, alcohol, or kerosine.
    Some after market/custom metal panniers are made for the KLR.
    Its a good bike and one of my top picks for myself. but there are a lot of good bikes made currently.


    KTM adventure 950 a very nice bike, kind of pricy but well designed and made.

    This is quite spendy at 3 times the price of a KLR but man is it a sweet ride and much better on the highway, BMW GS1150 6 time paris-dakar winner



    This is Andrea Mayer in the paris dakar(3K mile race in africa), the fuel tank is a special extra large one just for this race and it has some extra rear side fenders, but the engine is fairly stock.
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
    "yuo ned to be deadurcated"

  16. #16
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    Don't worry if you already chose the DRZ400 it will easily take 40pounds of gear(a second rider actually).

    Don't forget "Proficiant motorcyling"(post #7 "Don't forget") I've seen people with hundreds of thousands of miles under their belt get that book and go "Wow, that has some good stuff I never would have thought of." and there riding improved a good deal too.
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
    "yuo ned to be deadurcated"

  17. #17
    Senior Member FLBandit's Avatar
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    Excellant bike! I've been all over Ocala National Forest on mine. Unfortunately, I have to sell it. I could save you some money on an "02!!!
    I wanna ride!
    '90ish Giant Perigee

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